Saturday, September 14, 2019

Long awaited re-ups, plus, watch this space!

It's been awhile since I've tended to dead links, so here we go again, based on your requests.  Check this post later again this coning week for some additional links, and feel free to make a request or two.  Thanks!

Swallow - S/T and Sourpuss
Senseless Things - Empire of the Senseless
Versus - Let's Electrify! ep (MP3 or FLAC)
Crash - Everything Under the Sun
Material Issue - Issues Vol. 3
Wondermints - 1988 demos
Off Broadway - live 1980 and unreleased
John Wicks & The Records - Rock'ola
Facecrime - Sex & Revolution ep
Modern Minds - compilation cd
The Flys - Waikiki Beach Refugees and Own
Cheticamp - Aeroplane Vs. Automobile
Inner Sleeves - End it All 7"
Marnies - Electric Wire 7"
Outside World - tape
Baxters - Era Buffet
Eurogliders - Pink Suit Blue Day
Phantom Planet - rarities
V/A - Children of Nuggets - Discs 1, 2, 3, 4
V/A - Give Me the Cure  
V/A - Iowa Compilation Vol 1 & Vol 2
V/A - Punk USA
V/A - Austin, TX "So What" Tribute to the Replacements
The Gloria Record - Grace the Snow is Here 7"
Poi Dog Pondering - 8 Songs Tape
Outrageous Cherry - Stereo Action Rent Party
Lovers Under Pressure - The Elvis Years and Island tape
Eleventh Dream Day - s/t ep
Gaunt - Whitey the Man ep
Marshal Fields - EP
Virgin Release (pre-Marshal Fields) - Turn it Down 7"
14 Iced Bears - In the Beginning
Sand Rubies - Release the Hounds
The Misstakes - National Pastime
Datura Seeds - Who Do You Want it to Be? and S&P 
Junk Monkeys - Firehouse, Kick out the Jelly, Five Star Fling, Bliss
I Can Crawl - Desert
Go Four 3 - Six Friends
Swing Set - Life Speeds Up
Glass Eye - Marlo and Huge
Epic Rumors - The Feral Child
Enemies in the Grass - Blind Crossing ep & 7"
Human Television - demos
say-so - 1986 demo
American Standard - Wonderland and Trial Size 7"
Chopper - 4play ep
The Sneetches - Sunnyside Down 7"
Naiomi's Hair - Tara and Bag Truck tape
Overflow - The Worm 7"
Oversoul Seven - Fool Revelation and S/T

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Crumbs of Insanity - Spiral Stare tape (1989)

For a change I decided not to make you wait until Friday for some new tunes.  It didn't hurt that I had this one digitized and ready to go.  My initial draw to these Buffalo suburbanites was the involvement of one Mark Freeland (R.I.P.), a unique and talented savant-garde multimedia artist who made several records under his own name in the '80s-'90s.  It wasn't until I looked at Crumbs of Insanity's roster on the cassette inlay that I learned Freeland merely played percussion in this particular combo.  Nonetheless, not a regrettable purchase, albeit not the essence of what the man was responsible for. 

The Crumbs were actually spearheaded by Dave Rapp, whose parlance vaguely hovered in the vicinity of Boy George at times.  No shortage of hedonism is implied on these five cuts, with the Crumbs stopping short of any frivolous maneuvers.  Decked out in a white-boy, Caribbean melange of reggae-lite and new wave inklings (maybe a hint of Haircut 100 on "Keys"), I'm not sure what the band's ultimate objective was, or even if there were other releases surrounding this one.  World domination wasn't in the cards I'm afraid. Some of the material here strikes me as a tad underwritten, but I'm generally not apt to complain about what I'm hearing, particularly on side one (selections 1-3).  At some point I'll indulge you with some of Mark Freeland's proper studio delectation's.

01. Great Fire
02. Sentimental Drifter
03. Keys
04. Waves of Love
05. Lame Duck

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Oil tankers and the National Guard...

From 2000.  This artist's only proper album outside of soundtracks and scores.  Some say it's a classic.

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


Stealer - s/t (1982)

The album jacket depicted to your left may strike you as either innocuous, or perhaps even slightly off-putting.  Nothing about it screams "indie" or "post-punk, or in fact anything particularly visionary.  In some respects these assumptions are right on the money as Stealer were not indie kids, punk, or on the cutting edge of much of anything.  In fact, the foursome in question were marketed as hard rock and AOR.  Probably not the most enticing of musical propositions, and hardly the stuff of this blog's aesthetics, as it were.  "Hard rock," especially the pedestrian variety thereof, reeks of stock riffs, unimaginative FM playlists, antiseptic arenas, and all-too familiar themes of love, partying, and blue collar concerns.  Yet once in awhile I'll stumble across a forgotten hopeful of this ilk that stands out from the pack just enough to perk my ears up, and in this case even get me a little stoked. 

Stealer were major label casualties (we can thank MCA for the hiring/firing) who issued this lone self-titled platter.  While firmly in the AOR mold, the band (whose whereabouts remain unknown) had a stronger melodic prowess than the brunt of their competition.  Bearing a loose resemblance to early Loverboy/Foreigner with occasional tinges of Cheap Trick, their flirtations with power-pop aren't as frequent as I'd prefer them to be, but I'll gladly take what I'm hearing on "Never Again," "If You Want Me" and "Your Heart Will Burn."  If it's more meat and potatoes hard rock you're craving the opening "On My Own Again" is a screamingly obvious (should've-been) airwaves anthem," and the even hotter second song in, "E.S.P." is a punchy, melodic gut check that genuinely outdid anything along the aforementioned Loverboy/Foreigner continuum, tame as that may sound to many of you.  The only bum item on Stealer is the concluding "Johnny," which regrettably could pass for a limp Bad Company ballad.

