Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 22 - Mars Acclerator/The Adding Machine - Semaphore Loveletter (199?, First Alert Doppler)

Way, way back someone requested music from Mars Accelerator. At long last, here it is - at least the best I could do for now. Just discovered Mars are apparently still in business, even offering a "download of the month" of some sort on their site. Really enjoyed their first cut here, "Bubbles, Lurching," which smacks of crooked popsters The Sugarplastic, throwing a co-ed twee vibe in the mix for good measure. Am pretty sure I heard a Mars Accelerator CD several years ago but don't recall them sounding a damn thing like this. According to their Myspace hovel, Mars Accelerator call Seattle home.

Call it an uncanny coincidence (or in fact, just call it a day), but The Adding Machine also seem to be grazing from the same pasture that The Sugarplastic happen to occupy. Not a slavish imitation mind you, the Machine are wont to peel off a none-too-dissimilar volley of relentlessly ringing chords and quirky prose. If I recall, I have an Adding Machine CD tucked away somewhere that I think I ought to listen to judging from the satisfactory results here. No apparent web presence for these folks, but it looks like their album came out in 2000.

Mars Accelerator
01. Bubbles, Lurching
02. Yes, Slimy

The Adding Machine
01. Missiles
02. Baby's Own Colour Annual 1976


Monday, June 29, 2009

Porcelain Boys - Away Awhile... (1997, PopKid) & Jettison - Search for the Gun Girl (1999, PopKid)

This is the first module in a mini-series regarding Minnesota's long-departed Porcelain Boys, who I first spoke of in last week's post of their split single with Marble. Though there are several recordings that predate these albums, I thought I'd start here and work my way backwards, if only to save the best for last.

The Delwood, MN trio known as the Porcelain Boys released two demo tapes and two singles in their first incarnation, which from my estimation spanned the mid-80s to about 1990 or '91. Many of their non-local fans became acquainted with them via their cut "Sidetrack" appearing on the Lookout Records compilation, Can of Pork. In fact, everyone I know that has an awareness of that comp were instantly converted as Porcelain Boys fans. The lineup for these early releases was: Erik Kaiser (lead vocals, percussion), Tom Spence (guitar) and Scott Cook (bass). Yes, the P/B's possessed a singing drummer in their lineup, just like Genesis and Husker Du.

The band reconvened around 1995/96, first issuing the aforementioned split 7" with Marble, and shortly thereafter there bona-fide debut full length, the aptly named Away Awhile... It featured among it's twelve selections, mostly new material, along with overhauls of "back catalog" songs like "If You Were Real," "Bedtime," and "Squeaky Clean." For Away Awhile, the roster was overhauled too , with Erik remaining as the mouthpiece but switching from drum to guitar duties, and new drummer Jason Knudson in tow. All three contribute vocals here. The retooled tracks that were initially the product of the first P/B lineup, sound slightly blunted here, but are a wholly natural progression given such a lengthy hiatus. In short, the band wasn't exactly striving for any punk-points at this point, focusing more on harmonies and the like. Not bad at all for a first album.
Jettison were essentially Porcelain Boys Mach 3, retaining Erik and Scott, with yet another new guy manning the drum kit, Nick Larsen. It's no surprise that Search For the Gun Girl is a logical extension of Away Awhile, bejeweled with a hook-savy acumen and Erik's burgeoning singer/songwriting leanings. So far as I know, this was the last word from Jettison. Scott Cook's must current project, The Giant Slide.
Away Awhile...
01. If You Were Real
02. Five Feet From My Door
03. Icewarm
04. Donuts
05. Puffed
06. Hey Melissa
07. Bedtime
08. Green Skies
09. Broke
10. Sidetrack
11. Squeaky Clean
12. …Away Awhile 
Search For the Gun Girl
01. Arrive Alive
02. Good
03. Znuthin’
04. My Machine
05. Can’t Get Anymore
06. Fiona
07. In My Head
08. Until We’re Done
09. Take It
10. Jen’s Song
11. Last 

Away Awhile: Available for free on Bandcamp, with a cheap CD option too.
Search for the Gun Girl: Buy it here!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bum - 20th Century Masters: The Singles Collection (1991-2000)

Over the course of three decades or so, the “pop-punk” label has become maligned, overused, and is even something of a pejorative these days – yet when applied to bands that fall into that realm the tag is entirely fitting, even if the music resultant from those bands is less than satisfactory. Victoria, B.C., Canada's Bum weren't merely satisfactory, they were phenomenal. During the early Nineties, this fab-foursome spewed forth a geyser of pummeling power chords tethered to some of the most devastating hooks ever devised by a conglomerate of their ilk.
Though they didn’t resemble, or even attempt to mimic Green Day, The Buzzcocks or the Descendants, Bum’s music was equally as substantive as any of the aforementioned. You read that right, Bum were on par with the Buzzcocks. I'm presenting you dear reader with a compendium of most of the groups early singles. This post in is technically a followup to a split 7" with The Smugglers I shared a few weeks ago. Truth be told, the centerpiece for any Bum collection should be their debut LP, Wanna Smash Sensation, easily the most convincing of their three albums, which even contains alternate versions of a couple songs from this self-curated singles collection.

