Saturday, May 31, 2008

Singles Going Single #42 - Cars Get Crushed 7" (1996, Belmondo) +1

Welcome to my 200th posting! (Though admittedly some of the posts here were merely announcements or false alarms, but I digress). During the mid-to-late '90s, Berkeley, CA's Cars Get Crushed struck a sly balance between intricate math-rock and the more tuneful persuasions of the then mini emo/post hardcore movement. The band No Knife, contemporary to CGC, appeals to me as an accurate comparison, in terms of both jazz-informed maneuvers and dynamic, mid-fi rawk. Bestowing three LPs on a largely ignorant public, (the best of which being Blue and West), Cars Get Crushed were inconsistent over the course of their albums. Although the second cut on side-A, "Dust," is a throw-away instrumental, the remaining tracks on this single are downright quintessential. Better yet, as a bonus, I've included my fave CGC track, "The Stranger," taken from the Allied Records Invasion of the Indie Snatchers compilation, which is worth the price of admission and then some. 

A1. Dejavu
A2. Dust
B. Flavor
bonus: The Stranger  


Friday, May 30, 2008

Singles Going Single #41 - No Empathy - Ben Weasel Don't Like It ep (1996, Johann's Face)

It's not easy for me to gauge the popularity of Chicago's long-put to pasture No Empathy, but I surmise their presence in the Chi-town punk/hardcore scene was of at least some significance, given they ran their own nationally distributed record label (Johann's Face). By my count, there were four No Empathy albums and tons of singles and comp appearances. I was never able to full acclimate myself to Marc Ruvolo's none-too soothing, throaty vox, but without a doubt, this ep is a gem.

The a-side, "Ben Weasel Don't Like It" concerns the outspoken Screeching Weasel front-man, or more precisely, his supposed punk rock "elitism," which has largely been exaggerated in my opinion. Throughout the '90 Ben was regarded as something of an arbiter of the genre, if only by virtue of his ardent detractors who inadvertently bolstered his reputation and visibility. Ironically, Ben himself contributes some brief dialogue with Ruvolo on the song.

Backing "Ben Weasel..." is a note-for-note perfect rendition of "Chasing the Wild Goose," a Bad Religion song taken from their much-maligned (not to mention collectible) Into the Unknown album. The reverse side of the sleeve is a spoof of that album cover, which should be instantly recognizable to BR die-hards. This single was also made available on CD, on Broken Rekids

Update: I decided to share the entire ep.  Enjoy

01. Ben Weasel Don't Like It
02. Chasing the Wild Goose
03. Maps
04. Another Word For Unhappiness
05. Veteran


Thursday, May 29, 2008

V/A - Laughing at the Ground 7'' (1982, Propeller)

If I didn't know better, I'd say there's been a Christmas kick happenin' on here, and I'm not talking 'bout candy canes and mistletoe. Check out the comments section of the hyperlink above for a better explanation. One Christmas song that hasn't been seemingly unearthed heretofore is a cut titled "Close My Eyes," which can be found on the 4-song Laughing at the Ground 7'' compilation. Released on the Propeller Records label a quarter of a century ago, Laughing zeroes in on a quartet of post-punk/no wave fence straddlers from Boston, MA or thereabouts. Christmas' contribution is particularly their most substantive or crucial, but a completists delight nonetheless. The lead-off band, 21-645 turned out to be an unexpected treat, and from my understanding members went onto Scruffy the Cat and The Flies. Their cut here, "Babble" has been covered by the Moving Targets from what I understand. The band V; has a website. I won't kid you folks, this is a noisy chunk of wax, so in the near future, when I'll hopefully obtain some vinyl cleaner, I very well may repost this if the results are satisfactory.

