Monday, April 22, 2024

Mission -- The Last Detail (1983, Frantic)

Not to be confused with the British Mission U.K. (in fact, this Maryland-based quartet may have been responsible for forcing them to graft "UK" to the end of their moniker) this crew ironically sported a vividly evident Anglophile stripe themselves.  Definitely not full-fledged goth in the classic sense, Mission still managed to water down the likes of Bauhaus, with a vocalist in tow (David Jon Cawkwell) whose pipes nonetheless suggested discernable shades of Peter Murphy.  The Last Detail is passable, even satisfying on "What Goes Around," and more so on the positively punky "Interrogation," yet the going on this mini long-player rarely veers towards anything exceptional.  And why is that bands of their ilk/era always felt the need to offer an ironic reading of an overplayed classic rock tune, in this case a tired Monkees retread of all things? I hardly think the world was hankering for a noir take on "(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone," but for better or worse it was committed to tape. Enjoy (or not).   

01. Dreaming
02. Reasons Why
03. Where Were You
04. What Goes Around
05. The Girl Next Door
06. Interrogation
07. Stepping Stone

Sunday, April 21, 2024

It's April 22, and everybody knows today is Earth Day...

Power pop-adjacent from 1991.

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


Saturday, April 20, 2024

Human Switchboard - Fly-In ep (1977/2019, Fat Possum)

What better way to commemorate another Record Store Day in the books than with a visit to a preceding RSD release?  Perhaps the only reason I never got around to featuring Cleveland's long departed Human Switchboard was because their catalog more or less became available via the handy Who's Landing in My Hangar? Anthology collection in 2011. Oddly enough as seemingly thorough as that album (and it's attendant bonus downloads, if I recall) was that wouldn't be the final H/S reissue in the pipeline.

Naturally, you took note of this records original 1977 copywrite date, and although this coed trio (eventually a quartet) called one of punk's early Meccas their hometown, they hardly bore any overlap with, say Pere Ubu or the Dead Boys, or for that matter other class of '77 mainstays like the Ramones and Talking Heads.  The four song Fly-In ep finds the band slotting in more appropriately with the likes of Question Mark and the Mysterians due in part to a mildly churning undercurrents of organ.  You won't find much in the way of jarring power chords here, rather a comparatively meager, and dare I say tentative lo-fi garage-pop aptitude overflowing with charm and integrity.  Fly-In's concluding number "San Francisco Nights" oozes an aplomb thoroughly steeped in the vein of the Velvet Underground, yet it's derivative nature is it's very selling point.  The 2019 Record Store Day reissue of this was adorned with wonderful packaging, a rather thick, 40-some-odd page black & white zine chockablock with articles, record reviews, gig flyers/posters and such, all pertaining to the band in question.  I didn't have the time or patience to scan the vast majority of the text, but I did sneak in roughly a page of concise liner notes.

01. Fly-In
02. Distemper
03. Shake It, Boys
04. San Francisco Nights

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Nothing left to do but watch the street undo....

Chilled-out, smooth-as-glass pop from 2019.

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


Seaweed - Beasides

I've had a full week to get my act together and rip some new (or more accurately, used) vinyl...but alas, I never got around to it.  Which is why I had to scrounge something up from my hard drive, specifically a fan-made compilation of b-sides and rarities from Tacoma WA's finest sons, Seaweed.  Over the course of five albums Adam Stauffer and Co. were an integral staple of my '90s soundtrack, bearing a distinctive roar that was never quite punk or grunge, but easily appealed to both sensibilities.  Adroit masters of the two minute form, they parlayed the buzz built-up on Sub Pop concoctions Weak and Four, and miraculously, when they took the major plunge for 1995's Spanaway they delivered on said accumulated promise in a monstrous way.  Seaweed were one of those rare beasts that rarely if ever exuded a misstep. 

As far as this somewhat haphazard collection is concerned it is presented somewhat chronologically, and for better or worse is chockablock with covers.  Yes, they pursue Fleetwood Mac's most overplayed hit, but they compensate for it with excellent readings of songs that Beat Happening, The Fastbacks, Jonathan Richman, and even hardcore cult legends The DehumanizersWeak's "Squint" is subjected to a radical remix, while "Losing Skin" is massaged much more subtly, skewing closer to it's original incarnation. And there's plenty more gold to boot.  A big shout out to whomever curated this collection. 

