Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Haskells - Hopscotch and Bourbon (1995, Flipside)

Many of you old timers on here remember Flipside fanzine, a content-heavy punk/alt-rock rag that crammed more reviews and articles into one issue than it’s DIY contemporary, Maximum Rock N Roll could in four. To cut to the chase, when the magazine folded in the late ‘90s, it’s in-house record label, Flipside Records (duh) did as well. Aside from some gnarly punk/hardcore compilations, the label released many mediocre LPs by even more mediocre bands, but The HaskellsHopscotch and Bourbon was a thankful and enjoyable anomaly.

Like many before and after them, L.A.’s Haskells flew the three-chord banner with fervor. More specifically, axe-slinger Mark Sogomian, by accident or not, adopted the well-manicured crunch that Bob Mould brandished on the final Husker Du record, Warehouse: Songs and Stories. To my ears, the fourteen cuts here also recall
Mercyland, a band who has been discussed on these pages before. Highly recommended.

01. Spinning Round
02. Brand New Friend
03. She Said
04. Filling the Space
05. Something to Do
06. Pull Back the Skin
07. Willow
08. Media Whore
09. Miss America
10. Karma Machine
11. Superhero
12. Pretty When You're Dead
13. Cross on Wheels
14. Waiting for the Train


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Singles Going Single # 78 - The Wildebeests - Punk 7" ep (1996, Sympathy)

Band you never heard of before covers four punk/post-punk classics. Enjoy (or not).

01. Public Image (PIL)
02. 12XU (Wire)
03. I Wanna Be Loved (Heartbreakers)
04. Garageland (Clash)


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fire in the Kitchen - Theory of Everything (1990, Behemoth)

Don't have much in the details department to share regarding Fire in the Kitchen, but for starters you can visit their website. In fact, what little I can tell you about them I plundered from Used Bin Forever blog, which was my first exposure to the band.
This album, along with a handful of singles, were recorded in or around 1990. Based in New York (and apparently still playing the occassional gig), they have nothing on CD to their credit, and something tells me a reissue isn't in particularly high demand. You might detect trace elements of Mission of Burma, Agitpop, and the like on Theory of Everything, but otherwise they do their own thing, albeit a bit nondescript. "Showboat," "Between the Bottles," and "The Fog," all boast sweet, melodic guitar lines, and help prop up some of Theory's less engaging selections. I might post their singles at a later date.

01. MacDeth
02. Showboat
03. Hen Fist
04. Body and Bone
05. It Always Does
06. Madame Curie
07. The Fog
08. Change
09. Between the Bottles
10. Whole Lotta Love (not the Zeppelin song)
11. The Time Beats On


Singles Going Single # 77 - Half Hour to Go Don't Forget the Children 7" ep (1994) PLUS Items For the Full OutfitCD (1996, Grass)

Half Hour to Go were a northern New Jersey trio that hashed out a few recordings in the mid-90s, but given their propensity to sound uncannily like Archers of Loaf and Polvo they might as well have transplanted themselves to North Carolina. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch but HHtG’s wirey inspirations were fairly obvious to indie-guitar rawk connoisseurs. Even upon initial examination of Items For the Full Outfit, and it’s preceding single, Don’t Forget the Children, these guys ooze from every pore the archetypal texture and hue of that misbegotten era. Know what I mean, Vern? You can read an article about HHtG here. According to their Myspace page some or all of the members relocated to California.The 7” comes courtesy of I-sore Records, a NJ label that at the time had planned a series of 5” records, as part of a “club” not unlike Sub Pop’s Singles of the Month thing, but from what I understand it never came to fruition. Items… had the oversight of one of the most respectable and interesting indie imprints of the era, Grass Records. A trademark of quality if there ever was one.

