FMF Episode #38 – Mountains

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DJ:  Sheeeeeeeeeeeeee’ll be comin’ round the mountain when she comes (when she comes!).  Good day to all you mountain climbers out there in the sticks!  Feel Me Flow Episode 38 is all about Mountains!  Mountains are one of the most humbling sights to see on this great planet Earth.  Something about standing at the bottom and looking up so high, so far away, really puts things in perspective.

We’ve got a hell of a show today, leading and finishing with perhaps the most famous mountain song; Edvard Grieg‘s “In The Hall Of The Mountain King” from the Peer Gynt suite.  When I was in 1st grade, my music teacher walked our class through the entire song proclaiming the imagery it was said to represent.  From the quiet “tip-toeing” beginning of Peer entering the cave to the thunderous ending where Peer is fighting the mountain king; she friggin’ nailed it!  What an impact that had on me.  A few years later that same music teacher slid into my mom’s knee Ty Cobb-style during a softball game and bent it backward.  That bitch.

Kicking things off is Canadian duo Double Fuzz.  According to the band’s website, we’re expected to see the release of a new EP in spring of 2018.  The lead-off track to their 2012 debut self-titled EP “Mountain” is a perfect starter for today’s set.  Let’s turn things up a notch with Double Fuzz.

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DJ:  The Animals’ Eric Burdon left the garage rock outfit for more diverse roles in the late 60s.  Teaming up with the funk group War, Eric and the band would churn out some amazing soul/rock tunes in their brief stint.  The B-side to their most well-known collaboration; “Spill The Wine“, “Magic Mountain” was a more funk-driven, hand-clapping singalong than the weird gnome tale of the A-side.

Indie blues-rockers Heartless Bastards slowed things down for us before that funky groove.  The title track from their breakthrough LP The Mountain pushed the band into the national spotlight after The Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney helped them get signed by Fat Possum records.

The Kinks’ debut is a staple in the garage rock world, though not all music critics appreciate it as much. assessed the album in more recent years and said “[the] tunes that producer Shel Talmy penned for the group… were simply abominable.”  Not only did both songs feature the word “bald” in their title, but Jimmy Page actually played 12-string guitar on the track we featured; “I’ve Been Driving On Bald Mountain”.   We also couldn’t disagree more with  These deeper tracks helped shape so much of the weird garage fuzz we love so much today.  So, yeah.

A monster of a cut played before that with Thee Oh Sees doing “I Come From The Mountain”.  The track was selected by The Treetops‘ Andrew Sears as one of his most influential songs for our InFLOWences segment with the band.  At first, we were surprised that one of his picks was coincidentally being featured on our next episode, but after some thought realized that this makes complete sense.  We’ve got a similar taste; shocking! From Floating Coffin, Thee Oh Sees played us their mountain tune.

Speaking of shocking.  From their 1988 studio debut Nothing’s Shocking, here’s Janes Addiction with “Mountain Song”.

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DJ:  If only Robert Plant had known where The Lord Of The Rings book series would have ended up.  One of the few bands to sing about J.R.R. Tolkien‘s classic fantasy series, Led Zeppelin had to find inspiration in something other than blues music.  Granted, the blues drove them to the sound they perfected so well, their writing was pretty basic and blues filled.  I personally enjoyed the more whimsical and story-driven lyrics that the band would evolve into writing.  With “Misty Mountain Hop” from their magnum opus Untitled (IV), that was Zep.

Meatbodies is the brainchild of Monrovia, California musician Chad Ubovich.  Chad went to college with Mikal Cronin and subsequently made his way into the indie garage rock circle that included Ty Segall,.  After reconnecting years later, Ty would push Chad to record the Meatbodies’ music and also ask him to join his side project Fuzz.  We played “Mountain” from their self-titled debut LP, but be sure to check out the 2017 release Alice if you enjoyed that track.

Foals‘ debut album made my brain hurt and relax at the same time with the dancing clean guitars and an almost math-rock approach.  Throughout their career, they’ve slowly moved to a more atmospheric, larger sound.  Their most recent effort, 2015’s What Went Down, brought the band into an international touring light and exposed them to a much broader audience.  From that LP, we heard “Mountain At My Gates”

Perfect blues-garage rock from Burger Records favorites Natural Child rounded out our second set.  If there’s one mountain you really don’t want to find yourself stuck on, its “Crack Mountain”.  From their debut self-titled 7″ EP, that was Natural Child.