01. 21-645 - Babble
02. Dangerous Birds - Emergency
03. V; - Schitzed
04. Christmas - Close My Eyes


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

For Against - Aperture (1993, Independent Projects)

Discovering Lincoln, Nebraska's intermittently long-running For Against in the mid-90s was a tremendous revelation to me. After absorbing many hearty recommendations of the band via Jack Rabid's Big Takeover magazine, I made the plunge and bought Aperture, For Against's third proper full length. I have yet to find another artist that so effortlessly appeals to my every disposition - elated, sad, contemplative, or for that matter, even passive. To me, they're the musical equivalent of one of those contouring mattresses that are infomerical-ed to death in the wee morning hours, only For Against possess a certain magic of wrapping their pristine soundscapes around my psyche. For Against minted their sublime, clangy post-punk and proto-dream pop in the mid-80s. The two albums that preceded 1993's Aperture were Echelons in 1987, and December in '88. That pair, especially Echelons, demonstrated a chilly, vaguely goth-informed template that would soon be eshewed in favor of the much sublimely sweeter and fluid guitar pop that to this day remains an indigenous For Against earmark, as well as a healthy dollop of self-deprecation. It's hard for me to pin down my favorite For Against album. I still crave the visceral sparks emanating from the stark Echelons, but Aperture and it's two out of print follow-ups, Mason's California Lunchroom (1995) & Shelf Life (1997) are best representative of what would become the classic "For Against sound," at least in my mind. A new F/A album (their seventh) Shade Side Sunny Side was released this year on Words On Music Records, a label that's also responsible for reissuing their earlier, aforementioned recordings. Hopefully Aperture will eventually see the proper reissue it truly deserves, but for now enjoy courtesy of me. You can learn more about all of For Against's recordings here

01. Don't Do Me Any Favors
02. Breathless
03. Nightmare Life
04. Spent
05. Mindframed
06. I Wish
07. Unspeakable
08. Over Nepal
09. You Only Life Twice
10. Today Today
11. Memorial 

Reissued through Saint Marie Records.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

L.A. Burgers - s/t LP (1980, Important)

Depending on your perspective, this album jacket will either go down as the most tasteless or the most tasty ever devised. In terms of sheer collectibility however, you could say this record is "medium-rare" at best (sorry, I couldn't help it)! According to a brief write-up about this quartet, band mates guitarist David Nielsen and bassist Kenny Jones, concocted their arguably absurd moniker over hamburgers at a Malibu, CA burger stand. The record landed on shelves during the heyday of the LA punk scene...not to mention The Knack. The Burgers followed loosely in the footsteps of the latter, but you'd be hard pressed to pin this beefy outfit as a through-and-through "power-pop" act, not deliberately at any rate. Plenty of hooks are hinted at throughout the L.A. Burgers "broilers-dozen" of tracks, but few are fully realized enough to ably equip the band sell the proverbial sizzle. Nielsen seems to posses a little bit of David Byrne's offbeat acumen, but make no mistake, the Burgers are miles off course from the Talking Heads esoteric innovations of the era. In short, this record is seeped in generic tendencies aplenty, but then again, so is a lot of other stuff I post. Dig in...but hold the cheese.

01. Hello Goodbye
02. Color Eyes
03. She Wants
04. Roll On
05. Never Say No
06. You Call
07. Performance
08. Armed Robbery
09. Look Smug (Kool Guns)
10. Sensitive Guy
11. She Gets No Help
12. Release Me
13. Computer Breakdown


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Singles Going Single #40 - Starvation Army "In the Red" 7" ep (1986, St. Valentine)

From my understanding, Starvation Army were something of a staple in the '80s Cleveland-area punk/hardcore scene. For better or worse, my firsthand knowledge of the band begins and ends with this 45, but I'm pretty confident that this four-piece were the stuff that Maximum 'N and Roll and KBD compilations were made for.Kicking things off is the mean, mid-tempo "Deep Sea Diver," suggesting what the Lime Spiders would have sounded like by way of the Sex Pistols "Submission." This leads into the breakneck, punk-as-fuck "Payback," a no-nonsense manifesto that makes it's point in 96 glorious seconds. The remaining cuts make for a blunted impact at best, but not enough to diminish the value of this disk as a whole. In the Red is a respectable memento of it's era, but hardly a classic. Consider yourselves warned. 