Compared to say, any of my Big Star, Husker Du, or Posies entries, Stealer may rank as a comparatively low priority, but I wouldn't be making it available for consumption if I couldn't vouch for it.  Go into this one with an open mind and you'll be pleasantly surprised.  Btw, pickings are woefully slim online for shedding any relevant light on this one.  Best I could find were an album critique and a thread on a hard rock forum

01. On My Own Again
02. E.S.P.
03. If You Want Me
04. Ready or Not
05. Never Again
06. I've Got to Fight
07. Hold Tight
08. Your Heart Will Burn
09. Tell Me It's Love
10. Johnny

Friday, September 6, 2019

Elton Motello - Pop Art 7" (1980, Passport)

Elton Motello was the stage name of Alain Ward, and somewhat confusingly it was also the name of his band in total.   The UK-based Ward kicked off his career in a glam/punk combo, Bastard, before taking up the Motello mantle in 1978, a year which saw the release of their debut long player, Victim of Time.  That album's follow-up Pop Art, came down the pike two years later and also spawned a single of the same name.  The 45 in question served as my intro to E/M, and after surveying the deft chops and somewhat sardonic modus operandi of the A-side, I'd put Ward in the same league as B.A. Roberston, Donnie Iris and for that matter, Bram Tchaikovsky.  In short, a frontman brimming with character and sass, the likes of which we're in dreadfully short supply of these.  The flip, "20th Century Fox" isn't the Doors song, rather another cheeky original with a mildly grandiose sweep, a la something Motello's contemporaries The Motors might have turned in had they not been so straight-faced.  There's a lot of music floating around the halls of Wilfully Obscure, and amidst my numerous stacks and racks I may have the Pop Art LP I spoke of a moment ago, so who knows, maybe that one will materialize on here later.  Feel free to imbibe this two-songer for now.

A. Pop Art
B. 20th Century Fox

Sunday, September 1, 2019

I can't explain what I can't see.

This band's 1979 fourth album was almost as classic and gratifying as their first three.  Almost.

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


Saturday, August 31, 2019

The And - Day (1997, J-Bird)

With their origins dating back to the mid-80s, even then in the pre-search engine era, I'd think it a fools errand for any band to dub themselves with such an indistinguishable moniker as...The And.  Really, do you mean to tell me all the good band names were claimed by 1983 when these Wisconsinites released their first 45? Needless to say, uncovering any pertinent knowledge regarding this band was close to an impossibility, save for their Discogs page linked above.  Day's copyright date is 1997, and none other than Butch Vig is listed as producer for half of these songs.  Several of the titles on Day overlap with their Reagan-era singles.  The problem is I can't decipher if we're getting the 80s versions of "How Busy is He?," "Role Models" and "Marshmallow Through a Keyhole," or re-recordings of them.  The latter (and more satisfactory) portion of the album skews towards the aforementioned songs with "How Busy.." sounding like something Off Broadway USA might have conjured up.  Just the kind of skinny-tie power pop MTV might have aired at 3 AM, and ditto for "Who Do You Kiss."  "Marshmallow..." is a synthy confection that's also worth the price of admission.  Elsewhere, The And hop around from resembling a competent bar band to Big Country, with each of their tunes boasting something of a unique persona.  As you might surmise, "I Fall to Pieces" is the Patsy Cline number, with the band doing a fairly robust read of it at that - a lot more fun than Screeching Weasel's rendering of it I might add.  Finally, I track ten on this CD is mysteriously omitted from the track list on the tray card. Enjoy.

01. I Fall to Pieces
02. The World Ain't Round
03. Your Wish (Is My Desire)
04. Heart Fall Away
05. She's Not Alone
06. Marshmallow Through a Keyhole
07. Role Models
08. Hide Your Eyes
09. Who Do You Kiss
10. (title not provided)
11. How Busy is He?

Friday, August 30, 2019

Rarefaction - Modern Man mLP (1986, Jaffa)

Yet another cold case, a Canadian one to be exact.  Despite the noir album jacket, Rarefaction were relatively conventional practitioners of snyth-n-guitars modern rock.  More new wave than indie, but despite a lack of mystique still pretty appealing.  At their most stimulating this five-piece resemble what the Comsat Angels were attempting around the same time (think, 7 Day Weekend-era).  "Open Up Your Heart," "All the Broken Seams," and the title cut are all fairly exemplary, and even when they stumble occasionally on Modern Man, I can't think of anything egregious enough going on here to dissuade you from giving this a whirl or two.

01. I Dreamt
02. Open Up Your Heart
03. Ordinary Man
04. Abstract Minds
05. All the Broken Seams
06. Night Crawler
07. You In Me

Sunday, August 25, 2019

You want a better risk?

Artful and immersive indie rock from 2015.  I love the sound of a band stewing in their own creative juices.

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


Tappi Tíkarrass - Miranda (1983) (feat. Björk, pre-Sugarcubes!)

Of all the records I've shared that I don't possess a physical copy of this is certainly one of the rarest.  Tappi Tikarrass was the band Björk Guðmundsdóttir's (yes she has a last name too) joined before going onto international renown in the Sugarcubes.  If you've ever wanted to hear her as a wee little tyke, or at least in her mid-teens, dive in.  Singing entirely in Icelandic, Björk wasn't TT's original frontwoman, but to my knowledge she sings on all recordings made with the group.  Not as avant as the Sugarcubes or even nearly as shriek-y, Tappi Tikarrass were surprisingly diverse - not straight up punk (albeit borderline at moments) or boilerplate new wave, yet defiantly left of center.  There's nervy aggression aplenty (e.g. "Skrið" and "Drek-Lek") but just as much, if not more residing on the opposite side of the coin with "Íþróttir" and "Get Ekki Sofið" damn-near approaching the tenor of ballads, particularly that first one.  Personally, I prefer this coed troupe when they stake out a middle ground (or sorts).  "Beri-Beri" and "Kríó" are the choicest specimens in that realm, the first being a delightful stab at disco-lite wave pop, with "Kríó" angling in the vicinity of the B-52s of all things.  Wow.  The first 13 tracks comprise the Miranda album proper while the remainder are derived from unknown sources.  Found a fairly spot-on critique of this record here with more background details than what I've revealed in this relatively paltry write-up.  There also a batch of early 'cubes demos that I offered way back when that you're welcome to revisit

01. Miranda
02. Skrið
03. Kríó
04. Íþróttir
05. Tjet
06. Lækning
07. Drek-Lek
08. Beri-Beri
09. Hvítibjörn
10. Sokkar
11. Með-Tek
12. Get Ekki Sofið
13. Mýrin Andar
14. Afi (Björgvin Gíslason)
15. Worlds Collapse (Bless)
16. Yonder (Bless)

