Tuesday, March 31, 2009

V/A - Pipeline! - Live Boston Rock on WMBR (1996, Slow River/Kimchee)

Pipeline - Live Boston Rock on WMBR, not only serves as a two CD compendium of vintage performances from the first six years of the long-running, in-studio performance weekly radio show, but is a veritable "Who's Who" of eastern Massachusetts indie-rock acts from the early '90s. An institution at MIT campus since 1989, Pipeline is still broadcast every Tuesday evening from 8-10 pm eastern on 88.1 FM WMBR, and as you might guess, can be streamed or podcast gratis.

This 40-track collection of exclusive live-to-air recordings feature no less than ten acts that have been featured on Wilfully Obscure in one form or another: Dambuilders, Gigolo Aunts, The Cavedogs, Roger Miller (Mission of Burma), Lou Barlow (Sebadoh), Flying Nuns, Bullet Lavolta, Moving Targets, Christmas (the band), and Fuzzy - and there are probably another ten names here that would be equally as suited on these pages, including the likes of Anastasia Screamed (who indulge in a choice Television cover), Buffalo Tom, Green Magnet School, Smackmelon, The Queers, and Come. Given it's era, Pipeline has it's share of meathead grunge/punk (mostly situated on disk one), but hardly enough to detract from a startlingly consistent and jaw-dropping lineup. Not a bad place to expose yourself to some underexposed, but worthy hopefuls from yesteryear either. Dig in!
Disk One
01-The Dambuilders - Digitized
02-360's - Hang it Up
03-Gigolo Aunts - Star 69
04-Milkmoney - Leash
05-Morphine - Scratch
06-Orangutang - Best of Enemies
07-Otis - Smith and Wesson
08-The Cavedogs - Leave Me Alone
09-Roger Miller - Kuchkah Tay Zod
10-Anastasia Screamed - Marquee Moon
11-Twig - Breed
12-Mung - Dope
13-Green Magnet School - Two Fold
14-King Moon Razor - Countrified~C'mon
15-Tree - Inside Out
16-Scarce - Cry Me a River
17-Prickly - 'Sposeta Be a Funeral
18-6L6 - 'Til Then
19-The Vehicle Birth - Two Seconds Hate
20-Lou Barlow - Skull

Disk Two
01-Bulkhead - A Dong Market
02-Cordelia's Dad - Brother Judson
03-The Queers - I Met Her at the Rat
04-The Bags - Wail
05-Syrup - Rosy, Why?
06-The Zulus - High Tide
07-Slughog - Poor
08-Come - Brand New Vein
09-Big Dipper - Extrodinary Worm
10-Buffalo Tom - Larry
11-Helium - Lucy
12-Flying Nuns - Summer
13-Bullet Lavolta - Mother's Day/Bloodstains
14-Moving Targets - Faith
15-Smackmelon - Raymond
16-Dirt Merchants - W
17-Pie - Sink This Ship
18-Christmas - Scissors Paper Stone
19-The Upper Crust - Ne'er-do-well
20-Fuzzy - Miss the Mark 

Hear & Hear

Monday, March 30, 2009

Failure - Comfort demos (1991/92)

Failure have been a major league favorite of mine for some seventeen years, but I've long resisted posting any of their material, as they have in recent years made many of their rarities commercially available – that is with the exception of these six tracks.

One of the best kept secrets of the '90s, these L.A. denizens, who maintained a consistent nucleus of guitarist/mouthpiece Ken Andrews and bassist Greg Edwards (later of Autolux), reached an outstretched tentacle to me with a promo of their 1992 debut album, Comfort, and I've been mesmerised heretofore. Though evoking much warmer sentiments and sonic expansiveness on their second and third albums (Magnified and Fantastic Planet respectively), Failure's nascent Comfort remained in stark, insular contrast to these later records. A perhaps unintentional by-product of the “post-grunge” movement, Failure’s maiden voyage was a smoldering but alluringly heavy rock record, at least to those with the patience to lend a slightly bent ear. Listening to Comfort is akin to gazing at a newly overturned log in the woods through a pair of cloudy glasses, to help buffer the sight of the lecherous undergrowth (in this case, the "buffer" being Steve Albini's crisp, airtight engineering). Via even the most lucid of vantage points, Comfort's murkiness is undeniable, but this collection of drum machine-enhanced prototypes quite literally sheds some light on an otherwise squeamish subject. I could write much about Failure's markedly improved work that was to follow Comfort, but you can hear if for yourself (if you have yet to do so already) by picking up Fantastic Planet... then work your way backwards. This post is for the die-hards.

