Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lilys - A Brief History Of Amazing Letdowns ep (1994, spinArt)

Just as a heads up, I probably won't have the opportunity to post anything more for the remainder of this week (ditto for re-upping some of the older links you've been requesting).  Sorry!

One of you lot recently asked if I had this one, and you're in luck.  A Brief History... was the follow-up to the Lilys dream-pop classic, In the Presence of Nothing.  It saw the band diminishing their woozy sonic penchant tremendously, and ushered in their "pop" phase, so to speak.  Very much in the same vein as what Yo La Tengo were doing right around the same time.  There are some excellent songs here (save for the throwaway closer, "Evel Knieval).  BTW, the vinyl version of A Brief History concludes with a different track.  Enjoy.

01. Ginger
02. ycjcyaofrj
03. Any Place I've Lived
04. Jenny, Andrew & Me
05. Dandy
06. Evel Knieval


Monday, September 15, 2014

On the dark side let the light shine.

From 1987.  A compilation of two releases from a co-ed British group who were in the process of writing the dream-pop handbook. 


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Citified - Absence ep (2009, Eskimo Kiss)

Am probably only going to be leaving this up for a few days, as it looks like Eskimo Kiss may still be selling copies.  The review I did for Big Takeover pretty much tells the tale, and you can read it after the jump.  It's a good 'un, so enjoy. 

Greensboro, NC’s Citified manage to negotiate a happy and graceful medium between lucid, indie guitar rock and decidedly murkier dream-pop on their latest EP, Absence.  The slight, graceful flourishes of tremolo inhabiting “Founded” and “My Family Cup” illustrate that Citified have a solid working knowledge of shoegazer constructs, and moreover, know how to apply them in moderation.  For those of you old enough to understand the analogy, Absence is more Souvlaki than Loveless. Translation: what modest feedback and extraneous noise Citified exude is soothingly manicured, not unlike The Daysleepers, For Against, and Springhouse.

01. Founded 
02. Pencil Me In
03. Landlocked
04. Dutiful Scout
05. My Family Cup


Thursday, September 11, 2014

milf - antidope (1994, Big Deal)

Low and behold it's milf's second album, and likely the last thing I have to offer by them after exhausting the rest of their catalog on this page over the years.  The title antidope was in all likelihood a pun on the word "antidote" (clever bastards these lads were, eh)?  Their first full length, 1994's godhead ha ha bus! was the pinnacle of their recorded output IMO, an album that wielded equal parts wry pop hooks and hyper distortion overdrive.  By comparison antidope was markedly dissonant and insular, delving into murkier terrain than milf had ever ventured into.  Challenging and oblique as it may be at times, antidope offers it's share of tuneful respites - "thom" and "isao minami" winning the most favor with me.  All in all it's an acquired taste worth acquiring, especially if you've been sold on their other swill.  Feel your Ginsana.

01. nutcracker
02. ginsana
03. apples
04. big rock drum (interlude)
05. mo' zac
06. georgia tucker
07. the day that gram parsons died
08. georgia pad (interlude)
09. isao minami
10. thom
11. spookie
12. shoegazer (lowest energy song)
13. one man
14. shoegazer (reprise)


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Jet Black - In Paradox & What Moon Things - s/t - a brief overview

In 2012 I belatedly discovered one of the most moving albums of the year that had just passed, namely Jet Black's bristling Escape Measures LP.  Fortunately, I'm a little more on the ball for the Montreal quartet's follow-up, In Paradox, which just dropped last week.  Cut from the same amped-out sackcloth as their debut, In Paradox's is another consistently appealing melodi-noise salvo, throttled down a notch or two.  Not a deliberate throwback, Jet Black are nonetheless tethered to '90s sonic aesthetics, the kind that endeared me to the likes of Swervedriver, Failure and No Knife back in the Clinton-era.   The melancholic hues that dye In Paradox are more pensive than despondent, and despite JB's unflinchingly austere poise, their dense, clamorous haze is coupled with a tuneful penchant that's as effective as anything you're likely to hear this side of a Silversun Pickups record.  And the cherry on top?  A slight but unmistakable ethereal kick.

Physical copies of In Paradox won't be coming down the pike until November, but you can purchase the digital incarnation from the usual sources - iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon, and for a limited time you can stream it via Big Takeover's newly revamped webpage. 

