Stylish Sounds for Mod Movers
Mod music doesn't exist. There is music Mods listen to; there is music Mods make; and there is music that can be linked to the Mod movement, scene, or lifestyle. Below is a (by no means authoritative or exhaustive) list of music essential to any self-respecting mod, according to Gavin "Flashing Lights", "Satisfaction" Dianda and Colin "Mohair Sweets Magazine" Bryce. Note that most of the early 60s tunes were released on 45s, thus making any complete discography extremely difficult to pin down. If yer gonna talk the talk, mate, you'd better bloody well walk the walk. Know wot I mean?
Soul and American R&B
The "truest" of all Mod music, this started the scene as it's known in popular imagination. Slathered over by British teens in the early 60s, the searing, shaking voice of black America (which also includes Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, the Drifters and many more) spawned hundreds of imitators across the Atlantic and the eventual British Invasion.
Booker T. & the MGs "Green Onions" (1962)
Ray Charles "I Got A Woman" (1954)
James Brown Think (1960)
Lee Dorsey "Ride Your Pony" (1966)
Otis Redding "Security" (1964)
Think the Who's Quadrophenia. Think suits, scooters and blues. Think Brighton riots. The era of "Ready, Steady, Go!" and the explosion of pop music dawns.
The Who Sing My Generation (1965)
The Small Faces Small Faces (1966)
The Kinks Kinks-Size (1965)
The Birds "You're On My Mind/You Don't Love Me" single (1964)
The Action "Land of 1,000 Dances/In My Lonely Room" single (1965)
In many ways a reaction to the wild success of the British Invasion, bands turned away from the standards and, coupled with the pop-art movement, expanded into new, uncharted territory.
The Creation "Painter Man/Biff Bang Pow"
The Pretty Things Pretty Things (1965)
John's Children The Legendary Orgasm Album (1967)
The Eyes "Man With Money/You're Too Much" (1966)
The Fleur de Lys "Circles/So Come On" (1966)
The AIP label (distributed by Bomp) has also released dozens of compilations of psych and R&B. This excellent series includes a UK Freakbeat selection, the Electric Sugarcube Flashbacks, the Pebbles compilations and the European Pebbles: "The Continent Lashes Back!" series.
Disenfranchisement, rage, poverty and Britain's general decline fuelled a powerful new revivalist movement in the late 70s. The new Mod movement was political, pissed off and moving side by side with the Sex Pistols and the Clash.
The Jam In the City (1977)
The Prisoners A Taste of Pink (1982)
The Chords So Far Away (1980)
The Gorillas Message to the World (1978)
Guns For Hire My Girlfriend's Boyfriend (1979)
Mod as a label seems out, although some bands have adopted the mid-60s style and sound.
The band's third album, 1998's Before the Revolution remains one of Moon Records' strongest releases to date, combining soul and the Stax sound with traditional rock steady roots. One of the most innovative and talented bands around today.
Vancouver's Beekeepers have recently released their first album, with a heavy Ray Davies/early Who influence.
Toronto's freak beat-ish band's recent EP Elevature is a short but satisfying sampler of what can happen when you mix good taste and talent.
Montreal trio released their debut album in June. Neophyte band opening for Stereolab and backing the Gruesomes on their recent cross-Canada tour with a most promising future.
Although the Winnipeg duo is temporarily on hiatus, expect a new record out on Mint sometime late this year or early next.