Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tommy Keene - unreleased demos (1981 & 1984)

The response to last years post of Tommy Keene's very scarce and out-of-print debut record Strange Alliance was so big, I'd be crazy to sit on an albums worth of unreleased material from the same era and shortly thereafter.

First up are seven tracks left on the cutting room floor from the 1981 Alliance sessions. Within the folder are some liner notes (not penned by myself) to browse, but here's a quick breakdown:

Tommy Keene recorded a number of demos in 1981. Some of those recordings were later used on his first LP, "Strange Alliance." The remaining songs presented here:

End Of The World
In Our Lives
Walking On The Street
I'm Your Friend
You Break My Mind
Someone To Blame
Foolish Mind

In April and May of 1981, Tommy recorded five songs at Track Recorders in Silver Spring, MD. Tommy and Ted Nicely produced. The remainder were tracked at another 1981 recording session (see liners for full details).
Keene's quality control among the Strange Alliance album itself, and it's associated outtakes is something to marvel at, with each clangly, resplendent track so flawless it's almost as if these songs had written themselves. On to five more demos, these from '84, produced by T-Bone Burnett and Don Dixon at Reflection Studios in Charlotte, NC. As with the above selections, here's a synopsis from the folder notes: 
The album Songs From The Film was essentially recorded twice, first with T-Bone Burnett and Don Dixon producing, and then again, for the version that was ultimately released, with Geoff Emerick producing. Some of the Burnett/Dixon recordings were later released on the "Run Now" vinyl EP. Those tracks, plus a few more outtakes, were then included on the 1998 CD reissue of Songs From The Film.

These five tunes are recordings from the original sessions that remain unreleased. Four of them were re-recorded for the second version of the album, but none of these particular recordings appear on any officially released version of SFTF. Track listing: 
01 Call On Me
02 Run Now
03 Fall Down Too
04 The Story Ends
05 Gold Town 
Gold Town indeed. Get both sets of demos here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 16 - fluf/j-church (Goldenrod, 1996)

Technically, this is the second pairing of Fluf and J Church on a split single (the first appeared in the West X North-South 7" compilation box set on Vagrant Records, but everybody knows that). And if that coincidence didn't grab ya, this is the second entry in the Splitting the Difference series to feature J Church. What's more, J Church cover a Guided By Voices song here, "If We Wait," which GBV contributed for a split single of their own, with the previously profiled Belreve. See how everything comes full circle? Both of the J Church songs wound up on their third singles comp, Altamont 99. I believe Fluf's "Assmunch" is exclusive to this single, not even turning up on The Classic Years singles compendium. As you may be able to discern from the pics, this record came in a nifty die-cut sleeve, but it was printed in other colors in addition to the rather mundane maroon that I came into possession of. Here are some additional notes on this disk from the dearly departed Goldenrod Records site:

"Fluf and J Church are happy to help you beautify your house, jacket, neighborhood, and the world with the new SuperStencil Cover from Goldenrod. This record cover serves a dual purpose: besides being a stencil which can be used for spray painting Fluf's and J Church's logo all over everything in sight, it also protects two new J Church songs and the first recorded song by Fluf since Josh Higgins joined the band. On the J Church side we've got a cover of Guided By Voices' If We Wait..., an upbeat song with some good ol' J Church harmonizing [and] Contempt For Modesty, a great song played at high speed and high intensity in typical J Church fashion. Fluf comes with their first venture into the studio with a song called Assmunch, about the perceptions of certain bands simply because of the labels they release their records on. A crunchy little (chocolate coated) number."
A. Fluf - Assmuch
B1. J Church - If We Wait
B2. J Church - Contempt For Modesty

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Miles Dethmuffen - Nine-Volt Grape (1990, Presto!)

