Sunday, August 12, 2018

in the basement of one man's one-man home...

A short but sublimely sweet one from '92.

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


Sometimes Seven - Static From the Blender (1998, Kid Cadmium)

Though not as appealing as their more effective later albums (like 2000's Somehow You Just Don't Get It) I thought it wouldn't hurt to throw this one out there for historical perspective, especially since it's utterly impossible to find.  This indie rock to-the-core foursome seemed to be skewing in the vicinity of some of their contemporaries including, but certainly not limited to, J Church, Small 23 and even the almighty Archers of Loaf.  There's occasional glints of promise on "Call in Blue" and "Slowing Down," but Static... illustrated Sometimes Seven had miles to venture before really honing their craft.

01. Blurry
02. Slowing Down
03. Brighter Clean
04. Drama Mean
05. Zero Royal
06. Sister Destiny
07. Watching an Air Raid
08. Call in Blue
09. Blacktop
10. Real Change
11. Breaking Strings
12. Ex-Hall of Famer

Saturday, August 11, 2018


My apologies for the woeful amount of new content this week.  In the meantime here are some of the refreshed links you requested (and then some).

Sloan - Alternates ep & Live at a Sloan Paty (MP3/FLAC)
Metz/Mission of Burma - split single
White Flag - Thru the Trash Darkly
Simple Machines 'Tool' tape series - Slack, Hated, Late!, Mommyheads, Geek, Saturnine, My New Boyfriend
Other Bright Colors - Endlessly Rocks the Cradle
Get Smart! - Action Reaction 
Say-so - tape
V/A - Alex Soria (Nils) tribute concert
V/A - Listen and Learn With Vibro-phonic
V/A - Goldenrod Super Mixer
V/A - Shreds Vol. 1, 1993
V/A - Brouhaha 7"
Kashmir - 7"
Four Color Manual - Guardian for a Year
fenn - spanish
mandingo - ifive, badtouchbecca ep, How's My Driving 7" 
Wishes and Water - s/t ep
Drill Kitty7" ep
Facts About Israel - 7"
Glass Eye - Marlo & Huge
Enemies - Products of the Street ep
Enemies in the Grass - single and ep
Demilos - Naked Brunch
Christmas - In Excelsior Dayglo
Ups and Downs - singles & Rash ep
Nice Strong Arm - Mind Furnace & Stress City
Pollen - Bluette, Crescent, Peach Tree
Drongos - s/t & Small Miracles
Spectres - singles
Desperate Hours - s/t ep
Reverse - Synchysis ep 
Trilobites - Turn it Around and I Can't Wait for Summer to End ep
aMINIATURE/Drip Tank - split singles
Kinetics - Snake Dance
Fig Dish - Unleash the Cracken, Rollover Please 7", split single w/ Everready
fluf - Wasting Seed ep & Songs 6 ep
fluf/further - split single
fluf/j church - split single
Crain - 7"
Vim - 7" ep

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Fig Dish - Onanism (1999?)

I haven't shown any love for Fig Dish on here since about 2010, so apologies if I'm overdue.  What I'm sharing was relatively available a few years ago, but the original website hosting it appears to be defunct.  For those in the dark regarding who I'm even referring to, Fig Dish were an often excellent aggro pop-rock outfit from Chicago who recorded two albums for A&M in the mid '90s - That's What Love Songs Often Do (1995) and When Shove Goes Back to Push (1997).  Both disks were foisted onto a rather indifferent public, and commercially they went thud.  In fact, I don't think I ever happened across a CD of Love Songs that didn't have a promo stamp on the cover.  Pity all those uninformed kids who clung to their copies of Mellon Collie... and precious little else.  I saved the notes from the site that hosted Onanism, and they're below.  This is essentially an oversized batch of demos for material slated for Fig Dish's follow-up to Shove that never came to fruition.  Some phenomenal cuts too - "Ragged Ones," "Science Goes Public," "Senior Circuit," etc..

After two albums, with a combined sales of 16,000 copies, Chicago rockers Fig Dish severed their relationship with A&M Records in 1998. The band, consisting of Blake Smith (vocals/guitar), Rick Ness (vocals/guitar), Mike Willison (bass), and Bill Swarz (drums), went back into the studio to record demos to shop to other labels. wrote a feature about Fig Dish’s departure and their subsequent record in which Smith said Fig Dish had no intention of breaking up and had recorded a double album worth of new material. Less than a year later Smith and Willison had started a new project, Caviar, while Ness started his own solo band, bringing Swarz along with him. So whatever became of those 2 CDs worth of material Fig Dish recorded?

