Saturday, February 3, 2024

Exploring White Sands and Soviet Surf - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Chinese Artichoke"

This episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM, started with a solid block of surf tunes to get us out of our rainy weather funk. A lot of the songs you heard on this episode are rare and therefore not on Spotify but don't fret, you can hear them by following the links at the bottom of this post. Of course, you can listen to this week's episode again on the KUCR Archive, but beware, each archived show is only online for a few weeks before they're taken down. If you haven't had your KUCR fix after that, be sure to check out KUCR's YouTube page which recently added some videos of their trip to NAMM. Anywho, let's dive into some of the topics I covered during this week's episode!

First, I want to talk about White Sands' Vampire Drug Party which was one of the few modern songs I've ever played and, get this, the band is from New Mexico. I didn't know you could hang ten in Albuquerque! The song features some lovely spring reverb drip and follows the band's previous release Live Dirt & Reverb which contains covers of songs originally performed by Satans' Pilgrims, Link Wray, and The Astronauts. I was turned onto the band by DJ tina bold from Audio Hijinx and she tells me that their guitarist and producer Chris V. is a long-time listener of KUCR, which is always appreciated. 

Afterwards, you heard a couple songs from a compilation of Soviet surf rock with the complex name SurfBeat Behind The Iron Curtain Part 2 - Planetary Pebbles Vol.3. The other volumes of Surfbeat feature tunes that I'm sure will find their way into future episodes because they are fascinating glimpses into a world of surf that I was totally unaware of. If you want more information on the groups featured on the compilations you'll have to dive into the Russian web because, if you thought a lot of American garage bands were obscure, try learning about rock groups from Soviet satellite states! 

An excerpt from one of Olympic's long form music videos

While I didn't really find any information about the group Singing Guitars, who you heard after White Sands, I was able to gather some history on Olympic, who played the track Mary, Mary. It turns out the band was (and still is?) fairly popular and continues to perform to this day, although it appears that there are no longer any founding members in the group besides Petr Janda, who may not have been an original member. According to various, and confusing Google translated sources, the band was from Prague, Czechoslovakia and formed from the ashes of another band named Karkulka. The group really switched things up in the '70s and made a few prog-rock albums before dabbling in some heavy metal-ish tunes during the late '80s. A few of their releases were in English and remind me of Alice Cooper during his "Blackout Era", some select Pink Floyd songs such as Comfortably Numb, with a sprinkling of Blue Oyster Cult. Try listening to Kraj, odkud odletěli ptáci and tell me it doesn't sound like a lost demo from Fire of Unknown Origin. It's unusual stuff but I find myself listening to more and more of it. Help.

When I was talking about Olympic, I mentioned another band that was at one time named Olympic Hopefuls before they were legally forced to change their name due to the word Olympic being trademarked by the United States Olympic Committee. I hadn't really thought of the band in a while, but I remember having a few tracks floating around on CD-Rs that I'm sure I got from the now (and very sadly) defunct website Epitonic. If you are feeling nostalgic for that early 2000s indie sound, I suggest listening to their debut album The Fuses Refuse to Burn which reminds me of The Shins or Grandaddy although it might sound a little saccharine to modern audiences. Who knows, maybe I'll make a playlist of songs I found during that era of music where I'd scrap music from, MySpace, Epitonic, and various blogs. 

And finally, I closed the episode with Carole King's version of Crying in The Rain which she co-wrote with Howard Greenfield for The Everly Brothers. I think King's version highlights how The Everly Brothers' vocal performances enhance the song and build upon its solid pop structure. During the show I talked about how the song has been covered by many different artists but the versions by Danzig and a-Ha stand out for their unique twists on the song. Whether or not that's a good thing is up to you!

Well folks, that's it for this episode's rundown! Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Saturdays at 9pm PST or listen to an archived version of the show here. You can also listen through, Radio Garden, or Tune-In

Check out this week's playlist below:


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