**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**
Saturday, July 24, 2021
A. What Life's About
B. Killing Memories
Monday, July 19, 2021
01. Calling Colleen
02. Let Go
03. Slightly Salted
04. All Day Long
05. Spend Some Time
06. No Big Story
07. She Drove By
08. Big Foot
09. Gravel Road Girl
10. To Go Nowhere
Sunday, July 18, 2021
**Please do not reveal artists in comments!**
Sunday, July 11, 2021
**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**
Thursday, July 8, 2021
Here we go kids. Got to a ton of them this time. Almost 100 bands are represented here. A few of these links haven't been revived in the better part of ten years. One thing to keep in mind before making a request. If I state at the end of a particular entry that the file is no longer being shared there is most likely a good reason for this - either I've been forced to pull it or the title has been reissued and is commercially available again in one form or another. Please do NOT ask me to restore files for entries with this type of notation.
Also, since I'm going to be indisposed for the remainder of the week, you won't be seeing any new posts until Monday. Enjoy the weekend.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Notes on new music: Amusment Parks on Fire - An Archaea (2021, EGB Global) & Deadlights - s/t (2021)
APOF's much belated fourth full-length, An Archaea just saw the light of day June 25th, and the band's self described "88-month moratorium" is officially in the rear-view. The album's opening salvo, "Old Salt" find Feerick and Co. tenacious as ever, melding consoling vocals to a dynamic backdrop of heaving, distortion soaked chords, inhaling and exhaling at the precisely apropos moments. "No Fissions'" startlingly dramatic beginning soon settles into the mid-tempo forte they've made their current calling card. "Breakers" is a serrated, dream-gaze stunner that builds to an absolutely divine hook, and "Boom Vang" finally scratches that Loveless itch the band has been stretching for all these years. An Archaea offers some uncharacteristically "ambient" (for lack of a better word) reprieves in the guise of "Gamma" and the moodier "Diving Bell," while the poppy, piano-steeped title track emanates an innovation altogether unique in the Parks oeuvre.
Even when this album doesn't consistently ascend to the heights of past triumphs like their 2004 debut single "Venosa." or their aforementioned sophomore masterstroke, Out of the Angeles, An Archaea is utterly representative of APOF's strengths which are still as indigenous and gratifying as ever. You can experience the entire thing on your format of choice (even hot pink vinyl, arriving later this fall) via Bandcamp and the band's store.
When is a Well Wishers album not a Well Wishers album? To get the definitive skinny on this you'd have to go straight to the source, in this case none other than Jeff Shelton. To save you the effort I'll try to sum it up in a nutshell. The Well Wishers, is Shelton's musical meat and potatoes proposition of which he's staked his power poppin' reputation on over the course of roughly ten albums and shorter form releases since 2010. Somewhere in the vicinity of 2012, he had conceived a stash of songs that were slightly more aggressive leaning than the fare he normally relegated to Wishers records (not to mention his like-minded predecessor act the Spinning Jennies). With that, Hot Nun was born, as a new vehicle if you will for his brattier "alter ego."
Additionally, Shelton has always had an affection for Anglophile post-punk (think The Chameleons), not to mention shoegaze. Over the course of the pandemic, his muse led him to hone an entire album that would extrapolate these tangents that have seemingly been accumulating inside him for decades. With that, a whole 'nother umbrella was opened to corral a new set of raindrops, and Deadlights was established. There aren't 180 degrees of separation between Deadlights and the Well Wishers, or for that matter 90 or even 45 degrees, but the ten songs populating this album rightfully deserved a neighborhood of their own. I wouldn't go into this one expecting the kind of woozy, tremolo soaked vistas My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive graced us with three decades past, however the driving and loudly ringing guitar-chitecture informing the distortion addled "Breaking Down," "Come Down Slowly," and "Lazy Eye," exude robust textures and a dense firmament we're not accustom to experiencing from indie-pop's favorite well-wisher, so to speak. Elsewhere, Deadlights' roar is curtailed into dreamier and lucid sonic swells when the chiming "The Knowing" and "Carefree" infiltrate your earbuds or audio portal of choice. Shelton's newest endeavor is still ultimately rooted in pop, albeit with a decidedly contemplative subtext...and more effects pedals. Deadlights is available to have, hold and purchase at Bandcamp and Amazon.
Sunday, July 4, 2021
Per their FB page (linked above) the Steamers may still be rolling at full boil, with what might have been their first album dropping last year.
