Sunday, July 7, 2024

Murder or rape your king's English...

A sublime selection from 1991, often striking me as one of the finest things Mark Burgess never concocted. 

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

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VA - New Wave Hell: Double Digit Inflation Pop V.2

This was a quickee, slapped together cd-r compilation offered by a certain power-pop centric label and distro in the mid '00s to incentivize potential customers.  New Wave Hell... isn't one of those legendary or totemic Rosetta stones passed along en masse between music fans, rather a casually prepared yet highly consistent mix-tape highlighting a bevy of obscure, yet still integral artists from the late '70s and early Reagan-era involving the likes of under-the-radar exports The Yachts, Scars, The Nits, Reels and Nick GilderThe Reputations "I Believe You" is an especially worthy and arcane revelation, as are solid tracks from a couple of entities I've enlightened to you over the years, specifically Maurice & The Clichés and the Heaters.  New Wave Hell... is classy stuff, and surprisingly gratifying, and if you're anything like me you can't help but wonder what songs made the cut for Volume 1...

01. Nick Gilder - Amanda Greer
02. The Nits - A Touch of Henry Moore
03. Maurice & The Cliches - It's All Talk
04. Scars - David
05. Robert Ellis Orrall - Baby Go
06. The Reels - Baby's in the Know
07. Yachts - Yachting Type
08. The Reputations - I Believe You
09. The Heaters - Talk is Cheap
10. The Killermeters - Twisted Wheel
11. Modest Proposal - Live Today

Friday, July 5, 2024

Daddy-O - Paris on the Prairie tape (1989)

"Hey, what up daddy-o!"  Um...actually, I don't think that's the vibe here at all.  This bygone Chicago export weren't casual or cheery in the least in fact. Try a decidedly austere, goth/post-punk/noir modus operandi instead and you'll see what Daddy-O had in mind - and they were thoroughly adept at it as well.  The spindly atmospherics and icy, chiming chords that commence "Run to Hide" smack of the kind of gripping latticework early For Against staked their reputation on...that is until Laura Ryan's vocals insert themselves about a minute or so in, transporting the song to a wholly more dramatic stratum, not unlike Siouxsie and the Banshees circa their '80s salad days.  Imbued with more discernable melodic chops, subsequent pieces "16 Days" and "Your Yesterday" curtail the tension a notch, occasionally recalling contemporary Midwesterners The Millions.  You won't find so much as a bum or weak spot on Paris on the Prairie, however this cassette ep (an early credit for indie producer Brad Wood) was all Daddy-O left for us.  This was a primo find.  

01. Run to Hide
02. 16 Days
03. Your Yesterday
04. Rudy's Trunk
05. Two Sharp Clicks

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Johnny if you want to survive, you got to play your part to stay alive.

Vintage goods from the Netherlands.  In a perfect world I would have been tipped off to this one decades ago.

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

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Saturday, June 29, 2024

Marginal Man - s/t (1988)

Before I received a request for this one a couple of weeks ago, my awareness of Marginal Man began and ended with their 1984 Dischord Records debut, Identity, wherein the band made a solid case for their hardcore punk bona fides, a la 7 Seconds and Government Issue.  Even back then they suggested further development was on the horizon, and by the time they got around to their third album (this one) they may as well have changed their moniker along with their rebooted ethos.  There's not a shred of the early, proto-emo dabblings from their days of yore to be had on Marginal Man, rather this crew completely traded that inspired guise in for gritty, punk 'n roll vaguely recalling the Lime Spiders, early Snatches of Pink, and likely some more obvious comparisons that I'm blanking on at the moment.  Sounded like these guys were making a play for the radio as well. I certainly appreciate the snarl factor here, and it's a satisfying listen, just quite a 180.  Would be fascinated to learn what led to Marginal Man's drastic transition, because I'm sure there's a story there.