Don't Forget the Children 7"
01. MomentSpur
02. Grandpa's Blue Bus
03. Big
04. Shave + outro

Items For the Full Outfit
01. Shave
02. Ellison Jelly
03. Theatre in the Round
04. Fishy
05. John Glenn
06. Eleventeen
07. Slick
08. Can mack Draw?
09. MSY
10. X-it
11. When Propaganda Sings
12. Bocour

Don't Forget the Children 7": Hear
Items For the Full Outfit: Hear

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Singles Going Single # 76 - Ridel High 7" (1995, Morpehus)

Maybe Kevin Ridel was destine to toil in obscurity. You think he would've had a good thing going when he moved to L.A. in 1989, accompanying Rivers Cuomo in the precursor to Weezer, Avant Garde, but he didn't quite gravitate into the lineup of the world-class rockers to be. However, by 1995, Kevin was fronting a powerhouse of equal proportions, Ridel High, who released the single in question. The band unleashed a magnificent riff-addled power-pop album, Hi Scores on the My Records label in 1997, and a year later inked a deal with A&M Records. Emotional Rollercoaster (essentially a refurbished version of Hi Scores) was released with little fanfare. The A-side, "Mouthful of You," a paean to lip-locked infatuation, would be rerecorded for Rollercoaster.

More obscurity ensued , and although Ridel High would split soon after, he attracted a small but devout following, who were anxiously anticipating an album by his next project, Peel. Peel's debut, Blindside was locked, loaded...but not quite fired. In fact, Ridel and Co. were fired from their new home, Beyond Music, when the label was bought out.

And onto to strike three. AM Radio was Ridel's next venture, a band none-too-dissimilar from his recent endeavors. After a smattering of demos were shared online, AM Radio released Radioactive on Elektra in 2003. Additionally, they were managed by none other than Rivers Cuomo. "I Just Wanna Be Loved" was featured on the WB's Smallville, but despite the captive audience, Radioactive didn't quite fly off the shelf. Kevin has since immersed himself in the world of Christian rock.

In addition to this single and RH's Rollercoaster, an extremely limited CD of Ridel High rarities and demos dubbed Recycle Bin, was issued at the turn of the century. I'm taking requests if anyone is interested. BTW, the unreleased Blindside can be obtained through the Peel hyperlink two paragraphs above.
A. Mouthful of You
B. Wynona Ryder

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Lilys - In the Presence of Nothing (1992, spinArt)

The Lilys are the last of a dying breed. With a resume that spans two decades, the band has never made the same album twice. Let alone the weirdness of their debut, In the Presence of Nothing, The Lilys went the ambient route on Eccsame the Photon Band in 1995, brought forth a brilliant Merseybeat-revival masterwork in the form of 1996's Better Can't Make Your Life Better, and by the new millennium, were making fairly straightforward (and frankly, kinda boring) records like Precollection. Helmed by one Kurt Heasley, The Lilys chameleon-like dexterity lent itself nicely to Presence, an album that bowed downed to dream-pop gods My Bloody Valentine. If Loveless was the main course, the Lily's crooked homage was the after-dinner mint...and a sometimes sour one at that.

Heavy-handed to say the least, Heasley and his crew brew up a smoldering, swarmy swill here, wherein over-flanged strings are the primary backdrop to an unwieldy predisposition for dynamics, and even the occasional sublime hook. The third song in, "Collider," driven by a disarmingly ethereal harmony, is almost an anomaly. "Tone Bender" is a dichotomy of the Lily's ferocious rhythm section, rubbing shoulders with the songs more listener-friendly attributes evidenced in the aforementioned "Collider." In fact, much of Presence is a veritable conflict between these two diverging paths. Unarguably, the album's sheer dissonance makes for a challenging listen, but truth be told, the only selection I wish the Lilys had eschewed is the meandering 12-minute instrumental "The Way Snowflakes Fall." Luckily, they redeem themselves by following it up with the comparatively poppy "Threw a Day," which wouldn't have sounded out of place on Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation.

The title, In the Presence of Nothing, is a parody on Velvet Crush's debut, In the Presence of Greatness, which saw the light of day mere months before the Lily's album. In the Presence of Nothing is currently out of print, but can be found used on Amazon. The band tends to take Chinese Democracy-length stretches between albums and eps. Just so you know.

01. There's No Such Thing as Black Orchids
02. Elizabeth Colour Wheel
03. Collider
04. Tone Bender
05. Periscope
06. It Does Nothing for Me
07. Snowblinder
08. The Way Snowflakes Fall
09. Threw a Day
10. Claire Hates Me

Now available on Bandcamp.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Hate Me Nots - Out (1988, Rough Trade)

The Happy Hate Me Nots rumbled out of Sydney, Australia in the mid-80s, releasing a slew of singles, and Out, the LP I'm featuring here. Not quite agrro enough to be considered bona-fide punk rockers, but too fiery to set up shop in the power-pop neighborhood, HHMN were more in league with home country brethren Hoodoo Gurus and Exploding White Mice. On Out, the quartet doles out glorious slabs of sturdy, power-chord rock, occasionally throwing in some brass or keyboards. This album is only half the story. In 2007 a 40-cut double CD anthology, The Good That's Been Done, was released, and will probably be to your liking if you dig this. I would also recommend reading the two part interview featured on the NKVD Records website (here and here).

