Monday, October 2, 2023

Bobby Sutliff - Only Ghosts (1987/2023, Jem) - a brief review.

It's nearly impossible for a recent passing to not overshadow the music of the artist involved. In the cases of high profile specimens like John Lennon and Kurt Cobain it took years for a lot of fans to come to terms with their premature deaths before they could simply sink back in and enjoy the music again. For better or worse, Bobby Sutliff was not a household name, even at the arguable apex of his career in the mid-80s, but fans of both his solo endeavors and the work he did with the more renown Windbreakers certainly felt something when it was announced he lost his battle with cancer in August of 2022. There was really no controversy or prolonged drama tethered to Bobby, and those like myself who didn't know him personally were still able to associate him exclusively with his catalog of music.  Unlike the aforementioned Lennon and Cobain, however, when someone of Bobby's small-of-fame stature departs, their loss tends to exist in a vacuum, one in which there is no media pile-on or ubiquitous airplay on Sirius XM.  But above all else the music lives on with their faithful minions, and a recent reissue of his 1987 solo LP, Only Ghosts Remain is a much needed reminder of his relevance.

Making his bow in the early '80s from the somewhat unlikely locale of Jackson, MS as half of the songwriting quotient of the Windbreakers, Bobby, partnered with Tim Lee, would be responsible for three memorable albums of collegiate guitar pop (Terminal (1985), Run (1986) and A Different Sort (1987), not to mention a handful of preceding EPs. Fortified with national distribution, despite being anchored to smaller indie labels the Windbreakers were something of a staple on left-of-the-dial radio outlets, and were a decent live draw, but they didn't come close to breaching the mainstream.  To fans of jangle-laden indie rock coming remotely from the same environs as R.E.M. (and maybe less so the Dream Syndicate) the Windbreakers were a breath of fresh air.  They were advanced enough to exist in the '80s, yet managed to thoroughly sidestep the most egregious and embarrassing trends of the era. When OGR was released the 'breakers were still a going concern and from what I've been able to glean there was no acrimony between Sutliff and Lee.  That said, it was advisable for Bobby to put the album's eleven songs under a separate umbrella.

Just to get a little bit of trivia out of the way, Only Ghosts..., essentially began life as a Mitch Easter-produced five song EP, the lovingly dubbed Another Jangly Mess, that was only available as a European import which I've seen conflicting release dates of 1986/87.  Another one of Bobby's collaborators, not to mention erstwhile music publicist Howard Wuelfing was so enamored with what he heard that he encouraged PVC/Jem Records to bankroll the recording of another batch of songs, once again with Mitch Easter at his fabled Drive-in Studios to flesh out an entire LP.  Thus, Only Ghosts... was born. Despite being culled from two sessions the album doesn't feel patchworked together in the least, and is as consistent if not more so than anything the Windbreakers had been responsible for up until that point. 

During the era surrounding OGR's recording/release, the Windbreakers was ostensibly Bobby's main meal ticket - yet not one iota of the record sounds half-hearted, or casually strewn together. Retaining much of the 'breakers edgy, forward-thinking pallor while simultaneously emboldening Bobby's overarching sonic heft, this was an album that seemingly had one foot steeped in indie rock aesthetics, with the other sporting an ambitious stride that could have instantly impressed more pedestrian ears. 

The Windbreakers were partial to downcast themes and moreover, were known to exude a pessimistic tenor when it suited them, but as a solo entity Bobby was discernably more assured, and even downright confident. The driving, decided "Same Way Tomorrow" made for a primo opening salvo, declaring something of a brash clarion call. "Always Love You" and "Couldn't Help Myself" mine a similar, if slightly less strenuous vein. Further in, Only Ghosts... reveals itself as more of a mid-tempo specimen, albeit our protagonist is wont to circumvent traditional ballads. The overall effect is comparable to the first couple of Matthew Sweet albums, not to mention the Sweet-adjacent Velvet Crush precursor Choo Choo Train. Intoxicating jangly and strummy notions like "Won't Be Feeling Blue" pour down like an unremitting waterfall, and while the context of any given Bobby Sutliff tune is a cinch to glom onto, there's more than surface level depth at play here.  OGR may not rewrite or out-innovate anything that came before it (by the Windbreakers or otherwise) but it's nonetheless a life affirming example of par-excellence power pop, with an aptitude that's nothing short of wholly earnest. 