And now for the second act on today's docket.  New Paltz, NY’s What Moon Things don’t rewrite the post-punk playbook, so much as revive it to its pre-hipster grandeur and integrity, throwing the notions of today’s ersatz revivalists straight under the bus.  First and foremost this trio hones in on texture, emphasizing nimble percussion and under-your-skin rhythmic contractions.  Secondly, their economical setup lends itself to skeleton crew arrangements, augmented by a crisp recording that reveals every plunky clang and crash.  A foreboding, subterranean mystique is pervasive here, countered occasionally with sweet Cure guitar tones circa-Disintegration.  There’s a purity to the band’s doggedly uncompromising tenor coursing through What Moon Things, whether it be the bludgeoning splay of “Doesn’t Make Much Sense,” or the woefully emoted “Astronaut,” and that’s merely in the first half of this fabulous, noir beast of a record.  Get it on CD or digitally from Bandcamp or Amazon downloads

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Does that answer your question?

Dreamy post-punk from the Midwest.  This album is where it all began. 


Friday, September 5, 2014

Tim - German Engineering (1998, Vital Cog)

Thought this would be an appropriate follow-up to my missive on Rail a couple nights back.  Four Lexington, KY kids do the strum and clang thing pretty adeptly and LOUDLY.  This album isn't the product of "German engineering" so much as sheer Chapel Hill aesthetics, with a big nod to Archers of Loaf.  At their fiercest, they whip up a rancorous, feedbacky din a la Drive Like Jehu, but Tim tender a wry pop element when they get the notion to (think Treepeople, Superchunk, etc).  I'm just kind of babbling here, so I'll let you get to the music, and it's very good music at that.  I might have a Tim single or two to share in the future. 

01. Flashlight Charm
02. Drawl
03. Maps to the Stars' Homes
04. Hang Nail Failure
05. Mashburn
06. Knee-jerk
07. Presidential Ruler
08. -----
09. First in Space
10. Very Replaceable
11. Ignition
12. Better Get Used to it, Sunbeam
13. At the Half-Seam
14. Rural Electric
15. Honor Blackman is Pussy Galore


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Rail - Roling Little Joe 7" ep (1994) & Luke & Lauraland ep (1995)

This post is likely to be the first and last to concern a band whose roster contained a former roommate of mine.  Some twenty years ago I had the dubious honor or sharing a flat for the summer with the guitarist of Rail.  And while my first (and only) foray into communal living concluded in Titanic-like fashion, my roommate turned me onto some phenomenal music in that brief time-span, and moreover, was solely responsible for enlightening me to a genre I had yet to familiarize myself with.  I remember it like it was yesterday...

Up until that point, "Emo" merely signified the moniker of a mildly obnoxious comedian.  That was until said roommate set me up with records by two bygone Washington D.C. acts - Rites of Spring and Embrace.  Even at first blush, I had an appreciation for both of them, but they were acquired tastes that wouldn't really sink in for a few more months, whereas some of his other suggestions, like Rocket From the Crypt and J Church made a much more immediate impression.  At any rate, I soon learned that he had his own emo aggregation, a ramshackle Rochester-by-way-of Buffalo quartet called Rail.  It wasn't 'til we departed our dilapidated apartment that summer and went our separate ways that Rail issued their first record, 1994's Rolling Little Joe.  A privately pressed 7" on 33 rpm, RLJ featured among two other tracks, an arresting A-side dubbed "Faith 51."  The song was in reference to the botched seize of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX in 1993.  Sonically, Rail skewed toward D.C. post-hardcore, but possessed a melodic undercurrent as well.  The Cali band Fuel from the late '80s/early'90s were definitely on the same wavelength I might add (and worth investigating). 

A year later another 7" ep, Luke & Lauraland followed.  This one was a tad last wrought and boasted even greater tuneful sensibilities.  Upon it's release I don't remember hearing or seeing much of Rail again, although a full length was completed, which to my knowledge never saw the light of day.  There was a split 45 with the Autobots that came out in 1996 with the band pared down to a trio.   I assume they called it quits shortly thereafter. 

Rolling Little Joe ep (1994, Supermang/Front Porch)
A. Faith 51
B1. Mine All Mine
B2. Transit

Luke & Lauraland ep (1995, Red Dawg)
01. Reconsider
02. Cheerleader on Prozac
03. Tickin'
04. Luke & Lauraland


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Two trips to the pavement wasn't what I had in mind, when I said I was moving up in this world.

