Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Get Up Kids - On a Wire demos (2002)

In January of 2002, The Get Up Kids, arguably the de facto poster kids for turn-of-the-millennium "emo," strove to make an album (On a Wire) that would not only be a creative transition from 1999's Something to Write Home About, but also an opportunity to forge a path that would lead them out of the misinterpreted generization that everyone wished to so conveniently bestow on them. I think they succeeded in both respects, to varying degrees, but at the end of the day, I don't think too many fans were taken aback. On the other hand, their audience failed to expand, at least on an exponential level. Ultimately, Wire saw the Kids shunning much of their wrought, punk past, and simply wound up as a heartfelt, albeit a little down-in-the-mouth, rock record on par with the rest of their catalog, if not a little better.

I found this collection of demos on Soulseek a few weeks ago, and was delighted to do so in fact. The album incarnations of the songs (11 of the 12 songs are represented here) didn't stray far from these takes, but also included here are a handful of like-minded, untitled tracks that failed to make the cut, and some Guilt Show (their follow-up to Wire) "b-sides" that I'm not sure were actually released as such. Hmmm... Enjoy (or not)

01. Overdue
02. Stay Gone
03. Let the Reigns Go Loose
04. untitled
05. Grunge Pig
06. High as the Moon
07. All That I Knew
08. Walking on a Wire
09. Wish You Were Here
10. Campfire Kansas
11. The Worst Idea
12. Hannah Hold On
13-17 all untitled
18. I'll Catch You (acoustic)
19. Lost In the Light (Guilt Show b-side)
20. Send Us a Saint (Guilt Show b-side)


Preston School of Industry - Goodybye to the Edge City ep (2001, Amazing Grease); The Idea of Fires ep (2002, Trifekta)

After Pavement dissolved in 2000, leadman Stephen Malkmus went on to record four solo records. Axe-slinger "Spiral Stairs" (aka Scott Kannberg) struck out on his own as well, helming Preston School of Industry. After a listen to their two albums (to date), All This Sounds Gas (2001), and Monsoon (2004), it's clear that Spiral and Co. didn't fall far from the tree before landing on the pavement.

The two eps this post concerns were released between PSOI's albums, featuring nine tracks of non-lp goodness between them. Enjoy. I have some more PSOI eps/singles if anyone is interested, as well as the live bonus CD that came with the European version of Monsoon. BTW, Edge City was released on Spiral's own in-house label, Grease Records, which is apparently now defunct. 
Goodbye to the Edge City ep
01. Somethings Happen Always
02. How to Impress the Goddess pt. 2
03. The Spaces in Between
04. Where You Gonna Go?
05. Goodbye to the Edge City 
The Idea of Fires ep
01. The Idea of Fires
02. Walls of Grain
03. Suddenly Stable
04. Save Our Happiness 
Goodbye to the Edge City: Hear
The Idea of Fires: Hear

Friday, February 27, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 7 - Twitch Hazel (pre-Fudge)/The Technical Jed 2x7" (1993, Brilliant)

More vintage pre-Fudge music, and a perfect tie-in with my split singles series, Splitting the Difference. This is a double 7" split single - one for T/H (maroon vinyl) and the other Technical Jed (blue vinyl). As with Engine No. 9 (see the post directly below this one), Twitch Hazel were another project involving David Tony Ammendolia and David Jones, before they formed Fudge and went on to worldwide acclaim and idolization. The four T/H songs originated from a 4-track demo session in 1989, but when the tapes were subsequently lost, they were rerecorded in January of 1993, which is what you have here. The two a-sides, "Nowhere" and "Chilled" are the standouts to me, but there's hardly any filler here. Sounds like the early Fudge singles with maybe a little Posies thrown in for good measure.