01. Time
02. What Did He Say
03. Metal Madness
04. Gentry
05. Under a Shadow
06. Home
07. I Had a Feeling
08. Mind on Hold
09. Spirits
10. Sea of Sorrow

Friday, June 28, 2024

Painted Willie - Live From Van Nuys ep (1986, SST)

I'm always a bit late to cracking open books I purchase, even when I obtain them relatively close to their publishing date.  In fact I'm usually a couple of years behind the curveball with anything I read, save for the occasional periodical.  Jim Ruland's Corporate Rock Sucks - The Rise and Fall of SST Records has been no exception, and as I write this I'm about three-quarters of the way through the tome in question.  If you've been an early adopter of Wilfully Obscure, Painted Willie might not be quite such an arcane quantity, as this is the fourth post I've dedicated to them, yet despite their SST pedigree there isn't much in the way of ephemera to be had on them, online or otherwise.  Maybe you can chalk up their low-key legacy to the trio's stubbornly "intermediate" aptitude, which entailed no shortage of skate-punky riff-ola, and a prowess for arpeggios which never completely gestated.  Their reliably fun, albeit good-but-not-great penchant did however translate effectively in a live setting, and this bite-sized chunk of a March 1986 gig situated near their home turf is actually a decent introduction for the uninitiated.  The track selection for Live From Van Nuys is wisely cherry-picked, centering on some of the Willie's most immediate and memorable salvos, chief among them the power-chord ridden "The Big Time" and "Crossed Fingers." They plow through Love's "Little Red Book," upping the tempo of the chorus, just shy of butchering the overarching effect. Truthfully, I admired P/W for what they were, meager as their capabilities sometimes were - and therein resided 90% of their charm.    

01. Crossed Fingers
02. The Big Time
03. Kill It
04. Upside Down Town
05. Little Red Book
06. Cover Girl

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Reviews you can use: The Mosquitos, Falling Stairs and sparkle*jets u.k.

In case you haven't noticed I'm way overdue for some reviews of current releases and reissues, and I'm going to try to address that over the course of the next few paragraphs.  I appreciate everyone that has been gracious enough to set up vinyl and CDs.  Being provided with physical media is more of a luxury than ever, and if I haven't been thoughtful enough to those who go to the trouble your generosity is appreciated.  More critiques to come in the near-future, I might add. 

Spandex. Breakdancing. Mullets. And just about dayglo-everything.  For better or worse this is the world in which Long Island's Mosquitos were forced to toil and contend with.  But guess what? They weren't having a lick of it.  In fact, it would seem like this quintet hadn't gotten the bat signal that the world had evolved past say, 1966.  Stuck in their own time-warp, not unlike similarly bespoke San Diego brethren The Nashville Ramblers, this quintet carved out a small niche within the environs of New York's power pop circuit alongside contemporaries The Bongos and Fleshtones, yet their antecedents were entirely steeped in British Invasion and Merseybeat pop, with nary an inclination to the present day - and you can take that literally.  Their discography consisted of a well received 1985 ep, (That Was Then, This is Now), and if you want to get technical a few demo tapes, but that lone record was essentially all that was made available for public consumption - until 2023, which saw the release of the double CD This Then Are the Mosquitos, and the more concisely consolidated vinyl incarnation, In the Shadows.  

