Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Singles Going Single #117 - Datura Seeds 7" (1991, Toxic Shock)

Back in October of 2007 when this blog was in it's relative infancy, I shared one of my all time favorite albums that has yet to make it into the digital age - The Datura Seeds Who Do You Want It to Be? The Seeds were an outgrowth of Indianapolis' hardcore stalwarts the Zero Boys, who's frontman Paul Mahern made a rather seamless transition to the warmer (albeit slower) textures and tones of power pop. The album is for the taking by clicking the link above, but if you'd care for an appetizer or dessert, this single contains an exclusive b-side, "D.A. Pop," with the D & A likely referencing one of Mahern's other musical endeavors, Dandelion Abortion. It's flipside, "S&P '69," also the leadoff cut on Who Do You Want..., concerns an interracial romance, hence the salt and pepper shakers on the sleeve. Aside from the album, a comp track (which I'll try to get to later) and a couple of demos, this sums up the Datura Seeds all too slim discography. Enjoy.

A. S&P '69
B. D.A. Pop


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The New Creatures (GBV-related) - Rafter Tag (1987, Scumfish)

For better or worse, The New Creature's Rafter Tag will go down in the annals of Dayton, OH rock history merely as a footnote to a far more successful aggregation, Guided By Voices...but an interesting footnote at that. A trio comprised of Greg Demos, Don Thrasher, and Bill Hustad, the first of these two luminaries would go on to participate in various and sundry configurations of GBV's rather amorphous lineup over the years to come. Robert Pollard himself had a finger in the Rafter Tag proceedings as well, contributing faintly heard backing vocals to three selections: "Life's Masquerade," "Collapse," and a cover of Spirit's endearing, early-70s ballad, "Nature's Way." A bit more about that remake. Unlike Pollard's main gig, the Creatures were amateurish riff brokers, with occasional acid and psych inclinations. Bearing that in mind, Demo's exaggerated vocal timbre is embarrassing at moments, thereby butchering the aforementioned "Nature's Way" in colossal fashion. Had Pollard rightfully been given the lead vocal reins on this classic, not only could he have salvaged it, the results might have turned out magnificent. Twas not to be I suppose, but Rafter Tag isn't entirely without merit. The Soul Asylum-ish thrust of "Pale White Horse" is piping hot, and other originals, namely "Spirits (Free part II)" and the opening "Icon in the Fields" kick up a little dust to boot. Worth a spin or two. BTW, there were other New Creatures releases, including the 2004 collection Penelope Flowers, issued by and available from Smog Veil Records.

01. Icon in the Fields
02. Lie in Her Head
03. Spirits (Free part II)
04. Caroline
05. Nature's Way
06. Life's Masquerade
07. This Bad Dream
08. Pale White Horse
09. Breakfast 1973
10. Geo's Vertical Television Set
11. Collapse
12. Play V
13. outro (untitled)


Sunday, March 28, 2010

V/A - Twisted 7" (1997, Poster Girl)

This is one of my favorite 7" inch compilations of the twentieth century, featuring an exclusive song from Zumpano (featuring A.C. (Carl) Newman who went on to the much more recognized New Pornographers). BTW, you can partake in a double shot of Zumpano's singles right here.

Halifax pop-rawkers Super Friendz also make an appearance with what may well be their least heard song, "Ladies Man in Exile," and The New Grand (featured on Wilfully Obscure in '08) present a demo version of "A Flair For Sex," which would be rerecorded for their sophomore LP Incognito. Twisted may still be available from the label that issued it, so of you dig it, go here and inquire about obtaining a personal copy. I almost neglected to mention that all four groups featured are Canadian.
Speaking of Can-indie rock, Thrush Hermit, one of the key contemporaries to all of the aforementioned has wrapped a short string of reunion shows, and this week will be releasing a limited edition six CD/two DVD discography box set. No joke, and the tracklist is drool-worthy to say the least. You can order it from Maple Music.