Snatched up this gold nugget at a record show today, having virtually no idea what is was all about. Turns out my gamble paid off, as Miles Dethmuffen is the stuff Wilfully Obscure exists for. A co-ed four piece from Massachusetts, this jangly aggregation must have fit like a glove on college playlists back in the day. Having been schooled in the usual requisites of REM et al, frontman Ad Frank's pipes approximate those of fIREHOSE's Ed "from Ohio" Crawford, thought I strongly suspect this is not deliberate. His chiming fretboard runs, and perhaps that of M/D's other guitarist Kevin Coombs, lean heavily toward Johnny Marr. Trouser Press puts it better than I ever could:

Boston's under-appreciated Miles Dethmuffen proudly wear their skinny-tie new wave influences on their sleeves, to the point of declaring on one song that they "believe in the '80s." Indeed, the four band members are unwavering in their love of happy hooks, jangling melodies and clever wordplay. Produced by Paul Q. Kolderie, the terrific Nine-Volt Grape positively snaps and crackles with no-frills guitar-pop energy, kicking off with the ridiculously upbeat "In Clover." Bassist Linda Bean P. serves as the passionate honest heart to guitarist Ad Frank's terminal wiseacre, as the two swap lead vocals and engage in classic boy/girl-group harmonies. Though it's almost impossible to choose among the record's many witty and pointedly charming songs, standouts include Frank's puckish feminist rallying cry (of sorts), "The Wandering Sexist Rogue Meets Miles Dethmuffen's Fabulous Hammered Dulcimer," the wallflower's lament of "Mike Foley's All Night Party" and the bittersweet relationship-in-crisis melodrama, "Cohabitants."

01. In Clover
02. The Wandering Sexist Rogue Meets Miles Dethmuffen’s Fabulous Hammered Dulcimer
03. No Purge Needed
04. Mike Foley’s All Night Party
05. Pride of Lions
06. The Cohabitants
07. Why I Don’t Drive Anymore
08. River Rats
09. Fear of Bridges


Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Deflowers - Shiny New Pony (1994, Platypus)

Seattle was more than kind to a clutch of raucous guitar bands during the early-to-mid '90s, but the Emerald City had no pity on the seemingly neglected Deflowers. Swampy, angst-addled grunge rawk wasn't quite their bag, but the quartet's riff-savvy crunch more than compensated for that soon to be played-out trend du jour. Shiny New Pony is a wellspring of unabashed power pop, frequently propelled by a punky fervor. The most accurate comparison I can conjure up is one of The Deflowers east-coast contemporaries, Lotion, but Husker Du wouldn't be off the mark either. This album was recorded and mixed by one Kurt Bloch, of Fastbacks fame and many other production credits. The Deflowers followed up Shiny New Pony with Fin, a comparatively tamer affair. If you enjoy this disk (and I think you will), please partake in my earlier Deflowers post for a bitchin' single they released in 1995.

Words of inspiration: "Here's a little tip, a little something I've learned - it's takes a girl, some luck, and a car"
-from "Next to Nothing" (track six).
01. Riff #1
02. Yap
03. Live Through You
04. Suburban Skies
05. Apathy
06. Next to Nothing
07. Subdivisions
08. The Carton
09. The Happy Millionaire
10. Seattle
11. Hell vs. Moore
12. Scaffold
13. This Is How It Always Ends (unlisted track)
14. Born to Rock (unlisted track)

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Sugarcubes - Demo's Too Good (1986)

When The Sugarcubes Life's Too Good fell into the hands of a very unsuspecting public in 1988, it was up until that point (and perhaps still is) one of the most radical and esoteric albums ever concocted, for a major label or otherwise. This startlingly offbeat Icelandic quartet, commandeered by a young, waifish singer named Bjork fleshed-out a surreal, indigenous landscape wherein post-post-modern rock was the canvas - one invariably punctured with caterwauls, deflating horns, spicy guitar fills, and alternating English/Icelandic verbage all over the goddamn place. It was an escapist, albeit messy masterpiece for the ages, and one could only wonder what it's gestation period was all about. Now you can hear for yourself.

However shrill and cacophonous you thought Life's Too Good was, try multiplying that by five on these demos. In all seriousness, there's nothing particularly excruciating or grating here, however the audio is on the tinny side - roughly on par with a transistor radio. The tracks were converted from a tape (not mine), and from the sound of it, Dolby (uggh) may have been employed, but even if this is the case it hardly detracts from the lovingly manicured chaos that it is. Early versions of key LTG tracks like "Birthday"and "Coldsweat" appear here, as well as a handful of unreleased tunes, like the busy "Leather" that should have been a contender for the album.
01. Blue Eyed Pop
02. Traitor
03. Cat
04. Dragon
05. Birthday
06. Polo
07. Leather
08. Take Some Petrol Darling
09. Smokewell
10. Coldsweat
11. Fucking In Rhythm & Sorrow

