VA - Simla Beat 70 71 (1999) 2CDs

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Posted on 2019-02-21, by nokia241186.

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Various Artists - Simla Beat 1970 / 1971 (1999) 2CDs
EAC | FLAC | Tracks (Cue&Log) ~ 501 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 187 Mb | Scans included
Garage Rock, Beat, Psychedelic | Label: Normal | # SHADOKS MUSIC 006 | Time: 01:20:09



In the late '60s/early '70s the Indian cigarette company, Simla, held (or purported to hold) a series of rock'n'roll talent contests, and from these came the albums that are reissued in this 2-CD set. The reissue seems to be pretty much a straight reissue of both albums, with the album art and the original (highly amusing) liner notes reproduced within. The music is pretty cool - in some respects it recreates Western pop, and even includes covers of oldies such as "You Can't Judge A Book" and "Born On The Bayou". But there's definitely a wild and unruly local twist on the proceedings, an unusual metric distortion that creeps into the music. Even better yet is when the artists sing in their own language (as opposed to English), which usually occurs on the wilder, more psychedelic tunes. I'm not personally that up on the history of Indian pop-rock, so I can't even speculate on how popular any of these bands really were back in the hippie days, but these recordings are a real find.

In the early '70s, the India Tobacco Company sponsored an annual "All-India Simla Beat Contest." These events sparked compilations of Indian rock bands, Simla Beat 70 and Simla Beat 71, that have been combined into one package on this double-CD reissue. Very, very little Indian rock from this era has been heard in the West, and the sounds are both surprising and, in some ways, disappointing. Surprising in that it's uncanny how much this sounds like the garage bands that could have been playing in any country, although it actually sounds more like bands from Europe and South America that spoke English as a second language than it does like American or British groups. Surprising, also, in that it sounds much more like 1965-1968 rock than it does like early '70s rock, although that's understandable given that it can take years for Western trends make their impact on the other side of the globe. Disappointing in that, like much reissued obscure garage rock, it's not that great. The playing and singing (in English) is extremely raw for the most part, and there isn't much of an influence that most listeners would identify as Indian. No sitars, certainly, and though there are some ragga-ish droning rave-ups, again these are barely different from what you'd hear done by a band, say, from Holland in 1967. Indeed, the guitar style is often of the furiously staccato, strangled sort heard on some of the wildest early Velvet Underground recordings, although it's doubtful that any of the bands could have been aware of those albums. Sometimes this mines a basic surf, British Invasion, or R&B feel that would be more at home in 1965 than 1970. Often the songs are insubstantial, very basic derivations from those prototypes, usually leaning toward a not-too-melodic, mordant vibe. This is odd stuff, make no mistake about it, but not that odd in the context of the numerous global garage reissues that are now available. Still, there are some neat things to enjoy here, like Hipnotic Eye's crude attack on "Killing Floor" (woefully at-sea guitarist, a recorder solo, and a not-half-bad vocalist) and the Velvette Fogg's wild rendition of "I'm So Glad," introduced by lengthy Asiatic freak-out organ. Those happen to be covers, but most of these cuts are, in fact, originals; the Confusions' "Voice from the Inner Soul" could easily be mistaken for an American sub-Rolling Stones 1965 garage single. The original, intentionally humorous liner notes, in fair but not perfect English, are reprinted on the sleeve, whose track listings incorrectly scramble the song order of the second disc.

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Tracklist:

CD1 - Simla Beat 70:

01. Confusions - Voice From The Inner Soul (03:01)
02. Dinosaurs - You Can'T Beat It (02:54)
03. X'Lents - Psychedelia (02:53)
04. Innerlite - Zorba's Dance (03:21)
05. Genuine Spares - Proper Stranger (03:46)
06. Genuine Spares - Whats Going On (02:45)
07. Dinosaurs - Sinister Purpose (03:10)
08. Great Bear - Mist (07:19)
09. X'Lents - Born On The Bayou (04:15)
10. Innerlite - Baby Baby Please (02:25)

CD2 - Simla Beat 71:

01. The Fentones - Simla Beat Theme (04:11)
02. Nomads - Nothing Is The Same (03:36)
03. Hipnotic Eye - Killing Floor (03:04)
04. Mini Beats - Hey Gipsy Girl (05:20)
05. Velvette Fogg - I Am So Glad (03:03)
06. The Black Beats - The Mod Trade (03:18)
07. The Eruptions - I Am Gonna Erupt (03:00)
08. The Fentones - Until The Dawn (05:07)
09. Brood Of Vipers - Psychedelic Web (02:42)
10. The Eruptions - You Can't Judge A Book (03:04)
11. Hipnotic Eye - Aimless Lady (07:45)

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