Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Black Watch - The End of When (2013, Pop Culture Press) - A brief overiew

It just dawned on me to today that The Black Watch's tenure has spanned no less than a four decades, yet they've been a band for less than 30 years.  Funny how the math works out with that kind of thing, eh?  And speaking of time, it hasn't been a very long layover since their last LP, 2011's Led Zeppelin Five.  In my review of that album, I lamented the fact that I encountered BW waaaaay late into the game, but oddly enough if these Los Angeles denizens are an unknown quantity to you, there's an app for that, namely the The End of When's bonus disk, which functions as a primer of John Andrew Frederick and Co's. work heretofore.  More on that in a few moments.

Merging a post-punk ethos with singer/songwriter acumen, The Black Watch split the difference between adult angst and romantic ambivalence.  In keeping with the tradition of much of their earlier endeavors, The End of When is well equipped with sonic disparities.  Think of the album as a funnel, with the relatively expansive top housing billowy, reverb soaked pop tunes like "Meg" and "Oh Oh," graduating to a narrower, chilled-out base resulting in the insular comedown, "Unlistening."  Truth be told, TEoW isn't a perfectly tappered cone, but when absorbed as a whole it exudes the flow of such a trajectory. We're treated to a couple of sweet anomalies (relatively speaking) along the way.  The pensive love quandary, "Always Honey," benefits from chiming guitar leads that could have been borrowed from New Order's Movement, although the effect here is much more subtle.  And punctuating the relative calm of TEoW's latter half, we have the penultimate "A Pleasing Dream/That's You and Me All Over," which stokes the squalls of feedback a la halcyon-era Swervedriver.  All in all, another damn fine Black Watch record. 

The aforementioned bonus disk bundled with The End of When is a sixteen song Black Watch taster featuring material from the second-to-last disk, Led Zeppelin Five dating all the way back to '91's Flowering.  Below is a link to two songs from the new record, and in fact, one from Flowering as well.   TEoW can be purchased through iTunes, and on CD through Amazon and with any luck, your own retailer. 

http://netkups.com/?d=27a4d8f22c25d

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Brave New World - The Law of Series ep (1983, World)

Had a request for this one.  Brave New World were presumably hatched in east Pennsylvania, if the address of their record label World Records is an accurate gauge of their locale, that is.  During the Reagan era, every burg in the nation had at minimum one combo to their credit who gracefully tried to bridge the great new wave/AOR divide.  The Cars were the unflinching masters of this often tricky compromise, but you didn't necessarily have to sound like the Cars to score a run in the same ball park.  It's that ball park BNW opted to play in, and The Law of Series bears a genuine grand slam in the form of what was certainly the quartet's signature piece, "Brave New World," propelled on the pitch of humming synths and tingly arpeggios.  The guitar-driven "Moonlight," and "You Said, You Said" serve as a single and a double, respectively, but "Transistor's" cheesy sci-fi motif (with achingly fitting sound effects) qualifies as a bunt at best.  I'm providing a video for "Brave New World" below, just before the tracklist.  Enjoy (or not).



01. Brave New World
02. Let's Pretend
03. Moonlight
04. Savage
05. You Said, You Said
06. Transistor

http://www35.zippyshare.com/v/fGhyFMrL/file.html

Monday, October 28, 2013

I'm only falling now just to entertain you...


An unheralded but ingenious concoction of the Britpop era, circa 1993.

Having difficulty accessing the file?  Please try again a little later.  Too many people hammering the link simultaneously is apparently giving Netkup's servers a headache.  With this in mind, I'll leave this up for a few hours past the usual twenty-four, k?  You're welcome to comment, just don't give away anything obvious.  

http://netkups.com/?d=2556562d2b1df

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pedaljets - What's In Between (2013, Electric Moth) - a brief overview

Considering that I've shared the Pedaljets 1988 debut album, Today, Today, and even a scarce demo tape of sorts, I would be remiss if I failed to point out that these Kansas residents have not only reunited, but grafted a brand new album to their discography What's In Between, their first in over two decades.  For the uninitiated, I would first recommend peering into the quartet's bio on their webpage.  In a nutshell, the Pedaljets, steeped upon their perch in Lawrence, KS in the mid '80s had keen insight into the indie and post-punk subcultures that were quietly emanating throughout the rest of the nation, particularly those in locales like Minneapolis and the southeast.  Distilling those influences while simultaneously adding something indigenous to the mix, the quartet produced a single and two albums within their initial 1984-90 lifespan.  The second of those two albums, 1990's Pedaljets wasn't mixed to their liking (to put it mildly), and the band eventually remedied the situation with a much more attentive remix/remaster of said LP in 2008. 