01. Deep Sea Diver
02. Payback
03. Bastard Town
04. Airborne

Singles Going Single #39 - Dynamic Truths (1998, Merge)

Singles with attractive sleeves by virtually unknown artists, priced at $1.00 or less = grist for Wilfully Obscure, and I have to say, this was a gamble that paid off. Dynamic Truths were a Richmond, VA band helmed by Bob Schick, former front-man for Honor Roll and Coral, if that means anything to you, which it very well might not, but I digress. If ragged, indie guitar-rawk a la early-Superchunk is your speed, "You Take It All," will be a little slice o' salvation if there ever was one. The flip, "Profit From Loss," departs on a different trajectory, trading some of the A-side's melody for loftier, more hypnotic environs that these mere words simply cannot do justice to.  

A. You Take It All
B. Profit From Loss


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

V/A - Sorry Ma, Forgot to Let Out the Cat - An Athens, GA Tribute to the Replacements (1995)

This compilation was the first of five unrelated tribute albums to the Replacements. Five separate tribute albums and counting for one band, with just one top-40 hit to their credit no less. Wow. By my estimation, only the Beatles have outdone the Mats in this category. ...Forgot to Let Out the Cat not only has the distinction of being the only tribute comp doubling as a benefit album (for the Athens Area Humane Society), but sadly, it's also the weakest of the five (you can read up on this one and some of the other tribute albums here).

Any highly localized compilation is governed more by geography than genuine talent (or lack thereof). With the long-running Five-Eight being the lone, remotely recognizable name here, you'd be hard pressed to entice anyone with the exception of Mats diehards to come within earshot of this joint. The 17 participants here are no doubt well intentioned, and while some are fairly competent many are woefully deficient, particularly in the vocal department. No one listening to this is holding out for a lead singer on par with Paul Westerberg, but please, be able to carry a tune to do Minneapolis' finest some semblance of justice, for God's sake. Thankfully, most of Cat is relatively tolerable, but a couple of contributions were so grotesquely butchered, namely Harvey Milk's mutilated way beyond recognition "Don't Ask Why" and Five Minute Major's ska-inflected hack job of the classic "Shiftless When Idle," I was tempted to edit them out completely. At any rate, give it a whirl - warts and all. Be on the lookout for another out of print Replacements tribute in the near future.

01-Hayride - Heyday
02-Swing - Alex Chilton
03-The Martians - When It Began
04-Vaudeville - Androgynous
05-The Stonesouls - Mr. Whirly/Can't Hardly Wait
06-Five Minute Major - Shiftless When Idle
07-The Germans - Seen Your Video
08-Addison Blue - The Ledge
09-Napoleon Dynamite - If Only You Were Lonely
10-Baby Fishmouth - Kids Don't Follow
11-The Woggles - Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out
12-Harvey Milk - Don't Ask Why
13-The Earthworms - I.O.U
14-The Labrea Stompers - I Will Dare
15-A Mercy Union - Unsatisfied
16-Five-Eight - Answering Machine
17-Lenny - Darlin' One


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Odolites - Chimes 7" & Persistence of Memory ep (1986, Musicland/Rampant)

I was informed about this arcane Australian quartet, not through Allmusic, college radio, or even a friends recommendation, but would you believe Ebay? I spotted The Odolites Persistence of Memory ep on everyones favorite auction site late last year, and was enthralled by the expansive roadway vista that monopolized the sleeve. Turns out, it sold for over $50 from what I recall, but I wasn't the lucky winner.
In my quest for any inkling of info I could glean about the four folks in question, I was privileged to stumble upon Side Room Singles blog, who were hosting an Odolites song, "Chimes" as part of a March 2007 podcast, which you can obtain a link to here. "Chimes" hit all the right chimes indeed, sublimely evoking such American contemporaries as Translator, Rain Parade, and perhaps to a lesser extent, The Dream Syndicate and Feelies. To make a long story short, I lucked out and soon after tracked down the Odolites "Chimes" 7" and the Persistence of Memory 12" ep, at a relatively reasonable cost.

As with so many of my posts, my background info on the band is more or less limited to what I've disclosed above, so if anyone wants to "chime" in with more info, don't be a stranger. The copiously aforementioned track is the choicest nugget here, but the remaining songs in The Odolites scant oeuvre are nearly as impressive, and a real find for anyone craving more of that resplendent, Paisley Underground vibe.