Friday, August 23, 2019

Dr. Phibes & The House Of Wax Equations - Whirlpool (1991, 50 Seel Street)

When I plucked this one off the bargain rack, I was reasonably given the impression the band in question was Whirlpool...but upon further examination I was several syllables off.  By all accounts (namely the one I was able to peruse courtesy of the Guardian), Britain's long since departed Dr. Phibes & The House Of Wax Equations were something of a force of nature to witness live.  For most of us however, two scarcely distributed indie albums will have to suffice, Whirlpool being the first of them.  It would seem much has been made of their psych leanings, albeit Dr. Phibes sidestepped the whole Madchester miasma completely, and didn't bear much in common with the Spacemen 3, or even glorious drone merchants Loop.  No, the Phibes vibe was more in tune with the architecture of say, the Family Cat or Compulsion, with less pop appeal mind you.  Epic length ventures abound on Whirlpool, but the overarching effect isn't the stuff of drug-induced profundity so much as clangy, amped-out indie rock.  Guitarist/frontman Howard King Jr. makes for a throaty mouthpiece, yet "Mr Phantasy" and "When Push Comes to Shove" offer ample evidence that when emphasis is expended on melody his trio transcends the power quotient for something genuinely poignant.  As much as I wish there more tunes like the aforementioned populating Whirlpool, it's hard to knock Dr. Phibes enveloping sonic prowess.  A second album, Hypnotwister dropped in 1993. 

01. Eye Am the Sky
02. Marshmallow Madness
03. Mr Phantasy
04. Mirrors
05. When Push Comes to Shove
06. Dovetail
07. Dreaming (Insomnia)
08. Sugarblast
09. Eye Am the Sky

Sunday, August 18, 2019

There ain't no asylum here.

An ingenious covers album that just may encourage you to check out some of her originals.

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


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Calling it a week.

Realistically, I won't be posting again until Monday morning.  Keep yourselves amused in the meantime.  👽

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A brief review - Those Pretty Wrongs - Zed for Zulu (2019, Burger) & Rob Laufer - The Floating World (2019)

The title of Those Pretty Wrong's second LP, Zed for Zulu, is a nod to something known as the NATO phonetic alphabet (which in 2002 Wilco finagled the same cultural reference to their Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album, but I digress).  The music enshrined within the record is decidedly less esoteric however.  The Memphis by way of L.A. duo TPW was initiated in 2012 when ex-Big Star drummer/Ardent Studios figurehead Jody Stephens and ex-Freewheelers frontman Luther Russell worked on the Big Star documentary, Nothing Can Hurt Me.  The collaboration on the movie inadvertently parlayed into a music outlet of their own, Those Pretty Wrongs, and an album of the same name followed in 2016.  Despite their setup as a duo, TPW subscribe to an insular aesthetic, one which often angles in the vicinity of forlorn, loner folk more than angsty rock.

Abundant throughout this album, Stephens and Russell can't help but echo Big Star's quieter traipses (think #1 Record's "Watch the Sunrise,"on Zed's "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight).  In fact, "Tonight..." even evokes shades of Chris Bell's "You And Your Sister," but generally speaking, the Wrongs opt for a discernibly genteel and straightforward tact, more in tandem with say, early CSN&Y and even Nick Drake than Chilton and Bell's idiosyncratic calling cards. In fact, the going on Zed has a tendency to veer a little too plaintive, flirting with songwriting so linear that it's hard not to predict the latter half of certain couplets.  If anything else, Stephens and Russell compensate with alternating tempos and moods imbuing somber tones to the doleful "Hurricane of Love," and "Life Below Zero," while applying comparatively lighthearted strokes to buoyant "Undetow," and even manage to flex some power pop musculature on "You and Me."  Zed for Zulu's benign tenor lends itself to a breezy, afternoon sway in the hammock, providing the pillow to comfort our collective aching heads in the Trump-era.  You can pre-order it straight from Burger Records or Amazon.

People are fickle about singer-songwriters, especially ones they're wholly unfamiliar with.  This is precisely why so many of them get lost in the shuffle.  Hopefully that isn't the case with Rob Laufer, who actually isn't a newcomer, rather he's taken an extended coffee break (since 2010's Excruciating Bliss to be exact).  His belated latest, The Floating World is his fifth album, and whether virgin ears mistake it as a debut or otherwise, it makes for an often stunning introduction.

Bearing a vocal aplomb that's passable at times to Fountains of Wayne's Chris Collingwood, Laufer's music isn't the stuff of topical, white-collar power pop.  More to the point, he's a sophisticated songsmith with musical chops and an arranging acumen that's anything but everyday.  You won't find much in the way of extremes wafting through this Floating World, though there are nuances aplenty.  "Bolt of Blue" and "Space and Time" are a pair of deftly crafted, up-tempo numbers, bustling with brisk rhythms and substantive prose that split the difference between groove and infectiously melodic prowess.  The denser "As Long As You Belong" richly channels George Harrison by way of Laufer's equally proficient contemporaries Rhett Miller and Jason Falkner, while the pedal steel accented "Highway Machine" is contemplatively bittersweet.  And if it's a consoling comedown you're craving the piano-ballad title track is the type of catharsis this beleaguered world should all get on board for.  The Floating World drops on August 23rd, and will be available from Bandcamp, iTunes, and Amazon.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Woke up screaming, god I hope I'm not bleeding.

Debut from 1993.  I've never been able to figure out why, but it seems as if everything this band ever committed to tape has been lauded in one circle or another...except this album.  No complaints here.