A. (I) Walk Alone
B. Mary Carney (Oct, '69)
Saturday, July 3, 2021
01. Real World
02. Primary Concern
03. I Know
04. I Am the Walrus
05. Sound Society
06. I Love Ethyl
07. Beautiful Fascist
08. Haven't Got a Clue
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
A brief review: Mumps - Rock & Roll This, Rock & Roll That... (2021, Omnivore), Holsapple & Stamey - Our Back Pages (2021, Omnivore) and The Rubinoos - The CBS Tapes (2021, Yep Roc)
Despite American Family's popularity during it's initial (and for better or worse, only) airing in '73, the show is rarely talked about these days (with the latest blip on the radar occurring earlier this year with the death of the aforementioned matriarch, Pat). It hasn't been in syndication since, nor has it been offered up on DVD or streaming services, and at best, even YouTube has archived merely a few tightly bite-sized minutes of the program. I haven't viewed so much as one entire episode myself, however American Family's most noted moment came when Lance came-out to his father Bill in one of the later installments. Keep in mind, this all transpired in the early seventies. In what little video I've taken in of AAF, Lance did boast something of a flamboyant persona, vaguely suggesting an interest in the arts and theater, eventually leading him to the Big Apple where at one point he ingratiated himself in Andy Warhol's inner circle. Mumps were actually born out of a larger contingent of players, simply dubbed Loud, containing as the moniker might suggest some of his siblings, specifically sisters Delilah and Michele on backing vocals. By 1975 the group was pared down to a more succinct five-piece, with keyboardist Kristian Hoffman serving as the combo's predominant songwriter. Mumps were legendary fixtures at CBGB's with Lance playing the role of a very extroverted and animated frontman, often working himself into such a sweaty frenzy that the first front rows of onlookers couldn't help getting saturated in some of his...uh...stuff.
Despite their venue of choice the Mumps were not akin to the Ramones, or even the Stooges or Heartbreakers. In fact, their proto-punk bona fides didn't emanate as much as aggression as the New York Dolls or T. Rex, two of the band's closest sonic counterparts. They wielded a mild theatrical and sardonic bent for certain, but beyond their magnetic stage presence they were fortunate enough to fall back on memorable songs...of which there was something of a deficit of. Save for two independent singles released in 1977 and '78 the band had little else to boost their profile, save for gigs in New York and the occasional tour. And it wasn't for lack of ambition or effort. Mumps had the competency and potential to be if not outright stars, they easily possessed the chops to hold down a deal with say an imprint like Sire Records. The cold hard truth is that at the time major labels weren't willing to gamble on openly gay artists, regardless of their capabilities (e.g. Freddie Mercury was still very much in the closet during the '70s and most of the '80s for a legit reason).
If the band's sound wasn't necessarily advanced or cutting edge, the arrangements themselves were sophisticated, wherein warm reverb had plenty of space to waft around in. The Curators of Rock & Roll This... were wise to designate some of the Mumps most nascent material (predominantly recordings from 1975/76) as "bonus " tracks, as they weren't up to the caliber of the singles and demo recordings, they committed to tape in the late '70s. And while everything on this compilation is certainly listenable, it's easy to discern what's dated and what isn't. As for the Mumps creme de la creme, there are dazzling single sides in the form of the taught, power pop-tinted "Crocodile Tears," and "That Fatal Charm," the latter exuding a hint of New York Dolls-y savoir faire. "Muscleboys" a Lance Loud-penned piece, busts out an even glammier stride, with the topic of it's title leaving little to the imagination. A bevy of outtakes from Mumps creative peak, including "Did You Get the Girl," "Just Look Don't Touch" and the pure-pop delight "Anyone But You," should have all found their appropriate slots on the group's first proper studio album, that alas never transpired. There's sheer gold to be had here, but given Mumps fleeting time in the studio those nuggets were preciously limited.
In fairness Rock & Roll This... is the third attempt to compile Mumps recorded output, and for better or worse we aren't provided any visual evidence, as the DVD that was bundled with 2005's How I Saved the World collection didn't make the migration here. Still, we get virtually every single one of the band's recorded highlights, and this set features a couple of exclusive songs from the rambunctious pre-Mumps outfit Loud, who I mentioned in one of my earlier paragraphs. Rock & Roll This... can be purchased directly from Omnivore or Amazon.
In 2005 fans of the dB's were treated to a full brown reunion of the NYC-by-way-of North Carolina quartet for the first time in some twenty-plus years with all original members present and accounted for: Chris Stamey, Peter Holsapple, Will Rigby and Gene Holder, if only for handful of shows. 2012 saw the reconstituted college-rock pioneers releasing their fifth album, Falling Off the Sky, their first collective recording venture since 1981's Repercussion. While the lineup for Falling... mirrored Repercussion (and the dB's debut, Stands for Decibels, also an '81 effort) thirty years had nevertheless passed. Well received as that reunion disk was, it didn't quite exude the band's indigenous, jangly hot mess of yore. With such a substantial layover it wasn't a surprise so much as a mild letdown.