01. The New GrandA Flair for Sex
02. ZumpanoThe Moment Business
03. CheticampHuey Hog
04. Super FriendzLadies Man in Exile 


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Falling Stairs - That and a Quarter ep (1988, Get Out 'a Town)

Here's a fine slab of collegiate, indie guitar rock from a quartet of REM acolytes (though not tremendously derivative) hailing from points northeast. Just the type of thing you'd expect to encounter on Wilfully Obscure and I'm more than happy to deliver it to ya. I hear traces of Mercyland (remember them?) and the far more arcane Beauty Constant as well. Mouthpiece/six-slinger Charlie McEnerney has a website that extensively revisits a bevy of unreleased music from Falling Stairs, as well as solo material and other endeavors. This rip of That and a Quarter is from my own personal stash, though it's available there as well. From what little info I've been able to glean, Falling Stairs were either based in downstate New York or the Boston, MA area. If anyone can set me straight on this, you know what to do. Enjoy (or not).

01. Number School
02. Fortune Days
03. This Is
04. Man-made
05. Good Intentions
06. The Joke
07. Pills

Now available in a new collection on Bandcamp.

Friday, March 26, 2010

New Sweet Breath - album taster (1994-99, various labels)

One of my main moral quandaries in regards to running this blog is that I could potentially be diminishing the sales of the very artists I attempt to promote and/or archive, which is why I stick with out of print or commercially unavailable releases. New Sweet Breath one of my top-tier '90s favorites (who I dedicated a post to last year that strictly dealt with their singles) pose a particular dilemma. Their three proper albums (Supersound Speedway, Demolition Theater, and A Shotgun Down an Avalanche) as well as their parting ep (Acceleration & Distortion) are all out of print, but still available for purchase from the respective labels that released them. In light of this fact, I cannot in good conscience share them in their entirety, but instead have assembled a collection of two (or three) songs apiece from each of them as an incentive of sorts for you to do some further investigation by visiting the links I've provided below, and hopefully parting with a few well spent dollars (or Euros, or pounds, etc).

Unbeknownst to even the most scholarly of ear-to-the-ground indie-rock geeks, Seattle's New Sweet Breath set up shop at the twilight of grunge's halcyon era. Immigrating from Lincoln, NE in the early '90s, the Graig Markel-helmed trio, also consisting of bassist Nicholas S. Rock and drummer Daze E. Hazel specialized in fuzzed-to-the-hilt, distorto indie-punk, coupling static-ridden noize with a melodic sensibility rivaling Superchunk and Husker Du. Each of their aforementioned singles were truly the best of both whirls, and their full-lengths were just as stimulating. I've presented the songs in chronological order to give you a sense of their creative and performance progression. "Broken Toys," the fifth track was only available on the vinyl version of their sophomore disk, Demolition Theatre, and from what I can tell that incarnation of the album is sold out (though the CD isn't).

Graig Markel has since pursued a solo career and now fronts the markedly different electronica endeavor The Animals at Night.

from: Supersound Speedway (1995, Ringing Ear Records)
01. Tales From a Loaded Gun
02. Big Stories
from: Demolition Theater (1996, Ringing Ear Records)
03. Reptillian Ink
04. Throw It All Away
05. Broken Toys (vinyl only)
from: Shotgun Down an Avalanche (1997, Big Top)
06. Hand Me Downs
07. Favorite Things
from: Acceleration & Distortion ep (1999, Mag Wheel)
08. New Disease
09. Shine


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Waterdog - s/t + Jam cover (1995, Atlantic)

So often I'm tempted on here to apply the word "forgotten" to so many groups that I write about, but in many cases, such as Waterdog's, I don't they were in the public consciousness to begin with, thus rendering that adjective pointless. Anyway, let's get down to brass tacks. In the post-Dookie gold rush of 1994, it seemed like every record label in sight referred to their Pavlovian instincts (and checkbooks) in an attempt to sign anything brandishing spiky hair and three magic power chords. Atlantic Records was no exception, and they placed their bets on a quartet of safe, pop-addled neuvo-punks from Providence, RI dubbed Waterdog. Unfortunately, by the time their self titled LP hit the market in 1995 the label seemingly forgot the group was even on their roster, and as a such, said album sank virtually as soon it was undocked onto Rhode Island Sound. About half a year after Waterdog's very quiet release, I was informed by someone associated with Atlantic that it failed to move even a mere one-thousand units. As for myself, I can attest that to this day I have yet to see a copy of this album without one of those marring promotional stamps gracing the booklet.