As mentioned above, Only Ghosts Remain has been given a new lease on life on the label that originally minted it, Jem Records.  The album's original running order has been bested with eleven additional cuts from three of Bobby's subsequent albums (Bitter Fruit, Perfect Dream and On a Ladder). Amazon has you covered via CD or digitally.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Numb to the world and it's dangers, dumb to the world and it's strangers.

An expanded edition of this English band's 1987 debut. 

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


Upangybottoms - Upangymania (1987)

You'd be forgiven if you took this band's moniker as anything less than frivolous, but fear not, Oingo Boingo Upangybottoms weren't. Light hearted? Indeed, jovial even, yet while the emphasis on Upangymania is certainly fun this Edmonton, Alberta trio were deft pop-craftsmen in that early Posies (say Failure) sort of way.  For all of it's inherent cheekiness, this album is relatively situated in the power pop realm with "Cry," "Christine" and "She's Gonna Let You Down" are all representative examples of the three minute form.  Elsewhere, the brisk "Tell Me Why" bears an acousti-folk bent, while the comparatively wacky "Egyptian Holiday" sports the goofball motif it's likely to imply.  

01. She's Gonna Let You Down
02. Tell Me Why
03. Cheryl My Friend
04. Cry
05. Pushin' Up the Daisies
06. Christine
07. Mister Adams
08. Egyptian Holiday
09. How Many Times
10. Boys and Girls

Sunday, September 24, 2023

I became much more quiet when I learned to speak.

From 1994. So overlooked that even I'm prone to forgetting about them for extended stretches of time. 

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


The Monks - No Shame: The Complete Recordings (2023, Cherry Red) - A brief review.

Just a quick disclaimer, this is not the group of American ex-pats named The Monks who in the mid-60s recorded the lauded, proto-garage "Black Monk Time" LP. 

Right place, right time, right song.  It's rare when all three circumstances are perfectly in alignment, however toss in a fourth improbable factor to boot. When The Monks charted with their 1979 debut single, the sassy, Cockney-esque punk classic, "Nice Legs, Shame About Her Face" the gentlemen responsible for it weren't aware they were even an extant band at the time. This unintentional hit was in fact never designed to be a single (by the Monks anyway), much less the beginning of a career that spanned two albums in just as many decades. Nonetheless, their place in history was solidified, and their discography has been bundled up in the guise of No Shame, a double disk collection that tacks on virtually a whole third album's worth of bonus material.  

Sometime in the late '70s a trio of British musicians who boasted lineage to the rather prim and proper folk-rockers the Strawbs (Richard Hudson and John Ford) and the even more unlikely prog combo Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera (Terry Cassidy) were looking to branch off into something decidedly different - even if it meant fielding songs to unrelated artists. "Nice Legs..." was cut as a four-track demo, and oddly enough would remain as such. So the story goes it was specifically tailored to be adopted by an unnamed punk outfit who ultimately rejected it, but Carrere Records caught wind of the track and insisted on releasing it as is.  With that The Monks were born, though the song was released on such a lark that nobody assumed anything would come of it.  

As fate would have it, by mid-'79 "Nice Legs" gained traction in the charts, peaking at #19 in the UK, and The Monks were suddenly a red hot commodity, in spite of the fact they didn't exist as a band yet. But capitalize they did! Additional members were quickly supplemented to the lineup (fleshing out to a quintet all told), a record contract with EMI was inked and an album of par excellence punky power-pop, Bad Habits, hit record shelves later that year. Only with the release of the LP no subsequent hits followed, at least not in Britain, and in America Habits was an import-only proposition.  Due to label-politics at EMI and an overall reluctance to prioritize the album after The Monks were 'outed' as being punk-imposters (so to speak), the Monks took advantage of a licensing deal in Canada, and were soon off to the races again with yet another top-20 single ("Drugs in My Pocket"), albeit exclusively north of America. Bad Habits ran up the charts in the provinces, managing to go double platinum there, and it's status was deservedly so boasting a consistent bevy of often sardonic but substantive melodic slammers including "Spotty Face" and the title track.  Even when operating on a less-strung level the Monks were still mightily effective, and I'd recommend this album for enthusiasts of The Jags and Joe Jackson who are seeking something a bit more irreverent. The bonus content on Habits includes b-sides, alternate versions, and three Devo-ish inspired outtakes.