Alright, time for a Dumb And Dumber throwback.  If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, how about a GWAR rip-off band?  The 90s were weird.  From their half-as-satanic-as-they-seem LP 333, here’s Green Jelly doing “The Bear Song”.

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DJ:  Blitzen Trapper is definitely the garage rock band of country music these days.  With Wilco, Drive-By Truckers, Ryan Adams, etc. all softening their sound in their old age, alt-country seems to have faded out.  There is a new upswing in Alternative Country with artists like Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton, but not quite that alt-country/punk rock DIY style that we had in the early days of the genre.  Blitzen Trapper holds that strong.  From their 3rd LP Wild Mountain Nation, that was the title-track.

FMF favorites Peach Kelli Pop released a teaser EP Which Witch in the spring of 2018 from which we played “Rocky Mountains”.  The band’s fourth LP Gentle Leader is due out on May 25th and the band is touring in support of it.  We’re hoping to catch up with them while they’re in St. Paul supporting the record.  We’ve featured PKP as our Set 4 Score on our Dreams episode and also in last week’s Truth & Lies episode.  Buy their records!

This Diamond Rugs song is one of the most addicting earworms we’ve come across in a while.  That “doo-dih-dih-doo-doo” sounds like little melody marbles rolling back and forth between your aural nodes before coming back to the center for the verses.  So good!  Of course, anything with John McCauley and Robbie Crowell of Deer Tick along with Ian Saint Pé of The Black Lips is bound to be dope.  From their 2012 debut LP that was Diamond Rugs with “Blue Mountain”.  Be sure to check out their latest Cosmetics.

The Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell track “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was bound to be heard today.  In fact, I’ll bet when you saw our theme was mountains it was one of the first songs that popped into your head.  The tune comes from their 1967 duet LP United.

Onto our fourth set of the day and a stellar one it is.  Best Behavior put a fantastic album out back in 2012, Good Luck Bad Karma, and released an EP in 2017 marking a change in the band’s direction toward a more polished, dance-driven sound.  Look for a cut from that 2012 LP soon, but first, we’re going to get weird with The Drums.  The Drums holed themselves up in a lakeside cabin in upstate New York to record their LP Encyclopedia.  Things get bizarre and branch out from their sound, but that’s what makes art great, right!?  With the lead-off track from that cabin collection, here’s “Magic Mountain”.

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DJ:  Man, T. Rex right after Moses Gunn Collective is a trip.  Are those artists in the same room?  Same time period? Nope, 44 years apart.  The B-side to the catchy-as-heck “Hot Love” from Marc Bolan and T. Rex, “King Of The Mountain Cometh” would get a solid release with the expanded version of Electric Warrior.  Love that fantasy glam.

Moses Gunn Collective are from Brisbane, Australia and have yet to make their big waves on the American shores.  Their Facebook page lists influences from Foxygen and Neil Young to The Doors and many local Aussie bands, but where the hell is T. Rex?!  Regardless, they’ve got a fantastic sound!  From their debut 2015 LP Mercy Mountain, that was the title track.

Our Set 4 Score this week goes to Brooklyn, NY’s Best Behavior.  The band released their debut album Good Luck Bad Karma in August 2015 and an EP titled Things That Happened in 2017.  We heard the track “Buried On A Mountain” from the garage rock LP.  Give ’em your support and look for their song “Say” to breakout this summer.

Another “must-play” for today’s episode is the cowbell crasher that is “Mississippi Queen”.  Leslie West and Mountain smashed onto the music scene back in 1970 after Leslie worked with Cream producer Felix Pappalardi on his solo LP Mountain.  The connection was strong enough to join forces and create an actual band called Mountain.  Their 1970 debut Climbing! would turn out to be un-foretelling and the band’s popularity declined after every follow-up album.  I’m sure it didn’t help the original lineup broke up after only 3 years together.

Moving into our fifth set of the day, we have Britain’s answer to Bob Dylan; Donovan.  Well, they liked to proclaim that, anyway.  No one compares. Donovan did, however, put out some great folk music throughout his career.  The Allman Brothers used the vocal melody of the next for their epic “Mountain Jam” from 1972’s Eat A Peach.  The jam is so long it actually takes up Sides 2 and 4 of the double LP.  Here’s Donovan with “There Is A Mountain”.

