Frank Gutch Jr: A Video Retrospective…..

FrankJr2It’s called introspection, sports fans.  We all feel it every once in awhile and I have been under its spell for the past week and the result has been a total lack of perspective and thus, no cohesive idea for a column.  I don’t know why it happens but I do know that it is indiscriminate, that it is sometimes a struggle to even look at the blank page without it beating you to a mental pulp.  For myself, the one thing I fear beyond misspelling a musician’s name is the inability to write at all and we are all under deadline, the scourge of any supposed journalist.  In the movies, the reporter is always able to crank out a barnburner of an article at the last second, saving his/her job and possibly the future of the newspaper itself.  Well, that’s Hollywood, folks, but it does give you an idea of what it is like to produce under pressure.

Were DBAWIS a newspaper and run like one, I would right now be cleaning out my desk, tossing my various writing award trophies into boxes and taking down from the wall pictures of myself taken with various stars and superstars, if bands such as Picture The Ocean and Research Turtles and Bright Giant could remotely be considered such.  In my head they are, for they are to me more important than any of the major-label-supported artists/bands to hit the market over the years.

So let me take you on a little trip through the past— my past— consider it a bit of video introspection—and show you what a life without stars can be like when you take the road less traveled.  In fact, let’s start with one of the least known but most treasured of the bands I love…

Paige Anderson & The Fearless Kin—

I found these kids as I find most of my favorite artists— through a recommendation of a friend.  This friend, though, is not just a friend.  She is a musician of consequence herself— one Rita Hosking, who plays regularly with her own band known as Cousin Jack.  Rita knows these kids and felt strongly enough about them to pass the word along as well as a video they had done and, of course, I found myself totally enamored.   It felt like a setup.  Rita knows me only too well.  This video is not the video Rita linked me to, but is an excellent one for people not in the know to get to know the band.  From Grass Valley, California, Ladies & Gentlemen—–

And how could I leave out Rita after she did me the good turn?  I couldn’t.  So here is Rita Hosking & Cousin Jack performing one of my favorites of theirs, The Coyote.

Dala—

Becoming a Dala fan was as simple as hearing their Who Do You Think They Are album.  These two Canadian ladies took me on such a trip of smooth harmonies and absolutely beauteous songs that I had no chance.  I even fell heavily in love with a song about the teen angst of losing a boyfriend to a family move— being left behind with nothing but a hockey sweater.  It should not have affected me so much but sometimes music is a stab to the heart…..

Ophelia Hope—

Ophelia Hope was/is out of Norway, for those who don’t know, and my guess is that few if you do.  To my knowledge, they only released the one album, self-titled, which I begged out of the guitarist’s stash, an album which was supposed to be distributed by a major label but which was tossed aside by them like on old worn shoe— yet another reason for me to wish death upon the majors.  This album has turned out to be one of my real treasures and I could not even begin to tell you why (read my review here).  While this video is a prime example of crowd noise run amok, it is one of only a few videos available by this band and the song is astonishingly beautiful, even with it.  You may have to concentrate to hear what these guys are doing, but it should be well worth it.  If it bothers you, track down the album on a streaming site.  It is a sleeper.

Greg Laswell—

Laswell completely swept me away with his Through Toledo album, a collection of songs written as he was attempting to handle the emotional crush of a divorce.  While later albums haven’t shown me the punch of that first album, this track does.  Vocal help from Sara Barielles really puts this one over the top.

Neko Case—

I am not one of the many who went gaga over Case when she first came on the scene, but even I know a great song when I hear one and this a one of the best.  I just happened onto this song on a sampler included with a copy of Pop Culture Press magazine.  Even if Case had recorded only this one song, her name would have been stuck in my head forever.

The Violet Archers—

If you’ve heard of these guys, you’re either Canadian or extremely lucky.  Tim Vesely, formerly with Rheostatics, formed the band after that band split and put out two damn fine albums.  This track is off of the second.  Great pop rock.