These Canucks had a special place in their collective heart, or more literally. on their b-sides for covers. Some really ace ones to, including hyper-kinetic renditions of The Faces “Pool Hall Richard,” The Misfit’s “Bullet ,” and The Dead Boys oft overlooked “I Won’t Back Down.” As far as Bum's original creations go, you won't do better than instantly gratifying moments like "You're Disciple" and "Mrs. Rock and Roll." Can't believe all of this boss tuneage fell on deaf ears. Dig in and look for more Bum in the not-to-distant-future on these pages.

01. Debbiespeak
02. Bullet
03. Your Disciple
04. Weekend
05. Where in the World
06. The Last Castrato
07. O.K. Wine
08. I Wanna Be
09. At the Well
10. Pool Hall Richard
11. Mrs. Rock and Roll
12. Won't Look Back
13. Feel Like a Lot of People
14. Don't Ever Be Sorry
15. Pingu - Sugar Sandwich
1 & 2 from Debbiespeak 7" (1991, Lance Rock)
3 & 4 from The Bum Go Crazy 7" (1992, Au Go Go)
5-8 from Blobs Vol. 3 7" (1992, Way Out)
9 & 10 from At the Well 7" (1992, Lucky)
11 & 12 from Mrs. Rock and Roll 7" (1993, One Louder)
13-15 from split 7" w/Pingu (2000, Magic Teeth)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Anastasia Screamed - 7" (1987) & Electric Liz ep (1988)

When I posted Anastasia's Screamed's Laughing Down the Limehouse CD a couple weeks ago, someone mentioned how much they loved an A/S tune called "What Kind of Truth Is This?" I have an equal admiration for the song as well. It initially appeared on their debut single, and later as a b-side to the "Samantha Black" 12" single. I have both, so after determining the 7" version was a lot less crackly than the 12," I opted to go with the single for this upload. Per my previous ruminations on Anastasia Screamed:

Mouthpiece/focal point Chick Graning possess the same worn-in, raspy timbre Peter Searcy of Squirrel Bait became legendary for. Though his guttural croon is nearly impossible to forget, Graning's cohorts are a much looser, ramshackle bunch, flailing about like so many flannel-flyers from points due Northwest...Glorious feedback squalls, not to mention extra enthusiastic percussion, put them right up there with Dino Jr at times.

Quit simply, "What Kind of Truth Is This?" is an out-and-out killer. Glorious melodic indie-punk, coming off as a second cousin of sorts to the Replacements "Bastards of Young," and every iota as vital I might add. Unfortunately, the mellower flipside, "Gravity" brandishes it's fair share of surface noise. I'm also including here A/S's Electric Liz ep, a record I don't own a physical copy of, but found a great rip of on Soulseek awhile back. It features five utterly cathartic cuts, terrifically conveyed by Graning's anguished, golden throat. This guy's got more emo in his pinky than the entire Fueled By Ramen roster combined.
A. What Kind of Truth Is This?
B. Gravity 
Electric Liz ep
01. Sun Celebration
02. Now
03. I Am (A Horse You Are)
04. Augusra Furnace
05. Da 
Get both here

The Red House - There is a Window (1987, Random)

Though there's nil online documentation regarding There is a Window, ostensibly the debut album by New Jersey's Red House, there is some info regarding frontman Bruce Tunkel, who would later go it alone. This undeniably earnest quartet played relatively linear, mainstream-ish modern rock, with their most blatant trait being Tunkel's vigorous set of lungs. Some catchy jangle-ness crops up here and there, but if Red House tilted to any of their contemporaries, Green on Red is the one that springs to mind. "Farmlife," employing a backdrop of built-in static and pedal steel guitar, is a jarring venture into dustbowl-era country/folk, while the remainder of Window plays it straight down the middle, most successfully on "Killer Under Sky," "Through the Rails" and "This Nightmare." There was apparently a self-titled sequel to this album, issued in 1990.

