Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Falling Wallendas - s/t (1995, IMI)

Ever run a genre search on Ebay?  A query for "power pop" brought this one up week after week, until I finally relented and found an inexpensive copy on Amazon.  As it would turn out, the cleverly monikered Falling Wallendas were not true-blue adherents to the form, but they slotted in perfectly well on the more credible end of the alt-rock spectrum of their day.  You might discern trace elements of Jellyfish and the Judybats here and there, just nothing outright visionary.  My main beef with The Falling Wallendas is it's length, spanning no less than fifteen numbers when nine or ten would have sufficed.  You'll find your fair share of "better" tracks - "A Good Thing," "Dummy," and "The Adorable Horrible," but unfortunately a good number of lesser ones as well. 

01. A Good Thing
02. The Adorable Horrible
03. hyde & Seek
04. Monkey's Uncle
05. Mitchell Cooper
06. Hanging
07. Venus Kicked the Stars
08. Backwards Going
09. My Big Brain
10. Damn Spot
11. Sleeping Beauty
12. What Ever Happended to Jenny Fountain
13. Dummy
14. Lion on the Lamb
15. Agatha

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Green Magnet School - Blood Music (1992, Sub Plop)

I've been at this thing for almost ten years now, and it just occurred to me this week to feature something by Green Magnet School, a bygone Boston, MA enterprise whose tone might ring a tad abrasive stacked up to what I normally offer.  Blood Music sounds like the byproduct of copious Big Black listening binges, but Steve Albini had no hand in the creation of this album.  GMS bore an icy post-punk demeanor, cloaked in a skittishly avant latticework, absorbing Joy Division’s urgent pulse and Sonic Youth’s artful mystique.  Their arrangements were challenging and bustling, often exuding a fever dream intensity with a bedrock of dissonance at their core.  Blood Music indulges in freaky guitar squalls aplenty, not to mention more frantic arpeggios than you can shake your proverbial stick at.  It's all-out Defcon 2 on the bristling opener, "Ellipse" while the Dadistic disco stomp of “Sonic Extermination” taps into an early PIL vein escalating to something even more enticing as the tune builds. “Noxin” delivers an even more compulsive groove, but surprisingly, the record concludes on a near-melodic note of resolution in the guise of the six-minute "Windshield."  Blood Music fascinates and transfixes with it's myriad textures, dynamics and motifs, making it's messy viscous stream of red and white cells well worth the spillage.    

The band has made this and other recordings available gratis on Bandcamp, but this rip was entirely of my own making.

01. Ellipse
02. Throb
03. Package
04. Sonic Exterminator
05. Caldwell
06. Noxin
07. Barmecide Room
08. S
09. C U
10. Windshield

Sunday, January 15, 2017


No other clue this week other than a 1994 release date.  That should help narrow things down, right? 

Re-ups for January '17.

I was tardy in getting to a lot of your requests, so my apologies.  In addition, I haven't been doing my best in sharing new titles thus far in 2017, but hopefully that will turn around soon.  Thanks for your patience!

Didjits - Backstage Passout
The Ocean Blue - demos
Days Of... s/t LP
Super Friendz - Slide Show
Liquor Giants - Here
FacecrimeSex and Revolution ep
The Pursuit of Happiness - San Jose 5/27/89
Viva Caramel - s/t LP
Trunk - La-ugh
The Furlongs - 2300 Ward
Buzz of Delight - Soundcastles ep
Mod Lang - Where Your Heart ep
The Dazzlers - Feeling Free
Heartbeats - Pulsator
The Spliffs - House of Seven MP3 or FLAC
Pedaljets - demo tape
D.D. Ranged - s/t ep
Revelons - Anthology
Rotator Cuff - s/t ep
V/A - The Living Room: A Compilation
V/A - Teen Line Vol. 2
Situation at 1200 - De-luxe ep
Sleepasaurus - It's All Written Down
Pollyanna - Delta City Skies
Hardship Post - Hack ep & 7"
Six Going on Seven - Method Actor 7"

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chixdiggit - Best Hung Carrot in the Fridge ep (1995/99, Lance Rock/Delmonico)

Their moniker begins with a "C," but the adjectives that describe them most appropriately begin with the thirteenth letter of the alphabet - muscular and melodic.  The little band that could from Calgary made waves when their self-titled LP on Sub Pop detonated in 1996.  Piledriving, fun, tight, and eminently powerful, Chixdiggit! was composed of every iota of these aesthetics, which coincidentally or not worked wonders for Chix key inspirational antecedents, The Ramones.  A crush of guitars, KJ Jansen's bratty prose, and an unyielding, propulsive rhythm section made this Canadian quartet keepers, and after imbibing their full length a few dozen times I was itching to hear more. I took it upon myself to do a little backtracking, and I obtained their 1995 7", Best Hung Carrot in the Fridge on the Nanaimo, BC Lance Rock label.  The title track, a cheeky but bracing punk pop ditty concerning ones...let's say, nether regions, was nothing short of the finest 126 seconds of tuneage I had encountered this side of anything on Flip Your Wig.  Not a nanosecond is wasted, and Chixdiggit's surge of power-chords and hooks won't relent to save your life (not that you'd want 'em to of course).  "Best Hung Carrot" was backed by two songs including a punchy rendition of George Michael's "Faith."  I'm presenting the 1999 CD reissue of the single in question, which pads on five bonus tracks entailing among others the popular Chixdiggit! demo, "I Should Have Played Football in High School."