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DJ:  On December 8, 1971, the South Bronx gang Presidents all met in a gymnasium on Hoe Avenue to discuss a peace proposition after Cornell “Black Benjie” Benjamin was killed earlier that year trying to prevent a fight between two rival gangs.  Black Benjie was a member of the Ghetto Brothers.  The Ghetto Brothers initiated the peace meeting and sought to end the crime wave that plagued the South Bronx at the time.  They were fairly successful in bringing gang crime down throughout the rest of the decade; that is until the crack boom of the 80s brought it all back up again.  The Ghetto Brothers wanted peace and played songs to bring people together.  Check out this part of the fantastic documentary Flyin’ Cut Sleeves from Henry Chalfant and Rita Fecher.  We played “Girl From The Mountain” from the Ghetto Brothers recently rereleased white whale of a record Power Fuerza.

After Brian Wilson checked himself into a psychiatric hospital for drug abuse and mental issues, The Beach Boys were left to fend for themselves.  Using older takes and composing some new tunes themselves, including a cover of the 1958 Ersel Hickey track “Bluebirds Over The Mountain”, the band was able to put together an LP that made it to number 68 in the US.  Also, if you listen to the end of “All I Want To Do” you can hear Dennis Wilson having sex with a woman.

El Paso, Texas natives Holy Wave put out a super cool LP in spring 2017 called Adult Fear.  The album drips with psychedelia and lo-fi notes while keeping one foot in the 21st century.  If you’re a fan of Jacco Gardener or late-60s psychedelia give this album a spin! From their 2015 LP Relax, we played “Mouth Mountain”.

Ben E. King wrote “Stand By Me” with Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, the famed songwriting duo of the 60s.  Fifty years later, in 2012, sales of the song had topped $22 million with Ben owning rights to 50% of the song.  That one song has made Ben E. King over $11 million.  That is insane.  From the same album that the mega-hit was featured on, we played “The Hermit Of Misty Mountain”.

Coming up in our final set is another 60s R& one-hit wonder doing a deep track and of course, Mr. Dylan makes a presence.  First, though, we start with The Babies’ & Woods’ frontman Kevin Morby.  Kevin began a solo career in 2013 and has already cranked out four solo LPs in the short time.  From his third LP, Singing Saw, let’s hear “I Have Been To The Mountain”.

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DJ:  Unless you’re familiar with it, people seem to forget how much of a rock star Joe Walsh is.  Talk about taking things to the next level.  Other than being a natural guitar lick generator, Joe Walsh was a party animal; notorious for heavy drinking and drugs especially during his days with the Eagles.  “Rocky Mountain Way” comes from the first album of Joe’s solo work to not feature Barnstorm (his backing band) on the cover.  It was also the last album the band would play together before disbanding.  Joe continued on, striking a big chord again later with “Life’s Been Good” from So What.  Both singles feature a keyboard breakdown.

Just like “Rocky Mountain Way”, “Thunder On The Mountain” was a Side 1 – Track 1 of its respective LP.  Bob Dylan wrote the tune for his 2006 album Modern Times; his 32nd.  If you listen closely you can really hear its similarities to his mid 60s rompers like “Highway 61 Revisited” or “Tombstone Blues”.  The tunes have slowed down with Bob in his later days, but by no means have they lacked the sharpness we love.

I’d have to imagine Bob took some inspiration from Harry McClintock, or Haywire Mac as he was known.  The tune “Big Rock Candy Mountain” is an ode to a hobo’s paradise with imagery like cigarette trees and a place “where the handouts grow on bushes”.  The song found an entirely new life and audience when it was played during the opening credits of the 2000 Coen brothers film  O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

Percy Sledge recorded “When A Man Loves A Woman” at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals with the famous Swampers and Rick Hall producing.  The horns were apparently out of tune on that recording and a separate rerecorded version from nearby Norala Studios was the one put out by Atlantic Records and the rest is history.

On that note, we’re history!  Thank you so much for stopping by our little mountainside villa and hearing our mountain sounds!  Join us next time when we celebrate songs about the fifth largest economy in the world.  Just kidding, kinda.  See you next time on Feel Me Flow!

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