The production and promotion expenses were likely never recouped, and I'm assuming Waterdog went their separate ways not long after. Yet even the most cursory listen to this album reveals that the band was nearly as adept as Green Day, not to mention lesser known quantities like MxPx and Down By Law. Additionally, the bright, exuberant vibe Waterdog exude here seemed to predate much of the Drive-Thru Records roster that would anxiously be waiting on deck in a few years. If Atlantic had prioritized these guys a tenth of what they did with Jewel and Hootie they would've had another million seller on their hands (and none of those pesky MP3s to kill sales, given Waterdog's '95 release date). Not much is out there on the band in question, but guitarist Terry "Dread" Linehan would ironically enough go onto be a touring guitarist with Green Day, and form a new band, Hope Anchor RI. As a bonus I'm also including Waterdog's faithful spin on the Jam's "In the City."

01. My Life
02. Instead Of
03. Can't Let Go
04. Dumboy
05. Jessica
06. Manic-kin
07. Youngsten Turmoil
08. Once Upon a Time
09. What's the Difference
10. Churns
11. Wasteland
12. Good-bye, Good-bye
plus: In the City

Autumn Clock - Ready Set Apple Pies ep (1994, Grinder)

It may be pure coincidence, but this defunct St. Louis area trio recall one of my favorite post-hardcore bands of their era, Garden Variety. That being said, I appreciate the emotive angle Autumn Clock drive home, but it's an even safer bet that they took a page or two from some more visible North Carolina contemporaries like Small 23, and to a lesser extent, Archers of Loaf. Disbanded in 1997, Autumn Clock's music lives on via their Myspace page linked above, featured an albums worth of material that you can stream that even surpasses most of this respectable little ep. Viva indie guitar rock!

01. Pericardium
02. Dying Out
03. Slide
04. Judy's Car
05. Out of the Rut
06. Dysfluency


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ramrods - Jivin' 'n Twistin' ep re-up

I am happy to announce that I have been given permission to reinstate the Ramrods Jivin' n' Twistin ep. You can read my original write-up here. More stuff to share tomorrow.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Splitting the Difference # 37 - Ultimate Fakebook/The Stereo (1999, Pop Kid)

This was something of a dream split single for me. Two fantastically phenomenal and talented bands specializing in high-strung power-pop with hooks and chops to die for. I'm not sure if they toured together, but if they did it would have been one corker of a ticket. I featured the Ultimate Fakebook on here a couple years ago, or more specifically the indie version of their sophomore album, This Will Be Laughing Week. Don't hold me to this, but I believe that their side of this 7" was recorded at the same time as that album. The bittersweet "Catch the Beat" equals anything on Laughing Week. The song later landed on Fakebook's parting shot Before We Spark, while "Nothing Left to Start" was later appended to the reissue of their first album, Electric Kissing Parties.
Minneapolis' The Stereo, helmed by one Jamie Woolford made as deep an impression on me as the aforementioned, especially their brilliant grand finale, 2002's Rewind + Record which earned a pretty high spot on my '00s albums of the decade list. Both of their scintillating contributions to this slab of wax were rerecorded for their previous album, No Traffic from 2000. This single is likely long gone, but you can obtain the two Stereo albums I mentioned and more from Fueled By Ramen. After the Stereo folded, Jamie went on to the like minded Let Go, who I'd also heartily give a thumbs up. 
Ultimate Fakebook
01. Catch the Beat
02. Nothing Left to Start 
The Stereo
01. Can't Look Back
02. So Into You 


Singles Going Single #116 - Beatnik Termites - Lineage 7" (1996, Coolidge)

