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Kennelmus

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This way-obscure Phoenix band released a late-period psychedelic album in 1971 that, by the standards of self-released LPs of the time, was several layers above the usual such offering. Largely (although not wholly) instrumental, their Folkstone Prism was an authentically oddball, occasionally goofy, and sometimes inspired blend of surf music, spaced-out psychedelia, and silly pop. The exotic dabs of melodica, zither, and special effects by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Ken Walker added a cloud of eeriness; “I Don’t Know” has keyboards straight off the Chantays’ surf classic “Pipeline, ” “Goodbye Pamela Ann” scorching psychedelic guitar that sounds like a mating of the Electric Prunes and Haight-Ashbury, and “Mother of My Children” vocals that sound like a Lee Hazlewood parody. Kennelmus, indeed, can be seen as spiritual forefathers of sorts to several post-punk Arizona bands—Black Sun Ensemble, Friends of Dean Martinez, and Scenic—that have made instrumental rock that can function as a quasi-psychedelic desert movie soundtrack. Of course, it’s doubtful that those bands, or many others, were aware of Kennelmus, since their album was released in a pressing of 1000 in 1971, and not even well known among collectors.

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