Saturday, April 30, 2011

Various - (Epic Presents) The Unsigned Vol. 2 (1987, Epic)

The concept here is pretty straightforward.  Back in the mid-80s between releasing the latest Quiet Riot and Michael Jackson albums, Epic Records (now Sony) had a little extra seed money to throw around.  In conjunction with CMJ magazine, the label had the rather thoughtful idea to compile nine or ten "unsigned" bands to two full-length various artist albums apiece, based on regional competition finalists.  Thus Unsigned Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 were thrust into a very indifferent marketplace. 

Though none of the acts on Vol 2 actually inked a deal with Epic (or with any major label for that matter) many did stick it out long enough to issue records on local indies.  Side A kicks off with Chicago's power-poppin' Green who voiced their objective loud and clear on "Gotta Getta Record Out" (which they did, and coincidentally it was recently reissued).  In a similar mold we have the New Salem Witch Hunters who offer up the faintly garage-tinged "Falling," which I believe also appeared on their first album.  I've already covered Greensboro, NC's jangle kings (and queen) Three Hits on these pages fairly recently, and a pre-Velvet Crush Paul Chastain contributes the Ricken-soaked "Halo," which can also be found on his ep of the same title.  The Basics "Paper Heart" is amiable, middle-of-the-dial pop (which seriously has me jonesin' for some Del Amitri or Toad the Wet Sprocket), while Morgantown WV's Velez Manifesto's "Dark Clouds" bears a mildy brooding silver lining.  In the not-so-rock-n-roll realm, Staten Islands funked-up The Worms stick out like a sore thumb, and the horns and sax enhanced Big Noise, hailing from Woodstock, NY, are stuck between a pop and a new romantic place.  Enjoy, and no, I don't have Unsigned Vol. 1, at least not yet.

01. Green - Gotta Get a Record Out
02. New Salem Witch Hunters - Falling
03. The Worms - Can You Sing
04. Three Hits - Lori (Last Girl on the Beach)
05. Basics - Paper Heart
06. Slab Fashion - Strike Me Dead
07. Velez Manifesto - Dark Clouds
08. Paul Chastain - Halo
09. Big Noise - Dark Ages


Friday, April 29, 2011

Porcelain Boys - Away Awhile-era demos (199?)

Though I was something of a Johnny come lately regarding the Porcelain Boys, waaaay better late than never.  Their If You Were Real and Relive 7"s from 1989 and 1990 respectively, became two of the most coveted records in my collection by the mid-90s, and remain so to this day.  Ditto goes for my second generation dub of the Fetish for Female tape them I'm still dying to obtain an original copy of.  If there was ever a group that didn't make it, that deserved to achieve the same level of success and reverence as say, Superchunk or Jawbreaker, the Porcelain Boys were it.  Trust me, that's saying a lot.

Needless to say when I learned that Erik Kaiser and Co. were reuniting in '96 with a new album (Away Awhile) and a brief tour I was beyond stoked, only this wasn't exactly the same Porcelain Boys.  Erik, following in the fine tradition of Grant Hart and Phil Collins, managed lead vocal duties and bashed up a frenzy on the drum kit.  That was until the reunion, when he switched to guitar, filling the role of original axe-wrangler Tom Spence.  Bassist Scott Cook maintained his spot in the Porcelain Boys, yet even with 2/3 of the core lineup intact, it was a significantly different sounding band.  Truth be told, you can also chalk up the palpable sonic disparity to the vastly improved production employed on Away Awhile.  Though it made sense to recut many of the "vintage" PB songs for purposes of exposure to a larger audience, the new coating of paint concealed many of the rough edges that belied the charm and excitement of those early recordings.  At any rate, Away Awhile split the difference between entirely new material and re-recordings of some big time favorites of mine, including "If You Were Real," "Bedtime," and "Squeaky Clean."  Preceding this album, was about another record's worth of demos and unreleased songs, including more old school nuggets like "Problem #1," "Last," and the tender acoustic ballad, "Jen's Song," all given the Clinton-era treatment.  I've compiled these songs here alongside eight more, some of which never made it to the album or onto the Porcelain Boys preceding singles and tapes.  To my recollection this assemblage of demos was obtained on the file sharing platform, Soulseek nearly ten years ago.  The track numbers range from 1 to 16, making it evident that about five songs from these sessions presumably didn't make it to the internet for whatever the reason.  At any rate, what is here is pretty commendable.