After being locked away in the Fig Dish vault for nearly 10 years, we’re happy to unleash the cracken and offer you the 19 track demo that Fig Dish recorded and used in an attempt to find a new label. For fun, we’ve tossed in 2 songs that were on the hard-to-find “Quiet Storm King” CD-single released in 1995, “Eyesore” and “Spit the Part."

David Cobb, college roommate of Mike Willison, and longtime Fig Dish fan/friend/supporter dubbed this double CD, Onanism, so that’s the name we’ve given this collection of songs.

01. Burn Bright For Now
02. Cellophane & Sulphur
03. The Ragged Ones
04. Science Goes Public
05. If Not Now When
06. Trouble & Sway
07. Lake Five Blue
08. Take Me Whole
09. Tear The Atmosphere
10. All The Blues Are Pale
11. A.D. & D.
12. The Effects of Dehydration
13. The Bottom
14. Senior Circuit
15. Best Disguise
16. Carcharias Carcharodon
17. Extra Nanny
18. The Widow Cobain
19. When Shirts Get Tight (demo)
20. Eyesore
21. Spit the Part

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Posies - Dear 23 (1990/2018) & Frosting on the Beater (1993/2018) Omnivore reissues - A brief overview.

My first exposure to The Posies?  On an unsuspicious morning in late 1990 I was backing my Plymouth (not so) Reliant "K" car out of my driveway to attend a full day of high school.  I was tuned into the predominant local hard/classic rock station.  DJ announced he was playing a song by a new band dubbed The Posies.  Upon hearing the name I conjured up an approximate image of this band being the stylistic heirs to the Mamas and Papas or something.  That assumption quickly dissipated upon hearing the tune, quite possibly "Golden Blunders."  In short, said DJ successfully led this horse to water, but I wasn't quite ready to imbibe another sip until roughly three years later, upon release of the band's third record, Frosting on the Beater.  'Higher learning' would in fact have to wait a spell.

Essentially, I backtracked upon becoming enamored with Frosting in 1993, with the previous album, Dear 23 being something of a posthumous discovery for me.  Both records (and '95s Amazing Disgrace to follow later) are the subjects of a vastly overhauled reissues on Omnivore Records, getting the full remaster and expansion treatments, featuring a bevy of unreleased demos, outtakes and alternate versions, a good half of which weren't already covered on the At Least At Last rarities box set on Not Lame in 2000.

The Posies glorified demo of a debut album, 1988's Failure, was an often infectious exercise in witty folk pop.  Gloriously lucid if not so much ambitious, that nascent formula of the band's two prime movers Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer would be extrapolated, enhanced and exponentially magnified on Dear 23, which found the duo fleshing themselves out as a four piece, aided and abetted by bassist Rick Roberts and longtime drummer to-be Mike Musburger.  With 23's austere hues, startlingly bold, and even ethereal sonic enhancements, you'd hardly guess this was the same entity that crafted Failure.  The ironing table and laundry basket motifs of yore were usurped by sobering universal themes wherein the band exuded grand, post-teenage symphonies to the world at large, often by way of exhilarating harmonies.  Almost thirty years on, "Golden Blunders" is still vividly poignant, outlining the consequences of romantic faux pas, with "Apology" mining a similar theme, more in line with a pleading ballad than the former's singalong rocker.  Despite it's pristine facade, Dear 23 boasts it's own brand of musculature, amidst "Help Yourself," "Mrs. Green," and the fully blossomed second half of, "Flood of Sunshine," the album's epic closer that loosely unfolds a la Led Zeppelin's "Thank You," of all things.  Song for song, Dear 23 may not be the Posies career defining moment but is the most impeccably manicured and graceful record they would ever attach their name to - not to mention one of their masterpieces.  The two CD redux on Omnivore features a bountiful 27 bonus songs. Unnlike the extraneous filler on so many other deluxe releases, the twenty-plus demos (some full band, but many Ken and Jon solo tapes) are genuinely revelatory and will give you an even better appreciation of the finished versions.  Also appended are the two sides of the Big Star/Chris Bell tribute single, initially released 1992 on Pop Llama. 