I was never really a follower of Richmond, VA's Technical Jed, but I'm aware of the two albums they cut for spinART Records in the mid '90s. The pop quotient isn't as much an emphasis for them compared to who they share this release with, but as I listen to their a-side "Blank 60," it's not too far removed from Death Cab for Cutie's more recent records. Not bad. If you're lucky, you might still be able to buy a copy from Insound
Twitch Hazel
01. Nowhere
02. Chilled
03. Believe
04. Mention 
The Technical Jed
A. Blank 60
B. What

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Engine No. 9 (pre-Fudge) 7" (1991, Bus Stop); V/A -Peppermint Stick Parade (1995, Bus Stop)

As promised, here's another installment in the Fudge legacy series. Turns out that prior to getting all woozy in Fudge, the band's nuclei of frontmen Tony Ammendolia & David Jones had their antecedents in a group called Engine No. 9, who's recorded output involved a mere 7" single. Gee, thanks a lot guys. If you would have been a little more generous I wouldn't be lamenting the fact there were no more songs cut from the same flabbergasting fabric that bore "Sleep," and "Waterfall," two modest, but deeply affecting mid-fi downer pop classics for the ages.
While I've scanned the sleeve for the single to your right (that Pier Platters tag ain't getting peeled off for nothin'), both tracks also appeared on Bus Stop Record's Peppermint Stick Parade compilation, which I've posted in it's entirety (that means the whole thing). Since you've been gracious enough to come for Engine no. 9, stay for jangle-pop keepers by the equally impressive Bag-O-Shells and St. Christopher. And if that weren't enough, there's also some vintage Velvet Crush action going on here too, and believe it or not, the pre-VC Springfields (Rick Menck) and a solo cut from the Crush's other prime mover, Paul Chastain. Should you crave more of the Menck/Chastain axis, proceed to this pertinent post from last year.
01-The Stupid Cupids - Big Blue Bus
02-Bag-O-Shells - Almost Home
03-Honeybunch - Warts and All
04-The Mayfields - Deeper Than the Ocean
05-Engine No. 9 - Waterfall
06-St. Christopher - Even the Sky Seems Blue
07-The Springfields - Sunflower
08-The Sneetches - Flying on the Ground
09-Bag-O-Shells - Whatever Happened to My Life?
10-Engine No. 9 - Sleep
11-Honeybunch - Hey Blue Sky!
12-The Mayfields - Feels Like Yesterday
13-St. Christopher - Our Secret
14-The Caroline Know - Orphaned Too
15-Paulie Chastain - Raining All Day
16-Velvet Crush - Circling the Sun 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Screamfeeder Kitten Licks (1997/1999)

Here's another one of my back-pocket gemstones from the '90s. Screamfeeder crawled out of Brisbane, Australia in the early '90s. They would go on to record some eight albums at probably twice as many singles and eps. The first Screamfeeder album to drop in the U.S. was Blow Out Your Name, a decidedly grungy affair that was passable but not terribly affecting. By the time the band got around to their next Stateside release. Kitten Licks, you'd think they made a quantum leap, because in large part they had. Trading in the flavor of the month for the brand of tuneful distorto-rock that their home country brethren Pollyanna were simultaneously making their calling card as well. "Static" and "Dart" are worth the price of admission alone, but Kitten Licks is relatively consistant held up against the rest of the band's LPs. Screamfeeder never made an album like it before or after - bittersweet circumstances, much like the music it contains.

01. Static
02. Bridge Over Nothing
03. Dart
04. Bruises
05. Explode Your Friends
06. Down the Drinker
07. Summertime
08. Gravity
09. Ant
10. End of the Wire
11. Helen's Theme
12. Pigtails on a Rock

This has done been reissued with extra tracks!  Get it here or here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

V/A - Viva La Vinyl (1995, Dead Beat/Campground)

In the '90s, when the major labels and Epitaph were tending to their pampered punk flock, there was a much wider subterranean punk/hardcore scene underfoot, bolstered by Maximumrocknroll et al. While far from a definitive snapshot of this parallel universe, Viva La Vinyl, a co-release between Dead Beat and Campground Records, does a commendable job of compiling 16 basement-party punk bands of the mid-90s in to one handy vinyl-only package. True, it has it's share of "crusty" miscreants, Viva... touts a bevy of pop-leaning combos, including Bouncing Souls, Trusty (a Beatles cover - wtf?), Sicko, and the ever reliable J Church. Others like The Kids (not the Belgian band), Krupted Peasant Farmers, and Jon Cougar Concentration Camp opt for a rawer approach. Fighting Cause, who deliver this albums penultimate slammer, "My Crime," always struck me as potential torchbearers for the more anthematic wing of last decade's punk-revival, but wider notoriety just wasn't in the cards for them.