The Mosquitos replication of the Cool Britannia epoch was awe-strikingly spot-on, wherein the band's five protagonists uncannily could have slotted in precisely with Help!, Face to Face-era Kinks, or the Dave Clark Five, etc.  They completely had the instrumentation, tonality and poise of the mid-60s down to a science, so much so that "I Know a Secret," "You Don't Give a Hang (About Me)," and "Put Your Foot Down" could have passed for veritable oldies - that is if it wasn't for copyright dates revealing these tunes were actually minted two decades later.  The 'squitos were genuinely expert and adept at the card they were playing, but for every fan they successfully roped in, there was likely to be a dozen or so would-be-listeners that were put off by their schtick, or more realistically, completely checked out in a haze of MTV and video games.  That being said, the bustling forty song-plus This Then... is really aimed at two parties - Brit Invasion aficionados and the Mosquitos small but gonzo fanbase.  Though their studio work was limited (hovering around fifteen numbers) the band was remarkably well documented, with about ten quality soundboard recordings of live gigs surviving over the ensuing decades, yielding much of This Then's... retro-laden manna.  I'd be remiss if I failed to mention The Mosquitos were responsible for writing the original version of the Monkees '80s comeback hit, "That Was Then, This is Now," which might ring a bell to a lot of Gen-X'ers in the audience.  A bit cloying?  Sure, but if you're down for what these not-so pesky insects were dishing out there's a bountiful hive of music to adore here. This Then... is available directly from Kool Kat Musik or Bandcamp

Having surely made your acquaintance with Falling Stairs when I posted their marvelous That and a Quarter mini-album several years ago (2010 if you're keeping tabs), you'll be pleased as punch to know that they've made their slim but estimable catalog available again - physically no less. In  reference to the moniker of this long defunct Queens, NY quartet, you’ll find nary a stumbling block on Falling Stairs first record in 35 years.  Not that everything occupying the twelve grooves on Life is a Kick Trial 1988-1993 is actually ‘new’ per se, considering this is a retrospective absorbing the entirety of the aforementioned, That and a Quarter alongside five scarce and/or heretofore unreleased tracks.  F/S deserved a better lot than their meager exposure on a few left-of-the-dial outposts accorded them, with a warm, reverby vibe that smacked of halcyon era R.E.M., not to mention lesser renown buried treasures like Bleached Black, Beauty Constant and Lifeboat.  From the jackhammer power pop fervor of “Man-Made” to “Good Intention’s” acousti-folk lilt …Kick Trial makes a crucial argument for this combo's neglected legacy. It's available immediately as a limited vinyl and digital release here.

Not unlike the Mosquitos compilation I went on about at the beginning of this piece, my assessment of sparkle*jets u.k.'s 2023 platter, Best of Friends is loooooooong overdue.  So much so in fact the band is actually on the verge of releasing a new album this summer, Box of Letters, which I'll try to share my thoughts in a more timely manner.  So, why am I not dedicating space to the new one, when Best of Friends is several months (if not close to an entire year in the rear view)?  Because for me ....Friends is the most consequential item in the sparkle*jet's long and storied catalog. In a nutshell, back in the mid/late-90s I couldn't get enough of the groovy power pop (and adjacent) music scene emanating from the City of Angels.  It seemed as is every other month during the Clinton-era another crucial, revelatory album from a Los Angeles-based cabal was dropping, be it in the guise of new CDs from the likes of The Wondermints, Baby Lemonade, The Sugarplastic, and more that I'll be disclosing momentarily.  

Best of Friends is a covers album that's a self described "love letter" to the 'jets' local peers - bands and songwriters they shared bills with, came up with, and generally speaking, mutually supported.  It functions both as a flattering tribute and as an ingenious time capsule of sorts, revisiting the music of essential L.A. aggregations Cockeyed Ghost, Double Naught Spies, The Negro Problem, Sugarplastic, Shazam, and Big Hello just to rattle off a portion of those paid homage to here.  You'd think half the rosters of Not Lame and Big Deal Records are represented on ...Friends, because veritably speaking that's practically the case.  And represented reverentially at that, with the coed 'jets in almost all cases impeccably retaining the original arrangements. True, the original incarnations of TNP's "Mahnsanto" and The Wondermints' "In and Around Greg Lake" are stunningly priceless, yet the new coatings of paint they're treated to here illicit a similar visceral rush - a feat than any given tribute album should strive for, yet so rarely achieves. Heck, along the way I even discovered a handful of songs from phenomenal acts like the See Saw and Kompost that were brand new to this set of this ears, offering plenty of motivation for me to investigate their respective bygone catalogs. And with 21 selections, there's no shortage of hooks to engulf yourself in.  Best of Friends can be had directly from Big Stir Records and Bandcamp, digitally or on double-LP and CD.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

I got a ringing in one ear and reason whispering in the other...