01. Things Wearing Thin
02. New Hope
03. Don't Move to Far
04. Modern Times
05. Best of Intentions
06. Think About Tomorrow
07. Soul Rejection
08. Pride is Burning
09. Move For Love
10. Alright at Home
11. Praise For Fortune
12. Lively Up Yourself


Singles Going Single # 75 - Pavement "Black Out"/"Extradition" promo 7'' (2006)

These days, record companies have to pull out all these high-falootin stops to woo folks into stores, or at any rate, Amazon. Nowhere is this notion more prevalent than with deluxe reissues. Pavement's continuing double-disk reissue campaign is a model for other vintage acts with healthy back catalogs to follow. Pavement's exhaustive redos of Slanted and Enchanted, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, Wowee Zowee, and soon to come in late November, Brighten the Corners, are chockablock with contemporary b-sides, Peel Sessions, outtakes, and live tracks, not to mention exquisite packaging.

As if 2006's Wowee Zowee (Sordid Sentinels) reissue, bustling with 50 tracks wasn't enough to seal the deal, those who pre-ordered the album were also treated to an exclusive 7" with alternate versions of a couple of the album's sleepier numbers, "Black Out," and "Extradition." Both songs are included in this post, of course, and here's a little background info I dug up:

According to Stephen (Malkmus), this version of "Black Out" (which is not the album recording) was recorded around the time Crooked Rain came out. It was originally intended for a compilation curated by Thurston Moore, but that never materialized. Matador's vault plunderers found it on a reel of final mixes from the Random Falls sessions in NYC from early 1994. "Extradition" is a version with different vocals and a slightly different mix from the album version.

So there you go. Now all you slacker Pavement completists who missed out on this deal the first time around can go to bed with a little more satisfaction tonight. Sorry, no picture sleeve. Move along, there's nothing to see here.

A. Black Out
B. Extradition


Monday, October 20, 2008

Singles Going Single # 74 - Overwhelming Colorfast 7" (1992, Sympathy) + bonus: Sourdough ep (1995, Goldenrod)

Many groups have cited Husker Du as a primary influence, but Overwhelming Colorfast were among the few who sincerely lived up to that claim. An utterly robust and melodically inclined San Fran-area quartet, vocalist/axe-slinger Bob Reed happened to possess a voice none-too-dissimilar to Bob Mould. Despite the comparisons, OC nevertheless managed to forge their own trail, resulting in three albums, a pair of eps, and this single (which I believe was their first release), all in the span of five years or so.
The band's three song debut single for Sympathy for the Record Industry laid out the general OC blueprint that would largely remain undisturbed in the ensuing years. "It's Tomorrow" was later rerecorded for their self-titled 1992 album on Relativity, while a little later "Toss Up was retooled for Overwhelming's sophomore effort, Two Words.

1995's Sourdough ep houses some of my fave Colorfast songs, specifically the rivetingly tuneful charge of "Coming Around," and "Hipster." Elsewhere on the record, the title-cut makes for affecting, bittersweet ballad. Closing things out is a cover of the Stones "Sway." Sourdough was followed up by the band's strongest full-length to date, 1996's Moonlight and Castanets. That album and their debut are currently being hosted on the always impressive Feelin Kinda Froggy blog, while copies of the single may still be available through Interpunk.
A. It's Tomorrow
B1. Toss Up
B2. Roll the Ocean
Sourdough ep
01. How It Should Be
02. Sourdough
03. Coming Around
04. Hipster
05. Whizzer
06. Sway
Sourdough ep: Hear

Singles Going Single # 73 - Young Officers Movement (pre-Dreams So Real) 7" (198?)