01. Verrucose - Shingle
02. Sleeper - Destroying the Builder
03. Bouncing Souls - These Are the Quotes From Our Favorite '80s Movies
04. Whatever - Streak (Bill # 1)
05. Trusty - Magical Mystery Tour
06. J Church - Bomb
07. Tilt - Can't Listen
08. Preachers That Lie - Happy All the Time
09. The Kids - I Wish
10. Tilt Wheel - Crawl
11. Queen Mab - Flower
12. Nonsense - Crazy Al
13. Jon Cougar Concentration Camp - So What
14. Krupted Peasant Farmers - Bear Named Dog
15. Fighting Cause - My Crime
16. Sicko - Weight of the Sun


Fudge - 20th Century Masters: The Singles Collection (1992)

This is a timely follow-up to this weeks post for Fudge's The Ferocious Rhythm of Precise Laziness album, something of a lost shoegazer classic, at least in my book. All nine songs here were ripped straight from the original singles, and six of them were rerecorded for Ferocious Rhythm. Fudge not only absorbed the dream-pop fundamentals from their British originators, there sound was also a wink and a nod to bands closer to their Arlington, VA home turf, including Edsel and Velocity Girl. "Oreo Dust," "Pez," and "Drive" (all of which would appear on the album) remain as some of my all-time favorite American indie pop songs, and believe me, that's saying a lot. More Fudge related posts to follow. Here's the track info:
Bomb Pop ep (Brilliant Records)
01. Oreo Dust
02. Mull
03. Pez
04. Inez
(Bus Stop Records)
05. Astronaut
06. Drive 
(Super Fly Records)
07. Wayside
08. Girlwish
from Neapolitan Metropolitan V/A 7" box set
09. Montpelier Train Station

Friday, February 20, 2009

Straitjacket Fits - Down in Splendour 2x7" ep (1990, Flying Nun)

When all is said and done, The Straitjacket Fits will probably always remain my favorite New Zealand export. Way back in July of 2007 when Wilfully Obscure was cutting it's teeth, I shared their first album, Hail, the CD version of which also contained the Life In One Chord ep. Ever before and since I've craved some rare studio material to surface, but either the Fits are keeping a tight lid on things of the bottom of the barrel has been scraped. The Flying Nun released Down In Splendour double 45" ep is about the best I can do for now. The title cut, a beautiful ballad which would have been grist for Top 40 radio then, and for that matter now, saw the light of day on the band's second album, Melt. The not-so-drastic-remix of "Missing Presumed Drowned," made it aboard that album as well. The live at Triple J track "Seeing U Fled," was only recorded in this incarnation I believe, while "Cave In" was a Melt studio outtake. I have a static-free version of "Cave In" on the ep Missing From Melt, which I may post at a later date, along with some more JJJ session tracks.

01. Down In Splendour
02. Seeing U Fled (live, Triple J)
03. Missing Presumed Drowned (George Martin Knew My Father mix)
04. Cave In


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fudge - The Ferocious Rhythm of Precise Laziness (1993, Caroline)

Once you get past the unassuming, and quite frankly, unsightly album sleeve, you will find enshrined on the aluminum disk within one of the finest American indie-pop albums of the '90s, or in fact, ever. I've been putting this one off for a while now, but I can assure you it has nothing to do with the cosmetic facets of this album.

Richmond, VA's Fudge made their presence felt in the early nineties with a trio of singles (to be documented here in the near-future) showcasing a sizable dream-pop awareness, intermingled with the alt-rock rumblings that were occurring right in their own backyard, that being the District of Columbia. Those early 45s essentially served as demos for their 1993 debut album, The Ferocious Rhythm of Precise Laziness. Fudge worshiped at the alter of Ride and My Bloody Valentine just as much as anyone in their league, but instead of unleashing a crush of bludgeoning distortion and done-to-death tremolo trickery, they employed a more easy-goes-it tact, focusing on melody. The album's most notable songs, including "Oreo Dust," "Pez," and "Drive" put the emphasis on sublime harmonies instead of overpowering noise, while applying a much appreciated surreal undercurrent in the process. Ferocious has it's moments of filler (e.g. the loopy bass & drum-ridden "20-Nothing Dub") but nothing distracting enough to defuse the blissed-out vibe of the remainder. In the coming days and weeks, you'll be hearing more of Fudge and it's related off-shoots, but for now, enjoy this stroke of genius from a band that was all too fleeting and ignored.
01. Oreo Dust
02. Jr. High Blur
03. Peanut Butter
04. Mystery Machine
05. Mull
06. Wayside
07. Pez
08. Astronaut
09. 20-Nothing Dub
10. Drive
11. Snowblind