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


Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Dugites - s/t (1980, Deluxe)

Damn where had this band been my whole life?  Um, try Perth, Australia circa the late '70s/early '80s before I was really paying attention to music.  All legit rationale for ignorance aside, the co-ed Dugites were a better-late-than-never discovery, who I just happened to stumble upon while browsing someone's file list on my fave peer-to-peer, Soulseek.  Lynda Nutters straddled the mic for this ace new-wavey quintet over the course of three records, this being the first. She conveys an ever so faint hint of '60s girl-group kitsch to the Dugites formula, but writ large they struck a delectable merger of synth and power pop.  Blondie are an obvious (and frankly lazy) comparison, but Nutters and her compatriots (including keyboardist Peter Crosbie, whom she was married to for a period) were not tarted up, nor was the band particularly in-your-face, so to speak.  At least for this particular record, the emphasis was on tunes, and immaculately catchy ones at that, chockablock with indelible hooks, buoyancy and charm for kilometers.  "In Your Car," "Goodbye," and "Mama Didn't Warn Me," are all par excellence examples of  The Dugites chosen pop niche for their now bygone era, and the land down under was all the richer for it.  Am really grateful to have encountered this one.  Rock on Vinyl blog provides a more exhaustive diatribe on this record than I have, and are even offering a lossless FLAC rip of it. 

01. In Your Car
02. South Pacific
03. Mama Didn't Warn Me
04. Goodbye
05. Gay Guys
06. 13 Again
07. No God, No Master
08. No One Would Listen
09. Amusing
10. Six Weeks

Thursday, August 8, 2019

David Marko & The Trade - My Baby's A Piranha & Other Selected Love Songs (1982, McClintick)

Despite it's strikingly miscellaneous cover art, this record boasted significantly more definition than I was expecting.  The name David Marko & The Trade has the ring of a power pop band, and indeed this trio is guilty as charged, albeit I don't think these guys slotted in too comfortably with the skinny tie brigade.  If anything they hail the old school here, as so much of ...Piranha is steeped in the first couple of Raspberries albums, early Rubinoos, and perhaps even the Scruffs.  Marko and Co. emanate a rather wholesome vibe, screeching just shy of a precious halt on the winsome "Hold Me" and "The Last to Know."  The beefier "Eden Again" is more in line with this disk's '82 copyright, but when all is said and done these guys were classicists who never really intended to rock the boat.  David Marko & The Trade are virtual no-shows on the search engines, and their whereabouts are an unknown quantity.  Perhaps my copy of this album was missing an insert?  Enjoy.

01. Maybe Baby
02. radio
03. Hold Me
04. I Think I Love You
05. Leave Me Alone
06. The Last to Know
07. Eden Again
08. Her Song
09. Kathy Ann
10. Love Me Tonight

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Anything you wanna do, and she'll do it like a fool...

A recent reissue of a 1993 classic, though I think I appreciate the original mix more.

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


Guided by Voices - Waterloo Records in-store, 04/12/01

Yet another tidbit from a band we've given plenty of HEED to over the years.  And I thought today would be appropriate to share this given the unfortunate #daytonstrong theme we're forced to grapple with (even though this is a non-Ohio performance).  This one is fairly straightforward - a fully electric in-store, Isolation Drills-era performance at the most renown music outlet in Austin, TX, Waterloo Records.  Robert Pollard and Co. sound right, tight and refreshingly sober.  Arguably the peak of the non-classic lineup era of GBV, though a couple of obligatory '90s classics round out the set.  The taper neglected to get to Waterloo immediately as the band commenced, hence the partial version of "Run Wild" at the beginning.  Am making this available in it's original FLAC rip as well as downsized MP3.

01. Run Wild (partial) 
02. Skills Like This
03. Chasing Heather Crazy 
04. Pivotal Film 
05. Teenage FBI 
06. Glad Girls 
07. Brides Have Hit Glass 
08. Game Of Pricks
09. I Am A Scientist

MP3  and  FLAC

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Material Issue - What Girls Want promo ep (1992)

This is one of those weeks where I simply don't have an abundance of stuff prepped, but in the interim there's this.  A quick three-song promo released contemporaneously with Material Issue's sophomore album, Destination Universe.  The single, "What Girls Want" pales slightly when stacked against International Pop Overthrows now ubiquitous anthems, yet still thoroughly rocks.  That wah-wah effect on the guitars won't quit - not that you'd realistically want it to.  It's followed up by an exclusive non-LP cover of Grand Funk's "Bad Time, which i actually had more fun with than the original.  This shorty ep closes things out with an acoustic rendition of one of Destination's deeper cuts, "Next Big Thing."

This is one came packaged in a gatefold CD sleeve, and much to my dismay, the clerk at the store I obtained this from affixed a very stubborn price sticker right atop Jim Ellison's head.  I removed as much of it as I could, but still obviously blemished.

01. What Girls Want
02. Bad Time
03. Next Big Thing (acoustic)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A brief review - Chip & Tony Kinman - Sounds Like Music (2019, Omnivore)

If the monikers Chip Kinman and his brother Tony Kinman don't instantaneously flood your memory bank that wouldn't come as a shock (to me anyway).  Perhaps the names of some of their musical projects of yore would ring a bell, specifically The Dils, Rank and File, and Blackbird.  The Kinman brothers (including the sadly and recently departed Tony) were the driving force behind all three combos, not to mention an even lesser-known fourth, Cowboy Nation.  You'd think that a newly minted,  22-song compilation spanning the Kinman's quadruple-decade career would offer a comprehensive overview of their handiwork - and you'd be right...sort of.  Omnivore Record's Sounds Like Music is indeed a compendium of the duo in question, though it does not highlight "hits" (there weren't any) or career milestones (quite a few in fact), rather the emphasis is entirely on outtakes, demos, and unreleased curios.

Splitting vocal duties, Chip on guitar and Tony on the guitar with fewer strings cut their teeth in the late '70s in The Dils, an L.A. area punk trio who's minimalist and succinct approach yielded an equally scant discography, so brief (say eight songs) it might as well have fit inside a thimble.  Two singles and an EP was about the size of it to be exact, but despite the brevity of the Dils output they were responsible for bona fide nervy rants like, "Mr Big" and "I Hate the Rich," that have become nothing short of classics to punk connoisseurs.  In fact, the Dils cupboard was so damn lean, only one song by them is represented here, "Folks Say Go," a bouncy 1977 ditty, that's explores a slightly different wavelength than those aforementioned bratty and cutting 45s.