I'm not terribly familiar with the Beatnik Termites outside of a Ramones covers album (Pleasant Dreams revisited in it's entirety) and this 7" wherein they tip their hat to the Descendents and All. For those of you that plead ignorant to either of these groups, the Descendents were a pioneering, '80s pop-punk/hardcore band from southern Cali that influenced thousands of others for decades to come. When singer extraordinaire Milo Aukerman divorced himself from the Descendents the remainder of the band soldiered on with a series of lead singles including Dave Smalley, Scott Reynolds, and Chad Price. The Termites pulverize their way through one of the Descendents most glorious offerings, "Suburban Home," a tongue in cheek diatribe touting the virtues of conformity, while the flipside "Minute," is an All cover. The label that put this out, Coolidge Records also released a compilation CD of Descendents covers (29 to be exact) called Homage that's worth seeking out, if not downloading. You want to be stereotyped, you want to be classified...

A. Suburban Home
B. Minute


Singles Going Single #115 - Custom Floor 7" (1991, Goldenrod)

I saw this rather dissonant outfit open up for Drive Like Jehu and Tanner in 1993. Their live performace impressed me more than any of their records, but I'd say this single (which was actually the pilot release for the sadly defunct Goldenrod Records label) is the best of their studio the sleeve is one of my all time favorites in my collection (hence the oversized pic). "Homeless" bears an agile math-rock bent, vaguely recalling Slint, while the sharper of the two b-sides, "UPS Driver," would do Steve Albini more than proud. Line of inspiration: "Life's cold, but I'm colder." Not necessarily the catchiest thing I've shared on here, but then again, what are you gonna do about it?

A. Homeless
B1. UPS Driver
B2. In My House


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Half a Chicken - Food For Thought (1988, Rabid Cat)

I think my expectations for this one were a little too high, due in no small part to the Bob Mould production credit. From what I can tell this was the only national release from Half a Chicken, a four piece combo from Port Washington, NY (downstate, Nassau you care). Anyway, Food For Thought is a little on the nondescript side. HAC don't portray themselves as true believers of Husker Du, and if anything lean more towards northeast indie-rawkers Agitpop and Nice Strong Arm. Their more convincing moments like the jangling "Red Kite," "Describe the Rain," "Feeling it Now" could have been scaled down for a tidier ep. This Chicken may be a little Half baked, but if you're an aficionado of college radio from this era, I wouldn't hesitate giving Food... a taste.

01. Chicken Scratch
02. Red Kite
03. 50 Favorite Dead People
04. You & Me
05. Another Daydream
06. Describe the Rain
07. Feeling it Now
08. (You Can't Have It) Your Own Way
09. On My Way


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Big Star - Pick Some Posies and Let's Play - 6/8/94, Cabaret Metro, Chicago

Children by the millions mourn for Alex Chilton, and I suppose you can count me among one of them. I never felt a connection to the Big Star frontman, rather his music - an enormous one at that. Ultimately, I'm not here to eulogize (though there are a couple of excellent online articles to check out). There's no such thing as a convenient time to die, but what makes Chilton's March 17th passing all the more tragic and ironic is that Big Star were not only going to perform at the presently underway SXSW festival in Austin, the band was to be the province of a discussion panel this Saturday dubbed "I Never Travel Far Without A Little Big Star." The panel, which still might proceed (albeit under far different circumstances than initially planned) wasn't to feature Chilton, but instead original bandmates Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel, along with recent Big Star alumni Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of the Posies.

Personally, I never would have seated Big Star under the "power pop" umbrella. As much as I treasure and revere #1 Record and Radio City (both required listening, just as much as Pet Sounds or Revolver), I was never able to rationalize the band as ambassadors of the "genre," given the sobering and reflective temperament of so much of their music. This may sound like a gross oversimplification, but to this pair of ears, Big Star were the finest classic rock/pop band that never made the migration to FM radio. The albums speak for themselves, and although I was dismayed with the unrepresentative reunion LP, 2005's In Space, they compensated for it in a major way with last years ultra-comprehensive four-disk, Keep an Eye on the Sky box set. BTW, two years ago I featured a collection of Big Star alternate takes and demos on Wilfully Obscure.