From 2006.  This one's a bit more aggressive than what I usually offer, but when I first encountered it two year ago I was utterly compelled.  The second greatest band to ever hail from Bellingham, WA?

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

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Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Great Divide - s/t ep (1987, Big Fish)

I'm about to lose some serious indie cred for this one, despite the fact that it's a legit independent release.  The truth is, I had a lot of affection for '80s Top-40 when it was still a going concern.  Although this Cambridge, MA co-ed six piece, whose name was never uttered by Casey Kasem, The Great Divide nonetheless would have fit in like a glove wedged between say, The Hooters and Mr. Mister.  To be even more specific, these folks resembled a carbon copy of one of their equally lesser-known contemporaries, Tuesday Blue.  There's more sheen on this ep then you'd ever attempt to wax your proverbial pony with, but I'll be damned if "The Touch" and "Walk Into the Fire" don't exude the same affectations that had the aforementioned success stories dominating the middle-of-the-dial four decades ago. I'm not quite as moved by the second half of The Great Divide, even taking into consideration the title track's crafty juxtapositions.  True, this isn't quintessential Wilfully Obscure terrain but I stand by it, albeit with some reservations.  

01. The Touch
02. Walk Into the Fire
03. Open Roads
04. The Great Divide

Monday, June 17, 2024

Alter Boys - Counter Intelligence (1995, Ng)

I've taken quite the hiatus from posting anything regarding the Alter Boys - and considering they haven't been a recent proposition I suppose they have as well.  Yep, you heard it here first folks, way back in 2011 when I spoon fed you a 1987 album dubbed Soul Desire, and a few months later an even more stimulating single from earlier in their career.  The Alter Boys ramshackle, Replacements-cum-U2 bash 'n pop was utterly irresistible when I first laid ears on that wonderful debut 45, "Piles," and it still elicits something of a rush. Yet, I know all along that this NYC conglomerate weren't merely a Reagan-era venture, and that Counter Intelligence, a mid-90s reunion album of sorts also existed - and, voila, today it's yours for the taking. Boasting a tighter and logically more mature aptitude, CI beats Soul Desire to the punch in the diversity department, dipping it's collective fingers in a myriad of pies while still skewing to the informal moxie that brought me to the table in the first place. ...Intelligence isn't necessarily one for the time-capsule, yet the Alter Boys casual but committed aplomb yielded a dozen (mostly) solid songs, and functioned as a comforting antidote to the flashier and billowy trappings of it's era.

01. Gashound
02. Hold Me Up
03. Let's End
04. Nothball
05. Ironlung
06. Cry a Little Bit
07. C'n Opn'r
08. If You're So Smart
09. Sundown
10. Diesel Down
11. How Long, Far?
12. Another Lonely Weekend  

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Sunday, June 16, 2024

I get ripped apart, pick it up and take it home again.

For me and many of my friends this was one of the most significant records of 1997, maybe even the decade.  It was frustrating not seeing these guys break through to a national audience.  Perhaps there were valid reasons for this, but as the song says, "you can't fight something you can't see..."

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

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The High Five - Working For the Man 7" (1984, Big Village)

My apologies for not presenting you with new music this week.  I intend to make it up to you by sharing two items on Monday (one of them most certainly being a Mystery Monday installment). 