Their next endeavor, the Austin, TX-based Rank and File would become their most renown and commercially viable.  Operating almost solely on a roots/cowpunk continuum, Rank and File churned out three highly consistent albums in the '80s, all of which were infinitely more sophisticated than the Dils - then again that's not the most even comparison given the two groups divergent agendas.  Interestingly enough however, Rank and File began on a punk premise, not country.  Sounds Like Music enlightens us with two examples of the first-blush R&F sound few of us even knew existed via the band's theme song (of sorts), and the careening but melodious basher "Citizen."  Immensely revealing stuff and damn-near worth the price of admission alone.  Naturally, power chords and bratty ethos weren't what Rank and File would become renown for, so if you're looking to graze more familiar pastures, Sounds... offers four more rarities by the band in question in keeping with their twangier reputation.

If any of Chip and Tony's affiliated projects dominates this compilation, it's Blackbird, who check in with thirteen accredited numbers.  Typically, Blackbird was the most non-descript of their ventures, and in some respects left the smallest legacy - despite enjoying a brief tenure on a major label in the early '90s.  This post-Rank and File operation eschewed the bulk of the Dils/R&F's warmer, analog hues placing the emphasis on keyboards...and an omnipresent drum machine that grated on my nerves, particularly when absorbed in heavy doses.  Top this off with intermittently contrived vocals and an overarching tenor that bordered on impersonal, and voila, Blackbird comes swooping down for an oblique landing.  Nonetheless, there are melodic constructs tucked inside this band's lightweight industrial drone (check out the poignant "Old Paint"). "Dope," which tangentially channels the Doors "Twentieth Century Fox," is another minor saving grace, but the sheer amount of material presented by this idiosyncratic foray has a tendency to clash with the more earnest offerings by the Dils, Rank and File, and finally...

Cowboy Nation, who had the distinction of being the only Kinman studio entity (that we know of) to record music in the current millennium.  Three albums to be exact, all very much under the radar, skewing considerably closer to Rank and File's penchant, but with more of a traditional country flavor.  Then again, "traditional" wasn't exactly a watchword for the Kinman clanTwo C/N songs made the cut for Sounds..., an alternate take of the galloping, bilingual "Paniolo," and another swift hoedown, "Rebel," a deep cut fleshed out with equally deep vocals.  Going into this album, I had no familiarity with Cowboy Nation, but I'm compelled to dig deeper.

Despite this being the only release on the market to span the arc of Chip and Tony Kinman's entire career, I should note again that it's not a best of or anthology, rather an outtakes compendium.  In essence, Sounds Like Music is geared towards existing clientele, but it's bound to parallel as a jumping off point for listeners who are brand new to the duo.  To newbies, I'd also recommend you invest in the Dils' Dils Dils Dils compilation on Bacchus Archives, as well as the debut Rank and File LP, Sundown, not only for a primer, but as examples of what the Kinman's were capable of both in and beyond the punk realms they abundantly contributed to for so many years.  Sounds Like Music is available straight from Omnivore or Amazon.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Pull me out, save me from the voices in my head...

From 2018.  Since this came out almost a year ago, I don't think a week has gone by when I haven't had the urge to listen to it.

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


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Those XCleavers - First Album/The Waiting Game (1982-84)

Not unlike the Another Carnival post from a couple nights ago, here's more Wisconsinite rock o' the '80s spiffyness for ya'll.  Those XCleavers were from the Milwaukee side of the tracks, and from what I've been able to gather they didn't make huge inroads elsewhere, save for some airplay in the Midwest.  This foursome were hardly hipster snobs, opting for risqué AOR rock with some occasional reggae flavorings.  Their self-titled bow from 1982 isn't terribly remarkable, but still a fun listen, a la what the Greg Kihn Band was peddling at the time.  The band's 1984 follow-up, The Waiting Game was an overall improvement, boasting considerable new wave definition, even better songwriting, not to mention stronger hooks.  I'm not sure if they had any videos to their credit, but given their wily sense of humor, the XCleavers would have slotted in perfectly on the then-burgeoning MTV in the Reagan era.  There's two full albums (and then some) for you to feast on below, so have at it.

  s/t (1982)
  01. Smooth, Wild & Dirty
  02. Butt I Will
  03. 18 (Unprotected)
  04. Suzie La Bruzie
  05. Facts of Life
  06. Nocturn Dub
  07. White Reggae
  08. Trying To Have Fun
  09. Skip A Beat
  10. Klubb Talk
  11. No Brain Needed
  12. Mondo Commando
  13. What's In Style
  14. Reprise

  The Waiting Game (1984)
  15. In God We Trust
  16. Right Right Girl
  17. Nobody But You
  18. The Waiting Game
  19. Some One In My Dreams
  20. Duplicator
  21. Silence The Critics
  22. Quicksand
  23. Riot
  24. Take A Hint
  25. People

  26. Little Drummer Boy
  27. Nice Legs
  28. Confusion (Do The)

Friday, July 26, 2019

Another Carnival - Seven Lines (1988, Janet Marie)

Another Carnival were the assumed pride and joy of Eau Claire, WI, circa the late '80s - early '90s.  And not a bad flagship band at that for a town of about 60,000 to boast, given Carnival's penchant for meat 'n potatoes jangle pop that seemed all too fitting for their midwest locale. Nervy guitar salvos illuminate "How to Find It" and the roiling "The Big Mistake," but this quartet was even more effective when sticking to breezier guitar pop motifs like "Stay" and "She Says it's Real."  Seven Lines entails a few clunkers (e.g. "Over Our Houses") but nothing egregious enough to weigh down it's overarching strengths. In short, a satisfying listen.  Two more Carnival albums would follow.

01. All Away
02. The Big Mistake
03. Hand Across the Heart
04. How to Find It
05. Banners Like Sirens
06. No Surprises
07. Stay
08. She Says it's Real
09. Seven Lines
10. Over Our Houses
11. Who Cares

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Blow up the house that owns you.

An EP and full length from 1983 and '85 respectively from a band I haven't brought up in quite some time. 