Persistence of Memory ep
01. Too Much to Dream
02. It Shouldn't Have to Be Like This
03. The Locks Have Changed
04. The First Summer Holiday
05. When Will the Sun Shine Again

"Chimes" 7"
A. Chimes
B1. As Fresh as Monday
B2. Room With No View

Chimes 7": Hear
Persistence of Memory: Hear

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Pranks - Floobie (1997, Coachouse)

Before going any further, this is not the same Pranks as the '70s band of the same moniker, led by Jeffrey Foskett and Randell Kirsch, rather a dazzling and ultra mega-obscure St. Louis, MO quartet from over a decade ago. My acquaintanceship with the band started by happening upon a brief commentary of their one and only album, Floobie, reading something to the effect, "Like finding lost Cheap Trick tapes!" Hey, that was good enough for me, and not long after, I obtained a copy of this very scarce and elusive CD. The comparison to Rockford, Il's fab four was spot on, but the Pranks turned out to be more Next Position Please or Standing on the Edge, than In Color. In fact, the similarities are borderline plagiaristic on "Don't Cry," and "Good to Be Alive," but not a complaint considering the Pranks infectious wall-to-wall harmonies and penetrating power chords. Floobie gracefully exudes a 'good time' vibe without resorting to pedestrian insipidness or party-hearty nonsense. Unabashedly, The Pranks suggested to be something of an antidote to the Seattle hoopla of the '90s. Case in point, "Wake Up's" liberating declaration of: "We're traveling coast to coast, to clean the grunge out from your ears/rock's not a fashion statement, it's an attitude that's slept for years." Floobie's distribution was meager to put it very mildly, and it's my guesstimate that few outside the Midwest were familiar with the Pranks, although the album did see a Japanese release. Furthermore, according to the band's Myspace page, they opened for several recognizable AOR/hair metal acts, including Tesla and *gulp* REO Speedwagon, presumably in the late '80s and early '90s. Upon visiting their page, you will also learn that the Pranks continue to record and play, albeit after a lengthy hiatus. Very highly recommended.

01. Wake Up
02. Process
03. Don't Cry
04. Don't Ask, Don't Tell
05. Good to Be Alive
06. Hello How Are you
07. Another Sunday
08. Hello Goodbye
09. I Don't Know Why
10. The Hardest Part
11. Round Around
12. Goodwood
13. I'm the Man  


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Singles Going Single #38 - Siren "In the Absence of the Sacred" 7" ep (1991, Mustardfield)

Poignantly recalling Avail and Fugazi’s, hook-rendered hardcore, with the emphasis on “hard,” Siren’s none too thinly veiled social commentary made for some of the finest thinking mans punk in the ‘90s. Their meager catalog, merely this 7” and the equally bristling Becoming Wheels lp that followed in 1996, convincingly did them justice, but left me craving more. Mouthpiece Brian Zero, made a name for himself as a columnist for Maximum Rock and Roll. As of 2006, I was aware that Brian was a substitute teacher, but as he likes to put it, “we’re all teachers.” To get a better idea of what makes the man tick, mosey on over here for a fairly verbose and in-depth interview. 

01. Potlatch
02. Seems to Say
03. Buy Our Fall
04. Some Words


Friday, May 16, 2008

Various - Declaration of Independents (1980, Ambition)

