Sunday, February 16, 2020

What would life be without burgundy?

From 1989.  Rock that pops...but not necessarily power pop.

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Friday, February 14, 2020

11th Hour - Shapes and Things to Come + Alder St. ep (1990/87, Substitute)

Sorry I haven't set you up with much in the way of fresh sounds this week, but hopefully this compensate. In fact, I was thinking about saving this for one of my Chanukah presentations, but why not pull the trigger early?  11th Hour were a Pittsburgh combo who may have disbanded as long as three decades ago (though I uncovered evidence of a 2018 reunion gig).  The band's straight-up power pop modus operandi possessed a strong jangly bent, but the Shawn Harrison-fronted quartet were flexible enough to spill over into ballsier garage punk on "I'm Comin' Down," gravitating in the vicinity of locals The Cynics, and less obviously the Lime Spiders.  They even dabble briefly on the psych side of the fence on the fleeting "Garden of Sleep," but 11th Hour's penchant for lingering in more conventional guitar pop environs yields at least half a dozen startlingly great tunes on Shapes and Things to Come including "There's No Danger," "Can't Get Through to You," "Go to the Edge" and "Pictures In My Room."  Shapes and Things to Come concludes on a fitting note with a wailin' reading of the Eddie and the Hotrods classic, "Do Anything You Wanna Do."  BTW, Huw Gower of The Records has a co-production role on several tracks!

In addition to Shapes... proper, the CD incarnation appends the just as valuable Alder St EP, initially released as a double 45 in 1987.  Bearing an even rawer aplomb, it hones in on 11th Hour when they were fully ensconced in sweet, ringing guitars, wielding even more delirious and devastating hooks. This is stuff of immensely grand proportions, and you need to make your belated acquaintance with these guys NOW.

01. Release You
02. Can't Get Through To You
03. The Changing Of The Guard
04. Confusion
05. I'm Comin' Down
06. Live Your Life Again
07. Go to the Edge
08. Garden of Sleep
09. Don't Sell Me
10. Under the Fire
11. There's No Danger
12. Pictures In My Room
13. Do Anything You Wanna Do

Alder St. ep (1987)
14. The Seasons
15. She Goes Away
16. There's No Danger
17. Can't Wait Another Day
18. The Bells of St. Mary
19. Find Some Meaning

https://www77.zippyshare.com/v/XrOuxeNs/file.html

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Honey, you ought to leave your phone on when you leave Fredonia.

From 2017.  Call it what you will.

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

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Timco - 20th Century Masters: The Singles Collection (1991-94)

Way back in 2011 when I addressed Timco's Friction Tape LP, I mentioned a collection of their singles would be forthcoming.  Well, a full nine years later the forth has belatedly come.  Since this is a band that hasn't been active in roughly a quarter century I can't enlighten you much more than I already have.  Nonetheless here are the basics.  The fulcrum of Timco were two alumni from one of a really choice, not to mention noisome indie rock troupe from the '80s I've oft featured on these pages, Nice Strong ArmKevin Thompson parlayed his frontman role in NSA to Timco, and also brought along Ethel M. Deathel from his old group.  Timco eschew much of NSA's wailing maelstroms, instead reveling in emotive, and sometimes highly dynamic downer rock bristling with texture and sobering resignations.  If that description strikes you as a bit of an oversimplification, maybe it is, and while it may apply to their albums, the aforementioned Friction Tape and 1996's Gentleman Jim, Timco's first blush of short-for
m releases reveal a more varied story.

Birds, Bees & Cherries, a double 7" ep delivers a quartet of four-track demos cut by Thompson in '91.  The commencing "Dragg Dabb" is the most engaging, anchored by a low roar of melancholy vocals and a gradually escalating crescendo of layered post-punk fretwork.  Sheer magic.  "Water Sucks Bugs" is even rawer and more amped-out and just about the closest Timco ever came to stretching back to Nice Strong Arm's sonic posture.  The two songs occupying the second 45 are more subdued - not to mention a bit sardonic, proving Thompson possesses something resembling a sense of humor, idiosyncratic as it may be.