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


Friday, July 19, 2019

Monkey 101 - A tale of two 7"s (1990-92)

I find myself writing once again about a band I have scant knowledge on, but from my limited purview Monkey 101 qualified as one of the great "what-could-have beens" in indie rock - specifically had they stuck around beyond this pair of all-too-brief records.  M101's base of operations was Philly, but from a creative standpoint they paralleled the concurrent scene a few hundred miles due west in Ohio...though that's very much likely a coincidence. Still, these guys would have fit in splendidly with the Buckeye State's subterranean vanguard like Gaunt, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments and Prisonshake.  M101's lo-fi aptitude was likely the product of budget constraints and not so much hipster viability.  So be it, because their serrated, sassy and occasionally cantankerous moxie was a winning formula a good 75% of the time, culminating in such pearls as "French Feelings" and "Burgundy Wine." Inherent to their brand of distorto-laden dissonance, Arno's scuzzy guitars have a tendency to carry more of a tune than Paul K and Bob Turri's vocals.  More dichotomy, more fun.  Quite simply, they don't really make 'em like these anymore kids. 

Per their facebook page (linked above) they still gig occasionally, and additional audio exists over on Bandcamp.  Also, our colleagues at One Base on an Overthrow had a few things to say about their "French Feelings" single.

French Feelings 7" (1990, Siltbreeze)
A. French Feelings
B. Now That You Have Left Me

Transitor 7" ep (1992, Papa Popov)
01. Transistor
02. The Method of my Machinery
03. Kentucky Woman
04. The Man Who Sells His Votes
05. Burgundy Wine

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Melinite - Push the Button and Run! (1983, Noose)

Melinite was the brainchild of a Canadian gentleman who evidently went on a last name-basis only, MacDonald, who was backed up by no less than a dozen players according to the credits (obviously not all twelve simultaneously).  Side one of Push the Button... sports some defiantly punk salvos via the urgent "Who Needs Foreplay?" and "Waiting 4-U," angling in the vicinity of the Heartbreakers and The Dolls, sans the glammy posturing.  The ambitious "My Anna of Discretion" offers a more up to date modus operandi with poignant melody and classy playing a la Tom Verlaine.  Probably this record's most convincing moment among several.  The remainder of Push... isn't as focused, albeit artful, concluding with two strikingly quieter numbers, most notably "For Now" an insular, downer piano ballad reminding me of the stuff Epic Soundtracks churned out on those solo albums of his.  All in all a unique and sometimes head-scratching record.

01. Who Needs Foreplay?
02. When You Turn Again
03. My Anna of Discretion
04. Waiting 4-U
05. Trouble in Sector 17
06. Another Attempt
07. Seasoning
08. A Daydream Dilemma
09. For Now

Sunday, July 14, 2019

She carries my confusion in the pocket of her jeans.

Thirtieth anniversary of this one, and quite likely the finest thing these guys ever came up with. 

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


The Passions - Amersfoort, NL 7.14.81

I haven't spoken much about The Passions, a UK post-punk act, who barely made a blip in the States, say for their signature song "I'm in Love With a German Film Star" appearing on many "lost '80s" type compilations.  The co-ed quartet was highlighted by vocalist Barbara Gogan and axe-wielder Cliver Timperley whose chiming, echo-ing guitar lines went a long way in coloring the Passions often austere disposition.  Deep, introspective, cool, and just accessible enough for a small but dedicated clutch of fans.  Three albums ensued between 1980-82, the most renown being '81's Thirty Thousand Feet Over China.  This FM broadcast concert was in support of that record and captures The Passions as their most persuasive peek.  It features the aforementioned "German Film Star," alongside the equally convincing "Into Night," "Runaway," and the particularly winsome "The Swimmer," which unfortunately cuts midway on this recording. 

Barbara Gogan continues to perform occasionally in Europe.  More info on the Passions can be had at their Wiki page. 

01. I Radiate  
02. Bachelor Girls  
03. Oh No, It's You  
04. Don't Talk To Me (I'm Shy)  
05. Someone Special  
06. War Song  
07. Into Night  
08. Snow      
09. Alice's Song  
10. The Square  
11. Skin Deep  
12. I'm In Love With A German Film Star  
13. Run Away  
14. The Swimmer

MP3  or   FLAC

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Closedown - 1993 demo

The title of the first track says it all.  Heavy-handed practitioners at that, alas there's nil I can inform you of regarding Closedown's background details, even as basic as where they called home.  Named after a Cure tune, but more in league with early Slowdive (and surprisingly, not even so much My Bloody Valentine) this was a defiantly noisesome lot whose amped-out histrionics must have had a concussive impact on their audience back in the day.  Case in point is the bracingly dense "Monolith," so overpowering it virtually mimics the sensation of ascending in an airplane.  Things chill-out as this tape progresses, with the instrumental "Sundown" emanating a soothing comedown of sorts...or I suppose in this case, a "closedown."

01. Shoegazer
02. Monolyth
03. Amber
04. Vitrescence
05. See Me Fade
06. Infinite
07. Sundown

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Pay dirt is big trouble, yes sir...

From 1983/84.  This one's kind of a basic, but well beyond crucial in my book.

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


Saturday, July 6, 2019

Matt Finish - Fade Away ep (1981)

On Fade Away, Matt Finish (a band, not a solo act) sound as if they were straining to break out of Sydney, Australia's underground, but in fact the brunt of their career was spent on major labels.  Following up a pair of singles in 1980, their Fade Away ep bristled with post-punk urgency and boasted ringing, hard-strummed guitar chops that were equal parts rivetingly melodic and forward thinking.  The record's centerpiece is clearly it's seven-minute title cut.  Not the least bit "prog" or ponderous, it manages to mine a single riff to maximum extent and miraculously, never gets tiring.  The remainder of the ep, consisting of comparatively briefer songs, features more of Richard Grossman's irrepressibly chiming, but aggressive chord wrangling, and is largely a delight from beginning to end.  Fade Away was followed up the same year with the group's debut full length, Short Note.
Frontman Matt Moffitt died unexpectadly in 2003.  Matt Finish reconvened in 2006, featuring a revamped lineup of course.  A thorough bio of the band can be perused over at their Wiki site.

01. Introductions
02. Fade Away
03. It's On My Way
04. Eat Your Lips Off
05. Calls

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Tirez Tirez - Etudes (1980, Object)

My post of Tirez Tirez's '87 platter Social Responsibility probably flew under the radar for most of you.  Being that it wasn't the most revelatory album to see the light of day that year I suppose that's understandable, but it did have it's moments.  Etudes, it's precursor by a good seven years is cut from inconsistent cloth as well, but it's choicer cuts are damn-near remarkable, beginning with "Razorblade."

