(Originally posted on….yeah I know, I keep recycling stuff from 9-10 years ago; that’s because it’s otherwise buried forever on a lost blog that could disappear tomorrow.….my Agony Shorthand blog in 2006)


I am fortunate enough (I think) to be able to say that I saw the DREAM SYNDICATE live a few times in the 80s, but I’m not so lucky as to have caught “the Kendra lineup” – the 1981-82 one that recorded one of my Top 10 fave records ever, “The Days of Wine And Roses”.

Kendra is KENDRA SMITH, and she’s always been sort of a witchy psychedelic mystery lady. She was persona non grata for a year or so after the album (the album), and then all of a sudden she had this new band in 1984 with Dave Roback from the RAIN PARADE called CLAY ALLISON & a great gentle psych EP, and then a couple years later, pop – out came the 1987 album by her new band OPAL, who were actually the same band, and on SST records no less (then regularly polluting the bins with October Faction and Swa records). No tours, no big hoopla, just a fantastic psychedelic/kraut/paisley guitar record that sounds even better to my ears in 2006 than it did back then.

“Happy Nightmare Baby”
for years actually took a backseat in my eyes to the posthuomus 1989 OPAL record called “Early Recordings”, which had all the Clay Allison stuff + a few extras. That one was really folky, sometimes-acoustic Velvet Underground-inspired shaman rock, with a lot of the mystical swirling weirdness of their later stuff only hinted at (and it’s great). But today I’m thinking “Nightmare” is the real lost classic. Roback plays guitar & feeds back like the lost son of Syd Barrett and Michael Karoli, but in a really restrained, strum-and-nod off sort of way that sets the flickering-candle mood perfectly.

It’s funny, I saw Roback live with MAZZY STAR around 1990 and his stage presence – dressed in black head to toe, sulking, unsmiling, totally too cool and “above it all” – was so off-putting that I mentally wrote him off as a big poseur for years. But that wasn’t very fair, now was it? And Kendra Smith’s vocals are just the most, you know what I mean? The careful, even way she doles out her words is a beautiful thing, most fully realized on the classic “She’s A Diamond”, a blues that’s maybe the best thing they ever did. I’m also partial to the psych-by-numbers “Magick Power”, which could have come off “Piper At The Gates of Dawn” (it’s that good).

A record with some obvious staying power this great should have been released on CD, don’t you think? I think it may have been at one time, but good luck finding it now. 


There’s a new Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio (#57) dropping all over the place. You’re gonna get it on your face. All the way from the Land of the Free – but don’t blame me!

Stellar new material pockmarks this one, material from the likes of CCTV, Primitive Parts, Wet Blankets, Pierre and Bastien, Coneheads, The Shifters and Joanne Robertson.

We get a visit from five ghostly female folkies, ranging from our dark queen Sibylle Baier to newer purveyors of the form Weyes Blood & Maxine Funke.

Then there’s all the usual punk rock, noise, art, garage and trash rock we usually throw at you – 26 tracks in all this time, all in just under 80 minutes.

Stream or download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #57 on Soundcloud here.

Stream the show and some older shows on MixCloud here.

Download dozens of Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio episodes and subscribe to the show on iTunes here.

Here’s what you’ll be hearing:

GIBSON BROS – Casey Jones
½ JAPANESE – No Direct Line From My Brain To My Heart
CCTV – Invisible To Society
THE MISFITS – Cough/Cool
SIBYLLE BAIER – I Lost Something In The Hills
MAXINE FUNKE – Marmalade Tom
THE KIWI ANIMAL – Time of the Leaves
WEYES BLOOD – Names of Stars
THE SHIFTERS – Benedictine Man
ROYAL TRUX – Bad Blood
SIC ALPS – Message From The Law
COME ON – See Me
OPAL – She’s A Diamond
THE CONEHEADS – I Like Violence
THE RONDELLES – Catastrophe
HONEY RADAR – Alabama Wax Habit (live)
THE MYSTIC TIDE – Frustration
WHITE FENCE – Nero (Has A Lot To Think About)
ELASTICA – Stutter
DINOSAUR JR. – Little Fury Things


KENDRA SMITH still hasn’t contacted me yet regarding my public request for an interview for Dynamite Hemorrhage magazine #2 – perhaps because she’s purportedly in the woods without running water, wisely shielding herself from the likes of me – but while we wait for her to hear my plea, here’s a pic of her in her Dream Syndicate days, scanned from NoMag fanzine in 1983.


A Dynamite Hemorrhage fanzine reader suggested recently via e-mail that I should try and track Kendra Smith (ex-Opal, Dream Syndicate) down and interview her for Issue #2.

I thought that was a fantastic idea, and I’m totally up for driving north from San Francisco and deep into the Humboldt County woods, if that’s where she’s residing these days, in order to get her story out to the people. If anyone knows how to reach her, or can be of any assistance in this urgent matter, please contact me via email at dynamiteh(at)outlook(dotcom).


Disappearing Act: A Kendra Smith Sampler, 1981-1998

In honor of that Paisley Underground revival happening soon, here’s a re-up of some out of print music from a lady who is almost certainly not going to make a surprise guest appearance. What I wrote the first time around:

It’s been well over a decade since Kendra Smith has been heard from, musically at least. If she’s mentioned at all these days, it’s usually as the co-founder of Opal, the band that would eventually morph (without Smith) into Mazzy Star. Or perhaps there was a flurry of interest when critics started mentioning Opal as a touchstone for blog faves Beach House. But for the most part, she’s been relegated to footnote status — and considering that almost all of the recordings she’s been involved in are long out of print, one imagines Kendra prefers it that way. But the music deserves to be heard! So I’ve put together a one disc compilation that stretches from one of her earliest recordings (a German language cover of the Velvets’ “All Tomorrow’s Parties”) to what I believe was her final live performance to date in 1998. In between, you’ll hear songs from The Dream Syndicate, Rainy Day and Opal, as well as some fantastic solo tunes. It all hangs together quite nicely, with plenty of the hazy, dreamlike sounds that Smith made her trademark. Enjoy! 

1. Alle Morgens Parties – Kendra Smith
2. Too Little Too Late – The Dream Syndicate
3. Flying On The Ground Is Wrong – Rainy Day
4. Grains of Sand – Opal
5. My Only Friend – Opal
6. Hear The Wind Blow – Opal
7. Indian Summer – Opal
8. Freight Train – Opal
9. Happy Nightmare Baby – Opal
10. She’s A Diamond – Opal
11. Magick Power – Opal 
12. Stars Are In Your Eyes – Kendra Smith & the Guild of Temporal Adventurers
13. She Brings The Rain – Kendra Smith & the Guild of Temporal Adventurers
14. Iridescent 31 – Kendra Smith & the Guild of Temporal Adventurers
15. Aurelia – Kendra Smith
16. In Your Head – Kendra Smith
17. Temporarily Lucy (live) – Kendra Smith
18. Lay This Body Down (live) – Kendra Smith 


The paisley underground is alive and well in Seattle, Washington, where LA LUZ are proving themselves to be the melodic, organ-driven psych/surf heirs to Kendra Smith, David Roback and, what the hell, Annette Zilinskas.

I’m loving the new “It’s Alive” album. Seriously, put a dirty surf guitar sheen over “Explosions in the Glass Palace” or “Happy Nightmare Baby” and you’ve got this record. I’m not sure anyone’s been able to successfully evoke that sound for thirty years the way these women have.

Get it from their label, Hardly Art, here.