hiya, I have way more re-ups to attend to, which I'll try to get to next week - as many as I can. Really flooded with requests at the moment, so please hold off with any more for another week or so. Much appreciated!
And so I present you with the final piece of the Nice Strong Arm puzzle, their debut, Reality Bath. I've featured their subsequent platters Mind Furnace and Stress City eons ago, and a convenient thing that since both were extractable from CDs. Reality Bath, on the other hand, was a vinyl/tape-only proposition. Those in the know about these angsty New Yorkers, fronted by one Kevin Thomson, will no doubt boast their noisenik credentials, and rightfully so I suppose, but these folks were emanating from points of catharsis and artful sensibility, not so much full bore aggression.
On second thought, it's damn near impossible to deny that Reality Bath isn't chockablock with raging, dissonant notions and eardrum-frying sprawl. Even relatively likeminded contemporaries Live Skull and Red Temple Spirits couldn't quite compete with NSA's near-disorienting
sonic alchemy that often fell just shy of surreal. No, taking this proverbial Bath won't be of Calgon proportions in the least, and dare I say there's not much here that's "fun," but despite it's miles-deep layers of sinewy latticework, the going rarely gets difficult. Furthermore there’s more guttural,
emo pathos at play here than Rites of Spring ever thought to fling in our direction. If you're looking for some comparatively melodic respites, you may want to dive in at "When Truth Comes Around," "Minds Lie," and "Free At Last." This one's an acquired taste that's well worth acquiring, and check out NSA's second and third records linked above
01. Life of the Party
02. Date of Birth
05. When Truth Comes Around
06. Life is So Cool
07. Minds Lie
08. Free at Last
09. Notes From a Gut
10. Dying Skin
In the early '90s British-based Clawfist Records was responsible for a spate of split singles featuring (mostly) indie band covering one another on the same piece of wax. Way back, I featured one of their 1991 specimens, Poster Children/Thin White Rope, and some ten years later I'm sharing another in the Clawfist series. Smashing Orange (not to be confused with you-know-who) were one of my small-of-famers back in the day. A fantastically noisome blur of manicured noise and dream pop ethos who responsible for handfuo of eps and two albums, The Glass Bead Game being the foremost of the pair. On this split 45 they cover The Sunflowers, a combo I'd never really investigated before. Per Discogs the band only released a few singles, and ironically the tune Smashing Orange take to task here, "Something You Said" didn't materialize on any of them. Nonetheless, it's glorious noise-pop overdrive if I've ever such a thing. The Sunflowers return the favor by doing a rendition of one of my go-to Smashing Orange songs, "Collide" nailing it quite capably at that.
A. Smashing Orange - Something You Said
B. The Sunflowers - Collide
It's cherry picking season again. Here's my annual postmortem assemblage of the creme de la creme of what I just offered you a year prior. A taster, or sampler if you will. I'm really not sure if these yearly distillations are really hitting their desired audience (neophytes, stragglers, etc) or if I'm merely preaching to the choir. At any rate, I've plucked 23 of the most succulent feathers from the wild array that was 2019. As was the case in 2018, I've grown increasingly slack in the amount of shared content, and as such offered even less in the past year. Turns out though that a decent chunk of what I managed to get up '19 was of particularly high caliber.
Thing was, I presented such a haphazard pastiche of styles and genres that it made sequencing this mix a bit of a bitch, but I think I pulled it off, beginning with a cluster of acts that loosely skewed to the power pop end of the spectrum. Midway, I sort of hit a downcast stride with the emphasis on post-punk, but managed to conclude this playlist on a surprising note of levity. I don't have an adequate amount of time to elaborate on individual cuts, though I plan on attaching links to the original artist entries later this weekend. Included are three additional, previously unshared kernels that are noted with an asterisk. One item not to be overlooked is that of a virtually unknown and unsearchable quantity, La Voix Celeste (circa 1983) who deliver the melancholic, minimalist wave piece "Phases," which doesn't just strive for mood, but a sublime hook as well. This whole package concludes with one of my most listened to songs of the past couple years, a sleeper if there ever was one that you can read more about here. Enjoy.