A pesky write-up in the Trouser Press Record Guide has embedded the notion in me that Tirez foreman Mikel Rouse took his cues from David Byrne and ran with 'em, but"Razorblade's" delicately clanging chords and mid-paced tempo exudes a catchy, minimalist allure that the Talking Heads rarely elicited so subtly.  Elsewhere, Etudes isn't routinely immediate in sparking such visceral reactions, though you don't have to dig too deep to excavate some of Rouse's more convincing ideas, which happen to reside on side one.  "Hair" is a particular anomaly, flirting with a traditional rock-ballad setup before settling into the more artful dabblings Tirez were known for.  The problem with so much of Etudes resides in it's patently repetitive rhythms, which might make sense in two or three minute doses but Rouse insists on treading water for double that length in most instances.  Nevertheless, I'll take magic where and when I can find it, and "Razorblade" and this album's other intermittent surges of inspiration are worth revisiting.

01. Radiation Dance
02. Razorblade
03. A Summary
04. World War
05. Hair
06. I'll Be That
07. West Led The Diamond King
08. Strike
09. Vowels
10. Observation

Sunday, June 30, 2019

All I ask for is release no matter what the cost.

A somewhat lengthy 1988 debut album of lusciously hazy indie pop.

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


Summercamp - unreleased sophomore album (2001)

I'm not sure how long I'll be leaving this one up folks, so don't sleep.  It's not often I post anything thoroughly unreleased (and unsanctioned at that), but ever since sharing Summercamp's Tonight! ep, a scarce import disk that followed up their devastatingly great debut, 1997's Pure Juice, a bunch of you had inquired if a follow-up had been recorded.  I've know since about 2002 that Tim Cullen, Sean McCue and Co. had indeed tracked a subsequent album that never saw the light of day, but I had no further details to offer.  I'm not certain who the original source was, but low and behold someone came forward with files of said unreleased album a few years ago, and by the goodness of their heart I was a fortunate recipient.  Since then, the clamor and hunger for this long-shelved album never completely died down.

This really shouldn't come as a surprise given how addictive the infectious Pure Juice was.  Factoring in it's major label backing, Juice exuded obvious commercial "procurability," as it were, but amid it's radio-friendly bona fides was a restless surge of crunchy guitars and power pop viscosity that threatened to make a break for outright pop-punk.  The sessions for Summercamp's second (and apparently untitled) record followed a similar pattern without falling into any formulaic trappings.  Parallel to Pure Juice's faster songs ("Nowhere Near," "On Her Mind") this disc has no shortage of power-chord ridden barnburners - "Like a Wave," "Unscrew," and "Uncoordinated," that if anything up the tempo ante.  Even when exploring the other side of the coin, the more subdued "Perfect Little Thing" and "Escapism" while a lot less frenzied never breach sappy ballad territory.  With a generous fourteen tracks total there's plenty in-between to frolic in as well.  Cullen and McCue's quality control was pretty astonishing, and there's nary a bum track in this bunch.  Summercamp's contract with Maverick Records ostensibly had the option to turn down a second record.  Whether this was due to insufficient sales of Pure Juice, or perhaps s shakeup at their label (more likely it's parent company, Reprise) it isn't fully known why Summercamp's second album never got the green light - but neither of these reasons reside in the songs themselves.  And at long last you can hear them for yourself. 

Incidentally, the band reunited for a 2015 show (or perhaps multiple ones) in their native Santa Barbara...and a new song was released, "Peach Tree" which you can find on Bandcamp

01. The One I'm Without
02. Like a Wave
03. That Don't Mean Nothin'
04. The Funny One
05. Hear Me Now
06. Open Up
07. Unscrew
08. Happy
09. Escapism
10. Uncoordinated
11. Perfect Little Thing
12. Call Her Tomorrow
13. Face
14. Far Away Look

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Happy Accident - No Clear Channel (2002, 10 GeV)

Despite a 2002 copyright there's barely a stitch in the digital sphere regarding Happy Accident, a Philly trio with a doggedly cheeky disposition who happened to sport a guitar-pop acumen embracing everything from folk to punk.  Plaintive lyrics and varying gradations of harmonies abound on No Clear Channel, with the band making their most effective case on the rugged "The Frisco Mixer" and the pure power pop of "Pretty Assholes."  Elsewhere, "Call in Sick" elicits such choice observations as, ...the kind of sick that makes you feel good enough to see a museum, and not feel too guilty.

An added treat is a cover of "The Earthquake Song" an obscuro chestnut by a bygone, early '80s wave outfit from the L.A. area, Little Girls, who coincidentally I was tipped off too quite recently...and might be sharing some of their own handiwork in the not-too-distant future.  For now, let me know if Happy Accident does anything for you.  One last note.  The band's label 10 GeV has a functioning website, but it won't take you far beyond a handful of streaming audio clips. 

01. Pretty Assholes
02. Grey Socks
03. The Earthquake Song
04. Think Thrice
05. Call in Sick
06. Big Selfish Baby
07. The Frisco Mixer
08. Blue Shirt and Khakis
09. F.U. Ending

Sunday, June 23, 2019

I'll be writing the soundtrack for the rest of my life.

Some astonishing scraps from the cutting room floor, 1997-2003.

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


The Actuals - s/t ep (1984, Egg Acres)

The Actuals were presumably the pride and joy of Bridgeport, CT (or thereabouts) in the early '80s and made this record to show for it.  On the surface, it appears this five-piece had affixed themselves to the coattails of Oingo Boingo and Fixx and were hanging on for dear life (albeit with a slightly less over-the-top penchant than Oingo, with nearly zero social conscience of the latter).  These guys operated on the more frivolous end of the new romantic spectrum, and as such should have gotten more mileage out of these half-dozen tunes, but back then commercial returns were usually minimal on privately pressed records.  In the grand scheme of things, The Actuals isn't a subpar disc at all, merely dated.  In doing my research for this I happened upon an a song predating this album, in fact their namesake tune which I've shared the video of below.  The YouTube link will take you to a short bio of the band. 