Over the years I've featured titles that are bona fide classics (some far more renown than others) that have more than earned their installation in the echelons of indie/alt rock glory.  I'm afraid the single I'm offering today isn't quite of that lofty caliber...though it's still certainly commendable.  The hard scrabble, stick-it-to-the-man, ethos laid out on the comic strip gracing the sleeve of this 45 does indeed lend itself to the modus operandi of Liverpool's The High Five, albeit this quartet's delivery system wasn't particularly punk, pub, wave or the like. That doesn't render the band any less anthemic however, with these gents loosely conveying themselves as a kinder, gentler Big Country or Alarm.  A full length, Down in the No-Go, followed in 1986, and I'm curious to lay ears on it to gauge what their inevitable progression yielded. 

A. Working For the Man
B. Walk Them Back

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Now that you're old enough to lose your own mind...

Deftly crafted, retro-fitted indie pop from 2014.

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

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Jules Shear - Demo-itis (1986, Enigma)

I never really caught the bug for Jules and the Polar Bears, and by extension Jules Shear solo/songwriting career that eventually followed. Why?  Maybe  because the Polar Bears were before my time, so to speak, and even though they were the product of a major label, they existed outside the realm of Top 40 radio, an arena I didn't investigate wholeheartedly until the mid-80s.  Nonetheless, I can easily justify the acclaim that was so frequently siphoned onto said band.  

That being said, I'm not sure why I opted to take the plunge with Demo-itis, which technically isn't even a proper album, rather as it's title makes obvious, prototypes of songs to be pursued and perfected at a later date.  Oddly enough, the vast majority of these songs (save for "If She Knew What She Wants" and "She's in Love Again") didn't make the cut for his bona fide solo records.  As Demo's compiler, Sam Franklin is wont to point out in the liner notes, that's not so much a byproduct of these tunes being throwaways, rather the exact opposite - Jules Shear was so prolific and substantive that this collection exists as a means of salvaging many primo compositions that would have otherwise languished on the shelf.  

I'm not sure exactly how many of this baker's dozen tracklist were actually sold or given to other artists to make their own, perhaps for two well known exception, "If She Knew..." which went to the Bangles for 1985's Different Light, and of course, the considerably more veritable hit "All Through the Night" which Cyndi Lauper ballad-ized and took to the bank. Jules' early incarnations of both future-hits sound a tad stiff held up to the more famous versions, yet somehow more earnest than the ones the general public became acquainted with.  Elsewhere, there are plenty more invigorating guitar-pop salvos, including "Deliver Love," "Chain Within a Chain," and the aforementioned "She's in Love" which would have held up to just about anything on the first two Marshall Crenshaw albums. The driving "Trained For Glory" sports a rollicking, Dylan-esque air, "Eligible For Parole" wields Rockpile-ish punch galore, and the synth-endebted "Take The Risk" indulges in some mild concessions to the new wave era. Not bad for a record of glorified outtakes!

01. Deliver Love
02. Chain Within a Chain
03. If She Knew What She Wants
04. Trained For Glory
05. Different Sands
06. Eligible For Parole
07. She's in Love
08. I Didn't Know Your Smile
09. You Are My Heartache
10. He Tore My World Apart
11. Take the Risk
12. All Through the Night
13. I Know You're Not Alive

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Don’t say I’ve got no heart. What I put together, I can take apart.

A collection of this New York quartet's studio recordings circa 1977-78.  It's about as far as I delve into no-wave.

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

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Saturday, June 1, 2024

Bastro - Rode Hard and Put Up Wet ep (1988, Homestead)

Often plagiaristicly resembling Big Black (and to a lesser extent Breaking Circus) Bastro's messy, cathartic guitar-laced industrial grind practically worships at the altar of Albini & Co. on their debut ep - and maybe that explains why I can't get enough of it.  Featuring two expats of Squirrel Bait (David Grubbs and Clark Johnson) Bastro, in tandem with their Chicago icons, employed a drum machine. Despite what sounds like a jumbled, claustrophobic mix, Rode Hard... at the very least is not diminished or diluted in the songwriting department, with the bristling "(I've) Ben Brown" effectively hailing the band's breathless arrival.  "Loam" and "Three Eggs In a Sock" breach similar caustic, post-punk depths, and in fact there are virtually no respites in sight on this wonderfully furious record, save perhaps for "Counterrev: Bhutan" a cacophonous instrumental peppered with free-jazz horns. Two full lengths were to follow: Diablo Guapo and Sing the Troubled Beast before Grubbs carved out a niche for himself in the '90s with Gastr Del Sol and Palace.