01. Bewitched (Beat Happnening)
02. Foggy Eyes (Beat Happnening)
03. Measure
04. Turnout
05. Taxing (demo)
06. Baggage (demo)
07. Pumpkin (Wwax)
08. Squint - The Killerest Expression
09. Go Your Own Way
10. Losing Skin (remix)
11. She Cracked (Jonathan Richman)
12. Kid Candy (radio edit)
13. Sing Thorugh Me (The Dehumanizers)
14. Shephard's Pie
15. My Letters (The Fastbacks)
16. Brand New Order
17. Days Missed Dearly

Monday, April 8, 2024

in your painted room, your first cameo.

From 2016.

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


Tuesday, April 2, 2024

PopeAlopes - Yolo County Line: The Good, the Bad, The Ugly (2002, P on the K)

This one has been on the burner for at least a decade and a half.  The fact that I had a request for this several months ago was certainly an impetus, but it was almost an inevitability that I would get around to sharing this bountiful three-CD mini box set of scarcities and rarities by the PopeAlopes, a Davis, CA indie proposition responsible for five redeeming and substantive albums through the late-80s and mid-90s.  Heck, I even reviewed Yolo County Line proper in 2011, but wasn't ready to disseminate it's content at the time as it was still available (albeit in small quantities). This likely isn't the case anymore, so without much further ado...

Going into this near 50-song collection of b-sides, outtakes, piss-takes, and concert and cable access TV performances it would be ideal to have some familiarity with the 'lopes, and seeing that I've featured their first couple of proper albums An Adder's Tale and Kerosene it's not beyond the realm of possibility to take that plunge.  A lot of you might be asking what in the hell were these chaps all about.  The aforementioned review can clue you in on that, but I tend to a spirited yet casual mélange of the following: The Reivers, Long Ryders, The Doors, and perhaps more minimally the likes of fIREHOSE, R.E.M. and the Replacements. If you go by what Trouser Press has to say the PopeAlopes come across as acolytes of True West, but my interest in T/W never extended that far to levy such a comparison. At last half of Yolo... consists of live recordings, the audio of which sounds to be culled from soundboard tapes. 

The collection is divvied up between what the band regards as material that ranges anywhere from decent to mediocre to not-so-much, but my assessment is that if they had the cojones to make this material available for public consumption in any amount even "the ugly" quotient of this is set is still relatively approachable.  And oh yeah, there's no shortage of covers populating this thing - "Wichita Lineman," "2000 Light Years From Home," Opal's "Happy Nightmare Baby, Galaxie 500's thoroughly winsome "Pictures," not to mention a riveting reading of T. Rex's indispensable "Telegram Sam."  As for originals, if I had to sweat it down to just one particular song to recommend in the band's repertoire here, I'd settle on the angular yet relentlessly ringing "Blesh." I've provided the entire tracklist directly to your right, and tucked the full artwork including liner notes inside the CD 1 (The Good) folder.  Enjoy. 

CD 1/CD 2/CD 3

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Me and you forever!

What time is it?  Time for four eps, that's what!  I'm not sure if I've featured any of these artists on Mystery Monday before.  Maybe one at most.  Have at it. 

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


Arcwelder - 6/11/09 @ Vera Project, Seattle, WA

I'm not sure how much demand is out there for this but here goes. I haven't dedicated too much space to Arcwelder, simply because most of their catalog is available, perhaps not physically, but at least download or stream. There have been a couple of exceptions over the years, primarily an assortment of singles I bunched together and a rip of their first two albums, This and Jacket Made in Canada. With that out of the way, live material is scarce on the Minneapolis denizens, largely because the band has been mostly inactive for the past 20-25 years, and on top of that they never toured much, presumably because they had day jobs and families that kept them tied down.  