01. Sensation
02. Space Gun
03. Realize
04. By the Way
05. Caught in Between
06. Someone's There

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Dishes - Hot Property! 7'' (1978, Regular)

Toronto's Dishes were one of zillions of bands that came and went, largely before I really started paying attention to music.  Tis a damn shame, because had I been born, say fifteen years prior to their 1975 inception this vibrant six-piece would have been a blast to see live.  Too docile to be deemed punk, nor as synth-reliant as the emerging new wave scene, The Dishes functioned on their own artful plateau.  A full-time saxophonist in the guise of Ken Farr was one of the group's most distinguishing attributes, overshadowed only by frontman Murray Ball whose animated timbre is a vaguely acquired taste.  Comparisons you ask?  Trace elements perhaps of Roxy Music, Dead Fingers Talk, and even a dab of Bowie.  Hot Property! dishes out a trifecta of genuinely classy, deftly crafted tunes with enough personality and pizazz to ensure you lick this platter clean every time.  Another 7" preceded this one in 1977, and in 2001, the Kitschenette retrospective CD followed, which seems to be garnering more cash than the original 45s.  A full history of the band is presented on the The Dishes homepage.

A. Hot Property
B1. Summer Reaction
B2. Secret Storm

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

V/A - Spondu (1995, N. Meridian)

Bit of a curveball here, but perfect for the wilfully obscure quotient this site so glaringly strives for.  I found this specimen on Ebay last year - a sixteen-artist DIY cassette compilation with a return address of Portland, OR.  It's titled Spondu, and it wouldn't surprise me if it accompanied a fanzine of some sort, but there's really no evidence to support that theory.  No tracklist on the tape sleeve, just a small, purple insert that doesn't elaborate in the slightest about the details of any of the participants.  The only underlying thread evidenced throughout Spondu is a preference for 4-track worshiping, lo-fi finaglers.

Occupying a good share of real estate here are oodles of virtually unknown freak-folk types, savage noiseniks, and even a handful of comparatively song-structured purveyors - just don't expect much in the way of "pop."  Many of this cassette's contributors would have sounded perfectly at home on such imprints of the day as Shimmy Disk and Shrimper, and for those of you in the audience that subscribed to the aesthetics of say, Sentridoh you're sure to unearth a nugget or two.  Richmond Fontaine's "White Line Fever,"is the runaway winner here - a spare but ballsy ballad a la Uncle Tupelo.  I also had fun with Shiny Beast's nimble, hard-boiled instrumental "Squirrel Fur Coat," and Sidecar's early-Nirvana worship.

01. Tercio Polo Vonrui Robot - My Mame is Xar
02. Pedro - Peeping Tom
03. Monston VCR - Slumber Party
04. Sidecar - Got the Words
05. Lamy Can Kill - Airport Road
06. Richmond Fontaine - White Line Fever
07. Santiago - No Sunshine
08. Shiny Beast - Squirrel Fur Coat
09. Fit Port Danga - Flying the Colors/I Can't Turn You Loose
10. Mag Wheels - Xylophone Hovers
11. Jenna - Sandstorm
12. The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl - Our Swords Are Thirsty
13. Magic Happens - Master of Sleep Tai Chi
14. National Rockombo - Hobre Soltero
15. (The Gob) - Comin' Round the Bend
16. Karen Reitzel - Hot Cross George

Sunday, June 16, 2019

No clue.

At least not one of the lyrical variety, because guess what?  I can't make out the words!  I will say this is a lovingly fractured, distorto-indie rock masterpiece from the epicenter of the genre in the '90s.  Enjoy.

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


Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Rainyard - Ice Cream Overdrive tape (1989)

I never had much invested in The Rainyard, but finding files of this exceedingly scare tape a couple decades after the fact made me wish I'd been tipped off to them.  Perth, Australia was their corner of the globe, and a fertile locale it was, with the band sharing the same stomping grounds as The Stems, Early Hours, and The Hairs, among dozens of others pop-centric guitar wonders of the day.  The modest, homegrown proposition it was, Ice Cream Overdrive is oddly enough seismic in terms of what it brings to table as far as hooks and jangle are concerned, because it sounds like they've cornered the market on both via superlative cuts like "Your Way Mr. Leary," "Beneath the Skin" and "1000 Days."  It wouldn't be too far fetched to surmise these guys absorbed a lot of Brit indie imports from a few years prior (say, early Primal Scream), and perhaps by pure coincidence didn't seem to be far off the mark from what the Stone Roses had baking in the oven at the time.  Primo stuff.  You can check out more from the Rainyard as well as related subsequent projects over here.

01. Beneath the Skin
02. Wasted Rain
03. Your Way Mr. Leary
04. What Kind of Joke
05. 1000 Days
06. Another Yesterday
07. Night Unkind
08. What's Left is Said

Thursday, June 13, 2019

92 Degrees - s/t (1995, Black Vinyl)

92 Degrees were an unheralded Chi-town trio of power pop lovin' youngins', who for their second album (this one) were taken under the wing of Shoes prime mover Jeff a sizably considerable extent.  The record in question was produced and engineered by Murphy at the Shoes-helmed Short Order Recorder studios in Zion, IL, and was released on that band's very own in-house label, Black Vinyl Records.  Now that's what I call cutting out the middleman.  Nonetheless, 92 Degrees hearkened not to Zion's finest sons, rather the likes of contemporaries Greenberry Woods and Matthew Sweet, not to mention (at least to varying extents) the jangle and harmony of forebearers the Hollies.  Beyond that, the band doesn't extrapolate or build upon the formula erected and fortified by the aforementioned, but they sustain it splendidly.  For some reason you won't find his name listed in the credits, but Material Issue's dearly departed Jim Ellison lends vocals to the mid-tempo "Have You Ever Had Love?"  92 Degrees reserve their most robust artillery of fireworks for the resplendent, tension-laden finale "She'll Never Know." 

92 Degrees was preceded by a 1990 mini-album, Money Makes the World Go Round, which in fact was issued on Ellison's homegrown Big Block Records imprint.  You can check it out at Amazon Downlows

01. Black Hole
02. I've Been Thinking Of You
03. I'm Telling You Now
04. Sharon Won't
05. A Lot to Give
06. Have You Ever Had Love?
07. When I'm Gone
08. Believe in Me
09. In Her Glow
10. Mrs. Jones
11. She'll Never Know