01. Rain
02. Killer Under Sky
03. Breakaway
04. Isolation
05. Chances
06. The State I’m In
07. Through the Rails
08. Take Me Away
09. Farmlife
10. This Nightmare
11. Pray
12. Burn
13. Blind
14. Rooftop (Sheds the Rain)
15. No Ya Shouldn't
16. Say Goodbye


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pluto - Shake Hands With the Future (1998, Virgin Canada)

Hard to believe this album is eleven years old. There have been many a band to swipe their moniker from that of the ninth rock from the sun, but this Vancouver quartet will be the only Pluto that ever matters to me. When they kicked things off with a handful of singles and a debut album, Cool Way to Feel, for Mint Records back in the mid '90s, the group wavered between Weezer-esque rock and all out pop-punk (gee, never encountered that mixture before). Their second LP, Pluto, was the only one to land Stateside, and as incessantly catchy and incredibly convincing as it was, it stiffed quite royally on my side of the border. Two years later, they delivered their third and final opus, Shake Hands With the Future, a slightly more mature undertaking, which found them easing up a tad on the relentless three-chord melees, and even offering some well-placed flourishes of Moog snyth ("Zig Zaggin" being the most gratifyng example). I'm pretty confident you'll enjoy this folks. I believe the self-titled album is floating around on another blog, and I know for a fact that you can imbibe, at will, the aforementioned debut, Cool Way to Feel on Oh Canadarm! blog. You'll find plenty more biographical info there as well. Maybe I'll get some Pluto singles up sometime...

01. Unsatisfied
02. Zig Zaggin
03. The Goodbye Girl
04. Out of My System
05. The Balls
06. Still in School
07. Plastic Surgery
08. Another Look in the Mirror
09. Dislocated Girl
10. Sweet Sound
11. Desperate Lovers
12. Playing Nurse


Monday, June 22, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 21 - Porcelain Boys/Marble - The Tsetsee Split (Pop Kid, 1996)

For all this time I've neglected doing a post for one of my small-of-fame favorites, Delwood, Minnesota's should've been much bigger Porcelain Boys. I will dedicate a more exhaustive post(s) to them in the coming weeks, but their split single with Marble isn't a bad introduction. Releasing but two singles and a few comp tracks in 1990 (or thereabouts), The Porcelain Boys made instant fans out of just about anyone that had the good fortune of encountering their meager, but promising body of work. Think the Descendants by way of a more conventional power-pop band. Shortly after those singles were issued, the Boys split, but reformed in the mid-90s, with a revamped lineup, and delivered their first bona fide album, the aptly titled Away Awhile (as was the case with the single, a product of Pop Kids Records). The two numbers that adorn their side of this single were recorded during the Away Awhile era, and are pretty representative of the succulent punk-pop they excelled so well at .

Don't have much info on Marble (kind of a challenge to Google), but am pretty sure they hailed from Minnesota as well from what little I'm able to glean from the inner sleeve. Pretty standard, user-friendly popcore with a definite indie bent. They go to the trouble of covering Lindsey Buckingham's classic "Holiday Road," which of course, was most notably put to good use in National Lampoon's European Vacation.

Porcelain Boys
01. Melted Shelter
02. Sick Fifteen

01. Price
02. Holiday Road

Now on Bandcamp.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Those French Girls - s/t (1982, Safari/Attic)

Time now for Wilfully Obscure's token "new romantic" entry for the year. Last April, the Canadian snyth-pop combo Tictoc was the lucky contestant, and wouldn't you know it, Those French Girls also hailed from north of the border, Stirling, Ontario from my understanding. The band's self titled album was released by way of Attic Records, the same label that meddled with a couple other bands featured on these pages, namely the Numbers and Johnny and the G-Rays, but back to the subject at hand.

TFG seemed to emanate from The Vapors/early-Ultravox wing of the new wave clique, but don't quite wield the same charisma. They don't particularly overdo anything here, nor do they dress the part judging from the cover pic, but boy, the feigned Brit accents are about as heavy-handed as they come. An even mix of keyboard and traditional instruments here, with "Corridor" being the album's most stimulating moment. TFG also appeared on a compilation tape with a couple non-LP cuts that you can check out here
01. Sorry Sorry
02. Diving Board
03. 0-0-0-0-0
04. Punching Windows
05. Close Up
06. Mosquito Bites
07. Corridor
08. Influence
09. Regular Sex
10. Rust
11. Love at First Sight

Friday, June 19, 2009

Band of Susans - Blessing and Curse ep (1986, Trace Elements)

Here it is, the vintage, debut wax from perhaps the most maelstrom-friendly co-ed band to ever grace the face of the earth, Band of Susans. Recorded before their most renown member, Page Hamilton was part of the lineup, and just as notably, when there was no less than three “Susans” (surnames and roles: Stenger on bass/vocals, Tallman on guitars, and Lyall on guitars/vocals) fleshing out 3/6 of the ranks, the Blessing and Curse ep is so far as I can tell the only B of S recording not to get a digital release (however a portion of the tracks did appear on the group’s double CD anthology, Wired for Sound). Based in New York, the Susans opted out of the prevailing and often embarrassing trends of the era, and instead elected to pursue the amped-out six-string swath laid out by such across-the-pond acts as Killing Joke and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. The bristling yet sweetly dissonant “Hope Against Hope,” and “Sometimes,” pack plenty of firepower here, but would be doubly outdone on the scorching Love Agenda and The Word and the Flesh albums that would follow. Brilliant. On a more trivial note, there’s an alternate jacket for Blessing, specifically a guitar gracing a plain white background. I believe my copy of the sleeve is the original, and in my opinion, less flattering incarnation.

