Thursday, October 22, 2020

L'etranger - Sticks and Stones ep (1986)

Per the bio on their Wiki page, Toronto's L'etranger began life as punks, before closing their career out with this four-songer, which found them sporting a modus operandi in tandem with the more pedestrian strains of the left-of-the-dial spectrum.  In short, Stick and Stones isn't the most distinctive record of it's era, but the quartet gets by with amply appealing and catchy tunes.  If you enjoyed what Crowded House, and to a lesser extent, the 415 Records contingent was up to in the mid-80s, you'll probably have a thing for L'etranger.  The danceable title cut features an extra funky bass-line, revealing a luscious guitar-pop center.  

01. Time and Place
02. Trail of Tears
03. Wrestling With the Nice Stuff
04. Sticks and Stones

Monday, October 19, 2020

Notes on new music: The Well Wishers and The Black Watch.

The Well Wishers's Jeff Shelton is among the first of several artists forced into involuntary quarantine this year to actualize the fruits of their labor during this inadvertent downtime.  In the five-month span Shelf Life was written, mapped out and executed, the man in question did not master any exotic instruments like an Alphorn or Sarrusophone, nor did he tap into his subconscious for a concept piece on nucleosynthesis, and heck, Shelf Life isn't even that long-promised album of Deftones covers he's had on the back burner for waaaaaay too long now (gonna keep us in suspense another year, huh Jeff?).  In the grand scheme of things, Shelton's eleventh entry into the Well Wisher's saga is essentially business as usual.  Thematically, Shelf Life isn't steeped in the trials and tribulations of the odious pandemica that is 2020.  Instead it's another airtight collection of linear power pop, teasing the Posies and what seems like a never ending wellspring of inspiration so many of us absorbed back when Not Lame mail order ruled our snail mail and in-boxes.  Plenty of crunchy delights here ("We Grow Up" & "Hide Away"), the occasional amped-out surge ("All the Same") and even a comparatively tranquil respite "Secrets and Lies."  Shelton's overall trajectory is a gracefully maturing one, but you'll no doubt mistake Shelf Life for anything other than a Well Wisher's album. You'll find it on Bandcamp, Amazon and Kool Kat.

Boasting a prolific stripe wide enough to give Robert Pollard a run for his money, this year, L.A.'s Black Watch are kickin' Covid's derriere as well, with Fromthing Somethat checking in as the band's second full length of 2020, following quickly on the heels of Brilliant Failures. So much of what I opined of that record I'm tempted to cut and paste here, but, I did something with Fromthing that I typically vow from doing with any current release that I'm dedicating press to - I read the accompanying bio.  

Frontman John Andrew Fredrick reveals that there were no rehearsals for the album. I would assume this isn't to say that not everything we hear is the first or second take, but dense, billowy constructs "Saint Fair Isle Sweater" and "Such Like Friendly Demons" sound gloriously labored over, and hardly bear the vibe of something knocked off in a couple hours.  Furthermore, this is one of the most diverse records B/W have spawned, skirting from "The Nothing That Is'" danceable, New Order-esque textures to the post-punk throb of "The Lonesome Death of Mary Hansen," to the melancholic but sonically bold strains of Fromthat's penultimate "For Always Then to Keep." As is almost standard for a Black Watch record there's no shortage of Fredrick's Anglophile-caressed connective tissue emanating throughout, upping the depth ante all that higher.  With their nineteenth album in the book, the Black Watch make the perfect case for a millennium-spanning, open-ended career.  Fromthing Somethat releases this Friday on Atom Records, and is also available physically and digitally through Bandcamp.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

And Jimmy's number 101, he knows one day he'll be one.

Debut from 1978.  Relatively speaking, a basic, then again I'm still surprised how many people haven't heard this record in it's entirety.  Nice crisp, tight production really helped this album stand out, and the band never conjured up a follow-up quite as consistent as this.