It came to my attention today that a remastered version of Away Awhile was made available online, including the two PB songs from their split with Marble, and a couple of outtakes, one of which is a lively rendition of "Holiday Road."

01. Last
02. List
03. My Machine
04. Problem #1
05. Someday
06. Take It
07. Jen's Song
13. Hey Melissa
14. Good
15. Wilma
16. Just Then


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Senator Flux - Bake the Candle in the Hall of Her Brain ep (1990, Emergo/Insight)

Senator Flux aren't the first band name to roll off most peoples tongues when reminiscing about bygone indie acts from the metro D.C. area, but the group's low profile belied a remarkable amount of talent, much of which residing in mouthpiece and six-string slinger Jeff Turner.  Jeff (whose name has alternately been spelled as Geoff) made a name for himself in two smokin' D.C. post-hardcore outfits, 3 and Gray Matter, but his erudite songwriting and philosophical musings truly came to the fore in Senator Flux, who churned out a quartet of quintessentially left-of-the-dial albums during the late '80s and early '90s.  I featured the latter two of those melodic marvels, 1990's Criminal Special and it's just as necessary follow-up Storyknife, quite awhile back (the links are still active).  You can start there, but this ep would be just as an ideal place to make your acquaintance, as side one features two songs from the the then to-be-released Criminal Special.  Flip the coin and there are two even fresher songs, 8-track demos of "Universal Solvent" and "Monuments," both of which would make the grade for Storyknife in 1991.  The variances between these so called demos and the finished product are downright slight, but sure to tickle the fancy of you half-dozen or so Senator Flux completists, and as previously mentioned, make a damn fine introduction. 

01. The Combine
02. Grey Eyed Athena
03. Universal Solvent
04. Monuments


White Sisters - tape (1986)

A thoroughly Anglophile obsessed trio from Madison, WI who had the privilege to work with grunge-wielding Butch Vig way back in the mid-80s?  Unlikelier pairings there may have been in the annals of "modern rock" history, but the all male White Sisters were definitely something of a curiosity, but a fairly enjoyable one.  Word has it that this ep length cassette accompanied copies of the Sisters debut 7" which has been digitized by the thoughtful folks over at Consolation Prizes blog, as well as a subsequent 1989 singleFire Escape Talking blog points out that lead Sister Jeffrey Borchardt would later go onto Velvet Crush and Honeybunch.  As for the music at hand, the four cuts here make a case for the White Sisters being the well-scrubbed love-children of Aztec Camera, the June Brides, and to wax even more obscure, a host of virtual unknowns that populated so many of those Sound of Leamington Spa compilation albums.  Really sweet stuff.

01. All is More
02. Lazy
03. Some Folk's Fears
04. The Tastes That Rule


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Brick Mower - Under the Sink (2011, Viking On Campus) - A brief evaluation

In this all too fleeting mortal coil we call "life," we have beverages that "go down easy," movies that "feel good," and gloves that, well, "fit like a glove."  And then there are albums like Under the Sink by central New Jersey's Brick Mower, that wholly exude the comfortable, worn-in aesthetic of those aforementioned catch phrases.  I think you can see where I'm going with this.  In fact, even the most cursory scan of Under the Sink will provide ample evidence of BM's homespun, noisenik approach to the usually mundane, but once glorious beast known as punk-pop.  Fortunately, this lovingly ramshackle trio are here to restore some of that genre's glory, brandishing amped-out axe-squalls aplenty.  I'd be remiss if I failed to mention that ...Sink provides more than your daily dose of off-key, albeit well intended harmonies, hearkening back to such mid-fi, small-of-fame indie troupes as Gaunt, Archers of Loaf, Lynyrds Innards, and Not Rebecca.  The overall mood encompassing these eleven little ditties ranges from nascently raw to bubbly, leading one to ponder if Brick Mower are cutting their collective teeth or simply baring them to anyone willing to lend a curious eye or ear.  You can hear for yourselves by heading over to their humble Myspace page or better yet, by picking up your very own hard copy of Under the Sink over at Big Cartel at a bargain basement price.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Singles Going Single #170 - The Bardots "Carrion" 7" (1995, Che)

It almost goes against my better judgement to dedicate an entry to this one, given the rather heinous amount of snaps, pops and static that seem to permeate every second of this wax, but the A-side "Carrion," lures you in with a visceral swell of dream-pop distortion, only to diminish seconds later making way for a knockout hook that's Sloan by way of Straitjacket Fits.  Sorry for not sounding more enthused.  A lot of you imbibed The Bardots Eye-Baby disk that I shared all the way back in '08, so I thought I'd throw this overdue morsel your way.  The flip, "Making Money" is less high-strung, and the vinyl noise is virtually intolerable, but alas, I believe it's exclusive to this single.  "Carrion" on the other hand was also featured on the Bardots V-Neck album.  Stay tuned for more Bardots in the not-too-distant future.   

