Counter Culture : Part 6

Greetings pop pickers one and all and welcome to counter culture 6. Apologies for the long silence. What can I say, once a slacker always a slacker! We have been busy here at Casbah mansions, mainly with hanging around waiting for summer to start! This sort of weather plays havoc with ones wardrobe selection I have to say! But here we are in flaming June and it seems a positive age since we were gearing up for Record Store day in the shop.

Suffice to say it was a resounding success on all levels and I think everyone went away happy with their haul of goodies. I was happy withy my little bunch of 45's to add to my collection but the item I was really excited about was the Burger Records label sampler on tape! Yes folks tapes are well and truly back and this little bad boy is the best thing that's come down the old dust pipe in many a year.

Burger are a U.S indie label based in the sunshine state of California and warmth and joy radiate from every inch of tape. The vibe is punk/power pop/girl groups and 60's throwbacks and it's all a glorious pop-tastic mix. Visit their website and marvel at the likes of Ty Segall, Tomorrows Tulips, Garbo's Daughter and The Stupid Cupids to name but a few. Summer took it's time but it's here at last!


Visit their website

Once I'd got the bug I decided to have a quick cyber visit across the pond to check out all things D.I.Y.

Another couple of labels that have charmed the pants off this writer are the superb Goner and Hozac Records. Goner are very much still with us and hail from Memphis Tennessee. They're a shop and a label and have an excellent selection of punk nuggets of yesteryore and exciting new bands such as Ex Cult! A local outfit and destined for greatness!

Following on from good advice given from Chris Munton of Forte Distribution I found the mighty Hozac records. This Chicago based label has some absolute gems on it's roster, which we've been quick to order in to our little boutique.

Full of bummed-out rock.n.roll, throbbing psych and classic fuzz-punk there's so much to enjoy here, but Peoples temple and the wonderfully named Far-Out Fangtooth are two particular favourites. Hozac has a decidedly satanic atmosphere hanging over it's domain, albiet with it's tongue lodged firmly in it's cheek. There's a love of horror and trash culture which pervades throughout and some impressive poster artwork advertising Label band nights which hark back to the golden era of hammer films. Get a load of this. It beats the camden crawl anyday of the week!


Visit their website

Back in the 70's before punk opened things up it was hard to establish a new label that could compete with the majors especially as the big boys caught on quick and drafted in young hipsters from the underground scene to run 'boutique' labels. Keen not to miss out on the bourgeoning youth market labels such Vertigo, Harvest and Deram were responsible for signing up anyone with a few power riffs and a nice line in facial hair! Although hip as they were no one remembered to point out that four minute drum solos tucked away on the 'long track' on side two were not required. That said this was probably one of the most creative, fertile periods in british rock.

One of the first truly independent labels was of course Virgin Records. Founded by Richard Branson it's forty years ago since Roger Deans iconic label design first saw the light of day and to celebrate Prog magazines' latest issue has a superb feature on all things virginal.There was a time when no trendy students' bedroom wall was complete without a poster of the two virgins. Now Dean has updated his timeless logo and made it availalable as a limited edition print.

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Highly recommended is the new exhibition at Chelsea's Proud gallery in the Kings Road. Titled 'The Stones and their scene' it's a superb collection of previously unseen photographs of the band in their pomp along with scene faces such as Jane Birkin, Patti Boyd and Catherine Deneuve. Taken by Eric Swayne around the mid sixties there's some stunning images all in glorious monochrome and it's well worth visit.


Any Stones fan will of course be familiar with Mick Jagger's first stab at acting in the british cult movie, 'Performance' which leads me on to a fascinating new book called 'Offbeat'. A journal revelling in wonderfull wacky world of the British Compiled by the good folk at Headpress we take a trip back to the time when wooden acting and wobbly sets were de-rigueur. Discussed in great detail are often forgotten gems such as the 70's groupie flick 'Permissive', a sleazy look at the underground rock scene, the Paul Jones rock star vehicle 'Privilige' and the truly bizarre psychedelic ham-fest that was, 'Touchables'. The author has stayed away from some of the better known cult films from this era such as 'Psychomania' and the afor-mentioned 'Performance' but it's a must for any student of the other golden age of British cinema.


One of my all time favourites from this genre is 'The Final Programme'. Adapted from the Michael Moorcock novel it follows the exploits of Jerry Cornelius.The anti hero to trump all anti heroes, Cornelius is the solitary ruthless hipster that lives for fashion, sex, drugs, rock music and chaos! If you ever see it on dvd snap it up without fail as it's currently inexlicably unavailable! As the tag line for the movie goes, 'The Future Is Cancelled!'

It's going to be a tasty world! See you all next time around.

GB the busy bee.