Seefeel – Succour

June 18, 2008


Succour (Warp 1995)

Man, talk about a progression from light to dark. Seefeel’s Succour is their grand finale and it is so different from the 4ad/electronic/shoegaze puppy pile of the earliest eps and the hypnotic roundabout of Quique. However, the Starethrough ep posted here last week hints at the dark, pounding lonesome soundscapes they explore here. It is no surprise that later solo efforts and side projects were released on the Touch label since this is a heavy slice of brooding drones with sad robotic loops to keep it company.

In some ways, this is my least favorite Seefeel album, but there is an argument to be made that it is a misunderstood album. I believe my disappointments were rooted in their refusal to provide a swirling soundtrack for the next bong hit. I loved their earlier albums and I felt somewhat let down by the grim, depressing music they released as a farewell. Even Sarah Peacock’s coos and sighs are manipulated to sound like cries from a well instead of a sensual mantra. In fact, much of this could have been released on an early 80s industrial/electronic comp and no one would blink an eye.

I am still conflicted about Succour, but two tracks stand as some of the most sublime moments the band ever recorded. “Rupt” may be one of my favorite songs ever released on Warp as it improves on the formula of the Starethrough ep with dubby bass, endless looping of Peacock’s nonsensical chants and a slow-motion, rumbling drone that rumbles upwards and downwards. “Ruby-Ha” somehow predicts the genius of Boards of Canada’s debut as it lays a foundation of chimes and puttering beats that really embodies all I loved about this band.

Various Artists

Chains and Black Exhaust (Jones 2002)

A Memphis DJ who wrote for Wax Poetics magazine released this comp of 60s and 70s of downright raw and nasty funk and rock in the vein of Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain minus the long, drawn out monologues about, well….maggots on the brain. This comp is a tribute to the influence of  Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Hazel to be exact. Most, if not all artists are African-American funk bands who are in love with the power of Motor City rock and roll. Some of the instrumentals have been sampled by hip-hop artists and it’s not surprise since the instrumental tracks picture a world where George Clinton took over Stax records.

The most “recognizable” band on here is Black Merda whose self-titled album is fiercely funky psych-rock album, but you will want to track down the scarce discographies of LA Carnival, Sir Stanley and other lost pioneers of an era where funk-rock didn’t mean a bunch of surfers wearing socks on their ding dongs. It is a perfect snapshot of a time where Motown, Stax, Nuggets and fried guitar riffs all went together like peanut butter and jelly. In particular, Grand Am’s “Get High” mostly consists of the aforementioned chorus and puffing sounds, but the guitar playing on this is so primitive and unhinged that it bashes you on the noggin. I cannot tell you much about the artists here because many of these tracks were neglected by history and only resurfaced due to the diligence of this wonderful DJ. I only wish today’s soul music and r&b could achieve the psychedelic pinnacles achieved here.

Jeffrey Cain

Whispering Thunder (Raccoon 1972)

Not much is known about Jeffrey Cain other than the fact that he released two albums, For You and Whispering Thunder, for Jesse Colin Young’s Warner Bros. imprint Raccoon records. the Raccoon label was responsible for some of the greatest sides of hippie soul and country folk released in the 70s. It boasted a roster of Jesse Colin Young, Michael Hurley and the Youngbloods. (Note: if anyone has any music by other Raccoon artists Banana and the Bunch, Joe Bauer, Kenny Gill or High Country, email me at

This is his second album and it should appeal to fans of Loudon Wainwright’s early work since both artists use country and folk as a canvas for their own bitter, biting observations. Bob Dylan and the Youngbloods are also strong influences although he is more enamoured of southern-fried rock and roll licks on many of the tracks. He is at his best on the opener “Soul Train” which is blue eyed soul by way of Nashville. Love this track and it stands as one of the best twangy tracks of the early 70s. “Pack Up Your Sorrows” is a heartbreakingly simple tune that offers a sentiment straight out of a Hallmark card. However, his request that a lover pack up her sorrows and share her burden with him just gets me all choked up. On a slightly negative note, I get the sense that his odes to moonshine and farming are somewhat tongue in cheek, but that is just my own paranoia. Like down home country by way of Woodstock? Whispering Thunder is right up your alley.