01. Best Hung Carrot in the Fridge
02. Grungebaby
03. Faith
04. I Should Have Played Football in High School
05. Mila, Caroline and Me
06. King of Kensington
07. Church
08. My Debutante

Sunday, January 8, 2017

I'm waitin' for the record sale.

A double-barreled, Ramonesy assault from down under.  This compilation purloins the best from this Aussie outfit's 1990-93 recordings.


Pixies - Gone to Heaven live 12-22-91

Given that this will sell itself, I'll keep the text brief.  I never subscribed to the notion that the Pixies peaked on their first two albums, Surfer Rosa and Doolittle, urgent and incendiary as they were.  Their final album with the original Francis/Deal/Santiago/Lovering lineup, Trompe le Monde was hardly a slouch, surging from one euphioric blast to another.  This live boot captures the Pixies at the nadir of what was expected to be their final run (an ongoing reunion would commence in 2004).  They hardly shied away from the then-current Trompe... material, and the gig was all the stronger for it (though they really should've shoehorned "Planet of Sound" somewhere into the setlist).

01. Rock Music
02. Cecilia Ann
03. Gouge Away
04. Motorway to Roswell
05. Alec Eiffel
06. Velouria
07. Crackity Jones
08. Distance Equals Rate Times Time
09. Manta Ray
10. Mental Dance
11. Lovely Day
12. Subacultcha
13. Letter to Memphis
14. Palace of the Brine
15. Ed is Dead
16. Wave of Multilation
17. Monkey Gone to Heaven
18. Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons

MP3  or  FLAC

Saturday, January 7, 2017

V/A - Best of the blog mix 2016.

Well, I'm about a week tardy in dispensing my annual distillation of the creme de la creme of my presentations from the year just passed.  If you discount all of the temporary "Mystery Monday" entries, I shared approximately 140 titles in 2016, down a good hundred or so from say, three years ago.  I'm getting more slack, and I don't reckon that 2017 will be the year I rebound, but we'll see.  No less than eighteen of the 23 selections this hypothetical mix-tape involves came to market in the 1980s, illustrating just what a fertile and rewarding decade that was.  I've been hip to some of the names on this roster for what seems like an eternity - the Dangtrippers, Wishniaks and The Ocean Blue, while others like the Water Walk, Grey Parade, Beef People and Gone Daddy Finch made their way onto my sonar a lot more recently.

I sequenced the music from mellow to mid tempo to decidedly heftier and freewheeling, employing a similar build up schematic that I have in years passed.  There are going to be fluctuations in volume MP3 bitrates, that I didn't have the opportunity to balance out, so my apologies in advance.  I've hyperlinked the artist names to take you directly to the original entries.  Enjoy this veritable feast of ones and zeros, and of course, don't be a stranger.
01. The Water Walk - Anyways
02. Dream Academy - Poised on the Edge of Forever (early vers)*
03. Ocean Blue - Vanity Fair (1988 demo)
04. Beef People - Fragile
05. The Upbeats - The Laser Beam Boys
06. Psychic Archie - No Pictures of Dad*
07. Fossil - Martyr's Wife
08. Christmas - Stupid Kids
09. Reaction Formation - Teenage Jesus
10. Lovers Under Pressure - Epitaph
11. Wishniaks - Point of No Return
12. Gone Daddy Finch - Sunshine Sister
13. Dangtrippers - When Time Runs Out
14. Drones - Red
15. Trunk - Sunbake
16. UV Prom - Upper Room
17. Figure 5 - I Get Lonely
18. Grey Parade - Flags Are Burning
19. Dead Neighbors - The Ultimate Goal
20. The Restless - The Contender
21. Rolls Rock - Peggye's on Qualudes
22. Flys - 16 Down
23. The Sweat - You Gotta Lotta Nerve

*previously unshared

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Didjits - Signifies My Go-T tape (1986). R.I.P. Doug Evans

Word went around New Year's Eve that Didjit's bassist Doug Evans passed away at the age of 53.  Evans constituted one third of the Champaign by-way-of Mattoon, IL's punk-n-roll legends, whose penchant was sardonic yet nothing short of euphoric.   The Rick Simms-led combo tapped out in the mid-90s on the heels of their 1993 LP, Que Sirhan SirhanTouch & Go Records has kept the band's five albums and one ep in print (if only in the cloud), but prior to their debut, Fizzjob, the Didjits christened their high-octane enterprise with a series of demo tapes, one of which I'm making available here. On these nascent 1986 recordings the barnstorming trio have all their bricks
in a row, with the mortar to follow in a few years time on exponentially more sophisticated platters like Hey Judestar and Hornet PinataSignifies My Go-T is but one of three early cassettes included in the Didjits Wikipedia discography, original copies of which must be rarer than hens teeth.

