Zoomers – “From the Planet Moon” (1981)
Baton-Rouge Louisiana’s Zoomers are from the grand tradition of weirdos making incredibly cool music far outside of anyplace where cool is usually produced, with the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Red Krayola, MX-80 Sound, The Residents, and later on the Flaming Lips or Neutral Milk Hotel. Something about being trapped in a cultural backwater, way too smart and way too bored and way to drug-fucked for your own good. . . is really good for music geeks. Zoomers are tangentally post-punk, but their sound is clearly from another time (though it wouldn’t have been mainstream in any era,) combining a stripped-down, bouncy psychedelia with excitedly-detached vocals that fit the contradictory phrase “cool as hell”. Besides the Homosexuals reissues, the Zoomers ‘Exist‘ is definitely my favorite release from Hyped 2 Death, and very well worth your $9. [Zoomers are featured on a ‘1981’ mix at Musicophilia]
Hajime Tachibana – “Rock” (1984)
I dig “Japan’s Devo” The Plastics, but guitarist/vocalist Hajime Tachibana’s post-Plastics solo work is generally more interesting and certainly more diverse. This track is among the more Plastics-like of his solo work, a quirky vocal pop with some of that B-52s 60s-spy-movie feeling but a little heavier and leaner. Other work (which I’ll feature later on down the road) is less like one would expect from the Plastics sound–often consisting of carefully arranged reed instruments, percussion and electronics, with wide-ranging melodic sensibilities that remind me a little of work by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Magazine’s Mick Karn, Penguin Cafe Orchestra or Terry Riley. This album and other early records can be found on spendy import reissue, but you can try these beautiful records out from the fantastic Mutant Sounds first.
Tyrannosaurus Rex – Eastern Spell (1968)
By one of the flukes of buying records without guidance during formative years, I actually heard Tyrannosaurus Rex before T.Rex, and in some ways I still prefer this incarnation of Bolan. Basically in description, everything about them seems just plain wrong: folk songs inspired by Tolkien with fast hand-drumming and male vocals that sound like an old woman. Yet it sounds just. . . so right. Bolan’s melodic tendencies were never stronger. [Tyrannosaurus Rex is featured in more subdued form here in a Miniatures mix at Musicophilia.]