01. Submission
02. Swallow
03. Princess
04. Salt Wound
05. Screen Man
06. Macaque


Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Philisteens - s/t (1982, Radio Free America)

Another ace bargain bin find courtesy of Ebay. Lately I’ve been lucking out on these “chance” bids, and this self titled record by Albuquerque’s Philisteens is no exception. Absolutely riff-roaring power pop, with serious punk leanings (particularly on side one). Shades of the Knack and the Cars (with less emphasis on the latter’s keyboards) bleed gloriously through, though it’s evident on “Go Downtown” that frontman Larry Otis is an undeniable disciple of David Byrne to boot. The Philisteens is an unexpected treasure trove of it’s period. You can learn a little more about the trio on the always essential Trouser Press site.

01. 2 + 2
02. In Your Pocket
03. Back Talk
04. I Get Mad
05. I Need Someone
06. Go Downtown
07. Punch In Punchout
08. Can’t Be Love
09. Elephant Head
10. Hesitation
11. Watch the Widow


Dots Will Echo - s/t (1991, High Street Records)

When I saw Dots Will Echo listed on the track lineup for the excellent Winter Hours tribute double CD, A Few Uneven Rhymes, the name instantly ushered me back to the band's 1991 self-titled disk. The Dot's label, High Street Records, from what I remember, was the "rock" arm of the folk/new age/classical music colossus Windham Hill. I'm not sure if DWE has been active this whole time or not, but my knowledge of them begins and starts with this album, filled with lean, clean guitar pop that'll be a shoo-in for listeners of Owsley and the Rembrandts. Not unlike those '80s one-hit-wonders I was crazy about for the moment, Living In a Box, Dots Will Echo include a self-titled song on their self-titled album, and wouldn't you know, it''s the snappiest nugget on here. The hooky "Science Fiction" comes in as a solid runner-up.

Update 11/27/10:  The band has kindly requested that I no longer host this album.  You can stream tracks from it on their YouTube page.

Splitting the Difference # 12 - Tugboat Annie/m**f (1993, Cash Cow)

Not counting the Goo Goo Dolls (and god forbid Green Jelly) Tugboat Annie and m**f comprised the creme de la creme of Buffalo's '90s alt-rock scene, but unlike the aforementioned, their collective quest for the brass ring, or for that matter anything resembling national notoriety, was woefully out of reach. A downright shame if you ask me or anyone else who was remotely aware of them at the time. That makes this 7" pairing all them more symbolic, and furthermore, appropriate.

Helmed by the raspy throated Mike Bethmann, Tugboat Annie's earliest endeavors were wonderfully, melodic examples of the Pixies (and perhaps more significantly, Nirvana) soft verse/loud chorus formula, employed flawlessly on their opening cut "Nine More." It will no doubt bring warm and fuzzy memories of the band's shows held in their homey Main Street loft in downtown Buffalo. Tugboat eventually emigrated to Boston, MA, but ironically, as the old adage of "absence makes the heart grown fonder" goes, the band's Buffalo fanbase grew exponentially after their departure. A trio of releases on Big Top Records, found them evening out their trademark dynamics with ever-improving songwriting that was just wrought enough to move the quartet to the outskirts of the neo-emo movement, at least for certain backpack toting listeners. Check out the Myspace link above for album tracks and links to downloadable demos and live shows. BTW, a Tugboat Annie songs (I believe, "More" from The Space Around You), was featured on a Monster.com commercial. Ah, those were the days.

Got m**f? Buffalo sure did, at least throughout a good swath of the early-to-mid '90s (before most of us actually knew what the now infamous acronym meant). One record scribe likened the trio music to a Husker Du 45 played at 33. Though not the most spot-on description of their sound, milf dispelled a sinewy, distorto guitar sprawl with jawdroppingly tuneful sensibilities bands from the Queen City have experienced before or since. Numerous short form recordings (tapes and 7"s) came and went, but their flooring debut album ha ha bus! on Big Deal Records found them at their creative apex, with the commendable antidope to folllow shortly thereafter. Represented here are two exemplary cuts from the ha ha bus ! ra. More m**f to follow on Wilfully Obscure. Original copies of this single may be available by going here.
Tugboat Annie
01. Nine More
02. Try
01. in the behind
02. ceases to beav

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 11 aMINIATURE/Drip Tank - a tale of two singles (1992-93)

I can't say to what extent San Diego's long defunct aMINIATURE and Drip Tank were aligned back in the day, but they must have been fairly busom buddies to back each other up on two 7" singles within the span of a year. Purely out of convenience and/or coincidence? I think not, but anyway...
aMINIATURE have been explored on these pages before, specifically regarding a single on Sing Fat Records posted last summer . If you haven't been enlightened on this sadly departed outfit already, think smart, post-hardcore rock a la Jawbox, exhibiting dexterous technical finesse without laying waste to the songs. "Weepo" from the '92 Topsy Records single was nicely retooled for the band's Depth Five, Rate Six record, while "Safety" remains exclusive to this disk. aMINIATURE's cut for the second split single with the Drip crew, was "Towner on the B-side" was tracked at the Casbah nightclub in San Diego in 1993. Later rerecorded for Depth Five..., Spoon were enthusiastic enough to make it a staple of their mid-'90s live sets.