A genre-defining album for yours truly...only I'm not going to specify which genre.  Enjoy.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Poi Dog Pondering - 8 Songs by... tape (1986)

Admittedly, I never followed Poi Dog Pondering, not remotely in fact, yet when I had the opportunity to snatch up this little curio a couple years back for a song (literally) I didn't pass it up.  When they came "onto the scene" as it were, in the late '80s, I remember that much was made of their neo-folk bent, and comparatively offbeat accoutrements.  Thus, this is what likely turned me off to them, being the indie guitar-rock aficionado that I was well on my way to becoming.   

8 Songs by Poi Dog Pondering was a handspun and very DIY endeavor, consisting of lo-fi bedroom demos by singer guy Frank Orrall, recorded when he was still based in Hawaii.  In fact, this bears little resemblance to the PDP I recall from 120 Minutes and such, offering significantly more in common with early Aztec Camera and the June Brides (the latter is in all probability a coincidence).  I enjoyed this more than I thought would, especially the second half.  Give 'er a listen and comment as you see fit. 

01. Living With The Dreaming Body
02. Barefeet On Wet Earth
03. And I Went Off
04. Everybody's Tryin'
05. Wood Guitar
06. The Strength That I Need
07. You Think Too Much
08. The Big Walk


Friday, August 29, 2014

Strypes "I Dream" 7" (1983, Strypes Music)

Streamlined but satisfying, Tacoma's Strypes resided on the 'wave' side of the AOR spectrum, leaving me to wonder which camp (if either) took to them more.  Think Shoes or the A's, or to a significantly lesser extent the Cars.  As far as the record is concerned "I Dream" favors guitars, while “I Need Your Love” defers more to synths.  The Strypes discography is padded out with a couple more singles and a full length.

A. I Dream
B. I Need Your Love


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Hairs - Subcutaneous (1991, Zero Hour)

I'm guestimating this winsome Aussie bunch were from Perth, as that's where this disk was tracked.  If so, The Hairs were yet another fine addition to their nations' west coast brethren, who could safely be whispered in the same breath as the Stems, DM3, Marigolds, the Waking Hours...and most notably the Someloves.  I put the emphasis on the Someloves, if only by virtue of The Hair's strummy, intoxicatingly tuneful tenor that really seemed to overlap nicely with the scant few records Dom Mariani and Darryl Mather were responsible for just a few years before this trio was presumably inspired to write and record Subcutaneous.  There are moments of sheer Perthection here, "Certified" "Ghost Train" "Time" being three among them.  If the Smithereens, Leatherwoods and Cavedogs are up your four chord alley, you just might be adding The Hairs to that same tier in the very near future.  Bravo.

01. The Ghost Train
02. So Easy
03. Certified
04. Are You Calm
05. What She Is
06. Time
07. That's Wild
08. I Heard You


Sunday, August 24, 2014

She's a telephone astrologer who says I'll be a star...

Despite possessing more polish than grit, this was one of the tastiest power pop treats of 2002.  


Friday, August 22, 2014

Rollerskate Skinny - live in Belgium 5/3/94

Ever since Rapidshare made my life miserable in early 2013 and dumped the entirety of files I was hosting through them, I've been getting requests from many of you for restored links.  The amount of requests received for the recommissioning of certain titles functions as a barometer of sorts of the popularity of what I've shared over the years.  One name that's garnered multiple requests is Rollerskate Skinny, or more specifically their early eps, Novice and Trophy that I first made available in 2007.  When I recently discovered a live recording of the band via a Facebook fanpage, I jumped at the chance to hear it.  Number one, RS were from Ireland (and only toured stateside once, or twice tops), and number two, I don't know of any other live recordings in circulation.  On top of that, this is either a soundboard tape or a high quality audience recording.  In short, a colossal find.

The Belgium concert in question was culled from the band's campaign behind their debut LP, Shoulder Voices.  You can click on the above hyperlinks for pertinent background details on the band (not the least of which Jimi Shields, brother of My Bloody Valetine's Kevin Shields, was the Skinny's guitarist).  Aesthetically, RS were coming from the same place as across the pond contemporaries Mercury Rev, though Jim Shields and Co. were IMO doubly more creative, not to mention oblique.  If you have yet to make your acquaintance with these gents you may want to familiarize yourself with their studio albums first, particularly the aforementioned Shoulder Voices, available from iTunes, Amazon and the like. 

01. Miss Leader
02. Violence to Violence
03. Lunasa
04. Bring on Stigmata
05. Entropy
06. Bella
07. Some Give Birth
08. So Far Down Up To Heaven
09. Bow Hitch-hiker


Thursday, August 21, 2014

New noise - swingin' singles from Hollow Sunshine, Population, and Wildhoney.