Nonetheless, I took a shine to this trio no less than 30+ years ago, due in no small part to their resemblance to another Twin Cities favorite of mine, Hüsker Dü. I never had the opportunity to encounter them in concert and due to some of the factors I've outlined above I likely never will. That's a shame, because Arcwelder made seven thoroughly convincing albums circa their run in the 1990s. Over the years I have been lucky enough to have come into a couple of live bootlegs of theirs, including this one of a rare out-of-town performance in Seattle in 2009, where they happen to churn out a bevy of fan favorites like "All Mixed Together," "Lahabim" and "Captain Allen."  This is a band that's always scratched a certain itch for me, and by some miracle the boys did us a solid this January reuniting for a Mpls gig, and finally unleashing a brand new album, Continue, their first since 1999.  If you have yet to make your acquaintance with these guys this live set isn't a bad place to get your feet wet, and check out the aforementioned posts in the first paragraph. 

01. intro
02. Lahabim
03. And Then Again
04. Treasured Island
05. title unknown 
06. Criminal
07. Captain Allen
08. Harmonic Instrumental
09. title unknown 
10. All Mixed Together
11. What Did You Call It That For?
12. Do Something Right
13. Cranberry Sauce

MP3  or  FLAC

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Dose - Singleton 7" (1991, C/Z)

Eugene, OR's Dose made their way onto my ever-lovin radar when they dropped the wonderful "Eyesore" on the Teriyaki Asthma Vol. VIII compilation in 1992.  The song in question was a magnificent, three-and-a-half-minute maelstrom of distortion and hypnotic vocals underpinned by a discernable quotient of melody that's never quite abandoned my eardrums in the 32 years since.  And typically, I haven't heard much else from this band that's affected me the same, not even close to be honest.  Nonetheless, a Dose full length, the splendidly titled, The Planet Purgatory Field Companion, made it's way to market in '94, but prior to the album and even preceding the aforementioned compilation gem there was this 45 that was just kinda... there to be honest. If "Eyesore" drew from the skewed art punk of say, Shudder to Think, the A-side of the wax I'm presenting today, "Singleton" definitely boasts a groove (not to mention plenty of wailing rancor), but is considerably underwritten, sans a memorable chorus, if there's any chorus to be had at all.  The flip, the doubly lengthier "Sparrow Song" does fare a tad better, bearing another pronounced bass groove and plenty of pent-up tension, yet not enough to really nail itself to the wall.  At any rate, I'm including my Dose song of choice ("Eyesore") as a crucial appendix to this somewhat iffy single.

A. Singleton
B. Sparrow Song
plus: Eyesore (from Teriyaki Asthma Vol. VIII)

Sunday, March 24, 2024

This could be so much different, but it never will.

Seattle indie rock from 1994. 

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


The Stench - Crazy Moon (1989, Running)

Hailing from Salt Lake City, UT, The Stench were SLC punk by default, although the cult movie referencing the near-non existent scene in that sodium-ridden locale wasn't even a thing when this trio was in business.  There aren't many sources for me to link to online regarding this crew, who according to Discogs had several other releases under their belt. Crazy Moon skews heavily in the vicinity of what 7 Seconds were up to around the same time, and coincidently or not what the Goo Goo Dolls were dishing out on their first couple of albums. If there was a half-pipe or two situated in the Beehive State, The Stench would have provided an apt soundtrack given the gnarly skate-punk vibes coursing through morsels like "Tiny" and "Heart," each boasting considerable melodic chops. Moon is not without a few anomalies; "You Drive," a sensitive, albeit out-of-place ballad, and sequestered on side two a docile piano interlude, "Peacock."  The CD variation of the album offers a host of bonus tracks, which for whatever the reason I have no access to.

01. Downhill
02. Pocket
03. Tonight I Fall
04. Heart
05. Once So Close
06. You Drive
07. Tiny
08. Thoughts of Tomorrow
09. Peacock
10. Never Follow
11. Yesterday
12. Wrong

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Such a slow steady slide, takes away so much inside.

From 1980, bundled with a contemporary EP.