The band on the other side of these coins, Drip Tank, were purely a local phenomenon. A raucous, coed quartet (originally named Joe's Drip Tank from one account) straddled that fabled indie/punk divide over the course of two albums for Headhunter Records, Slake in 1992, and Sprawl two years later. The former of those two may be posted in it's entirety at some later point, but their side of the Topsy Records wax includes two of their best. As was the case with the aMINIATURE disk on the Trademark split 7," Drip Tank's "Mumblehead" was also a live at the Casbah affair. Hope that's not too confusing. 
Topsy Records 7" (1992) 
01. Weepo
02. Safety
Drip Tank
03. Cut
04. Quencher 
Trademark Records - Trip 1 (live at the Casbah) 7" (1993)
A. aMINIATURE - Towner on the B-side
B. Drip Tank - Mumblehead 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Papillomas - When Years Were Bee Stings ep (2001, Hub City)

Someone recently requested this one. Way back in the fall of 2007, I posted an album from Nanaimo/Victoria, BC, Canada's best and brightest, The Papillomas called Twice as Early as You'd Ever Want to be There. Recalling an array of noisy yet poignantly tuneful indie-rock hopefuls from their neighbors due south, this ep was the band's final release. Check out their Myspace page or my previous post for more details, and of course, music.

01. Newest Trophy Holders
02. We're the Golden Cleats United
03. Starboard to Stern
04. Nervous Eyelid
05. She Likes the Tall Ones
06. Newest Trophy Holders (reprise)


Monday, March 23, 2009

The Fiendz - Wact (1991, Forefront)

The album you are about to (potentially) download will likely reside in your MP3 player for some months to come. Totawa, NJ's Fiendz are a long-running trio who deliver infectious pop via pummeling power chords and the most indelible hooks this side of any given Parasites album. Lead Fiend, Jerry Jones possesses a timbre uncannily similar to Evan Dando, though I can't say that their second (and best) album, Wact, resembles any particular era of the Lemonheads, at least not overtly. "Concise," is a keyword here, with most songs not clocking past the two-and-a-half-minute mark, though the band rarely ventures into pop-punk overdrive.

In 1996, the Fiendz were inexplicably possessed to rerecord and re-release Wact in it's entirety for their own in-house label, Black Pumpkin. Though the revisions of the album's fourteen (really fifteen) cuts weren't entirely blunted, they did difuse some of the original's potency. Should you wish to partake in the renovated version of Wact, or any of the band's fine follow-ups, like 2002's almost as impressive Redemption, belly up to the Fiendz merch booth.

01. Fax
02. Scumbum
03. R.I.P.
04. Wact
05. Mistake
06. Beat-less
07. We're the Fiendz (reprise)
08. Fast and Slow
09. The Deals
10. Rehab
11. Spanish Armada
12. See Ya Next Tour
13. Totowazone
14. The End
15. untitled

Now available on Bandcamp.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

V/A - Austin, TX "So What" A tribute to the Replacements (1997, Dis Twin)

Here’s my final Austin spotlight post, at least perhaps until next year’s SXSW. Austin, TX "So What," is to my knowledge the second commercially released Replacements tributes, preceded, by Sorry Ma, Forgot to Let Out the Cat, also a location specific compilation that I happened to post last year.

So What doesn’t suck, but to varying degrees it disappoints, especially when held up to 2006’s thoroughly consistent Mats tribute
We’ll Inherit the Earth on 1-2-3-4 Go! Records. There aren’t many recognizable participants here, with the most notable being mid-90s one-hit wonders Fastball, who line-drive their revved-up spin on the Let It Be classic “Androgynous.” Several remakes of Mpls finest are slotted on radically different trajectories here, a prime example being The Asylum Street Spankers bluegrass-ified “Treatment Bound.” Most of So What’s contributors actually “stick to the script,” so to speak, but you’ll be hard pressed to find any that exude one tenth the passion and fervor of Paul Westerberg and Co, as if these bands were striving to be intentionally lackluster if you can believe that. As tributes go, that is if you’re a serious Replacements fan, it’s still worth a listen, though certainly not $75-$171 certain shysters on Amazon are hoping to rake in. BTW, less than 25% of the selections here were picked from the band’s Warner Brothers albums. Is somebody trying to tell us something?