A Gofundme donation til has been established to help defray Doug Evans end of life expenses.  You can read more about the Didjits here.  The link for their semi-offical live album, Backstage Passout has been revived as well.

01. Jerry Lee
02. Stumpo Knee Grinder
03. Shavehead Monkey Duster
04. One Dead Hippy
05. Signifies My Go-T
06. Jumbo Macho Big
07. See My Scar
08. Pet Funeral
09. (Ridin Your) Train
10. Fix Some Food Bitch
11. Do Smiles Give You Away
12. What Gives You the Right

Sunday, January 1, 2017

He hands the drill to his son, and he says "go to it."

The second b-sides and rarities collection from an indie rock institution.  Includes Magnetic Fields, Motorhead and Verlaines covers all within the span of about an hour.  Will wonders ever cease?


Saturday, December 31, 2016

V/A - Powerpearls Vols 1 & 2

Here it is folks, night eight.  Have I saved the best for last?  That's entirely your determination my friends.  There's one thing I can say for sure.  Wilfully Obscure hasn't been deficient on compilations over the years, much less ones related to the genres specified in the blog header.

I'd say the granddaddy of all various artists series might involve Hyped to Death's Teen Line dynasty, which I've already posted five installments of.  That alphabetically curated saga pruned the finest and most visceral moments from an array of primo '70s and '80s vinyl sides from the halcyon era of American power pop, but who was keeping watch of the fort on the other side of the pond and beyond?

That's roughly were Powerpearls comes in.  The emphasis on this series was predominantly on UK and European exports, even stretching down to Oceania on occasion.   On top of that, not only is power pop represented, but equal portions punk and mod to boot.
Unlike the Teen Line comps which had a traceable source of origination, Pearls was the work of a compiler who was comparatively unknown, giving these collections more of a "bootleg" reputation.

Between the first two volumes of Powerpearls 36 acts are accorded their moment in the sun, even the most recognizable of which (TV21, Tweed, The Jags, and The Shivers) have nothing approaching mainstream notoriety.  Then again, that precisely the point, and these long-players put a premium on quality exposing us to shoulda been hits by the likes of Excel, The Various Artists (as in the band), The Blades,  Tours, Strangeways - not to mention a spins outside of England including three minute miracles by such enterprising Yanks as the Verterbats, Atlantics and The Go, plus we get an early rarity from none other than the Fastbacks, circa '81.  Canada is represented by The Bureaucrats, a New Zealand export dubbed the Techtones chime in with half of an ace 1980 single, and Oz gets in on the act with the spunky Leftovers.  You'll even find a few non-English speaking contenders on Vol. 2. 

One thing to bear in mind before you dig into everything.  These are vinyl records, that were presumably, in most cases, sourced from the original singles.  There are a handful of glitches amidst these grooves that I couldn't do squat about.  They're pretty much kept to a minimum though, and as compensation the music is pretty sublime on more than one occasion.  The back cover of each record provides brief biographical on the bands, and I kept the pics full size so you can (hopefully) read them.  Cheers.

Powerpearls Vol. 1
01. Really 3rds - Everyday, Everyway
02. Straight Up - One Out, All Out
03. Bureaucrats - Feel the Pain
04. Tours - Language School
05. The Gents - Modern Time
06. The Atlantics - One Last Night
07. Jimmy Edwards - Nora's Diary
08. Techtones - That Girl
09. Famous Players - Who's Kissing You
10. Tweed - Fashion
11. The Distractions - It Doesn't Bother Me
12. TV21 - Playing With Fire
13. The News - The Kids Are Dancing
14. Fastbacks - It's Your Birthday
15. The Rousers - Susan's Day
16. The Squares - No Fear
17. Small World - Liberty
18. Local Heroes - Blast the Pop!

MP3  or  FLAC

Powerpearls Vol.  2
01. The Moderns - Got to Have Pop
02. Shivers - Teen Line
03. The Vertebrats - Diamonds in the Rough
04. The Go - Don't Take Her Away
05. The Blades - Ghost of a Chance
06. Kolla Kestaa - Kirjoituksia Kellarista
07. The Names - Too Cool to Dance
08. Strangeways - Show Her You Care
09. The Jags - Dumb Blonde
10. Vogue - Pill Girl
11. Toys - Breakdown
12. Protex - Just Want Your Attention
13. Excel - Rock Show
14. Leftovers - Killing Time
15. Various Artists - The Original Mixed Up Kid
16. Telegrama - Chica del Metro
17. Ratsia - Ole hyvä nyt
18. Longport Buzz - Fun

MP3  or  FLAC

Friday, December 30, 2016

Redd Kross - Hot Issue & Oh Canada! Hot Issue 2, Show World Live (2016, Redd Kross Fashion)

It didn't occur to me until today, but Redd Kross's tenure has spanned four decades (though not a whole lot of this one).  Funny how the math works out like that.  From bratty, idealistic punks to transcendent pop/rock brokers the brothers McDonald have always been...themselves (albeit on a slightly inconsistent performing basis).  Since their third album, 1987's transitional Neurotica, Redd Kross' songwriting has been nothing short of meaningful - skewed and conspicuous as that meaning frequently is, and much like their adopted moniker they've truly matured into an institution.  But I probably don't have to tell you this.

