A Month of Mondays: Monday Mail
What is Monday Mail?
Earth Girl Helen Brown's biography reads like a Lifetime made-for-tv movie waiting to happen. Don't believe me? Check out this note from Tyler at Banter:
Helen Brown was born in Vancouver, Canada, but raised in an Athens, Georgia-based religious cult, and was blinded in one eye from a childhood baseball injury. As an adult, she dropped out of Evergreen and traveled the country for a while as a nomadic psychedelic folksinger, before forming her first band One Eyed Tramps. For years, she lived alone in a mountaintop in southern Alaska, where she befriended a Cherokee Shaman (later revealed as a fake) who encouraged her to pursue a frustrating academic career. Rampant drug use, frequent fainting on stage, and occasional self-inflicted knife wounds on stage led to more interest in her stage antics than her music. However, a few sides did emerge in the late ’90s (recording dates unknown), which feature a unique mix of country, girl group, R&B, and ghoulishness. Crude and amateurish at best, these recordings are appreciated for their sincerity and intensity of feeling.
Earth Girl Helen Brown comes to us from Sonny Smith's (Sonny & the Sunsets) uber-ambitious 100 Records project.
If it seems like something is shady about all this, it's because it is. Earth Girl Helen Brown is actually a fake band brought to life as part of Sonny Smith's (of Sonny and The Sunets) 100 Records project. More on Smith and his own band at a later date. From Pitchfork:
He made up names and song titles for 100 fictitious bands, then sent them out to 100 different visual artists, who made up fake record covers for all the fake artists. Then Smith recorded 200 different songs (A-sides and B-sides) for each of these fake artists. Which is nuts.
This sounds exactly how you'd think: two parts Grace Slick, one part The Mamas and The Papas, one part subdued Aretha. The vibe is psychedelic cultish spooky with a sprinkle of backwoodsy mountain weirdness. Tape hiss and analog fuzz run alongside the recording as a constant backdrop to the melody. Weird as this hoax/art project might be, this turned out mighty fine. So fine, in fact, that the real players behind EGHB, Smith and Heidi Alexander of the Sandwitches, decided to live on as an actual group. This song, from their first EP Story of an Earth Girl, was released about a month ago. Learn more here.
Hit After Hit.mp3
Hit after hit I took for you.
The week in Broketown, 1/8-1/12
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