When Declaration of Independents was released some 28 years ago, a various artists collection used to mean something. These days, 90 % of what passes for "compilations" are actually label, tour, or festival clusterfuck samplers packaged in a flimsy cardboard sleeve with little regard to sequencing, annotation, and most vitally, musical consistency. For example, take Big Deal Records Yellow Pills series from the '90. For those of you well versed with those collections, you'll be quick to realize that there is virtually no equivalent for those wonderful, revelatory albums being produced today. Given that taste in music is purely subjective, there's really no such think as a "perfect," start-to-finish compilation, but the one in question here got it mostly right. With it's emphasis on "new pop" mixed in with a smidgen of roots-rawk, Declaration of Independents makes it's mission clear, literally, with thorough liner notes on the back sleeve delving into info on a band-by-band basis. Most of the contributors here are unknowns now just as much as they were back then, but a few ring familiar, including Athens, GA-based eventual cult faves, Pylon. Robin Lane and the Chartbusters made some minor ripples nationally, as well as D.C.'s long departed Razz, who prominently featured a nascent Tommy Keene. Any indie compilation worth it's salt should host at least a few worthy newbies, and there are some jewels here indeed, starting off with SVT, an edgy (and unlikely) Jefferson Airplane offshoot, who released some primo records on the then burgeoning San Francisco, 415 Records imprint. Des Moines' Luxury, and the Wyoming-based News gracefully add their respective wave/power pop variations to the canon, and Jim Wunderle contributes his spin on the Seeds garage rock classic, "Pushin' too Hard." As for D. Clinton Thompson and Root Boy Slim, let's just say they're slightly out of sync with the music that usually inhabits this blog. 

01. SVT - Heart of Stone
02. Jim Wunderle - Pushin' Too Hard
03. D. Clinton Thompson - Driving Guitars
04. Pylon - Cool
05. Razz - You Can Run (But You Can't Hide)
06. Kevin Dunn - Nadine
07. Robin Lane and the Chartbusters - Rather Be Blind
08. Luxury - Green Hearts
09. The News - Bring on the Night
10. Ragnar Kvaran - It's All Different Now
11. Tex Rubinowitz - Feelin' Right Tonight
12. Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band - The Meltdown
13. Bubba Lou and the Highballs - Love All Over the Place

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Singles Going Single #37 - Tinsel (1994, Esther)

This quartet may have hailed from Chapel Hill, during the halcyon '90s no less, but this platter would serve as a better appetizer for an Unwound binge, not Superchunk. Tinsel's noisenik rock is often ideal in small doses, and as such, this threefer single does the trick. In addition to this single, and at least one other, the band released two full-lengths, Finding the Perfect Gift in 1994, which you can read more about here (scroll down aways), and the improved Quit While You're Ahead two years later, both released on the small but esteemed Chapel Hill imprint, Jesus Christ Records. Truthfully, this is a lot more listenable than I'm making it out to be, and I swear, if you listen hard enough you can excavate the "song" buried in all that lo-fi, feedback haze.

A. Golden Retriever
B1. Fantasy Man (Love Revolution)
B2. Pelican Bay


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lotion - s/t ep (1993, Kokopop) & s/t ep (1994, Big Cat)

Howdy folks. Kind of limited on time, so to cut to the chase, Lotion were a primo NYC indie, spewing forth a musical maelstrom over the course of three albums and numerous singles and eps during the '90s. Brandishing a none too shabby tuneful bag 'o tricks, Lotion's luscious power-pop inclinations made an indelible impression when I was introduced to their 1994 album, Full Isaac. Their third and final long-player '98s "Telephone" album, was even more of a corker, which I'd recommend even over their debut. The two self-titled ep's presented here (differentiated by the labels that issued them) were released circa-Full Isaac, and contain early incarnations of a few of the album's songs, as well a bevy on non-lp cuts that can only be found here. The 1994 UK import ep on Big Cat Records features a telling medley of Husker Du's "Flip Your Wig," and R.E.M.s Chronic Town chestnut, "Gardening at Night," pointing squarely where Lotion took some of their queues from. You can read a little more about the band here. Bon appetit!
Tear ep (1993, Kokopop Records)
01. Tear
02. Chrome Pkg.
03. 22+
04. Really Drunk
Lotion ep (1994, Big Cat Records)
01. Around
02. Juggernaut
03. Gardening Your Wig
04. Treat Me


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Power of Dreams - Immigrants, Emigrants and Me (1990); 2 Hell With Common Sense (1992); Positivity (1993)

Dublin's Power of Dreams appeared to have the talent and drive hometown heroes U2 made good on, but the fickle music press, and record buying public at large, had other plans. Sonically, POD packed a wallop, almost arena-like in aesthetic, sans the pompous self-indulgence. Their full-length debut, Immigrants, Emigrants and Me, alternated between themes of wide-eyed optimism, and the sobering realities of mortality and romantic loss. It was to be their only North American release, and though it sank without a trace on our side of the Atlantic, the band built a respectable reputation in the UK and Ireland, on the strength of the "Never Been to Texas" single (although album cuts "100 Ways of Killing a Love" and "Mothers Eyes" made a bigger impression on these ears).