The Green Pajamas—

One of my favorite Seattle bands and a song dedicated to silent film star Louise Brooks.  The combination has made this one of my favorite go-to videos when anyone asks about the band.  In my mind, the Pajamas are world class and then some.

Lisbee Stainton—

Stainton is one of those musicians who keeps getting better and better with every release.  This track was released between, I believe, her outstanding Go album and her brand new (and equally outstanding) album Word Games.  At least, I hope that was when it was released.  Just a track, not attached to an album.  This is what pop is all about.

Research Turtles—

“Record of the year in 2010m on Radio Six International”, indeed.  These guys had a great run, they did, but all good things must come to an end— or give way to other shapes and forms, which is what happened here.  They will always be #1 in my ears, regardless, and this video is as good a way as any to mark the accomplishment.  Once again, the Research Turtles!!!!!

No Small Children—

Without a doubt, one of the most talented of the rock bands out there, No Small Children are three teachers by day, rockers by night.  All you need do is watch and listen and you will understand.

Mark Haney—

Man, if you missed this, you weren’t alone.  Haney came up with one of the oddest music releases of the decade when he decided to chronicle Ken Carter’s daredevil stunt attempt to jump the St. Lawrence River.  Had he done it successfully, he would have been at least as famous as Evil Knievel, but it didn’t happen.  Carter later died attempting to jump a pond.  His car landed on the roof and killed him instantly.  Haney, when he recorded this album, put the whole lead-in to the St. Lawrence jump on record— narration over background music.  Fascinating stuff.

The Dixie Bee-Liners—

Word came down the pike a few months ago that the Bee-Liners were in limbo.  I don’t know how the hell things like this happen.  The Bee-Liners were one of the best folk/country/bluegrass bands in existence.  Luckily, the individual members are still out there and hopefully playing.  Until we find out, though, we have a few videos and two full albums to keep us company.  Here is a video from the first album, Ripe.

Jon Gomm—

Normally, I wouldn’t bother with a video that has as many views as does this one (over five million), but the story behind this one involves Gomm spitting in Simon Cowell’s eye and I think Cowell is an asshat, so in this case the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  Actually, I think Gomm a good man and musician on a number of levels.  He supports Indie musicians with actions as well as words.  He has spoken out against the digital distribution services.  And he takes care of his fans, of which there are many and the numbers are growing.  He has scheduled time in the near future for a US tour, sports fans.  This guy is worth seeing!  Watch the video and you will see why.

Hymn For Her—

I love these guys.  They play off the theme on a number of videos.  This one has daughter Diver pulling a few stunts on the old man.  Good stuff!

The Incurables—

One of my favorite power pop bands, of late.  Main Incurable Jimmy Griffin has a way with the hook!

Laurie Biagini—

This time, Biagini teams up with Vinnie Zummo to rock the surf.  Classy!

Maxi Dunn—

While there is not much of a video to this, it is a freaking killer of a track and you should hear it.  It is from Maxi’s Edmund & Leo album which I guarantee will be in my Top Ten of this year— guarantee!

I think that should do it for you.  A lot of videos to dive through, if you’re of a mind.  Hopefully, I can get my head together a bit better next week.  In the meantime, here is a note, which belongs in…..

Music Notes smallNotes…..  Hot damn!  Just finished listening to The Luck of Eden Hall‘s beauty of a psych album titled Victoria Moon and am ecstatic to report that while it is quite different than any of The Grip Weeds‘ albums, it is at the same level.  While the Weeds concentrate more on the jangly 60’s style (and do it so goddamn well, too!), Eden Hall lean more toward The Beatles and Brit psych bands of the late-60s and early 70s.  Excellent stuff that you can stream here.  Physical product will be very limited.  Follow the link.  It’s all explained there.  And as long as we’re on the subject of The Grip Weeds, if you dig psych and haven’t checked them out, I urge you to do so.  Start on the band’s Youtube page (click here) and go from there.

=FGJ=

Frank’s column appears every Tuesday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonFrank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at one time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.”

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