Tonight, I'm sharing a live show from Chicago 1994, featuring the revamped lineup of Chilton/Stephens/Stringfellow/Auer, that would perform many times over the next decade and a half. I'm pretty certain this is a soundboard recording, if not an excellent audience tape. Enjoy.

Alex Chilton, thank you friend.

01. In the Street
02. Don't Lie to Me
03. When My Baby's Beside Me
04. I am the Cosmos
05. Way Out West
06. 'Til the End of the Day
07. The Ballad of El Goodo
08. Back of a Car
09. Jesus Christ
10. Daisy Glaze
11. Thirteen
12. For You
13. Baby Strange
14. Feel
15. September Gurls
16. Big Black Car
17. Thank You Friends
18. Slut
19. Patty Girl
20. O' My Soul


Watch Out for Rockets - Beasts With Hearts of Gold (2009) - a brief evaluation

When you have a 42 minute CD teaming with a 20-song tracklisting, boasting such absurd and surreal titles as "Urgent Serpent Merchant," and "Erect Sun Cranes," you just know that Robert Pollard has left a profound impression on the architects of the music within. It so happens I came to this conclusion before hearing one iota of Watch Out for Rockets' Beasts With Hearts of Gold. Although my suspicions were somewhat confirmed (to my satisfaction I might add) I soon discovered that this Austin quartet didn't necessarily worship at the GBV alter as much as I convinced myself at first blush.

A lo-fi to mid-fi, 4-track aesthetic dominates here, which in itself is a glaring similarity to Mr. Pollard and Co., but what sets WOFR apart is the exuberance and experimental inclination that gradually diminished up until the 2005 departure of that iconic, aforementioned group. The fervored "Buckle Your Hair" and "A Lotus Yet" are perhaps the most indicative examples of this, but the more docile "Class Action Pantsuit," and "Headrush Hour" lend a hook-savviness that's equally appreciated. This album also bears a roughhewn resemblance to those early Sebadoh albums and Centro-matic's oft overlooked debut, Redo the Stacks. The keyboards that percolate intermittently are a thoughtful inclusion, but not particularly useful. Beasts does amble occasionally, but then again so did Bee Thousand and Sebadoh III.  Visit WOFR's Myspace page linked above with several additional songs streaming. These guys are also blog-ified.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dramarama - San Diego, HOB 3/30/08

It's been awhile since I've done a Dramarama post - almost three years in fact. Thought I'd share this above average audience recording, dating back just two years ago in support of the band's most recent album 2005's Everybody Dies. John Easdale's pipes sound a little raspy, the guitars are somewhat stifled in the mix, but the set list is near-perfect, and the energy is impressive. I think the touring version of Dramarama is down to Easdale and just one other original member, but no matter. "Scenario," "Last Cigarette," "Work for Food," and of course "Anything, Anything" have definitely stood the test of time. Click on the first hyperlink above to check out their upcoming gig dates (all confined to the L.A. area I'm afraid). Also, head over to iTunes and Emusic to browse titles from Dramarama's back catalog, most of which is physically out of print.

01. intro
02. Visiting the Zoo
03. Scenario
04. I've Got Spies
05. It's Still Warm
06. Haven't Got a Clue
07. Everybody Dies
08. Work for Food
09. Dropping the Curtains/Tiny Candles
10. Try Five Times
11. Last Cigarette
12. Anything, Anything


Monday, March 15, 2010

Shaking Hands - No Laughing Matter ep (1986)

Well, I have very little to extol on this female fronted Buffalo, NY band, other than they were enjoyable but archetypal mid-80s, left-of-the-dial fare. Along the lines of Romeo Void with some of that "new south," Mitch Easter inflection to it, especially on the opener "Mental Affair" which is worth the price of admission alone. Don Delvincent's ringing fretwork lends a lot of pizazz to this ep, which is perhaps the quartet's only vinyl offering. From what I've been able to glean from Google, singer Gretchen Schulz still performs on occasion in the Buffalo area, only not with Shaking Hands. At this point they may be trembling, but certainly not shaking (ha ha). Couldn't help it.

