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Crawlspace Biography
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Bio, Photos, & Press
1970s Reviews
Gizmos Fave Raves '76
Comix by Ken Highland
Pre-Giz Pix (etc.)
Except where noted, all original text & art ©2009 Eddie Flowers


FRIENDSOUND -- Joyride (RCA Records LP, 1969) In 1967, Drake Levin, Phil Volk, and Mike Smith (all former members of Paul Revere & the Raiders) formed a band called Brotherhood. They released two LPs in '68 and '69. Sometime during this period, they were also allowed to record this musical "joyride" with a bunch of friends and outside musicians. From this came one of the most peculiar American psychedelic LPs of the time. As a kid, I related it to the second disc of the Mothers' Freak Out! album, and there's certainly some of that freak-out thing here. What you hear is mostly experimental and improvised. And it's just beautiful! But there's also Drake Levin's "Love Sketch," a delicate psychedelic instrumental and the only written piece here. And there's "Childsong," with field recordings of kids playing mixed in with unobtrusive space music. A lot of what's happening here is the three Brotherhood members using "the control console as a musical instrument"--i.e., they're (re-)mixing and adding effects through the mixing board. The second side consists of two nine-minute pieces: a remixed jam called "Lost Angel Proper St.," and "The Empire of Light." The latter consists of prepared piano (Phil Volk) and organ (by Ron Collins, a member of Brotherhood on their first LP) being fucked with by Drake Levin and Mike Smith behind the console. What they produce sounds like minimal space music. Very nice!

(Buddah Records
LP, 1968) Follow-up to The Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus LP, this finds bubblegum producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffrey Katz tightening up their sub-sub-Sgt. Peppers bubble-commune project to make one of the very best 60s bubblegum LPs. This time, the participating bands in this alleged super session were the Ohio Express, the 1910 Fruitgum Co., the Music Explosion, Prof. Morrison's Lollipop (?), and for some extra punk punch, the Shadows of Knight during their post-Dunwich bubblegum phase. The Super Circus scored a big hit with "Quick Joey Small," a just swell bit o' nasal-snarl bubble-punk. That also applies to "I Got It Bad for You," as well as the versions of the Ohio Express's "Down at Lulu's" and especially the Shadows of Knight's "Shake." Of course, all this stuff was just faked-up R&B, as rock'n'roll had been for the most part, and they include a couple delicious soul-gummers: "I'm in Love With You" and "Easy to Love." The geek-snort vocal is retained, though! All that rockin', and the Super-K crew also manage to do some very listenable Beach Boys/Beatles-influenced pop, make goofy self-references, and take a hilarious, surprisingly sharp poke at then California Governor Ronald Reagan ("A man who has so much hair/A man who is not all there"). There's even a free-form drums'n'shouts piece (obviously influenced by the Mothers in "freak-out" mode) that sounds like Amon Düül I trippin' on acid and beatin' on the hippie-cave walls.

ELECTRIC MANCHAKOU -- "Hey (The Human Guitar"/"She Said"/"Murder" (Innocent Records [UK] single, 1989) Cannot remember where I got this, but it's a weiner, my friends--KILLUH Detroit-style fuzzkill, loose and loud, the song-stuff sounding a bit like the Groovies' "Slow Death," but with a cool long-ish solo after that stuff''s over. The two other songs are just as good, especially the stun guitar solo on "She Said." Label was in London, so I assume they're English--? On the back cover, they look like they're auditioning for a part in The Bon Scott Story. Would not have been surprised if they'd been Australian by sounds either.

THE TENNESSEE FARM BAND -- "Goin' Down to Georgia"/"Iva Lee"
(Farm Records single, 1976) I saw somebody describe this recently as a "psych" record. Uh-uh. It's fuckin' Southern rock, man! The sleeve is kinda psychedelic, though, so it was probably just somebody stupid (or deceptive?). The band came out of the Farm Commune in Summertown, Tennessee. "Goin' Down to Georgia" is a jes' fine slice of Skynyrd-like rockin'. Good loud guitar solos. Chick singer w/ that Suthun sound. The flip-side's pretty bad, although in a similar vein.

SAVANNAH -- "Livin' High"/"Night Life"  (Savannah Records single, circa 1975) Very cool mid-70s hard-rock with the same kinda pre-punk attack as Thundertrain . . . 70s-style rock crunch w/ raw done-it-theyself power that would've been destroyed by their rockstar dreams of major labels and "good" studios. And it concerns something that concerns most of us in these (and all) troubled times: "Livin' high, livin' right"! Nice guitar solos too. The flip's almost as good, w/ a bit of Suthun-rock guitar settin' it all off. Again, there's a heavy theme: partying on the weekend! Finally, it ends up sounding like an inspired Aerosmith move, but w/ that all important "crude" production. Friday night forever! These boys were from Hollister, California.

GRACED LIGHTNING -- "The Lard"/"Silver Lining"  (Wildwood Records single, 1973) Weird Chicago-area single that only makes sense in the way the Midwest hung on hard to hippie values. I was playing it for Greg to see if he was interested in buying--I remembered it as a Chicago-area prog record. Well, right geography--but not really prog. Think more like the Dead on a good night! We listened, and I got excited. It's REAL GOOD! A snakey mid-tempo jam built around guitar and piano interplay that has that Dead-like "majesty" all the way through--kinda country-ish at times but, um, you know, tuh-rippy. And they're ON too--great! Before the first side was over, I had already decided not to sell it. So, I flipped it over to dig "Silver Lining." It's rockin'. There's a vocal. It's . . . well, it reminds me of Mott the Hoople, again driven by guitar and piano. It finally hits a spacey break, and whoa! a noisy, creepy synth solo that sure don't sound like the Hoople! The music picks back up, and the Mott-like rockin' continues. REAL NICE! (They should've been on United Artists Records, probably as import only!) The label notes that the single is "a product of . . . Village School of Music" in Deefield, Illinois. I think I remember Graced Lightning also having a one-sided LP (ask Cary Baker!).

SKOGIE -- "The Butler Did It"/"I Won't Be Pushed Away"
(Mill City Records single, 1973) Minneapolis power pop with exquisite synth touches. The band reeks of bubblegum potential, but the music is a step above that. They have the usual Midwestern power-pop tendencies mixed up with Roxy Music and Chinn-Chapman UK bubblepop. "I Won't Be Pushed Away" is even better, with a modern Romeo-and-Juliet plot backed by chuggin' Raspberries-like playing, a fuckin' harpsichord (or synth replication), totally boss guitar solo, handclaps (!), shinin' harmonies, and a clever bridge. Just about perfect. Anybody know if their LP's any good? I didn't know about it until a couple years ago, by which time it was expensive and I was broke.

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This Week in Slippy Town
Meercaz Q&A
Paul Revere & the Raiders
Watchin' Videos
Spinnin' Some Vinyl


Shout Bamalama!
Outro (R.I.P.)

Extra! Extra!
Remnants, leftovers, and "related" items from the never-published last issue of this zine from Krazee Ken and Ready Eddie of the Gizmos. With Lester Bangs, Patti Smith, Richard Meltzer, Metal Mike, etc.