Contemporary to 23 and Frosting, there was abundant ballyhooing in reference to the Posies newfound appreciation for Big Star - that and their supposed assumption to the throne of "power pop."  Both were exaggerations.  Virtually nothing on these two albums were as organic or straightforward as anything occupying #1 Record and Radio City, and even on Big Star's more idiosyncratic Sister Lovers, it can be a challenge to find direct parallels between the Posies and Alex Chilton (though both parties would later unite for a reconstituted Big Star).  Secondly, the Posies weren't three chord simpletons.  Catchy as-all-get-out, indeed, but far more sophisticated and brooding stacked up against a say, 20/20 or even a Matthew Sweet record.  If anything, they inadvertently carved out a niche for themselves that by happy accident meshed well with more pedestrian power pop.

The Posies were about to make yet another quantum leap, one that would inextricably define them for the remainder of their tenure in the '90s.  Enter Frosting on the Beater, their 1993 watershed that stripped off the ornate prettiness and ethereal gestures of Dear 23 in favor of a palate that was markedly rawer, denser and gleefully amped-out.  It may have stopped well short of blaring and obnoxious, yet Frosting undeniably signaled an exciting departure for Jon, Ken, Mike, and newly recruited bassist Dave Fox. In fact, Fox's fuzz-laden bass played a discernible role in filling out the band's distortion addled aptitude on buzzy pop salvos like "Solar Sister," and "Flavor of the Month," and equally within the confines of the slow-boiling "Burn and Shine" and the brooding comedown finale, "Coming Right Along."  The Posies hook-meter registered an all time high on Frosting, so much so that even if "Flavor" or "Definite Door" graced your ears just one day in any given year, those tunes would stay etched in your cranium for the remaining 364.  And I can't depart any discussion of this album without observing that yet another of the band's watershed moments, the more bitter than sweet "Dream All Day," has personally served as a sister song of sorts to the Smithereens similarly vigorous but reflective "Behind the Wall of Sleep."  In keeping with the penchant of the expanded Dear 23, Frosting on the Beater is bonus-ized with a solid thirty extras - demos for most LP tracks and about an album's worth of outtakes (in rough-hewn 4-track incarnations) with previews of songs to appear on subsequent Posies and Ken Stringfellow solo records.  Hot damn.

Dear 23 is available as we speak from Omnivore and AmazonFrosting on the Beater is slated for an August 24 release date.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

So you think that you'll never get burned...what are you doing waiting for your turn?

Classic punk (or would that be post-punk?) album from 1980 with three bonus cuts.

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


V/A - Self Mutilation: One, Two, Three and More - A compilatiopn of compilations

Welcome to the soundtrack to my early college years (he emits a *sigh* in the most reluctant manner possible), for better or worse.  My reticence towards this one is less exaggerated than I'm letting on.  But before delving any further, as the title might imply, this one is a consolidation of three shorter form Self Mutilation compilations, specifically 7" eps, issued by the Aussie Hippy Knight label between 1991-93.  If it's "power pop" or anything on a remotely genteel tip you're seeking, best advised you move along.

The Mutilation series was bejeweled with a cabal of the era's most effective and grating noisenik punksters and grunge-amok hopefuls, with virtually none of it's participants breaching into the mainstream.  But as an international scene snapshot, this disc exposes the gritty, subterranean muck that even labels like Amphetamine Reptile weren't wiling to approach, or at the very least make a monetary investment in.  The likes of Atomic 61, Sandy Duncan's Eye and Meanies may ring a little raucous to some ears, but there's also thecomparatively less high strung Seaweed, You Am I and Superchunk, the latter of whom turn in a casual, 4-track acoustic version of "Cool," worth the price of admission alone.   As a parting recommendation, check out Green Magnet School's deliciously raw, but slyly tuneful "Blind In My Mouth," sounding something like a long-lost Dramarama demo.