01. Mental Affair
02. Shy
03. Wojam
04. D Thing


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Steve Naive - s/t (1983, Setting)

I'm not sure if this is actually Steve Nieve of Elvis Costello and the Attractions fame, or someone entirely different. The surname of the Steve in Costello's band was spelled Nieve not Naive as it is here. Man, this is really bugging me, so if anyone can clarify, please do. This album is virtually devoid of Nieve's instrument of choice (keyboard), it doesn't sound particularly Costello-ish, nor are there any words of gratitude to Elvis (or anyone in the Attractions) in the liner notes...yet still, I'd find it hard to believe there were two Steve Naive's/Neive's running around at the same time. This is a decent pop/rock disk with some tasty saxophone licks on occasion, but as stated above few would make the connection between EC and the boys, or any of their like-minded contemporaries either. One final clue I can offer - this Steve Naive was apparently based in L.A., while the Costello collaborator or almost the same name was a native of England. It's gotta be the same guy, right? I swear, I feel like such an amateur at times when it comes to this stuff. Enjoy (or not).

01. Come to America
02. Hurts to be Alone
03. Gyp-C
04. Sixty-Nine
05. Love's Being Wasted
06. Fratrock
07. Funny How You Fall (Vamoose!)
08. Hard Way to Go


Singles Going Single #114 - The Bats (US) - Popgun/Tell Me Why 7" (1980, Gustav)

A couple years I shared a vinyl sourced MP3 copy of How Pop Can You Get?, the once out of print and exceedingly hard to find album by The Bats, a Connecticut-based band from the early '80s who seemed to make a huge impression on whomever was in earshot of their album. I was asked to remove the album from Wilfully Obscure after it was re-released digitally, but more on that and how you can hear it for yourself a little later.

Preceding the aforementioned album, The Bats issued a single two years prior on the local Gustav label, containing "Popgun" and a solid run-through of the Beatles "Tell Me Why." "Popgun" a brisk, keyboard-ridden slice of turn-of-the-decade power pop was nearly as stunning as anything to come on the forthcoming LP. The song wasn't originally included on How Pop... but was appended as a bonus cut to the digital version. The flipside however was not, and remains exclusive to this wax. Consider this single as your introduction to the Bats, and if you like what you hear, I urge you to purchase How Pop Can You Get? from iTunes, Emusic, or Amazon Downloads, as it's quite likely to be the wisest money you'll ever spend on a digital download. It's up there with the best of 20/20, Shoes, and in some ways it offers even more than those bands ever did. BTW, the Bats featured a guy by the name of Jon Brion in their lineup, who went on to much greater success a couple decades on.
A. Popgun
B. Tell Me Why

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Strand - Seconds Waiting (1983, Wasp)

Not too long ago, word let out that Radio Heartbeat Records was going to be reissuing this LP, originally slated for a late '08 release. Another year passed with no Strands reissue to speak of, and as of today no mention of it on RH's page, so until this album makes it to market again I hope no one will have a problem with me sharing it in the meantime. Based in Arlington, VA, The Strand were a local favorite during the early '80s, but when they released their debut album, Seconds Waiting on the Wasp Records imprint, listeners from points beyond the metro D.C. era took note. The LP is considered a lost American power pop classic among the few who were fortunate enough to make its acquaintance. It was reissued on CD in the early '00s, by some accounts as a bootleg (though it's superior fidelity would lea met to believe it was taken from the master tapes). By 2007 The Strands reunited, and issued their second album, Another Season Passses, which included new songs, as well as as some vintage material. Terry Banks of Big Takeover magazine had the following to say about Seconds Waiting:

Full disclosure: Seconds Waiting, The Strand's debut album, released in 1983 on the tiny Wasp label, is my favorite record ever to have emerged from my (adopted but long term) hometown of Washington D.C. and, beyond that, it’s one of may favorite records of all time. Melding then-current influences of The Jam and D.C. local hero Tommy Keene with mid-60s pop of an early Beatles/Who stripe, it's a lost classic and like all lost classics part of its identity and charm is that it was made a long time ago by a young band that faded into obscurity.

