A garage gem that still rocks

Calm Before, the 1967 album by The Rising Storm, is a touchstone of a distinct time and its music. It also is a testament to that music’s timelessness: Fifty years after it was made, the album still resonates. Its 12 tracks — haunting ballads about heartbreak, upbeat dance tunes, and explosive rockers — all capture the spirit of the mid-’60s, and the innocence, longing, restlessness and sheer exuberance of adolescence. [These are the liner notes from the Sundazed reissue of Calm Before, released in January 2018. To buy a copy, click here. Calm Before also is available on Apple Music.]


‘Unfathomably rare’ LP set for re-release

The Rising Storm, 1967. From left: Charlie Rockwell, Richard Weinberg, Tom Scheft, Tony Thompson, Todd Cohen, Bob Cohan

In January 2018, Sundazed Music will reissue Calm Before, the 1967 album by The Rising Storm that Sundazed calls “one of the rarest rock & roll records ever made.”

The re-release of the “unfathomably rare garage LP” will be a deluxe limited edition, original mono issue, accurately mastered, pressed on colored vinyl, and packaged with a poster in a gatefold jacket, with unseen photos from the band’s personal archive. It also will be available on compact disc. To pre-order, click here.


Review: Compilation of little-heard gems

[The following is from a review that appears in Pitchfork.]

VARIOUS ARTISTS — Sky Girl (Efficient Space)

sky-girl-album-coverIt’s that ineffable sense of longing, loss and melancholy that gives every song on Sky Girl its haunted pall. Lyrical allusions suggest the intangible, be they dreams, ghosts, or the loss of love. That these small songs actually made it to tape, rather than fading into mist, seems an achievement in itself. Each song doubles as a confession made to the corner of a room. [The compilation includes “Frozen Laughter” from Calm Before, the 1967 album by The Rising Storm.]

[To buy a copy, click here.]


Review: ’60s single that never was

[The following review appears in Ugly Things Magazine.]

THE RISING STORM – I’m Coming Home / She Loved Me (Penniman) 7”

Rising Storm playing at Andover dance. From left: Todd Cohen, RIchard Weinberg, Tom Scheft, Tony Thompson

Rising Storm playing at Andover dance. From left: Todd Cohen, Richard Weinberg, Tom Scheft, Tony Thompson, Charlie Rockwell (Bob Cohan not shown}

The Rising Storm, a group of prep school student from Andover, Massachusetts, pressed just 500 copies of their one and only album, Calm Before, in 1967. It remains one of the most enjoyable and compelling albums of the era—private press or otherwise. Penniman Records have pulled two of the strongest tracks from the LP to create the Rising Storm single that never was. “I’m Coming Home” is a tough, garagey rocker, with electric organ doubling up with a cool choppy guitar riff, while “She Loved Me” has a moodier sound bolstered by plaintive harmonies, fuzz guitar, a shimmying tambourine, and an all-time  favorite organ solo. Fidelity is excellent: the A-side was transferred from the original master tape, the B-side from a mint copy of the album. The heavy stock pic sleeve features two cool, previously unseen (by me) band photos and liners by Greg Prevost.

[To buy a copy, click here.]


Review: Exhilarating, exceptional

[The following review appears in the 02.25.16 issue of Shindig! Magazine.]

THE RISING STORM: I’m Coming Home / She Loved Me (PENNIMAN)

Penniman front coverGroup-sanctioned limited edition release featuring – for the first time ever on 45 – two exhilarating highlights from this group’s legendary Calm Before… The Rising Storm album, plus an accurate snapshot of the band’s history told by mid-60s teen rock authority, Greg “Stackhouse” Prevost.

‘I’m Coming Home’ is a strident blast of hard-edged garage-beat/punk with aural attitude worthy of a nod to the Stones, Yardbirds and the like, but its flipside counterpart, ‘She Loved Me’, is something different altogether.

This truly exceptional effort begins without fanfare but soon builds into one of the moodiest, most original and utterly compelling tracks from that – or any other era – its focus centred around a mournful-sounding lead vocal, its plea complemented by sweetly-intoned, gorgeously infectious backing vocals.

Fast and flighty rhythmic about-turns, and menacingly buzzing guitar rumbles complete the deal, helping create one of the all-time most perfect examples of New England’s supremely moody mid-60s teen scene style. Irresistible!

— Lenny Helsing

[To buy a copy, click here.]


Two favorite originals from a garage-rock classic

Penniman back coverFor the benefit of those who may not know about the Rising Storm or have never heard their work: In brief, they were six Phillips Academy students from Andover, Massachusetts, who formed a high school garage band that performed from 1965 to 1967 and, within this brief time, recorded an amazing album called “Calm Before.”

Originally known as the Remnants, the Rising Storm played at dances at Andover and at nearby girls’ schools.

Unlike other Boston-area bands that went on to commercial success — such as the Remains, who opened for the Beatles on their 1966 U.S. tour — the members of the Storm pursued career in law, medicine, education, journalism and the military. But they never gave up their love for their music.

Garage bands of the mid-sixties were made up mainly of high school and college-aged students who played music in their spare time. Many of these bands released self-produced albums that, unfortunately, were most often  collections of sub-par covers of the day.

In contrast, the Storm’s album Calm Before is a timeless masterpiece that contains five dazzling originals, a number of obscure covers that could be easily mistaken for Storm compositions, and a few rock standards that are performed in a new and compelling way.

The release of this 45 has been timed to honor the 50th anniversary of the 1965 inception of the band. It contains two of the most powerful original numbers on the album, “I’m Coming Home” and “She Loved Me.”

This release is the only authorized vinyl pressing of “I’m Coming Home” or “She Loved Me” since the original 1967 “Holy Grail” release of Calm Before (when only 500 LPs were pressed) and the 1992 limited reissue (only 1,000). It also contains the only 45 ever released of the Rising Storm’s music.

This record contains essential music for your jukebox or just for a spin at your next house party.

[Excerpted from the liner notes by Greg “Stackhouse” Prevost for the new vinyl ’45 of The Rising Storm’s “I’m Coming Home” and “She Loved Me” from Penniman Records. To buy a copy, click here.]


Calm Before/Alive Again at Andover

[To buy a copy, click here or here.]


Second Wind

[To buy a copy, click here.]