Saturday, October 31, 2009

Glide - Last (2000)

Well, here it is, the Last missing piece of the Glide puzzle that some of you have been clamoring for - and for good reason I might add. The songs contained herein were reportedly destined for, or at any rate destined to be perfected for the Sydney quartet's third proper album, succeeding their 1996 sophomore effort, Disappear Here, which I posted a couple years ago, along with their, debut Open Up and Croon, and the ep collection, Shrink Wrapped Real Thing. With the premature 1999 death of Glide's frontman and all around visionary, William Arthur, the third album of which I spoke above was not to be, at least not in it's completed form. Last falls somewhere between a thoughtful consolation prize and a sophisticated nightcap that shows Glide out in a melancholic blaze of glory.

Appropriately, the album commences with an excellent piano ballad, "Baby Now," a piece that in itself is a testament to Arthur's affecting songwriting capabilities that perhaps had yet to peak. For me, the refrain of "You're going to need a bed for two, 'cause you'll never peel me from you," in the chorus of "Bed For Two," is both achingly, yet soothingly representative of his romantic inclinations, and furthermore exacerbates the sobering reality that the man who penned it would deliver no more. The inclusion of four Arthur 4-track home demos are equally as fitting and moving. You can download all of the aforementioned Glide albums here, as well as a fan-compiled b-sides collection.
01. Baby Now
02. I Wonder
03. Show Me
04. Bed for Two
05. Always Fall
06. Spit & Smile
07. You're Welcome
08. Slink
09. Pull in Your Claws

I've decided it wouldn't be too smart to host this album anymore, now that it has been made available on iTunes.  From what I understand some physical copies might be available through Glide's website.  Go here for all the pertinent details and links.  If you're encountering Glide for the first time, check out the handful of tunes they have streaming on their page, or go with the 30 second clips on iTunes linked above! 

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Killjoys - Gimme Five (1996, WEA Canada)

By request, here's the second album from one of Canada's best exports of the '90s, The Killjoys. Gimme Five was forged in a nearly identical mold to it's predecessor, Starry, previously shared this September. Translation: more punky, power chord-ridden rawk with significant nods to The Lemonheads and the Doughboys. Gotta love it.

01. Rave + Drool
02. Like I Care
03. Sick of You
04. Like a Girl Jesus
05. Soaked
06. Space Girl

07. Brand New Neighbor
08. Look Like Me
09. C-monkey
10. Everything
11. Grown Up Scared
12. Exit Wound
13. Rec Room

http://netkups.com/?d=91693675f1bd5

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Charlie Burton and the Hiccups - I Heard That (1985, Wild)

Following up my Millions post from a couple days ago, is yet another vintage entry from the not-so-thriving hotbed of Lincoln, NE. Charlie Burton, with Hiccups in tow, play Rockpile-ish "pub-abilly" with graceful, if not always rewarding aplomb. With it's feistier moments (virtually all of which are contained on side one) such as "Not Too Much in Common (Anymore)," and "Dead Giveaway" somewhat evoking the rootsy propulsion of Elvis Costello's My Aim is True classic, "Mystery Dance," Burton's modus operendi is crystal clear. For more background info, click the hyperlink above for his homepage, and read what Trouser Press has to extol on the man. For more insight, fix your gaze on Robert Cristagau's assessment of said LP below:

The Hiccups make with good old guitar, bass, and drums while Charlie fakes some rockabilly up front, and when it works it's quite catchy in an utterly received sort of way. The conservatism isn't annoying or boring because although Charlie loves this music--listen to "One Man's Trash"--he doesn't give a damn for roots or form. He just wants to write some songs. I'm not sorry he doesn't share my liberal respect for Vietnam and world hunger, and when he diddleybops through his parents' coronaries I know why. Inspirational Verse: "Water's thick, but blood is thicker/Daddy (Mommy) had a bum, bum ticker." B+
 
01. Not Too Much in Common (Anymore)
02. All Time Low
03. Roadkill
04. Dead Giveaway
05. Hungry for Love
06. Creatures of Habit
07. Bum Ticker
08. Is That Wishfull Thinking (On My Part)
09. The "O" Song
10. Another Vietnam
11. One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure
12. Nanook of the North

http://netkups.com/?d=13dc1f7936e5a

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Millions - M is for Millions (1991, Smash)