This brings us up to the present.  Half of the Pedaljets lineup remains intact, specifically frontman Mike Allmayer and drummer Rob Morrow.  The 23-year layover between albums is as evident but not detrimental.  What's in Between bears the muscular dexterity of the second Pedaljets album and then some, evident from the get-go on the driving, opening salvo, "Terra Nova," sounding like the most assured thing they've put their stamp on to date.  As a whole, WiB isn't as thoroughly inspired, though it is fun, thanks in part to the 'Jets robust rhythmic thrust, courtesy of Morrow and bassist Matt Kesler.  The band enjoyed it's creative apex during their initial run, best evidenced on the roughhewn but demonstrably sweeter Today Today album that I personally couldn't get enough of.  In Betweens’ deliberate (or not) concession to that era surfaces in the guise of the ringing “Measurement,” which longtime fans will relish.   More new Pedaljets music to follow...

I've set up a Pedaljets "taster" below with one track apiece from their three albums including this one.  What's in Between is available on wax or CD direct from Electric Moth, or digitally from Amazon and iTunes.   

http://netkups.com/?d=bd5273761afa2 

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Gerunds - Our Son (1991)

It took a hell of a long time (try the better part of two decades), but I eventually came under the spell of Sardina's lone 1995 album, Presents.  Sardina were a co-ed Indianapolis quartet led by down-to-earth chanteuse Michelle Marchesseault whose golden pipes meshed splendidly with the band's slyly surreal sonic penchant.  While Sardina were an acquired taste, Michelle's previous band, The Gerunds (likewise originating from Indy) were comparatively more immediate, albeit less ornate.  By the time they cut the Our Son cassette in 1991 (recorded by the Paul Mahern of the Zero Boys/Datura Seeds) they had relocated to Bloomington, IN. 

After some lineup changes in 1992, the Gerunds lineup would soon transition to Sardina.  There's not any info to be had on The Gerunds outside of the Indiana Musical Family Tree archive site.  Our Son bears a discernible folk-pop sway, but otherwise the band loosely resembles The Spinanes and Velocity Girl - particularly the latter in regards to Marchesseault's vocal aptitude on these eight tracks.  I snatched these tracks from the aforementioned MFT site several years ago before the files disappeared.  In a nutshell, the Gerunds weren't quite as rewarding as Sardina, but Our Son's humble moxie is still worth examining.

01. Avalanche
02. Spaceman
03. Mother Lost
04. untitled
05. Kay's House
06. X
07. Flying With You
08. Dragon Song

http://netkups.com/?d=3b6cbfc43f752

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Pengwins - Vol. 1 7" - Naive/Life After High School (2013, SpyderPop)

This isn't my first entry regarding the should-have-been huge Pengwins, an Arlington, TX power pop troupe comandeered by one Lannie Flowers, who set up shop in 1976 and kept the flame burning until the early '90s.  In fact, last year I wrote up his latest solo endeavor, New Songs, Old Stories.  It was the Pengwins 1988 Mad About the Band ep that put the Pengwins on my radar, albeit posthumously. 

As I mentioned in my 2011 post, that ep was essentially where the band's discography began and ended.  That's about the change, starting with the first volume in a staggering sixteen part series of 7" singles, that come housed in a handsome flip-top cardboard box, complete with beautiful packaging.  Each single will feature one new song from the reunited Pengwins, and one vintage Pengwins song, remixed/remastered for the twenty-first century.  Housed in the box along with the 45 will be a CD of the tracks, a download card, and an assortment of band memorabilia - buttons, pics, stickers, and in the case of Volume 1, some thoughtful liner notes.  