01. Coffin Break - Cry    
02. You Am I - Snake Tide    
03. God And Texas - 1066    
04. Jonestown - El Segundo    
05. Green Magnet School - Blind In My Mouth    
06. Free Moving Curtis - Fire    
07. Poppin' Mommas - Now I Love Her    
08. Sandy Duncan's Eye - Polsen Petroleum    
09. Mother's Day - Birdy    
10. Superchunk - Cool    
11. Erectus Monotones - Tweeter And Quibble    
12. Screamfeeder - Snail Trail    
13. Vertigo - Shallow Water    
14. Nunbait - Shit For Brains    
15. Alien Boys - Timothy    
16. The Stump Wizards -    Fire    
17. Seaweed - Selfish    
18. Atomic 61 - Pussy Juice    
19. Seaweed Goorillas - Incest    
20. The Meanies - People Like Me

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Grady Sisters 7" ep (1993, Gometric)

I'm not exactly sure how the all male (in fact) the Grady Sisters made it onto my auditory field (quite recently in fact - a compilation perhaps?) but better late than never.  A little disonance and just a smidge of dynamics seemed to go a long way for this Petaluma, CA-area collective.  Occasionally Pavement-like, albeit not as cryptic.  Sorta rattling about in the same tin can as the Poster Children too, but a little deficient in the warm and fuzzy department.   Things peak on "s.w. log" which rips it's resplendent array of jumpy chords straight from the Wedding Present circa 1990 - right before diving into a jarring crush of blaring fuzz and static.  A beaut.

01. boss
02. self-government
03. deville
04. s.w. log

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Breeding Ground - Tales of Adventure (1986, Fringe)

Got a decent Canadian export for ya'll here.  Spectacular in spots, even but will get to that in a moment.  Having a mouthpiece (John Shirreff) who often sounded like Peter Murphy must have gotten Breeding Ground bullied with darkwave/goth accusations aplenty.  Things weren't quite that convenient however, as BG's sonic tapestry was more attuned to the likes of The Fixx, Cactus World News, and even country-mates Frozen Ghost.  And like many of the aforementioned these guys had a propensity for depth and echoing guitars, without ever getting too heady or pious (perhaps with the exception of Tales' anomalous "Happy Now I Know," which centers on Shirreff's apparent Christian leanings).  And regarding those rather spectacular songs I mention in my opening - "Turn to Dust," the title piece, and the unlisted "Reunion," all typify what was so rewarding in the often nebulous realm of 'modern rock' in the '80s.  Enjoy.

01. This Time Tomorrow
02. Turn to Dust
03. Epic
04. Reunion
05. Tales of Adventure
06. Happy Now I Know
07. Reflections (in a coffee cup)*
08. *in the sun

Sunday, July 29, 2018

I'm not too far gone, but I'm not all there...

The swell 1988 debut from this Pittsburgh quartet. 

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


Friday, July 27, 2018

Leaving Trains - Well Down Blue Highway (1984, Bemisbrain/Enigma)

Had a request for this one.  Personally, I was never very motivated to sling myself onto the caboose of the Leaving Trains, but I know how endearing they were to the droves who were more than content to depart the station with them.  This was their first album, released a couple years prior to their stint with SST.  I've heard bits and pieces of those subsequent records, but Well Down Blue Highway might be the first I've encountered wall-to-wall.  And I'm definitely down for some of it, 'specially the more rompin,'  rockin' forays like "She Knows the Rain" and "Virginia City."  There's some sweet psych flourishes on "Always Between Wars" too.  I've been informed that ...Highway's follow-up, Kill Tunes, was their utmost achievement.  Here's what the boys at Trouser Press had to say.

That said, the Los Angeles band's debut, Well Down Blue Highway (co-produced by Rain Parader David Roback and featuring a guest drummer from Gun Club and a keyboard player from Green on Red) is actually the picture of restraint: James' quietly desperate delivery suits subtly seething songs like "Creeping Coastline of Lights" and "I Am in a World Crash With You" marvelously, and when the clock registers rage-time, guitarist Manfred Hofer responds with some totally wired riffing. Kill Tunes sacrifices some of that reserve in favor of an old-school pub-punk approach that will remind some of the Saints (whose "Private Affair" gets a lusty run-through here). On an album that continuously shifts gears, from shit-kicking 4/4 like "She's Looking at You" and "Black" to lighter ballads ("Light Rain" and "Kinette"), the frontman displays his boozehound-next-door humor for the first time on "A Drunker Version of You," and it provides a welcome respite from the vitriol sprayed elsewhere.

What I'm presenting here isn't my rip, so a mighty thank you to whomever was responsible for it.  There may be a couple of minor glitches, that to my ears anyway were barely discernible. 

