Sunday, November 18, 2018

Swiss time is on the move...

From 1999.

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


Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Dead Boys - Younger, Louder, and Snottier - The Rough Mixes (1997, Bomp)

To this day, I'm still trying to get my head wrapped around the term "rough mix."  Does this translate into "unmixed" or "casually mixed," or even "carelessly mixed?"  All I know is that pre-album mixes (or lack thereof) can sound palpably different from the finished product we pluck off the shelves.  In the case of the first Dead Boys album, Young, Loud and Snotty, the seminal punk record in question didn't sound particularly glossy in the first place.  On this incarnation of the LP, the overarching effect is less bass-y, Cheetah Chrome's guitar wails are a tad more prominent, are the background vocals are more discernible...and that's "roughly" (sorry, couldn't resist) the extent of the discrepancies.  I'm not privy to the fact if actual demos exist for YL&S, but I couldn't imagine them sounding to far off the mark from these unfettered takes.

Young, Loud and Snotty isn't one of my desert island picks, but it did make an impact.  It's even more rollicking at times than Never Mind the Bollocks, not to mention less calculated.  The Dead Boy's follow-up, We've Come For Your Children is nearly as potent as their debut but is rarely if ever mentioned.  Funny that.  Anyway, the Boys found a replacement fill-in for Stiv Bators a few years ago.  They've commenced touring, and have even gone to the effort of re-recording YL&S with said replacement.  Will wonders never cease...

01. Sonic Reducer
02. All This and More
03. What Love Is
04. Not Anymore
05. Ain't Nothin' to Do
06. Caught With The Meat In Your Mouth
07. Hey Little Girl
08. I Need Lunch
09. High Tension Wire
10. Down in Flames

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Splatcats - tape (199?)

The Splatcats rarely come up in conversation these days, if ever - even in their misbegotten home turf of Buffalo, NY.  But in their brief reign during the mid' 80s right up to the dawn of the Clinton era, these gents proved to be one of the most reliable and competent combos on the circuit, even generating ripples all the way over in Europe.  Sporting a penchant for ballsy rock with a delightfully punky verve, and even some garagey undercurrents, the band released a trio of remarkably consistent albums between 1986-90, with their debut Sin 73 garnering then the most notoriety.  Their earliest material loosely hovered in the vicinity of contemporaries the Lime Spiders, and by the time their 1990 swan song, Right On! was rolled out (albeit exclusively overseas to the frustration of local fans), the boys took a more linear tact.  This cassette only compendium (not an official release) focuses on the 'Cats latter era, offering a side of then brand new material, while the flip functioned as a six-song sampler for Right On!  

No copyright date is provided, but I would peg this tape right around 1991.  Some of the band's final cuts truly were their finest, with the smart "Smile Jenny, You're Dead" and "Susan, God & I," exuding a bright, tuneful penchant vaguely channeling the Replacements, and more accurately that band's unheralded acolytes the Magnolias and Junk Monkeys.  To my knowledge the first seven songs here are resident to this release only.  Perhaps another Splatcats morsel or two will drop on this site in the future. 

Side 1: new stuff
01. Supercharger
02. Smile Jenny, You're Dead
03. Requiem for a Heavy Date
04. Desperate Living
05. Susan, God & I
06. Bad Penny
07. Keep Your Pants On

Side 2: selections from Right On!
08. In Like Flynn
09. Bedknobs and Broomsticks
10. Gordon Ritchie
11. Cost of Admission
12. Lights, Cameram, Action!
13. Fort Apache

Sunday, November 11, 2018

I'd throw myself at this house to break windows and smash walls...

It just dawned on me that this disk turned twenty this year.  Sometime in 1998 a friend told me these guys sounded like Lifetime and that I'd love them.  Gladly, she was correct on both of those claims.  They've been a part of my life since, and even though they vastly outdid themselves on subsequent records, I was pretty dazzled with this debut at the time.