The band's second album, 1980's Suspended Animation, had it's target audience aimed almost exclusively at the Canadian market, given the runaway success of Bad Habits there.  It didn't yield any major hits, but managed to spin gold (about 50,000 units) up there, and found the band broadening their pastiche to incorporate ska/dub ("I Don't Want No Reds" and "King Dong"), sprite jangle pop ("Cool Way to Live"), and back again to zippy, serrated punk-pop ("Don't Bother Me, I'm Christian," "Grown Ups" and "Oxford Street," the latter featuring a fake street-busker lead in). Still cheeky as hell, The Monks really seemed to be honing in a niche on Animation, even if that niche was situated in just one North American country. A tour of Canada followed the album's release, with Huw Gower of the Records brought aboard to fill one of the guitar slots. Plans for a third album were mapped out, with about a half dozen songs being cut for it, but due to more record label drama and changing priorities for some of the Monks, it was ultimately aborted. These songs, some pointing in a subtler new-wave direction comprise the bonus material for Suspended Animation

The sharply packaged and well annotated No Shame is a testament to the creative germ of a one-off song parlaying itself to something far more substantial and rewarding, and is available at your fingertips from Cherry Red Records, Amazon and beyond

The Clergy - Glow tape (198?/199?)

As it turns out I may have usurped this from another blog at one point, but I really hope not. That being said, I don't own a physical copy of The Clergy's Glow cassette, but I certainly am endeared to it. Pretty much all details I can offer about this coed, Rockhampton, Australia five-piece are sourced from Cloudberry Records always useful website. Twee was the name of the Clergy's game, and that game is a whole ton easier when you have a charming but humble chanteuse absorbing some of the vocal duties, in this case Cherri Busby. Despite a glaring absence of a copyright date (though 1989-91 were established years of the band's existence) Glow exudes much of the same wet-behind-the-ears charm that made so many of the British indie staples of the mid/late '80s such a treat. Even back in 2014 I was impressed enough with The Clergy to include the strikingly melodious "Pieces" (which could pass for an ace Blake Babies outtake) on my best of the blog mix for that year, so I thought I'd finally treat you to the whole album. Cherri tragically passed away in a car accident in 1994, but prior to that she formed another band, St. Jude, with her brother John Busby, also part and parcel of The Clergy.

01. Pieces
02. This Ugly
03. Ride
04. Futile Child
05. The Dream
06. Something
07. I Am the Sun
08. Sorrow
09. You're Not Real
10. By This Time Tomorrow Baby
11. Vietnam
12. Warm

Sunday, September 17, 2023

But now I kick my mind out in the wind and driving rain...

Recorded in 1982 but remained unreleased until 1990. These are essentially demos or working versions for this UK post-punk staple's aborted third album. Not the greatest introduction if you're new to them, but better than what a lot of folks might have ya'll believe. 

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


Thursday, September 14, 2023

V/A - Everyone a Classic!!! Vol. 4

It probably won't be until next week that I have the opportunity to rip some new wax for you, but in the meantime, I do have the fourth installment in the excellent Every One a Classic!!! series. These are fan curated compilations of underexposed British/Irish punk, power pop and mod.  A good half of this one in particular featured bands that were wholly unheard by me, and even the ones bearing some name recognition are hardly ones I bring up in conversation - Tours, Cigarettes, Valves, and most significantly to my eyes and ears, Seventeen who featured a pre-Alarm Mark Peters.  As for the completely unknown quantities, I took a bit of a shine to Squire and The Jump. Take the plunge and find a fave or two of your own.

01. The Cigarettes – They're Back Again, Here They Come
02. Hoax - Nice Girls
03. The Dyaks - Gutter kids
04. Shag Nasty - Looking For Love?
05. Vicitimize - Where Did The Money Go?
06. UXB - Crazy Today
07. 3rd Men – Your So Fashionable
08. Moral Support - Just Where It's At Tonight
09. Seventeen - Bank Holiday Weekend
10. Tours - Language School
11. Squire - Get Ready to Go
12. Private Sector – Just Just (Wanna) Stay Free
13. The Valves - It Don't Mean Nothing At All
14. The Jump - Shake it Up
15. Smart Alec – Scooter Boys

Sunday, September 10, 2023

I'm not cutting you down, I'm just carrying the axe.