A. Carrion
B. Making Money


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter - s/t (1987, Chameleon)

Easter.  What's in a name?  Well, given the moniker of this L.A. area outfit, if it isn't appropriate for me to share this platter today when will it?  By now, the lucky few who are acquainted with Easter are probably aware of  Mike Ness' affiliation with the group.  I don't have much of a backgrounder to share (though I could have sworn there was a fairly thorough webpage dedicated to them about a year or so ago that seems to have vanished entirely) but Mr. Social D served as guitarist for Easter prior to the recording of this album, and appeared in the videos for "Lights Out" and "Slippin Away."  Performing as a trio for this record, Easter delved headfirst into a driving, hook-savvy strain of album-oriented rock with edgy post-punk inflections.  Headmaster Danny Phillips doles out an unremitting volley of sweet, ringing guitar chords and his mates Chad Carrier and Korky possess more than muscular rhythmic chops.  Easter saw the light of day on Chameleon Records, the same imprint that was home to Dramarama.  The band reissued a cd-r version of the album, padding on a handful of remixes for bonus tracks.  From what I can tell it's still available through CD Baby, which means I'll only be hosting these files temporarily.  This rip is taken from my fairly pristine vinyl copy.  As always, if you like what you hear please support the band!

01. Manhattan Boy
02. Pictures
03. Lights Out
04. Sidewalk Girl
05. Little Boy
06. Lifes Goes On
07. Steady Rockers
08. Slippin Away
09. Latest Flame
10. No Violence

Get it from Amazon.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Posies - Broadcasts, Vol. 4

Four down, three to go.  As with previous installments, the period these live performances were largely derived from was 1993's Frosting On the Beater album and shortly thereafter.  The centerpiece of Broadcasts Vol. 4 is a radio dispatch of a Toronto 1995 Posies gig at Lee's Palace, most likely aired on CFNY 102.1 (please see the source notes in the folder for more details).  This particular show featured previews of several songs that would comprise the band's third major label outing, Amazing Disgrace.  Another treat is an acoustic set cut for Radio Paris in November of '93 that kicks off with a sublime reading of "Any Other Way," which of course appeared on the equally sublime and transporting Dear 23 album.  Broadcasts 4 puts things to bed with another stripped down radio session, this time for Amsterdam's DeBeurs Radio in 1998, featuring in-studio takes of "Friendship of the Future" and "Start a Life," both found on the Posies oft overlooked and prematurely touted "farewell album," Success (but that cover really could have used some improvement, eh?).  The fidelity here is by and large on par with Broadcasts 1-3, though there is a little over-modulation in places, per the source notes.  Hope ya like.  

Radio Paris, November 4, 1993
1. Any Other way
2. Flavor of the Month
3. Earlier Than Expected

"The Word," U.K. TV 1994
 4. Distant Door (Definite Door)

Lee's Palace, Toronto 4-19-95
5. Definite Door
6. Solar Sister
7. Dream All Day
8. Love Letter Boxes
9. Flavor of the Month
10. When Mute Tongues Can Speak
11. Fight It
12. Grant Hart
13. Throwaway
14. Any Other Way
15. Lights Out
16. Please Return It
17. Burn and Shine
18. Hate Song
19. How She Lied By Living

DeBeurs Radio, Amsterdam, June 1998
20. Friendship of the Future
21. Start a Life


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Babylon Pink - Long Weekend ep (1989, Wave Seven)

It's April 21st, and everybody knows tomorrow's Earth Day, Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday...  Alright just had to get that out of my system.  Babylon Pink (at time of this recording anyway) resided in a place called Minneapolis, but with a balls-to-the-wall modus operandi, a la the Stooges, or for that matter scores of other blue collar riff merchants, Detroit would have been a more apt stomping ground.  As fate would have it frontman Nic Santiago would eventually Los Angeles that is.  All geographical concerns aside, Babylon Pink's fiery brand of barroom punk hinged on the invariably effective three-chords, wailing solos, and Santiago's distinctive hollers and yelps on the mic.  It's a hand that's been played in just about every nook and cranny of the free world, but these days few young hopefuls could string it together as well as this foursome did on their lone ep, Long Weekend.  An engaging, tell-all bio can be read on Babylon Pink's Myspace page, where you can also listen to the contents of this record, or better yet, download my rip of it directly below.

