Dominic's Staff Pick: November 3, 2022

Howdy, howdy Sorry Staters. I hope everyone is well and had a fun time over the Halloween weekend. We want to thank local folks who came and visited us and scooped a lot of the cool horror soundtracks and Halloween related records we filled the bins with. “Best In Show” award goes to one of our longtime friend David who turned up in a great costume. You may have seen his photo on our social media. Go check it out. David, if you are reading, we want to hook you up with something as a prize next time you come in to the shop.

I was sort of expecting to get into the autumn mood by now, but the weather has still been warm here in North Carolina. We’ve had one or two cooler days and Halloween Monday was a bit wet and dreary, but otherwise it’s still been t-shirt comfortable and sunny. Global warming much? As we get into November, that will change soon and with that in mind I was determined to find a fall weather mood type record that was new to me and that we had in the store for me to recommend to you all this week. What to pick was the question, and I had some ideas but then yesterday we received an order from one of our distributors that had a reissue of a record I was completely unaware of that, on reading the hype sticker, seemed to fit the bill perfectly. So, for my pick this week I would like to steer you towards Sad Lovers And Giants and their 1982 debut album called Epic Garden Music, originally released on Midnight Music.

In my, ahem, fifty-plus years on this spinning rock in space, I can safely say that no matter how much you know, you still know nothing. That’s particularly true with music and records. I own lots of records and have had even more and sold, touched, seen, and listened to thousands more over the years, but I am constantly reminded that I know shit. Just a fraction of all the great music that is out there. Since the birth of recorded music, each generation has had thousands of musicians and bands out there playing and making records. Some make it and some don’t. Some gain cult status and others remain known only to the few. These days in the post-everything internet world where information about anything is just a mouse click away, it’s hard to imagine a world where you had to get your news and information from wherever you could get it. For me, growing up in the late 70s and 80s, it was buying all the weekly music papers and listening to the radio that hipped me to new bands, etc. That and reading the backs of other records and, of course the absolute best way, going into a record store. Still, plenty fell between the cracks and was missed, and Sad Lovers And Giants was one of those bands that I missed during their heyday.

The hype sticker on this reissue described the band, who hailed from sunny Watford, England, as being somewhere between The Chameleons, Echo & The Bunnymen and The Cure with a sound that utilized a lot of the same tricks as those groups. Cool, sign me up. Three of my favorite groups right there. If they can capture the mood of those guys, then I will like them for sure. I took the record home last night and have played it three times since, and obviously as I am writing about it now, I liked it. The comparisons to the aforementioned bands were an accurate one, and I would also throw in similarities to some of the deeper cuts from Modern English.

This reissue also tacks on some single cuts from the period that are a great addition. Those singles are quite tough to track down and get cheap. Most likely due to running time and trying to squeeze all the tracks on to one piece of vinyl, they did have to swap the last track of the album with a single cut and start the b-side of the LP with that last track from the album before the rest of the single sides. It’s a small niggle to have, but technically it isn’t the correct running order. Not to worry though, as having these single sides, as I said, is a great addition. You can hear even more aspects of the band’s oeuvre. One track, Lost In A Moment, brings to the fore the slightly jangly paisley psych sound they had and reminded me of the sort of guitar sound that Johnny Marr was using for The Smiths.

As Jeff and I were listening to the record here at the store today, he told me that he had a great LP compilation of the band’s singles, and as I was reading their Wiki page for their story, we discovered that when the band broke up after the second album, two of the guys went on to form The Snake Corps. Another band that I am not familiar with but naturally Jeff was, and he confirmed that you can clearly hear the guitar player is the same dude. We did a quick play test of a Snake Corps track to confirm. Apparently, there was a lot of back and forth with the band members leaving SL&G and then returning later at various points. These changes, the early split of the band just as they were getting a head of steam going, particularly in Europe, and the distribution difficulties that the label was having, go a good way to explaining why they never broke bigger. Over the years, more and more fans of this era of music have discovered them and they do have a strong following enough to warrant reunion shows and records well into the 2010s. They can count me as a fan now and I encourage lovers of moody UK 80s Indie to investigate. This reissue we have from Radiation is limited and on nice sounding white vinyl. Get to our webstore and snag yourself one or come visit us in person. Click here to listen.

On one last note: I wanted to acknowledge the passing of one of the last original rock ‘n rollers, the Killer, Mr. Jerry Lee Lewis. He was one hell of a character and may have made some questionable decisions during his lifetime, but you can’t argue about the great records he made. Those early Sun sides are part of the building blocks of Rock ‘n Roll. He carried on making good records throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s and switched to country music for a while. Those albums aren’t too bad, but if you need to listen to a great example of his power as a performer I would encourage you to check out his Live At The Star Club album from 1964 where he is backed by The Nashville Teens in a great rocking set. For those fans of the Killer, we have scored a box of gold colored 45s with his versions of Save The Last Dance For Me b/w Am I To Be The One. I like the latter tune. These 45s came out in 1978 and were wrongly rumored to have Elvis Presley duetting with Jerry Lee. This was not the case, but it’s a good story and the singer does sound a bit like Elvis. Come through and snag one—we’re selling ‘em cheap.

Okay, that’s me done and trying to meet the deadline. Thanks for reading and see you around these parts next time. Cheers - Dom

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