01. Hope Against Hope
02. You Were an Optimist
03. Sometimes

04. Where Have All the Flowers Gone


Carnival Season - Please Don't Send Me to Heaven ep (1986, What Goes On)

Few bands have sparked the kind of visceral response for me as Birmingham, AL’s Carnival Season did – about 20 years after the fact I might add, but this is sincerely a case of better late than never. I discovered Carnival Season by way of their long out-of-print Waiting For No One LP at Power Pop Criminals. It’s still available for download, and is a must if this triple-shot moves you in the least. Imagine if some unseen force melded the strongest facets of Tommy Keene and Tim-era Replacements, with the thrust of Husker Du for good measure, and you’ll have a keen understanding of where this trio was coming from. Chords and hooks to die for, that will have you begging not to be sent to heaven any time soon. “Please Don’t Send Me to Heaven” also appeared in slightly remixed form on Waiting, while the other two tracks are exclusive to this release.
A 2007 reunion show can be downloaded here. There has been talk of a Carnival Season reissue on Arena Rock Recording Co, but firm details have yet to surface. Would really love to see it happen, as neither of their releases have made it to CD yet. Guitarist Tim Boykin went on to helm to other power poppin’ bands of note, the Shame Idols and The Lolas.

01. Please Don’t Send Me to Heaven
02. Wondering About the Knife
03. Manifold Man

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Edsel - Strange Loop (1992, Merkin)

So often I fail to look at your responses to this ever increasing accumulation of posts (around 480 or so at this counting), particularly ones that I posted say more than two months ago. Turns out that not too long after I shared Edsel's Everlasting Belt Co album early last year, that bassist Geoff Sanoff chimed in to the comments sections, I just got around to reading it today. I simply can't keep on top of it all, which is why it may not be a bad idea for you (dear browser) to shoot me an email, especially if you are the artist in question! To cut to the chase Geoff, if you ever reissue any of the Edsel albums, Itunes or otherwise, just say the word and I'll be happy to delete the link and point your potential customers to the destination of your choosing. Maybe we can find a way to monetize this for you somehow (I won't ask for a dime). Thing is, I got such a good response to Everlasting... that I'm hereby offering the even scarcer precursor, Strange Loop.

One of the more intriguing early-90s entries in the D.C. indie scene, Edsel produced four albums, an ep, and some singles. The aforementioned Everlasting Belt Co was their masterstroke, but Strange Loop didn't fall too far behind. Check out my initial Edsel post (linked above) for a slightly more involved breakdown and critique of their indigenous endeavors, but nutshell-wise, the trio (at the time of this recording) doled out lush, echoing chords atop a highly dexterous rhythm section, all wrapped up in a tight atmospheric gauze. There's been no one like them before or since, and these days, that's saying a lot. Enjoy, and Geoff if you're reading this, please get in touch via the contact info in my profile. BTW, if you're interested, please investigate Geoff's current gig, Paramount Styles. Also, Sub Pop all-stars, The Obits, feature in their roster former Edsel frontman Sohrab Habibian. Gotta love that Obits 7" post from a couple months also I might add.
01. Unraveled
02. Wax
03. Derelict Fancy
04. My Manacles
05. Cat's Paw
06. Empire
07. Fuelcloud
08. Coil-Re-Coil
09. Rotary Batter
10. Wooden Floors

Why not get it from Amazon?

Monday, June 15, 2009


Stop the presses everyone! I have been informed on good authority that later this year, a good chunk of the 20/20 demos are going to see a proper release on Radio Heartbeat Records! Watch this space and/or the RH website for more details.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bitter Sons 7" (1993, W.O.W.)

You can take the blogger out of Chapel Hill, NC, but you can't take the Chapel Hill out of the blog. I think this is the third North Carolina related release I've shared this month so far. From the bio insert:

In the summer of 1992, Matthew McMichaels (vocals, guitar), Jon Gray (guitar, vocals), Clay Boyer (drums, ex-Archers of Loaf), and Joe Caparo (bass, vocals, ex-Leap of Faith) became Bitter Sons. Their first single (this one) shows their penchant for writing melodic, three minute, Big Star inflected rock songs propelled by over-amped guitars. In a town full of confused noise, this band's goal is to make good music.

As if it was the intention of any other given band to make poor music. Anyway, this single is actually pretty gratifying. Though Bitter Sons' collective temperament is a bit sobering, it wouldn't really occur to me to stack them up to Big Star. As per their bio, they largely steer clear of their town-mates renown brand of indie-thrash. This was produced by Caleb Southern, the guy that would later do wonders for Ben Folds Five.
A. Ghost of John
B. Deep

milf - feasting on fried afterthoughts: part three ("rock salad" tape) (1995/96?)

Ok, so it looks like there was only half as many downloads of the second milf post, compared to the first. So why am I flooding the pool with even more? First off, I'm saving the best for last, and secondly this post concerns the existence of a recording that even assumed milf "completists" aren't aware of. Rock Salad was a cassette only release sold at some of the trio's final batch of gigs before parting ways. This came out in either '95 or '96, I really can't pin an exact date on it. The band had the bright idea of recording this tape-only compilation of mostly entirely unreleased material (the bulk extracted from ancient boom box demos and live shows) onto to those cheap, no-name brand, three for $1 tapes, sans cases, ubiquitous at K-Mart and the like during the '80s and the early part of the '90s. In other words, poor fidelity, and atrociously annoying tape hiss was a given even before the "record" button was even pressed. A foolhardy, not to mention shoddy decision on milf's part (dammit Justin)! Furthermore, the volume fluctuations from song to song vary significantly on Rock Salad, though I tried to boost the output of some tracks to even things out.

There's a little overlap here between the aforementioned milf rarities collections I've been sharing, but about 80% of what's on here is exclusive to Salad, including live covers of Galaxie 500, Scientists, and Bad Company classics. Song-by-song source info is listed in the sleeve notes which I've included as a jpeg. Any songs that cut out halfway, are courtesy of the band's impeccable and unremitting standards of perfection, not yours truly. Otherwise, there's some great music buried amidst the hissy environs of this utterly scarce tape.

01. no name (from rough trade 7")
02. prozac (live '94)
03. october mights (with interview intro)
04. uh-oh (with dialogue intro)
05. face (live cbgb's 1993)
06. dumptruck
07. oblivious (galaxie 500)
08. trouble (lindsey buckingham)
09. i think i hate you, but i want to date you (justin solo demo '91)
10. 2 (from rough trade 7")
11. robin zander
12. model t
13. feel like makin' love (bad company)
14. hair bitch
15. up yours (from nothing compares to goo, goo goo dolls tribute tape)
16. liberated amish lasses (live '91)
17. frantic romantic (scientists cover)
18. girls and cars
19. one man


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Various - The Water Music Compilation Album (1988)

It was the dB's wonderfully clangy, ever-so-slightly angular "Visible Man" that lured me to this compilation, but as it turned out, there were a bevy of unsuspecting treasures that lay within it's grooves . The compilation was produced by one Lane Holland, a prime-mover for The Wind, who contribute an exquisite slice of blue-eyed pop here, "Tremendous Mistake"), but the actual "premise" for this album is that all of it's participants, at one time or another, recorded at Water Music studios in Hoboken, NJ, commandeered by Rob Grenoble of the Cries, who kick this whole shebang off with the durable, harmony-laden "Moving Day." Speaking of the dB's, Chris Stamey appears here with an exclusive track, "Hey Mr. Brown," and to keep that "New South" vibe going, it's quickly followed up by a solo Faye Hunter cut, "Blinded," nearly as impressive as anything she did in later-era Let's Active. Tall Lonesome Pines whip up a cow-punk hoedown a la the Meat Puppets, while Rage to Live offer the lush and serene "Deep Blue Sea." Only complaint here is that Water Music closes things out with a clunker, courtesy of four blokes operating under the moniker of Mrs. Whitehead. BTW, the aforementioned dB's song eventually made it onto their Paris Avenue album.

01. Cries - Moving Day
02. The Wind - Tremendous Mistake
03. The dB's - Visible Man
04. Who's Your Daddy - Like a Shadow
05. Myra Holder - Blue Moon
06. Original Sins - Help Yourself
07. Crazy Not To - There's One In Every Crowd
08. Chris Stamey - Hey Mr. Brown
09. Tall Lonesome Pines - Good Girl Gone Bad
10. Rage to Live - Deep Blue Sea
11. Faye Hunter - Blinded
12. Mrs. Whitehead - JFK


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Starry Eyes (ex Velocity Girl) - s/t ep (1997, Radiopaque)

As was the case with Sarah Shannon's two solo albums (a self titled debut in 2002 and City Morning Song five years later), her first post-Velocity Girl venture, Starry Eyes, was met with precious little fanfare. It's a shame, because with VG alumni Jim Spellman (on guitars) and Kelly Riles (bass) in tow, along with percussionist Nick Pellicciotto, the D.C.-era quartet brought forth a taut ep of straight-laced guitar pop. Perhaps not as sophisticated as VG's last couple of albums, the leaner tendencies of Starry Eyes ably suit the four songs ensconced within. Shannon penned "Getting Over My Surprise" (featuring special-guest guitarist, Brian Baker of all folks!), with Spellmen composing the remaining three. As far as I know, this disk was Starry Eyes opening salvo, and for better or worse, parting shot.