Another single, The Hotel Radio surfaced about three years with two songs culled from a radio session on KPFK in Los Angeles.  The A-side, "Gone" is relatively spare but effective thanks to a devastatingly powerful vocal hook.  This song would reside comfortably next to work of Timco contemporaries Seam and Versus.  The flip, "Louisiana" is a ballad of dark proportions, although Thompson's dialogue leading into sounds a tad disingenuous.

The final single, also from 1994, features two live tracks from the Friction Tape-era. Ironically, Friction... itself was cut live in studio, and it's almost impossible to tell these singler versions apart from the album.  The angsty "Walking Papers" is the epitome of what Timco were all about, while"Screw You" is an insular kiss-off if there ever was such a thing.  Enjoy (or not)

01. Dragg Dabb
02. Water Sucks Bugs
03. Alegria
04. Lovelie
05. Gone
06. Louisiana
07. Screw You
08. Walking Papers

1-4 from Birds, Bees & Cherries 2x7" ep (1991, Communion)
5 & 6 from 7" (1994, Insignificant)
7 & 8 from 7" (1994, Basura)

https://www80.zippyshare.com/v/wpts2e8E/file.html

Friday, February 7, 2020

Ring Theatre ep (1985, Out)

I keep finding great unsung Austin, TX bands from a good 30+ years ago and though I don't know much about Ring Theatre's collective bona fides, I'm happy to report they're well above average.  Not resembling or mimicking anyone in particular, the quartet's serrated guitar pop dabbles in lightweight punk chords on the feisty opener "Mrs. Ann" and "Second's Romance."  Elsewhere the going never gets too middle-of-the-road thanks to RT's organic power pop angles and humble garage tendencies.  In fact, this platter isn't far removed from such other cold cases I've dispensed to you over the years by Public Bulletin and Signal Thirty, arcane as those references may be.  This appeared to be Ring Theatre's one and only vinyl offering. If anyone in the audience has more details don't be a stranger.

01. Mrs. Ann
02. Julia
03. Second's Romance
04. Kill Yourself
05. Remember May

https://www118.zippyshare.com/v/rcYNMesZ/file.html

Sunday, February 2, 2020

I can't make out what has gone wrong. I was good at what I did.

The 1981 and 1983 records from a post-punk colossus that as of last week appears to be no more.

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

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Minor Alps - Köln, Luxor 4-3-14 (file under: Nada Surf/Juliana Hatfield)

If Minor Alps haven't made it onto your radar by now, it's safe to say it's going to remain that way, as the duo of Matthew Caws (Nada Surf) and Juliana Hatfield (Blake Babies) haven't been particularly active since their debut 2013 LP, Get There.  The collaboration seemed to be a one-off, as there was never a follow-up, but it's two participants did some touring behind the album, including a handful of dates in Europe.  The April 2014 gig in Köln, Germany that I'm sharing today is an acoustic performance, and while not necessarily exciting or even climactic, it's a treat if you're an established fan of either Hatfield or Caws (in my case both).  If not an out-and-out revelation, I thought Get There really played gracefully to the more austere, melancholic strengths of both of them without delving into anything heady or dramatic.  This show, largely derived from songs from that album, follows suit with some poignant examples of this ethos like "I Don't Know What to Do With My Hands" and "Far From the Roses."  As you might expect, given Hatfield and Caws' deep song catalogs outside of Minor Alps these are dipped into as well, albeit some of their more obvious signature titles are passed over in favor of less familiar ones.  No complaints from my end there.  Just a hint, track 21 is a cover...as if I had to tell you.  Anyway, I'm making this whole shebang available in MP3 and FLAC below.  Major thanks to whomever tracked this show and supplied pics/artwork. 

01. I Wanna Take You Home
02. If I Wanted Trouble
03. Far From The Roses
04. Buried Plans
05. Candy Wrappers
06. 'taking three steps forward'/Bob Dylan banter
07. Wish You Were Upstairs
08. Live On Tomorrow
09. Maxon
10. Such A Beautiful Girl
11. Inside Of Love
12. Waiting For You
13. Out There
14. Beautiful Beat
15. Lonely Low
16. The Moon Is Calling
17. Airscape
18. I Don't Know What To Do With My Hands
19. Away Again
20. The Way You Wear Your Head
21. Bette Davis Eyes
22. Fruit Fly

MP3  or  FLAC