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Todd Newman - Too Sad For Words ep (1995, Bus Stop); Temporary Setback (1996, Barber's Itch)

Todd Newman was half of a short-lived, yet deeply affecting power-pop (with not so much emphasis on the "power" quotient) duo from Minneapolis dubbed The Leatherwoods. Alongside co-conspirator Tim O'Reagan (later of the Jayhawks, and more recently solo) the 'Woods crafted one of the finest albums of the past decade, Topeka Oratorio (go download this now!) in 1992, chockablock with brisk, slice-of-life reveries, not to mention some appreciated guest musicianship from Paul Westerberg, performing under the kooky assumed moniker of Pablo Louseorama.

Little has been heard from Newman in recent years, aside from some scant live dates (you can read a review of a 2006 gig here). On the heels of Topeka Oratorio, the man in question issued an ep, Too Sad For Words in '95, and an album a year later, Temporary Setback. Neither of these disks quite pack the heft of the Leatherwoods one-album-wonder, but the sentiments evoked on Topeka... carry over just fine here, particularly on Too Sad's... "The Twin Tone Years," and the ex-record store clerk lament "Exposed Wiring," on the ensuing Setback LP. Look for some Leatherwoods singles on here in a few weeks.
Too Sad For Words
01. That's Just Me
02. Somebody's Dad
03. You Left Us All Behind
04. My Little One
05. The Twin Tone Years
06. Like Matter
Temporary Setback
01. Wrong Side Up
02. Scariest Thing in the World
03. Kiss Your Ass Good-bye
04. Exposed Wiring
05. You're Gonna Lose
06. I'm Comin Back to Life
07. Off the Too of My Head
08. Lovin You Ain't Easy
09. Sincerely Yours, Good-bye
10. Twenty-seven Year Old Actress (Majoring in English)
Too Sad for Words: Hear
Temporary Setback: Hear

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Streets Living Theater - s/t (1983, Stendec)

The curiously monikered Streets Living Theater were a North Carolina quartet whose album was produced by one Mitch Easter. From the sound of it however, you'd never guess said jangle-guru was manning the directors seat. Embracing such atypical "modern rock" accouterments as saxophone and recorder, along with more conventional organs/keyboards, SLT never quite flesh out a definitive identity for themselves. On this glorified ep, these fellas drop a myriad of fleeting, not to mention disparate hints, including the likenesses of The Doors, Joy Division, Blue Oyster Cult, Dream Syndicate, and Translator (though rarely a combination thereof in any given song). The choicest cuts here, specifically the jagged "Impossible Love," and the farfisa driven, sci-fi motif of "Waiting For You" may not have been tailor made for left-of-the-dial outlets, but oddly intriguing in themselves.

01. Waiting For You (Terminal Zone)
02. Alien Nation
03. Baby Don't Care
04. Life You Save
05. Impossible Love
06. Russian Tea
07. Minutes to Go


Monday, April 20, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 15 - Bevil Web/3 Dream Bag 7" (1994, Simple Solution)

This slab of wax featuring no less than three prominent Guided By Voices "guildsmen" between both sides (Tobin Sprout = Bevil Web; Greg Demos & Don Thrasher = 3 Dream Bag) was probably by no coincidence recorded and ultimately released during the Vampire on Titus/Bee Thousand bumper crop heyday era of GBV. The grainy, and now fabled lo-fidelity aesthetic, manages to seap it's way into each pore and crevace of this record, almost to the extent that it struck my ears as though Sprout and his next door neighbors on the other side were slaving at a fever pitch to keep up with The Joneses (i.e. Robert Pollard).
There's little to separate Bevil Web from Tobin Sprout's solo work of the same period (check out my spotlight on another Bevil Web single here). In fact, "Gleemer (The Deeds of Fertile Jim)" was later (or perhaps prior) cut in a slightly alternate version for Guided By Voices Vampire on Titus LP. Here is some background details on 3 Dream Bag, as laid out on their Myspace page (linked above):

3 Dream Bag is a home recording project featuring Greg Demos (Guided By Voices) and Don Thrasher (Guided By Voices, Swearing at Motorists) The former bandmates in the New Creatures, gathered together on several occassions in the early '90s and recorded more than 70 songs. Some of the material has been released, most recently on the new Gas Daddy Go! Records limited edition CD "Memory Garden." Other releases include the 4-song EP "A Frenzy In Frownland" (Gas Daddy Go!), split 7-inch with Tobin Sprout's Bevil Web (Simple Solution Records) and the vinyl-only LP release "The Fertile Octagenarian" (Naked Fat Baby Records). Fresh new review: 3 Dream Bag / Memory Garden (Gas Daddy Go! Records) ...while there have been countless satellites hovering around the gravitational pull of the Guided By Voices galaxy for years, it's been a while since the elusive3 Dream Bag has made any waves.

Bevil Web
01. Dig The Catacombs
02. Apple Cores & Plums
03. Gleemer (The Deeds Of Fertile Jim) [Different Version]

3 Dream Bag
04. Saline Man
05. Demons Become Doves
06. Bad Rice Stew/Chase & Sanborn


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sweet Jesus - a discography (1991-92)

Sometimes all the hours I spend each week scouring and trolling various music blogs, websites, and file sharing-type applications occasionally pays off in a big way. I met the long defunct British quartet Sweet Jesus on Slumberland Records' none-too-oft updated Track of the Week archive late last year. The song in question was "Sindy Makes Believe," one of the most delectable slices of the dream-pop pie ever to grace my palette. Though I was bummed to learn of the band's breakup, and a very slight catalog of eps and singles, I was nevertheless moved to excavate what little else was out there.

Having been present for the initial wave of '90s Britpop, Sweet Jesus weren't immune to their surroundings. Their most arresting moments (albeit a tad too succinct) like the aforementioned "Sindy" as well as "Oceanna," both residing on their penultimate ep, Real Babe, envelope the ears with blissed-out washes of tremelo, hoisting them on par with Chapterhouse, Ride and the like. They would repeat this sublime formula for the Phonefreak Baby ep, but their final record, Albino Ballerina, exuded a less-woozy penchant, a la period bands such as Adorable and even Blur.

For the final, and perhaps only word on Sweet Jesus (other than this), I hereby direct you to a phenomenal fan-site that contains just about everything you could want pertaining to the band, save for their music itself. Per the bio furnished within, Sweet Jesus eventually "mutated" into a band called Venus, that as for me, shall be a subject for further review.
debut 7" (Rough Trade)
01. Honey Loving Honey
02. Sisterfly
Phonefreak Honey ep (Rough Trade)
01. Phonefreak Honey
02. Peace
03. Baby Blue
Real Babe ep (Rough Trade)
01. Real Babe
02. Sindy Makes Believe
03. Oceanna
Albino Ballerina ep (Chapter 22)
01. Albino Ballerina
02. Your Baby Loves Me
03. Your Baby Loves Me (Original Version)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Celebrating Record Store Day with Whiskeytown, The Obits and strangely enough, Taking Back Sunday.

Some 20-odd years ago, the record industry was beginning to do a damn effective job of convincing music buyers that they needed to upgrade from vinyl to compact disk. If I didn't know better, I'd say we're in the throes of the exact opposite, only this time it's the format preference of the consumer that's driving this unlikely phenomenon. Anything to get people out to the stores I suppose, but trust me, I'm hardly complaining. Today was the 2nd annual Record Store Day, and it has grown exponentially since last years comparative "dry run." In fact there were some 50+ "exclusive" RSD releases that dropped today at roughly 1000 participating stores from bands ranging from Pavement to Slayer. Here are a trio of 7"s that rocked my little corner of the world.

A 45 with two completely unreleased tracks from the long defunct, Ryan Adams-helmed Whiskeytown was a no-brainer on the wish lists of many folks today, and as luck would have it, it delivers in spades. Featuring two previously unreleased tracks from the "Baseball Park Sessions," circa the band's 1998 debut, Faithless Street, it's a wonder why the pensive ballad "San Antone," and the nimble, slide guitar-treated flipside "The Great Divide," were left off the reissue of that aforementioned album. A real treat for Whiskeytown enthusiasts, and dare I say a must.