Well here's a single that really is a complete and utter mystery. In fact I don't own a physical copy, nor have I seen so much as a thumbnail of it, let alone any information of the origin of the music itself. Dreams So Real were a jangle-rock band emanating from the hotbed of Athens, GA in the mid-80s,who released three albums. It was recently brought to my attention through a friend, that lead singer Barry Marler was formally frontman of a group called Young Officers Movement that predated DSR, most likely during the early-80s. A single (assumedly their only one) was released, but the best my friend could offer were two high bitrate MP3s of the songs that comprised it. There is no mention of the band's existence or background info on the recordings to be found anywhere online. Period.

Those acquainted with DSR will be taken aback by the starkness, and bleakness exuded by YOM, particularly in light of the comparatively warmer and empathetic tones that Marler would espouse in his next band. In fact, the two selections here, especially "You Can Walk," are icy enough to encourage any listener within earshot to make a mad dash for a thermal blanket. Starting off with a monologue of a gentleman (my guess from a TV documentary or Zoloft commercial) weighing the options of driving a train to a gas chamber, or to merely be a passenger on said train. With it's stabbing guitar riffs and Marler's lyrics entailing such dark passages as:

Another morning to sleep late
Another afternoon to kill
Another week of insecurity
Another chunk out of their lives.

It wouldn't be inaccurate to deem that REM were to Dreams so Real, what Killing Joke were to Young Officers Movement. The flipside, "It's Alright" is equally embellished with the "dark wave" post-punk tendencies Marler and Co. were wont to wallow in here. Intriguing stuff. If anyone perusing this can offer any pertinent info on YOM, don't be a stranger. BTW, I'm uncertain which songs are the "A" and "B-sides."

Posted on January 26, 2009: Thanks to LC for supplying the sleeve art.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Killer Whales - Emotional Geography (1983, Ripete)

Actually found something remotely cool in a $1 LP bin at one of local flea markets this summer ( I sorta have to stress the 'remotely' part). The Killer Whales were produced by none other than Jamie Hoover of Spongetones renown, but Emotional Geography isn't quite in the power pop realm. Leadman David Bethany's rather non-descript vocals aside, the Whales play with the competency and rhythmical awareness of Ghost in the Machine-era Police. The trio, hailing from South Carolina tack slightly to the 'wave' direction of the early-80s modern-rock hierarchy, but thankfully were intelligent enough to dismiss the ridiculous haircuts that were so requisite of their peers. Overall, a decent little record. A snazzy sleeve on this one as well.

Long-defunct, the Whales have a website. Although it appears it hasn't undergone much mainatance since 2003, it does make mention that this album, and others, are available on CD through the band, so if you like what you hear spread the walth. 
01. Who Controls the Video Screen
02. Robot Girl
03. When the Shooting Starts
04. What Will I Do?
05. Here In the Modern World
06. Emotional Geography
07. Don't Talk Now
08. Orca's Revenge
09. I Eat in My Car

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Wrench - Worry When We Get There (1993, New Red Archives) & Cop Krueller 7" ep (1994, Mississippi Cake Hole)

It should be of little surprise that Buffalo's departed Wrench (formally Monkeywrench, before some certain Seattle luminaries forced them to truncate their moniker) followed in the footsteps of Queen City kingpins, the Goo Goo Dolls. Additionally, it shouldn't be much of a shock to see a production credit to Robby "Goo" Takac on the tray card of the Wrench's one and only album, Worry When We Get There. No power ballad's here mind you, rather the strain of full-tilt, melodicore punk that used to frequent the Goo's earliest and greatest albums like Jed and Hold Me Up. Moreover, mouthpiece Timo and company smack of Big Drill Car, albeit a tad more pedestrian. In fact, Timo could even be mistaken for BDC's Frank Daly at times. In a nutshell, The Wrench were perfectly tailored for the corner bar and the half-pipe.