This entry concerns two very limited run offerings the band has been self releasing...and selling exclusively on Ebay.  Why the online auction behemoth is their sales outlet of choice isn't entirely clear, as they could sell their music for fixed price anywhere, but that's hardly a gripe.  Last year we were treated to a CD-r reissue of their self-titled, 1981 ep, but the gravy began to flow in full this June with the roll-out of Hot Issue, a vinyl-only LP limited to a scant 500 pressing, showcasing predominantly unreleased studio material.  Curated by Jeff McDonald, Hot Issue is something of a die-hard's holy grail, particularly for ears keen on R/Ks mid-90s studio records Phaseshifter and Show World.  Why?  Well, that's where a plethora of Hot Issue's bona fide studio outtakes are derived from (though frustratingly, we aren't provided with track-by-track dates of origination).  At least one selection (presumably "Puss 'N Boots' from the Hell Comes to Your House comp) stretches back to 1983, and the record even fast-forwards to 2007 for "Don’t Take Your Baby Downtown," a revealing and highly appealing demo of 2012's Researching the Blues "Stay Away From Downtown."  Overall, it's fun listen, and BTW, if you're gonzo for Marc Bolan and T Rex, "Insatiable Kind" and "Motorboat" just might be worth their weight in glammy gold.  For more details on Hot Issue, check out Redd Kross's website...but don't expect to find a purchase link.  Naturally, I'm sharing the whole kit and caboodle below.

Hot on the heels of Hot Issue came the compact disk, Oh Canada! Hot Issue 2, Show World Live, similarly confined to a few hundred copies.  A seemingly simple premise of a live Redd Kross gig in Vancouver, BC in 1997 is more rewarding than expected, with the group firing on all cylinders and tauter than a duck's behind.  The first bundle of tunes draw on those '90s-era studio records I mentioned above, but Oh Canada! concludes with an exclusive four-part song suite.  It commences with a brief traipse through Linda Rondstat's "Silver Threads and Golden Needles," and gets considerably more long-winded and indulgent from there.  Not enough to scare you off mind you. Trust me, you'll get through it.

I'm making both disks available in their entirety below, but the links may disappear sometime in the near future, so don't sleep!  Bon appetit.

Hot Issue
01. Insatiable Kind
02. Motorboat
03. Pop Show
04. Take it Home
05. That Girl
06. It's a Scream
07. Switchblade Sister
08. Puss N Boots
09. Moon Sun (No Limit)
10. Don’t Take Your Baby Downtown
11. Starlust
12. Born to Love You

Oh Canada! Hot Issue 2, Show World Live
01. The Lady in the Front Row
02. Switchblade Sister
03. Stoned
04. Jimmy's Fangtasy
05. Mess Around
06. Annie's Gone
07. Silver Threads and Golden Needles.mp3
08. Follow the Leader
09. It's in the Sky
10. Huge Wonder

Hot Issue:
Oh Canada!:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Sweat - No More Running (1981, Double D/2007, 1977 Records)

Clive Culbertson was the driving force behind Ireland's The Sweat, but if you don't recognize either of those names you're hardly alone, especially if you find yourself Stateside.  For that matter, given the bent of No More Running's reissue liner notes, you'd get the impression they didn't make a dent in the British Isles either, due to a poor distribution effort on the part of The Sweat's label, Double D.  Furthermore, this is one record that really deserved an entry in John Borack's Top 200 power pop albums roster in the 2007 Shake Some Action book.  No More Running is sincerely that white-hot of a contender, entailing such deftly crafted, melodious salvos as "You Gotta Lotta Nerve," "How Much Longer" and "Isn't Anything Sacred Anymore."  Culbertson's aptitude often borders the same hallowed turf as Shoes, Jesus of Cool-era Nick Lowe, and the Nerves (yes, that Nerves).  When you place this high a premium on hooks the results are bound to be good, and in this case they're veritably off the charts.

Sonically, the fidelity on No More Running dangles towards the "lo" end of the spectrum, oozing warm, analogue hues that couldn't be replicated in this day and age no matter how much effort was put forth to do so.  In short, this is power pop as it used to be made, and Culbertson happens to be an immensely unheralded practitioner of the medium.  The 2007 reissue on the Japanese 1977 imprint includes seven bonus cuts, including four from Clive's precursor act No Sweat.  Additional material from this era was also committed to tape under his own name, and is available on a separate release that I can hopefully attend to later (and you shouldn't have to wait a whole 'nother year to partake in it).