One Rick Froberg, formally of Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes is the proud leader of his fourth and most recent collective, The Obits. Significantly less abrasive than his former endeavors, this one-off platter of licorice pizza is downright poppy, sing-songy even, especially the a-side, "I Can't Lose." The Obits have very recently issued their debut LP, I Blame You for Sub Pop. As you'll notice in the pic directly to your left, this 7" features an inner sleeve with various pics of record sleeves of Sub Pop releases from yesteryear.

Long Island, post-hardcore stalwarts Taking Back Sunday are set to unleash album # 4, New Again at the stroke of midnight on June 2. Side one features a preview cut, "Carpathia," and while not exactly a fit to be enshrined in say a desert island time capsule, they still beat 95% of their competition hands down. The B-side is a another new cut, recorded live in '08, and exclusive to this release. Enjoy (or not). 

Whiskeytown 7"
A. San Antone
B. The Great Divide 
The Obits 7"
A. I Can't Lose
B. Military Madness 
TBS 7"
A. Carpathia
B. Catholic Knees (live Columbia, MO December '08) 
The ObitsHear
Taking Back SundayHear

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rayon City Quartet - Blue Suit and Tie (1999)

Like icons Big Star, Nashville's Rayon City Quartet play undiluted guitar pop as if country music had nary any effect on their collective home state of Tennessee. The Quartet made their way onto my radar via Not Lame Records praise for this album. Containing guitarist and former Black Crowe Jeff Cease in their lineup, the RCQ have strong inclinations to the likes of Greenberry Woods, Gin Blossoms, Barely Pink, and to a lesser degree, Toad the Wet Sprocket. Brandishing seamless precision and deftly crafted aplomb, the Quartet's modus operendi goes down easy as lemonade, without succumbing to any insipid trappings. I'm not sure if Blue Suit... is their debut, but from what I gather from their Myspace page, another RCQ album, Rock Star is III exists. According to one online source:

The band was a regional favorite headlining and opening for the likes of: Big Star, Smithereens, John Mayer, Jason and The Scorchers, Ben Folds, Marshall Crenshaw and Cheap Trick.

01. Wires and Numbers
02. Cool Again
03. Second Life
04. Lose a Little Skin
05. 32nd Avenue
06. Sidekick
07. Lover's Leap
08. West Coast Ways
09. Allison Part 2
10. I Could Never
11. Rose Colored Love 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Close Lobsters - The Janice Long Session ep (1988, BBC/Strange Fruit; rec 1/29/86)

Back in the day at the good 'ol BBC Radio One, I take it there was only so much John Peel to go around. While the vast majority of musical guests taped for exclusive BBC radio sessions were brought in under the wing of the sadly departed Mr. Peel, a handful of performances by acts such as The Mighty Lemon Drops, Danielle Dax, and Scotland's Close Lobsters were handled by one Janice Long. According to her Wikipedia entry, she was fired from "the Beeb" in 1987 for being pregnant and unwed (no joke). She was brought back to the fold in 1999, this time via BBC's Radio 2 outlet.

The Lobsters have been namedropped on these pages numerous times, and had an album (Headache Rhetoric) featured here in August of 2007. To me they were the pinnacle of the British C86 indie rock movement - card-carrying jangle meisters, and proud of it. This session contains a crucial non-lp stunner, "I'm Going to Heaven to See if it Rains." The version here bests it's original single incarnation, and that's no small feat. They may not have realized it at the time, but the Close Lobsters had something pretty colossal to offer. Too bad so few people were listening.

01. Nothing Really Matters
02. Going to Heaven to See if it Rains
03. Pathetic Trivia
04. Never Seen Before

Laurels - Burn 7" ep (1991, Heparin)

There's not much info to be found on the Laurels, a noisenik indie trio active during the early '90s. From what little I've been able to glean from the record sleeve and online resources, they originated from Rhode Island, released several singles, but no album per se save for a compilation type disk, 90-95. There's no shortage of dissonance among the four cuts here, with the leadoff "Hole," threatening to jettison itself into the shoegazer realm, but falling just short. Nevertheless, it possesses the lion's share of what I can loosely refer to as melody on Burn, while the three remaining tracks recall the clamorous dynamics of groups like the Pixies, as well as a likeminded British group of the same era, Jacob's Mouse (anyone remember them)?

01. Hole
02. Scrape You Off
03. Fueled
04. Stove Burn


Detour magazine loves us!