From 2002. The second album from my all time favorite "side project."  It's a grower folks... Track nine is a Posies cover. 

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!*

V/A - The Class of '81 (1980, Upper Class)

More like the class of 1980, considering that's the year this thing was copyrighted, but anyway.  Been hanging into this one for a few years before I finally got the motivation to share it. What can I tell you about eight vintage Brit bands that I know zilch about?  The Class of '81 was (mostly) produced by Bram Tchaikovsky (the guy who split from The Motors before they really started to go downhill), and there isn't a ton of straight-up punk (save for the much comped Innocent Vicars, who are likely the only ones here bearing a trade of name recognition). The pair of hopefuls that appear twice on ...'81, Exeros and Emil & The Detectives weren't really to my liking but tolerable. I outright loved Bino's "Dream (For My Sake)" a tuneful waver that doesn't sound far removed from what Bowie was dispensing around the same era. Ditto for "New Day," courtesy of The Fringe who impressed me in that Magazine/Rich Kids sort of vein. Finally, The Void and The Troopers kick up some respectable post-punk dust, and hopefully boasted a legacy beyond this compilation. 

01. Void - Pop Love
02. Exeros - Accident
03. The Troopers - Love You
04. Emil & the Detectives - Girl
05. Bino - Dream (For My Sake)
06. Picasso's Optician - Given Up Trying
07. The Fringe - New Day
08. Emil & The Detectives – Instant Magnet
09. Exeros - Chita
10. The Innocent Vicars - Starship 22

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Pennies from a skyscraper can kill...

A 2004 collection of demos and outtakes from one of my top tier favorites of the '90s.

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


Cap'n Swing - Almost the Cars demos (1976)

Since another outpost in cyberspace has already written exhaustively on these recordings, I'm probably going to defer to them to do most of the explaining.  As for my part, I'll break this down fairly succinctly.  Cap'n Swing were the band populated by Benjamin Orr and Ric Ocasek after the their folk-rock combo, Milkwood and of course, the hallowed Cars.  This is a collection of eleven demos cut two years prior to the Cars now legendary and eponymous debut circa 1978.  Cap'n Swing bore zero resemblance to Milkwood, and despite the diminished roll of keyboards here, these songs skew considerably closer to what the pair would be responsible for courtesy of their impeding meal ticket.  Heck, we even get a sneak preview of "Bye Bye Love." Further in, "City Lights" and "Strawberry Moonlight, sport some proto-punky pizazz, while "Jezebel" and "You're Always Brighter" mine Rundgren-esque veins without being too obvious.  And it would be hard to overlook that the midtempo "Come Back Down" conveys itself as a vague rewrite of "Sweet Jane." Yes, a few things here are a bit overlong, but again these are demos and not necessarily intended for the general public. Enjoy.

01. Bye Bye Love
02. Strawberry Moonlight
03. Jezebel
04. Goes on Sleeping
05. Twilight Superman
06. You're Always Brighter
07. City Lights
08. Dream Trader
09. You Can Have 'Em
10. Come Back Down
11. Crazy Rock-n-Roll

Monday, August 28, 2023

Three Hour Tour - next time... (1993, Parasol)

In the mid-90s I was paying more attention to music than ever, yet there were some artists I just plain missed the memo about. Three Hour Tour was among them, and much to my detriment. I was aware of their existence via the proliferation of Parasol Records catalogs and mailings at the time, but it wasn't until recent decades that I really took the plunge, and this 45 was an ideal spot to dive in. As it turned out, 3HT were a marvelous power pop proposition from the fertile plains of Champaign, IL, brandishing a classist bent a la The Posies and Matthew Sweet.  The A-side, "'Til the Next Time' is a deftly honed slice of three-and-a-half-minute hook manna from the skies that doesn't so much as waste a nanosecond, and its two flip sides are just about as arresting. I discovered that lead Hour Darren Cooper's lineage reached back a decade earlier through his collaboration with Ric Menck and Paul Chastain in the embarrassment of jangle pop riches that was Choo Choo Train.  In fact, Chastain joins in on some of the magic here via a co-songwriting credit with Cooper on the bittersweet "Prancing Horse Farms." All three songs here would appear on the subsequent 3HT album, 1969 a few years later, though I can't vouch for them being the same versions.

A. 'Til the Next Time
B1. King of the Mountain
B2. Prancing Horse Farms

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Karma is a killer, regret can really nail you too.