I can't believe I let this one slip by on the blog for all these years. Signed to the same tiny Polygram subsidiary Chris Mars was on back in the early '90s, Lincoln, NE's completely neglected Millions made this debut corker of an album for the seemingly unsupportive label. Though there's no denying mouthpiece Lori Allison by far and away steals The Millions collective spotlight, Harry Dingman III's chimey, resonating fretwork is featured almost as prominently. (BTW, the band's lineup also featured For Against drummer, Greg Hill). The Primitive's meet U2? Sorta. The Millions commercial aspirations were blatantly obvious, but M is for Millions big budget studio sheen hardly detracts from it's stirring songcraft, housing a pair of 'perfect 10s,' "Smiling and Shaking" and "Sometimes," both worth the band's namesake in currency, as well as cuts like "Riga (Freedom)" and "Ordinary Men," that fall just shy of that lofty ranking. After exiting Polygram the Millions independently released an utterly forgettable and unrepresentative follow-up, Raquel which I would recommend to no one. Instead, chase down M is for Millions with some early demos on their posthumously created Myspace page.

Update 8/26/13:  A re-tweaked and greatly expanded reissue of M is for Millions is available from CD Baby.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Short, sharp, suitcase.

Taking a few days off. Try not to have too much fun without me.

Will be back early next week.

The Reivers - Saturday & End of the Day demos

Way back when I started this blog, I enlightened (or in some cases, simply reminded) you, of Austin, TX's long-departed Reivers, formally known as Zeitgeist. So far as I know, the link for their first album, Translate Slowly is still live. In that two-year old post, I mentioned all kinds of stuff about how The Reivers were part of a little known, folk/modern-rock movement sometimes referred to as "The New Sincerity,” which you can educate yourself on by reading this article.
After Translate came and went, The Reivers were scooped up by none other than Capitol Records for their 1987, Don Dixon-produced album Saturday, and it's followup, '89s End of the Day. Amazingly, especially considering the era, The Reivers edgy guitar-rock was not glossed over or stricken with the typical major label white wash. In fact, the demos for these two records often provide a note-for-note blueprint for the finished product (though the mixes here are a bit more stimulating). The EotD demo sessions yielded a considerable number of outtakes, including a taught, gnawingly catchy run through of Daniel Johnston's "Walking the Cow." "Light My Way" and "Fooled So Many" are worth their weight in power chords as well. Enjoy (or not). 
Saturday demos
01 title unknown
02 True Love
03 What Am I Doing?
04 Electra
05 Secretariat
06 Once In A While
07 Jeanie
08 Bidin' Time
09 Saturday
10 In Your Eyes
11 Ragamuffin Man
12 A Test 
End of the Day demos
01 Your Secrets Are Not Safe
02 Fooled So Many
03 Cut Above
04 Inside Out
05 Walking The Cow
06 Star Telegram
07 Almost Home
08 End of the Day
09 Tell Me So
10 Discontent of Winter
11 It's About Time
12 He Will Settle It
13 Lazy Afternoon
14 Dude Man Hey
15 On Green Dolphin Street
16 Truth To Tell
17 He Will Settle It (acoustic)
18 Light My Way
19 Tell Me So

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Ramrods - Jivin' n' Twistin' ep (1986, Kentucky Rifle)

Did the word 'ramrod' not have a have a homosexual connotation in 1986 or are these the coolest teen boys in all of history? (from Fagatron 2093 blog).

Though they only had one ep (this one) to their credit, Kenmore, NY's (that's Buffalo to you) Ramrods seemed to occupy a special place in the hearts and minds of western New York's hipster music cognoscenti, both past and present. Behold, an unassuming, pubescent quintet from the suburbs of snowdrift country as they skillfully wind their way through a trio of rhythmically sophisticated garage rock numbers, with the agility and mastery of men twice their senior. Call it "maximum power pop." 
 
