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

Sunday, June 9, 2019

...and everyday we'll eat toothpaste and pretend we like the taste.

From 2007.  This one is sure to be polarizing - as in a good 85% of you will be polarized into the camp that never, ever wants to encounter this again.  Conceived as something of an inside joke, this album may seem easily dismissible given it's rampant chaos and juvenilia, and is in fact the least essential full-length this band has to offer.  Truth is, it's surprisingly addictive thanks to a bevy of offbeat melodic structures...but you'll have to invest a couple spins in it to find out.  Am curious to see if any of you are up to the challenge. 

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


Friday, June 7, 2019

X-Teens - Love and Politics (1984, Dolphin)

This isn't my first entry on the X-Teens, but it's likely to be the last, as I've exhausted the rest of their catalog previously.  As I've let on before, the X-Teens were a co-ed allotment from NC (Durham specifically) who fit in keenly with their respective era, without indulging too much in the gaudier affectations of it.  The Don Dixon-produced Love and Politics, while not wall-to-wall magic, is still the strongest thing they ever committed to tape, highlighting their penchant for plush, forward thinking power pop.  There are some near-perfect, ETC-endebted forays on Love... like side-A's robust trifecta of "Say it Isn't So," "Change Gotta Come," and "D.I.F.Y.," all thanks to guitarist Robert Bittle whose vocals are an uncanny dead ringer for Andy Partridge.  Kitty Moses gets her turn on the mic, delivering the stunning "All Day Long," and "Western Eyes," the latter a silky smooth ballad.  A really accomplished set of material, and it's unfortunate nothing by the X-Teens ever officially segued to the digital era.

01. Hostage of My Heart
02. All Day Long
03. Say it Isn't So
04. Change Gotta Come
05. D.I.F.Y.
06. Rain Rain Go Away
07. Western Eyes
08. Don't Listen to Him
09. You Belong With Me
10. Soaring
11. Kiss and Make-up Time
12. It Was Something

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Shane "Ride, Ride, Ride" 7" (1990, Horse Latitudes)

Not to be confused with the pro-wrestler of the same name, Shane is actually Wisconsinite Shane McMahon, and for this single (and a contemporaneous full length, Lifeboat Revolver) he's backed with a full band.  What little text that's been dedicated to the band/guy seems to purport they were a country/punk amalgam, but to me this is a straight-up, guitar-sy rock record, with a rootsy sway to it. "Ride, Ride, Ride" is a pounding, riff-addled banger that could have been given a rockabilly makeover in a different set of hands.  Love it just the way it is however, so I'm not complaining.  The more subdued (but markedly tense) flip, "Bareback" is exclusive to this record.  The aforementioned album "Ride..." is derived from, Lifeboat Revolver, has been given a new, digital lease on life here, and you can pursue more music from Shane as well.

A. Ride, Ride, Ride
B. Bareback

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Told my wife I was going out for a couple of beers, said I'd see her in a couple of years...

From 1995.  Scuzzy, serrated and acerbic midwest rock and roll, that in spite of it's obvious lo-fi aplomb enjoyed major label distribution, thanks to the post-Nirvana hoopla it was inherent to.


Parts Found in Sea - Every Soul's House (1987, Between)

Had a friend once who insisted the most ideal way to acquaint oneself with any/all bands is to a) see them in a live setting or b) via a live album.  There are more pros than cons to this theory, because after all, if a band can't pull it together on stage...  When I took a chance on this used Parts Found in Sea LP awhile back I bought it out of curiosity above all else, and wasn't the slightest bit aware I was buying a live disc.  Every Soul's House, predominantly recorded in the band's native Toronto is a crisp, well-recorded club document benefiting from Part's competent musicianship and general enthusiasm.  My complaint is that even after a few spins I still don't have a precise handle on what their modus operandi was, or perhaps more to the point if they had one in place at all. 

It's evident PFiS were club rats but bore virtually none of your typical "bar band" trappings, instead opting for more refined pop, with varying collegiate angles.  Rarely anything daring or strident surfaces here, but despite Every Soul's... anticlimactic tenor but that doesn't meant there isn't wheat to be separated from the often ample chaff.  "No Country," suggesting post-punk inclinations a la solo Tom Verlaine and to a lesser extent the Jazz Butcher is actually quite excellent.  Side two's penultimate "The Forest" is gloriously frenetic and amped-out as well, making so many of this album's comparatively non-descript ventures all the more puzzling.  And we get something of an anomaly via the bluesy "I"ll Go Crazy," which actually turns out to be a James Brown tune.  At the end of the day I see what Parts were capable of on stage, but I think I'm going to need to track down some of their preceding studio records to discern what they were really striving for. 

01. Black Cat
02. No Country
03. I'll Go Crazy
04. Sisterly Kiss
05. Leper Woman
06. Seat of the Writing Man
07. Walk Home at Dawn
08. Sad Eyed Girl
09. The Forest
10. Children

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Re-ups...and a request.

Before I delve into your requests, to the person who requested the 2015 Chanukah singles re-up.  For the life of me I cannot locate the files.  A search is ongoing, but I may need to recreate the entire folder from scratch.  If anyone in the audience has the original zip file for the 2015 Chanukah entry in question (in MP3 or FLAC), please get in touch.  Thanks! 

Velocity Girl - Singles
Starry Eyes - s/t ep
For Squirrels - Baypath Road & 1993 demos
Silversun Pickups - rarities
Sugarcubes - Demos Too Good
Wire - 154 rehearsals 
Spliffs - House of Seven (MP3 or FLAC)
The Church - Gold Afternoon Fix demos
Boo Radleys - Giant Steps demos
Single Bullet Theory - demos
Chapterhouse - Pearls & Treasures
Straitjacket Fits - Missing From Melt ep
Local Rabbits - This is It, Here We Go
Archers of Loaf - live 2011 
The Trypes - demos
Failure - Comfort demos
2 Line Filler - Trash tape
Dag Nasty - Field Day
further - griptape, sometimes chimes, grimes golden ep
Jim Basnight & The Moberlys - s/t ep (MP3 or FLAC)
UV Prom - Field of Vision ep (MP3 or FLAC)
Nuns of the Great West - The World Ain't Safe ep (MP3 or FLAC)
The Probers - Mad at the World
Caretaker Race - Hangover Square
The Strand - Seconds Waiting
Lucy Brown - s/t LP
This Afternoon - When Everything is Seven
The Decorators - Tablets
The Colours - Details at Thirteen ep
Reaction Formation - Mark David Chapman
Edge Park - Personal Fable
New Jetz - s/t LP
Summercamp - Tonight ep!
Bardots - Eye Baby
Ten Inch Men - Hours n Pain
Rattail Grenadier - s/t LP
The Obvious - Home ep
Dryer - two eps
Alcohol Funnycar - singles
Polvo/Erectus Monotone - El Sid 7"
Spavid/One Eyed Jack singles Spavid, One Eyed Jack
milf - antidope
Fuzzy - s/t LP
Waterdog - s/t LP
Pond - Rock Collection
Gunbunnies - Paw Paw Patch
Half Hour to Go - Items for the Full Outfit & Don't Forget the Children ep
Bivouac - ABC ep
V/A - Cash Cow: The Best of Giorno Poetry Systems
V/A - Blackbox

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Sing Market - Via TV 12" (1986, The Dark Network)

Not really sure how to classify this.  Roxy Music-ish art pop with oblique angularities and discernible mystique?  The co-ed Sing Market were a one-off endeavor featuring minor players that formally performed with the Thompson Twins, Graham Parker, and if the blurb I read is to be believed, even Elvis Costello.  Via TV's title piece takes a minute and a half to build to anything resembling a melody...but when it kicks in it's downright pretty, not to mention vaguely addictive.  The two fretless bass-enhanced flip-sides are grittier, with "Blue Cavaliers" proving to be the more rewarding of the two.  Interesting disc.  My copy contains a lyric insert with a small, asymmetrical swatch of fabric glued to it.  No clue.

A. Via TV
B1. Continental
B2. Blue Cavaliers

Sunday, May 26, 2019

"Do I wanna do a seven inch?" said someone from the deacon's bench...

From 1998.  Some serious, lo-fi Dylan-esque jonesing at play here - and quite stimulating at that. 

