In short, Essentials allows artists to put down their instruments and divulge about a specific topic, giving fans and the like the opportunity to connect with their interests and inspirations. It’s just unlike any other digital list feature, we’re totally okay with things getting weird, candid and uncensored. One of Hardly Art’s hidden treasures in Seattle, we connected with LA LUZ’s Shana Cleveland before the band’s tour run with Of Montreal and got the guitarist to discuss Five Underrated Albums From The 1960s’. If you love Revolver or Sketches Of Spain, then this list is for you.
La Luz’s new psych attack It’s Alive is out now on and can be found on opaque light blue wax via Hardly Art
Les Jaguars – Mer Morte / Pour La Danse (1964)
Les Jaguars have a bunch of great tracks! These guys are a Canadian surf instrumental group from Quebec. These dudes have really nice guitar tones. They’ve got tons of cool fast songs and some kind of run-of-the-mill stuff, but they really get me with the song “Mer Morte”. I’m a sucker for a real heartbreaking instrumental with a guitar sound so wet that you feel like you can just jump in and drown.
Michael Hurley – First Songs (1965)
Straying from rock and roll a little here. This first collection of perfect folk songs from Michael Hurley was released by Smithsonian Folkways in 1964. You know how Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and dudes like that sound kind of crazy and really old now? Michael Hurley still plays shows around the Pacific Northwest today and he seriously still sounds exactly like this! And he sings about getting drunk and rambling all the time so it’s not like he’s some kind of vegan, straight-edge, cryogenic-ally preserved health nut. His songs are funny and beautiful and he’s a hero of mine.
Wendy Rene – “After Laughter (Comes Tears)”/”What Will Tomorrow Bring” (1964)
Wikipedia tells me that these two tracks were released together as a single in 1964. These songs are so fucking perfect that this is all I feel like I have the right to say about them.
Sun Ra – Fate In a Pleasant Mood (1965)
Every now and then when I’m at a good record store I’ll pick out a Sun Ra album to buy based solely on the cover art and album title. Worst case scenario: I end up with something that sounds cool but makes me feel like my brain is made of electric worms on speed. Best case scenario: I find an album like this one which is pretty and weird and inventive but also easy on the “ol’ brainz”.
Los Saicos – Wild Teen Punk From Peru 1965
My friend Chris (from the band Rose Windows) turned me on to these guys. From what I understand, Los Saicos were a Peruvian band that started playing fresh out of high school. Nowadays they are a big influence on La Luz and countless other garage bands, but when they recorded in the ’60s I don’t think many people heard them outside of Peru. Every single track on there is a hit! A lot of people talk about “Demolicion”, which rules, but my personal favourite is “Come On” – a slow, sleazy trasher that’s perfect for writhing around on the floor alone or with a friend.