01. Bringing Down the House
02. Leaving Train
03. All My Friends
04. Always Between Wars
05. You Can't See
06. I Am In A World Crash With You
07. March 7th
08. Hometown Blues
09. She Knows Better
10. Creeping Coastline of Lights
11. Virginia City
12. Going Down to Town
13. Bringing Down the House (reprise)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Rude Buddha - Blister My Paint ep (1985, Green Triangle)

So you say you're a Rude Buddha fan (all two of you)?  I guess you can chalk that up to depriving yourself of sleep in the wee hours of the morning with your gaze fixed on MTV to witness their briefly-in-rotation clip for "No More Gravy."  That was actually in 1988, so I bet ya didn't know they had a couple records to their credit earlier in the decade?  Here's one of 'em, and this co-ed combo waste nary a second of it...on side one anyway.  That's where you'll find more of the structured tunes, considerably crooked to begin with.  Brian Daley and Jenny Wade trade off on vocals, the latter of whom has a particularly unique warble.  I'm more partial to Daley whose dexterous digits tickle the fretboard in a nimble and clangy manner I'm such a sucker for.  Depending where the stylus lands there's some sheer magic going on here.  After the jump, you'll find the video I referenced above.

01. Blister My Paint
02. Economic War
03. So Long Darling
04. I'm Packing My Suitcase
05. Hagar and Ishmael
06. What You're Looking For

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Willie Nile - Children of Paradise (2018, River House) - A brief review.

There's a certain reliability to a Willie Nile album. Not unlike spending an afternoon at the ballpark perhaps. Hot dog in hand, a nice 75 degree day, and a certain contentment in knowing how things are going to roll for the next couple of hours or so.  Not that Children of Paradise, Willie's eleventh (or so) studio outing spans anywhere near the better part of the afternoon, but you get my drift.  His original premise (and I say that loosely) always struck me as an empathetic fusion of Springsteen and Dylan.  These days that synthesis manifests itself into something approaching solo Paul Westerberg, albeit without as much irony and wordplay. 

Not one to operate in the abstract, Willie's plaintive aplomb is nonetheless conveyed via uplifting, populist sentiments on Children's... rallying opener, "Seeds of a Revolution."  Call it a melting pot-anthem if you will, reminding us that our presently turmoil-ridden democratic experiment only exists due to it's international composition.  "Getting Ugly Out There" and "Earth Blues" speak to issues of the day as well, spirited along in our protagonists cautionary but hopeful tenor.  And what would a Willie Nile album be without a few raucous rave-ups?   "Rock n' Roll Sister," "I Defy," and the particularly strident "Don't" fit the bill perfectly, and prove the man in question hasn't lost an iota of stamina.  Naturally, on the flip-side of the coin, a good quarter of Children... is set aside for ballads with "Lookin' for Someone," being particularly effective.  Finally, without giving too much away, the poignant title track is another ace feather in his cap.   In a nutshell, things are tough and modern times are a bitch.  It's hard to believe any single album could be a catalyst for change or uplift, but Willie is making a rock solid go of it.

Children of Paradise sees the light of day on July 27th on Amazon, iTunes and Willie Nile's online store.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Is it it you?

A slightly abrasive start to the week.  An ep and full length from 1993 and '94, respectively.

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


Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Cure - What Happened Behind the Door

This past week I've been all over the why not end it with a Cure bootleg?  I haven't featured Robert Smith et al on these pages, due to the wide availability of virtually every speck of their catalog.  In a nutshell, What Happened Behind the Door is comprised of demos and possibly alternate mixes of tunes that touch on several of their key '80s records.  By now, I think all of their albums up through Disintegration have been reissued and bonus-ized with generously expanded track listings, loaded predominantly with demos and songs-in-progress.  The rub?  The bulk of these prototypes were just instrumentals that hardly warranted repeat spins.  In some instances, What Happened... features alternate demo versions with vocals ("In Between Days" being a prime example) that you are unavailable on said reissues.  Some really rare tracks make an appearance here as well, specifically "Ariel" and "Cold Colours."  This handy and thoughtfully assembled compendium winds down with spare, acoustic versions of "Jut Like Heaven,"  "The Caterpillar," and "The Blood."  I've also tacked on an Easy Cure (an early incarnation of the band) take of the group's post-punk standard "A Forest."  Enjoy.