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


Cool it Reba - Money Fall Out the Sky ep (1982, Hannibal)

On their lone ep this cheeky NYC bunch blended rhythmically sentient yet accessible new-wave flavorings with temptingly clangy guitar lines.  Known to frequent CBGBs, and even having the good fortune of landing opening slots for REM and Billy Idol, Cool it Reba struck me as being a phenomenally well kept secret.  It's difficult to base a band off of merely four songs, but to their credit, with such a lean oeuvre I have to hand it to CiR for making it a challenge to pick a favorite. If I was to remark on any of Money Fall Out the Sky's quadrant of entries, the title piece concerns a literal interpretation of it's premise, wherein millions pour from the heavens and such matters as say, inflation, are instantly relegated to sheer triviality.  Am digging the chiming chords in "I Saw Snakes" which briefly channels the aptitude of then-contemporaries Pylon.  Should you be so inclined, feel free to browse an archival blogsite of Cool it Reba memorabilia and such here.  

01. Money Fall Out the Sky
02. History of Love
03. I Saw Snakes
04. Out Where the Buses Don't Run

Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Mirrors - s/t (1987, Banger)

I had seen copies of this one floating around for awhile before finally taking the plunge, or more accurately examining my reflection in The Mirrors.  Thanks to usurping such a ubiquitous word for a moniker, researching this five-some made for a hapless task. From a sonic standpoint these alt-leaning, albeit demonstrably AOR grounded Huntington Beach dudes could have been riding high on the crest of a major MTV wave had they been blessed with major label validation.  No, you won't necessarily find boatloads of mystique as you fix your gaze into The Mirrors, but this affair is more inviting than you might expect thanks to frontman Brian Boru's heightened melodic chops and Paul Gilette's and Nick Random's assertive attack that threatens to propel "Black Slax" and "Roll Along" into rugged power pop terrain. The album can be previewed in it's entirety on YouTube.

01. Roll ALong
02. One More Kiss
03. Gp With Me
04. Angelina's Dream
05. Black Slax
06. WM. Mirror
07. Bracelets
08. The Only One
09. Cutting Through the Crowd

Sunday, October 11, 2020

If that's your girlfriend in the corner, why's she looking straight at me?

From 1994.  Another frontman gone way too early.  

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


Saturday, October 10, 2020

New Marines - No Peace mLP (1985, American, Enigma)

So far as I know there's not one copy of this record in existence that doesn't skip all over the place.  That includes my two copies, the ones sent out to DJs and press people, or even the stray version of the New Marines No Peace that might be chilling in the used section of your local record dispensary.  This sadly, structurally flawed disk existed only on vinyl, enjoyed one initial pressing in '83, and evidently no gatekeeper at Enigma sat down for a mere half hour to scrutinize a test copy for any hiccups or irregularities.  An unbelievable set of circumstances, and given the now aged time frame of it's release there's no evidence the issue was officially addressed.  

So why am I going to the trouble of sharing it, warts and all?  A couple reasons, namely I found a rip of No Peace where a good half of the tunes play back relatively smoothly.  Secondly, audio imperfections aside, it's a stimulating concoction of new-wave and mainstream-ish pop rock, with catchy and incisive cuts like "No Peace Through Chemistry" and "When We Were Young," that maintain enough of a nervy edge to keep things interesting and warrant repeat listenings.  By the time you hit "J.O." that's where things get bumpy and the blemishes become glaringly obvious.  Some great music here, but as I've observed I have serious doubts that a properly functioning copy of this album ever made it's way to market.  If any of ya'll have any insight into what went awry with No Peace, or can offer a superior digitized version, don't be a stranger.  Thanks to whomever went to the effort of making the rip I'm presenting today.