01-Novellas - Kiss Me on the Bus
02-Blind Willie's Johnson - White and Lazy
03-Asylum St. Spankers - Treatment Bound
04-Paul Minor - Left of the Dial
05-Pork with Hammel on Trial - Bastards of Young
06-CHK with the Damnations - Trouble
07-Fastball - Androgynous
08-Beaver Nelson - Can't Hardly Wait
09-Dizzy - Within Your Reach
10-The Gourds - Favorite Thing
11-Smokin' Bozo - If Only You Were Lonely
12-The Chandeliers - Sixteen Blue
13-Clown Meat - Shiftless When Idle
14-Beggar's X-mas - Johnny's Gonna Die
15-Prescott Curlywolf - Stuck in the Middle
16-Buick McKane - I Hate Music
17-Die Twins - Answering Machine


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spoon - some b-sides (1996-98)

I was an early adopter of Spoon. When their debut, Telephono, landed on the music directors desk of the college radio station I DJ'd at, I was the intrepid soul to give it first crack, and wouldn't you know it, it was love at first listen. Over the course of a half-dozen albums, Britt Daniel & Co. gradually traded in much of Telephono's short, taut esoteric punchiness for suaver environs, and though they haven't lost me yet, the early stuff has yet to be parallelled with their 21st century catalogue.

When Merge Records reissued Telephono and the hot-on-it's-heels Soft Effects ep in 2006 (both originally minted on Matador), no bonus material surfaced on the two disk package despite ample room to spare. Two no-brainers were the b-sides to the All the Negatives Had Been Destroyed CD-single, "Irrigation Man," and "If You Say So." True, this pair was not coveted as much as it's arresting a-side, or for that matter crucial album nuggets like "Nefarious" and "Don't Buy the Realistic," they should have at least been included as an incentive for the benefit of those buying these disks for a second time.

My very recent record store find of the UK-minted "Not Turning Off" 7" on Matador, apparently released in tandem with Telephono, included a non-lp b-side of it's own, a cover of a relatively obscure Prince album cut, "Partyup." To my dismay, my copy of the record was imbued with a very pronounced scratch populating the last ten seconds of the track. I was able to procure a cleaner rip of the song online for this upload. In any event, it's barely a keeper (likely ditto for Prince's original incarnation) but like the aforementioned, it would have made for a suitable Telephono bonus track as well, if only for historical significance.

The last two selections here were issued on an exclusive, one-off 7" single for the Canadian Mag Wheel Records label. "Anticipation" is Spoon gold - a lean, bare bones rocker that sports one of the sharpest hooks from these Austin denizens to date. The single was reissued a few years ago, and original copies may still be purchased (that's right kids, time to break out the wallet) via mailorder from the label itself. Britt did the sleeve on this too. What a guy.
01. Irrigation Man
02. If You Say So
03. Partyup
04. Anticipation
05. Heads

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grand Champeen - Out Front By the Van (1999)

Once again, I failed to make it to SXSW for the 22nd year in a row, and as such, can only live it in the vicarious fashion that typically do. I have chosen none other than Austin's very own Grand Champeen for toady's post (with perhaps some more choice acts from the same town in the days to follow). As was the case with yesterday's topic, Centro-matic, GC can lay claim to some significant twangyness, but being the chik quartet they are, we don't have to endure any Lone Star State drawl. Out Front By the Van, the band's debut, was self released. I caught wind of them when they were touring for Van's followup, the much more accomplished Battle Cry For Help, and was won over by their Whiskeytown cum Soul Asylum sonic amalgamation. In fact, they have been known to dedicate entire sets to Soul Asylum covers - all eras in fact.

I was the unlucky sap to buy a sealed copy of the now out of print Out Front By the Van, sans CD! No joke, but the baseball-capped crew made good on it the next time they rolled through town. As I said, check this out and then go for Battle Cry, which can be purchased online, as well as their third album, The One That Brought You from Glurp Records. A fourth album, 2007's Dial T For This is available from their new home, In Music We Trust.
01. Crossing
02. Miles Ahead
03. Train Whistle
04. Threw a Fit
05. She Had a Boy
06. Lucky
07. Standstill
08. Heart Is Blind
09. Fortune Teller
10. Song About It
11. Back In Your Arms
12. Rinkside
13. untitled

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Centro-matic - The Transistor ep (1996, Automatic) & Tympanum ep (1997, Transcontinental)

William Johnson, the focal point of Denton, TX's Centro-matic might feel compelled to take me into a back alley and straighten me out for espousing the notion that his band's formative recordings (i.e. these two 7" eps) were just as rewarding, if not more so than their latest, Dual-Hawks, but it's a chance I'd be willing to take.

Loosely affiliated and lumped into the No Depression/alt-country crop, Centro-matic have carved out a niche, not to mention a hardy fanbase for themselves. Their/his earlier releases, including these disks, the 1996 debut CD Redo the Stacks, and a couple of cassette albums leaned more toward to the lo-fi end of the spectrum rather than Uncle Tupelo. In fact, these records were recorded solo, and intermittently employ drum-machines instead of the real McCoy.