It should be noted that there was a dB's respite or sorts in all those intervening years. Under their own names, Stamey and Holsapple collaborated for 1991's Mavericks. Well, what do you know but another three decades flew by and the duo in question worked up a nostalgic Jones in the most delightful way possible, with the self-explanatory dubbed Our Back Pages. No this isn't some slapped together retrospective of old dB's standards, rather a fresh acoustic reinterpretation thereof...and then some.
The dB's halycon era arguably stems from 1978 single "(I Thought) You Wanted to Know," up until the aforementioned Repercussion LP. Two more albums followed with a Stamey-less incarnation of the band, specifically 1984's excellent Like This, and The Sound of Music following three years later. Needless to say Our Back Pages emphasizes the era when the dB's were still composed of the Stamey/Holsapple nucleus. Early masterstrokes "Black and White," "Happenstance," "Nothing is Wrong" and "Dynamite" all make the setlist here, in lucid, stripped-down readings that only an acoustic motif could reveal. There's more from the Stands For.../Repercussion tenure as well, but I don't want to extol any more spoilers. Our protagonists revive a couple of the choicest cuts The Sound of Music Had to offer, namely "Molly Says" and "Today Could Be the Day," plus "Depth of Field," a tune from Stamey's early solo venture, It's a Wonderful Life. "Picture Sleeve" is a much more recent piece, plucked from the dB's 2011 Record Store Day single, and another post-Stamey cut shows up as well, "Darby Hall" circa Like This', which functions splendidly in a more economic context. All versions herein are exclusive to Our Back Pages, and is not to be passed over by aficionados of any era of the dB's. The vinyl variant of this album was yet another RSD exclusive, and CDs and downloads are ripe for purchasing over at Omnivore and Amazon.
Four guys walk into...a recording studio. And not just any studio, rather one owned by CBS. Those "guys," The Rubinoos, were on the cusp of etching their baby steps in the then newly excised granite slab most of us refer to as "power pop." Here's the scene: November 3rd, 1976 - the day before the foursome in question were about to get down to the brass tacks of recording their 1977 self-titled debut. Before their work began in earnest they decided to use that particular date in November (just a day after Jimmy Carter's election win, per Tommy Dunbar's liner notes) to get a feel for the studio - and ostensibly get some rambunctiousness out of their systems. Eleven songs were cut to tape in a seemingly random, freewheeling session, all of which hadn't seen the light of day until this year as The CBS Tapes. As Dunbar puts it:
Imagine that someone followed you around with a camera for an hour in high school and showed you the film 40 years later. That's what it's like listening to this tape we made in 1976.
And pre-tell what did that particular reel capture? Well, just a bunch of coming-of-age miscreants busting out a deluge of (mostly) covers - "Heartbeat It's a Lovebeat," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You," "Sugar Sugar," and "Walk Don't Run." among others. To their credit they up the credibility ante with an unorthodox reading of Jonathan Richman's "Government Center." We're also treated to a couple of originals that ironically didn't make The Rubinoos album - the catchy "All Excited," plus the ragged and lovingly loose "I Want Her So Bad." The studio banter is chockablock with vulgarities (as occasionally are the lyrics). They demonstrate competence in the studio, albeit having no shortage of cheeky fun in the process, but in the grand scheme of things, The CBS Tapes is predominantly just that - good frivolous fun. Die hard Rubinoos acolytes will appreciate this audio snapshot in time, yet it's in no way, shape or form a pivotal artifact, not to mention it's an inadequate jumping off point for the unacquainted. Don't shy away if you're an established fan, but if you're a Rubinoos neophyte, stick to their first two albums, 1983's Party of Two ep, and if you can locate it, the excellent Basement Tapes outtakes collection. The CBS Tapes is available from Yep Roc Records as we speak.
Sunday, June 27, 2021
**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**
01. Time to Understand
02. The Weather's Fine
03. Only Fools
04. Meine Frau
05. Motherless Child
06. I Could Never Change Your Mind
07. Leaving's Been Easy
08. She's Mine
09. Long Road
10. Lonesome Heart
11. My Dinner With Debbie
Sunday, June 20, 2021
**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**
Saturday, June 19, 2021
Luckily I had a backup ready to go. Way back in 2010 I lamented not being able to locate an original copy of a very obscure locally released title by a band that grew very near and dear to my heart in the early '00s, Schatzi. It took the better part of TWO DECADES for me to finally obtain a physical incarnation of Joni Loves Schatzi, the 1998 debut from the band in question. Yes it's merely a jewel case with an aluminum coated circle of plastic tucked within, but it felt like a remarkable effort after so many years of hunting and making hundreds of web queries. And here it as at a superior bitrate with scans of the entire booklet. The original 2010 write up is below. I'd be neglectful if I failed to mention Schatzi guitarist Monte Williams fell victim to a flood in the summer of 2020. R.I.P.