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


Saturday, March 16, 2024

The Blackjacks - Basic Blackjacks ep (1984, Homestead)

Yet more Boston guitar-rawk bluster.  The Blackjacks suspiciously remind me of another Beantown bunch, the equally bar-busting Classic Ruins, right down to the vocals in fact. However these guys are slightly more forward-thinking (along the lines of a more pedestrian Jim Carroll Band) not to mention even more ribald and apolitically correct. I wouldn't refer to these gents as innovators, but goddamn they're super tight and occasionally catchy (see "Dreaming Of Saturday Again"). Elsewhere you might encounter some bluesy or roots rock seasoning, albeit nothing excessive.  Apparently there was a double CD-R compilation of all of their recordings, but I have yet to encounter it.

01. The Generic N.Y.C. Woman
02. Dreaming Of Saturday Again
03. Junk Train
04. The Black Jacks' Manifesto (The Sweet Smell Of Flowers)
05. My Home Town
06. Demon Lover

Friday, March 15, 2024

Exploding White Mice 7" (1988, Greasy/Festival)

Demi-legends in Australia's garage-punk underground, the Exploding White Mice often veered to sheer power-punk overdrive, a la the Ramones to careen their point home. The flip side, of this wax, "Without Warning" is a bruising illustration of this, with an intense, not to mention speedy crush of guitars and all-guns-blazing histrionics in general. "Fear (Late at Night)" doesn't induce quite as much whiplash, but nobody would mistake it for a ballad. EWM released four albums and just as many more singles/eps in their 1983-1999 lifespan, and even gained a little bit of traction in North America by the middle of their tenure, but to a certain extent many of their recordings have been tough to come by in the Western Hemisphere.  

A. Fear (Late at Night)
B. Without Warning

Sunday, March 10, 2024

I'm on my last brocade, I've been cautiously laid and constantly harmed.

From 2023. A return to this band's gritty roots.

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


Saturday, March 9, 2024

The Texas Instruments - Magnetic Home (1993, Doctor Dream)

It's been awhile since I dedicated any meaningful space to the Texas Instruments.  About a decade and a half, and that's not an exaggeration.  I submitted their 1991 album Crammed Into Infinity way back in 2008. You might say the Instruments aren't a high echelon priority for me, but I enjoy what I've heard by them, albeit I still have some catching up to do regarding their output in the '80s.  At any rate, prior to hearing Magnetic Home for the first time, many of it's song titles struck me as a bit trite, even hackneyed.  Glad I didn't judge this book by it's cover though, because as with Crammed... this is another batch of earnest tunes that would have slotted in with anything populating college radio, say in the late-80s.  Vying for a similar aesthetic to what the Feelies achieved on Time For a Witness, T/I bore an appeal straightforward enough to have been embraced by a considerably lager audience, however the band's aplomb for sincerity and minor chords (not to mention career-long independent status) all but ensured they would never be adopted as the flavor-of-the-month.  Perhaps not an outright revelation, Magnetic Home, illustrates that these Austin, TX fixtures were worth every morsel of adulation their small but dedicated fanbase were gracious enough to bestow upon them.   

01. Hittin' it Hard
02. The Gift of Age
03. A Generation Beat Away
04. When i Found You
05. Don't Give YOur Life
06. Part of the Whole
07. Say Something
08. The Sweet Modern Word
09. Vision
10. Armagideon's Child
11. Magnetic Home

Sunday, March 3, 2024

I kicked around in the big bad world after you sold all my action figures...

From 2015.  This band's sixth but hopefully not final album.

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


Saturday, March 2, 2024

The Swimming Pool Q's - The Firing Squad For God ep (1987, DB)

Occasionally I share music not based wholly on it's merits, rather on other surrounding factors. Though I'm an admirer of the Swimming Pool Q's I can't profess to being a mondo fanatic of them, yet I know I likely have a decent quotient of readers who in fact are more appreciative of these Atlanta than I'll ever be. Hence my motive in sharing this EP, given that it contains several selections, that to my knowledge, never made the transition to the digital era. The record's title track is a gaudy, effects-laden surge of mechanized, heavy-handed studio excess that only an era like the '80s could have been responsible for. Pretty off-putting in comparison to the Q's relatively humble preceding efforts, but sardonically amusing, not unlike their contemporaries in say, the Screaming Blue Messiahs. It's backed with four b-sides, including a dollop of instrumentals (or quasi variants thereof) pretty much all of which border on frivolous. "Working in a Nut Plant," dating from 1982, is a fully realized tune however, and I find it's the most rewarding and recommendable item this slab of wax has going for it. Enjoy.     