The vintage rarity for the premiere 45 is none other than the Pengwins 1977 signature-song "Life After the High School," a primo four-minute salvo that could go toe to toe with anything the Shoes and Dwight Twilley were responsible for during the same era.  "Naive" is the new selection, and ironically, it's a sobering reflection on, well...life after high school. 

The single/box is available from CD Baby and by emailing SpyderPop through their website.  A digital version of the tracks (as well as 30 second previews) are also available via CD Baby and Amazon downloads, but seriously, you'll want the physical version and all it's accompanying trimmings.  The Mad About the Band ep is still available for the taking here

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lost Luggage - Synchronous Ownership and the Consumption of Cake ep (1985)

When I learned that Lost Luggage were responsible for a DIY ep that way predated the Chateau Relaxeau cd I shared with you last year, I knew that my only hope in fetching one for myself would be to go straight to the source.  I was a lucky man, because former L/L drummer Andy was able to accommodate my request completely, and now I've decided to let ya'll listen in.

If the aforementioned Chateau... was a product of streamlined, '90s alt-rock engineering, Synchronous Ownership... logically skewed to the collegiate-pop tenor of it's own era.  Lost Luggage was a trio at the time of this recording, and featured but two members that would carry onto the quartet incarnation of the group, upon relocating from Chicago to Los Angeles by the early '90s.  In a nutshell, the three-piece set hadn't gone the power chord route just yet, instead settling on strummy and jangly pop, with an occasional bent towards REM.  "Painting the Masses" is the real keeper here, with the jaunty "Laughing Alone" (it's jaunty rhythm perhaps informed by the Smith's "Rusholme Ruffians") folllowing up at a close second.  Still cutting their teeth on these six layers of Cake, Lost Luggage were creating some highly substantive tuneage in the process.  A hearty thanks to Andy for setting me up with everything.   

01. Waters Flow (Mourning Rain)
02. Laughing Alone
03. The Miles Between Us
04. Painting the Masses
05. Dinner in the Dining Car
06. Number Six

http://netkups.com/?d=93280358c76eb

Monday, October 21, 2013

From Palestine to Portland, Maine...

I present you with the masterful second album from an Athens, GA trio I've enthusiastically featured on W/O before.  Enjoy.

Having difficulty accessing the file?  Please try again a little later.  Too many people hammering the link simultaneously is apparently giving Netkup's servers a headache.  With this in mind, I'll leave this up for a few hours past the usual twenty-four, k?  You're welcome to comment, just don't give away anything obvious. 

http://netkups.com/?d=c287549506542

Sunday, October 20, 2013

VA - Lessons From Little Hits, Part 2

Little Hits was an unrelated music blog that preceded mine, which largely dealt with left-off-the-dial indie rock obscurities circa the 1980s.  It left a substantial impression on me, so much so that I decided to throw my hat in the ring with Wilfully Obscure.  Last month I shared a self-curated compilation of some of the music I absorbed (or more accurately, downloaded) during Little Hits 2005-2009 lifespan.  At the time I promised two more L/H installments, so here goes with the second.

I won't make any bones about it.  This set is heavy-goes-it on the power pop side of the continuum, with juicy morsels courtesy of The Windbreakers, Shane Champagne, The Green, Marbles, and the X-Teens, most of whom I've yet to dedicate space to on my own pages, but by now I really should have.  There's punkier pop offerings from the likes of the Speedies, and Messthetics obscuros the Thin YoghurtsThe Spliffs and Something Pretty Beautiful have the jangle bases covered, and New Zealand's Th' Dudes aren't far off that mark either, with their timelessly affecting signature tune, "Be Mine Tonight."  The Bird Nest Roys were another Kiwi delight, who should have made just as big a splash as the Chills if you ask me.  The Necessaries were a criminally overlooked New York troupe that I'm giving a little exposure to here (and maybe something more exhaustive in the future).  I'll leave the remainder of this roster strictly to your own interpretations.  For more background on Little Hits, and to experience the first installment in this three-part mini-series, see my original L/H post here.

