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July 2021: Al Bloch – Kinda Makes Me Smile

Fer Pete’s sake!

It’s another damn July, we offciallallily been hotter than Hades itself here in Olympia, and it is time to get groovy. We got some new summer tunes for you from righteous Brother Al BlochKinda Makes Me Smile. Songs about stuff. Sung by Al. Available on the download, the streaming and a very nice CDr with beautiful graphic work by Renaissance man Kurt Bloch. Oh Hell yeah.

Al Bloch Kinda Makes Me Smile cover

Let’s see what Al has to say about this.

Al: The five songs on this EP were written in January 2021, when I was dealing with the winter blues in Norfolk, VA and dreaming of the warmth and hopefulness of Summer in Eastern Virginia.  I attempted to make each song peppy and happy, maybe even zippy and snappy, but a few of the tunes didn’t achieve that goal.  Kinda Makes Me Smile documents the moment on one January morning when I opened my shades in the morning and the sun was actually shining, filling me with hope.  “The sad, sad world gets bathed in the blue, blue skies.”  “Rock And Roll Show is a distant memory I had of a good friend who had a crush on a certain female rock and roll guitar player. “Her eyes they sparkle just like diamonds, and her hair is made of pure afro.” 

Al Bloch Don't video

 “Don’t Give Up On Me is as sad as an Al Bloch song has ever been, written as I sat around feeling old (which I am) and useless (which I am not). It was just a feeling I had for a very short period of time, which I tried to capture with this song.  “Lived a long life, but I’ve made some mistakes.  Lost my way through the valley of days. Don’t give up on me.”  “Lost And Found is just a bundle of images that will mean a lot to me and a few others, but mostly just sounded good while driving the song to its inevitable conclusion.  “I stumble through trees, and I bumble through bees, and I’m not afraid to do as I please.”  “San Simeon details the failed attempt by me and some buddies to break into the Hearst Castle, or Xanadu as it’s called in the film Citizen Kane.  Dino, Sylvio, and I found that the fence around the castle was just too high for us to scale.  Plus, we were drunk.  The story may or may not be true, depending on whether or not the reader is a current or former California State Trooper.  “Dumped some gas into Dino’s van, for our road trip to San Simeon.  We headed north on the PCH, till we got to the Hearst Castle gate.”   

Al Bloch'sAll tunes were written on my trusty Taylor acoustic guitar, and made into killer tracks by my buddy Hunter Johnson (from Roanoke, VA) who instinctively added the perfect drum part to each song, injecting some much needed gusto and heft to the songs.  Also, Kurt Bloch (from Seattle, WA who is incredibly my BROTHER!) fed the tunes into the KB Hit Factory Way-Back Machine at his studio, Strictly Vintage, and added that special extraterrestrial spice that only he can bring to the dinner party.  Kurt is badass, and I couldn’t have done this without him.  I hope you like the songs.  They’re very different than the songs on my last two records: It Was All Once Bright Jewels and Protest Songs, but I think they’re pretty cool, and I sincerely hope you enjoy the crazy sounds!  Presented for your consideration, Kinda Makes Me Smile, five new Al Bloch songs for Summer 2021.  Thanks for listening.   AB 


Wenis - The Donut Shop coverTD: It is also quite different from Al’s brilliant and ass-kickin’ My Favorite Martian – Martian Chronicles, Los Angeles 1990’s CDand his historic  The Deans Live December 31, 1981, 66 Bell and the historically delightful Wenis – The Donut House, Seattle 1980. For the true Al Super Fans, we have a few Al Bloch’s Summer Of Fun Super Party Mixtape lying about!  If you somehow have not yet joined the Al Bloch True Believers Club, it is time to get on the train! I love that “Don’t Give Up On Me” video.

Meanwhile …

the date is set. The die is cast. An all-new Green Pajamas album,  Sunlight Might Weigh Even More, will appear on CD and download September 17.

Green Pajamas Sunlight Might Weigh Even More cover

Unlike our recent spate of small run CDRs, this will be a true CD and available in stores around the world. Jeff says this is the overdue follow-up to 1997’s fabulous Strung Behind the Sun (one of my all-time favorites – we still have a few copies of the original Camera Obscura CD version that Jeff smuggled back from Australia available). In keeping with the PJ way, there are no plans for live performances of the album, though a few videos are in the planning stages. Also no plans for vinyl right now, but the future is unwritten. Most exciting!

Speaking of vinyl,

try this on. In TWO DAYS, Sunday July 12 and Monday the 13th, we are going to have a 25% off sale on Green Pajamas/Jeff Kelly limited edition vinyl. I will send you a reminder Saturday night, but mark that calendar now!

On a related note to our European Union friends, effective July 1, 2021, EU member states started collecting value added tax (VAT) for all goods entering the EU. The VAT ranges from 17% to 27% depending on the EU member state, not including any applicable duties or fees. 

Whew. Supposedly Bandcamp will handle all this through our GMR Bandcamp store, but just be aware you may be getting a surcharge (not in merry England where you just say bah humbug to the EU!).

In other controversial news,

GMR is about ready to ink a non-satanic pact with the obscure but not quite gone Chucky Boy Records label to release select titles to the world. We will not be re-releasing items like The U-MenThe Lewd and The Heats which have since been reissued by Sub Pop and other industry giants. We will be reissuing The Accident’s No Romance For You (their “Kill The Bee-Gees” 45 was Brother Kurt Bloch’s No Threes Records first release) and The Holidays EP plus unreleased Holidays trax, all the brain child of current True Olympians drummer Michael Stein.

Speaking of The True Olympians,

True Olympians rehearsean exciting turn. While recording for the Olympia album continues along, the pace has quickened as Covid restrictions loosen. There are about sixteen songs essentially done with another 19 or so songs still to record. I just finished mixing my ditty about The Evergreen State College, “Bucketful of Weird” last week. I am most pleased with it. All the work for the last year has been about remote overdubbing, a laborious process at best. This week the band held their first rehearsal in over a year. Michael Stein, who has been the band’s drummer for over a year, met Gene and Joe for the first time. Noisy shit happened. We are planning to record the next batch of songs in the old fashioned way – get in a room, hit the record button and rock out. So exciting. I am planning to release a single or two from the album in advance as we roll along.

Richard Peterson –

Richard Peterson BlueThe Montana Hitchhiker – just returned from his actual trip to Montana and seemed most pleased. He said his album SEVEN is selling briskly at the Zaltman Motel & Garage and they will need additional copies. SEVEN is up on Spotify now as well, in case you were wondering. Richard also made a surprise appearance on my KAOS 89.3FM Olympia FreeForm NW show that will air next Weds. Nothing boring here!

We have begun…

Capping Day Laura Wellerthe perilous voyage to releasing The Complete Werks of Capping Day. You will recall we released their first single “Mona Lisa” back in the 80’s. I have baked old analog tapes for some 30-40 songs (thx for the copying Kurt Bloch), some live cassettes for another 15 or so and the band is sorting out the pile to see just what there is. Don’t expect this to be quick.

Also in “new” news category:

Cabeza LoopsBrand new Cabeza video for their “The Social Distance b/w Loops” single – check it out!

I think there will also be a new single from Band of Certainty in the next week or two. Almost for sure.

This concludes the morning bulletin.

td July 2021

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