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Five Cult Classic Albums You Should Be Listening to Right Now
Beautiful reissues selected by Brendan McGrath of The Rising Storm.
By Brendan McGrath
Every two weeks, titans of the mediasphere give Nerve their music recommendations. This week: Brendan McGrath, founder and editor of The Rising Storm, a blog specializing in classic rock, country rock, garage, and psych.
1. Jim Sullivan, U.F.O.
At the end of every year, we compile a list of the year's most notable reissues and let our readers vote for their favorites. This gorgeous reissue from Light in the Attic shot straight to the top and stayed there, which didn't surprise us at all. U.F.O. was Jim Sullivan's sole recording before he mysteriously disappeared in 1969. It's an infectiously melodic and moody gem — a brilliant slice of lost Americana. Every song on U.F.O. has that rare ability to creep through your mind's backdoor and get you humming along instinctively. This is definitely a good one to take out on the open road.
2. Ted Lucas, Ted Lucas
This was another one of last year's finest reissues. Yoga Records compares Ted Lucas to better known contemporaries John Fahey, Nick Drake, and Skip Spence. While Lucas was a respected figure in Michigan's folk and rock scene, his self-titled solo album (recorded largely in his attic studio during 1974) failed to break beyond local recognition. Balancing perfectly sweet folk originals, acoustic instrumentals, and an eight-minute raga, The Om Album (as it's referred to informally) sounds remarkably current for a '70s folk-psych record. Plus, it contains what should have been a classic stoner anthem, "It Is So Nice To Get Stoned."
Listen: "It is so Nice to Get Stoned"
3. Silver Apples, Silver Apples
In terms of influence on electronic music, nothing really touches what the Silver Apples started up in '68. Between Danny Taylor's expansive drum kit and Simeon's boggling assortment of handmade electronics, custom oscillators, and looping tape machines, I can't imagine any modern day electronic pop that shouldn't show some allegiance to this groundbreaking record. This record consistently continues to blow minds just as hard today as it must have back then, for the few who listened. It's positively essential for electronic and psych fans. Be sure to avoid the illegal reissues put out by bootleggers and go for the officially licensed MCA release.
4. Dillard & Clark, The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark
In 1968, shortly after leaving their respective acts (The Dillards and The Byrds), Doug Dillard and Gene Clark teamed up to create one of the world's greatest country rock albums. "Out On The Side," the inimitable opener, must be one of the best produced tracks I've ever heard. The drums are barely present, but echo away on the fills. It's not easily accessible, but this album is a genuine treasure — sort of a miracle for the genres of both rock and country. Check out the upcoming CD and vinyl pressing from Sundazed.
Listen: "Out on the Side"
5. The Beach Boys, SMiLE Sessions
The upcoming release of Brian Wilson's post-Pet Sounds masterpiece will easily be heralded as the most important reissue of 2011 — although, in truth, it's more of a first-pressing than a reissue considering the original album was scrapped, only to be cobbled together from alternate takes on subsequent albums and bootlegged by ardent fans many times over the years. Following the success of Brian Wilson and the Wondermints' 2004 recreation of the SMiLE album, Capitol has pieced together an insanely impressive box set comprising five CDs, two LPs, and two singles, with over 140 tracks. There probably will never be a "definitive" version of SMiLE, but this is about as close as we could hope to get.
Listen: "Child is Father to the Man"