Five new releases on vinyl prove the 45 is still alive
By Eric Freidl
Yes, people still make records!
As anyone who has come through the door at Goner Records surely knows, we stock an eclectic variety of music, both popular and unpopular, on LP, CD, 45 and 78 rpm vinyl. Here is a selection of new 45s we have currently in stock.
1. The Sloths, Makin Love/You Mean Everything (Ugly Things reissue)
American Garage Rock, an American reaction to British Invasion pop, has created many of the world’s finest, simplest joys. ? & The Mysterians’ “96 Tears,” the Kingsmen’s “Louie Loiue,” the Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird,” and Memphis’ Gentrys’ “Keep On Dancin’” all come from an approach that anyone can have a hit with a driving beat, a catchy hook and a memorable chorus. Only a minimal proficiency on your instruments is required.
The allure of being in one of these bands spread across the country in the mid-’60s in the wake of Beatlemania (and Stonesmania as well), leading to some amazingly crude recordings by tough-talking kids with instruments bought out of the Sears catalog by their parents. The extremely rare 45 reissued here combines the Bo Diddley beat with some semi-lewd lyrics on the A-side, and a more melodic folk number on the flip. The true gem is “Makin’ Love,” gutteral grunts from the gutter, the kind that record collectors crave — originals of this have sold for more than $6,000.
2. Syl Johnson, Mythological Box Set of three 45s (Numero Group)
Syl Johnson was born in Holly Springs, Miss. but grew up in Chicago. A prolific recorder, Syl eventually ended up recording on Memphis’ Hi Records with Willie Mitchell. Last year Numero Group produced a glorious box set of Syl’s early material — six LPs and four CDs with a hardcover book — all recorded prior to his coming to Memphis.
To make the set a little more DJ-friendly, Numero issued a selection of tracks from the large box set on 45 and issued them as this smaller box set. Even this set definitely shows the breadth of Johnson’s talent, as he says, “more soul than Marvin, more funk than James …” Syl Johnson demonstrates the quality of some of the music that never hit the National Top 40, never makes it on Oldies Radio, but will knock your socks once you hear it.
3. Hosoi Bros, “Wine Witch” 7-inch (Typhoon Killer)
Local hard-rock outfit Hosoi Bros debut 45 shows that the fun of taking loud guitars, heavy drums and goofy song subjects has not lost its charm in these more electronic times. Those familiar with Portland’s Red Fang might recognize the same impulses — fun hard rock that actually does rock. A promising debut that should definitely please headbangers with a sense of humor.
4. Davila 666, Pa Que Vives 7-inch (Oops Baby)
Garage rock did not die when the Beatles fans of the ’60s grew their hair long and discovered the mellow joy of Jim Croce. Garage Rock, loosely defined, has a long lineage in Memphis, from the Box Tops, Guilloteens and Gentrys through Tav Falco’s Panther Burns 1970s and ’80s mishmash of blues, rock, punk and pop, through the Oblivians 1990s blues/punk and current bands like Jack Oblivian’s Tearjerkers, Limes and John Paul Keith & The 145s.
Hailing from Puerto Rico, Davila 666 have taken their influences — ’60s garage, theJesus & Mary Chain and the Velvet Underground — and created their own potent blend, with songs all sung in Spanish. A crowd-pleaser every time they visit Memphis, Davila once again brings a heavily percussive whomp to music that’s nearly irresistable to anyone looking for fun, danceable rock n roll.
5. Sex Cult, Plain Jane/I’m A Bug 7-inch (Nashville’s Dead)
Sex Cult is a current Memphis psychedelic punk band, on a Nashville label for their second 45. Featuring Chris Shaw of Vile Nation, Natalie Hoffman of Bake Sale, J.B. Horrell of Noise Choir, Michael Peery of Magic Kids and Alec McIntyre, these kids present a stripped-down punk approach with guitars laden with effects. The B-side covers a song from 1979 by Los Angeles punk minimalists The Urinals. Watch for more things from these folks, who are changing their name to Ex-Cult to avoid litigation from Sex Cult Records, or a real Sex Cult. We’re not sure which.
Freidl co-owns Goner Records at 2152 Young Ave., which stocks these releases.