Song, by Toad

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Ethiopians – Beautiful Marmalade

 It may irritate Tye Die Tapes, who were looking to publicise an entirely different release, but I am writing about this album as a result of a minor synaptic leap, which can happen when incoming PR reminds you of stuff you meant to write about ages ago, but somehow didn’t.

They were suggesting I may want to feature their newest release by Blood Sports, which of course I may yet do, but for some reason this reminded me that I have never really covered their first release on Song, by Toad.  And I should have, because for all it tails off a little, there some moments of brilliance on it.

I am talking about Beautiful Marmalade by Ethiopians, which you can buy here for as much as you care to pay. It is a long-sold-out release by a band who are, I think at least, from Cleveland.  Although they may not exist anymore, as the only real evidence of them is a MySpace page which seems as eerily silent and yet uncomfortably garish as you would expect from a MySpace page these days.

Anyhow, it won’t surprise you to hear that this is a lo-fi garagey pop record.  Not frantic and punky, more a sort of slacker take on sprightly guitar pop, albeit one which lapses into a disinterested slur at times. The most immediate pop songs are in the first half: Buddha Tone, A Theme to Try and Rusty Arms are brilliant tracks, but after that the record goes off the rails a little.

I don’t mean that in a bad way exactly, but tight, relatively energetic pop songs give way to more grumbly, ambling, directionless tone which has some great moments, such as closer Grab Those Great Ones, but perhaps loses it a little around the middle of the record.  It’s a relatively small criticism though, because this is a highly enjoyable release, and I just wish I could find a copy of the actual tape to buy somewhere.  But sadly it looks like it sold out ages ago, and even eBay doesn’t bloody have one.

Ethiopians – Buddha Tone (Organ Version)

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Ethiopians – Rusty Arms

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4 witty ripostes to Ethiopians – Beautiful Marmalade

  1. avatar
    Count Von Bakk

    Haven’t heard this one but Fez Bowl by Thee Ludds on the same label deserves an honourable mention, also unavailable other than name your price download. 60s psychedelic garage stomp rocktastic.

  2. avatar

    I have one. I don’t know if this will make you resent me or respect me, but I do. I found out about Thee Ludds from the Palmist split 12″ series, which in turn led me to Tye Die. And just in time, apparently!

  3. avatar
    Count Von Bakk

    I too found out about Thee Ludds via Palmist. I then found out about Tye Die and ummed and arrrrred about the thoughts of collecting yet more obsolete musical formats until I decided, “why the hell not”. At which point Fez Bowl had sold out! 12 months later i’ve a stack of tapes that I’m not even sure have any audio on them as i’ve only listened to the mp3s. All part of the fun though!

    Oh and I’m leaning to resent over respect hahaha

  4. avatar

    Well, we bought a van for the label a couple of years ago and for some inexplicable reason it had a tape player in it. A 2006 model too! Consequently I’ve been listening to tapes loads over the last couple of years.

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