It's true. Detour, Detroit's premiere magazine for all things "indie" recently chose Wilfully Obscure (or more specifically, some of the songs posted herein) as the premise for their Monday Mixtape feature this past Monday! Some real choice selections too: Straitjacket Fits, Close Lobsters, and Superdrag. That Motor City madman Ryan Allen knows his stuff. Click the hyperlinks above to check this out for yourself!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spinning Jennies - Pop 'n Serve (1996, Cool Buzz); Starstruck (1998, Cool Buzz); Peer Pressure (2000, Vast)

It would be misleading to say the Spinning Jennies were innovative, but they did one thing and did it incredibly well. Hailing from the much coveted auspices of San Francisco, CA, this power trio (in the truest sense of the term) doled out four consistent albums in their mid-90s to early-'00s lifespan, brimming with delectable power pop. Think the Posies with an extra dollop of aggression, and you'll have a pretty good handle on the band's straight-up, but effective panache.

The hooks were colossal, and they loomed larger and larger on each successive album, culminating in their finest and final outing, 2002's Stratosphere (available from Power Pop Criminals). The albums included in this post are their first free. There was an ep, Bloom that preceded their debut, Pop 'n Serve, but it's long gone, and furthermore, I don't have a copy. Jennies prime-mover Jeff Shelton formed a "spin"-off band, The Well Wishers, who's most recent album is Jigsaw Days (already on their fourth LP)! The apple didn't fall too far from the tree. At any rate, dig in to these discs.

Pop 'n Serve
01. Creature
02. Snocone
03. Come Alive
04. This Idea
05. All Good Things
06. Generation
07. Power Trip
08. On and One
09. Paperback Writer
10. Beautiful Lie
01. Melody Comes
02. All I Know
03. Meet You Halfway
04. Missed the Point
05. Perfect Girl
06. Waking Up
07. This Life
08. Going Gone
09. Girl of the 90's Builds a Bridge to the 21st Century
10. Everything Under the Sun
11. untitled
Peer Pressure
01. Tea & Apathy
02. Notice Me
03. Peer Pressure
04. Broken Line
05. Rockstar SF
06. Compromised
07. One Hit Wonder
08. Sunshine State
09. Miracle
10. Mindbender
11. How It Feels
12. Time to Shine
Pop 'n Serve: Hear
Starstruck: Hear
Peer Pressure: now available thru Bandcamp, bundled with the Jennies Stratosphere album!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 14 - Archers of Loaf/Monsterland 7" (1994, Radiopaque)

This 45 was part of a split 7" series on the Virgina-based Radiopaque Records, featuring live, in-studio performances at WHFS, a Washington DC radio station. By the time of this release, the Archers of Loaf were well on their way to becoming titans of '90s indie-rawk, but the slow-boiling "Telepathic Traffic" may not be the most convincing evidence of their burgeoning claim to fame. The song actually started life on another single, as a b-side to "Harnessed in Slums." A very thorough Archers discography can be browsed here.

Monsterland have been previously explored on these pages, namely their Loser Friendly and At One With Time eps. The proper studio version of "Angel Scraper" appeared on their lone full length, the feedback-ridden, yet somehow tuneful Destroy What You Love. One of the finest unheralded bands of the '90s, or in fact, ever. Enjoy. 
A. Archers of Loaf - Telepathic Traffic
B. Monsterland - Angel Scraper 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Bats - Raw Eggs (Egg, 2006)

Though they could boast the rare luxury of having virtually all of their albums and major releases issued in the US, New Zealand's jangle-rock maestros The Bats, never caught on with a wide-scale American audience, even amongst indie/alt rock types. Their initial run spanned the mid-80s to about 1995, but in 2003 the band reconvened from a lengthy hiatus with their sixth proper studio album, The Bats at the National Grid. While not quite the stuff of their halcyon era, which produced such striking albums as The Law of Things (1989) and Fear of God (1991), At the National Grid was still recommendable. In 2006 the group stormed the North American shores for a brief tour. That's where Raw Eggs comes in. Sold in a limited run of *gulp* 100 copies at US shows, the 18-track CD was comprised of demos, outtakes and alternate versions from the National Grid sessions. By popular demand, the tour-only CD, was made available for online mailorder through the C86-friendly folks at Egg Records. It appears to be completely sold out at this point. You can read a review of the album here.

