I’m really diggin’ Spotify lately. There’s so many bands to be discovered. One of my songs got on an official Spotify “freak folk” playlist and is getting quite a few listens. I will add more and more songs to this playlist as I go but feel free to add lofi psychedelic folk bands that you discover as well to the list as it is collaborative.
You can find my music at Spotify here: Jim Guittard – Spotify I’ve got eight albums up ranging from lofi psychedelic/country-folk-rock to experimental. There’s a little bit for everybody. Just recently some of my songs have been put in various commercials and trailers.
2008 – “Busted In Bulgaria”
2002 – “California Daze”
“Busted In Bulgaria” is a collection of songs that document living in a strange land. During a two year period, the tracks were all recorded in a raw stripped down way on a laptop using Adobe Audition 2.0. The songs range from psychedelic, shoegaze, folk-rock to experimental. The album is full of sound effects to add a creative vibe. Some songs even have the actual sound from students in the Bulgarian school where I have taught English in Pernik. I also sing a handful of songs in the Bulgarian language.
“California Daze” was recorded in Hollywood, California around 2002 by me on my 4-track recorder and later mixed with Adobe Audition 2.0. The songs pay tribute to the birth of the Neo-Psychedelic scene that emerged beginning in 2000 in Silverlake, California with groups such as the Beachwood Sparks, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Quarter After, smallstone, the Warlocks, the Tyde, and the Belle Isle.
I play the shaker, drum machine, and sing all lead and background vocals with the help of friend Vladimir Maskov for bass. Brian McKay engineered the recording of the Beach the acoustic version. I also play all lead and rhythm guitars. The song Beach is co-written by myself and Dominic Campanella of the Quarter After.
The “Swing Tune” and “Jazz Tune” are instrumentals I wrote while attending the Musicians Institute from 1999 to 2000. Here I play the lead guitar with session bassist and drummer. On the rhythm guitar is a guy from Brazil named Reginaldo. He was a student with Jim at the school. You can hear the teacher, “Mr. Lupo Groinig” giving a critique after the instrumentals end.
2008 – Busted in Bulgaria
2002 – California Daze
Please download both albums for free:
Jim at Jamendo
First of all I recommend a band called the Beachwood Sparks. They take the torch where Gram Parsons and the Byrds left off particularly with the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album. I’ve seen them live numerous times and have never been disappointed. They are the best especially with
their extended Space Echo freakout endings. They have 3 albums out and the first called Beachwood Sparks is my favorite. I hear that the BWS is getting back together (coincidentally on Roger McGuinn’s birthday), July 13th in Seattle for the 20th year for Subpop label. I wish I could be there.
The second band I recommend is called the Tyde. This band has mutual members of the Beachwood Sparks. The Tyde is more Bob Dylan or Lou Reed sounding with much reference to surfing. I’ve seen them live, too. They have 3 albums out. I like Once the best.
The third band that I recommend is the Quarter After. This band is Byrds influenced with chimey Rickenbackers and groovy lyrics. It is lead by brothers, Rob Campanella and Dom Campanella. Incidentally, Rob records and produces many of the bands I mention here. I was
fortunate to sit in on a Quarter After session a few years back.
Here’s my somewhat humorous review for their debut album:
The Revolution Is Coming Down!!!
I dig the Quarter After live and on record. They are nice
outstanding citizens who are dedicated followers of the
Revolution effort. If you don’t understand, look up the
Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Their song ‘Too Much to Think About’ can put you in a
trance if you are not careful. It takes you back to 1966
with some Raga-Rock influence. ‘Know Me When I’m Gone’
is my favorite track on the album. It is modern psychedelia.
Dominic’s singing is much like Roger McGuinn’s. Byrds fans
will love the Quarter After. Or any fan of the ’60’s or good music.
Quarter After is authentic and not cheesy. They do not
overdo it. Dominic’s 12 String Rickenbacker work is great.
Good harmonies too by Rob and various personnel.
The Quarter After has recently put out their second album. I have not got my hands on it yet but will review soon.
The Quarter After
And last but not least is the band called the Brian Jonestown Massacre. These guys are pretty outstanding and have had a documentary about them already called “Dig!” This band is the one
that really should take credit for this revival in psychedelic sound. They have at least a dozen albums out. They are very prolific.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
I hope you will check these bands out. They really cook.
Good music has its roots and can be tracked like a family tree. The long historical tree will show exactly where the influence of good music was handed down band to band, or artist to artist. It is naive and incorrect to think that any certain band just appeared and came up with “good music.” There is much tradition.
The Byrds are a great example of “good music.”
It has been written that the Byrds took traditional folk songs and put a Beatle beat.
With Bob Dylan’s philosophical mathematical poetry, the Byrds flew high. They pioneered the folk-rock, country-rock, and jazz-rock genres.
But prior to the Byrds and Elvis, the pre-rock and roll genre started in the late 1940’s. Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and others all waited in line for their open door. If it had not been for pre-Rock and Roll, then the Byrds, Beatles, or the Stones would not have been ready. It is all connected.