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pointed Sticks - Raw Power Pop (live 2006-07)

I came across this CD on Ebay last year, and it's unclear (at least to me) whether this is a band sanctioned release. As any self-respecting Pointed Sticks fan already knows, the incendiary Vancouver punk/power-pop band that was active in the late '70s/early '80s reunited in 2006 for several live shows, a single, and as I've recently learned myself, an upcoming album (only their second)! I've posted music from the Pointed Sticks earlier on these pages.

Raw Power Pop contains 18 field recordings spread over the course of five reunion gigs in Japan, Canada, and NYC between 2006-07. A great memento to the majority of us that were unable to attend these shows. The band's studio back catalog has recently been made available on CD from Sudden Death Records. For more background info, check out my aforementioned P/S post, and their Myspace page.
01. intro
02. Marching Song
03. Lies
04. I'm Numb
05. When She's Alone She Cries
06. What Do You Want Me to Do?
07. Somebody's Mom
08. Apologies
09. All I Could Take
10. Way You Do
11. How Could You
12. All That Matters
13. True Love
14. The Real Thing
15. The Witch
16. Part of the Noise
17. Out of Luck
18. It Hurts to Be In Love

Wither Feelin' Kinda Froggy blog?

Holy fucking shit. One day it was there, and the next day it wasn't. My favorite blog just fucking vanishes. The kind bard who curated this departed but beloved cranny of cyberspace possesses what is one of the most thorough indie vinyl libraries on the planet (and you thought yours truly was obscure). Although I downloaded dozens of albums from FKF, there were many more that I intended to explore at a later date, and apparently that date passed sometime last week. Granted, the Sharbee file links deposited oodles of spyware on my system, the music was it's own reward. I believe that FKF was a successor to another blog, that strangely enough was also eviscerated sans warning, so I can only hope the mole that was whacked down this time will arise from a different hole. Does anyone have the skinny on this rather unfortunate development?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Classic Ruins - Ruins Cafe (1989, Presto)

Ever wonder what your local “bar band” would sound like if they acknowledged the likes of The Replacements and Ramones, just as much, if not more so than your typical beer-breath blues rock? Boston’s long-running Classic Ruins just might be a relatively close answer to such a quandary. Their second album, Ruins Cafe, (preceded by the recently re-released Lassie Eats Chickens) packs considerable firepower within the confines of it's staunchly no-frills poise, with side two's "This Means War" being my proverbial drink of choice. The band is still at it after some 30 years, with a handful of shows scheduled in the Massachusetts area, or thereabouts, for this winter/spring. Belly up to the bar, and tell 'em Wilfully Obscure sent ya.

01. Tony and Karen
02. Russian Hands
03. Hurt That Way
04. It Wasn't Too Late
05. Ruins Cafe
06. Hedda Humma
07. Don't Call Here
08. Lullabye of Boomland
09. This Means War
10. Nick of Time


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Velvet Elvis - What in the World...and more (1998/recorded 1985-89)