As previously stated, Worry... was the quartet's lone album, and it's a good 'un to say the least. It was followed up by the even more accomplished and promising Cop Krueller 7" ep, which I assume was self-released. After their breakup in the mid-90s, Timo went on to helm the 7-10 Splits, whom you can learn more about via the hyperlink.
Worry When We Get There
01. Knowledge
02. That Punk Tune
03. It's Your Right
04. Have it Your Way
05. Here We Go Again
06. Can't Catch Me
07. No More, No Less
08. What's the Point
09. Nothin' Better
10. Tell Me Anything
11. No Dress for the Weather
12. Sometimes...
13. Girl
14. High Hopes (unlisted)
15. outro
Cop Krueller
01. Agree and Deceive
02. Worry When We Get There
03. Stay
04. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Worry When We Get There: Hear
Cop Krueller: Hear

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Halflings - 20th Century Masters: The Singles Collection (1994-95)

This post is dedicated to my buddy Steve Neurotic over at his newly minted Punk Archives blog. The Halflings were a mid-90s trio from Pennsylvania, that to my knowledge didn't release a full-length, rather a handful of singles. Raw, and sometimes even a bit chaotic, The Halflings were clearly the disciples of such punk luminaries as Screeching Weasel, The Queers, and as evidenced by "Spawn," from the Frabbajabba 7", Operation Ivy as well. Plenty o' three-chord joy to indulge in here folks.

The self-titled single and Frabbajabba were released on Creep Records. " A Kiss for Christmas" came out on the Suezdinis label. All long out of print and sold out for years I'm sure.

first 7" (Creep # 006)
01. Melissa
02. Memory Lapse
03. Valerie
04. Betrayed
05. Inner City Kids

Frabbajabba 7" ep (Creep # 021)
06. The Only One
07. Spawn
08. Padded Room
09. Had the Chance

X-mas single (Suezdinis recs)
10. A Kiss for Christmas
11. You're the One for Me

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Treepeople - some singles (1990-93)

Long before Built to Spill were on every self-respecting, music snob's shortlist, I had the good sense in 1991 or so to take a chance on a cassette by a Boise via Seattle combo dubbed the Treepeople. Little to my knowledge at the time, Treepeople contained in their ranks one Doug Martsch who by the mid-90s would be spilling all that was built to fairly significant acclaim and notoriety. It took me many years to concede that BTS were superior to the Treepeople. This was due in large part to the brilliant melodic, noise-punk (a la vintage Dinosaur Jr) residing in T'peoples bitchin' Something Vicious for Tomorrow, and Just Kidding albums. Both of these were issued on C/Z Records, and are apparently still available. The six songs that this post concerns are extracted from two vinyl-only singles, and as a bonus two additional cuts from a 1993 promo-only ep.

Recorded at roughly the same time as their Toxic Shock Records debut, Guilt, Regret, Embarrassment, "Mistake" was the A-side to a one-off single on the Sonic Bubblegum label, and also happens to be one of the strongest and most representative songs of their nascent period. The flip-side,"Ballard Bitter," named after a Northwest beer, was later rerecorded for Just Kidding. Their second single, from 1992 on C/Z provided a preview of Just Kidding, with it's A-side, "Outside In" later to appear in a different version on the album. The backing "Hide and Find Out," was exclusive to this record. As for the pair of bonus tracks I had mentioned, "Damnation Dawn," and "Flies In my Coffee" (the latter actually a cover of Carly Simon's "You're So Vain") were found on a five-cut C/Z Records promo Treepeople CD that was never released for public consumption. Of course, I own a copy 'cause I'm good like that.

After Doug left Treepeople in 1994 (or around there), the band hobbled on without him, largely in name only, before wisely rechristening themselves as Stuntman.

Sonic Bubblegum Records 7" (1991)
01. Mistake
02. Ballard Bitter

C/Z Records 7" (1992)
03. Outside In
04. Hide and Find Out

from C/Z Treepeople promo CD (1993)
05. Damnation Dawn
06. Flies In My Coffee


Friday, October 10, 2008

The Drowners - Destroyer (1996, A West Side Fabrication); World Record Player (1997, Speech)

Granted, The Drowners 2000 album (and domestic debut) Is There Something On Your Mind? has turned up in a lot of bargain bins throughout recent years, it still stands as one of the finest overlooked power-pop platters of the new millennium. A quintet from Skelleftea, Sweden, The Drowners derive much of their inspiration from fellow Scandinavians like Johan, The Merrymakers, and Popsicle, but moreover, there's a decidedly Americanized bent to their recordings. In fact, the band was so enthusiastic about Stateside demi-gods The Posies, they included a paean of sorts to their heroes on Something's "Bellingham."
Imparting a sumptuous cavalcade of crunchy power chords operating in tandem with a commanding, but none-too-glossy production job, that album's 13 indelible songs left me craving more. Luckily, the Drowners had a back catalog to plunder, but it would take some hunting to obtain their previous LPs, Destroyer and World Record Player.

