Kate Reid has great taste in music. We know this from her from some killer DJ sets as part of Psychedelic coven Dj’s, delivering all manner of distended genres like freaked out prog, garage, psychedelic, horror soundtracks, heavy boogie, Anatolian fuzz, freak beat, psych folk, folk funk, swamp punk, proto punk, space rock, and Krautrock. You know, the good stuff. Recently she established IT records and has delivered some monster releases from the likes of White Hex, Little Desert, Taipan Tiger Girls, The Metronomes, The Armour Group, and Miles Brown (The Night Terrors). The label, which is showing no signs of slowing down is celebrating their second birthday with a big bash at the Tote in Melbourne on Saturday the 30th of January, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to ask her about some of the music that shaped her.
Jethro Tull – Aqualung (Chrysalis)
I grew up always listening to music, and my family are certainly all music lovers, but our house never had a lot of records or cds when my sister and I were little. We listened to the radio and watched the video clips on Saturday mornings and we all had a few tapes. I remember getting our first stereo system with a cd player when I was around 10. Mum and Dad bought Midnight Oil, AC/DC and Fine Young Cannibals (who I loved) and Dire Straits and Enya (I wasn’t so sure about them) and I bought Guns’n’Roses. At the same time, because the stereo had a record player, a handful of vinyl emerged from a box or a cupboard somewhere. Relics from Mum and Dad’s youth. This was very interesting to my sister and I. I was pleased Dad had a best of The Doors record, though he thought Jim Morrison was a drongo and never really approved of me loving them. Mum showed me a record with a kind of yucky dirty picture of a mean looking old man on the front. She thought if I liked G’N’R I would probably like Jethro Tull. I loved that record; Aqualung, like nothing else. I memorised every note, every lyric. I would sit and stare at the cover listening to it whenever I had the stereo to myself. I still listen to it all the time. A few years back, Mum stood looking at my record collection, which, to be fair, is ridiculous, and said sadly that she didn’t know why I would spend so much money on records. I had to tell her that you can trace all of it back to Aqualung. Locomotive Breath is my favourite JT track. It’s a stone cold banger. If you like heavy prog, you’ll agree I am sure, and decades before I had any idea it was prog or what prog was, it was my favourite song. After I spent my teenage years and 20’s listening to Brit Pop and The Birthday Party, it is was the re/ discovery of heavy prog that turned me into a nerd. It’s still one of the best, just as killer as the many amazing bands I found as a result. I rate this track with Cherry Red (Ground Hogs) , Archangel’s Thunderbird (Amon Dull II) or Satori (Flower Travelling Band). On a side note you can also trace my life long love of rock flute back here ;)
Baris Manco – Lambaya Puf De – from Love is Not a Four Letter Word (Finders Keepers)
Early 2014 I had the ridiculous pleasure of playing out (as Psychedelic Coven with Jenny Branagan) with Andy Votel. I am a massive fan. He clocked us as kindred and we all had the best time hanging out while he was in town. I don’t think he had the slightest clue just how excited I was to meet him. As a newly minted label boss and record collector, I would liken the experience to a guitar player making friends with Jimmy Page or something. I can’t really express the impact his label Finders Keepers has made on me. We have very similar taste in music, though he got there way before me. So I am quite obsessed with everything he does. His work with the early Vertigo Records catalogue and his explorations in Turkish Psych particularly blew my mind a little over 10 years ago (which was when I got serious about such things). I could pick a heap of tracks/ artists FK has introduced me to. Selecting these tracks is not an easy thing. This is Baris Manco with ‘Lambaya Puf De’ which was on the ‘Prog Is Not A Four Letter Word’ compilation (Finders Keepers 2005). I played this mutha on a loop for 6 months. It’s a sexy little number from a sexy man. He looks a bit like Zardoz I reckon.
Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes — Paix (Phillips)
When the guy who introduced me to Catherine Ribeiro clapped his headphones on my head and played this track to me, I wanted to punch him for having the audacity to insinuate himself into such a profound experience. Lol, I’m joking, well maybe half joking. I am of course, very grateful he did. I loved Catherine Ribeiro and Alps completely and painfully from the first second of ‘Ame Debout’. I feel the same way about Nico and Brigitte Fontaine.
Robert Wyatt -Sea Song – from Rock Bottom (EMI)
It is well known that the discovery of Soft Machine is a life changing event. What a wonderful band. I dearly love them, not only for their own music, but for bringing two of my greatest loves into my life; Kevin Ayers and the magical Robert Wyatt. What melancholy beauty, such a fragile and gorgeous voice. He has just become more wonderful as he gets older too. I love everything he does, but I particularly love when he sings about his wife Alfreda. He’s very real, you feel like you know him a bit from his songs. I assume this one is about Alfreda anyway. This is ‘Sea Song’ from ‘Rock Bottom’ (1974) performed live in 2003. (If you don’t go down a Soft Machine youtube hole from here you are a stronger person than I am).