I submit to you reviews you can use on three of akin, not so much three of a kind. While there is a concurrent thread running through this noisome triple-threat, each troupe offers subtle (and not so) variations on some of the very musical niches this site has staked it's reputation on. The first two freshly minted disks discussed below, come courtesy of Nostalgium Directive Records, a newish Seattle imprint whose "dark entries" have made my world a tad brighter.

The California based Hollow Sunshine impart a pair of deliberately slow, sludgy pieces that lay down the low in ponderously heavy fashion.  Take the A-sider “Cold Truth” for example.  What would normally pass for overmodulated muck is sublimely salvaged via an immediate hook, informed by vintage Dino Jr. and further tricked out with mild ‘gazer tendencies.  Exuding the type of despondent vibes we all secretly enjoy reveling in on occasion, the slow-boiling “I Wandered” might have you scurrying to your turntable to make sure it’s set to 45, not 33.  Navel gazing nerve-ana never came in a more sonically dichotomous package, and this single follows up HS's Held Above album on Robotic Empire.  They also have an extremely limited cassette ep, Atascadero, available on Bridgetown Records that you don't want to sleep on.

Good goth!  Population conjure up an entirely legit comparison that I haven’t stumbled on in eons – Fields of the Nephilim.  Chalk that up to their unidentified, throaty frontman whose doomy bellow is a dead ringer for the Neph’s Carl McCoy.   Both cuts here are fairly Joy Division-ed up, with shades of Red Lorry peeking through to boot, though the Nephilim have these guys beat in the spaghetti western department big time. Population aren't going to be ringing everyone’s diner bell – not by a longshot in fact, but aficionados of maudlin post-punk will do well with this beauty.  The envelope adorning sleeve art is quite innovative I might add.

Finally, we have Wildhoney's Seventeen Forever ep.  I dedicated a few ones and zeroes to their 2013 three songer, and I'm happy to talk this one up.  Calling Baltimore home this female commandeered dream-pop outfit unfurls a LOUD, breathless rush of dizzying feedback and melody, with all the woozy pomp and circumstance the genre came to embody, circa 1991.  Borrowing heavily from both Anglo and American camps, you'd swear you had heard Wildhoney before even if you hadn't.  Seventeen Forever is that perfect and impeccably gratifying. 

Below you'll find links to purchase, and perhaps even listen to this trifecta.  Physical copies of all three are quite limited from what I understand, so don't sleep!

Hollow Sunshine - Bandcamp, Nostalgium Directive
Population - Bandcamp, Nostalgium Directive
Wildhoney - Photobooth Records, Bandcamp

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Radio Berlin - The Selection Drone (2001, Your Best Guess)

I was a bit dismayed to see this one was no longer available for public consumption, even at the digital level.  I regarded Radio Berlin's The Selection Drone to be a mini-masterpiece upon my initial encounter with it in the early '00s, and that opinion carries over to this day.  With it's noir pastiche of chilly synth lines, abrupt rhythmic juxtapositions, doomy percussion (a la early-Siouxsie) and stark but melodic hues, this album possesses everything I could hope for in the post-punk wheelhouse, with nary a scintilla of contrived, revivalist bullshit.  And speaking of "revivalist," Radio Berlin could have cleaned Interpol's clock, not to mention local Vancouver boys done good Hot Hot Heat.  Below is a slight adaptation of my critique for the Selection Drone for Big Takeover magazine.

Like the Strokes, Vancouver’s Radio Berlin absorb a myriad of old-school influences and expel them into songs that sound unmistakably familiar, but ingeniously renovated and visceral.   While the Strokes lean heavily toward American proto-punkers like the Velvets and Television, Radio Berlin’s palate is decidedly more Anglophile.  Drenched in jarring synths, spare doom-imbued percussion, and jagged, echoing guitar lines, The Selection Drone recaptures the essence of early-‘80s archetypical post-punkers, including but not limited to The Cure (Seventeen Seconds era), Wire (think 154), and to a lesser extent Gang of Four, Joy Division, Killing Joke, and Siouxsie and the Banshees.  Not ones to resort to a mere rehash, Radio Berlin skillfully massage the eerie, melancholic strains of a bygone era into something a little more challenging for the twenty-first century

01. untitled
02. Change Your Mind
03. Eyes Like Lenses
04. Electric Halls
05. Glass Horizon
06. Green Teeth
07. Kill the Moment
08. The Sequence is Over
09. Twelve Fingers
10. The Selection Drone