In my head, I have imagined all these famous guys all standing in a line waiting their turn. Elvis’ opportunity came when DJ Dewey Phillips played his “That’s Alright Mama” on his Memphis radio show. Callers just couldn’t believe that this guy was white.
Elvis needed to give much credit to the sounds he heard on Beale Street. He is linked to such black artists as: B.B. King, Arthur Crudup, and Rufus Thomas. These guys pre-dated the invention of Rock & Roll.
Now the big controversial question is: who copied who? “To some, Presley had undoubtedly “stolen” or at least “derived his style from the Negro rhythm-and-blues performers of the late 1940s.” Some black entertainers, notably Jackie Wilson, countered, “A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man’s music, when in fact, almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis.” Blank, Christopher (July 15, 2006). “Elvis & Racism – Elvis Presley Legacy is cloudy through lens of race”.
So whatever you believe, Elvis is generally the one known for opening the doors for artists like Chuck Berry and Little Richard. I guess it is like the old adage “what came first: the chicken or the egg?” I tend to lean toward the opinion that Elvis really was not the original rock and roll pioneer. He was the one that got the most press and made it popular and in style.
So after Elvis, there stood the Beatles, and the Byrds waiting close behind. Here is the important shift. Elvis was a singer-entertainer but the Beatles and Byrds were songwriters and musicians. The bands of the 1960’s migrated towards songwriting.
Roger McGuinn, who was in the Byrds at that time, waited patiently behind Bob Dylan and the Beatles. As Dylan was making waves, the movie Hard Day’s Night soon came out. The door became wide open for the Byrds. McGuinn, Clark, and Crosby quickly formed their jangly poetry beat sound. It became classic and the door was wide open.
Others were to follow through the Byrds-Dylan door. The Turtles, Sonny and Cher all followed copying Dylan and the Byrds’ jangly sound. Arthur Lee with Love fits in there.
During this time the Beatles and the Byrds also got into a little egg/chicken situation. It has been written that George Harrison heard the Byrds’ “Bells of Rhymney” song and was influenced to write “If I Needed Someone.” It was through a mutual public relations man Derek Taylor that Roger received a pre-released copy of “If I Needed Someone”. The bands had a healthy relationship.
Both bands are linked to the 12-String Rickenbacker guitar and to Ravi Shankar. We know that John and George were already into Rickenbackers but the question is – who was the first band to turn on to Ravi? It has been argued that David Crosby introduced the Beatles to Ravi. But of course, the Beatles probably got more credit for this link after their Indian trip in 1968. It is much like Elvis getting the credit for being the original Rock and Roll pioneer.
So Ravi Shankar is standing in line next to the Beatles and the Byrds in this pretend line-up.
Fast forward twenty plus years and the line after the Byrds and the Beatles includes bands such as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Beachwood Sparks, the Tyde, the Quarter After, and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Where do the Ragas fit in the line-up? Hmm?
All the best,
I am putting in a bit of my history. It’s been about five years since I was living in Los Angeles. Today, I can only think that I am really fortunate to have experienced, firsthand, the 1960’s music revival in its re-birth. The following is the letter Henry and I used when contacting clubs.
May 24, 2000
West Hollywood, CA 90046
The Ragas duo was formed in mid-March 2000 after discovering a major musical chemistry between us. I moved to Los Angeles from Texas to pursue my musical passion. Henry was born here in L.A. Henry is the son of 60’s icon, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds.
We are influenced by the Beatles, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons and incorporate 12-String guitars, and vocal harmonies in our songs. We play both cover songs and original songs. We focus on musicianship rather than cool grooves or beats. The old school sounds are what we are focused on. Our songs range from jazz rock, country- rock, folk-rock, psychedelic, and raga-rock to name a few.
At present, we are searching for a bassist and drummer to complete our band. In mid-June, we will have two English fellows visit us to most likely join the band. We switch off with lead guitar.
We are so excited to be involved in the music scene in Los Angeles. We can be reached at 323-###-#### and at our address in Hollywood, California.
Please find our demo tape included.
Thanks For Your Consideration,
Jim Guittard and Henry McGuinn
Here’s one of our setlists that I scanned.
*The starred songs are the ones we played.
We did not play too many shows back then but we sure went to see a lot of shows by the Beachwood Sparks, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Quarter After, Sunstorm, smallstone, the Tyde, the Belle Isle, Whiskey Biscuit, the Snakes, and the Warlocks. Many of these bands are still around today.
Smallstone evolved into the Electromagnetic led by James Ambrose. The Belle Isle disbanded and Cliff Magreta now leads Minutes Til Midnight. Beachwood Sparks unofficially disbanded in 2003 and other groups were formed in its wake such as All Night Radio with sometimes BWS drummer Jimi Hey and BWS lap steel and organist Farmer Dave. Mystic Chords of Memory was formed by BWS leader Chris Gunst and Frausdots was BWS bassist Brent Rademaker’s. Brent continued to play in the Tyde with his brother Darren.
I am hopeful in seeing the Beachwood Sparks get back together. We’ll see.
The Ragas – June 2000 Los Angeles, California
You can listen to the show here:
The Ragas Live 2000