01. Isn't Anything Sacred Anymore
02. Here Comes Another Lonely Night
03. No More Running
04. You Gotta Lotta Nerve
05. I Can Hardly Wait
06. Can't Help Myself
07. I Must Be Crazy
08. Please Don't Say You Love Me
09. We All Make Mistakes
10. Why'd Ya Have to Lie
11. Do You Wanna Break My Heart
12. How Much Longer

Bonus tracks:

(The following all recorded by No Sweat)
13. Start All Over Again
14. You Should Be So Lucky
15. Lete Your Love Shine On
16. Ginny Don't Cry

more by The Sweat
17. Hey Little Girl
18. Nobody Told Me
19. Don't Say a Word

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Jagged Rocks On The Perimeter - The Soldier And The Painter (1986)

Sometimes MP3s just aren't enough.  I met up with Jagged Rocks On The Perimeter several years ago via another music blog and was so impressed I sought out my own copy of their record, presented here today.

This might set a record for the briefest write up for one of our Chanukah posts, simply because these Arizona kids never garnered much of reputation, webwise anyway.  Mid-paced jangle pop was their fixation, with a keen emphasis on the Anglophile genus.  The Soldier And The Painter leans on the heft of more visible practitioners like the Smiths and Dream Academy, falling well short of any wholesale plagiarism.  Jagged Rocks... tamp the pretension level to a hair north of non-existent, which is precisely where it should be. Selections like the crisp title track and the lilting "Sunday at Dusk" gently foreshadow the endeavors of near-future US colleagues the Ocean Blue and Springhouse.  And I'd bet my bottom dollar this quartet was a shoo-in on collegiate AM/FM frequencies.

Even though I've harbored a personal copy of Soldier... for a good three or four years now, I've opted to forgo sharing a personal rip, as the pitch appears be acting up on my turntable.  In short, a FLAC version may follow within the next month or so once I get my act together, but for now, here's a pristine MP3 rip.

01. The Soldier And The Painter
02. Compression
03. Lana
04. untitled fragment
05. Woods
06. Sunday at Dusk
07. In a City South
08. Likes and Truth
09. New Country
10. Dream Station

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Neon Rock Garden (NRg) - Perfect Sounds...Were Never Found tape (1987)

So you might be asking yourself, why in the world in an oddly-monikerd and almost thoroughly unknown outfit dubbed Neon Rock Garden occupying one of merely eight coveted Chanukah slots on Wilfully Obscure?

Truth be told, this Hickory, NC trio made their presence felt on these pages in 2012, by way of a fantastic 1986 7" I plundered off Ebay. Both cuts, "Never Listen" and "Don't Say Baboon" were incontrovertibly the best of both whirls, blending the utmost strengths of fellow NC natives Let's Active and early U2.  A match made in noise-pop heaven as far as I was concerned, and when I learned of a cassette album, Perfect Sounds..., that was released in close proximity to the 45, I went on nothing short of a manhunt in obtaining said cartridge...or at the very least a reasonable facsimile thereof.  It took three years and personal contact with virtually all NRg members, but my persistence paid off late last year when original Gardener Mike Cook, hooked me up will all ten MP3s composing Perfect Sounds, as well as scans of the accompanying artwork.  The quest was fulfilled, and now I'm sharing the spoils with you.

As was the case with the "Never Listen" single, the tape was produced/recorded in it's entirety by Mitch Easter at his now fabled Drive-In Studio in Winston-Salem.  For the trio (Gene Preble on gits and vocals, Tina Pinnix rockin' the bass, and Craig Delinger presumably manning the drum kit) the collaboration was a thoroughly appropriate one, given NRg's adoption and/or adaptation of the "New South" sound which skewed heavily to Easter's own troupe, Let's Active and period combos like Dreams So Real, Love Tractor, and Matthew Sweet's Buzz of Delight.  The band's hometown of Hickory was nestled due west, halfway between Winston-Salem and Charlotte.  In short, this threesome was in very good company, but t'was not to be for long, for after Perfect Sounds this Neon delight would go dark.

I could go on and on about Gene's dazzling arpeggios, or NRg's urgent but tempered pace, or for that matter the near-anthemic tenor of so many of their tunes, but I'll spare you any further deconstruction.  Quite simply, this band emanated virtually everything I desire in music.  And although this tape was likely to be heard by a few hundred local fans, I like to think NRg approached the Perfect Sounds sessions as if it was a full fledged album, not merely a glorified demo.  Hope you concur.  BTW, an earlier (not to mention a tad more vulgar) NRg tape has been made available for public consumption on YouTube.

