arti+mestieri - tilt

Arti + Mestieri: Tilt (1974)

It was a rare opportunity: I managed to take two weeks off from work and spend time with family, doing one week in Mexico with my in-laws and another week in Daytona with my brother. Normally that means nothing but classic rock and sunny beach tunes to keep my mind relaxed, but thanks to another Sea of Tranquility video I started getting caught up in 70s Italian Prog. There was one band that I couldn’t readily find streaming (turns out you can find here on Spotify), and so here we are with another impulse buy, Tilt, the debut by Arti + Mestieri, which loosely translates to “Arts and Crafts”. We’re going in blind (or deaf) here, so let’s do this…

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hawkwind - doremi fasol latido

Hawkwind: Doremi Fasol Latido (1972)

It took forever to find a good copy of Doremi Fasol Latido, the third album from space rock pioneers Hawkwind for a price that wasn’t outrageous. The band’s third studio album – and the first to feature one Mr. Ian Fraser Kilmister on bass – marks the change of emphasis of their signature space rock sound from the “space” to the “rock” but I feel like the album gets a bit of short shrift since the live album that documents the touring cycle of the record might be one of the greatest live albums ever recorded. It’s definitely the place where I first heard most of these sings. But the studio effort has a lot going for it, so for me it’s still a part of the band’s essential discography.

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The Rationals: The Rationals (1970)

Sometimes you take a chance. It’s not quite like the old days when you would stroll through a record store and something would catch your eye: a name, some art. But it’s close, and as I was flipping through the Record Store Drop releases at my local shop I saw the reissue of the sole record from Ann Arbor’s The Rationals. The hype sticker drew me in as much as the colors on the album art: you put the words “Detroit R&B Garage Band” on your sticker and you’re going to hook me. I’m glad it did because it turns out The Rationals delivers precisely on the sticker’s promise: down and dirty rhythm and blues that has a foot firmly in the 60s while calling out to the more rock-centric power the 70s would deliver.

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zz top's first album

ZZ Top: ZZ Top’s First Album (1971)

Day 20 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for an unpopular album by a popular band. It’s crazy that as popular as ZZ Top, are there’s not a lot of talk about their debut, wonderfully titled ZZ Top’s First Album, as if they were certain there would be more. One listen to that singular guitar tone and I can understand why. There may not have been a huge hit on the album (their second, Rio Grande Mud, would kick off with “Francine” and “Just Got Paid”) but you can already hear that Gibbons’s tone is there, and the rough and tumble electric blues they would come to dominate for decades was fleshed out if not fully formed from a songwriting perspective from the get-go.

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mainhorse

Mainhorse: Mainhorse (1971)

Day 16 of the #mayvinylchallenge celebrates the halfway point of the endeavor and asks for a random pick from your collection. I shuffled through my recent acquisitions and came upon Mainhorse, whose sole eponymous album from 1971 begs a certain question: there are so many lost or forgotten bands out there, are all of these band lost gems, or is there a reason they’re buried? Is this really as good as a lot of the more successful and popular prog rock bands out there, or is it that I’ve heard the popular stuff so much that something relatively obscure sounds like a diamond? I think with Mainhorse the answer is a little of both.

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ramones - ramones

Ramones: Ramones (1976)

Day 7 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks about an album with a cool story or “a-ha!” moment. The story isn’t cool, but I did have an “a-ha!” moment when after playing my copy of the debut album from the Ramones I realized that Side B was actually a re-press of Side A, meaning I only got one half the album. When the album is as perfect a rock and roll statement as Ramones is it would be nice to have the entire thing. That was quickly rectified with a great Portuguese pressing, but still…the “a-ha!” was I got shafted. Anyway, no matter: let’s briefly gush about the perfection of this album, shall we?

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