01. One Hundred Years
02. Forever
03. Ariel
04. Figure Head
05. Cold Colours
06. Siamese Twins
07. In Between Days
08. Close to Me
09. Kyoto Song
10. The Baby Screams
11. Sinking
12. To the Sky
13. Just Like Heaven (acoustic) 
14. The Caterpillar (acoustic)
15. The Blood (acoustic)
   Plus: A Forest

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Critics - Braintree (1995, Black Vinyl)

What little there is to glean on The Critics makes the case that this suburban Illinois quartet fancied the Beatles.  Even the most casual listen to their Braintree album solidly proves this point, especially on the first half, but this adept power pop combo were ultimately more attuned to their own era.  Not quite as heavy or beefy as say, what the Posies were concocting at the time, the Critics took their cues from nearby mates Material Issue, and for that matter slotted in quite appropriately onto the first volume of the Yellow Pills compilation series.  Released by the band Shoes on their in-house label Black Vinyl Records, Braintree's most remarkable moment arrives in the guise of "Got No Heart," a relatively raw nugget that extends a wink and a nod to their chosen genre's halcyon era of the late '70s.

01. Love Discreet
02. Change Your Mind
03. I Heard You Calling
04. L-O-V-E
05. You Can't Lie
06. Got No Heart
07. Surprise Surprise
08. I Feel Sorry For You
09. Meltdown
10. We're All Lonely
11. Lucky Thing

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Poster Children - Grand Bargain (2018, Lotuspool) - A brief review

Welcome back!  Though it is a shame that it took a grotesque and traitorous Republican administration to jostle The Poster Children's collective muse to write and record again.  Or maybe I'm speaking too soon, considering the 'antics' of the Mar-a-Lago Mussolini haven't informed the entirety of Grand Bargain!...but at least a solid half of it.  For the uninitiated, The Poster Children's tenure has spanned four decades, the most of active of which transpired in the twentieth century, with albums of dynamic, skittish guitar spree like 1991's Daisychain Reaction, and their '92 follow-up, Tool of the Man serving as the most crucial examples.  A little further into the Clinton-era, the band embraced a wonkier, electro-pop modus operandi, and though this particular gambit yielded mixed results the Poster Children resolutely made music on their own terms, even when 'the man' was cutting their paychecks.

Grand Bargain! is the first full length P/C fans have been on the receiving end of since 2004's No More Songs About Sleep and Fire.  Needless to say a lot has happened on this blue dot, not the least of which Kids headmasters Rick Valentin and Rose Marshack having become parents.  Truth be told, this was probably the impetus for the hiatus, not so much a lack of inspiration from current events.  And indeed, Bargain! doesn't quite pick up where the quartet parked their tour van.  In fact, the record commences with a blistering, dissonant salvo of a rant by way of the title track, wherein Valentin begins to indignantly claw at the surface of our current dystopia.  Shortly after this blast of righteous indignation "Hippie Hills" cuts the tension considerably, conceding to the more melodic motifs of their heyday, and to that end, even to the tendencies of one of their key contemporaries (presently and formerly), Superchunk.  But these aren't the nineties folks, and a world-weary tone imbues rather self-explanatory missives "World's Insane," "Brand New Country" and "Devil and the Gun," the latter informed by now routine mass shootings and the hollow "thoughts and prayers" gestures that invariably accompany them.  If you're leery of this album being one extended piss-take, the Kids occasionally  reveal a light at the end of the tunnel, dim as it may be at this stage in the game.

Grand Bargain! distinguishes itself from earlier Poster Kids records by eschewing the more obvious pop angles of their '90s left-of-the-dial contributions "If You See Kay" and "Junior Citizen."  So much so that the album concludes on a startlingly lucid acoustic note, "Safe Tonight" that I guarantee no one saw approaching in the rear view mirror.  Perhaps such developments aren't that drastically surprising given the quartet's near-decade and a half layover.  Nonetheless, they're still plenty high strung, and a plethora of trademark P/C tinctures continue to populate the canvas - the wiry and teasing guitar arpeggios, Rose's prominent bass, and naturally, Valentin's patented sung/spoke vocals.  Yet  something more nuanced and subtle is exuded on Bargain! that I'm still not accustom to.  No, these adult young'ins aren't as jumpy and dynamic as established customers might recall them, but the v. 2018.0 incarnation of the quartet just may have tracked their most natural and reflective album to date.  And despite the ever accumulating shitstorm of Trumpian induced horrors, at least the Poster Children themselves appear to be ensconced in a good place.