01. Sixty-one
02. Perfect Sounds
03. Big Shot
04. You Make Me
05. Only Child
06. Don't Say Baboon
07. Crimes
08. Never Listen
09. Why Do You Hate?
10. 20th Century Nero

Monday, December 26, 2016

Three EPs: Jim Basnight & the Moberlys, UV Prom, and Nuns of the Great West + bonus.

The premise of this one is pretty much identical to my singles spree from last night.  Three really exceptional short-form records that I deemed worthy of special representation.  I'm pretty certain all of these acts are making their Wilfully Obscure debut this evening.

Jim Basnight and the Moberlys - s/t ep (1984, Precedent)

Straight up, crankin' power pop from a Seattle fellow who's staked his very name on it.  Jim Basnight and Co. pull from inspirations ranging from the Beatles to contemporaries The Nerves and Plimsouls, with this self titled ep boasting four capable and highly potent numbers.  Jim's tact is fairly linear, yet immediately gratifying whether applying to the racing "Cinderella" or the Raspberries-inflected "I Want to Be Yours."  The man in question still performs frequently in the Pacific Northwest (soon to be the breakaway public of Cascadia, don'tcha know?). You can track his exploits here.

01. I Want to Be Yours
02. Cinderlla
03. I Need Your Love
04. Wherever You Take Me

MP3  or  FLAC

UV Prom - Field of Vision ep (1985, Cenotaph)

Info is scant to non-existent on this North Carolina, Comboland-era outfit whose entire discography may have began and ended with this record.  But a damn good record it is, which unsurprisingly was produced and engineered by that noted Tar Heel tag team, Don Dixon and Mitch Easter.  There are subtle post-punk inclinations infiltrating UV Prom's dense and occasionally moody pastiche, reminiscent of west coast counterparts Red Rockers and Wire Train.  In fact, this foursome would have slotted in nicely on the 415 Records roster.  A solid undercurrent of melody makes Field of Vision a must listen.  

MP3  or  FLAC

Nuns of the Great West - The World Ain't Safe ep (1988)

Finding this in the used bin at the always rewarding In Your Ear Records in Boston last year was a massive treat.  Nuns of the Great West were a Fredonia, NY based enterprise, which means they likely hobnobbed with homeboys (and girl) done good, 10,000 Maniacs.  Their sonic aptitude was sprite and clangy bearing oodles of that '80s college rock flair, but outside of western New York I have a hunch they were more left-off-the dial than left of it.  Sad thing that, as The World Ain't Safe illustrated the Nuns were off to a pretty vibrant start.  I'm also tacking on six bonus songs, originally made available on Nuns bassist and keyboard slinger Doug Arnold's Reverbnation site.  Enjoy.

01. Touch Your World
02. The Right and the Wrong
03. Dance, Move, March
04. Trouble in My Heart

Bonus Nun's spiel (incl as a folder of MP3s in the download): Back to you, Fuse, How Do you Sleep, The World Ain't Safe, What's it Like, You Never Believe Me.

MP3  or  FLAC

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Seven more scintillating singles.

This is a follow-up to last Chanukah's popular assemblage of fantastic, vintage 45s that I either recently acquired or finally got around to listening to in 2016.  At the end of the write-up is a link to download the entire bundle in MP3 or FLAC.  Here's the record-by-record breakdown of the whole ball of wax.

Faith. No Man - Quiet in Heaven b/w Song of Liberty (1983, Ministry of Propaganda)

Holy cow.  This was a find (and that's coming from someone who doesn't even own an original copy of the record).  Faith. No Man was a very, very early incarnation of Faith No More.  The only members that transitioned over to the platinum hit-makers were Roddy Bottom, Mike Bordin and Bill Gould.  Mike Patton and even Chuck Mosely were nowhere near the band when this 7" was cut.  M. Morris is the man on the mic.  Both songs bear a heavy handed Killing Joke influence, right down to the tribal percussion  A really cool, intriguing record even if The Real Thing wasn't your thing.  Check out the bio in the hyperlink above.  Note: I only have this one available in MP3.

Killing Joke - A New Day (dub)/A New Day (1984, EG)

And speaking of KJ, this was the record that got me through the front door, in a colossal way I might add.  Seeing the video for this (and "Eighties") on 120 Minutes launched me on a profound and vastly fulfilling post-punk trajectory.  Geordie's doomy but tuneful guitar lead-in had me enticed from second one, and Paul Ferguson's martial drum line couldn't have fit "A New Day" any better.  A perfect ten all the way around, and although Killing Joke put out many fine singles and records I think this one tops them all.

Lords of the New Church - Lil' Boys Play With Dolls 7" ep (2012, Devils Jukebox)

The untimely passing of Stiv Bators in 1990 has always posed a big "what if" for me.  Were he alive would he have reunited with the Dead Boys, Lords of the New Church, or both?  Neither perhaps?  Maybe we'd be Facebook friends.  Who knows.  The only thing I can confirm is that I was a fan, and when it came to the first LotNC album (a 1982 self-titled effort) few debuts have impressed me more.  This 7," which is supposedly limited to 300 copies, but seems more common, is obliviously a cash in.  We get a subtle remix of "Lil' Boys Play With Dolls," Stiv's homage to the New York Dolls, and two '82 live tracks on the flip, with the guitars a bit low in the mix unfortunately.   The tunes shine through though, and I hardly regret the purchase.