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



As per your relentless requests.  Included is the much requested Aztec Camera compilation with a bonus folder of all tracks that had the pitch corrected. Thanks again to one of our readers who went to the trouble of remedying this!

Aztec Camera - Digging Through Those Dustbins
V/A - Lessons From Little Hits, Vols 1, 2, 3 & 4
The Ocean Blue - s/t live (MP3 of FLAC) & Cerulean live (MP3 & FLAC
Material Issue - Eleven Supersonic Hit Explosions
Sweet Jesus - discography
Airlines - s/t
Hollins Ferry - s/t
The Square Root of Now - Bent Around Corners (MP3 & FLAC
Dils - Live!
True Believers - Live - Harder... tape
The Proof - It's Safe 
Timco - Friction Tape
The Othermothers - No Place Like Home ep
Outlets - Whole New World
V/A - Black Brittle Frisbee
V/A - Twisted - 7" ep
Connections - 7"
Pigpen - Tard 7"
27 Various - 7" 
Kilkenny Cats - 7"
Comet - 7"
Bridge Climbers - Full Bag, Don't Bend
Cockeyed Ghost - Karaoke tape 
The Strawberry Zots - Cars, Flowers, Telephones
Helen Keller Plaid - Din
Full Fathom Five - 4 AM
Squalls - Rebel Shoes
Miles Dethmuffen - Nine-Volt Grape, Clutter & Presto 7"
Corduroy - Dead End Memory Lane & Lisp ep
Hangmen - Used ep
The Hairs - Subcutaneous 
Verbow - Chronicles 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Raves - Past Perfect Tense 1980-89 (1992, Hologramophone)

Here's a band that time forgot...but Not Lame didn't.  No, this wasn't a Not Lame Records release, rather a title I procured from their distribution arm of other labels they were thankfully carrying.  This Atlanta era quartet had roots all the way back to an early-70s group, Nod, before rechristening themselves as The Raves in the subsequent decade.  Unabashed power pop was their calling card, rooted in the likes of the Raspberries, but in practice more tangibly resembling Shoes, The Rubinoos, and a variety of their equally obscuro contemporaries on the Titan Records imprint (e.g. the Secrets and Arlis).  A handful of the songs here are culled from The Color of Tears LP, but the bulk of them are unreleased.  I don't have liner notes to refer to, as my copy only came with a b&w tracklist with no credits or background details to speak of.  The Raves were immensely competent and gratifying, and in fact their only shortcoming (if it can even be referred to as such) was their likeness to a myriad of similar combos during their tenure.  A second comp of Raves (and Nods) material supposedly saw the light of day in 2002 but seems to have vanished upon release. 

01. Every Little Bit Hurts
02. C'est la Vie
03. Make Up Your Mind
04. Now You've Really Done It
05. I Can't Take Anymore
06. Whatever She Says
07. I Bet You're Lonely Too
08. Calling Your Name
09. It Doon't Matter At All
10. When She's Gone
11. To Your Face
12. Nevermore
13. Any Way You Can
14. My, My, My
15. Tonight It's Gonna be Great
16. Chastity

Monday, November 5, 2018

Permanent Green Light - Hallucinations & The Death of Rock: Peter Holsapple vs. Alex Chilton (2016, Omnivore) - A brief review.

I'll admit it.  Even I've privately referred to Permanent Green Light as "That post-Three O'Clock band."  I didn't have an immediate allegiance to PGL, if only because my intro to the was not through one of their originals, rather a B-52s cover on the Freedom of Choice compilation.  No, in order to really see the Light, I started with the ringleader's (Michael Quercio) more renown predecessor band, the aforementioned Three O'Clock.  During their mid/late '80s tenure, TO'C christened the very namesake of the movement they were the quintessential vanguard of - the Paisley Underground.  Alongside local L.A. contemporaries Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade and even pre-stardom Bangles, the Three O'Clock married a forward thinking collegiate rock aesthetic with the more docile affectations of '60s psych-pop.  From a sonic standpoint, this melange wasn't as sub-rosa as I may be leading on, but the subtle nuances these groups exuded went along way in earning them copious amounts of critical acclaim and cult status.