More songs were recorded. Many of them in fact, some of which finally saw the light of day on a limited cd-r to coincide with a 2005 reunion concert at Buffalo's Mohawk Place. While that disk may be the subject of a future Wilfully Obscure post, the prospect of a proper CD reissue of Jivin' along with more material from this era was bandied about at the time of said reunion, but I've heard nary a word since. Any of you old schoolers in the know about the Ramrods, don't hesitate to flood the comments section... 
 
A. Fun Night
B1. Metamorphosis
B2. Feel It 
 

Dangtrippers - Incantation 7" ep (1987, South East)

The Dangtrippers were an excellent troupe of jangle merchants who called Iowa City home during their mid-80s to early '90s run. Hovering to the left of the dial, the quartet were responsible for a pair of solid long-players, 1989's Days Between Stations, and Transparent Blue Illusion shortly thereafter, the latter of which you can grab from Power Pop Criminals. This thoroughly winsome three-songer predates Days Between Stations by a little bit, and was a beacon for some wonderful offerings to come. There are trace elements of Richenbacher-esque pysche pop sparkling throughout "Girl Who Knew Tomorrow," but the Dangtrippers overarching technique was more in league with the Miracle Legion, early Connells, and Dreams So Real. You can read Trouser Press' obligatory take on the band here.

A. Incantation
B1. Big Fear
B2. Girl Who Knew Tomorrow

http://netkups.com/?d=1351f09fd7045

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Terrible Parade - Where Were You When the Lights Went (1990, Presto!)

It's a wonder I didn't hear about this band ages ago when they were still making records. The Terrible Parade were a Cleveland four-piece with a penchant for chiming post-punk musiq a la the Smiths, Ocean Blue, and For Against, without drawing from any of those particular influences excessively. During their eight year run that kicked off in 1982, the Terrible Parade recorded scores of songs, a bakers dozen of which are compiled on this more than representative platter. Where Were You... was actually expanded and reissued for CD which I would recommend obtaining here. Tracks from this album, along with a slew of other material are scattered over the course of other digital-only releases available from online vendors Emusic, Amazon, and itunes. This rip was taken directly from my vinyl copy, and should function merely as a sampler given that Terrible Parade's back catalog is now at your disposal for just a meager fee.

01. When I'm Waiting
02. Thunder
03. A Sense of Betrayal
04. Big World
05. Not Our Time
06. Guardian Angel
07. Halfway to Nowhere
08. Indictment
09. Talk in a Vacuum
10. Masquerade
11. Turn for the Worst
12. In the Storm
13. Soul Sister

http://netkups.com/?d=6371f1de57e2d

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gladhands - All is Well (That Ends Well) - Brilliant Charade and more (1993-99)

To know '90s power pop is to know Big Deal Records, a New York label that was the preeminent propagator of such burgeoning acts as The Wondermints, Baby Lemonade, Barely Pink, as well as the Jordon Oakes-curated Yellow Pills compilations. Big Deal was also home to a North Carolina by way of Omaha threesome (and occasionally a quartet as depicted to the right) dubbed The Gladhands, who struck me as the miracle lovechild of the Posies and Greenberry Woods. Their first two official albums for the taste-making imprint were 1995's From Here to Obscurity and La Di Da a year thereafter. A third Gladhands album, Wow and Flutter (featured on these pages last year) was slated for release by Big Deal in 1999. Although advance promo copies of Wow... made their way to the press, the release fell through entirely when the label was abruptly sold early that year, though it did see the light of day in CD racks in Japan.

While these three LPs charted the natural maturity and musical adeptness of the band, they had a precursor that few outside the Gladhands' most die-hard following were acquainted with, a 1993, ten song cassette demo called Brilliant Charade. Charade was to the Gladhands what Failure was to the Posies - a budget-conscious recording designed to woo nightclubs and potential record labels, that just so happened to be substantive enough to warrant a formal, wide-scale release. And luckily enough, Brilliant Charade was released to the world at large on CD in 2001, but only available as a Japanese import via the consistently impressive Air Mail Recordings label. As the bio on the bio on their Myspace page professes, the Gladhands may not have hit their stride until they went digital on the aforementioned Big Deal releases, but the group's lyrical acumen and jaunty jangle rock showcased on Charade was still miles ahead of most of their contemporaries.
My copy of Charade was passed along to me in a cd-r trade years ago (didn't have the coin to spring for the pricey import). I believe the rip on the cd was from an original tape, not the reissue. Also appended were twelve additional Gladhand's rarities, including 7" sides, Japanese LP bonus tracks, as well as compilation and tribute appearances. For full source details, checkout the scan of the tray card in the folder. Almost 80 minutes of great listening here folks!

