Thursday, March 27, 2008
Thursday again! That means it's time for another "10 Questions". Today we turn to an old friend I've known for five + years,Glasgow's own Joe Kane. Having spent a good deal of time conversing with him, and a greater deal of time listening to his music, he certainly is capable of handling this survey. Joe's The Owsley Sunshine produced albums which-despite their lo-fi & humbling recording background, are still among my favorites when it comes to current practitioners of our favorite genre. Most especially for their Look To The Merry-Go-Sun debut. Chock-full of mind-bending goodness and crunchy hooks! (Here's what another good friend, Goran Obradovic, said of this album:)
For all of you worried about the lack of a band like The Diggers, here’s one that will shine a light on those worries.
Coming (not surprisingly) from Glasgow, The Owsley Sunshine are another bunch of Beatles-obsessives, but don’t let this put you down, cuz theirs is one of the most imaginative and creative ways to do it.
Some of the things that come to mind is that this isn’t too far from an idea of how would’ve Kurt Heasley, with any of his Lilys sets, sound like, if focused on the Fab’s White Album/Abbey Road period, or maybe Badfinger going a bit more psychedelic … LOTS of familiar references, put through the prism of Britsike-ling quirkiness (in accordance with the acid-inspired band name).
The rawking opening with the title of Dr Donaldsons Charity Bandstand might be suggestive enough, but the following (Are) These The Times (?) will take you bouncing between mid-late ‘60s Lennonisms, seen through the “glass onion”.
Pay Yer’ Dues takes a slight detour, sounding almost like a Tommy-outtake while Socket In My Pocket, Dutch Hardcore and then What I’ve Said, grab it all back with their Beatlefingers.
God On The Run is a Macca-like screamer that will take you “back in the USSR” and the closing The Words / The Merry-Go-Sun mixes up both John’s and Paul’s White Album acoustic-contributions, leading into another Beatley popsike finale.
And while wondering how on earth this album still manages to stay unnoticed by some of THE labels (whatever that means), there’s also a special bonus, in a good ol’ “anthologic” way, of about half an hour worth of “out-takes, experiments and found sounds”.
Joe has also released music as Only Joe Kane and now finds himself a member of another recently-hyped and much-ballyhooed neo-psych' outfit: The Fast Camels. (Editor's Note:I maintain this is akin to trading in your Fokker tri-plane for a Me262..,watch out for the new Fast Camels album!) Joe's one of those people who just HAS to make music, and I hope I'm not alone in wishing all the best to him in this new chapter. He's got a mind for this stuff! GO Joe!
1. In ten words-or less, define "psychedelic music."
Psychedelic music is the twisting of form(s) and sound, in an attempt to convey the alternate mind state of the music maker. Within the realms of psychedelic music you can present new sounds, themes & ideas to the listener without the usual pop/rock concerns of structure, length, catchiness, coherence etc. This sounds like a very dictionary-esque definition, but it’s hard to pin it down as psychedelic stuff can be slow or fast, loud or quiet, poppy or abstract. It’s freedom of musical expression I think.(Editor's Note: Bet Joe was real good at Mathematics.)
2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?
The most psychedelic instrument of all is by far the mechanical lawnmower.
3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?
Nannostomus Beckford by The Plastic Sandwich is a total unsung classic. Twisted fuzz laments roll in sharply only to segue into tape-echo-drenched funeral-paced space ballads about the end of time. Add in some choice vaudevillian piano based whimsy, and just a touch of beatle-esque psych pop, and you have one killer psych album. Check out the track “Darling, My Cabbage is Dry”. I also adore The White Album, Smiley Smile, Rainbow Ffolly Sallies Forth, Ogdens Nutgone Flake, We Are Ever So Clean and all the others you can think of (and I can’t) at the moment.
4. Roky or Syd, why?
Syd Barret, cos’ I’ve never heard any of Roky’s solo stuff, and because of “No Good Trying”.
5. Alice In Wonderland or The Wind In The Willows?
I haven’t read either. I watched Disney’s Alice In Wonderland, and it’s nice and colourful but just standard Disney to me I’m afraid. These things seem to be attractive to sixties heads in the way that Lord of the Rings once was. I’m probably wrong. I should read more kids books. On DMT. With Valerie Singleton in a pink dress.
6. What psychedelic album do you wish more people knew about?
God, any of the Owsley Sunshine’s 3 albums, we released them ourselves 3 or 4 years ago, they got good reviews, but sunk without a trace cos’ we didn’t have any money to promote them or tour. They’re great, and someone should re-issue them so they get a proper audience. Download and listen to the first 2 for free here . They’re pretty lo-fi, cos’ we had no budget and an old battered PC and one microphone, but they’re full of great songs and imagination. We made them in my old basement.
7. What band, active today, most defines "psychedelic" to you?
I’m hopelessly out of touch with anything that doesn’t come out of my own studio at the moment. I’ll give a shout out to some local psych pop/rock acts worth checking out.
The Thanes are a garage rock/freak beat group from Edinburgh, who have been battering away like mad since the early eighties. They are an amazing live band, and have amassed a wealth of great recordings over the years too. New on the Glasgow scene are a group who go by the moniker THE HIDDEN MASTERS, whose intense prog psych pop rumblings have been building up steam over the last few months here. They include members of late power pop gods THE NEEDLES, as well as Nic Denholm (check out his solo project, Comedy of Eras!!) and Alpha Mitchell, my good ol’ pals from The Owsley Sunshine. Check out the first album by The Fast Camels too, who I’ve just joined on bass! I’m not on the first album, but we’re currently working on the second and it’s gonna be a stormer!!
8. If you could be a member of any band in history, who would it be and what would you play?
I’d like to be Paul McCartney in the Beatles, ‘66 to ‘68 period. He got to play a bit of everything, as well as basically hijacking the role as producer for himself, which would suit me just fine. He also got to wear great clothes and be devilishly handsome too. God, oh strike me down!
9. Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?
Almost too hard…
1. Glass Onion - The Beatles
2. No Good Trying - Syd Barrett
3. In My Own Time- the Bee Gees
4. I Can Hear The Grass Grow - The Move
5. Pushin’ Too Hard - The Seeds
6. Gone Is The Sandman - Timebox
7. Monkberry Moon Delight - Paul McCartney
8. Porpoise Song - The Monkees
9. Strawberry Fire - Apples In Stereo
10. Receptacle For the Respectable - Super Furry Animals
These are ten songs I love that I consider psychedelic to my ears best in sound, structure, lyric or whatever. I could write a different list every day. It’s too hard.
10. Turn the tables, if you'd like, and ask me a question.
Joe:Why don’t you start your own label and release my stuff? No-one has ever released my stuff!!!
valis: Ah Joe. If only. Doesn't seem to be a smart move anymore, starting a label.., plus, I'm far too emotional and not detached enough to make sound business decisions when it comes to this idea. If it soured me on something I love so damned much I'd be haunted by it. (And as pissed off as a hornet stuck to flypaper.)
I've no doubts there'll come a day when the Joe Kane catalog gets picked up. No doubts at all. You're that good. People will find out. Good luck Joe, my friend!