Grand Bargain! is available direct from Lotuspool Records, The P Kids webstore, Amazon and iTunes.  Lotuspool were also recently responsible for a spiffy vinyl reissue of the aforementioned, Daisychain Reaction, and if that weren't enough, Rick and Rose do a splendid podcast, Radio Zero, that I can't recommend highly enough.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

You're racing with the wind, you're flirting with death - so have a cup of coffee and catch your breath.

It's summer.  A little guilty pleasure never hurt

**Comments are permitted, EXCEPT for revealing the name of the artist**


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Rank Strangers - Target 7" (1997, Veto)

Damn, where has this band been all my life?  Minneapolis, MN from what I understand, but it wasn't 'til last year that I caught wind of them via this used single.  Looked the Rank Strangers up for the first time this week, and was pleasantly surprised to learn they have a fairly deep catalog featuring no less than eight LPs, and almost as many shorter releases.  This wax is the extent I've experienced the Strangers so far, and while I hesitate to make any broad stroke generalities, the A side, "Target" is awash in proto-punk aesthetics brimming with raw, nervy production a la the Velvets and significantly more so the snider panache of Iggy and the Stooges.  "Planetarium" packs almost as much attitude, and while a tad less frenetic, these gents accent the proceedings with spicy guitar fills reminiscent of ABKCO-era Stones.  Simply put, the Rank Strangers don't bear a smidgen of '90s sonic trappings - an astonishing feat given their era.

If you dig, check out their webstore.  Most of the CDs are a reasonable $10, with vinyl full-lengths priced not much higher.

A. Target
B. Planetarium

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Woodies - Five Years From Now (1987, Pop)

My recent post of The Woodies '89 ep Train Wreck went over big with a lot of you, so I thought I'd share one of their prior convictions.  More of that tasty collegiate indie rock manna with a homespun angle, that for the record was several notches above lo-fi.  By and large these guys (and girl) churned out some quality tunes, not terribly far removed from say, the Windbreakers, early Trotsky Icepick and such.  The first half of Five Years From Now is well above average, and the flip side, while exhibiting some occasional dabs of lyrical clumsiness is still refreshingly genuine.  I really wish more bands had followed in the Woodies humble albeit gratifying footsteps.

01. Fate to Be Late
02. You and He
03. Five Years
04. Potential Drop
05. Mirror
06. Soldier
07. She's the One
08. Kicks
09. A Little Night Music
10. Let You Up
11. Rave Up (unlisted track)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

What's best for everyone is killing me.

Thoughtful modern rock from 2002 with a graceful singer/songwriter acumen.

**As a friendly reminder, please do NOT reveal the artist(s) in the comments.**  Been a real problem as of late. There's a reason why I refer to these as "mysteries!"


Re-ups galore.

Have fun.

The Posies - Broadcasts - Vols. 1,2,3,4,5,6 & 7
Wondermints - covers/demos
The Purdins - Greatest Hits & 7" ep
Nubs - Job 7"
Reivers - End of the Day demos & Saturday demos
Revelons - Anthology
Phantom Tollbooth - 1985 demo
Ten Inch Men - Hours n Pain ep
Buzz Hungry - At the Hands of Our Intercessors
Viola Peacock - The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
The Stockings - Red Tango
Wishniaks - Nauseous and Cranky ep
Screaming Believers - Communist Mutants From Space
Rail - two eps
V/A - I'm In Love With That Song - Australian tribute to the Replacements
V/A - Blatant Doom Trip - Guided By Voices tribute
V/A - Dirt
fig. 4 (Tobin Sprout) - s/t cd
Porcelain Boys - Away Awhile, Away Awhile demos, singles, Fetish for Female tape, Live 1989
Jettison - Search for the Gun Girl
Sister Ray - No Way to Express
Honest Injun - Rosenthal Effect
Everready - Fairplay
Doc Hopper/Bollweevils - split single 
Jet Black Berries - Sundown on Venus
Chris Sievey (Freshies) - Big Record
Downsiders - All My Friends Are Fish 
Right as Rain - Undertown & s/t ep
Buford - 7" ep
Airlines - tape
Ozma - Songs of (In)Audible Trucks and Cars
Ridel High - Recycle Bin
Radio Bandits - s/t ep
Classic Ruins - Ruins Cafe
The Crime - Crash City USA ep
Brave Tears - Silver in the Darkness ep & 7"
Cartoons - Toys of Destruction ep
Full Moon Tan - s/t ep
Blue TV - Back in Time 7"
Trusty - Kathy's Keen 7"
The Trans Megetti - Rent a Rocket 7"
Autumn Clock - Ready Set Apple Pies ep
Chune - Burnt 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