Brilliant Charade
01. Learning to Hide
02. Your Own Worst Enemy
03. Brilliant Charade
04. Man of Letters
05. All is Well
06. Must Mean Love
07. Worthless One
08. Hangin' on Every Word
09. The Doledrums
10. Two Weeks
bonus goods:
11. She's a Disaster
12. Do You Have a Reservation?
13. Sisters
14. Play On (Raspberries)
15. Promise Her Anything
16. Andy Please
17. Be Without
18. Magic 8 Ball
19. Magic (Pilot cover!)
20. Southern Girls (yep, the Cheap trick classic)
21. All is Well
22. Getting Closer

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Flamin' Groovies - Members Edition "mystery" CD (1997, United Audio Entertainment)

While I'm far from an authority on The Flamin' Groovies, I do have an appreciation for them, so when I saw this rather miscellaneous collection in a bargain rack at FYE a couple years ago, I laid my $4 on the counter and went for it. There were lots of familiar titles (which I'll get to in a moment) to entice me, but the cheap packaging and rather vague Members Only title reeked of unlicensed, sub-par alternate takes - and I was probably right about that first part. Essentially this is the Flamin' Groovies covering the Flamin' Groovies, ostensibly live in the studio, quite effectively at that. However, the author of the liner notes, in all his/her infinitive wisdom, completely leaves us in the dark regarding the circumstances of these recordings. No dates, no line-up info, pretty much nothing save for a concise bio of the band spread across three panels of the booklet. Here's the kicker - on this disk, bizarrely enough, the Groovies cover the Hoodoo Gurus 1985, Mars Needs Guitars track, "Bittersweet." If nothing else, it's inclusion is incriminating evidence that this "album" was cut in the '80s or sometime thereafter.

Even the usually thorough Allmusic.com fails to catalog Members Only in it's Groovies discography. So, does anyone know what the deal is with this set? Regarding the music within, there are some decent but not revelatory '60s covers of "Feel a Whole Lot Better," "Kicks," and "Shakin' All Over." Yes, there's a cavalcade of Flamin' Groovies classics, including "You Tore Me Down," "Teenage Head," "Slow Death," and of course the incendiary, genre-defining "Shake Some Action." Some real obscurities crop up here as well. It should go without saying these incarnations are no substitute for the originals, with the bountiful 1989 compilation Groovies Greatest Grooves being a more suitable starting point for young ears. Incidentally, the label that released this conundrum of a CD, hosts a series of similar collections by much more mainstream crooners and oldies like Bill Haley, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Patsy Cline, and the list goes on and on and on... 
 
01. Kicks
02. Bittersweet
03. I Can’t Hide
04. Shake Some Action
05. Slow Death
06. Teenage Head
07. Slow Death
08. Tallahassie Lassie
09. Shakin’ All Over
10. Somebody’s Fool
11. Feel a Whole Lot Better
12. In the USA
13. Ju Ju Man
14. Almost Grown
15. I’m Drowning
16. Babes in the Sky
17. You Tore Me Down
18. My Yada
19. Golden Clouds
20. Money 
 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Philisteens - Turn Up the Music ep (1982, Radio Free America)

Here's the third, and perhaps last record I will ever have the pleasure of sharing by one of the finest bands to ever call Albuquerque, NM their home. A lot of you were blown away by the Philisteens self-titled LP, which I posted this past March, and for damn good reason I might add. I believe this four-cut ep preceded the album by a few months (or was is the other way around)? Another very convincing set of up-tempo power pop, a la a punked-up incarnation of the Knack and other groups of that ilk. My particular copy of Turn Up the Music, was pre-owned by a college radio station, hence some of static and pops, not to mention magic marker gibberish on the sleeve (which I was mostly able to Photoshop out). Should I find a cleaner copy a re-rip will be headed your way, but for now, enjoy as is.