01. (I've) Ben Brown
02. Three Eggs in a Sock
03. Counterrev: Bhutan
04. Gold Fillings
05. Loam 
06. Extract

Friday, May 31, 2024

Coral - Pillowtalk (1994, Fistpuppet)

Though he fronted Richmond's Coral through the first half of the '90s, when word of Bob Schick's passing was announced late last week far greater emphasis was placed on the band he commandeered circa the Reagan era, Honor Role.  H/R began as an acerbic hardcore punk endeavor that over the course of two albums and numerous singles gradually gave way to a less frantic pace, and were one of the first bands of their ilk to adopt mathy textures amidst a bespoke, artful parlance.  Their concise but challenging song/poem/puzzle type-things were hardly the stuff of accessibility, but their petite catalog rubbed off on aggregations ranging from Seam to Drive Like Jehu.  

Coral, much like Honor Role themselves, entailed a certain amount of concerted observation - probably too much so for someone like myself, circa 1994, who was besotted with the likes of The Posies and Jawbreaker.  Time marches on, tastes become more refined, and the need for instant gratification wanes...and as such, a reassessment of the band in question was in order.  The post-rock inch evidenced in H/R may not stretch a mile or even a kilometer in the guise of Coral, but I'll be damned if what I'm encountering on Pillowtalk isn't considerably more breathable, simultaneous to this band's frequent penchant for all things dissonant. Schick's sung/spoken patois blends in well with Coral's finagling of first generation-emo sonic leanings, yet never concedes to anything wrought or exaggerated.  You'll certainly not unfurl any twee or precious niceties here, but this quartet falls well short of the abrasiveness of say, Fugazi or any of that legend's fill-in-the-blank Dischord Records stablemates.  A torrent of incongruent minor chords goes a long way in coloring-in the tense, cerebral, and all-around obliqueness of Pillowtalk, an album that challenges and ever-so-subtly provokes.  As I've said in reference to a copious amount of unrelated artists on these pages, this one is an acquired taste well worth acquiring.     

01. Figure 8
02. Wallpaper
03. Your Reward
04. Puzzle Me
05. Mime Appeal
06. Soup n' Sandwiches
07. Ruth
08. Big Grab
09. Lil' Buddy
10. Box Truck
11. Get to You
12. Floating By
13. More of the Same

Sunday, May 26, 2024

You checked in with a broken heart, we don't even know where to start.

From 2010. A killer comeback. 

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

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Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - World's Collide (aka "Black Tracks" ep) (2004)

Here's another one that god knows I don't have a physical copy of it.  I boarded the Lorries truck pretty late in the game, 1989 to be exact, but caught up quickly, though I never saw them live in any incarnation. Thought they were essentially put to pasture sometime after their independently released fifth album, Blasting Off in the mid-90s, frontman and focal point Chris Reed revived the name for the occasional live gig and this particularly limited edition ep, which is titled Worlds Collide right on the sleeve, yet is more commonly referred to as "Black Tracks." Whatever I suppose, while the tunes are passable, and in the case of "The Only Language" and "Driving Black" pack some discernable punch, it's evident that this is Reed wielding all the instruments or is backed up by a very taut bunch of hired guns, almost certainly not original guitarchitect Wolfie Wolfenden (dare I say I'm mistaken?). At any rate that's how this four-song cookie crumbles, and considering what an adherent I was I gladly lapped this up when it turned up in the post-Napster epoch.

News dropped earlier this year of an impending (and final) Red Lorry Yellow Lorry LP, Strange Kind of Paradise, to surface in the near-future along with some potentially accompanying eps to boot. To tide you over, check out a live 1992 concert that was made available via BandcampBandcamp a couple of years ago, bonus-ized with some modern-era studio tracks.    

01. World's Collide
02. I Need Time (Off My Mind)
03. The Only Language
04. Driving Black

Sunday, May 19, 2024

First he started with furniture, then he moved onto parking lots...

A 2022 compilation that cherry picks the best of this band's four crucial eps dating from 1993-94.

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

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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Mettle - s/t ep (1982, RMS)

Once again, Discogs doesn't quite nail it.  "Minimal?" "Darkwave?"  Post-punk yes, but to throw such ominous adjectives in the direction of this London, ON quartet makes me wonder what record the submitter was listening to.  As for the music itself, I'm not complaining in the slightest given Mettle's deft acumen of merging mildly dissonant art rock with warmer, borderline tuneful hues.  I'm gonzo for the texture and tones infiltrating this record's tantalizing "The Second Person" and "Evening Ocean," both accented with Gerry Collin's tingly, clangy minor chords interlocking seamlessly with Chris Jaco's subtle but bouncy bass runs. Not all of Mettle is as transporting as the aforementioned salvos, but these guys were functioning on a forward-thinking wavelength that most of their enlightened new-romantic contemporaries could barely register on, let alone succeed at so effectively.  My understanding is that this record was the sum total of Mettle's output, and a shame at that.  Not much info is available about this crew, with the exception of this site offering some scant background details and the option to stream all the songs. The rip I'm sharing here is from my personal copy.

01. Emotional Desert
02. The Second Person
03. The Invisbles
04. Evening Ocean
05. All You Wanted
06. Five/Four

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

British Properties 7" (1983, LowTown)

Yet another fine single I don't posses a physical copy of, but that hardly makes me any less appreciative. Presumably from Vancouver, BC, this 45 was the one and only arrow in the British Properties extra lean quiver. The duo in question dust off and retell "Eight Days a Week" amidst the motif of cozy, bedroom synth-pop, with a stroke of insightful context winning me over in ways the Fab Four never did.  As for the flip, the equally soft and cushy original, "Niag'ra Falls" oozes with warmth, mid-fidelity moxie, and minimalist efficiency.  I so love this.

A. Eight Days a Week
B. Niag'ra Falls

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Another push, another jab, another round. I'm not on my knees, I'm face down.

From 1993.  This is for Steve, even though he's merely credited here, not a performer.  It's been a sad f'n week. I'll be lucky if I don't bust out crying.

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

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His Boy Elroy - It's Only Me tape (1988)

Picked this one up at a much beloved, secondhand music/book shop a few years ago at a price I couldn't refuse. This isn't the same His Boy Elroy that was signed to Columbia about thirty years ago, rather this one is more of a cold case. It's unclear where this HBE hailed from, as there's no correspondence address, but I wouldn't be surprised if their locale was in the environs of L.A. where this cassette album was tracked. It's Only Me is yet another loose alt-rock proposition that with a few more power chords and insipid songwriting could have passed for AOR fodder around the time of it's 1988 copyright date. Instead we're treated to something a bit more sophisticated, a la The Alarm, Rhythm Corps or even a more contemplative Duran Duran, albeit HBR weren't particularly on the new romantic bandwidth. Strong tunes and memorable hooks make this nugget of plastic worth investigating, and I'd outright recommend It's Only Me if the Epic Rumors platter I pitched you a few years back made a positive impression. 

01. New England
02. Tell Me
03. Rain
04. Walk in the Park
05. Something to Say
06. I'm Not Sure
07. Fabled Prophets
08. Only Me
09. Modern Love Song
10. Goodbye

Sunday, May 5, 2024

I haven't got a steady job and I've got no place to stay.

A classic from 1981 surrounded by several crucial bonus tracks from the same era.

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

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