fuflej - the microwave ep (1995, Scratchie)

The modicum of buzz fulflej were accorded seemed to dissipate not longer after this ep and a subsequent album, Wack-Ass Tube Riff, hit the market in 1995 and '96, respectively.  Then again, these Richmond, VA rawkers had a lot of competition in the mid-90s from considerably more sizable entities that were exuding a similar vibe...say like the Smashing Pumpkins.  Ironically, Scratchie Records was a boutique label helmed by the Pumpkins own James Iha and D'arcy Wretzky.  Much to their credit, fulflej differentiated themselves from those Corgan crunch-addled titans by embracing a woozier dream-pop bent, exemplified marvelously on microwave's most effective salvos, "Merely" and "Parallel to Gravity."  Whether they were conscious of it or not, fulfej had some excellent like-minded contemporaries in their midst to boot - Monsterland, Majesty Crush, and even their hometown's primo Fudge.  This record's title piece is probably the band's most relatively renown song, a long-winded, Luddite anthem of sorts wherein the protagonist extols on the virtues of being sans a VCR, and yes (you guessed it) a microwave.  A nice article on the band and a link to supplemental fulflej listening can be visited at your leisure here.

01. work in this universe
02. microwave
03. shells
04. merely
05. parallel to gravity

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Alerta - In the Land of a Thousand Pretty Dreams (1983, Welfare Factory)

It wasn't my initial observation regarding this Dutch combo, but their moniker conjures up the name of an over-the-counter antihistamine or something.  With that out of the way, what led to my investigation of Alerta was a connection to one of my fave '90s dream-pop wunderkinds The Nightblooms.  Specifically, it was Alerta guitar slinger Harry Otten who made said migration, but these lads didn't emanate anything approaching the shoegazer realm themselves.  No, Alerta were doggedly post-punk, mid-tempo in pace at that, purloining a trick or two from early (and I mean early) Siouxsie and Killing Joke, while loosely touching on Joy Division U2, and even Crass label alums Rudimentary Peni.  Plenty of noir and existential-lite mystique abounds, with no shortage of echo-y guitars.

...Land of a Thousand Pretty Dreams' initial volley of tunes are Alerta's most convincing, but further in, while many a song threatens to escalate to a fiery and billowy crescendo things level off in limbo without truly reaching an assumed zenith.  Problematic, as so much of this record's potential is blunted due to that frustrating scenario.  I wouldn't let that chase you away however, because if anything else this trio had enough forward thinking ideas to keep me engaged.  The two added tracks at the end were from a split ep Alerta did with the far more prolific The Ex.  You can read a fairly informative article about this album over at Son of Eet U Smakelijk blog.  Just make sure to scroll down a spell.

Finally, since I don't actually own this record, I'd like to tip a shot of whiskey to whomever was thoughtful enough to rip it.  Thanks to Discogs for the sleeve art. 

01. Jill, Jack & John
02. Jester
03. Suddenly Last Summer
04. An Accidental Man
05. Between Four Walls
06. Rascal Jack
07. Cristobel
08. Possession
09. Atlanta 24
10. Latin Fever
11. Mask
12. Princess Daisy
13. Living Circus

From Red Dance Package ep, split w/ The Ex
14. Violet Days
15. Park Avenue

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The driver said, "Hey man, we go all the way."

EP time again.  Four of them to be exact, from four disparate artists spanning just as many decades.  Some absolute gems.  Perhaps the best of these piecemeal collections I've shared to date.

**As a friendly reminder, please do NOT reveal the artist(s) in the comments.**  Been a real problem as of late. There's a reason why I refer to these as "mysteries!"