Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Only the Dead Know Basel: Special It's Just a Shot Away Edition

[I originally posted this back in 2011, but I'm reprising it now for two reasons. First of all, I discovered that my copy of the album -- which I had obtained from a download site that has since been closed down -- had disappeared from my collection (both the CD I burned and the computer file of it), and I was in full panic mode until I found a replacement over the weekend. Secondly, given President Drunk-at-the-End-of-the Bar's speech to the bloodthirsty shitheads at the NRA, also over the weekend, I thought it might have some amusing relevance to our current national circumstances. -- S.S.]

"Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man (1946)
Cut to 1965, and you'd have to add the eponymous debut album and several singles by Switzerland's The Sevens to the list.

Hands down the greatest rock band out of a historically neutral country. Ever.

Basically, these guys were the Rolling Stones of Switzerland; as you'll hear they might as easily be described as the Pretty Things/Animals/Kinks of Switzerland. In any case, they never had much impact outside of their home turf, where their peak years were 1965-66. I should confess at this point that I'd never encountered them until a few days ago, although I assume they're rather highly regarded in Garage Punk/Nuggets circles.

Here's their first single -- titled, with absolute pop perfection, "Seven," and a more eerily apocalyptic pop record had never been heard by sentient mammalian ears, I'll tell you that for free. Recorded essentially live -- the pistol shots were done in real time, although they never used the gimmick onstage -- and in just one take; if the freakout/raveup at the end doesn't get you going, you probably need to have it looked at.

Oh, and you'll never guess who the producer was.

Wait for it....

Giorgio Moroder. Yes, him.

Here's what they sounded like in stereo -- from the aforementioned album, it's the equally ominous "You Should Know." Which sounds to my ears like a mid-tempo ballad by The Zombies, albeit if that band consumed a case of Italian Swiss Colony before the recording session.

Obviously, the musicianship on both these tracks has a certain...primitive quality, I think is the phrase, but both of them also have a very palpable end-of-the-world vibe that I find remarkable. I should also add that lead singer Pierre Aebischer, who comes across as alternately creepy and amusingly suave, was either a genius or a madman, at least from the sound of this stuff.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to download a copy of The Sevens' album (with bonus tracks) you can find it -- along with lots of other fabulous free stuff -- over here at ALL WE NEED IS POP MUSIC.


SuperBillie1 said...

Hola Steve, thanks and enjoy your day :-)
Kind regards

Anonymous said...

The "Seven" track sounds like primitive Grateful Dead to me. "You Should Know" is a total thumbs down.

Captain Al

Anonymous said...

"Seven" sounds like a bad imitation of Eric Burdon & the Animals. The lead singer sounds like someone shot his tongue full of novocaine.

Agree with Captain Al on "You Should Know."

They sure ain't no ? & The Mysterians.

BTW the Swiss invented LSD. And chocolate. Not to mention Velcro and some pretty cool guns. All bedroom staples. But those bank accounts ain't what they used to be.


Anna said...

I'll have to listen to this one, given your comparison to the Zombies and GOD they were good...! Simels...saw you at Baby Blue today. (They call him "Simels" there.) Off FB till weekend/work is hell/only 24 hours per day. "Elvis' Greatest Shit"...? Um, that was another one that I did artwork for...the "Dog Vomit" logo? I was proud when they ganked that for the LA Weekly's "Hilburn Watch". And it was another that was released by that frenemy that Vickie and I've mentioned. I've got vinyl that I can send...complete with the good Doctor Nick's prescription insert. A buck three-eighty; you know the address! ;)

steve simels said...

Anna -- I'm not worthy.😀