Klark Kent - Don't Care, b/w Thrills & Office Girls

Excellent as The Police were, they operated within considerably strict parameters.  No wonder Stewart Copeland opted for something on the side.  Klark Kent was his alias, and over the course of an EP and a handful of singles, Copeland manifested a nervier power pop stride that "the cops" only hinted at. Safe to say if early Elvis Costello was your bag, or Brit power pop in general, you might enjoy this.  BTW, all of the Klark Kent material was reissued on CD in the mid '90s as Kollected Works, but it's a heck of a lot scarcer than the original records.

The Wishniaks - Tickertape Trash b/w River (1990, Junk)

Philly's Wishniaks had been hiding in plain sight for years.  In fact, I recognized the name as far back as the '90s but didn't venture a listen until I got around to playing their wonderful 1988 Nauseous and Cranky ep just a few months back.  Smart and inspired power pop with an indigenous stripe, and even something of a serrated edge to boot.  Here's a single that came a couple years later that's nearly as vibrant, especially the thoughtful "River."

The Beef People - Fragile b/w Nothing You Can Do (1986, Zub)

Bit of a cold case, this one.  The only vital stats I have is that The Beef People were a co-ed, female fronted (Adrienne Meddock's the name) four piece from Greenville, SC.  "Fragile" has a quivery but entrancing snyth line running the gamut of it's all too fleeting 161 seconds.  Some serious homegrown magic on this one.  The flip, "Nothing You Can Do" is punkier and not as immediate, but hey, there's only two songs here, so I'll take what I can get.  Coincidentally, there was a completely different but concurrent crew dubbed The Beef People, also making the rounds.  Make your best effort not to get 'em confused.

Pylon - Crazy b/w M-Train (1981, DB)

Pylon were the epitome of 'cool' if there ever was such a thing.  Like the Beef Peeps, they were also a co-ed quartet, but made significantly bigger waves in their native Athens, GA not to mention numerous points beyond.  Some of the most affecting and curiosity-inducing post-punk you're likely to ever lay ears on.  "Crazy" was later covered by REM, and Michael Stipe has gone on to admit his jealousy of the original.  "M-Train" is angular as all-get-out, but that bass line is irresistible.  There's never been anyone like Pylon before or since.  Check out the reissues of Gyrate and Chomp (if you can still find them) plus a more recent live record from DFA Records.

MP3  or  FLAC

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Chills - Secret Box 1980-2000 (2001)

Well, this may not be as enticing as say, an eight disc Big Star box set (last year's premiere Chanukah upload) but for aficionados of Dunedin, New Zealand's most prominent purveyors of indie pop, the triple CD Secret Box will be sacrosanct nonetheless.  Behold, a warts and all smorgasbord of just about ever conceivable Chills song that never made it to the proper albums or the Kaleidoscope World compilation.  Limited to a mere 500 copies, the Secret Box was geared to the most die hard of fans, but it's hard to believe that after their initial volley of singles and 1987's Brave Words LP that virtually anyone who encountered those sacred sides of vinyl could be anything but a hardcore acolyte.

For the uninitiated, The Chills were arguably the flagship band for Flying Nun Records.  Anchored in Christchurch, New Zealand Flying Nun probably didn't launch with the intention of setting the world afire but despite it's relatively desolate locate the label fostered forward-thinking artists and gradually built their "brand" as a consistent and rewarding trademark of quality and creativity.  Kiwi cult legends including the The Clean, Bats, Straitjacket Fits and even more notably the Chills, put their label on the map.  In the eighties and early '90s it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that many a Flying Nun band set a higher bar for indie music in both hemispheres.

The Chills incorporated in 1980, but the world at large didn't catch wind of them until they got around to releasing classic singles like "Pink Frost," and their internationally disseminated debut full length Brave Words.  Frontman Martin Phillips has commandeered an array of Chills lineups on and off since, yet most of these configurations have demonstrated a firm semblance of chemistry and consistency.  Coincidentally or not, they wielded a similar sonic aesthetic to such anglophile contemporaries as the Teardrop Explodes and Echo and the Bunnymen.  Perhaps also coincidentally, the Chills traversed the same wavelength as C86-era Brit-pop combos like Close Lobsters and the Bodines.  Fine company to be part and parcel of, yet the Chills possessed a competent agility of their own design, which by the way made local New Zealanders like Split Enz look frivolous by comparison.