01. Disappear
02. Radio!
03. Getting Over My Surprise
04. N-N-N-Nervous


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hege V - House of Tears (1987, MTM)

Hege V’s House of Tears was something of an anomaly, as far as Mitch Easter productions go that is. If it’s sweet, chiming guitars you hope to encounter, stick to your REM and Windbreakers disks (though Tears leans vaguely in the direction of Dreams So Real and the like). Unabashedly twangy, this long departed Chapel Hill’s, NV troupe bled “Americana” all the live long day, a la The BoDeans, Del Fuegos, and to a much lesser extent, the Georgia Satellites, but that’s a bit of a stretch. They weren’t shy to brandish the strut and swagger of a good old fashioned bar band either (check out my Classic Ruins post for the living, breathing definition thereof). Here’s some background info from their Myspace page:

HEGE V (pronounced: Hegg ee / Vee) the man & the Band pioneered 'Alt.Country / Americana music', introducing this yet un-named genre to Album Rock, College and Country Radio in 1987/88.They were the FIRST 'Alt.Country' artists to blaze the trail out of the Southeastern U.S. of A., later followed by the Backsliders, Whiskeytown and others.

Hege's "rural rock" took-off with the release of HOUSE OF TEARS, produced by Mitch Easter (of REM fame) at his legendary Drive-In Studio in Winston-Salem, NC. The band toured America in a beat-up '65 Cadillac hearse, the "Hearse Of Tears", (10,000 miles through 21 states in 27 days) playing the honky-tonks from Austin to Boston while Hege's self-directed music video, "Burial Ground Of The Broken Hearted", aired on MTV. HOUSE OF TEARS wound-up alongside U2, Bruce Springsteen and REM on many 'BEST OF 1987' lists, including THE BOSTON GLOBE's where Hege V was declared "A FUTURE SOUTHERN SUPERSTAR"!

How about that? Me thinks they’re taking a little too much credit, but anyway… This was ripped from crackly vinyl. CD copies exist of House of Tears, but at this stage in the game, they're pretty pricey.

01. House of Tears
02. Silent Stars
03. Matter of Fact
04. Burial Ground of the Broken Hearted
05. Gone, Gone, Gone
06. Hard Way (You'll Learn the)
07. My Decline
08. She Says
09. Grass Grows Greener
10. Ghost Town
11. She Ain't Comin' (Back no More)


Monday, June 8, 2009

Small (23) Cakes ep (1993, Pond Scum/Rockville) + 10 non-lp songs (1991-93)

Had a request just a few days ago for Small's (later Small 23) early 7" side, "Somebody Owes Me Money." Thought I'd go nine better and include all of this Chapel Hill, NC quartet's non-album tracks in one handy place. Small have cropped up on these pages before, via the Fish Hips and Turkey Lips compilation, and more recently on a split 7" with J Church.

Hot on the heels of local legends in the making, Superchunk , the Mike Kenlan-helmed outfit straddled the not so great divide between full on indie-rock and pop-punk. As it so happened, Small boasted Superchunk expatriate Chuck Garrison, as a drummer, and in their earliest lineup, Eric Bachman of Archers of Loaf. Moreover, their real asset was a bevy of deftly crafted, melody-rich songs spanned three albums (True Zero Hook, Chin Music, Silver Gleaming Death Machine), two eps (Cakes, Free T-Shirts for Spain) and several singles and compilation appearances. The greatest unheralded North Carolina band ever. Truly not to be missed. You can read up on their discography and catch a link to download the True Zero Hook album here. As usual, Trouser Press has their say as well. Just FYI, I didn't include the a-sides of the singles available on LP. So there.

Cakes ep
01. Empty Room
02. Cakes
03. Chuck's Buzz
04. The Big U Without Me
05. He Who Cannot Be Bathed
06. Every

singles, b-sides, etc
01. Makes Me High
02. Nasty Little Chick
03. Somebody Owes Me Money
04. Wet Cement
05. Useless
06. Chew It Down
07. B is for Bridge
08. Happy Days Are Here Again
09. Eb
10. Something Stupid

1-3 1st 7" (Matt Label)
4. b-side of Noodles (Matt Label)
5. b-side of "Chopsocky" 7" (Alias Records)
6. from split 7" w/ J Church (Honey Bear Records)
7-8 b-sides of Mona Skips Breakfast (also available as a separate two song 7" on Alias)
9. from A Day In the Park compilation (The Now Sound Records)
10. from Chairman of the Board - a Frank Sinatra tribute compilation (Grass Records)

Cakes: Hear
singles, etc: Hear

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Voodoo Gearshift - s/t (1989, Link)

Don't have much time to extol on this one, but the short story is that Voodoo Gearshift originated from Iowa City, IA, and had the distinction of releasing their debut on Link Records, the same label that was home to Winter Hours, Head Candy, and Full Fathom Five. They would enjoy an even greater distinction a few years later, after relocating to Seattle to have their sophomore album, Glue Goat see the light of day on C/Z Records, which at the time was almost as hip as being on Sub Pop.

