Tuesday, March 02, 2010

not new music

Night Shadow - The Square Root of Two (Spectrum Stereo, 1968)

I suppose it's time for a break in the string of live recordings that I've been posting recently. I know it's a week late, so I apologize to everyone that is crying over the fact there was no Not New Music last Tuesday.

The Square Root of Two is a truly rare find when it comes to records from the early days of psychedelic music; a great ALBUM. While it's certainly nowhere near the level of genre defining lps like The Piper at the Gates of Dawn or Easter Everywhere, it is a far cry from the utter trash that you find listening to full lengths from 90something percent of "Nuggets era" groups.

Hailing from Atlanta, Night Shadow's roots go back to the late 1950s garage band The Cavaliers. The band continued through the early 60s despite various lineup and name changes, releasing 45s that ranged stylistically from 50s garage to r&b to British Invasion influenced rock. The group finally seemed to find some direction in 1966 under the leadership of new vocalist Phil Ross, releasing the '60 Second Swinger' 45 as Little Phil & the Night Shadows. It was around this time that Ross worked at a college radio station, giving him access to many of the new psychedelic records that would end up being a huge influence on the Night Shadows during the recording of their first, and only, full length lp.

Square Root bears all the hallmarks of late 60s psych: fuzzed out guitars, fucked up vocal effects, a crazy album cover and a general feeling of lsd saturation throughout. It's when you peel away all the layers of studio trickery that you find what seperates this record from so many others from the period. Raising this album above the status quo is the fact that most of the songs here would be great garage tunes without the psychedelic treatment, which gives a decided advantage over the dozens of acts that seemed to have the approach of burying their mediocre songs under a distracting veil of effects and hoping that people wouldn't notice.

This is a vinyl rip from the 1979 Hottrax reissue and features a slightly different song sequence and a couple of alternate mixes than what appeared on the original. Hopefully this gem will get a quality reissue in the near future as aren't many originals around anymore. You can expect to pay around $1000 if you can find one, even the 1979 reissue and late 90s bootleg lp can easily fetch over $100 in the collector's market. Enjoy!