1992 saw the release of the more captivating 2 Hell With Common Sense. POD struck an even greater melancholic tenor here, and with it a robust, layered guitar sound, echoing through such gripping moments as the opener "Rain Down," and "You Bring Me Flowers," however the relatively headstrong "Slowdown" that follows, indicates all hope has not been dashed. Immigrants... is good, but 2 a marked improvement.

Power of Dreams last truly commendable album, Positivity, drew much of it's material from singles and EPs. Initial pressings also included five live tracks as an enjoyable coda. Not a bad place for the uninitiated to start, considering it houses some of their most visceral moments, including "See You," "Inside Out," and Still Lost" all in the same sonic mold as the bristling, guitar-savvy 2 Hell With Common Sense.

Additionally, Power of Dreams released a bevy of singles and eps, a singles compilation dubbed American Dreams, and an ill-advised parting shot in 1994 with Become Yourself, an album that bore little resemblance to the far more representative titles discussed in this post. Immigrants and 2 Hell were ripped from the Japanese import versions, both including bonus tracks.

A full discogrpahy can be obtained here. The band's Myspace page indicates there were some POD reunion shows in 2007. With their entire catalog long out of print, I'd say a reissue campagin is in order...

Immigrants, Emigrants and Me
01. The Jokes on Me
02. Talk
03. Does It Matter
04. Much Too Much
05. Had You Listened
06. Stay
07. Never Told You
08. Bring You Down
09. Never Been to Texas
10. Where is the Love
11. Maire I Don’t Love You
12. 100 Ways to Kill a Love
13. Mother’s Eyes
14. My Average Day
bonus tracks (Japanese release)
15. American Dream
16. Not Enough
17. Never Told You (live)
18. Where is the Love (live)
19. Break on Through (live)

2 Hell With Common Sense
01. Rain Down
02. There I Go Again
03. On and On
04. She’s Gone
05. Untitled
06. 100 Seconds
07. You Bring Me Flowers
08. Understand
09. Slow Down
10. Happy Game
11. Metalscape
12. Blue Note
bonus tracks (Japanese release)
13. Fall
14. Cancer

01. Cathy’s World
02. If I Die
03. See You
04. 20h Century Blues
05. Song For Nobody
06. Radioactive Generation
07. Evil Evol
08. Inside Out
09. Falling From the Sky
10. Still Lost
11. End of My World
12. There I Go Again (live)
13. Where is the Love (live)
14. Does it Matter (live)
15. Untitled (live)
16. It’s a Shame (live)

Update 12/21/09: I was recently informed that Immigrants, Emmigrants, and Me and 2 Hell With Common Sense are now available on Itunes, and as such, the links have been removed. In addition, there will also be a deluxe double CD reissue of Immigrants in early 2010! As for the Postivity compilation, this may be available on Itunes at a later date.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Jolt - Singles: 1992-96

For starters, this isn't the late '70s ,British power-pop act, but even if that's who you were expecting, stick around. This particular Jolt were from California, and to my knowledge, released vinyl 45s exclusively. No albums, no CDs, just singles. Perfect for the ADD contingent out there.
A little under a year ago, Ready Steady Smash blog posted a Jolt feature which you can peruse here. Jolt's crucial "Lullaby"/"Jalopy" and "Burn"/"Epilogue" 7"s were featured. This inspired me to do a more exhaustive Jolt overview, showcasing the aforementioned along records with four others that I know to exist.
A trio based in Fremont, California (according to the sleeves anyway), Jolt weren't the stuff of legend, nor were they anything resembling a phenomenon. Not by a long shot in fact. Building a modest underground following, seemingly by word of mouth alone, anyone who came in contact with their raspy-throated, but roaring punk-pop became an instant fan. Jawbreaker were Jolt's prevailing influence, and while they didn't share Blake Schwarzenbach and Co.'s assaulting modus operandi, they pushed the melodic envelope as far as bassist/mouthpiece Paul Duarte's strenuous croon could extend without completely konking out.