Lexington, KY's Velvet Elvis were one of a bazillion college-radio bands in the '80s to record for local record labels despite brandishing the quality befitting of a national, or for that matter international audience. Think "indie," "New South," dB's, Let's Active (who's Mitch Easter contributes on a track here), and even a little Tom Petty-esque jangle.
In actuality, Velvet Elvis did have a shot on the national stage, via a self-titled album in 1988 on Enigma Records, which did precious little to boost their notoriety. This assumedly very limited cd-r compilation rounds up their superb 1985 ep, Fun & Trouble, and the What in the World album that followed a year later, as well as eight bonus cuts tracked between 1987-89, some produced by Mr. Easter. Both of the main recordings were released on Hit-a-Note-Records, and the CD was put out in conjunction with Better Days Records. A review can be read here.
Here's what Allmusic has to say: 
Although part of the fertile indie rock scene centered around Lexington, KY, during the late '80s, Velvet Elvis focused more on country- and pop-oriented rock than their experimentalist contemporaries, recording an EP and one album for the Hit a Note label before signing a contract with Enigma in 1987. The quartet began recording with producer Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Let's Active) and released a self-titled album in 1988. 
What in the World
01. Ambition
02. What in the World
03. Too Much of Anything
04. Back Where I Belong
05. Making Plans (With a Married Man)
06. Back It Up
07. All the Girls in Town
08. Nowhere
09. Something Happened Today
10. Out of My Hands
Fun & Trouble ep
11. Still Another Reason
12. Second Best
13. Patron of the Arts
14. If You Say It's So
15. Hard to Hold
16. Guilty
17. Suitcase Song
18. Whatever's On Our Minds
19. Little Town Jerk
20. Which Way Now
21. Try!

Splitting the Difference # 8 - Junk Monkeys/John Wesley Harding and the Monks of Doom 7" (1993, Warner Bros)

Had a request for this a couple weeks ago. This is simply a Warner Brothers promo 7" that featured the Junk Monkeys putting their collective stamp on Thin Lizzy's "Cowboy Song." Some noticeable snaps and pops on this one, as was the case with another copy of this single I once listened to. I was feeling so enthusiastic, I also included another Junk Monkeys cover in this very upload, namely "Boys Don't Cry," (The Cure, duh) worth it's weight in gold, every bit as much as the original. This was taken from a radio-only promo CD.

I'm not a fan of either John Wesley Harding (And the Monks of Doom), nor Robert Wyatt, the original scribe of "Moon In June." Typically, this side of the single plays clear as a bell. Beautiful transparent red vinyl too. 


Splitting the Difference # 7 - Big Drill Car/Chemical People (1991, Cruz)

This is quite possibly the first split 7" I ever came into possession of, and boy, what a way to kick off a collection. Two creme de la creme indie-punk bands covering two '70s classics. Although they're one of my top tier favorites, I haven't exactly gone on at length about Big Drill Car on my blog, because as far as I can tell their CDs are readily available, either tangibly of through Itunes. Slightly tiresome due to classic rock radio, soundtracks, etc...Cheap Trick's "Surrender" is nevertheless an anthem of the highest order. Since BDC's sound ultimately had it's antecedents in bands like Cheap Trick, the pairing is logical. While the tempo has been boosted, Big Drill Car's treatment of the songs is entirely faithful. If you're new to them and care to hear more, check out their 1989 debut LP, Album Type Thing. If you're also new to Cheap Trick, shame on you. Incidentally, a tribute album to Big Drill Car was released in 2008.

Affectionately referred to by followers as "The Chems," The Chemcial People were labelmates with Big Drill Car, and emanated from the same Southern Cali "popcore" scene. Their recorded output is significant, and ultimately a little uneven when gauging as a whole. Their straightforward take on Kiss' Dressed to Kill cut, "Getaway," more than passes the tribute test however.
Big Drill Car - Surrender
Chemical People - Getaway

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Gas - Emotional Warfare (1981, Polydor)

Don't have too much background info on The Gas (or for that matter a physical copy of this record). It's safe to say that they were the product of the second wave of British punk, although Emotional Warfare's leadoff corker, "Devastated" is about as extreme as the Gas care to venture here. Definitely some Clash-y inclinations at moments, but it actually works to the group's advantage. Here's Trouser Press' two cents:

Frequently compared to Elvis Costello, and sometimes even to Graham Parker and the Clash, the Gas were more of the punk-pop-mod school of outfits like the Jam and Chords. Emotional Warfare, a ripping pop LP, shows the trio's sharp attack and some of the busiest music this side of the Buzzcocks. "Definitely Is a Lie" and "Losing my Patience" are the kind of aural pummels one never expects from music so catchy; similarly, the band's vitality masked the incredibly bitter lyrics by singer Donnie Burke, an intelligent yet disillusioned and terminally unsatisfied frontman. Imagine someone who'd been left in the lurch by a thousand women and you'd still have trouble imagining Burke's bleak anGerman By comparison, the young Costello seems complacent in comparison. Emotional Warfare indeed! (Jack Rabid)

Overall, a highly consistent record for connoisseurs of this period. You can also check out a Gas single here.