Bird Nest Roys - Jaffa Boy
Died Pretty - Winterland
Marbles - Red Lights
Shane Champagne - Hold On to the Mystery
Something Pretty Beautiful - Expect a Miracle Today
Th’ Dudes - Be Mine Tonight
Green - Gotta Getta Record Out
The Maryland Cookies - Don't Lie To Me
Necessaries - Detroit Tonight
Speedies - Time
The Spliffs - You Know What They'll Say
Thin Yoghurts - Girl on the Bus
Windbreakers - Visa Cards and Antique Mirrors
X-Teens - Venus
Yo - Sun and Moon

http://www10.zippyshare.com/v/NSveC7SO/file.html

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Bongos - Phantom Train (2013, Jem) - A brief overview

Call it impatience.  In 2011, when I hastily uploaded an album's worth of vintage demos from one of Hoboken, NJ's most acclaimed indie aggregations, The Bongos, I went with the recording date of 1981 which they were errantly tagged with.  Not so.  In factt the beginning of that particular entry, I even went so far as to express my own doubts about when the tracks were actually conceived, and soon enough, lead-Bongo himself Richard Barone wrote in and carbon dated the material as being the product of a 1985 recording session.   The songs in question were being proposed for the band's second proper studio LP, Phantom Train, following up '85's Beat Hotel.  As fate would have it Phantom Train didn't see it's intended light of day in 1986.  Or 1996.  Or even 2006.  When the Bongos disbanded in the late '80s, the release of the album became something of a non-priority, but some twenty-seven years on the Train has finally pulled into the station.

My intro the Bongos was a somewhat used and abused vinyl copy of the 1982 singles and ep compendium, Drums Along the Hudson.  Technically, it served as the band's first physical album, and even though the music comprising it was culled from disparate sources, it possessed a flow all it's own - an absorption of idiosyncratic, left-of-the-dial dispatches of it's era, ranging from the Feelies and the dB's to the jittery reverberations of the first generation of CBGB's punk.  By 1983, the big boys (RCA) rang the Bongo's collective doorbell, and thus began a two year relationship with the label, resulting in '83's Numbers With Wings ep, and Beat Hotel, the group's first bonafide LP two years later.

With a major label budget to buttress the Bongos came bigger and better recording options, and it showed on the band's two commendable RCA releases.  Conversely, some of the odd feathers that informed their nascent singles were plucked in the process.  For shame that Phantom Train didn't see a more suitable release date, because while Barone and Co, weren't able to recapture the creativeness of their DAtH era, they were able to reclaim some of the warmth.  "Run to the Wild," "Tangled in Your Web," and "Under Someone's Spell" are taut and indelible slices of guitar pop, that miraculously don't concede an inch to the more gratuitous production "options" of the period.  Elsewhere, "Saturn Eyes" exudes the bittersweet, power-pop inclinations that the Smithereens and Let's Active were renown for, and the even starker "Roman Circus" ascends to the densest and heaviest crescendo the Bongos had scaled yet.

Was Phantom... worth the layover?  A resounding yes if you're a longtime aficionado, and for those who haven't made your acquaintance it's not a bad place to start, just make sure you get around to investigating Drums Along the Hudson while you're at it to get the complete Bongos picture.  While I'm not at liberty to share anything directly from the album, check out the aforementioned demos herePhantom Train is available from Amazon and digitally through iTunes

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Breathers - Rain Down ep (Sheisterfest, 1990)

Another cold case, this one from New Jersey.  Too bad I only have the cassette version of Rain Down, as the skimpy j-card doesn't offer any pertinent details on The Breathers.  The music is what counts of course, and this crew kicks things off with an inviting jangly rocker, "That Hope," which vaguely recalls the likes of across-the-pond sensations Power of Dreams and the Alarm.  Side two of Rain Down brings it all back home however, specifically the demonstrably more American-ized "Take," a driving three chord surge of anthemic proportions.  The Breathers commercial ambitions are nothing less than pronounced, but they're couched in a rewarding alt-rock context.  There was an ep that preceded this one titled Normal, Illinois that I'm itching to get my hands on. 