By 1990, The Three O'Clock were more than half past their anointed hour, and the next year saw the first flurry of activity by Quercio's newly activated Permanent Green Light, a trio fleshed out with emerging area indie stalwarts Matt Devine (bass) and Chris Bruckner (percussion).  Not a total 180 from what TO'C were about (but nonetheless a horse of a demonstrably different color) PGL's aptitude proved to be a whip smart dalliance of power pop and the more cerebral quotient of ‘90s alt-rock.  Survived by an ep, the 1993 full-length Against Nature, and a clutch of singles, the band's catalog has been cherry picked for the newly minted compendium Hallucinations, an album that makes an almost air-tight argument for PGL, even more consistent and inviting than the individual releases it's sourced from.

Michael Quercio has a fairly unmistakable timbre - high, running just shy of a falsetto.  It was an ideal fit for Three O'Clock's more whimsical New-Romantic forays, but how did that translate to a power trio template?  Surprisingly apropos, in fact, as PGL's comparatively muscular tact never exceeded to the point where Quercio was forced to overpower the music.  Possessing a stupefying array of sophisticated, melodic chops didn't hurt either, acutely evidenced on "The Truth This Time," "Street Love," and "(You & I Are The) Summertime."  And these guys packed a visceral wallop as well, with stinging slammers like "Honestly" and "We Could Just Die" which soared in the same airspace as Redd Kross and Frosting on the Beater-era Posies.  I should also point out that Michael gave guitarist Matt Devine the "green light" to pen and present some of his own songs, yielding the spare ballads "Portmanteau" and "Marianne Gave Up Her Hand."

Were it not for the fact that Permanent Green Light releases were confined to such small labels (predominantly Gasatanka, a subsidiary of Rockville Records helmed by recently deceased White Flag frontman Bill Bartell) there wouldn't be a need for such an exhumation as Hallucinations.  Nonetheless, even if PGL are a posthumous discovery to most there's some fantastic music here that's far better discovered later than never.

File The Death of Rock under: Peter Holsapple, Alex Chilton, Big Star, The dB's, proto-power pop, or simply under informal recordings.  Music fandom can take a person a long way.  In the case of one future dB's co-frontman Peter Holsapple, the man in question was so enamored with the first two Big Star albums, he headed to the band's hallowed home turf of Memphis, TN to track some recordings at the storied Sam Phillips Studios.  It was his intention to imbibe some of the vibes that made the Birthplace of Rock and Roll what it was, and perhaps cross paths with his "mentor" Alex Chilton himself.

The Death of Rock is and never was intended to be a proper album.  It exists as an artifact to document a mildly haphazard collection of 1978 recordings cut by an ambitious Holsapple who set out to be something of a Chilton protege.  Only thing was, by this time Alex had very much fallen out of love with the brand of semi-precious pop that gracefully adorned Big Star's Radio City and #1 Record landmark albums, and was very much in the process of forging his own path, soon to be evidenced on the freewheeling and genre dabbling Like Flies on Sherbert.  The first quotient of Death is actually pretty together, with Holsapple previewing two of the dB's signature pieces, the lusciously hooky "Bad Reputation," and nearly as potent "We Were Happy There."  The centerpiece of these glorified demos is the ambitious title track, channeling what both contemporary Rolling Stones and The Who had notched themselves up to the late '70s.  Amazingly, the song would be given to the Troggs who would retool it into a song dubbed "I'm in Control" for a 1992 reunion album.