Phillips and his cohorts doled out no shortage of jangly chords, but fleshed their modus operandi with organs to boot, another telltale Chills earmark.  Speaking to some of the tunes occupying their first three full lengths (Brave Words, Submarine Bells and Soft Bomb) the band's compositions ranged from incendiary surges like "Oncoming Day" to buoyant, melodic confections including (but hardly limited to) "Heavenly Pop Hit."  For better or worse these songs aren't represented on Secret Box, at least not in their original iterations.  In fact, several great songs are MIA, but the thing to bear in mind is that this collection was designed for collectors who had long mined their commercial releases.  Nor is this an ideal jumping off point for neophytes.  If you're looking for an intro to the Chills, I would suggest going for the recently reissued Kaleidoscope World or even an equally representative compilation of archived BBC recordings.  Otherwise if you're looking to excavate, you'll find a brief synopsis of each disc in Secert Box below.  Also, make sure to note a painful omission I made from the second disc.  Special thanks to EVR who was instrumental in furnishing us with photos of the art/sleeve notes, all included in the folder of disc one.

Full tracklist available here.

Disc One: Sonic Bygones  
23 live selections that never quite transitioned to the studio, much less anywhere else but the stage, all tracked between 1980-85, save for a Coca-Cola jingle that closes things out.  In actuality, a few songs were retitled and retooled and were eventually cut for Chills records.  An interesting look into the band's rather raw, embryonic beginnings

MP3  or  FLAC

Disc Two: Salvaged Bullion  
Please note: tracks 9-20 are omitted, as they have recently been made available on the Chills BBC Sessions album.  Sorry!

More live rarities madness from the same era occupy the first portion of Salvaged Bullion, while the disc concludes with unreleased studio material including demos and outtakes, though I have to say some of which aren't particularly pivotal.  The flexi-disc version of "Oncoming Day," however, is not to be missed.  After cleaving off the BBC tracks, you're still left with a good 17 tunes.

MP3  or  FLAC

Disc Three: Singular Booty
Singular Booty is a 31-song clearinghouse of sorts, gathering up miscellaneous Chills b-sides, compilation appearances and general studio offal that never found a home on their full lengths.  Perhaps the strongest and most revealing of the three CDs.  Track source info is available in the art/liner notes folder found with disc 1. 

MP3  or  FLAC

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Watching the candles burn...BFD uploads return Saturday evening for Chanukah 2016!

In what has become an annual tradition on Wilfully Obscure (not to mention the ever increasing bane of my sanity) I'll be rolling out extra special, super duper entries over the week of Chanukah.   Beginning in 2012, I decided to spread the goodies out over the eight nights of Chanukah (check out the preliminary details for 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015.  This made sense on a couple of different levels.  For one, it gives me a convenient excuse to share several mind-blowing "gifts" instead of just one biggie on Christmas.  Secondly, Chanukah represents personal relevance to me.  We all know you were envious of that boy down the block who had a yarmulke festooned to his head, who was given the privilege of lighting the menorah, and of course, reveling in eight glorious nights of presents.  Once again, I'm paying it forward.  Previous Chanukah entries have featured Wire, Velocity Girl, Jellyfish, The Pursuit of Happiness and Redd Kross, but name recognition is not hardly a guarantee.  As in past years, there will definitely be familiar faces, but also several participants that have never garnered face-time on W/O.  As you may recall, I kicked things off with a BIG mondo bang last year.  This time around, the opening salvo will reveal itself as something of a Chill.

At the top of each Chanukah upload will be a thumbnail photo of a menorah, with the appropriate number of lit candles to denote each succeeding evening until all eight slots in the candelabra are occupied on the concluding night, December 31st.  Other than that the format will appear as usual, however some of the titles I'm gifting you will not only be available in MP3, but lossless FLAC as well. 

All of this begs the question, "Has Wilfully Obscure been holding out on us for the last 11 months?"  Somewhat...but not quite.  In short, the presents I plan on revealing over the eight nights of Chanukah are of considerably high caliber.  I like to think that everything I share qualifies as good to excellent, but to paraphrase that sage Orwellian dictum, some are more equal than others.  One final note of housekeeping - I will forgo Mystery Monday for the next week in order to maintain the continuity of the holiday as it falls on the calendar.  

See you Saturday 'round sundown. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Ultracherry Violet - tape (1992)

Here is what appears to be a demo from a band I featured in 2014, more specifically their full length I Fall to Pieces.  Bearing hefty plumes of
feedback and a billowy guitar sprawl, Ultracherry Violet peddle a mildly downcast din that will be familiar to virtually any connoisseur of shoegaze, dream pop, etc.  And being that this is a demo, the D.C. based quartet convey themselves in an even rawer context than on their aforementioned 1994 LP, often reminiscent of another contemporary east coast combo, Smashing Orange.  Ultracherry are nonetheless pretty easy to wrap your head around, even on the overstretched, near-twelve minute closer "Disinspired."  Enjoy (or not).

01. Losing My Friends
02. Yawn to Smile
03. This Girl I Know
04. Wayve
05. Disinspired