Destroyer would have been a superb debut effort for any of their ilk, but factoring in The Drowners much stronger albums to follow, it wasn't quite revelatory. The record would generate a number of singles for them in their native Sweden, including "Teenager" and "Stupid Way," but album cuts "Responsibility" and "Turnpike Down Again" found them working to their true potential.

Containing early versions of a number of Is There Something on Your Mind ? selections, including the positively flooring "Summer Break My Fall" and "Bittersweet," World Record Player boasted more aptitude than their debut, and convincingly set the table for their first stateside album three years later. You'd be hard pressed to find fans of Jason Falkner and the Gladhands who wouldn't become lifetime devotees after a spin of WRP. A real treat for anyone with an appreciation of this album's aforementioned follow-up.

After the release of (and rather unnoticed) Is There Something...The Drowners returned to the indie circuit for their fourth album, Muted to a Whisper in 2002, and five years thereafter, Cease to Be.

01. Sunshine
02. Teenager
03. Stupid Way
04. Paulina's Eyes
05. Spark
06. Crave
07. Responsibility
08. Hey Superman
09. My Sacrifice
10. Harder
11. Turnpike Down Again
12. The Bitter End
13. Bumperstar

World Record Player
01. Bittersweet

02. Fake R&R Personality
03. Is There Something On Your Mind?
04. Pickup
05. Summer Break My Fall
06. What Comes Naturally
07. From a Distance
08. One Star
09. I Hear You Knocking
10. Hey Seventeen
11. Winter Left You Alone

12. Dependency
13. Happy Endings

Destroyer: Hear

World Record Player: Now playing on Amazon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Map of the World - An Inch Equals a Thousand Miles ep (1989, Atlantic)

Yet more long-lost, left-of-the-dial ear candy. Map of the World vocalist Sophia Hanifi, with brother Khalid occupying the other mic and guitar, offer superb musicianship and vaguely narrative songs, reminiscent of such eclectic troupes as Fetchin Bones and The Swimming Pool Q’s…if that means anything to you. As was the case with a plethora of Atlantic Record signees during the ‘80s, the label’s promotion department was a no-show, what with being preoccupied with Debbie Gibson and Winger. The six-cut An Inch Equals a Thousand Miles was their only major label recording.

Highlights here entail the organ-driven stomper, “The Wall of Least Resistance,” and the penultimate “Stop Thinking Now.” Check out the Map’s website (hyperlinked above) for a discography and copious reviews of their meager output.
01. The Wall of Least Resistance
02. Impenetrable You
03. Necessity
04. I Fight For My Life
05. Stop Thinking Now
06. Steps

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Singles Going Single # 73 - Fig Dish (1993, Happy Tails)

Scooped up during the post-Nirvana signing blitz, Chicago's Fig Dish dished out two excellent platters for Alias Records, That's What's Love Song's Often Do in 1995, and 1997's When Shove Goes Back to Push. With a roaring, riff-rawk assault a la Dramarama, The Buck Pets, and Soul Asylum, Fig Dish had the makings of a respectable success story. Though making some inroads at alt-rock radio circa Love Songs, Fig Dish didn't "phair" nearly as well as their gold and platinum hometown brethren Urge Overkill, Veruca Salt, and yes, Liz Phair.

The single concerning this post was a precursor to the aforementioned albums. Featuring an early incarnation of one of Love Song's most durable numbers, "Rollover, Please," and the otherwise unavailable "Miss California," this 7" makes a strong case for Fig Dish opting to go with a big indie like Sub Pop instead of selling their souls to the suits. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Anyway, I recently learned that in 1998 Fig Dish recorded an album's worth (and then some) of songs for a tentative third album that never was. You can try it on for size by clicking here. On the same blog, you can also partake in a download of a 2006 Fig Dish reunion gig. More Fig Dish songs are available on this here Myspace fan site.
After Fig Dish, mouthpiece/ax-slinger Blake Smith and fellow Dish alumni Mile Willison founded the slyly electonica-inflected Caviar to no significant commercial consequence.