01. Turn Up the Music
02. She's Got You
03. She Tells Me Nothing
04. Dead and Gone

http://netkups.com/?d=251d514d72b74

Splitting the Difference # 31 Doc Hopper/Bollweevils 7" (1996, Ringing Ear)

You are just a few clicks of the mouse away from hearing two of the best 1990s punk bands that in all likelihood never made it onto your radar. From the great state of Maine we have Doc Hopper, a thrashy popcore quartet that lasted a little over a decade, and as you might guess made nary a dent on the national scene, despite not being terribly removed stylistically than a band who's initials happen to be G.D. Big Drill Car and Husker Du also made quite an impression on them as well. I believe Hopper had three albums to their credit (Aloha, Ask Your Mom, and Zigs Yaws and Zags), a live split album with Weston, and yet another joint venture with New Jersey denizens El Secondhand, plus a plethora of singles. Their two cuts represented here are fairly quintessential.

The Bollweevils were a frantic power-punk trio hailing from the Windy City, who broke up in the late '90s, but have reunited sporadically for live gigs through much of this decade. Taking some serious cues from old school homeboys Naked Raygun and the Effigies, the 'Weevils rapid-fire salvos were on par with the tempo thresholds set by Bad Religion and 7 Seconds. A white-hot original, "Hit or Miss" leads their side off, and is quickly followed up by a cover of the Descendants undeniable cult classic "Silly Girl." I can't recommend the Bollweevils Stick Your Neck Out LP, and singles/rarities compilations, History of the Bollweevils Pts. 1 & 2, all issued courtesy of the one of the best indie labels of the '90s, Dr. Strange Records. Incidentally, the same label that released this wax, Ringing Ear Records was also responsible for issuing some of the New Sweet Breath 45s I compiled earlier this year.
 
Doc Hopper
01. Zapruder
02. Shortsheeted
 
Bollweevils
01. Hit or Miss
02. Silly Girl
 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lotus STP - Million Dollar Ring (1987, Jargon)

I guess I'll introduce this by noting that on the back sleeve of Million Dollar Ring, Lotus STP are sitting in front of a wall with a Joy Division poster clearly hanging from it. Completely unfamiliar to their music at the time, I thought this would give me some sort of clue as to what I was in for. I was wrong. To give you an inkling of what their music was all about, I thought I'd share some reviews of the album that I recently found archived on the website for Midnight Records, who were in charge of distributing MDR. As for my own thoughts this suburban Rochester, NY rotating cast of characters seemed to have an affection for Wall of Voodoo, exemplified by the rockabilly-lite tinges that color this album, but never over power it. In fact, sparse flourishes of sweet, jangly guitar lines a la Let’s Active waft in and out, but often clash with mouthpiece Stan Merrell. At any rate, here are what the "experts" had to say:

from Option, Sept 1987:

Eight piece garage combo from upstate New York. For several of its members, Lotus STP is just one project among many. Nevertheless, the singer's got some pipes with a David Johansen presence, and the band supports him with a Doors/Pebbles/bleak 80's racket that ain't visionary, but is at least affecting. Garageheads should probably take note.
from Goldmine, August 1987:

This Rochester garage combo won't win points for originality, yet the music is delivered with enough teenage angst to warrant some attention. Actually, Lotus Stp is probably a lot of fun in a club, as they sorta sound like a blend of '60's Rolling Stones and mid-70's Max's Kansas City regulars. Lead vocalist Stan Merrell has a schizoid style in that he either sounds like Jim Morrison or David Johansen impersonating Mick Jagger. This is the kind of platter which will probably improve with age (or when Goldmine is ready to do a retrospective on Lotus STP.)
 