From 2019. They got off to a bit of an uneven start with their first reunion album, but this one was an improvement.

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


Chewy Marble - demo (1996)

Here's a name that might ring a bell for some of you.  Chewy Marble were an L.A. area trio who did their thing not only when power pop in general was enjoying something of a renaissance,  but were part and parcel of a primo local scene including the likes of the Wondermints, Baby Lemonade, The Sugarplastic and Cockeyed Ghost among several others. Chewy, helmed by singer/guitar slinger Brian Kassan, never quite hit you over the head with anything intense or crazy, but they possessed a bevy of killer tunes, especially the ones populating their 1997 debut.  I'm offering the contents of their '96 demo reel, which was generously passed along to me recently by a friend. All three songs were rerecorded or at least remixed for that subsequent first album, but the demos wield a bit more immediacy than the finished versions, so encountering this was a treat. "My Reaction" and "Peculiar" abound with a Posies and Jellyfish-like charm, while the piano-ballad, "Touch and Go" rolls some Badfinger-isms into the equation.  Again, Chewy Marble weren't household names by any stretch, but in their three album lifespan they did pretty damn good.

01. My Reaction
02. Peculiar
03. Touch and Go

Monday, August 21, 2023

My punk rock friends are old and weak.

From 1997.  A delightful power pop debut bearing an all-important serrated edge.

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


Sunday, August 20, 2023

The Cradle - "It's Too High" 12" (1987, Rough Trade)

What's this?  A no-profile Rough Trade Records outfit from arguably the prime of that renowned label's tenure, making virtually no impression online or otherwise with just one scant 12" single to their credit?  Spawned in Manchester, The Cradle were a quintet whose humble discography was pared down to the mere ten minutes that I'm making available today, possibly for the first time in ones and zeroes (albeit Cloudberry blog insightfully fills in some of the backstory blanks). 

Sonically, the Cradle's template, while not wholly derivative angles in the direction of contemporaries Echo and the Bunnymen and St. Julian-era Copey, minus a good bit of the fading mystique both of those figureheads could still lay claim to.  Furthermore, guitarist Ivor Perry's fretboard prowess was of such Marr-esque caliber (feast your ears on "Walk Around") that after Johnny absconded from Moz in '87 The Cradle was put on ice with Perry's name bandied about as a fill-in for the famed Smith. As for the record, we're treated to two very rich, promising songs...and an instrumental, "Wires," that tacks on a spoken poem bit for it's caboose.  Amazingly, The Cradle never featured on any various artists comps either, even of the Rough Trade variety, but it appears mouthpiece Andy Housley fronted another band earlier in the mid-80s T'Challa Grid, whose tape, The Strangest Trials I really wouldn't mind hearing. As you know, I live for this stuff.

A. It's Too High
B1. Walk Around
B2. Wires

Nixon's Head - The Doug Factor ep (1986, Ichiban)

I liked their 1987 album, Traps, Buckshot & Pelt, but I'm feeling even more affection for Nixon's Head's preceding ep. The Doug Factor manages to factor in what these Philly lads may have been tuned into at the time, ranging anywhere from the Ramones to Agent Orange, and even the Mighty Lemon Drops. Perhaps those touchstones were purely coincidental, but whatever infiltrated their sensibilities, N/H's garage punk timbre and subtle underdog penchant made for some wailing rock 'n rule on "Still," and the exponentially more pounding "Bad Vibes." If Doug... isn't outright phenomenal, it's often tantalizingly close. 

01. They Can't Touch Us
02. Still
03. Bad Vibes
04. First Steps

Sunday, August 13, 2023

You wind me up like a crooked tree

From 2021. One of the most fetching young singer/songwriters to come down the pike since Juliana Hatfield. Delighted I took a chance on this.  

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


Saturday, August 12, 2023

Life Without Principle - s/t (1989, Intrepid)

My takeaway from this one? Surface level perception in only worth so much. My expectations for Life Without Principle were far from what I actually got. What I thought would be a band solidly steeped in left-of-the dial aesthetics, either of the serious post-punk or lovingly shambolic (a la The Replacements) varieties instead skewed considerably closer to mainstream notions. Surprisingly, even the presence of synths doesn't particularly imbue this trio with new wave bona fides. By and large, the eight songs occupying this self-titled platter can stand on their own, though LWP's commercial aspirations (try the frequent, wailing guitar salvos on for size) were loftier than I could have anticipated.  "Find Yourself Inside" is my clear favorite here, suggesting the band had tuned in to some of Tommy Keene's then-most recent albums. My copy of LWP was no-so-tastefully defaced by a radio station, so Discogs for the win for supplying me with a non-blemished pic of the front sleeve. 