01. That Hope
02. Bonfire
03. Take
04. One More Movie

http://www47.zippyshare.com/v/twre1s6X/file.html

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Drongos - Small Miracles (1985, Proteus)

If you're gonna record your album on the sidewalk (for Chrissakes) you might as well go all out and start the tape rolling a hop, skip and a jump away from Times Square in midtown Manhattan.  That's what the Drongos did, a co-ed quartet of New Zealand transplants who I introduced you to a couple of years ago by way of their first album.  For an outdoor recording of any variety, the audio here is impeccable, and could easily be mistaken for a studio LP, were it not for the modest applause the band garnered at the conclusion of each number.  Amazingly, there's next to no obtrusive ambient noise (i.e. traffic) to gum up the proceedings.  In fact, if there were any blemished takes of these songs, they were obviously discarded in favor of the pristine versions that comprise Small Miracles.  It's a slight departure from their debut, and remarkably organic given the technological and architectural marvels that were literally surrounding the Drongos.  Performed on battery powered amps and a spartan snare drum, the group's frugal setup lent itself to no-effects, roosty rock and roll with an appreciated indie edge.  Buskin' out nearly a dozen tunes, the Drongos offer a pair of American standards in their setlist, Johnny Cash's iconic "Get Rhythm," and Chuck Berry's "Monkey Business."  Lots of sweet guitar tones on this one as well.  Incidentally, this whole deal went down on September 5, 1984.
 
01. Substance Abuser
02. With you Without
03. Standing on the Corner
04. Metronome
05. Monkey Business
06. Leave Me Alone
07. Passing By
08. Some Things
09. Small Miracles
10. Get Rhythm
11. Don't Touch Me

http://netkups.com/?d=55a52c5addecd

Monday, October 14, 2013

Braver men than me walk the lines of sleep, know the charm where forever and fourth street meet...

Ex-straightedge guys from Indiana repurpose their modus operandi, and adopt the ethos and romanticism of classic Bruce Springtseen for one of 1998's most impressive albums. 

Having difficulty accessing the file?  Please try again a little later.  Too many people hammering the link simultaneously is apparently giving Netkup's servers a headache.  With this in mind, I'll leave this up for a few hours past the usual twenty-four, k?  You're welcome to comment, just don't give away anything obvious.

http://netkups.com/?d=8bbe7c5515628

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Yuji Oniki - Shonen Blue (1988, Big Art)

I take comfort in the fact that I'm still discovering stimulating records from as far back as twenty to thirty years ago, made by unknown quantities that fall into my lap every so often.  Yuji Oniki's Shonen Blue is a grade-A example.  Having received high praise from the likes of the late Alex Chilton, and the more recently departed Scott Miller of Game Theory, this seemingly reclusive Japanese/American singer-songwriter was responsible for a handful of albums, including this stunning debut.  Shonen exudes a pastoral folk rock lilt, but it's latch-hooked to the slyly surreal nuances of "new south" indie pop, not far removed from say, Game Theory or the Reivers, but in a demonstrably more pensive and forlorn context.  Yuji's thing is ballads, and the brunt of them wouldn't sound at all out of place on an REM album - more Out of Time than Reckoning but occasionally the opposite.  While still grounded, "Ave 'C'," "Ghosts," and "Fairport" are simultaneously transporting.  Haunting.  Pristine.  Evocative.  It's all here.  For me, Shonen Blue's standout piece is the commencing "Cover," flavored with a chiming, crystalline post-punk guitar lead that smacks of one of Yuji's choicest contemporaries, For Against.  A thoroughly solid record.  My copy suffers from it's fair share of vinyl noise, some of which I was successful at smoothing over, but a cleaner copy is in order.  I found an alternate, blemish free rip of "Cover" from a miscellaneous source that I'm also including in the folder.  BTW, the album jacket is actually white.  I took it upon myself to alter it with a bluer tint in Photoshop.

Two subsequent Yuji Oniki albums exist, neither of which I've encountered thus far.  Mystical Beast blog did a nice write-up of Shonen Blue, thought it looks like the d/l links are dead. 

