July 30, 2010

topanga-canyon-california-1974.jpg

Jeff Weiss is nowhere to be found. He is believed to be spending the rest of the summer following Moe cross-country and playing semi-professional hacky sack.  

Download: Jeff Weiss’ “Topanga Daze”

Six summers ago,  I smoked myself stupid and serene, supine in a rented Swiss Family tree house in Topanga. Wind chimes and crystals. Beards and birds. Languid days and cold canyon nights — mimicking the hippie dream at 22. It wasn’t my dream, but it worked better than expected. One last post-adolescent sabbatical before falling into the grind of cheap words and cheaper jokes. No regrets. But there’s something to be said for coffee shop breakfasts on a slow Tuesday, wood paneling, Spanish lights and cigarette smoke.  Books, records, and no cell phone reception. A shoddy Transcendentalism derived from oak trees, heavy shadows, caffeine, and sporadic bursts of creativity.  I did not see Devendra Banhart. It was a very good year.

No need to bore you with a lame litany of every word I’ve written this summer. I’ll talk about it eventually. The short answer is too many — to the point where concentration feels like a chore, diction a disease, and I would offer several limbs and a used State Property LP to lamp in Topanga Canyon once again–pen and paper in hand, completely addled and absurdly anachronistic. Focused daily. These words are fractured, but that’s the point.

I hatched and discarded several hare-brained schemes prior to Topanga Daze. A 60s psych-garage comp. Esoteric Afro-beat cuts. But the Medicine Show does that stuff far better. Besides, my weary mind wants an early vacation. So Topanga Daze is the mirage — the soundtrack to dormant dreams and dull days. Except for Zappa, Love, and The Doors, all of the musicians assembled here lived in Topanga during its (66-76) heyday — before the yuppies and post-grad slackers swarmed with an attitude more capitalistic than collectivist. It’s not intended to be obscure, it’s just supposed to sound right. This is my ode to sepia photos and Southern California sunshine. An antidote to burnout. A talisman to ward off the weird hallucinations of scorched synapses and sweltering heat. Paper Mountain Men and Cripple Creek Ferries. The sort of delusions that make life alright.

Tracklist:

1. Spirit — “Fresh Garbage” from Spirit [Ode Records; 1968]
2. Gram Parsons-“I Can’t Dance” from Grievous Angel [Reprise, 1974]
3. Taj Mahal-“Easy to Love” from Satisfied & Tickled Too [Columbia, 1976]
4. Joni Mitchell–“Black Crow” from Hejira [Asylum, 1976]
5. Linda Perhacs-“Paper Mountain Man” from Parallelograms [Kapp, 1970]
6. Charles Manson-“Cease to Exist” from Lie: The Love & Terror Cult [ESP-Disk, 1970]
7. Crazy Horse-“Dirty Dirty” from Crazy Horse [Reprise, 1971]
8. Frank Zappa-“Peaches En Regalia” from Hot Rats [Bizarre/Reprise, 1969]
9. Little Feat-“Easy to Slip” from Sailin’ Shoes [Warner Bros. 1972]
10. Stephen Stills-“The Love Gangster” from Manassas [Atlantic, 1972]
11. Billy Preston-“Slaughter” from “Slaughter” [A&M Records, 1972]
12. Love-“The Castle” from Da Capo [Elektra, 1967]
13. Neil Young-“Cripple Creek Ferry” from After the Gold Rush [Reprise, 1970]
14. The Flying Burrito Brothers-“Hot Burrito #1” from The Gilded Palace of Sin [A&M, 1969]
15. Tim Buckley-“I Can’t See You” from Tim Buckley [Elektra, 1966]
16. The Doors-“Riders on the Storm” from L.A. Woman [Elektra, 1971]

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