Voodoo Gearshift surrenders to some of the grungier inclinations of it's era, while still offering some poignant, indie-rock overtones. Many guitar solos here, but nothing embarrassing. Gearshift bear a slight resemblance another Iowa contender of the same era, The Hollowmen. I apologize for all the cracks and pops. Hard to believe this record hadn't been open until a couple days ago. A thorough article on the quartet may be read at your leisure.

01. China Wall
02. Setting Sun
03. Better Times
04. Say I'm Sorry
05. Three In a Row
06. What You Want
07. Time Keeps Rolling
08. See It Again
09. Don't Be My Saviour
10. Hallowed Eyes
11. Flashfire


Saturday, June 6, 2009

milf - feasting on fried afterthoughts: part two (i want to see the sequel) (1992-94)

Ok, here's the second round, and it's even better than the first. Tracks 1-6 comprised milf's second publically released demo tape, why people suck, containing early incarnations of four songs ("bad idea," "hate me," "angst & daisies" and "me") that would be rerecorded for their viscerally stunning proper debut, ha ha bus! on Big Deal Records in '94. By this point, milf's melodic prowess had developed significantly, and were drawing larger crowds, often sharing bills with Tugboat Annie (the topic of a previously explored split 7").

The next two cuts, "no name" and "2," were released on a single as part of Rough Trade Records singles of the month club from the early to mid '90s. "2" appears as a different version than the one on why people suck. These tracks were also available on a Rough Trade singles of the month compilation CD, which is the source I used to rip them from. "Thom," later retooled for the second milf album, antidope, turned up on a 7" comp, The More You Eat the Better You Are, Vol One - Music From Ithaca, NY. All well and good I suppose, but milf were actually based out of Lockport, NY (Buffalo/Niagara Falls area), which was situated a good 150 miles or so from Ithaca. Maybe I'll upload the whole thing at some point. Finally, we have "Apples" another future antidope venture, cut live to air at the studios of WBNY at Buffalo State College. Click the WBNY link to stream the broadcast (if you know what's good for you that is).
why people suck tape (1992)
01. bad idea
02. 2
03. hate me
04. angst & daisies
05. me
06. bullshit
Rough Trade Records single of the month, January 1994
07. no name
08. 2
from The More You Eat the Better You Are, Vol One 7" comp (Cash Cow, 1994)
09. thom
from Alive on Air, WBNY 91.3 comp cd
10. apples

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fools Face - Tell America (1981, Talk)

This little rekid got an honorable mention of sorts in the insta-classic, Not Lame-curated Shake Some Action book (2007) but didn't manage to eke it's way onto the Top 200 best power pop LP list included within (a 2002 reunion album did however make the grade at # 103). Perhaps it was the slight AOR bent Fools Face took on Tell America, their long out of print (and from what I can tell, exceedingly expensive) sophomore effort, that disqualified it. I don't have a physical copy myself, but was able to pin down a reasonably digital facsimile online. A quick listen to pretty much any cut here will likely compel you to conjure up such likenesses as Cheap Trick, Shoes, and perhaps even Eric Carmen. For a quick taste, head over to Little Hits and d/l the sublime and easily a perfect 10 "Won't Make It Hard For You." Below is the blurb from Shake Some Action:

Fools Face, a stunning quintet based in Springfield, MO, was the most criminally-overlooked pop band to emerge in the '80s. They debuted in the late '70s with a single ("I Could Tell") and a so-so album (1979's Here to Observe), but hit the '80s running with 1981's Tell America, one of the finest albums that (seemingly) no one ever heard. Tell America includes the best break-up song ever, "Nothing to Say," which encompasses casual heartache (or heartlessness?) and a matter-of-fact recognition of the need to just move on. 
I totally concur. A slightly lower bitrate version of Tell America, as well as a clutch of other Fools Face albums may still be available here.
01. American Guilt
02. Maiden U.S.A.
03. Whatever
04. Land of the Hunted
05. Stand Up
06. Behind Bars
07. Telephone Time
08. L5
09. (Gotta Get) A Letter To You
10. Won't Make it Hard
11. Valentine
12. Bop Man
13. Nothing to Say
14. The Truth

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Splitting the Difference # 20 Bum/Smugglers - Tattoo Dave 7" (1993, Top Drawer)

Though this disk features two top-notch British Columbia, Canada pop-punk entities, The Smugglers and Bum, I have to say I'm way more partial to the latter. So much so that I've been saving them for a rainy day, at least so far as sharing them on this blog is concerned. That's all going to change starting right about now. The true centerpiece to any Bum collection is their stupefyingly flooring debut, Wanna Smash Sensation on Popllama Records, which I'll be posting in slightly expanded form, as well as a flurry of singles later this summer (for now you can check out Wanna Smash Sensation via an alternate blog).