Armed with romantic, heart-on-sleeve aplomb, Jolt's yearning, slice-of-life motifs could be passed over as pedestrian in terms of lyric-sheet fodder, but the trio's ability to bring their verses roaring to life put them in league with creme de la creme contemporaries Samiam, Jawbreaker (once again), and dare I say Green Day?

What's here are twelve songs - a veritable album in itself, with remarkably strong continuity and quality control (that is with the exception of The Agony of Deceit single from 1994, featuring a pair of "experimental" oddballs that unravel from second-one). In addition to nine, near-flawless originals comes a faithful rendition of Husker Du woefully ignored Candy Apple Grey gem, "Eiffel Tower High," - perhaps the first and last time the song was covered. 
Sheer brilliance abounds.
01. Let It Go
02. Tilt
03. Lullaby
04, Jalopy
05. Burn
06. Epilogue
07. Emily
08. Eiffel Tower High
09. Celeste
10. Old Milwaukee
11. Down
12. Tragedy 
1 & 2 (1992, split 7" w/ Wynona Riders, THD Records)
3 & 4 1992, Shredder Records)
5 & 6 (1993, Buzzsaw Records, 2nd pressing on Shredder)
7 & 8 (1996, Rhetoric Records)
9 & 10. (1996, World Static Records)
11 & 12 Tragedy (aka Agony of Deceipt 1994, Custodial Records)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Full Fathom Five - Multinational Pop Conglomerate (1989)

By popular request, Full Fathom Five's third and final album. This is the CD version with two bonus tracks. 16 friggin songs. Enjoy (or not).

01. Paint Another Picture
02. A Little Hope
03. My Friend George
04. American Machine
05. Babyland
06. A Purpose
07. Return to a Place Called Home
08. Talking About Business
09. Caroline
10. Pickup
11. Who's In Control Here Anyway
12. Mellow Song
13. Exit
14. Open Letter
15. She Lied
16. Night Watch


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Singles Going Single #36 - Joybus 7" ep (1991, Catalyst)

Sure, the sleeve is a totally daft on this one, but for your ears’ sake make an effort to get past it. The little known Joybus were a quartet residing in Benicia, CA, on the outskirts of Oakland in the early '90s. Indulging in the local ‘popcore’ trend du-jour, Joybus found themselves squarely in league with the likes of such area DIY luminaries as Fifteen, Soup, and the Wynona Riders (no, I’m not kidding about the name of that last one). Sonically, they were economic to a fault, but Joybus’ humble ruminations on romantic angst played on a universal theme nonetheless, making for a gratifying listen. 

01. Cold
02. Thief
03. Separation
04. Kitchen Paint 

Singles Going Single #35 - Handsome 7'" (1996(?), Full City Blend)

Allmusic can give you a much better overview of Handsome than I ever could:

When five pieces from the splintered membership of hardcore's most influential '90s outfits came together, Handsome was formed and the songwriting, textural, and creative limits of an entire genre of rock music were expanded to a previously unimaginable degree. At its center, Handsome was directed by former Helmet guitarist Peter Mengede. While not officially credited as the group's songwriter, Mengede's very identifiable riffs and song structures seem to be a musical basis for Handsome's music. Ex-Quicksand guitarist Tom Capone also had a significant impact on Handsome's tight yet exotic hardcore grind. Joining Mengede and Capone on the band's one and only release — 1997's eponymous debut on Epic — are drummer Pete Hines (Cro-Mags, Murphy's Law), bassist Eddie Nappi, and Salt Lake City area vocalist Jeremy Chatelain.

While Handsome retained the eminently powerful lock-step guitar licks that Helmet established as their calling card, the approach is decidedly less brusque here. Incorporating just enough accessible melodicism, it's easy to surmise why a major label, in this case, Epic, would salivate over Handsome, given their multi-faceted appeal. The band's self-titled debut tanked, perhaps with the exception of the built-in fans that were groomed on Handsome's aforementioned predecessors. Needless to say, lineage doesn't necessarily spell a recipe for success.