The Bats released a new album, The Guilty Office in December 2008 in their native Kiwi-land, with a Stateside and European release to follow hopefully later this year.

01. Don't Rise
02. Western Isles
03. You Don't Belong
04. Up to the Sky
05. Face Inside the Sun
06. The Rays
07. The Birds and the Bees
08. Hubert
09. Crazy Crowd
10. Horizon
11. Mir
12. Things I Can't Leave Behind
13. Pre-war Blues
14. That's How You'll Find Me
15. Rehash
16. Single File
17. We Do Not Kiss the Ones We Kick
18. The Bells Are Ringing


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

VA - Imaginary Records comp 7'' (B.O.B. issue 31, 1991)

Just a quick upload for tonight until I can figure out something more substantive for tomorrow. This 7" (not a flexi ironically) was included with issue # 31 of Bucketful of Brains magazine. Don't have the zine, as this was purchased second hand. Bought it for the Eleventh Dream Day track (a Church Mice cover) and was pleasantly surprised with the rest of it. Chemistry Set are psych-leaning UK jangle popsters (not to be confused with the American Chemistry Set who appeared on the Sub Pop 200 comp - but would love to hear more from them too while we're at it). The Cherryblades "7-12-12" is a high strung dose of taught, guitar rock, but could use more info on them. Was able to find a pertinent post on another blog for The Prudes, but again precious few details. All in all, a great listen, despite the pesky vinyl noise.

01. The Cherryblades - 7-12-12
02. The Chemistry Set - Telephone
03. The Prudes - True Religion
04. Eleventh Dream Day - College Psychology on Love


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Parade - Circle of Deception (1996, Dangerous Rhythm)

Parade were a Concord, CA quartet who specialized in edgy, alt-guitar rock, and billowy haircuts. Maybe it's all in bassist Ray Lujan's pipes, but there's a Game Theory vibe that permeates much of Circle of Deception, albeit with a more pedestrian bent. I'm picking up traces of U2, Tommy Keene, and the Mats too. Regarding the dark splotch in the upper right corner of the sleeve, somebody had the bright idea to denote this album with black magic marker before relegating it to the clearance bin of the store I bought this at.

01. Portrait of Shame
02. The Will to Live
03. Alot to Learn
04. Circle of Deception
05. A Cry For Help
06. Cry Tough
07. Tradition
08. Getting Away With Murder
09. A Chance to Forget
10. The Light of the Day


Saturday, April 4, 2009

V/A - Scalping the Guru - a Tribute to Guided by Voices (1996, Kelp)

Scalping the Guru was the "working title" for Guided By Voices 1995 Alien Lanes album, but ultimately it became the actual title of a home-dubbed, cassette only tribute comp to the band, issued on the Canadian Kelp Records label the following year. You won't recognize any of the contributors here, despite the fact many were actually based in the U.S., but amazingly, none of them even come close to butchering any of the classic songs within. Given it's mid-90s release, Scalping the Guru's quality control is built in, given that Pollard and Co. had yet to falter at this point. The are several Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout interviews and stage commentaries interspersed between the covers, and the tape concludes with a pair of live GBV songs.

If you're new to Wilfully Obscure, please investigate two GBV rarities collections I previously posted, The Carefree Kitchens Are a Blast, and To Trigger a Synapse.

01. intro (Robert Pollard interview fragment)
02. A:R - #2 in the Home Model Series
03. Big Daddy Blues Explosion – A Good Flying Bird
04. Durian – Sopor Joe
05. Sinus Wave (Joe Bartlett) – Hey Mr. Soundman
06. Deral Fenderson – Dog’s Out/Tobin Sprout interview fragment
07. Matt Verilek & Jerry Webber – Awful Bliss
08. Paul Harrison – Some Drilling Implied
09. Armchair Rambo – Postal Blowfish
10. Can Can Dynamite – Kisses to the Crying Cooks
11. (GBV live banter)
12. The Awkwards – Hot Freaks
13. Kilgore Trout – Tractor Rape Chain
14. Bob Saget – Johnny Appleseed
15. Pollard/Sprout interview fragments
16. Myke Weiskopf’s no-fi ’96 – Crux
17. Johari Window – Metal Mothers
18. Tobin Sprout int fragment regarding the tour with Urge Overkill
19. Dr. Atom & The Orbitals – Gleemer
20. more Pollard live banter
21. Paul Harrison – I Am a Scientist
22. Armchair Rambo – Exit Flagger
23. Kilgore Trout – Motor Away
24. Big Daddy Blues Explosion – King & Caroline
25. Tobin Sprout interview
26. GBV – a brief “Do You Love Me” & Pollard commentary
27. GBV – Burning Flag Birthday Suit w/ intro
28. GBV – King & Caroline (live)
29. GBV – Motor Away (live)
30. outro (Sprout interview conclusion)