Nevertheless, Johnson's whiskey-addled timbre was in full-effect from the get go, and remains lovingly unvarnished right up to this day. The Transistor and Tympanum 7" eps feature concise, sometimes fractured songs, vaguely like Guided By Voices on occasion (get an earful of "Fifty-Thousand Years Ago") , hardly evoking the No Depression-esque inclinations that would crop up on future Centro albums, not to mention Will Johnson solo disks, and his virtually identical "side-project" South San Gabriel. For better or worse, a lot of fans missed out on these songs along the way, but better late than never. 
01. Tractors in the Big Blaze Sun
02. It Was Nothin' Darron
03. If I Had a Dartgun
04. Numbers One and Three
05. Fifthy-Tousand Years Ago
01. Celebrated Departure
02. Calling Up the Bastards
03. All Your Different Methods
04. Turning Your Decisions

Sunday, March 15, 2009

V/A - The View From Here: The San Francisco Compilation (1987, Medical)

Here's a nice warts and all compilation focusing on a scene we hear surprisingly little about today, as it was when this was released 22 years ago. Like most towns, San Francisco doesn't have an identifiable "sound," and that's what makes The View From Here all the more interesting. Camper Van Beethoven are clearly the most recognizable figureheads here (then and now), already established when they contributed their cover of Country Joe and The Fish's "Happiness Is a Porpoise Mouth." The only other act here that went onto enjoy any sort of national notoriety is the Sneetches, whose "I Need Someone" is a fine slice of Merseybeat fare. Pray for Rain's rhythmically sentient post-punk is clearly a cut above the rest, as well as the slightly more menacing Child Support, not to mention the rollicking, psych-imbued McGuires. Now, listen for yourselves and find your own favorite.

01. Pray For Rain - 2 Steps Forward
02. The Naked Into - Dark Comes Down
03. Vox Humana - Concept Day
04. Camper Van Beethoven - Happiness Is a Porpoise Mouth

05. The Ophelias - Palindrome
06. Standing Naked - Soul
07. Tooth & Nail - Stuck in a Nightmare
08. Kelley Gabriel & Clocks of Paradise - Sandra
09. Hold My Head, It Hurts - Carnival Ride 
10. The Sneetches - I Need Someone
11. The McGuires - Garbage Man
12. Spot 1019 - Taste the Feel
13. Child Support - Classified Information
14. Blue Movie - Dog Song


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 10 - Stiffs, Inc./Jonathan Fire*Eater (199?)

Here's a tour single (a label-less one at that) from two mid-90s outfits that never made much of a dent outside their native New York City. To put it simply, I was a huge follower of The Stiffs, Inc., an inventive four-piece groomed on late '70s British punk, with an unabashed inclination to cloak themselves in Victorian-era mystique. Their pick here to cover The Adverts "One Chord Wonders" is wholly appropriate, and furthermore, praiseworthy. The band's 1995 debut album Nix Nought Nothing is the stuff of genius, and is in my personal Top 50 albums of the '90s. I'll likely devote another post to them in the months to follow. Check out the hyperlink above for all sorts of info, and some tunes at Myspace.

As for Jonathan Fire*Eater, I wasn't much of a follower, but they do a decent job of Nancy Sinatra's "The City That Never Sleeps." You can check out a bio and some tunes here. Enjoy.

A1. The Stiffs, Inc. - One Chord Wonders
A2. The Stiffs, Inc. - Engineering 2
B. Jonathan Fire*Eater - The City That Never Sleeps

Splitting the Difference # 9 - Fig Dish/Everready 7'" (199?, Liquid Meat)

Here's a couple slices of riff-roarin' rawk from a couple bands that I've already featured on here. Chicago (Fig Dish) meets southern California (Everready). Both of these aggregations were pop-friendly punks from the mid-90s. Fig Dish's "Eyesore" appeared on their "Quiet Storm King" promo cd ep, but this might be a different version (click the hyperlink above for their first, and very scarce single). As for Everready's "Weezer," I don't think it's about the band it's title entails, at least that's my take from the lyrics. Not exactly sure when this single came out - probably 1995/96.

Fig Dish - Eyesore
Everready - Weezer


Friday, March 13, 2009

The Figgs - Ginger (1992)

Late last year, I dedicated a post to the Figgs outtakes collection Rejects. While that sweet, vinyl-only delight was released in 2000, the Figgs history actually dates back to the late '80s. As far as I'm concerned however they might as well have opened for business in 1993, the year I discovered their debut cassette album, Ginger, at the great Last Vestige Records in Albany (literally a basement operation at that point, but I digress).

