The Incredible String Band

Also: Holy Sons and Who Will Buy These Wonderful Evils Vol. II.

THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND

Be Glad for the Song Has No Ending/ Liquid Acrobat as Regards the Air

(Beat Goes On)

Originally recorded between 1968 and 1971, this pair of intricate, puckish psych-folk albums covers just about every base ever rounded by English/Scottish ensemble the Incredible String Band. Fans of raga, ragtime, bluegrass, plugged-in folk rock, traditional jigs, and strange instruments from faraway countries have 18 available entry points—considering the incredible venue they're playing and their opening act, it's fair to round up to an even 20. But that's assuming entry points are needed. It's a safe bet that '60s survivors, '70s love children, and early Pink Floyd heads are at least familiar with the children's story–meets–underworld masquerade party of The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter from 1968; twee popsters a- twitter over Belle & Sebastian certainly ought to be. Ditto those who align themselves with "new, weird" folk. Joanna Newsom, the harp-playing sprite on tour with ISB, carries on in the path of odd, enchanting folk songstresses partially paved by String member Licorice McKechnie, whose "Cosmic Boy," from Liquid Acrobat, is a love song in little girl's clothing. Also of note on Liquid Acrobat is founding member Mike Heron's warmly kaleidoscopic "Worlds They Rise and Fall," which sounds something like Cat Stevens getting a natural high off of ancient Celtic runes. Two things you won't find on this rerelease that you will (most likely) find at the live show are (a) Heron's 13-minute, much-lauded epic, "A Very Cellular Song," and (b) Clive Palmer, original ISB member (he split for India after the first record) and acclaimed solo artist. LAURA CASSIDY

The Incredible String Band play the Triple Door with Joanna Newsom at 7 p.m. Tues., Oct. 12. $26.

HOLY SONS

I Want to Live a Peaceful Life

(Film Guererro)

Although his warble, which draws comparisons to early Neil Young or Richard Thompson, is clean as an AA meeting, Holy Sons' Emil Amos' sad, soulful musings sound like the inner dialogue of a whiskey-soaked, tobacco-stained mind. The sparse folk-rock accompaniment on I Want to Live a Peaceful Life, Amos' fourth release under the Holy Sons name, makes things sound even bleaker. "Is it so wrong to feel so right?" he asks guiltily on the opener, "Trivialized." And things just decline from there. With all the sadness and despair on Life, you'd think the album would be rather ugly, but it's the polar opposite. While the bulk of the music is dark and remorseful, especially when Amos repeatedly bellows the title of "Ready to Die," glimpses of hope surface like a drunkard's moment of clarity. On the suitably amplified "Desire," he asks: "Is desire still raging on out there in the world/I don't know/I've been back in my mind/Are people still climbing the ladders?" It seems like he might pull out of the deepest throes, only to return to the hopeless fatalism of the album's overarching narrative by the next cut. GRANT BRISSEY

VARIOUS ARTISTS

Who Will Buy These Wonderful Evils Vol. II

(Virgin/EMI, Sweden)

In the weeks following the Beatles' first Swedish tour in the fall of 1963, enough "All My Loving"–copping garage bands cropped up to turn John Lennon's hair blond. They specialized in a style of rock and roll known as "freakbeat," which is just as hyper as it sounds. Last year's double-disc compilation Who Will Buy These Wonderful Evils paired contemporary Swedish garage rats with the original artifacts; Vol. II concentrates entirely on 1964–68—an intriguing listen in pebble-sized portions. Like many vintage compilations of its ilk (the Teenage Shutdown series, for example), Evils successfully records the youth-quake but is far from earth-shattering. A few novel covers take little risk—they're reminiscent of hokey-folk French pseudo-Dylan LPs from the mid-'60s. Cheers approaches Jefferson Airplane's "Someone to Love" like a torch ballad with less psychedelic excess (and gossipy Slick swapping). The Kings deserve attention for tackling a little-heard song, "Father's Name Was Dad" by the British group Fire (found on the Nuggets II box set), even if their well-orchestrated pop-psych choruses are a little too syncopated with the original. A number of featured groups play typical AM-pop giddyaps, like British group the Iveys' chirp-along "When Love Meant So Much to Me," from 1966, and the Stringtones, who won national twist contests before recording the squiggly little "Don't Run and Hide" in 1966. Not that everything collected is fanzine fare: Vat '66's "Vat '66 Theme," with a call-and-response chorus echoing early Troggs at a Route 66 pace, and Mascot's beach girl catcall "Hey Hey" manage to look past the mop tops to "Surfin' Safari"–era Beach Boys and Jan & Dean. They're a few of these evils well worth buying into. KATE SILVER

 
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