A. Rollover, Please
B. Miss California


Singles Going Single # 72 - The All Golden - Velikovsky 7" (1999, Bubblegum Smile)

Cleveland's presumably defunct The All Golden were early adopters of Death Cab For Cutie's sheik brand of downer-pop. This single preceded a really excellent album, A Long Good Friday, released on Microtone Records in 2002, that sadly never enjoyed a follow-up.

The stellar a-side, "Velikovsky" (later included on the their lone LP) bristles with showers of relentlessly ringing guitar amidst the exquisite whirr of Moog and electric piano, topped off with Chris Sheehan's soaring harmonies. If you're anything like me, you're likely to marvel at your eardrums' sheer capability of absorbing this sublime, sonic montage all at once. The flipside, "This Guitar's Gone to Heaven," is an acoustic ballad exclusive to this single, that might as well be the work of another artist entirely, held up head-to-head with "Velikovsky," given it's comparative lucidity. I hope that last part made sense.
A. Velikovsky
B. This Guitar's Gone to Heaven

Monday, October 6, 2008

V/A - The Living Room: A Compilation (1983, The Living Room)

Even lil' ol' Providence, Rhode Island had a happening powerpop/wave scene back in the day, or so it would seem from this 13-cut compilation. Presumably released in conjunction with the Living Room nightclub in Providence, my appreciation for Mike Viola (with or without the Candy Butchers) led me to take this off the hands of an Ebay seller a few years ago. He appears here under the guise of the Mike Viola Alliance, and as superb as his singer-songwriter talents go, his crew isn't the only one to steal the show on this surprisingly consistent scene artifact. The Threats "Dream Girl" is a killer three-chord reminiscent of The Pointed Sticks. The Probers "Waste of My Time," is taught, driving power pop that fully evocative of the era, the female fronted Hi-Beams check in with one of Living Room's standout moments, "Live in Shadows, while Gary Shane and the Detour exercise their sheik, new-romantic finesse. Rash of Stabbings, whom bring The Living Room to a close, went onto greater things I believe. As for Mike Viola's scintillating contribution, "All the Time, All the While," is downright punky, and a very distant cry from his current work. Would love to hear more where that came from.

Sorry for the glare on the sleeve pic.

01. The Schemers - Streamline Heart
02. The Probers - Waste of My Time
03. Big World - Something Special
04. The Threats - Dream Girl
05. Ed Tabela - Right or Wrong
06. Mike Viola Alliance - All the Time, All the While
07. Outrage - Candy Store
08. Hi-Beams - Live in Shadows
09. The Detectives - Can't Remember Her Name
10. Some Red - She Snickers Euphoric Barf
11. Parallel 5th - Carrots and Peas
12. Gary Shane and the Detour - Middle of the Night
13. Rash of Stabbings - I Kill With Warning


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Gem - singles, etc

In response to my recent posting of Gem's totally boffo Hexed LP and I Am a Tree ep, someone requested I seal the deal with an upload of their singles recorded for the Lakewood, OH-based Carcrash Records label. Recorded prior to the album, the respective A-sides of these records, "Sheep," and the crucial "Suburban Girl," would find their way onto Hexed in unaltered form, so far as my ears can tell. The b-sides are exclusive, but I wouldn't get too excited. "Suburban Girl's" flipside, "Drool" is merely an instrumental.

In addition, I'm tacking on two Gem contributions to a 1995 compilation called Big Wave, that was included with an issue of Cle Magazine. One of these songs, "Blow Daddy-O," is a Pere Ubu cover, which also appeared on a tribute album to the band, Ubu Dance Party.

from first Carcrash Records single:
01. Suburban Girl
02. Drool

from second Carcrash Records single:
03. Sheep
04. Smiling All the While

from Big Wave compilation (not my rip by the way):
05. Figments
06. Blow Daddy-O

Enjoy, and get your 'charmadang' on Hear

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Everready - Fairplay (1992, Liquid Meat)

Everready were a southern Cali punk aggregation that gestated four albums and a zillion singles throughout the '90s, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone today, quite likely even on their home turf, that remembers who the hell they are. Enamored as I was with them at the time, I have to admit their music doesn't quite have the staying power of like minded, powerhouse contemporaries Face to Face and Screeching Weasel. Everready unarguably took their cues from the aforementioned, and to a lesser extent, Chicago's barn-burning Naked Raygun.