01. No Peace Through Chemistry
02. She Won't Wear That Collar
03. When We Were Young
04. Style is the Way
05. J.O.
06. Lift Pad
07. Do it For Science

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Venus in Furs - Real Moral Fibre (1986, Backs )

I was nothing short of buoyed upon hearing the first track off this crackly slab of wax, "Love Lies," a wondrous six minute salvo of new romantic synth pop oozing a great Peter hook-style bass line, the rhythmic propensity of A Flock of Seagulls, all couched in the more accessible vestiges of Echo and the Bunnymen.  And then...I heard the remainder of Real Moral Fibre, and soon learned that said Venus in Furs jewel of an opener was very much the exception, not the rule.  It isn't that the rest of the LP isn't worth tuning into, so much as the going takes a turn for the difficult quickly.  ViF definitely had a Jones for insular prog ("Mashima's Sepukko") and more so goth ("New Terrorists" and "Verve").  Not the most unenviable plateaus for a band to be stranded on, but if you're salivating for anything resembling a hook, ...Moral Fibre may as well begin and end with the aforementioned "Love Lies."  Apologies in advance for the abundant surface noise on this record, which despite my misgivings really deserves to be remastered for a digital medium of some sort.  

01. Love Lies
02. Your Lover Just Called
03. Verve
04. Mishima's Sepukko
05. Terrorists
06. Wunderkind
07. The Hand That Squeezed The Heart

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Re-ups for Octoner.

Thanks for your patience on these.  Will try to get some new music to you this week as well.

V/A - Teen Line - Vols 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Mission of Burma - Electro-acoustic sessions

Tommy Keene - 1981 & '84 demos

Jason Falkner - rarities

Splitsville - Amateur Hour

Breaking Circus - The Very Long Fuse, The Ice Machine, Smokers Paradise

Rifle Sport - Voice of Reason and Primo & White

Nice Strong Arm - Mind Furnace and Stress City

milf - ha ha bus!, antidope, feasting on fried afterthoughts 1 & 2, rock salad, everyone should stop doing everything, split single with Tugboat Annie

Dole - The Speed of Hope

The Freshies - Rough 'n Ready tape

Chris Sievey - Big Ready LP + 7"

Titanic Love Affair -No Charisma ep, Their Titanic Majesties Requests and Ice Cream Funeral tape

fIREHOSE - ragin' full on demos

Bitter Pleasures
- Eat the Monument ep

Altered Images - Peel Sessions 

Summer Suns - Greatest

Ultra Vivid Scene - eps collection

Belreve - Nothing 7"

The Verge - Habitual ep 

Jawbox/Edsel - split 7"

The Heavy Blinkers - Hooray for Everything 

Delusions of Grandeur - Picture Perfect Martyr ep

Falling Stairs - That and a Quarter ep 

The Icons - Art in the Dark

Nub - 7"

Starvation Army - In the Red ep

Bring Home the Lobsters - tape

The Saints - Monkey Puzzle 

The Press - Fodder for the Critics 

The Shake - s/t ep

Taboo Zoo - s/t ep 

The Talk - Not Just Hearsay

The Lines - Statues ep 

The Visitors - No Sign of Intelligent Life

The Surf - Out of Step 

Customers - Green Bottle Thursday

Alien Crime Syndicate - ep & single 

Sour Landslide - Friends of Dracula and They Promised Us Jobs

Grand Champeen - Out Front by the Van & Soul Asylum tribute concert

The High Speed Scene - s/t ep

The Mice - Who Cut the Cheese?

Say-so - tape

Dirty Face - I Can Hurt Myself... 

Wooden Igloo - s/t LP

Deep 6 - Garage D'or

Rolls Rocks - s/t LP 

White Cross - When the Fabrics Torn ep 

V/A - Loud Ugly Pop 

V/A - The View From Here

Alarming Trends - You Make Me Live in a Trailer 

Wobble Test - trixinickybambibo tape 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

… but this is hopeless I’m handing in my notice, giving my four days…

A b-sides and rarities compilation from 1997 from one of my Aussie go-to bands of this era. Tons of covers to indulge in as well.

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


Thursday, October 1, 2020 return soon.

Hiya. Won't be able to share any new tunes this week kids, but I might be able to revive some of the dead link requests this Sunday night (yes, I've been seeing your comments and emails).  Thanx.