Year of Release: 1968
Anyone who downloaded volume two of the Garagelands compilation series here could hardly fail to have noticed the New Life track on there, "Ha Lese (Le Di Khanna)". One of the most vicious, hollering and downright addictive garage tracks out there, it's unutterably brilliant - a view shared by several friends of mine and even my mother! That it has been reserved for a few fringe compilations and bootlegs and largely forgotten about seems somewhat sinful on the whole.
You can imagine my excitement when I found this waiting in the sixties singles section of a second hand record store, then, behind the pop hits and Cliff Richard discs. Although the title "Strollin' Sunday Mornin'" didn't suggest more high throttle thrills, the B-side title "Only for Our Minds" sounded promising, and when I delicately put the needle on the record at home I hoped for something even half as good as the one song I'd heard by the act.
So then, revelation time... both sides are perfectly nice, paisley wrapped pieces of Californian guitar pop, but there's nothing to jolt the average listener in any way. "Strollin' Sunday Mornin'" is chipper, summery and brassy, skipping along in a slightly dazy way, and "Only for Our Minds" is more of the same, with a slightly dated beat feel behind the West Coast hairiness. Aficionados of sixties West Coast pop and people who are just curious about what else the band got up to may find these tracks worth a download, but sadly there's a reason why the majority of sixties rarities compilations haven't rushed forward to find them a place on their track listings.
Back when I first became aware of the New Life, I was mislead into believing that they were South American in origin - this is apparently untrue, and they were actually from Minneapolis, relocating to San Francisco to catch the passing wave of the hippy movement there in the late sixties. They were responsible for the soundtrack to the "Sidehackers" biker film (see here), released three singles in total, then vanished without a word of explanation. Other details - such as band personnel, and what they did before or after - remain very sketchy indeed.
As ever, more information would be appreciated, especially if it transpires there are other fantastic psychedelic New Life rockers in "the can" somewhere.