01. Are You Ready?
02. Strange Stuff
03. Next Time You Call (My Name)
04. Killing Time
05. Long Weekend


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Singles Going Single #169 - Weird Summer 7" (1996, Parasol)

Urbana, IL's Weird Summer featured the talents of Nick Rudd (Velvet Crush, Turning Curious, Blown and Lonely Trailer among others) and singer Bob Kimbell.  The band intermittently recorded four albums during the late '80s through the '90s that were met with critical acclaim, though minimal fanfare, at least nationally.  A real shame if you ask me, because they had the "new south" aesthetic down pat, merging jangly pop with a sprinkling of roots rock vigor.  For my money, their first two albums Cry for the Moon and Homer (reissued as one CD) were near-genius, left of the dial jewels, but the single I'm featuring here came down the pike a little later, as a precursor to their 1998 I.S.O. (In Search Of) album.  The b-side "The Things I Do," is exclusive to this wax.  The aforementioned Weird Summer albums are still available from their label of issue, Parasol, as are a myriad of Nick Rudd related titles.

A. Rained Like Hell
B. The Things I Do


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tina, Age 13 - The Alcoholic Father of My Inner Child ep (1995, Broken)

Another request fulfilled.  Tina, Age 13 were one of many '90s outfits I discovered posthumously in dollar bins.  They initially showed up on these pages via their appearance on the Goldenrod Records Super Mixer compilation.  It was pointed out to me by a reader that bassist Chris Johanson personally illustrated each and every cover of Tina's Good Feelings album, which is nearly impossible to come by these days due in no small part to the one-of-a-kind sleeve art.  Johanson would graduate to painting other things, and even had a solid chunk of his handiwork anthologized in this book.

Tina were a noisy and highly chaotic proposition to reckon with, and can partially be likened to a more affable and modest Unwound.   Like Unwound, this trio would tease you with a brief hook, only to recoil mere seconds later, yet still maintain your attention.  The CD version of Alcoholic Father closes out with a 56-minute rampage through Neil Young's iconic (and usually) much appreciated "Cortez the Killer."  In this case, I'm not sure about the appreciation quotient, as the last forty minutes or so is a monotonous loop of white noise and feedback, with a palpable nod and a wink to Metal Machine Music.  I hope ya'll don't mind that I decided to cut the rope right at the fifteen minute mark.  You're not missing a damn thing, trust me.

01. Empty Daisy Field
02. Badder
03. Sensuality=
04. John Cassavetes
05. Ocean Manager Our Special Friend
06. Cortez the Killer


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Yuma House - s/t (1997)

One of the cool perks of working at a radio station (particularly one ensconced within a college or university campus) is that not only are you able to consistently keep your ear to the ground for a hot new commodities destine for the "regular rotation" rack, you often get to lap up some of the "overflow" (i.e. stuff that didn't make the music director's cut)  At my old stomping grounds, bins of rejects would pile up week after week, month after month, and while many of us didn't exactly have ample time to excavate through all the leftovers, so to speak, I made a point to make time.  It was in one of those not-so-coveted crates that I happened upon Yuma House, who ironically didn't hail from Arizona, rather the D.C. environs of Rockville, MD.  Yuma House serves up eleven slices of measured, mild mannered indie pop, steering clear of the all too evident trappings of this quartet's era.  If you're like me, you might detect some faint vapor trails from the sweeter side of the Chapel Hill scene (say, Small 23).  That and maybe a smidgen of Superdrag.  Yuma House have made this album available for download from their website, but chances are you just weren't prescient enough to know about that (no offense folks).  This rip is taken straight from CD however, and if you like what you hear, iTunes and CD Baby are selling Yuma's second release, Future Perfect.

01. Tara
02. Alright
03. