Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Song: "Shubunkin"
Artist: Tractor
Search Term: "Shubunkin"

Another John Peel discovery, "Shubunkin" is a lovely psychedelic instrumental that was released in 1972 on Peel's Dandelion Records label. After a slow, channel-bouncing build-up of detuned fluttering, a bouncy acoustic guitar arrives and life gets sunny and colorful for a few fleeting minutes. Drummer Steve Clayton seems like he's trying not to let any opportunity to sensibly hit something pass him by, and his energy provides a nice contrast to the more laid-back, multitracked guitar playing of Jim Milne, whose reverbed lead guitar keens a heady, victorious melody. It's uncommonly comforting in a way that indie-rock nostalgia-pickers like Bill Doss (of the Olivia Tremor Control and the Sunshine Fix) have devoted their careers to chasing.

A shubunkin, by the way, is a type of goldfish. I don't think I'd ever heard the breed name before it was used in an educational video I was transcribing last week, and then two days later it came up again on Petkeeping with Marc Morrone. So look out: Shubunkins are going to be 2011's Hot Fish!

Would it be helpful for you if every entry started including these little asides in which I talk about the daily search term? No? Suit yourself!

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