Originally a quartet, the Figgs hailed from Saratoga, about a half hour from the Capital District. Ginger was the first of two precursors to their 1994, proper debut album, Low-Fi At Society High on Imago Records, (the second being Ready, Steady, Stoned which I'll get to in a moment). Ginger featured the songwriting contributions of three Figgs, specifically Pete Donnely, Mike Gent, and to a lesser extent Guy Lyons who would depart the band by the late '90s. The tape begins with "Bitch Theme," truthfully, a less than representative instrumental spliced together with a miscellaneous foreign radio/tv broadcast of some sort. Two and a half minutes later, the first bona-fide song, "Kristy McNichol's Boots" kicks in, a Gent-penned number that sold me on the band immediately as a fan for life, with it's seemingly simple refrain of:

Why don't you quit your bitchin?
Use your credit cards, the bills are in the kitchen
The kids are in the yard
And you blow your mind...

More like blew my mind. "Boots" leads into an equally stunning and vigorous slice of power-pop, the Donnelly commandeered "Sleaze." By and large the remainder of Ginger holds up just as effectively. "Happy," another best song contender, leading off side two, was also issued on a 7" single from the same period, with a Green Pajamas cover on the flipside, "My Mad Kitty." "Wasted Pretty," as some of you might already be aware, crash-landed at Society High in a rerecorded incarnation.

With perhaps the exception of the oddball intro track, Ginger is remarkable, suggesting an ever so slight wink and a nod to Elvis Costello and The Replacements, completely uncontrived and hardly derivative. As you can tell from the scan, the tape was limited to 500 copies, mine being # 300 - even steven, and for the record, a total coincidence. Ginger was promptly followed up with another album-length tape in 1993, Ready, Steady, Stoned, reissued ten years later on CD with a ton of bonus tracks, which you can and should buy from the Figgs web store. According to the discography on the Figgs Myspace page, there is another unreleased home-grown album from this era, Waiting For The Bugasauras, that I'd probably trade a left nut for. If only it were that easy.
01. Bitch Theme
02. Kristy McNichol's Boots
03. Sleaze
04. Floored
05. Milk Dud
06. Happy
07. Pretty Wasted
08. Can't Be Cloned
09. Donahue
10. Treble Head 

Believe it or not, it's been reissued

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Not Rebecca - Bowler & Who You Really Are (1993, Next to X)

My previous posts regarding Chicago indie-punks Not Rebecca entailed a one-off single for Thick Records and co-frontman Tom (Counihan)Daily's debut ep, Tragedy of Fanbelts. This time out, I'm giving you a whole lot more to love. While their third and fourth albums, Twin City Obituary and Rocketship to Canada respectively, were the cream of their crop, every band has to start somewhere and for N/R it was these two nascent recordings that were conveniently paired on one CD in the late '90s. If I had to be partial to either of these, Bowler would win out if only for the killer trifecta of tunes that kick things off the proceedings so well. These cuts would be a harbinger of things to come on later albums. As for the remainder of this CD, song quality ebbs and flows, but more than tolerable throughout.
I'm also providing a link to Not Rebecca's discography, which includes seven unreleased, downloadable tracks from a 1996 recording session. If anyone is up for Twin City and Rocketship, let me know, as I believe these are out of print.

01. Barely Standing
02. Sharpness
03. Right Temple
04. My Only Cause
05. Free of hate
06. Worn
07. Fall Again Away
08. What Little I Know
09. Surround
10. Close Your Eyes and Die
11. A Few Kools
12. Coexistence
13. If I Die 

Who You Really Are
14. Deforestation/Say That You Can
15. Lifetime
16. Too Far Away
17. 13th Floor
18. Errol Flynn
19. Losing
20. Almond Eyes
21. What Day
22. Close Your Eyes
23. Appeasement
24. It’s Only Gone

These are available on Bandcamp. Name your own price!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reverse - Synchysis ep (1980, Whiplash)

Don't really have any background info on this co-ed sextet (who claim to have a separate drummer and a separate percussionist...not terribly economical). Think slightly skittish, rhythmically endowed post-punk a la Pylon or B-52's, sans the shrieking of the former and the frivolousness of the latter. A pretty safe bet to say they were from the U.S. - they sound like it, which is fine by me.

01. Not the Police
02. Oh My
03. Local Trash
04. Oil City
05. Greed


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Glide - Open Up and Croon: The B-sides Collection

It's been over a year since I dedicated my first Glide post to Wilfully Obscure. Back then, I mentioned that in addition to the albums I uploaded heretofore (Open Up and Croon, Disappear Here, and Shrink Wrapped Real Thing) I also owned a fan-made compilation of 20 b-sides, a handful of which were cut for their home country of Australia's Triple J Live at the Wireless radio broadcast. Well, here it is.

Like The Church, Go Betweens, and The Saints, Glide deserved their rightful place amongst the Aussie alt-rock pantheon. Fronted by the late and very dapper William Arthur, the band recorded two proper albums (Open Up... and Disappear Here), a collection of early eps (SRWT), and Last, a posthumous collection of demos and songs-in-progress for their third album. Classy and melancholic, William Arthur's music bore a silver lining that outstripped the cloudiness it so often bordered.

