Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Traditional fools • Chocolate Covered Records
I had a friend who used to do art installations of tiki torches, black lights and hot rod posters, creating this weird surfing freakout world, complete with sand. It was like stepping into a foreign world, another side of the 50's that I didn't really think about. There was an underground that was happening, a counterculture even then. Of course music is the first indicator or even creator of any movement and the Traditional Fools would fit right in as the perfect soundtrack to his world.
But it's not an imitation of that time period, it seems to be taking the things that signify that era, the sounds and style but it's updated... or better yet romanticised into a better version of history. At least to me anyway in the middle of NYC. Watching the video of TF sidewalk surfing with guitars leads me to believe San Francisco is a very very different place. Full of beaches, supportive audiences, plenty of garages and this is about as garage as it gets. The recording is a perfect match for the distorted vocals, which of course were meant for this tiny vinyl. It would be pretty hard to pin this down mistakenly to something contemporary, the Traditional Fools have completely mastered this period sound.
After hearing this, they demand to be seen live, I can only imagine it only improves on this raw energy. Nice work to whoever engineered this...I've heard so many great live bands just suffocated in the studio.
It's not hanging itself with 'surfers only' signs plastered all over the sound, which can be the mistake, pigeonholing everything too tightly, turning novelty. It's mixing 60's garage and early 80's punk, too vague to easily file under either.
I think this belongs in the section with Link Ray and my other favorite band of this surf sound: Deadbolt. They might surf... but in a horror laboratory with more reverb and less distortion.
Even the xerox cover is a throwback to ye olde DIY punk scene which I like immediately.
This came to me from Chocolate Covered Records, who also released Dreamdate, which highly recommend. A pop girl band, equally earnest don't have time to spend weeks in a studio. It's about the music. I'm still playing this jem...it's in the vein of the Besties and even the Coathangers, another recent heavy rotation on the turntable.
Cocolate Covered seems to be cornering the market on this sincere low-fi sound.
Go get it for $6 from CCR.