01. The Firing Squad For God
02. El Presidenté
03. Working in the Nut Plant
04. Hip-Hype
05. Represidenté

Friday, March 1, 2024

00-Spies - demo (1996)

Better known as Double Naught Spies, this L.A.-based quartet made minor ripples in their local power pop sphere, and managed to crank out two albums before calling it quits.  Despite being demos, these three tracks sound fully realized, on the more guitars-y side of the spectrum I might add, slotting in splendidly with the likes of Super Deluxe, Material Issue, Gigolo Aunts and even Redd Kross.  I don't have much more in the way of details to dispel on these guys, but if this is your trip, you'll be happy to know that the band's back catalog is available in essentially one fell swoop on Bandcamp.

01. Dandelion
02. Jupiter
03. Love Letter Bomb

Sunday, February 25, 2024

I'm alone with Lucifer...

From 1990.

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


Tubular Face - An Acoustic Disturbance (1984, Closet)

Talk about music that was completely devoid of the prevailing norms of it's era.  Enter Tubular Face, a San Antonio, Texas duo (Mike Escamilla and Gilbert Garcia) whose homegrown, DIY penchant didn't have a stitch in common with say, A Flock of Seagulls or even ZZ Top (though I've read the band was in cahoots with Daniel Johnston).  T/F didn't stay hemmed-in to any one particular style, and while some of this record is in fact acoustic, some of the more enticing selections (check out bookends "Movie Star" and "Change My World") are plugged in and all the better for it. An Acoustic Disturbance is intermittently mellow, boasting lo-fi folk inclinations, and at other times idiosyncratic with some downright tweaked interludes.  If anything else, you'd swear this album was cut in the mid-'70s, as it's 1984 copyright date is somewhat deceptive. Interesting and occasionally intriguing stuff.

01. Movie Star
02. Two Feet of Snow
03. Circle
04. Macho Muchacho
05. Big Sister
06. Apocalypse Now
07. Nerve Gas Party
08. My House
09. Everything Will Work Out Fine
10. It's Almost Over
11. The Oppressor
12. If There's Anything I Can Do
13. Echo of a Scream
14. A Dream Shared by Two
15. Change My World

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Being this month's model is the best, but you change your mind and heart like you change your dress.

From 1981. This L.A. institution's oft overlooked third album.

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


Mystery Date - Zoom 7" (1985, Twilght)

Yet another single I've only been able to procure via ones and zeros. Despite not owning a physical copy, I know that Mystery Date (who were one of numerous bands with the same moniker - go figure) were Georgia denizens, possibly from the oft-noted Athens.  Beyond boasting some serious post-punk angularities, whether they were conscious of the fact or not, M/D were prescient enough to forecast the riot-grrrl movement, a dam that would all but burst in the not-too-distant future.  Sonically, they emanated a similar pigment to another Peach State cadre, Pylon, right down to some intermittently gruff vocal chops. Mystery Date bore a dazzling moxie, that for whatever the reason was never parlayed into a full-length.  

A. Zoom
B. Pink Ribbons

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Stone Telling - s/t (1994, Network Sound)

Some mixed feelings on this one, which I've flirted with sharing almost since I started this page in 2007. So what took so long?  Not quite sure, perhaps the timing.  Stone Telling sound a bit dated three decades after the fact.  Too melodic and accessible for straight-up hardcore, yet thematically, too contemplative and thoughtful to label pop-punk...albeit not any obvious stripe of emo either. With a somewhat regrettably over-processed guitar tincture this Southern Cali quartet slotted in sonically with Dag Nasty circa Field Day with less memorable songs and no bona-fide anthems to speak ok. That said, this is still a genuinely consistent listen, and these fellows exude little to be embarrassed of.  Go into this with measured expectations, and if you're anything like me you might come away from it pleasantly surprised.

01. Disappear Here
02. Easy
03. Reach
04. Almost Again
05. For Times
06. Always
07. Nothing Lasts
08. Shine
09. Every Breath