Shindig - noun / large lively party, especially one celebrating something.
a noisy disturbance or quarrel.
Happy Mondays and Sex Pistols comes to mind. More of them later. We are delighted to welcome to Underground Playground, Shindig! Colour Is Sound’s favourite rebellious duke-box camouflaged as a music magazine.
I remember getting up early to grab a copy of Sounds when it came out every week. Within its inky pages, exotic yet far away rock ‘n roll; the dream escape from sad-sack-school-job-nowhere land. Music weeklies have long since had any shelf-life but there is one magazine that does more than become a bog ornament. A joy to read; the mighty Shindig!
Shindig! began in 1992 as a photocopied garage-punk fanzine called Gravedigger. A couple of years on editor Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills and PJ Crittenden reinvented the title as Shindig! as a tip of the hat to the ABC TV show that took The British Invasion to America and paved the way for folk-rock, garage music and everything that followed. Shindig! entered 2016, the other side of its celebrated 50th issue, bigger and better, and the magazine can be found on the high street via WH Smiths, in all manner of independent record stores, at airports and train stations and in key outlets across the USA and the rest of world.
Touching on the more neglected moments of rock’s royalty to the weird and wonderfully unsung world of garage bands, psychedelic fly by nights, pot smoking country-rock bands, hippie folkies and country singers; the acceptable side of progressive rock; heavy duty denim clad basement rockers; wigged out funkateers and jazz men; synth based experimental boffins… right through to the powerpop and early punk bands that ushered in the ’80s, Shindig! prides itself in joining the dots together from the very best of music’s past. It also casts a selective eye over the best new musicians and bands who continue to develop and expand on what has gone before. Film, TV, legendary clubs, festivals and events, counter culture and whatever tickles our fancy are covered as well, with passion, knowledge and integrity. Over 20 years the brand has grown a loyal collective of readers from all walks of life and musical backgrounds.
In the last few months they’ve had The Creation on the front cover and The Byrds (and buddha in a disco The Action just above them on the same issue!!). The Modfather made an appearance recently and there’s been brilliant articles on Funkadelic, Fluer De Lys, Little Barrie, Shel Talmy, PP Arnold. The list is literally endless. The previously unpublished interview with Steve Marriott worth the subscription price alone. Passion for seminal music pulses from the pages, rooted in a mind-boggling knowledge of the many mutations since we first sang the blues to create the vast rainbow which is 20th and 21st century popular music.
John Squire once said that he only heard bands like Love after the Roses had found their sound and was amazed by the connections in the music, between his and Arthur’s band. Shindig! is a torch-beam into counter-culture’s underground playground. Joining the strobe light dots from The Creation to Oasis is some journey. Shindig! can fly you there. Get yer turntable ready for new sonic delights.
The Shindig! crew cast a soulful and when required, psychedelic light, on a whole spectrum of styles and influences and eras; music all too often over-looked in the race to define popular and a make a few quid. Wise consideration is given to the times in which music is born. It’s no coincidence that these chaps were original Mods long before they created a music magazine. Each issue is a wee learning journey. If it wasn’t for these guys I wouldn’t have picked up on Childhood, whose recent second LP contains some brilliant soul music. Check out the awesome California Light. Big respect to another great Nottingham band.
I’ve been bug-eye lost on a psychedelic journey since reading the article about Austin’s Cold Sun. Colour Is Sound love The 13th Floor Elevators and The Red Krayola but dive deep into the 70’s scene in Austin and fucking hell! Cold Sun’s 1970 Dark Shadows is astonishing. Imagine The Seeds The Doors Big Star Byrds The Elevators Dylan My Bloody Valentine and Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd and you’re getting close. What an album.
Austin explorations and ruminations in downtime led to discovering other bands like The Golden Dawn, Fever Tree and rediscovering The Sir Douglas Quintet. Music made with strong hearts and wide open paisley patterned eyes.
Every rocket must come down; the search for the band’s heart in the article on Cold Sun is insightful, sensitive and soulful; proper music journalism. This is a band worth checking out, fellas who got the light-bulb moment by shouting to each other, “just do feedback”. Reviewing a Cold Sun song as thus: “impossibly futuristic and insanely beautiful’, makes you want to smell the music. There’s songs on Dark Shadows that will make you cry, and its music worth crying for. Get a copy of the album and stick with it, it will stick by you forever.
“I’m climbing up the wall to see you”
My wife and I got married to ‘Climbing Up the Wall’ by The Action and they remain a band perfectly held within my closet mod heart. It was a high-five moment when Shindig! popped through the letter box and I found The Byrds and The Action on the front cover and my wife on the inside back cover.
The Action are mint. (For a wee peek at their genius, see our previous blog-post https://colourissound.com/blogs/news/mod-culture). Rolled Gold is my favourite unreleased-at the time-album ever. Kentish town mods swapping tonic for paisley, this is an album you must have, and an article you gotta read. When I discovered Rolled Gold I would get mates round, make them sit on a chair in front of the two speakers, put the album on full blast and they would not move. They’d fucking love it! Boys who normally want a smoke a rant and a beer, sat transfixed, lost in the joy of a band discovering a new conduit. Something To Say is the goosebumper, one of fourteen brilliant awesome songs.
“While The Action were highly revered in the 60’s Mod community for their string of cult 45’s and impeccable, impassioned, live shows, their reputation has risen to extraordinary heights since their demise almost fifty years ago. As the decade progressed, the group, newly enamoured with jazz and the West Coast sound, demoed their first collection of self-penned material that, whilst still tied to their soul roots, showed their true voice. However, in what should have been the point at which they broke into the national consciousness, they lost George Martin, their producer and biggest supporter. Line-up changes, most notably the departure of lead singer Reg King, ensured that the remarkable recordings they made as ’67 blurred into ’68 were never finished. Fortunately, like everything else The Action did, they wouldn’t remain buried forever. (Jason Barnard, Shindig! Issue 70).
As much as I love Gene Clark, I still bought pretty much everything by The Byrds after he bolted. Shindig’s recent Byrds cover story takes you right inside the ego circus madness genius which was The Byrds post-Gene.
“It would now fall upon Roger to be the sole compensator to the former band members. He couldn’t quit The Byrds even if he wanted to. All of the responsibility fell on his shoulders. Roger’s words were ‘I trust it will work out alright’, which became his mantra through these trying times”. (Taken from Shindig! Issue70, an exclusive extract from the new biography by Ianthe McGuinn).
From Can to MC5 this magazine will turn you on again and again and again. If Can’s Halleluwah is the Monday’s Wrote for Luck and MC5’s Kick Out The Jams the predecessor to Anarchy In The UK, Shindig! is the very essence of the noble art of passing it on. Music for yesterday tomorrow and today.
A crew going against the tide; faith always kept. Now Sony are building a vinyl record plant in Japan and records are – for now – safe from the download-mp3-dilution so that music can remain as it should; sounding good, loud and usually underground.
For more info on how to have yourself a Shindig! check them out here:
On the subject of garage punk music - check our our new Ramones inspired Tee here
Until the next time we get together - all the very best!!!! Thanks for reading,
Yours in music