01. You and Me
02. Popular Girl
03. I Understand You
04. Kids Today
05. Easy Now
06. One More Ring
07. Why
08. Claim to Fame
09. Not Toys
10. Seconds Waiting

For better or worse, Amazon to the rescue

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dryer - Letterbox ep (1994, Paint Chip) & I Wish I Had a Positronic Brain ep (1996, Tramp)

By request, here are some more golden oldies from Dryer, a recently reunited upstate New York power trio I featured last week, or more specifically their 1995 DIY tape, Beauty Parade. I should mention the band are about to drop a retrospective CD, Strut and Fret: 1993-2002, which will be available from iTunes, Emusic and the like on April 6. It just might contain songs from these long out of print 7" eps, not to mention their other assorted releases. Check Dryer's Myspace update page for all the latest info.

Letterbox 7"
01. Letterbox
02. Carry it Through
03. I Can't Wait
04. FireFlies

I Wish I Had a Positronic Brain 7"
01. March
02. Lucky
03. Girlfriend
04. Chip

Get both eps and the Beauty Parade tape here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shake - s/t ep (1979, Sire)

Three ex-Rezillos comprised Shake, who only released this 10" ep. According to Trouser Press, this wasn't a particularly crucial record. To my ears, it's competent but pedestrian pub/punk rock,with shades of the Clash and Jam evident on some tracks. Troy Tate of (ex of Teardrop Explodes) was also in Shake but does not appear on this record. Shake prime mover Jo Callis would eventually go onto bigger things in the Human League.

01. Culture Shock
02. Glasshouse
03. Dream On
04. (But) Not Mine


Monday, March 8, 2010

Schatzi - Joanie Loves Schatzi (1998, Humongous Fungus)

An Austin, TX outfit called Schatzi made the "Dubya" years at least a little more tolerable with two choice releases on Mammoth Records - the Death of the Alphabet ep in 2001, and the ensuing long player, Fifty Reasons to Explode a year later. Marrying seismic hooks to booming power chords, a la '90s Weezer and Smeared-era Sloan, but with even smarter songs than both, Schatzi possessed a winning formula, but received inadequate exposure (BTW, Fifty Reasons made it into my top-95 albums list of the decade). The band went their separate ways not long after some 2003 recording sessions and a national tour with the Ultimate Fakebook, but even after their demise, I was starving for more.

Via their defunct webpage, I learned of a pre-Mammoth Records release, Joanie Loves Schatzi, that the quartet issued on their own Humongous Fungus label. To this day I have never come across a copy of this unspeakably impossible to locate disk, but about two years ago I was fortunate enough to bag high quality MP3s of the entire album, which I'm sharing with you today. Joanie... doesn't scale the heights of their later releases, but a respectable and worthy debut nonetheless. BTW, can anyone post the cover for this? The best I could do is a teeny tiny thumbnail that I've included in the folder.

If you want to bone up on the history of Schatzi, go no further than this thorough, online article. Cheap hard copies of the Alphabet ep and Fifty Reasons are all over Ebay and Amazon.

01. Nadine
02. Green Velvet Neckbrace
03. Dirty Room Lament
04. Selfish Please
05. Snowflake
06. Stalking The Girl (With Wintergreen Stockings)
07. Acetaminophen
08. All
09. Surrogate Savior
10. Laika
11. Smashplate
12. Radiate
13. Mr. Kent, You're Out Of Gas

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Singles Going Single #114 - Inner Sleeves 7" (1986, Citadel)

Wow. Great Australian jangle pop from the same label (Citadel) that gave us the spectacular and likeminded Someloves "It's My Time" 7." The immediately winsome Inner Sleeves, sound like the Aussie answer to Let's Active and Flamin' Groovies...perhaps even a little better? True, I just have these two songs to go by, but both of them sparkle and gleam so brilliantly it's insane. The faint strains of Farfisa organ on "End it All" add color to an already lively canvas, while "Heartache" seems to operate in a more contemporary '80s rock construct. Really love both of these, but unfortunately they appear to be the only songs the Inner Sleeves left us. A six minute discography? So unfair.