01. I Hear You Singing
02. Find Yourself Inside
03. Much Too Much
04. Let's Go There Anyway
05. Don't Cry For Me Now
06. Business as Usual
07. No Going Home
08. You Can't Hide From Love

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Science can wait, democracy now.

Practically two albums' worth of demos and outtakes tracked in this band's heyday of 1979-82.

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


Wellabee - s/t (2001, Eclectic)

Wellabee will when nobody will!  Or so how I like to think this band's motto might have rung. Truthfully with the exception of one article I was able to unearth there ain't nuffin' out there on this Sarnia, ON foursome (though a documentary on the boys was supposedly in the works at one point).  And it sounded like these lads were really young when this came out in 2001, possibly still in grade school.  Oodles of fuzzy, distortion-prone guitars populate every nook and cranny of this one with no shortage of Weezer-ims and gratuitous grunge tricks, though somehow curtailed from the sheer excess of either. Something about Wellabee grabbed me on my initial listen that never did on subsequent encounters, but thought this was worth submitting for your approval (or not).

01. Orange!
02. Graduation
03. Proud of Me
04. Her Picture
05. Menasha
06. It's Not Sunday
07. Collar
08. Whisper
09. Christine
10. Tuck in My Shirt
11. Oreo-Fence (Springs is Here Again)

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Say I'm sorry 'til I'm blue in the face...

Recent reissue of a vital indie rock album from 1985 that flew far too under the radar. 

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


Braid - live acoustic at Record Exchange, Raleigh, NC 6/19/98

I've been on the fence about sharing this one for many, many years, with my hesitation usually dictating my decision not to do so, largely due to the low bitrate of the files, which I was never able to find a more satisfactory rip of.  Hard to believe it's not only the 25th anniversary of this particular event, but likewise for Braid's career-defining album, Frame and Canvas. It's no coincidence that almost every song in this set was culled from that aforementioned album, one that was a quantum leap in terms of proficiency and songwriting over Braid's previous two full lengths, The Age of Octeen (1996) and Frankie Welfare Boy Age 5 (1995).  If you're already acquainted with Frame... you know what I speak of.  To the contrary, if Braid is an unknown quantity to you, before delving into this live set it helps to have an appreciation of the album, or even what the band was about in a more traditional live setting.

This ten song exchange is pared down and as minimal as this crew ever got, yet the sub-par fidelity of the recording happens to mesh well with the intimacy of the spartan setup on this particular summer solstice in '98. In 2011 Braid reconvened for live shows and even new recordings, and the band just finished up a slate of dates this month commemorating the quarter-century birthday of Frame and Canvas.

01. killing a camera
02. i'm afraid of everything
03. urbana's too dark
04. never will come for us
05. first day back
06. a dozen roses (sort of)
07. niagara
08. forever got shorter
09. (strawberry ann) switzerland
10. ariel

Empire State Games - 7" (1998, Makoto)

See that banner at the head of the page?  When I started W/O in 2007 I rattled off a number of genres that I intended to specialize in. I haven't made much of a concerted effort in recent years to cater to the emo quotient, but I haven't outright abandoned it either.  With that I present you with a stellar 45 from Empire State Games, a quartet not from New York State ironically, but would you believe Plymouth, MI?  This single came to light mere years before emo would become neutered and retooled almost beyond recognition, and is that much more precious for it. Neither adhering to the genre's subrosa's genesis, circa, Washington D.C. in the mid-80s, nor forecasting the capitulated strain thereof to follow shortly in the twenty-first century, bands like ESG instead played the compelling card of distortion, smothered melody, and slightly maudlin angst that made so many of their contemporaries like Garden Variety, Sideshow and even the Promise Ring such a colossal treat.  These guys didn't boast an extensive catalog, or even a full length to speak of, but they had phenomenal songs to fall back on.  Here are two of them.  If you dig what you hear, you might want to direct yourself yonder for a nice discography CD. 

A. 100 Years of Baseball
B. Dialogue (From a Movie)