An Austin, TX outfit called Schatzi made the "Dubya" years at least a little more tolerable with two choice releases on Mammoth Records - the Death of the Alphabet ep in 2001, and the ensuing long player, Fifty Reasons to Explode a year later. Marrying seismic hooks to booming power chords, a la '90s Weezer and Smeared-era Sloan, but with even smarter songs than both, Schatzi possessed a winning formula, but received inadequate exposure (BTW, Fifty Reasons made it into my top-95
albums list of the decade). The band went their separate ways not long
after some 2003 recording sessions and a national tour with the Ultimate
Fakebook, but even after their demise, I was starving for more.
Sunday, June 13, 2021
**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**
The Michael Quercio-helmed Salvation Army were well received in their native southern California and were just starting to make ripples nationally by the time their self-titled debut arrived. To give you an indication of how far the group's popularity had progressed, this live performance cut in May of 1982 found the band sharing a bill with two other very significant up and coming contemporaries, Red Cross (later Redd Kross) and The Minutemen (see a replica of the gig flyer to your right). If the Three O'clock veered to psych-inflected new wave, S.A. bore more of a punky sheen, reflected in this brief but delightfully raw set. The performance commences with with two of their album's most convincing songs, the hooky "She Turns to Flower" and the driving two-minute salvo, "Upside Down." In the banter that ensues just prior to launching into a cover of Pink Floyd's "Lucifer Sam," Quercio encourages the audience to engage in wanton free love, a la Woodstock (after all this '82 gig was an outdoor show). In between another wise choice of a remake (The Byrd's "Feel a Whole Lot Better") the band previews two soon-to-be Three O'clock fan favorites "Marjorie Tells Me" and "(With a) Cantaloupe Girlfriend." There's a mere eight songs all in all here, totaling roughly 22 unbridled minutes making for an enjoyable snapshot in time. The album was said to released in a limited edition of 650 copies, a few of which can be obtained on Amazon...and if it's to be believed, Target online.
01. She Turns to Flowers
02. Upside Down
03. Lucifer Sam
04. Marjorie Tells Me
05. (With a) Cantaloupe Girlfriend
06. Feel a Whole Lot Better
07. I Am Your Guru
08. Going Home
Friday, June 11, 2021
A. Let It All Out
B. Be Bop
Sunday, June 6, 2021
Saturday, June 5, 2021
01. Black Box
02. Forward From Hell
03. Towers Open Fire
05. Cinema Blue
Friday, June 4, 2021
In music industry-speak Liquorice didn't have much "furniture" populating their humble and relatively serene parlor, relying predominantly on acoustic motifs and delicate interplay, albeit there's an oblique and slyly dynamic tenor to this single's centerpiece "Stalls." It's five and a half minutes of Toomey's indigenous stripe of tension and texture that's downright rewarding if absorbed in multiple doses. There are two b-sides, the downcast but affecting "Artifacts" featuring Littleton on the mic, and the hazy, ambient-esque "Squawk of the Town." Liquorice followed this 7" up with the considerably more widely circulated LP, Listening Cap on 4AD Records.
B2. Squawk of the Town
Sunday, May 30, 2021
Saturday, May 29, 2021
01. Cool it Down
02. Here She Comers
03. Ghost Story
04. Open City
05. Too Hot in Here
06. High Life/Low Life
07. Blood Money
08. Incident in St. James Town
Sunday, May 23, 2021
Saturday, May 22, 2021
01-The Grip Weeds - Salad Days
02-The Hippycrickets - Margaret Sez
03-The Critics - Every Good Boy
04-The Tearaways - Never Again
05-Big Hello - Your Mad Mad World
06-Major Nelson - No Home Outside This House
07-The Rockinghams - More Than One Way
08-The Jennifers - Keep It Up
09-The Kicksouls - Chickie
10-Twin Bees - Daddy Works For The Crime
11-The Idea - Private World
12-Million O'Clock - January Fool
13-Jeremy - I Want To Be With You
14-Cockeyed Ghost - Dirty Bastard
15-Prellys - The Peace I Might Have Lost