Even though Fairplay was technically a demo (their proper debut album, Reinheitsgebot was issued in 1996) it's my favorite Everready offering. A bit sophomoric in spots, true, but this trio possessed some serious chops, and were genuinely unscrupulous when it came to the "snotty" factor, in an era mind you, of MTV punk-pap poseurs. A cover of the old Johnny Nash soul standard "I Can See Clearly" is erroneously credited to Screeching Weasel, granted Everready usurped SW's arrangement of the song. Their hearts were in the right place, I'm sure.
01. Whatever
02. Vietnam Song
03. 5 Words In My Mind
04. Change
05. At the Che
06. Will the World Ever Change?
07. 1000 Yesterdays
08. Fairplay
09. Inside My Head
10. I Can See Clearly
11. Phone Sex
12. I Never Will

Friday, October 3, 2008

Waves of Grain - The West Was Fun (1985, Stonegarden)

Just as this blog was in it's infancy, I stumbled on a post for Waves of Grain right here, and was compelled to track down the The West Was Fun. As the author determined himself, the album wasn't quite what he had longed for, but nevertheless was able to appreciate at least a few songs. That's roughly my conclusion as well. A California trio, Waves of Grain were archetypal '80s college rockers with good tunes, and even a few remarkable ones, including "Catch Me Falling," which wouldn't sound far out of place on an early dB's record, with a faint coating of The Ocean Blue I might add. Go crazy.

My apologies for the pesky vinyl noise.

01. How the West Was Fun
02. Kelly N.S.A.
03. She Must Be in Love
04. Kinetic Passion
05. Catch Me, I'm Falling
06. She Said Yes
07. When I Said ''I Love You'' (Marie, Marie)
08. Horizon Cinema
09. Upstairs Where the Air is Better


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Corduroy - Lisp ep (1994, Broken); Dead End Memory Lane (1997, Broken)

San Francisco's dearly departed Corduroy were a BIG favorite of mine during the mid-90s, and like many such indie bands in my "small of fame," word on them didn't travel far beyond their hometown. Led by the throaty Wade Driver (formally of cowpunks The Hickoids), the quartet were in some ways the closest the west coast had to a Superchunk. Comparisons to that band aside, they were seemingly inspired by Jawbreaker just as much, and to a lesser extent Nirvana. Wade's trademark rasp was Corduroy's most glaring attribute, but nevertheless he knew how to harness the power of a hook as well as his soon-to-be hometown punk millionaires.
Their 1994 Lisp ep on the Broken Rekids label is a near-perfect introduction. The opening "Jan Michael Vincent," a highly dynamic slice of crunchy melodicore is worth the price of admission alone, but is augmented by the equally strong "Now Hwat," and a choice rendition of The Swell Maps "Vertical Slum," doesn't hurt either.

The posthumous singles, demos and rarities compilation, Dead End Memory Lane is even nearer and dearer to my heart, if only for the fact that it contains the entirety of their brilliant debut 7" ep, Denounce Insitusation Nationism, a record that I went bonkers trying to track down in the pre-Google era. Eventually I did come into possession of that record, from someone in the band, quite possibly Wade if I'm not mistaken. Dead End isn't wall to wall gold, but overall hosts some soaring, phenomenal music, and for better or worse, is the closest Corduroy would ever come to making a proper full length. The closing "Cut," is the Minutemen song by the way.

After C'roy were put to pasture, Wade went on to the noisy, and often downright schizophrenic 50 Million, who still appear to be active according to their Myspace corner of the web. Bust the action ya'll.

Lisp ep
01. Jan Michael Vincent
02. Now Hwat
03. Sister Bigfoot
04. Vertical Slum
05. You Had to Be There

Dead End Memory Lane
01. Hum
02. Cornflake
03. Strychnine Porcupine
04. Four Wall Drive
05. Just My Way
06. Language of Mine
07. Truck Ribs
08. Stranded
09. Sump 'n Good
10. Funeral
11. Out the Window
12. Comin' Down So Far
13. Teeth
14. Half Mast
15. Livid
16. Nothing New
17. Jan Michael Vincent
18. Overhauls
19. G.E.
20. Cold Spot
21. Change
22. 5:30 AM
23. Cut

Lisp: Hear
Dead End Memory Lane: Hear