01. Cover
02. The Gift
03. Ghosts
04. Fairport
05. Ave 'C'
06. Dropping Hands
07. Underwater (...just like you)
08. Speak Low

http://www13.zippyshare.com/v/YO4TMa9T/file.html

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Sycamores - s/t 7" ep (1992, Crackpot)

Aside from their location (Minneapolis) there isn't anything I can tell you about The Sycamores right off the top of my head.  Luckily I don't have to, because they have a fairly comprehensive website to do all the talking.  A few years ago, I snatched their self-titled, 1995 album from a bargain bin, and while it didn't thoroughly bend my ear I took a chance on an earlier 45 that I'm featuring today.  "Red Wing Boots" fares better here than on the full length if you ask me - a deftly crafted morsel of rootsy power pop with no shortage of strummy persuasion.  We are given two b-sides, including the twangy "Stupid Waste."  Mouthpiece Frank Randall bears a slight resemblance to Matthew Caws, but the Sycamores are in almost entirely different terrain than Nada Surf.  You can read up on further Sycamores releases, and how you might be able to obtain them here.

A. Red Wing Boots
B1. My Sun
B2. Stupid Waste

http://www49.zippyshare.com/v/eVPAua29/file.html

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Charlie Watts Riots - A Break in the Weather (2013) - a brief overview

Maybe it's just me, but power pop in 2013, doesn't strike me as indiscernible as power pop from say ten years ago...or even twenty.  Fans of this three minute, three chord form are a pretty traditional lot when you think about it, and while I've opted for a more avant strain of the genre over recent years, those with a penchant for power pop purity meshed with big, plump guitars, will do just fine (if not better) with the second album from Albany, NY's Charlie Watts Riots.

And speaking of your penchants of choice, the Riots have serious hero-worship for the likes of Superdrag, Fountains of Wayne, and Super Deluxe.  The trio's modus operendi is keenly rooted in fore-bearers Cheap Trick, but the aforementioned comparisons make that something of a no-brainer, eh?  A Break in the Weather's vivacious opening salvos, "Bottom" and "Luanne" unveil CWR at their most flattering and incisive.  The remainder of Break, while not always as euphoric, is at least doggedly consistent - that is if you enjoy your power pop as linear and straightforward as the group is wont to dole it out.  Then again, this album is made by traditionalists for the traditionalists...and I believe you know who you are.  Hear the Riots in all their hook-ridden glory over at their Facebook page.  A Break in the Weather is available on CD, iTunes and Amazon

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fighting for freedom on the television...

A collection of demos and acoustic tracks from a surviving member of the class of '77, making their Wilfully Obscure debut today. 

Having difficulty accessing the file?  Please try again a little later.  Too many people hammering the link simultaneously is apparently giving Netkup's servers a headache.  With this in mind, I'll leave this up for a few hours past the usual twenty-four, k?  You're welcome to comment, just don't give away anything obvious. 

http://netkups.com/?d=b0e22539d9225

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Crush - Here is Where I Cross My Fingers (2002, Adeline)

Speaking of Jawbreaker...  It's enticing albums like this that make me wonder "what if?" Blake, Chris and Adam had stuck around for a fifth LP.  I said the same thing to myself when I got my hooks into the Marshes' Fledgling, and DrugMoney's Mtn Cty Jnk, but in the case of The Crush I'm being far more sincere.  No, there isn't any wholesale plagiarism infecting the dozen stunners that occupy Here is Where I Cross My Fingers, but The Crush do manage to find that fabled twenty-fifth hour 24 Hour Revenge Therapy fell just shy of.  In a nutshell, this Minneapolis quartet ups the emo ante a notch (in keeping with the times if anything else) and tosses in an extra pinch of melody a la Samiam and Seaweed.  Lifetime's Jade Tree albums no doubt made an impression on The Crush as well.  Here is Where... was their second and final album, which had the good fortune of coming out on the Green Day-commandeered Adeline Records imprint.  Even with an overseas tour with GD themselves (including an opening gig in Wembley Stadium no less!) The Crush opted to close shop soon after.  A damn near crying shame if you ask me, considering the strength of this record, or at the very least it's most convincing moments like "Get Out Of My Head And Into My Hands" and "Kick The Cough That Kissed You Cold."  Dazzling stuff my friends.

