Two of Bucketfull’s favourite bands are receiving the vinyl reissue treatment from Sugarbush Records. Seattle’s Green Pajamas and New Jersey’s Grip Weeds both featured in the magazine on various occasions (most recently Jeff and Susanne Kelly were interviewed in BoB#83 and Kurt Reil in BoB#75).
The Green Pajamas’ Strung Behind The Sun (Sugarbush SB049) was originally released in 1997 on the late Tony Dale’s Camera Obscura label. (The following is taken from the Camera Obscura website at the time of original release).
“The first new full-length CD of the Green Pajamas’ 60s influenced psych-pop since Green Monkey/Bomp released the truly excellent Ghost Of Love in 1990. Main songwriter Jeff Kelly has always been one of the US’s finest practitioners of the psychedelic pop song, and over the last few years his songwriting has reached dazzling maturity and depth, as showcased in his most recent solo album Ash Wednesday Rain. Believing that Ghosts Of Love was the Green Pajamas’ Rubber Soul and that Kelly and Co still had a Revolver in them waiting to be drawn out, Camera Obscura approached Green Pajamas to coax them out of their semi-retirement. The result is Strung Behind the Sun.
“Over the course of fifteen songs, the Pajamas stage the biggest comeback since Lazarus, and show why no-one can touch them in their chosen genre. Strung Behind the Sun is a dazzling ray fired into the prism of psychedelia refracting off in all directions. Lyrically, it is a winter record, and one imagines long creative afternoons spent in Seattle coffeehouses under siege from the rain. The listener is treated to songs about snow and Madonna complexes, family and strangers, love and loss. Standouts are perhaps Kelly’s tracks ‘The Brain I Realize’ updating ‘I am the Walrus’ and ‘Tumbledown Tess’, written in the wake of his father’s death. Other band members also contribute in fine style, Joe Ross’s anthemic ‘Graduation Day’, and Eric Lichter’s ‘Scarlet Song’ which climaxes the album.”
This is the album’s first vinyl issue and is an expanded 2LP set, with extra tracks, in a limited pressing of 300.
House Of Vibes (Sugarbush SB048) was originally released in 1994 and was The Grip Weeds debut album. This reissue is limited to 400 copies.
The New Jersey band’s raucous blend of Cheap Trick’s power chords, the Byrds’ ethereal jangle and CSN&Y’s airy harmonies was different, half a decade too early for the New York-based garage revival of the early 2000s, and a decade or so too late to be in sync with the West Coast’s Paisley Underground movement. No wonder this self-recorded, self-released gem of the power pop art fell on mostly deaf ears, lauded by a few Jersey visionaries, hailed in Germany but completely ignored by commercial radio and MTV.
It’s too bad, because if there ever were a record tailor-made for blasting out of AM radio on the way to the beach House Of Vibes is it. From the first crunching chords of ‘Out Of Day’ through the last feedback tripping psych solo of ‘Walking In The Crowd’, the record balances precisely at the tipping point between rock and pop. It’s the same enticing ground that the Who covered in their classic Sells Out, simultaneously hard-edged and accessible, blossoming with melody and rackety with drums. And along the way, the band cranks out half a dozen classic songs, ‘Salad Days’, ‘Close Descending Love’, and ‘Don’t Belong’.
Both albums are repressed on high quality 140gm audiophile vinyl. Visit Sugarbush Records for more information.