Company Caine – A Broken Reality (Real Records)
Time for some Aussie gear. I have been heavy into early 70’s Australian hard rock for some time. I know I am not alone in this, everyone should be. I am meticulously pulling that shit apart. It’s not easy or cheap to find everything these days, but I am looking. This record is one of my prize possessions and this track is the bomb. It’s got it all. That riff? Smokin’. Local boys, 1971 Company Caine: ‘Symptoms’ off their album ‘A Broken Reality’.
Wendy Saddington & Jeff St John ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ (from GTK)
There is some amazing footage of Aussie 70’s gear on youtube from the TV show GTK. What a show, why isn’t there anything like that on TV anymore? Don’t get me started on the ridiculous conservatism of popular media in this country. Ugh. Not that you can see even mainstream music on TV anymore. Anyway this is the closing credits of an episode called “Wendy Saddington & Friends”, what an amazing thing. God I love her, I went to see her a few years ago with a bunch of mates, I actually cried. Criminally underrated and tragically rarely recorded, the live footage on youtube is a wonderful thing. And this track? Holy guacamole, how good is it? Also featuring the amazing Jeff St. John (and Copperwine I assume) and some really fantastic backing singers. Minimal funk amazingness : Wendy Saddington & Jeff St John ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’.
Margret RoadKnight – Albatross from GTK
I have been to a great many live gigs in my time. It must be thousands, yet, I can say with easy certainty, that the most profound live music experience I have ever had was the first time I saw this woman sing live. It was the 50th Anniversary of her very first live performance on Mothers Day a few years ago, not too long after I had lost my Mum. I was a little emotional to start with I guess, and I did drink a fair bit of red wine. I could hardly cope with the way she would move from heartbreaking to hilarious. I seem to remember spitting said wine on the back of Guy Blackman’s (Chapter Music) head when she shocked me with a kazoo bit at one point. In the intermission my friend Hannah, who was writing an article on her, went outside to talk to some of the patrons. There were all sorts of people, a really interesting mix, we spoke to an elderly woman who was having a lovely time, I (maybe a little drunk) burst in on Hannah interviewing this poor lady to ask if she were feeling as emotionally wrung out as I was? She said “Yes dear, I don’t think I can go back in, it has been an emotional roller coaster”. Go see Margret RoadKnight if you have the chance, there is noone like her. She interprets songs rather than write her own, and maybe that’s why she is not the national treasure she should be. She is one of the best singers to come out of this country. She is astonishing and tough as nails. I love her. I wanted to show you all the amazing rendition of Extradition’s “ Ice” from her album of the same name, but I thought some live footage would be better. But do check out ‘Ice’ what and obscure and dire song choice, incidentally my favourite track from their album “Hush”. This is lovely footage is from 1973, of Margret Singing Judy Collins’ ‘Albatross’. GTK again.
Rod McKuen – The Lovers – from Rod McKuen Sings Jacques Brel (BR Music)
Like everyone I know, and all people into great singers, I have a bit of a love affair going with Scott Walker. I won’t do one of his tracks here, but rather reflect on the fact that getting in to Scott Walker changed the way I heard the more old fashioned, crooner side of music. I think before SW a lot of that kind of music slipped straight in one ear and out the other. He really opened my mind to a lot of amazing artists I had been missing out on. He also got me into Jaques Brel which led me to this gent: Rod McKuen. This gorgeous ballad meditates on the highs and lows of love with brutal and naked honesty. Too much. Rod McKuen : ‘The Lovers”.
Mandy Morton – Sea of Storms (Polydor)
I think it’s time for a folk track, I love a bit of folk, especially the slightly (and fully) weird stuff. More the celtic side of things. This next one ticks a lot of boxes. Mandy Morton : Black Nights. Mandy was the lead singer of Spriguns, who I love. When she left Spriguns, her husband and the UK and moved to Sweden she made the album ‘Sea of Storms’. Celtic folk, lovely female vocals, songs about witches & whatnot and menacing synthesisers. Amazing.
Dogs of War – Future Jungle – from Dogs of War (Generation Records)
A few years back I was discussing with an old friend of mine, what music reminded us of our early 20’s and particular people. When I asked him what he associated with me back then, I was expecting him to say The Stooges or The Birthday Party or X or something like that, he said Donna Summer. It’s true, when I was 20 all my vinyl was disco, pretty much. I listened to (and made all my mates listen to, evidently) “Love to Love You Baby” more than anything else around then. Disco records were cheap, and awesome. I still love disco. I just discovered these guys, I wish they had more records. A couple of Canadian prog rockers and an Italo producer, making disco. Sounds good right? It really is. Dogs Of War : ‘Future Jungle’