01-Here Is Where I Cross My Fingers (Summer Song)
02-Everyday Is Everything
03-Get Out Of My Head And Into My Hands
04-Insinuating What?
05-This Shaking Sensation
06-Kick The Cough That Kissed You Cold
07-3/4
08-Dresser Drawer
09-He Thought Himself Sick
10-Sometimes I Fall Over
11-Mission Viejo
12-And For You I Am Dying Now

http://netkups.com/?d=b2addf5d251f1

Saturday, October 5, 2013

V/A - Brouhaha 7" (1990/95, Piggly Wiggly/Broken)

Even though Jawbreaker were the only participants on this micro-compilation to gain something of a national foothold, Brouhaha scores well above-par in the consistency department, even two decades-plus after it's initial release.  In fairness, in 1990 I wasn't aware of this records existence or the four Bay Area bands that populated it.  When Broken Rekids was kind enough to reissue it in '95, Jawbreaker was the undeniable draw for me.  By that time, they had been whacked and blighted with a fat major label deal and a monstrously, over-produced album called Dear You, so imagine my relief when I heard "Caroline," a thoughtful ballad-esque piece with a lo-fi heart of gold.  It would later appear on JB'a odds and ends album, Etc., which I thoroughly endorse.

The contributor that I have my second-most familiarity with is Cringer, who featured frontman Lance Hahn, prior to spearheading J Church throughout the bulk of the '90s and beyond. Though Cringer had plenty of originals to their credit, they opted to cover "Razors," a hardcore punk slammer by Monsula,  a combo who happen to appear on side one with a remake of their own, "Cottleston Pie."  Winnie the Pooh be damned.  I don't come equipped with a great deal of first-hand knowledge on Monsula or Nuisance, but I've heard records by both which left a decent impression on me.  This rip was taken from the 1995 reissue on Broken.  I'm sure the first pressing on Piggly Wiglly could fetch a handsome buck or two.

01. Jawbreaker - Caroline
02. Monsula - Cottleston Pie
03. Nuisance - Dragonfly
04. Cringer - Razors

http://www56.zippyshare.com/v/ZhdNBj5J/file.html

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jolt - Proof of Total Collapse tape (1992)

When I served up Jolt's singles discography in 2008, I was worried it would fall on deaf ears, given the not-so-robust following they garnered in the mid-90s.  Fortunately, I was proven entirely wrong, and received a healthy amount of comments and emails regarding that rather exceptional Bay Area trio.  I recently learned of a demo tape they put out in 1992, and had the good luck of being able to track down an original copy in quick order (thank you Musicstack).

For the uninitiated, Jolt never produced a proper album or toured extensively, but seemingly everyone who encountered their music became an instant convert.  Bassist and frontman Paul Duarte possessed a strenuous timbre that was full on rasp (a la Blake from Jawbreaker and Jeff Ott of Crimpshrine/Fifteen) but what made Jolt so effective were their ambitious and infectious melodic structures, turning virtually every song into a keeper.  The Proof of Total Collapse cassette features six songs, including five that never made it to vinyl.  More info on Jolt can be had at last.fm and my original entry featuring those crucial singles I mentioned, which are pretty much mandatory listening if this tape makes an impression on you.  Cheers.

01. Lullaby
02. Headache
03. Heaven's Child
04. Isolate
05. The One for Me
06. Goldilocks

http://www62.zippyshare.com/v/CebkpATp/file.html

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Jill "Scary Thoughts" 7" (1995, Springbox)

I know that a significant portion of you are going to be put off by this blatantly goofball record sleeve.  Unfortunately, that's entirely your loss, especially if you have a sweet spot for early Green Day.  When this lil' slab of wax dropped in 1995, the world didn't exactly require a band like Jill, if only because Tre, Mike and Billie hadn't gone the Broadway route yet.  Then again, I should also factor into this equation that Jill weren't alone in their reverence to Green Day, because at the same time a handful of other "protege" bands were gaining some traction, specifically MxPx, Zoinks! and Bracket - often beating the trio in question at their own melodicore game.  Such is the case with Jill's "Scary Thoughts" which could pass for a 39/Smooth or Kerplunk outtake in a heartbeat.  Da bomb. IMO this tune surpasses just about anything in GD's Warner Bros catalog.  As for the flip,  "Dumbfounded" starts things off on a mellower note - that is until it bursts into power chord overdrive around the one-minute mark.  Evidently, Jill called San Angelo, Texas home.  Would love to know if there was more where this came from.   I'm dedicating this entry to one Eric Zoll, in hopes that he is alive and well.

A. Scary Thought
B. Dumbfounded

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