A. End It All
B. Heartache


Singles Going Single #113 - Sweetcream USA 7" (1995, Velvetone)

I'm presuming Sweetcream USA originated from California, most likely the L.A. area, as that's where their label, Velvetone was based. Velvetone Records was also responsible for the excellent Middle Class A Blueprint for Joy singles and live compilation, but I digress. Sweetcream also released an album shortly after this single called Close to Rock that I have yet to encounter. A quintet led by Celeste Moreno, Sweetcream's lengthy titled A-side approaches a variety of Teen Beat Records-era pop groups, while the flip "Crime as Virtue," bears a slight slowcore bent a la the Spinanes. These are both loose comparisons, so make of them what you will. Great sleeve on this one.

A. Seven Million Dollar Vaudeville Cane
B. Crime as Virtue


Friday, March 5, 2010

Various - Ten Cent Fix (1993, Jiffy Boy)

Ten Cent Fix is quite simply one of the best compilations from the golden age of American indie rock, which IMO spanned the late-80s to mid-90s. There's a lot of no-names and also-rans that fill this disk, but it's also one of the most consistent comps of it's liking. Some of the more familiar names making an appearance, specifically Poole, The Lilys, and The Grifters donate exclusive tracks, as well as Ultra Cindy, a great shoegazer that fell by the wayside, but lovingly revisited on these pages in 2008. Standout cuts from The Melba, Paint, China Pig, and the Barnabys make for some sweet icing on an already delectable cake. Dig in.

01-Poole - There You Go
02-All About Chad - Embarrasing Moments
03-The Melba - Make Me A Wish
04-Grit - Where The Red Fern Grows
05-Ultra Cindy - Z-Man
06-China Pig - Junkha' Red
07-Slow Children Playing - Thirteen
08-Barnabys - Gargamel
09-Grifters - Make It Happen
10-Apple-O - Learing Fast With Lois
11-Sugarshock - King Dweeb
12-Paint - Wonderment
13-Viva Satellite - L'Homme Maigre Vous Fait Rire
14-Schwa - Turn Around
15-Lilys - Excelsior Plainslide


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Singles Going Single #112 - Solar Coaster 7" (Turnbuckle, 1998)

My disproportionate onslaught of bygone North Carolina bands continues, with none other then Winston-Salem's Solar Coaster. Wielding a dizzying maelstrom of distorto-guitar rawk, this overlooked trio possessed the conviction and sheer volume of Sugar, Monsterland, and even their Turnbuckle labelmates at the time, Bailter Space. Pretty overwhelming but near addictive on repeat listens. If you dig this their 20-song, lone album, Solar Coaster can be bought from the usual digital retailers: iTunes, Emusic and Amazon MP3. In addition to eighteen other songs, it contains re-recordings of these two 7" cuts. Click the link above to hear some unreleased goodies on their MySpace site.

A. Zero Sum
B. Karmageddon


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dryer - Beauty Parade tape (1995)

During the mid-90s, if you were situated in the Saratoga Springs/Albany, NY area and had your ear fairly close to the ground, you may remember the band Dryer as being something of a club and college radio staple. Apparently back together and on the verge of releasing a new album Dryer is/were a co-ed, indie-rock trio who bore a resemblance to Superchunk and Velocity Girl, though they didn't completely exude the excitement of either. There were at least two Dryer CDs and two 7" eps that rolled off the presses between 1994-98, but a little sidebar to their discography was this rather endearing DIY cassette I'm sharing. The ten selections on Beauty Parade were culled from a Paint Chip Records compilation called Fear Into Fuel, a bunch of demo tracks recorded for Atlantic Records, and live songs from a 1994 performance at Bogie's nightclub in Albany. I'm sure this tape was limited to a few hundred copies. Anyone want to hear more from Dryer, let me know.

01. Back Off
02. Mint Chocolate Chunk
03. Chip
04. Green Paper
05. Test Case #212
06. I Can't Wait
07. Girlfriend
08. Nothing Again
09. Speed Queen
10. 1 + 2