01. Rockslide Rock
02. I Got Questions
03. Broke Down
04. Tell Her
05. Voices
06. Union
07. Told You
08. Do You Remember?
09. With Me
10. Driving the Wrong Car
11. All Night Long

http://netkups.com/?d=1703611fe352d

Saturday, October 10, 2009

V/A - Fast Product - Mutant Pop 78/79 (1980, PVC)

To a lot of you, this compilation may not come as much of a revelation to you. Granted, there are some household names here - Gang of Four, The Human League, and Mekons to be specific, however this post-punk trifecta is represented here before they jumped ship to major labels and/or massive cult status. Mutant Pop 78/79 compiles early 7" singles by the aforementioned, and another three less illustrious participants, all originally released on the Fast Product imprint. Hear the nascent Mekons in all their crude, DIY-ridden glory. Marvel at the sounds of the Human League while they still had their credibility intact (albeit far less catchy of course). Most enticingly of all, indulge your ears to Gang of Four's first foray into the vinyl age, with alternate versions of soon-to-be-classics "Damaged Goods," "Love Like Anthrax," and "Armalite Rifle." Truth be told, those three tracks would have been perfectly suited for inclusion as bonus tracks on the most recent reissue of GOF's Entertainment! album, although I believe said versions of "Damaged..." and "Armalite..." wound up on the band's 1998, 100 Flowers Bloom anthology. Speaking of Flowers, the Scottish band of that very name also make an appearance here. The Same Mistakes blog can fill you in on them at your leisure. The Scars groove along in a Swell Maps-y kind of way, to highly convincing effect, while Sheffield's 2-3 subscribed to a more linear aesthetic. Mutant Pop makes for a model snapshot of the burgeoning and often crude British post-punk movement of the late '70s.

Egg City Radio is also hosting this album, but this rip is straight from my own vinyl copy at a higher bitrate with less surface noise. At any rate, their write-up is definitely worth checking out.

Mekons01. Never Been in a Riot
02. 32 Weeks
03. Where Were You

Scars
04. Adultery
05. Horror Show
The Human League06. Being Boiled
07. Circus of Death

2-3
08. All Time Low
09. Where to Know?

The Flowers
10. After Dark
11. Confessions

Gang of Four
12. Love Like Anthrax
13. Armalite Rifle
14. Damaged Goods


http://netkups.com/?d=57351f1e01e5b

Thursday, October 8, 2009

UFOFU - 20th Century Masters: The Singles Collection (mid-90s, Time Bomb/Square Target)

Someone mentioned the band UFOFU in response to my Study of the Lifeless post from last week. They didn't know it at the time, but brothers Ben and Brandon Curtis (exactly two thirds of UFOFU's roster) would eventually graduate from this struggling, short-lived band and go on to far bigger things in the Secret Machines. The rest as they say is history, but the contributions of this Denton, Texas (situated near Dallas) power trio, rounded out by singer/guitarist Joe Butcher, were quite significant in their own right. Nationally, they didn't quite generate the buzz they should have, but in northern Texas they were a favorite, performing with local yocals Tripping Daisy, Radish, and even The Toadies. UFOFU's cockeyed riff-rock had an eminently powerful bent to it, not merely attributed to a steady deluge of thick power chords, but Butcher's throaty, baritone vox - the element that sticks out the most for me.

An excellent self-titled album was issued on the Medicine label in 1997, but preceding it were a handful of singles that were pretty worthy as well, starting with a four-song 7" ep recorded for Time Bomb Records, featuring early incarnations of LP ditties, "The Thing of it Is," "In a Chair in a Room," and "Pincushion Boy." Believe it or not, copies may still be available from Insound. Another pair of singles came to us courtesy of a Seattle label named Square Target who believed wholeheartedly in this little ol' band from Texas. A 1996 45 featured a cover of Built to Spill's "Car." Another 7" followed a year later, featuring the ace album cut "People to the Air" and an exclusive b-side. You'd be cheating yourself by not strolling over to UFOFU's Myspace page, where you can read a thorough bio and listen to songs not available on these singles. For an even greater appreciation of the band, may I direct you here.