Funny thing about this split single though. Per the liner notes, courtesy of The Smugglers and CBC Radio 2's Grant Lawrence, the record was inspired by a mutual love for the Rolling Stones' Tattoo You long-player (arguably their last truly great album, but that's a topic for another discussion that I'll probably never get around to). What's so odd is that out of three cuts here only one of them is a Stones cover, namely a sloppy, live collaborative rendition of "Hang Fire." Better than one that none I suppose. The A-side is comprised of remakes by Stones influenced bands, DMZ and The Boys. Go figure. Check out Grant's liner notes on the back sleeve for the full scoop. 
A1. Bum - Lift Up Your Hood (DMZ)
A2. Smugglers - Kiss Like a Nun (The Boys)
B. Bumglers - Hang Fire (live 6/19/93 at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle, WA) 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Titanic Love Affair - No Charisma ep (1992, Crackpot) & Their Titanic Majesties Request (1996, TRG) R.I.P. Jay Bennett

Upon news of Jay Bennett's untimely passing last week (May 24), most of the web chatter emphasized his affiliation with heyday era Wilco. Rightfully so, considering he was a driving force behind that band's much heralded Being There through Yankee Hotel Foxtrot albums. While he enjoyed most (if not all) of his commercial success during that period, the news stories and blogs barely touched on his pre-Wilco accomplishments. A longtime riff-broker for Tommy Keene, as well as other alt-pop godheads like Jellyfish and Adam Schmitt, not to mention Sheryl Crow, some of Bennett's finest moments are enshrined on the disks he made with Urbana, IL's couldn't-catch-a-break '90s rawkers Titanic Love Affair.

From everything I've been able to glean, Bennett was the guitarist and backing vocalist for TLA (the brunt of the singing was courtesy of a fellow named Ken Hartz who has seemingly disappeared into the ether). TLA's eponymous 1991 debut (which I strongly encourage you to experience) was well received by critics and a modest legion of fans, but no match for the grunge onslaught that was in full swing. The back of the album sleeve was inked by none other than Chris Mars of the Replacements - taken as an entirely fitting gesture to those who lazily approximated TLA to Minneapolis' fab four. Regarding their two later recordings (which I'm featuring here) the similarities are over exaggerated, if anything leaning more towards Tommy Stinson's post-Mats work than Westerberg's.

The title of the No Charisma ep was an unscrupulous dig at the label who dumped them after their aforementioned debut failed to set the world on fire. Released on the tiny Crackpot label, it's become something of a scarcity over the years. Earnest and more developed than Titanic Love Affair, Charisma unintentionally predates the vigorous power-pop Superdrag would make their calling card in the not to distant future. Though not as raucous as the ep, TLA's belated swan song, Their Titanic Majesties Request is as earnest and endearing as anything else in their brief cannon. Fans of the Leatherwoods/Todd Newman will really dig this stuff. For a further critique of TLA, Trouser Press is the resource to turn to.
No Charisma
01. Out to the Fun
02. One Day
03. Being Cool
04. Poster
05. Good Side
Their Titanic Majesties Request
01. Pull You Through
02. Living on the Wrong Side
03. Bever
04. From the Inside
05. At the Show
06. Every Little Chance
07. The Last Now
08. Turn Your Eyes
09. Out on a Limb
10. Neither I Love You
11. drum beats (hidden track)
No Charisma: Hear
Their Titanic Majesties Request: Hear

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fields Laughing 7" ep (1985, Stonegarden)

Fields Laughing, a co-ed trio from Berkeley, CA from way back when were yet another pleasant eBay discovery for yours truly. Despite their arcana, there's actually a Fields Laughing Myspace page with a great bio (some of which I've included below). This upload may seem redundant, given that the entirety of this ep is available for streaming on their Myspace site, if it weren't for the fact that the fidelity of my copy is noticeably better, with at least a few less pops. Green On Red seemed to have significant sway with Fields Laughing, who are endowed with a temperment recalling other rootsy, left-of-the-dial types, like Austin contemporaries Glass Eye. Members went onto other bands including Too Much Joy, and Pop Art, the latter also on Stonegarden Records. Here are some more pertinent details from their bio:

Fields Laughing was formed in 1984 in Berkeley, California, by several college students attending U.C. Berkeley, including Steven Weisburd, Jay Blumenfield, and Nancy Hess. After a brief period with singer Dave Leavitt from Athens, Georgia -- in which the band had a gentler Americana/R.E.M. feel -- Fields Laughing reformulated with guitarist/singer Joel Brandwein and reemerged with a rougher and harder sound. In this formulation, Fields Laughing became a very active bay-area alternative rock band in 1985 and 1986, getting substantial college radio airplay in the bay area (KUSF and KALX) and elsewhere. While headlining local clubs on their own, Fields Laughing also played many opening slots for a number of the leading bands of the era (e.g., 10,000 Maniacs) as well as other local successful acts (e.g., Chris Isaac).
A1. Almost Never
A2. Curtain
B. New Falling