December 22, 2010

The Daily Choice: Secret Seven Records

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All month long, all San Francisco/Bay Area bands.  That’s the rub.  Get with it.

When I decided to write a label showcase for San Francisco’s up-and-comer Secret Seven I dipped back in to The Daily Choice archives to see if by chance, I’d focused on this label’s output in the past.  And sure enough, I have, repeatedly, showered my fickle love on the releases of this fantastic little label.  There San Francisco compilation In A Cloud featured some of the rising stars that are currently bombarding the local and national scene with a canny mix of lo-fi, garage and sixties pop.  The Fresh and Onlys, Kelly Stoltz, Tim Cohen, Sonny and The Sunsets, Thee Oh Sees – this compilation hits nearly each and every nail directly on the head.  And if Secret Seven was just that, a chronicler of the new and fantastic as seen through the scope of San Francisco, I’d be happy.  Happy that they’ve released Sonny and The Sunset’s Too Young To Burn, happy that they’ve let Tim Cohen’s freak flag fly on both of his fantastic solo releases, happy that they’ve given The Sandwitches a home to expand they’re somber sound.

But, that’s not all Secret Seven Records are, they are also reissue masters of both a creative and stellar degree.  I wrote recently about the absolutely excellent, and surprising, Tiny Tim reissue they sent in to the world (a spectacular collection of the unreleased works of Tiny Tim that drags him from the jokey section our modern minds have pigeonholed him in to and showcases the true musical genius he was).  What I haven’t talked about is there recent reissue of Michael Yonkers Goodby Sunball, a dreamy bit of psych-folk recorded by the singer as he lay in bed after a major spine surgery.  Yonker’s voice is a hefty tweak on the standard country-twang, a vibrato yodel that punches out of the beautiful simplicity of his compositions, jumping from whisper to downright holler in an instant.  What I haven’t talked about yet is there recent collaboration with The Daily Choice favorites Mississippi Records on an, ahem, 8-track reissue of freak-folk hero Michael Hurley’s Blue Navigator.  Hurley’s gotten a lot of press in the music nerd market as of late, and this, a 1984 album originally released on Rooster Records, showcases why.  From what I can tell, its light and airy, buoyed by Hurley’s adept finger picking and his everyman’s voice, but weighed down by his strange and sometimes silly lyrics.  Absolutely enjoyable.

Throw in the upcoming re-released of the amazing III by Mt. Egypt (an artist I’ll be featuring heavily in an upcoming post) and you have a label the quite honestly fills all the gaps.  What’s better?  They’re relatively new, and we can only wait in eager anticipation for what they deem worthy of their touch next.

Check them out here.

Michael Yonkers – Swamp of Love

Mt. Egypt – Everything In Moderation

Michael Hurley – Who Ever Heard Of You

Tim Cohen – Haunted Hymns

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