Time Bomb Records 7"
01. The Thing of it Is
02. Yeah Yeah
03. In a Chair In a Room
04. Pincushion Boy 
 
Square Target singles
05. People to the Air
06. Traveling the Way to the Ground
07. What You Are
08. Car (Built to Spill cover) 

http://netkups.com/?d=88193e588b176

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Senseless Things - Empire of the Senseless (1993, Sony)

I name-dropped these guys in my Ludicrous Lollipops post last night. The Senseless Things were more than a little in the same vein as the Lollipops, however their catalog was much, much more robust. Was fairly blown away by their sophomore effort The First of Too Many around 1991 or thereabouts. Boasting a good 16 songs from what I recall, they had a pretty neat thing going with their vibrant melange of the Buzzcocks, and then-current bands like The Wonder Stuff and Mega City Four. Calling London, England their home, the Things churned out four albums spanning 1989-95. This post concerns their third LP, Empire of the Senseless, a marked departure from The First... Equipped with a glossier studio sheen, a slower pace, and a heavier albeit more dynamic sonic aptitude, The Senseless Things definitely made Empire something of an acquired taste. It's key single, the brash "Homophobic Asshole" made minor waves in the UK, but the record never saw the light of day Stateside. There's been copious amounts written and blogged about the band online, but the cream of the crop may be the band's official webpage with oodles of multimedia, discography details, and MP3s of rare material to download.

01. Homophobic Asshole
02. Keepsake
03. Tempting Kate
04. Hold It Down
05. Counting Friends
06. Just One Reason
07. Cruel Moon
08. Primary Instinct
09. Rise Song (For Dean And Gene)
10. Ice Skating At The Milky Way
11. Say What You Will
12. Runaways
13. unlisted track

http://netkups.com/?d=5a130310d22e5

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ludicrous Lollipops - A Part ep & Scrumdiddlyumptious ep (1992, Damaged Goods)

Coventry England's Ludicrous Lollipops have long been a mix tape favorite of mine, ever since 1992 when a pen pal of mine returned from a sojourn to the UK with a fat stack o' inide wax and some blank C-90 Fuji cassettes. Groomed on vivacious pop-punksters Ned's Atomic Dustbin, and to a lesser extent The Senseless Things, The Lollipops were a veritable celebration of the music and era that gave life to them. Immensely upbeat with a sly, socially-conscious subtext, they released all but four records in their brief three-year run, and sadly not one of those was a bona fide full length.

I'm presenting about half of their discography in this post, all vinyl I might add, with the bulk of their oeuvre made available on the Damaged Goods label. Precious few copies of either the A Part and Scrumdiddlyumptious eps made it to this side of the pond. "Disinheritance," from the first of the aforementioned disks delivers an adrenaline surge several-fold more invigorating than say, Ned's "Kill Your Television." Elsewhere on the same ep "Godiva" sports a chronic ska fixation, while any given number on Scrumdiddlyumptious will easily satisfy the palettes of those that subscribe to combos like Mega City Four and 3 1/2 Minutes, the latter of whom are also featured on these pages. Either of the hyperlinks above will take you to a detailed Lollipops fan-site, and yes, they also speak in Myspace
 
Scrumdiddlyumptious ep
01. Lies About My Life
02. Brag
03. Time Spent Hiding
04. Smile 
 
A Part ep
01. A Part
02. Disinheritance
03. Gidiva 
 

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 30 - The Figgs/Prisonshake +1 (1997, Flipped Out/Philthy Rex)

If you've been paying attention to our Splitting the Difference series, you'll notice that The Figgs have been previously featured - on the first occasion with Coffin Break, and now with Ohio's Prisonshake taking their turn on the flipside, only this time around, the Figgs offer four songs, all exclusive to my knowledge. And what of those songs you ask? Strikingly brief and lo-fi, compared to the rest of their repertoire, and not sounding particularly Figgs-y I might add. Even a rendition of Chuck Berry's otherwise rollicking "Don't You Like to Me" is given an ironically loungy treatment. Mightily enjoyable all the same, as are the three originals (each composed by a different member of the trio).

Rubbing elbows with Prisonshake's side of the other side of this wax is an outfit going by the name Neck Punch, who contribute an irreverent Berry cover of their own, "Come On." The Cleveland based Prisonshake are thoroughly adored in the hearts and minds of their humble but enthusiastic fanbase, pumping out a handful of overlooked, punked-up indie rock LPs during the '80s and '90s, but like the Figgs, they're relatively subdued here, namely on the 'ballad' "Nothing Has to Hurt." If only that notion were true...
The Figgs
01. Appointments?
02. This Phaser Sounds Divine
03. Wiser Goldfish
04. Don't You Like to Me
Neck Punch - Come On
Prisonshake
01. Nothing Has to Hurt/My Dearest One
02. answering machine blather

http://netkups.com/?d=5b2e83b21d795

Small Dogs Grow - Matt Dillon (1988, Rough Trade)

From my understanding, San Fran’s Short Dogs Grow began life as a pretty tenacious punk act, but by the time they got around to cutting their second album, Matt Dillon, the quartet chilled out considerably. This was my first and only impression of SDG, but one thing is downright irrefutable, even to the most casual set of ears. Mouthpiece and axe-slinger Tom Pitts is dead ringer for Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner. Period. Pitt’s strenuous wail is so evocative of Pirner, that one might mistake Matt Dillon for a set of shelved Twin/Tone-era Asylum outtakes, but the co-ed quartet’s back-to-basics Americana leanings go a long way in differentiating themselves from the aforementioned Minneapolis denizens. Soulful female backing vocals on a few numbers here further imbue the album with a flavor few, if any of their indie contemporaries could lay claim to, but bold, full-tilt riff rockers like “White Toast, No Butter” and the all too brief “Love Story“ are ample evidence of SDG’s sheer firepower. Peruse the band’s Myspace page for more tunes and an informative bio.

01. My House
02. Heart Pumping Bourban
03. Love Story
04. Faith is Evidence
05. Solvent Solution
06. So Many Times
07. Desert Rain
08. Schoolhouse
09. White Toast, No Butter
10. Talk to Me
11. Blue Plate Special

http://netkups.com/?d=3e32031581ee2

Friday, October 2, 2009

Study of the Lifeless - s/t (1999, American Pop Project)

The bio on Allmusic.com pegs My Bloody Valentine as the influence of choice for this co-ed duo, but I'd argue it was Slowdive that was garnering more than a few plays in Study of the Lifeless' cd-changer. In fact, this self-titled debut is every bit as satisfying and impeccably crafted as Slowdive's ethereal, Just For a Day album. Shoegazer, dream-pop, atmospheric, however the hell you want to pigeonhole 'em, Study of the Lifeless are (or in all likelihood, were) masters of their craft, albeit a little derivative. There was a follow-up disk, The World Revolves Around You, which is yours for the taking here.

01. Promise Land
02. The Evening Comes
03. Never Know
04. Everything I Do
05. Not Thinking
06. I Don’t Believe
07. Through the Night
08. Nothing Ever Stays the Same
09. I’ll See You Tomorrow
10. You Kill Me Everyday

11. Wonder Why

http://netkups.com/?d=11254e1c2337c

Eleventh Dream Day - s/t ep (1987, Amoeba)

When it was announced in 2003 that Drag City Records were going to be reissuing Eleventh Dream Day's debut album, Prairie School Freakout, I was bummed to learn that the band's preceding 1987 self-titled ep would not be appended to it. At the time, I had an awareness of that six-cut record, but hadn't experienced it. A few years down the road when I was able to obtain an original copy (vinyl only) I understood why the two records weren't exactly a match made in heaven after all. When the legendary Chi-Town natives got around to cutting Prairie School in the summer of 1987 (allegedly in the span of six hours), they were well on their way to cultivating, the amped-out, Neil Young-inspired feedback sprawl they would become renown for (at least in some small circles). Eleventh Dream Day was a not-so-telling sonic precursor to their forthcoming albums like Beet, rather a slightly milder beast, packing a liberal dose of twang. Not entirely as memorable as their first couple of LPs it contains a few selections worthy of inclusion on any hypothetical EDD "best of," like "Not the Ballad of a Girl" and "Walking Though the Barrel of a Gun," the latter a taste of things to come on Prairie School's cult-clasique commencing number, "Watching the Candles Burn." You can also check out a promo-only EDD mini-album, Borscht, which I uploaded some time ago, as well as this Myspace fan page.

01. Walking Though the Barrel of a Gun
02. Vein of Gold
03. Not the Ballad of a Girl
04. Liz Beth
05. The Arsonist
06. Cascade

http://netkups.com/?d=143532623ac9e