Friday, April 3, 2009

The Chills - Smile From a Dead Dead Face - Melbourne, Australia 6/9/90

Found this rather high quality 1990 Chills bootleg show on a torrent recently. True, it's an audience recording, but pretty impeccable nevertheless, save for the very beginning of "Night Of Chill Blue" missing, and a tape flip, which you can read about in the notes. A setlist to die for, from what was arguably the Chills peak. The exact venue name was apparently unbeknownst to the individual that arranged this, but boy, they did a bang up job on the artwork. Hope ya like.

01 - Night Of Chill Blue
02 - Dan Destiny And The Silver Dawn
03 - I Love My Leather Jacket
04 - Part Past Part Fiction
05 - Familiarity Breeds Contempt
06 - Dark Carnival
07 - Don't Be - Memory
08 - Wet Blanket
09 - The Oncoming Day
10 - Creep
11 - Submarine Bells
12 - Pink Frost
13 - Speak For Yourself
14 - Heavenly Pop Hit
15 - I Saw Your Silhouette
16 - Smile From A Dead Dead Face
17 - Look For The Good In Others And They'll See The Good In You
18 - Doledrums
19 - The Great Escape

I am no longer sharing this.  Sorry.

Not Rebecca - Twin City Obituary & Rocketship to Canada (1995/1996, Johann's Face)

By request, here they are, Not Rebecca's finest two hours (actually, closer to 40 minutes). "Mid-fi" tunecore, with that always appreciated emotive inflection. I've been leading up to these albums in a couple recent posts. Some of the greatest Husker Du-informed indie punk to grace a sadly uninformed and uninterested world. Enjoy.

Twin City Obituary (1995)
01. Nothing Is Forever
02. Unattended
03. Left Unsaid
04. Just Outside My Sight
05. My New Skin
06. Spent
07. S.S.N.
08. Distance Closing
09. Words to Say
10. Driveway
11. Ethan Edwards
12. Aeriel

Rocketship to Canada (1996)
01. Punctual
02. Skyward
03. Blender
04. Spiral
05. Minnesotajerk
06. Leaking
07. Off My Feet
08. Inherited
09. Tin
10. Of Boulder and Normal
11. Ten Best
12. Sever
13. Fence
14. Gladly
15. Johnny's Gonna Die
16. Call Me Back
All yours for a modest donation on Bandcamp.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 13 - Scared of Chaka/Flake Music (pre-Shins) (1997, 702/Science Project)

Dare I say this takes the cake as the most "prophetic" 7" single in my entire collection? Though Albuquerque, NM's Scared of Chaka and Flake Music presented themselves as fairly disparate entities at the time, this pairing would be entirely appropriate a few years after it's pressing. Not only would Flake Music eventually take shape as The Shins (free agents as of this writing in case you haven't heard) they contribute a sweetly chimimg slice of guitar-pop here titled none other than "The Shins!" Truth be told, the song would also appear on Flake Music's lone album, When You Land Here, It's Time to Return, but they also cover SOC's "Submarines" here as well, an exclusive track as you might guess.

Things get even more prescient when you factor in Dave 'Yanul' Hernandez, guitarist for the spastic desert-punks in question (think No Control-era Bad Religion meeting the Figgs at a Dickies concert), who would eventually migrate to the Shins as a full-time member once Scared of Chaka called it a day at the turn of the millennium. The Chaka deliver an effective cover of the Flake's "Ponzie," as well as a blistering, yet harmony-laden original, "Shaolin." Gotta love it.
01. Scared of Chaka - Ponzie
02. Flake Music - Submarines
03. Flake Music - The Shins
04. Scared of Chaka - Shaolin