Midway through the recordings, Holsapple managed to corner Alex Chilton in a Memphis bar.  A belittling compliment from Chilton directed to his junior ultimately led to a jam session, which is what the second tranche of songs on Death zero in.  Per Holsapple's liner notes, AC ambled into Sam Phillips studio shortly after for some casual woodshedding - and the results were caught on tape. Problem was, the very loose collaboration appeared to be intended as a demonstration by Chilton, not so much a substantive recording session.  Wielding a painfully untuned bass, the former Big Star/Box Tops wunderkind joined Peter in a seemingly impromptu bluesy piece "Tennis Bum," concerning Chris Bell's fixation for the pastime. "Marshall Law" is similarly cut from less-than-structured cloth, and jammy renditions of "Train Kept a Rollin'" and "Hey Mona" were also priorities of the moment, and in fact make a more lasting impression than the aforementioned Chilton originals.  In all frankness this brief meeting of the minds was likely never intended to see the light of day, but it points to the looser direction Alex was embracing, just as his counterpart was striving to be the popsmith his icon was merely five years or so before.

The Death of Rock rounds out with a grab-bag of session leftovers, mostly of Holsapple rehearsal takes including the title cut, "Bad Reputation," and even some very brief finaglings of Big Star's "O My Soul" and "In the Street."  Just don't get your hopes up as far as those renditions.  Generally speaking this is not your traditional "reissue," nor is it representative of the quintessence of anyone involved.  Nothing seminal here, merely a few moments in time captured on tape, passed along digitally to whomever may be eager enough to experience it.

Both Hallucinations and The Death of Rock are available direct from Omnivore or iTunes and Amazon.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

So when the atom age collects it's toll...

1989 album from trio of downstate New York lads.  Bit of an acquired taste this one.

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


Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Delfields - Ogres (2008)

Surprisingly, the internet doesn't have much to offer on The Delfields despite this album having only been in existence for ten years.  In terms of band-specific details, I can only inform you that these are five NJ cats who seem to have an affinity for Office Space, based on their depiction on the back of the cd case.  Luckily, their album is considerably more enticing.  Ogres is bejeweled in shimmering, lucid indie pop, tuned into the given intelligentsia of the time - Shins, early Rogue Wave and even Outrageous Cherry.  We're served nine concise slices here, and the Delfields don't piddle away a second on anything frivolous or contrived.  Be sure to indulge in the sprite "Fawn Fight" for maximum sustained tingle inducement.

01. A Slippery Slope
02. Honest
03. Francine
04. Short Sleeves
05. Ogres
06. Solvents and Vacuums
07. Our Beds
08. Fawn Fight
09. Highlands

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Lift - Nearly Gear! (1985, Roo)

Hailing from the not oft spoken locale of Newport News, VA, The Lift weave some intermittent magic across the dozen song (and one stray chord) Nearly Gear!  The album jacket suggests this trio might be of rockabilly stock, but to far greater delight they apply a bevy of advanced maneuvers within our sometimes routine left-of-the-dial environs.  I say intermittent in the respect that the Lift have a tendency to diverge from song to song, resembling a cornucopia of their contemporaries.  The band light the pleasure sensors ablaze on "Plush With Blonde" and "Monetary Means," emanating the stripe of creative juices Matthew Sweet did with his early Buzz of Delight endeavor, and ditto for such oddly alluring combos from Wilfully Obscure's back pages like Cannon Heath Down and Square Root of Now.  Something Fierce comes to mind as well.  When the Lift shift into peak performance, Nearly Gear! resembles some sort of long lost Mitch Easter production credit.  Elsewhere, we're allotted a par excellence serving of power pop in the guise of  "Good Head," and "This Is Bad's" Johnny Marr inflected jangle is nearly as sublime.  Despite some demonstrable inconsistencies this record still manages to border on a revelation.   

BTW, Lift fulcrum Bryan Forrest has a Reverbnation page featuring music from a variety of his endeavors, including the one I just introduced you to.  Well worth exploring.  

01. Nothing Sacred
02. Fair Airplane
03. Plush With Blonde
04. Monetary Means
05. To Have and to Hold
06. Shift the Edge
07. This of That
08. This is Bad
09. Swayed (Scottish Mix)
10. She Gets By
11. Good Head
12. Must I?
13. Paul's Lost Really Gear Chord