This single preceded the album by what I'm estimating to be a year or several months (sorry, no copyright date provided). If features a bruising, early version of "Needles" that would make it's way onto Handsome in a different incarnation. The quite-loud-quiet, non-LP a-side "Waiting," represents them at their most dynamic. 
A. Waiting
B. Needles 

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Bardots - Eye-Baby (1992, Cheree)

On their debut album, Eye-Baby, England's Bardots suggest the crystalline jangle-pop that emerged from the C86 movement a few years prior, as well as dream-pop bands like Revolver and Chapterhouse, indigenous to their homeland. Problem is, when this was issued in 1992, The UK was knee-deep in Manchester mania, as well as the burgeoning Brit-Pop phenomenon that threatened to take over the world. Presumably, this scenario (not to mention their label Cheree going belly up shortly after Eye-Baby's release) made it difficult for a fringe act like The Bardots to make inroads at home or abroad. It's a shame because their's plenty of gold here that any fan of say, Straitjacket Fits or Venus Beads would do smashingly well with.

1995 saw the release of the largely uneven Bardots follow-up album, V-Neck. In 1998, a compilation of singles and out of print songs titled Sad Anne followed in 1998. The Bardots releases are somewhat difficult to track down, but worth the effort if this album makes a believer out of you. You can satisfy more of your Bardots curiosity here and here.

01. Pretty O
02. Chained-Up
03. Cruelty Blonde
04. Sister Richard
05. Slow Asleep
06. Sunsetted
07. My Cute Thought
08. Obscenity Thing
09. Gloriole
10. Caterina
11. Shallow


Snatches of Pink - Dead Men (1989, Dog Gone)

Chapel Hills Snatches of Pink have been on-again, off-again southern fried inide-rawk proposition for over twenty years now. Dead Men, saw the light of day in '89, and although it was their second long-player (preceded by '87s Send in the Clowns) it was the first to go digital. Ablaze with lotsa grit, a modicum of twang, and just enough restraint to keep the whole shebang from careening off the rails, the Snatches Dead Men is a minor masterstroke of ragged, yet unmistakably earnest rock 'n roll fervor. The best moments are the opening selections "Salty Dog," and "Bed of Nails," but the remainder is rewarding for those patient enough to acquire the 'taste' (or perhaps "dust" might be more accurate).

The band would rechristen themselves as Clarissa in the mid '90s, splinter not too long thereafter, and reunite under their original moniker in 2003, with the stunning comeback album, Hyena.
01. Salty Dog
02. Bend of Nails
03. Song
04. Midway
05. Witch Dance
06. How the West Was Won
07. Look Away
08. Sleeping Dogs
09. Goin' Down

Friday, May 2, 2008

Full Fathom Five - The Cry of a Falling Nation (1987)

Even the most ardent, ear-to-the-ground indie rock connoisseurs in the late '80s can be forgiven for letting Iowa City, Iowa's Full Fathom Five slip by with nary a trace. Given their circumstances of hailing from a flyover state, coupled with less than adequate record distribution, FFF's dilemma was a not uncommon one of their era. On their Link Records debut, The Cry of a Falling Nation, Eric Melcher pins half-crooned bronchials to a tapestry of buzzsaw riffs that would do the brothers Reid proud. The songwriting is slack in spots, and there isn't a single defining moment here to really put this record over the top, but listenable nonetheless. If anything, Cry... cemented a reasonably durable foundation for more convincing moments to come, specifically 1989's improved Multinational Pop Conglomerate, which may see the light of day on Wilfully Obscure in the coming months. As for the Hendrix retread, it's just kind of...there.

The front sleeve was considerably defaced with radio station call letters and catalog stickers, so I've opted to depict the reverse instead. Boogie 'til ya puke ya'll.
01. The Way We Communicate
02. Isaac's Eyes
03. What He Needs
04. Words
05. Hours
06. The Order of the Space
07. Moving Too Fast
08. Listen
09. Hard Times
10. It Wasn't Jesus
11. Foxey Lady
12. The Cry of a Falling Nation