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


Pylon Reenactment Society - live at The Independent, San Francisco 12/12/16

Following the unexpected passing of their guitarist Randy Bewley in 2009, innovative Athens, GA post-punks Pylon abruptly called it a day.  It was an appropriate gesture given Bewley’s signature, and moreover singular, guitar textures…but what if there was a spinoff in the form of a Pylon tribute/heritage act?   Enter Pylon Reenactment Society featuring original front-lady Vanessa Briscoe Hay alongside alum from Casper and the Cookies, The Glands, and Big Atomic, who’ve been performing Pylon tunes live for the faithful since 2014.  I've got a complete 2016 San Francisco performance for you today with the new lineup in question, and it's hardly a hackneyed covers routine, rather a sincere, if not visceral homage to the work of a seminal and singular musical entity.
Vanessa’s lovingly dissonant pipes remain unaltered since Pylon’s initial run in the early ‘80s, and Bewley's fill-in Jason NeSmith (from Casper and the Cookies) is note-for-note perfect in resurrecting his predecessors chiming, staccato licks.  The similarities between this PRS and real deal are downright canny - but I suppose that was the idea in labeling the project the Pylon Reenactment Society.  And the setlist is peerless - "Volume," "Cool," "Stop It," and "Crazy" among pretty much anything else in the Pylon oeuvre you might naturally expect.  Just follow the links below to hear this wonderfully recorded set in MP3 or FLAC.

Not long after this concert, the PR lineup cut two brand new songs for a 2018 single on Chunklet Records you might be interested in checking out here

01. Working is No Problem
02. Gravity
03. Volume
04. K
05. Yo-Yo
06. Danger
07. Altitude
08. Italian Movie Theme
09. The Human Body
10. Precaution
11. Buzz
12. Feast on My Heart
13. Crazy
14. Cool
15. Beep
16. M-Train
17. Stop It

MP3  or  FLAC

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sarah Shannon - Estheraho ep (1999, Marzipan)

This one slipped by a lot of people, myself included when it was released twenty years ago.  In fact it only made it's way onto my radar quite recently.  Estheraho was an utterly brief, low-key EP from Sarah Shannon, cut shortly after her sizably more renown stint as frontwoman for D.C. area pop wunderkinds Velocity Girl.  In what little I've been able to glean about this CD online, Sarah doesn't regard it as terribly noteworthy, and considers it little more than a stepping stone to a pair of much more sophisticated full lengths, an eponymous 2001 album, '07's City Morning Song.  Thing is, those albums never really sank in with me, but the comparatively spartan Estheraho makes a keener impression.  Whether it's the crunchy indie-pop persuasion of "Wheel in a Wheel," "Marvel's" nervy angst, or the bright and brisk "Gone," there's something about this little disc that I wish she had parlayed to those subsequent albums.

01. Wheel in a Wheel
02. Learn the Ride
03. I Don't Want to See the Light
04. Marvel
05. Gone

Sunday, May 19, 2019

I guess you're over it, 'cos you're all over me...

From 1993.  Punky indie rock from Durham, NC with tuneful sensibilities galore.

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


B Team - Buy American ep (1983, Faulty Products)

This was a killer find.  Another one I kinda bought for the cover that turned out to be way more significant than the sleeve.  B Team were a Bay Area trio with a post-punk sonic aptitude and a socio/politico hardcore ethos.  Buy American's artful opening salvo "Dance Capital" is driven by an irresistible, staccato-laden groove plundered from Entertainment!-era Gang of Four and fortified by clever lyrics.  The dissonance continues on "Eyes Are Bleeding," wherein the B Team doctrine yields a more distinctive tact.  Bleaker forays on side two, "This Damage" and the concluding "Right," point to an absorption of Joy Division in addition to dadaist funk. Compelling in both their sheer attack and forward-thinking palette B Team had a wealth of things going for them, but they apparently dissolved after a this disk.  A 1982 single preceded Buy American, which I'm going to try to get my hands on.

01. Dance Capital
02. Eyes Are Bleeding
03. Living for Christmas
04. This Damage
05. Youth Corps
06. Right

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Rise - Fortunes Ride (1989, Shaman)

File under post-U2?  I say this not because The Rise weren't  necessarily plagiarizing Bono & Co, so much as the myriad of bands they had a more discernible influence on - The Alarm, Cactus World News and Then Jerico.  Thing is, this quartet didn't hail from the British Isles, rather from the States, presumably from San Fran.  But unlike much of U2's aforementioned offspring, The Rise boasted a distinct Americana bent - the kind that only the tail end of the '80s could have given rise to.  Armed with vaguely world-weary concerns, and a back-to-basics rootsy fervor, the band's ambitions never amount to anything too pompous or grandiose on Fortunes Ride.  Such moderation works to their advantage, but their songs don't necessarily follow suit.  The driving title track is a sheer highlight though, and the vigorous "Empty Soul" and "In Our Land," while formulaic, pack a decent modicum of urgency.  The ballads (I'll let you figure out which ones they are), while well intentioned just don't cut it.  Elsewhere, a curious anomaly sprouts up in the guise of "Eagle Dancer," a souped up spaghetti western hoedown if I've ever heard one.

01. Desert Hope
02. A Great Spirit
03. The Whole Earth
04. Waiting for You
05. Fortunes Ride
06. Eagle Dancer
07. Empty Soul
08. Trail of Tears
09. In Our Land
10. Salvation

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Watch out for those that say "everything will be ok."

From 2016.  Contrary to their moniker, this band is quite frankly everything.

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


Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Bardots - Sad Anne (1998, Bliss Out/Che)

I didn't realize it until I had a chance to scan the sleeve art, but this Bardots compilation overlaps heavily with 1992's Eye-Baby LP, which I shared all the way back when his site was still in it's infancy.  Sad Anne not only reprises remastered versions of the vast majority of that album, but also emphasizes oodles of non-LP single sides and such.  Not much has been spoken about the Bardots, a UK export who flirted heavily with guitarsy atmospherics while sidestepping dream/Brit pop almost altogether.  In fact, they had more in common with the likes of such minor contemporaries of the day as the Straitjacket Fits and Smashing Orange, capably exemplified on such rousing moments as the driving "Sunsetted," "Pretty O," and "Ashamed."  And there are plenty of chilled out and even thoroughly unplugged respites as well.  Alas, I don't have much more time for a write-up tonight, but the proof is in the pudding, and we get a generous 21 tracks here.  Dig in.

01. Sad Anne
02. Alligator
03. Ashamed
04. The Crack Up
05. Let My Body
06. Gloriola
07. Slow Asleep
08. Sunsetted
09. Phone Phoney
10. Call me a Whore
11. Pretty O
12. Caterina
13. Shallow
14. Us Making
15. Chained-Up
16. Cruelty Blonde
17. Sister Ruchard
18. My Cute Thought
19. Skin Diving
20. We Are Fiasco
21. Applepan

Sunday, May 5, 2019

I am marching through the branches in a fit of wanderlust...

From 2012. 

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


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Ixnay on the logbay.

Dear readers, this weary soul is taking the week off.   No Mystery Monday festivities tomorrow, but I should be back in time for next week's (May 6).  Ciao.

Friday, April 26, 2019

VA - Teen Line, Vol 7 (1978-82, Hyped 2 Death) Covering letters A-C.

I love sharing Teen Line compilations, because they're a very easy sell, even when they're not bustling with recognizable names.  I've shared volumes 1-6 in preceding years, and sadly after this installment there's very little left in this series.  For the uninitiated, Teen Line was a formally in-progress and now sadly incomplete and abandoned project that was in the hands of the Hyped to Death curators who were also responsible for the Messthetics and Homework series, loosely modeled after the legendary and revered Killed By Death DIY comp juggernaut.  Culled from numerous self-released and small indie label 45s (with a selection from the occasional LP) the Teen Line series informally cataloged and canonized some of the finest American power-pop/punk songs the late '70s/'80s had to offer - that in all likelihood you wouldn't have known about otherwise.  Yes, they burrow very, very deep, sharing scarce, privately pressed gems that will often run you $50-$100+ on Ebay or Discogs - that is if you're lucky enough to find them listed there to begin with.

Volume #7 doesn't disappoint in the slightest.  Crash Kills Five, a Ramones-worshiping aggregation from Toronto are one of my immediate go-tos on this one.  New York is represented by the scintillating Colors, and farfisa-driven garage purveyors the Cheepskates who are of Lyres-grade aesthetics.  Ex-Dead Boy Stiv Bators lives on with the comparatively pop-sided "Not That Way Anymore," and while hardly a household name, power-pop pioneer Gary Charleston is present too.  And if it's more jangly environs you're seeking, lay an ear or two on David Burdick, The Clicks, and Cheese.  Florida's Comets appear with two selections, including the Jam-inflected pearl, "Big Business Jokes."  You might recognize Beat Rodeo and the Cucumbers from entries on this very website, and The Cold are reminiscent of one my all-time faves, the Pointed Sticks.  I feel as if I've barely scraped the surface folks, but enough of my jibber-jabber - download this pronto!  The full tracklist is directly to your right, just click to enlarge.  Finally, links to Teen Line vols. 1-6 appear to be functioning...for now.