Blast From the Past is a new occasional series on Crossfade, revisiting classic local albums from days of yore.
Psycho Daisies, Sonicly Speaking
We're gonna kick these blasts from Florida's past with a record that best exemplifies how easily the stuff gets lost in the swamp. I'm talking about one of the greatly overlooked musical machines of our stately neighborhood, Johnny Salton and his Psycho Daisies. Sonicly Speaking is not the first entry in their catalog, but since it falls in that late-'80s, early-'90s gap in the Miami scene, I think it'll suit our purposes here quite nicely. And yes, it's named after an MC5 track from High Times.
Psycho Daisies are also, of course, still around, and the personnel in this band has changed many, many times due to extraneous and sad circumstances. (That's something we'll dip into when we review their other efforts.) But on this release, Daisy-lore names the people involved as Johnny Salton on guitar and vocals, Marco Pettit on bass and vocals, John "Stix" Galway on drums, and Roger Deering on extra vocals.
At the time, Deering also fronted the the Drills. And Salton, Pettit, and Galway boasted stints in many local bands before their Daisy tenure. Those included class acts that will appear in this column in the near future, like Charlie Pickett and the Eggs, the MC3, and the Reactions.
This eight-track disc clocks in at a little over 30 minutes, and is drippy with punk-tinged rock and roll, psych, garage, and alt-country ... an overall satisfactory listen to anybody remotely interested in quality rock music. "Rubber Legs" opens it up with steady drums and an ominous riff that can only mean something sexy and wet's about to happen. And it does, right as the album segues into the arena-friendly excess of "Spider Baby," which is also a chock full of pent-up teenage lust and airy riffage.
"Dead Wood" keeps the intensity going with some nice bluesy solos over a very well-laid rhythm section, as does a cover of the Small Faces' "Whatcha Gonna Do About It?" The record then takes a more provincial and downtempo turn with "Demolition Daze" and "She Went Shopping," which kind of sours the mood a little bit. It's the kind of track you can use to slow your lovemaking or pour a refill into a dirty cup. Shit, smoke a cigarette to it.
"Caged Bird Thinks" gives a rocking death rattle with some serious psych guitar work before the album closes with the acoustic "Bad Amusements." If you think that through, it kind of sums up the South Florida depression of isolation and having-nothing-better-to-do. I think we've all shared that feeling at some point or the other.
Recorded at L-7 Studios and engineered by Salton and Bob Wlos, this album was originally crafted and released somewhere between 1989 and 1991 and released by the Dutch record label Resonance, which seems to no longer exist.
But fear not! The band has copies available through its web site. Give the Psycho Daisies a try, they do not disappoint!