Anonymous/J-Rider - "Inside the Shadow/No Longer Anonymous"
(Aether Records, 2000, Aether Archives #0009)
From Aural Innovations #17 (September 2001)
In the last 10 years, a lot of "lost" albums have been re-discovered through CD re-issues. Consequently, albums that once came and went, with little notice, are being hailed as "highly influential" and "forgotten classics". With their Marin County style psychedelic guitar sounds, soaring vocal harmonies, and music that ranges from heavy rockers to folksy ballads, these two albums could have been mislaid Jefferson Airplane albums. A perfect soundtrack to the Summer of Love. So why have they not taken their place amongst classics like Surrealistic Pillow? It probably had a lot to due to the fact that they were first released 9 and 12 years after the Summer of Love. In an age of Kiss, the Bay City Rollers, and disco, this kind of music just did not cut it with the masses. Listening to these albums now, some 25 years later, we can forget about the context and times in which they first came out, and appreciate them for what they are: some fine, psychedelic folk rock.
Formed from the ashes of the late 60's garage-psych band Sir Winston and the Commons, Anonymous were a four-piece studio band from Indianapolis. Adding a fifth member, Justin Garriot on guitars, they prepped for live performance, but when Garriot left, along with singer Marsha Rollings, the remaining three members, Ron Matelic on vocals and guitars, Glenn Weaver on guitar and bass, and John Medvescek on drums continued under the new name, J-Rider. Both units recorded a single album, both of which are now available on one CD.
Inside the Shadow is the lighter, and better, of the two; a nice blend of vocal harmonies, guitar hooks, heavy psych and acoustic, Byrds style guitar work. No Longer Anonymous continues the tradition, eschewing mellower moments for a harder edged sound. The song writing here isn't quite a strong as on the Anonymous album, and Marsha Rollings harmony vocals are missed.
I would hardly call these albums "highly influential". They were too past their time to have any impact on contemporary or subsequent music. But are they "lost classics"? Lost, yes. Classics? Perhaps not. They are, however, an enjoyable listen for fans of this brand of music, and certainly worth picking up if you've grown overly familiar with your old Jefferson Airplane albums and want something new to listen to.
For more information you can visit the Aether Archives web site is at: http://www.aether-or.com/html/aetherarchive.html.
Contact via snail mail c/o Aether Records; PO Box 19553; Indianapolis, IN 46219.
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald