Thursday, July 28, 2011

Save the wails.

Taking a break.  Check back Monday.  Keep yourselves amused til then.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Drongos - s/t (1984, Proteus)

New Zealand's Drongos (who eventually uprooted to New York) are a fairly recent posthumous discovery of mine, and unlike a lot of the rather esoteric, sub-sub-genre music I share on here, I'm confident that had I encountered them when this album materialized in 1984, I would've appreciated them as much back then as I do today.   I put it that way because I was ridiculously tethered to Top-40 radio back in the early/mid '80s, and even though the Drongos possessed that type of accessibility, they probably would have registered a little left of the dial to warrant copious spins on college stations as well.  Recorded over the span of three years (1981-83), The Drongos falls a bit shy of revelation status, not that the band ever intended for the record to be anything more than a collection of smart and savvy modern pop songs, which it thoroughly is.  Offering a few modest nods to technological advances of their era without overindulging in them, this co-ed quartet delivers a wellspring of warm fretboard runs, fetching boy/girl vocals, and a very evident rhythmic aptitude.  A big, big thumbs up!  RIYL: Let's Active, The Producers, and The Dads.   BTW, a second Drongos album followed in '85 dubbed Small Miracles, which was as legend has it was recorded live on the street in New York City.  You can learn more about the band here, and even catch up with drummer Stanley John Mitchell.  Enjoy (or not).

01. Eye of the Hurricane
02. Ghost Ship
03. Overnight Bag
04. Closed Doors
05. It Seems
06. Don't Touch Me
07. Life of Crime
08. Step Out
09. Move You
10. Non Citizen

http://netkups.com/?d=89c240ef12855

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Doleful Lions - One summer, on Bandcamp...

It goes without saying that the business model of the brick and mortar record/cd store has been trounced by a myriad of digital outlets which literally hundreds of millions of music listeners are more than welcome to flock to.  Even so, the advent of iTunes already seems a bit passe for some of us with more discriminating tastes, which is where the burgeoning Bandcamp comes into the picture.  The truth of the matter is that iTunes, Emusic, and Amazon downloads function every bit as much of a middle man as do distributors of physical music media.  Bandcamp's approach is downright organic by comparison, in the respect that music is sold directly to fans by the artist on their terms, not on the whims of bottom-line driven record execs. 

The Doleful Lions, admittedly an outfit with a micro-fanbase, are nonetheless a model example of Bandcamp entrepreneurship, who after waiting the better part of a year to release their eighth record (due in no small part to indie label politics) have resigned themselves to delaying a physical release indefinitely, and instead have marketed said album (Let's Break Bobby Beausoleil Out Of Prison!) via the revolutionary portal in question.  For the meager sum of $6.66 Let's Break... can be permanently ensconced in that warehouse of ones and zeroes you call your hard drive, iPod, or perhaps even an MP3 player of another sort.  In addition to the new full length, the Lions (actually pared down to one full time member at this point, Jonathan Scott), have been so enthused about this new outlet, they're selling digital files of their first album, 1998's Mitch Easter produced Motel Swim, plus an album's worth of outtakes, alternate versions and live tracks (What Was On The Floor Of Jonathan's Car- And How It Got There).  There's even a companion ep to the new album, Lucifer, The Light, free for the taking I might add, that offers acoustic versions of three primo album cuts and another trio of otherwise unavailable songs exclusive to this collection.  To get a better handle on the Doleful Lions in general, here are a few morsels I penned in a brief article for issue 68 of Big Takeover magazine:

A Doleful Lions song can manifest itself in the form of a hissy 4-track demo, benign and consoling as a lullaby, or it can come in the guise of a dense, fever-dream swirl of amped-out psychedelic rock and them some.  There are a myriad of shades teaming in between these extremes, but frontman Jonathan Scott imbues his songs with indelible melodies that are as winsome as his prose is often puzzlingly surreal.  The Doleful Lions story begins in earnest in 1997, when Jonathan relocated from Chicago to Chapel Hill, NC where he began mailing demos to scores of indie labels who specifically advertised in this very publication.  Comprised of several alternating lineups, five Lions albums ensued, as did two collections of endearing lo-fi bedroom recordings, Song Cyclops Vols. 1 & 2, all surfacing on the Champaign, IL based Parasol Records.  He has since uprooted back to the Prairie State, specifically the southwest Chicago suburb of Plano.

Jonathan has no magic formula to reveal regarding his heightened melodic astuteness, the quality of which rivals that of the Apples in Stereo or Alien Lanes-era Guided By Voices.  “I’m constantly playing with chord progressions and singing.  I should have a recorder on all the time ‘cos I come up with stuff all day long.”  Nonetheless, on Beausolelil … he weaves a staggering array of hooks together on a mile-high loom, yielding a sublime musical tapestry with exemplary cuts like “Deadbeat at Dawn,” and “Funeral Skies For Burst Patriot,“ ranking among his finest. 

Tracks:

A Viper In Hiding (from Motel Swim)
Deadbeat at Dawn (from Let's Break Bobby Beausoleil Out Of Prison!)
Julie's Video (acoustic, from Lucifer the Light ep)
Sun-Hawk City (Not Ian Stuart, Robert Scott Version) (from What Was on the Floor...)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Delusions of Grandeur - Picture Perfect Martyr (1989, Acid Ceiling)

In reference to the title, more like picture perfect pop!  Not unlike jangly Anglophiles the Ocean Blue, who took a chip off the ol' C86 block, made some slight modifications, and pitched it to us Yanks in a more palatable formula, Beantown's Delusions of Grandeur adopted a similar tact, albeit without a modicum of recognition to show for it.  Too bad, because both songs on side one are stunning, with "Silent Sea" clocking in at a perfect ten, and the sweetly chiming "This Theatre Falls" coming in not far behind.  The other side of the coin features the strummy and sobering "From Green to Red," and the much swifter and acoustic-endowed "Carousel."  I'm hearing trace elements of everyone from Winter Hours to Ireland's Power of Dreams, and even a little Crowded House and REM too.  A nice surprise from a combo that sports a decidedly goth appearance on the rear album jacket.  Upon digitizing these tracks, I probably should have taken a little record cleaning solution to this rather staticy wax, but for now, enjoy it as is (I'm pretty confident you will).

01. This Theatre Falls
02. Silent Sea
03. From Green to Red
04. Carousel

http://netkups.com/?d=1f029c95553fd

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Splitting the Difference #41 - Olivelawn/The Jack of Hearts (1990, No Guff)

Ok, this will be my last San Diego-related entry for awhile, but hopefully not forever.  I fulfilled a request for an Olivelawn single back in January, but at the time I didn't realize this highly limited split single (with the altogether unknown Jack of Hearts) even existed - that was until I stumbled upon it while browsing an Ebay seller's list this past winter.  Yes, I lead quite the exciting life.  Anyway, as far as Olivelawn recordings go, this isn't particularly seminal - a slightly muddy audience recording of the Sab's "Symptom of the Universe," given the O grunge-ola treatment of course.  The results are exactly what you might expect.  The Jack of Hearts, as already stated, are the unknown quantity on this wax, doling out the uninhibited fuzz-pedal freakout "Box of Love," and a less than memorable run-through of "Jumpin' Jack Flack," driven straight into the ground via a patently pitible vocal performance.

A. Olivelawn - Symptom of the Universe (live)
B1. Jack of Hearts - Box of Love
B2. Jack of Hearts - Jumpin' Jack Flash


http://netkups.com/?d=3465251a99109

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Honey Wagon - tape (1994)

Shades of Big Drill Car, Green Day, and the Doughboys exude on much of this cassette left behind by a long departed Charleston, SC trio, but those comparisons are truthfully a bit vague.  Vague if only by virtue of the fact that Honey Wagon weren't quite as aggressive or innovative as any the aforementioned.  A little unripened as well, but "Madelaine," "Vitamin H" and "Best Boy" were sufficient enough to make a believer out of me.  Total DIY indie rock with a healthy dollop of punk-pop sauciness for good measure.  A hearty thanks to Gerald for sharing this tape.

01. Vitamin H
02. Honey Wagon
03. Crystal Tears
04. Never
05. Ken Wants My Axe
06. Madelaine
07. Sky
08. Best Boy
09. World Fall Down
10. NeoNatal NeoNazi
11. Brickhead

http://netkups.com/?d=4590c8530142e

Friday, July 22, 2011

Singles Going Single #179 - Radio Wendy 7" (1993, Standard)

Here's another blast of San Diego rawk, quickly nipping at the heels of the Night Marchers wax I shared a few days ago.  As far as Radio Wendy themselves are concerned I don't quite have the full skinny on them, and minimal web presence doesn't help.  Throughout the mid-90s they dished out about a half dozen singles, a 10" ep and a full length, Tune In Tokyo, and by the sound of this particular 45 they were more than happy to indulge in the offerings of local luminaries Rocket From the Crypt, and the far less venerated Lucy's Fur Coat.  "Friday" is a full-tilt piledriver, splitting the über vigorous difference between Clinton-era punk and grunge, tearing each eardrum within spitting distance a new asshole.  The flip, "Seven Rings of Saturn" (you mean someone bothered to count them?) is a slower and comparatively docile three-chord ballad.  I don't quite recall their other records resembling either of these two extremes, but maybe I wasn't listening closely enough.  Though it's difficult to discern from the scan, the sleeve is a mock of a book of matches.  Neat.

A. Friday
B. Seven Rings of Saturn

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This Afternoon - When Everything is Seven (1999, Elderkin)

Well, I suppose it's time to fulfill this summer's "emo" quotient for Wilfully Obscure, and even though it's the throniest proposition of the five genres I'm wont to promote (see the header), I'm still finding groups from yesteryear like Syracuse's This Afternoon that pluck at the right heartstrings, without getting too maudlin.  On When Everything is Seven, you'll encounter generous nods to Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral and the like, with heftier dynamics I might add.  T/A weren't ones to wear their angst like a blood-ridden badge of red courage, but instead exude just enough emotive aptitude to dovetail with the natural ebb and flow of this record.  Interpunk has conveniently furnished us with a bio of the quartet, and there, you can also purchase their follow-up album, If We Gave Up Now.

01. The Properties of Trees
02. Sunny
03. Mechanical Heart
04. Violet Hush
05. Your Ability
06. Mannequin for a Friend
07. Glossy Colored Smiles
08. The Study of Habits

http://netkups.com/?d=ce62913ff8e55

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vanilla Chainsaws - s/t + bonus 7" (1989, Glitterhouse)

It serves me right for shelving this record for some five years after buying it, without exposing it to a record stylus, that is until this weekend.  Had my act been more together, Vanilla Chainsaw's seamless self-titled set would have been etched into my cranium for the past half a decade.  Call it a case of unconscious self-deprivation.  Whatever.  I still have a few good years left to savor this platter, which is actually a compilation of the Aussie's first volley of singles and their Wine Dark Sea ep from 1988.   At heart, the Chainsaws were an indie guitar band, bearing a dark undercurrent sans any pretension or maudlin antics (i.e. not goth or emo).  Vanilla Chainsaw's ten numbers stitch through the roughewn fabric of Husker Du, Mega City Four and the Godfathers with a unifying needle, though not overly derivative of any of the aforementioned.  Fervent, passionate, and wholly sincere, I would suspect that V/C would be deemed drool-worthy of say, veteran music scribe Jack Rabid.  Big Takeover fare for sure.  These guys really cooked, and I'm compelled to investigate the rest of their catalog.  BTW, the first pressing of this album came with a bonus 7" featuring a pair of early 2-track demos, that I'm also including here. 

Frontman Simon "Chainsaw" Drew has pursued a solo career, with a few records under his belt, which you can browse at his virtual store and website, which might still be carrying original copies of this very record in addition to more VC goods.

01. T.S. (Was It Really Me)
02. Years Go By
03. To the Shore
04. Onslaught
05. Journey
06. Like You
07. Wine Dark Sea
08. 24 Hours
09. Face a New Day
10. Everything

bonus 7"
11. So Old
12. Change Things

http://netkups.com/?d=2faad95ee1958

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Singles Going Single #178 - Night Marchers - "Thar She Blows" 7" (2011, Swami)

I may have missed the boat on the Night Marchers previous 45s (which from what I understand were just about as scarce as this one, which boasted a meager pressing of 900 copies), but this year I made it to the party on time.  With pleasure I might add, because both of these searing garage-rock salvos outdo just about anything on their 2008 long player, See You in Magic.  For the uninitiated, I should probably offer a little backgrounder on the Marchers.  In fact, their Wiki page lays it out more succinctly than I ever could:

The Night Marchers are an alternative rock band (sic) formed in 2007 in San Diego, California. The band is composed of singer/guitarist John Reis, guitarist Gar Wood, bassist Tommy Kitsos, and drummer Jason Kourkounis. Reis, Wood, and Kourkounis had previously performed together in the Hot Snakes, while Kitsos previously performed with CPC Gangbangs. The Night Marchers' debut album See You in Magic was released in 2008 through Vagrant Records.

There is one rather pertinent detail ommited from the above primer, specfically that prior to Hot Snakes Jon Reis (aka Speedo), fronted the considerably more renown Rocket From the Crypt throughout the '90s and them some.  With Reis front and center on the mic, the Night Marchers function as a far more logical successor to the RFTC throne than did Hot Snakes, but of course most of the vocal duties in the Snakes fell to Rick Forberg (ex-Drive Like Jehu, Pitchfork).  All in all, you might say The Marchers are yet another branch of a truly bitchin' and hopefully ongoing family tree.  It my understanding that this single is sold out.  Yikes.

A. Thar She Blows
B. All Hits

http://netkups.com/?d=42280d71a65fe

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Furys - Indoor/Outdoor ep (1986, King Coitus)

Orange County's The Furys may have been inspired to spring into action by the burgeoning, mid/late-70s punk movement that had set New York City ablaze, but you wouldn't quite guess it from this ep.  In fact, I wasn't aware of their existence until I saw the random motif and fetching color scheme adorning the jacket of this disk a few months ago on Ebay.  It turns out that the Fury's had a trio of singles preceding this wax, one of which titled "Say Goodbye to the Black Sheep" earned a coveted spot on the Los Angeles installment of the Rhino Records 1993 DIY compilation series.  Good song that (which you can stream over at Music Ruined My Life blog), but I find this ep more alluring, what with it's armada of ringing chords, warm synths, and mouthpiece Jeffrey Robert Wolfe, who brings no small shortage of personality to the table.  Reminds me a little of The Brains, maybe even a little Donnie Iris at times.  Founding member Michael Compton (who went separate ways with the Furys several years before the recording and release of Indoor/Outdoor) has penned a lengthy diatribe regarding his involvement with the band, chockablock with luscious anecdotes and tales of yore that you simply must consume here.

01. What's Done is Done
02. In My Time
03. Waiting for Surrender
04. The Girl Is Not at Home
05. Once I Had a Feeling

http://netkups.com/?d=16ef912f52a96

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rain Dogs - 1987 demo

I have nary a shred of info to offer on this 24-year-old Minneapolis/St. Paul relic other than it rocks in that crunchy, four chord, semi-punky sorta way.  There are subtle nods to homeboys done good, the Replacements, but based on this live demo the Rain Dogs were still cutting their collective teeth.  Earnest, a little wet behind the ears, yet somehow still substantive.  Comment as you see fit.

01. Trip Back Down
02. Last Time, This Time
03. Tell Me the Time
04. Talking to An Angel

http://netkups.com/?d=53b71abf30c0b

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ground Round - Memories Better Left Behind (1997, Quality of Life)

Ground Round were of significant interest to me back when I was ordering $3 singles from ads in Maximum Rock N Roll in the mid-to-latter part of the '90s.  The concept of stuffing a few bills in an envelope or fetching a money order, only to wait a month or longer for my order to materialize seems pretty antiquated.   Nonetheless, it was a ritual I used to partake in on an almost weekly basis, and I was motivated on more than one occasion to order 7"s by this melodi-core trio from Santa Rosa, CA (about an hour north of San Francisco).  Memories Left Behind is the CD version of the 10" ep of the same name, and as a bonus, the aluminum version tacks on ten cuts from earlier singles.   Ground Round were sonically on par with Crimpshrine, Soup, and Unfun-era Jawbreaker.  As far as their subject matter of choice, GR hovered around similar terrain as the aforementioned, venting on relationships and everyman socio-political concerns, though nothing particularly heady.  A "wage-slave," poverty-empathetic motif crops up on a number of songs, which I'm sure were relatable to those in the Bay Area contending with skyrocketing rent costs circa the period these tracks were committed to tape.  Not longer after the release of Memories... Ground Round sold a homemade tape of rarities and live cuts (you guessed it, out of MRR), which I have shelved away somewhere if anyone is interested in me unearthing it.

01. Real Friends
02. Voidless
03. Donut Hut Girl
04. 9 Years Later
05. First Pressing
06. Vidor
07. Come to an End
08. 714 Humboldt
09. The Store
10. Nate Theory
11. 6,000 Miles
12. Kenny's Drawers
13. Seems So Simple
14. Daily Routine
15. Dirt and Ashes
16. Just Another Day
17. Lakeport

http://netkups.com/?d=e6795a23f316e

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spiffy - two singles (1996, Junk; Elastic)

The All/Descendents family shrub has more forks in it than any given cafeteria utensil bin, and one of the most overlooked offshoots is Spiffy, a short-lived quartet that featured the talents of '80s Descendents alumni Tony Lombardo and Ray Cooper who reprised their respective bassist and guitarist rolls in this 1996 endeavor, and yielded the pair of singles this entry concerns.  Run-on sentences are go!  At any rate, Spiffy leaned way more in the direction of All than the 'dents, delivering taught, crunchy punk-pop songs that are sure to ring familiar to die-hards of the aforementioned.   Both singles were produced and engineered by Bill Stevenson and Stephen Egerton.  Need I say much more?  Theirs was a brief discography, but a potent one, with the uber-melodic "Intensive Care Unit" leading the pack as their finest moment.  Mouthpiece Joel Bratton, who also served as singer in All Day, is recently deceased

Secret 7" (Elastic Records)
01. Secret
02. In the Mail
03. Make It

Didn't Know 7" (Junk Records)
04. Didn't Know
05. Intensive Care Unit

http://netkups.com/?d=857f41c1828ad

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sleepasaurus - It's All Written Down and I Still Don't Feel Any Better (1997, Creep/Motherbox)

There must have been something mighty potent in the water coursing through faucets in Valley Stream, Long Island during the '90s to produce such phenomenal acts as post-hardcore stalwarts Garden Variety, and a little later on, the considerably less anguished Sleepasaurus.  A vigorous punk quartet brandishing those oh-so tempting pop sensibilities, Sleepasaurus were the kind of band that actually benefited from raw, low-budget production, setting them apart from the homogenized Epitaph/Fat Records sound that was painfully dominant at the time.  Definitenly more in league with such should've-beens like Man Dingo and Zoinks!  Aside from this record, and several split singles (which I may explore later), I don't know a great deal about Sleepasaurus per se, but the link above will take you to their Myspace page.  It's All Written Down... was reissued in 2007, though I didn't realize that until I went to the trouble of ripping this from vinyl.  I did so specifically, as it contains a bonus cut, "Low," not available on the aluminum or digital version.  In short, I'll be leaving this up for just a few days, so don't wait, but if you enjoy what you hear, please patronize the fellas over at Motherbox Records online store, Interpunk, or elsewhere.

01. For Rent
02. Beautiful Girl
03. Uncool
04. She Already Has a Boy Friend
05. Maybe One Sould
06. It Hurts to Be Happy
07. Little Fonzie
08. 6:08
09. 10 Again
10. Low (vinyl only)
11. Why Bother
12. Shovel & Bucket
13. outro

http://netkups.com/?d=2c5e21963f409

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mega City Four - Wallflower 2 CDS (1993, Big Life) & Superstar CDS (1995, Fire)

Recently had a request for these, and being the Mega City Four obsessive that I am, I'm more than willing to oblige.  Come to think of it, I'm surprised this is only the second time since I've been blogging that I've dedicated some space to MC4, a British, pop-punk phenom, who gestated in the late '80s, and peaked in popularity in the decade to follow, at least on their side of the pond anyway.  They had an incredibly insightful wordsmith in Darren "Wiz" Brown (fairly recently deceased, sad to say) who doled out melody after visceral melody, as if there were no tomorrow.  Five proper albums, and at least three times that many singles were churned out in their ten-year lifespan.  In the '90s, it was customary for bands to release two-part singles, a ploy used by UK labels to graft their respective bands that much higher up on the sales charts.  Mega City Four weren't immune to such tactics, but for their 1993 single, "Wallflower," instead of padding two cds with non-lp b-sides, the group issued one of the two singles as a four-track live ep.  Smart move, though the studio b-sides on the alternate single were no slouch either.

By the time "Superstar" hit the shelves of discriminating UK indie shops, Mega City Four were almost at the end of their rope, with their final album, Soulscraper soon to follow.  I still prefer just about anything off of their Tranzophobia and Magic Bullets albums to this three-cut ep, but somehow MC4 b-sides were often superior to their contemporaries strongest LP material.

Wallflower (CD 1)
01. Wallflower
02. Inamorata
03. Wilderness

Wallflower Live (CD 2)
01. Wallflower
02. Iron Sky
03. Scared of Cats
04. Rain

Superstar
01. Superstar
02. Chrysanth
03. My Own Ghost

Wallflower: http://netkups.com/?d=6258be49611e9
Wallflower Live: http://netkups.com/?d=22e1027162058
Superstar: http://netkups.com/?d=6551e1521517e

3 1/2 Minutes - reuploaded

Both the Peep and Bled Dry eps I shared way back in 2007 have been reinstated.  New links are below and the original posting has been updated.  If you enjoy Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Mega City Four (who I happen to feature above), and the like, you'll want to investigate 3 1/2 Minutes - trust me!

Bled Me Dry: http://netkups.com/?d=f15d2611ac72e

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Fire Apes - A Life in Letters (2011, - a brief evaluation

Indie outfits that release albums sporadically (in the case of Charleston's Fire Apes, who only manage to pump out a platter once every seven years, or thereabouts) tend to fall off my radar, but once that ol' sonar picks up any sign of reemergence, especially from a longtime favorite, I'm off to the races once again.  Commandeered by the group's only consistent member, leadman John Seymour, the Fire Apes are one of those twice-a-decade delights that reawaken my senses as described per above.  As was the case with '97's A Perfect Day for Bananafish and their 2005 entry, Central Park Carousel, A Life in Letters is if anything else consistently satisfying, though not a marked progression.  That's just fine however if you're game for the shiny, assertive power pop that combos like Let Go, Weezer, and Fountains of Wayne are wont to let flow like a raging kegger at a frat party.  From incisive and pummeling ("It's Over" and "3 O'clock") to measured and doleful assessments of unrequited love ("Killing Me From the Inside" and "6 1/2") Letters cuts both ways with a diamond sharp blade of acumen, intensity, and class.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Berber - Lower Goes the Roof Beam (1998, Monocle)

The title of this album naggingly rings of a certain J.D. Salinger novel, but there's nothing Caulfield-esque about Chicago's presumably defunct Berber, who specialized in clangy, deftly crafted indie rock.  Michael Justin Cummin's vocals (a la Mac McCaughan, and Dean Wareham) are a tad fey and thin for his own good, but it adds to the mid-fi pitch and sway of Lower Goes the Roof Beam.  "Into My Life" sports it's fair share of buoyant, twee pop moxie, and a little further on we have the fleeting, "Betimes" which could pass for a vintage Game Theory outtake.  In short, this bargain bin selection was more than a pleasant surprise.

01. Agents of Her Inertia
02. Forget Tonight
03. Tired Very Tired
04. Into My Life
05. Rend
06. Betimes
07. Modla Lane
08. Albatross
09. Knees (Two Different Ones)
10. Nuclear Era Steel Thing
11. Mattress

http://netkups.com/?d=1dae26ea075ef

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Purdins 7" ep (1988, Green Monkey)

You wouldn't suspect it from the overall tenor of this record, but Seattle's Purdins were the leadoff band on the rather raucous, and almost thoroughly excellent Damned tribute album, Another Damned Seattle Compilation.  In fact, this trio couldn't get arrested for even posing as a punk band on the five originals contained within, nor do they exhibit any of that proverbial Seattle grunge under their collective fingernails.  Instead, the Purdins had a penchant for anti-Nuggets folk-rock, indulging in some saucy jangle here and there.  The slight "Carol Said" and even slighter "Mansfield Grove" recall so many of those utterly obscure '60s bands who released tiny private pressings of records that now fetch four-figures on Ebay...if that means anything to you I suppose.  From some of the fan testimonials I've read regarding these guys, the Purdins music is highly endearing, and more appealing than I'm leading on.  The remainder of their oeuvre is a bit more aggressive (but still approachable) and much of it has been collected on the long out-of-print Greatest Hits CD, which I'll be sharing in the near future. 

01. My Girl Hopefully
02. Strange Reasons
03. Psychedelic Day
04. Carol Said
05. Mansfield Grove

http://netkups.com/?d=e11ee45e25166

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Various - Neapolitan Metropolitan 7" box (1992, Simple Machines)

It's 4th of July weekend folks - so what will it be, one scoop?  No?  Ok, how does a double dollop sound?  Still not enough to satisfy that ravenous craving?  Why don't we up the ante to twelve scoops?  There, that's more like it.  Only thing is, this box of "Neapolitan delights" isn't ice cream, rather a snazzy, triple 7" box set compilation, assembled by Simple Machine Records some nineteen years ago.  The Neapolitan theme resonates throughout the packaging in a big way, with vanilla, strawberry, and pistachio coloured wax, each representing one of the three cities of origin (Washington D.C., Richmond, VA, and Baltimore respectively) of Neapolitan Metropolitan's contributing acts.  Heck, they even toss in one of those wooden, mini paddle spoons that are given with those invariably undersized servings of ice cream in dinky plastic cups.  Ah...ain't it just the life?

And then there are the tunes.  A veritable mixed bag if there ever was one.  Roughly half of Neapolitan is fairly expendable, and while I could riff on the bad and the ugly, I'm instead going to hone in on what selections I deem to be praiseworthy, starting with Richmond's Fudge, whose "Montpelier Train Station" I've actually shared previously, alongside the group's crucial trio of early 7" records.  Also on the 'gazer tip, we have the venerable Lily's, who contribute the rich, melodically vibrant "Claire Hates Me," a woozy pop gem that would later appear on their debut, In the Presence of NothingWhorl I wasn't familiar with until I encountered them on here, offering a nicely manicured post-punk maelstrom with some apparent nods to Killing Joke.  I was never one to paint Bratmobile into the riot grrrl corner, but a lot of other people were insistent on doing so.  "She Said" is downright twee compared to Bikini Kill and the like.  Nice tune.  The Jenny Toomey fronted Slack was the precursor band to her subsequently far move visible project, Tsunami, and judging by the sound of "Word Traffic," the apple that would soon drop didn't fall far from Slack's metaphorical tree.  Coral and Candy Machine deliver our daily dose of guitar-wrangling dissonance, quite gleefully I might add.  Last, but not least we have Late!.  Many longtime aficionados of Dave Grohl know that between his tenure in Scream and the Foo Fighters, Nirvana wasn't his only endeavor - not technically anyway.  In 1990 and '91, he cut ten demos in Arlington, that happened to be in a very similar mold of his soon-to-be meal ticket.  The songs were eventually issued on a Simple Machines cassette only release, Pocketwatch, which you can read plenty about by selecting the hyperlink.  The song that appears here, "There's That Song" also materialized on Pocketwatch under the title "Petrol C.B."
 
Richmond (strawberry) 7"
01. Breadwinner - Exploder
02. Coral - More of the Same
03. Burma Jam - You Have the Right
04. Fudge - Montpelier Train Station

Washington D.C. (vanilla) 7"
05. Lilys - Claire Hates Me
06. Whorl - Not Me
07. Bratmobile - She Said
08. Late! - There's that Song Again

Baltimore (pistachio) 7"
09. Slack - Word Traffic
10. False Face Society - Two Tone
11. Tear Jerks - It's Friday
12. Candy Machine - The Constant

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