01. Devastated
02. The Outside
03. Possessions
04. The Finger
05. Love Bites
06. Losing My Patience
07. Definitely Is a Lie
08. Wasted Passion
09. Burning Inside
10. Treatment 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

V/A - Endangered Species 6 X 7" box (1990, Glitterhouse)

The various artists 7" box set. A rarity in the '80s and '90s, and unheard of today. While they were never the rage (due mostly to extremely limited pressings and lack of recognizable participants) 7" box compilations were well curated, and marketed to fans of indie rock sub-genres. The Endangered Species box released on the European Glitterhouse Records imprint in 1990 is quite possibly the best example of this all but extinct vinyl configuration. Showcasing twelve eardrum-decimating, aggro-punk/post-punk/noise acts of the era, this collection consisting of six 45s (one band, one song to a side), Species shines it's collective spotlight on no less than six bands by my count (incl. Cows, Helios Creed, Bastards, Halo of Flies, Unsane and Surgery) that once released vinyl gracing the Amphetamine Reptile Records logo at one stage or another of their sordid careers. For many of you, the aforementioned lineup will no doubt enlighten you to the aesthetics of this compilation, but wait, there's more! Boston hard-ass punks Bullet Lavolta grace us with a scalding cover of Cheap Tricks durable as ever "Hello There," Bitch Magnet pitch us an exclusive non-LP goodie, Green River take The Dead Boy's "Ain't Nothin to Do" to task, Monster Magnet grace us with the stoner-phonic "Murder," and even slow-core idols in the making Codeine make an appearance here.

I've supplied a scan of the box-top, as well as photos of the tops and undersides of all the sleeves in collective shots (the top sleeves, when correctly placed together, depict a diorama of the two fine cover models), but if you're looking for sleeve by sleeve shots, go here. Special thanks to Chris for ripping all MP3s!
01. Bullet Lavolta - Hello There
02. Bitch Magnet - White Pieces of Bread
03. Cows - Good Cop
04. Bastards - Groovy Space Man
05. Halo of Flies - Clowns
06. Monster Magnet - Murder
07. Surgery - Losida Slide
08. Codeine - Castle
09. Helios Creed - Boxing the Clown
10. Bored! - Christine
11. Green River - Ain't Nothin' to Do
12. Unsane - Four Sticks

Monday, February 9, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 6 - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart/Parallelograms 7" (2008, Atomic Beat)

Lately, when people have ask me to recommend my latest and greatest discovery of the moment, my band of choice to pluck out of my back pocket has been New York's The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but they won't be staying in my pocket much longer. With great accolades from Pitchfork for their oven-fresh, self-titled debut on Slumberland Records, as well as accruing glowing praise in several print magazines, POBPAH could be on the cusp of something far grander than this split single that was limited to a pressing of a mere 300 copies. The Pains co-ed amalgamation of mid-80s British jangle, and faint shoegazer inclinations a la Isn't Anything-era My Bloody Valentine, dovetail to a relentless, chiming crescendo, indelible to even the most discriminating hipster. Their track here, the inventively titled "Kurt Cobain's Cardigan," doesn't appear on their full-length, or anywhere else, but is as representative and essential as anything else in their burgeoning repertoire. Who would've guessed the influence of bands like Close Lobsters and Black Tambourine would still be resonating some fifteen to twenty years after the fact? The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are on a trek of the US. Check out the dates at their Myspace site.

Female-fronted UK denizens The Parallelograms offer up two swift slices of minimalist indie-pop, that lean vaguely in the direction of the Popguns and Primitives (remember them?), but would ultimately sound more at home on a Brit fanzine cassette comp, circa 1988. This single has sold out, but check out Atomic Beat Records website some new bands that just might land in your back pocket.

Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Kurt Cobain's Cardigan
The Parallelograms - 1, 2, 3, Go!
The Parallelograms - Pop the Bubbles

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Keys - Grand Opening ep (1988, Keywhole)

Before going any further, I should inform you that this is not the same "set of keys" as The UK-based Keys who recorded a flooring guitar-pop album under the direction of Joe Jackson in 1981. The Keys in question, fronted by Bob Koenig, were an entirely different entity, an export of Mineola, NY in fact. Funny thing is, they, like the unrelated band of the indentical namesake across the pond also specialized in instantly gratifying power-pop, or at any rate a close variation thereof. The Mineola Keys followed in the footsteps of Off Broadway USA and Shoes, albeit a little grittier. Grand Opening, and later a cassette album released in 1990, were the only two releases to their credit, but Koenig went onto a solo career, and has performed as recently as last year. My copy of Grand Opening came bundled with a flexidisk featuring what appears to be an alternate take of the EP's "Something Special." The flexi was originally included in a comic book called Femforce.

01. Deanna
02. Poison Pen
03. Doesn't Bother Me at All
04. Something Special
05. Angry Man
06. When It Rains It Pours
plus: Femforce Theme (Something Special) from flexidisk

Newly reissued with a slew of bonus tracks here.

Splitting the Difference # 5 - Punchbuggy/Treblecharger 7" (Rightwide)

It took me a good seven years or so to track this puppy down, and while the payoff wasn't quite as grand as I wished, it was a pleasure to fill out my Punchbuggy collection with this scarce missing link. Punchbuggy haven't really been brought up on these pages yet, but look for some of their albums on Wilfully Obscure and the weeks and months to follow. Hailing from Ottawa, Ontario, the ever-evolving 'Buggy looked due east to Montreal for inspiration (i.e. The Doughboys). Four very consistent albums were churned out from 1994 on, however it's a safe bet to assume they disbanded after their 2002 LP, The Great Divide. Their side here "Soupy Sales Lost the Big One" isn't exactly the quintessence of Punchbuggy, but respectable.

The Buggy's pairing with Treblecharger (later spelled as two words) was fairly fitting, but on Treble's "Slight," mouthpiece Greig Nori's lackadaisical pipes ring tone-deaf to these ears. The band's woozy backdrop doesn't exactly compensate either. Dare I say they're still together? My Treble Charger album of choice is 1997's Maybe It's Me, a polished, power-pop jewel for the ages.
A. Punchbuggy - Soupy Sales Lost the Big One
B. Treblecharger - Slight

Friday, February 6, 2009

Superdrag - Head Trip in Every Key demos (1997)

While the world (or at least I) awaits Superdrag's "reunion" album, Industry Giants, I thought I'd commit to cyberspace this collection of demos recorded in 1997 at the fabled Bearsville Studios in upstate New York for their second LP, Head Trip in Every Key. While they never recorded a less than stellar album or ep, Head Trip... found Superdrag at their creative apex, building on the foundation of their riveting debut, Regretfully Yours.

Naturally, most of these songs were fully realized on the record in question, but I believe at least five didn't make the cut ("Here We Come," "She Says," and "My Day (Will Come)") found their way onto the Superdrag outtakes collection Changin' Tires On The Road To Ruin almost ten years later. Enjoy.
01. Bankrupt Vibration (alt lyrics)
02. Sold You an Alibi
03. Hellbent
04. Simple Simon
05. I'm Expanding My Mind
06. Bristol Gurls
07. She's a Holy Grail
08. She Says
09. Take Your Spectre Away
10. Senorita
11. Man on the Flaming Pie (later Shuck & Jive)
12. I Know the Score
13. Hallucination (later Annetichrist)
14. Simpleton's Make Believe (later Mr. Underground)
15. Here We Come
16. My Day (Will Come)
17. Head Trip in Every Key
18. Pine Away
19. The Art of Dying

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 4 - Cobra Verde/Ether Net 7" (1995, Carcrash)

Not only are the songs covered on this single pretty darn hip, both participants even go to the trouble of convincingly mocking the respective original album art from which the tunes were drawn from! "The Great Dominions," redone by Cobra Verde appeared on the Teardrop Explodes' Wilder album; Ether Net take to task Echo and the Bunnymen's "Lips Like Sugar" from their eponymous 1987 album. Ether Net's carefully coiffed hairstyles are an almost perfect mimic of the ones graced by Ian McCulloch & Co. on said Echo's record, in all it's pale gray glory, while Cobra Verde recreates the hand gesture of the original Teardrop sleeve to a fault, but doesn't quite carry the font over (a minor quibble, I know). Even Billboard magazine had something to say about this record.