As evidenced here, Glide were even more affecting in a stripped down and acoustic mode, which is the motif for several of these non-lp cuts. While it doesn't hurt to be familiar with their full-lengths, this collection isn't a bad place to start. To my knowledge, some of their CDs may still be available via the official Glide/William Arthur website (though it hasn't been updated in many years). For a brief sample of Glide songs, visit their Myspace page. Track list is as follows:
01. Fade
02. Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes
03. Stranded
04. Taste of You
05. A Dream
06. Always Fall (live)
07. Ride with Me (Lemonheads cover)
08. Valerian
09. Clays
10. Eyes Wide
11. Clay (solo take)
12. Crush
13. Hole In the Middle (live at the Wireless)
14. Your Time (acoustic)
15. To Your Side (live at the Wireless)
16. Tangled (acoustic)
17. Why You Asking (acoustic)
18. Pitch and Sway (live at the Wireless)
19. Hole in the Middle (William's 4-track demo)
20. She Said, She Said (Beatles cover)
1. from Young Blood 3 rooArt Records compilation
2. from Pretty Mouth ep
3-4 from Shuffle Off to Buffalo ep
5. from Wake ep
6-7 "Why You Asking?" b-sides
8-9 "What Do I Know?" b-sides
10-12 "Surfaced Euphoric" b-sides
13-16 "Here She Comes"/"Tangled" b-sides
17-20 "Something" b-sides

Monday, March 9, 2009

Other Bright Colors - Endlessly Rocks the Cradle (1986, Blue Mold)

I believe this was posted at some point on the now defunct Feelin' Kinda Froggy blog. Like many disks I saw on there, I for one reason or another failed to download it. Good thing I had a personal copy.

Other Bright Colors lone album, released in 1986, was produced by Mitch Easter, and it sounds like it. Even more fitting, it was mixed by Don Dixon, another pioneer of the '80s "new south" indie movement. With their chiming guitar lines, inspired by Peter Buck and the like, this Carrboro, NC's quartet was cast in the same mold that produced dB's and Let's Active. Other Bright Colors weren't quite as catchy as that deadly duo, but Endlessly Rocks the Cradle is commendable. Vocalist Brian Butler went onto a new band in the late '80s, Mind Sirens. You can hear some additonal OBC songs on their Myspace page.
01. Time Was
02. NPR
03. Confounded
04. Or We and Crystal Making
05. Stands to Reason
06. Remember Me
07. Circle Square
08. Whiskey Bottle
09. Complaint
10. Glimmer Twin
11. Sun’s Race

12. Winter Palace
On Bandcamp at a reasonable price

Friday, March 6, 2009

V/A - Discordia Concors: Music From Hamilton, New Zealand (1993, Zygote)

Hamilton, New Zealand hasn't exactly been a hotbed of immediately recognizable rock acts, but that hasn’t stopped a bevy of local artists from playing gigs and making music. Discordia Concors is my lone exposure to the Hamilton scene, specifically the early ‘90s (the focus of this comp). I’m not going to lie to you, there’s a lot of schleps on here, churning out grating, minimalist art punk a plenty. In fact, I can almost assure you that none of these bands had the luxury of quitting their day jobs. Nevertheless, Discorida has a few brilliant standouts, first and foremost Frey, who's “Breeze” is a 100 lb bar of distorto-laden gold, a la early Straitjacket Fits. Also in the same vein is Watershed, who lead this whole shebang off. Emerson owe a debt to one of their home-turfs finest, Bailter Space, while Postlethwaites milk Sonic Youth. Pieces of Cod’s ‘Fall In a Hole” round out my personal top-5 here. For further exploration of the Hamilton, NZ scene, past and present, make a beeline here.

01. Watershed - Take this that way
02. Romantic Andies - Anaconda Funky Limbo
03. Dribbly Cat Attraction -
Vulnerable Sheds04. Phones and Accessories - Gorhead
05. A Crown Of Wild Myrtles - Underbelly
06. Hand of Glory - Thing One
07. Huge Industrial Artsnob - Trains
08. Frybrain - Hanging Out
09. Emersons - Eagles
10. Wendy House - Suit Suit, Kill Kill
11. The Postlethwaites - Broke
12. Love and Violence - Violator
13. Frey - Breeze
14. Book of Martyrs - The Man that Said
15. King Biscuit -
What is Love? 

16. Hitler's Kock - Miner's song 

17. Pieces of Cod - Fall in a Hole
18. Swamp Goblin - Mudflap
19. Sinfeeder - Beachcombing/Vaginal hangover*
20. Unit 23 - Lodung One


Tom Daily - Tragedy of Fanbelts ep (1999, Double Zero)

Way back when I started my Singles Going Single series, a brilliant indie-punk band outta Chicago band called Not Rebecca was my very first entry. I still haven't forgotten them (obviously) and strongly recommend their Twin City Obituary and Rocketship to Canada albums, both on Johann's Face Records. Tom Daily (actually Tom Tounihan) was half of the Not Rebecca songwriting nuclei, and after the band splintered, Tragedy of Fanbelts was his first solo release. Though it lacked the punch of the aforementioned NR albums, it retained the grit. Dare I say he followed Ted Leo's aesthetic? Two full lengths followed, Happily Deceiving Culture in 1999, and The Burlington Northerner two years later, but I still prefer this ep, probably because it's the most in tandem with the Not Rebecca records.
I know someone requested NR recently on here, so I'll try to get some of their albums up in the near-future. For now, chew on this.

01. The Night that I Slept In My Car
02. Dimebag Eyes
03. Feats of Casualty
04. Medicated
05. When You're Driving
06. Cleanliness is Wealth
07. In the Parking Lot

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 8 - The Rookie Lot/Yearly 7" (1999, Miscellaneous)

The Rookie Lot and Yearly were two young Long Island bands that saw their very brief rise and fall, just on the onset of the mainstream-ization of the emo-punk movement they so slavishly toiled in. In fact, both bands functioned as inadvertent breeding grounds for significantly more successful outfits that would immediately follow.

The Rookie Lot, who would later see members go onto Brand New, The Movielife, and Nightmare of You, were influenced by Lifetime, and Lifetime proteges Saves the Day. Speaking of Saves the Day, Eben D'Amico of Yearly (man, what a great band name) immigrated to Saves the Day, He was a fixture in their lineup as bassist until he was booted in 2005. At any rate, Yearly had an amateurish bent, even for emo kids, but possessed just enough potential for me to bemoan their breakup. You can read a little more about both bands on Wapedia's entry for the Rookie Lot, or save your trouble and check out the condensed version below.

The Rookie Lot was a five-piece Long Island-based band that formed in January 1998. The band's sound derived from earlier New Jersey and Long Island based melodic hardcore bands, such as Lifetime.

The Rookie Lot played with many bands such as Vision of Disorder, Saves the Day, Ten Yard Fight, Fastbreak, Glassjaw, Silent Majority and Kid Dynamite. The band released a demo as well as a split 7" (limited to 1000 copies) with Yearly. Yearly included Eben D'Amico from Saves the Day as well as Scottie Redix and Peter Toh from The Stryder.

After The Rookie Lot disbanded, Jesse, Garrett, and Brian formed Brand New, while Brandon went on to play in The Movielife and Nightmare of You. Alex started Crime In Stereo.

The Rookie Lot
1. Anime
2. Museums

1. Town House
2. Pushing Chuck

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Sheila Divine - s/t ep (1998)

Turns out that this Beantown trio beat Interpol to the icy depths of the post-punk revival several years before those guys thought they were the first to cross the finish line. The Sheila Divine were nevertheless a good draw, and crafted two consistently great albums and an ep, before pulling the plug somewhere around 2003. This DIY five cut ep preceded their 1999 debut album, New Parade, and houses early versions of songs that were to appear on the album. A smattering of live shows can be downloaded/streamed here.

Singer/guitarist Aaron Perrino formed the somewhat less wrought Dear Leader in the wake of Sheila Divine's dissolution, and to this date have three albums to their credit. 
01. Modern Log
02. I'm a Believer
03. The Amendment
04. Like a Criminal
05. Hum 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Singles Going Single # 100 - Stray Tapes - Flashcube 7" (1981, Resonant)

Looks like i finally made it to my final entry in the Singles Going Single series I had aimed to complete by the end of 2008. Guess I wanted to close it out with something special. Last year I heard a 30 second snippit of a song by an ultra-obscure Perth, Australia quintet, (the) Stray Tapes titled "One of the Crowd." It took some serious online hunting 'til I found someone generous enough to sell me his copy. Released independently in 1981, it was to be the band's only commercially available release before frontmen Nigel Hartford and Peter Bates moved onto a new project, German Humour.

"One of the Crowd," with it's clangy Johnny Marr-esque chords, is about trying to lure a dearly missed "cold fish" out of his/her hovel for a night out on the town, just like old times again. One of the sweetest downer pop songs to ever grace these ears. I'd describe Stray Tapes as post-punk. Andrew Chambers lightly applied keyboard fills are more cold wave than new wave, but overall, the songs exude a special warmth of their own. I apologize for the copious static. One of these days I'm going to have to break down and buy a Ronco Record Vacuum off eBay.

Though this is "offically" the last entry in the SGS saga, thier will no doubt be one-offs, or to phrase it differently, "SGS addendums."
A. Flashcube
B1. Lights On
B2. One of the Crowd