Ether Net's spin on "Lips..." is a tad prolonged, but the replication is respectfully faithful. I enjoy the Teardrop Explodes, but "...Dominions" isn't a particular favorite of mine. Nevertheless, Ohio's intermittent but long-running Cobra Verde apply a sort of grandeur to the song, much in league with Julian Cope and Co's original 'magic.' You are welcome to download the Teardrop's early singles compilation, Piano here.

A. Ether Net - Lips Like Sugar
B. Cobra Verde - The Great Dominions


Splitting the Difference # 3 - Thin White Rope/Poster Children 7" (1991, Clawfist)

Nothing terribly complicated here. This single was part of a series of split 7"s released by the British Clawfist Records imprint in 1991. Thin White Rope cover a Poster Children song and vice-versa. Personally, to this day, I've never had an appreciation for TWR, but I like their rather straightforward take on the P Kids "Eye," a chestnut originally found on their debut LP, Flower Plower.
The Poster Children were definitely the draw for me here, and up until recently I didn't know their side of this wax was actually a cover. One of Champaign, IL's finest indie-pop conglomerates ever seize the reigns of the Rope's "Down in the Desert" and actually do a near-convincing job of making the song their own, but ultimately, this record is for die-hards of these two bands only. For another Poster Children single on this very blog, may I direct your attention here
A. Thin White Rope - Eye
B. Poster Children - Down In the Desert

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Evergreen Trio - For All Intents and Purposes (2000, My Hero) & Lift Up Your Voice ep (2001?, self released)

For All Intents and Purposes
01. These Gas Station Roses Should Tell You Something
02. Cobblestone & Embassies
03. Petals & Ashes
04. Burt Bachrach Without Dreaming
05. Dance, Academy, Dance!
06. A Few Less Sour
07. This: Angel/We've
08. O’ this Happiest Day
09. Will You Wake Me

Lift  Up Your Voice ep
 01. Howling
02. My Token Boy
03. Bernadette
04. Tonight We Walk
05. Never in the Evening
06. What You Call Freedom
07. Juniper

For All Intents and Purposes: Hear
Lift Up Your Voice: Hear

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Odolites - Face Down in the Violets (1987, Rampant)

Before going any further, I owe a big belated thanks to the person who responded to my previous Odolites post, who informed of an album I had no idea existed - this one! That much appreciated info prompted me to track down this album, and wouldn't ya know, I was actually able to locate it in a short amount of time (although it isn't likely that there are too many copies of these floating around, as was the case with everything else they committed to vinyl...I think a reissue is in order)! The Odolites were a mid-80s indie band from Tasmania (but originally Melbourne) Australia, specializing in Paisley Underground-inflected guitar pop, not unlike Rain Parade and Translator. To give you a better background on the band, below is the text from the post I mentioned above:

The Odolites were a 4 piece guitar band who formed in the mid 80's in the North of Tasmania (Australia). At the time, groups in Tasmania playing original music were few and far between, especially those who championed bright, guitar pop. The Odolites wrote and recorded around 10 tunes, 5 of which became the EP, Persistence of Memory(Rampant Records). The band relocated to Melbourne, and became part of a vibrant, ever growing independent scene. They received rave reviews for their Persistence of Memory EP, and the follow up single, Chimes. A video clip for this song exists. They released another single, Kathleen's Tantrum followed by a full-length album, Face Down in the Violets (Rampant Records). They disbanded in 1988. Members joined 3 other bands of note - Tender Engines, The Somerfields and The Fish John West Reject.

My original Odolites post was for the group's "Chimes" 7," and Persistence of Memory ep, which are still available for download from the hyperlink in the first paragraph. Face Down in the Violets didn't impress me as viscerally as the two records that preceded it, but is nonetheless thoroughly recommendable if you like what I shared by them last year. Sorry about the glare in my photo of the album sleeve.
01. Kathleens Tantrum
02. Hope (Beneath the Surface)
03. Just Another Day
04. Closing Down
05. Towards the Sun
06. Perfect
07. I'll Show You Why
08. No Bed of Roses
09. Wait til the Day Comes
10. Threshold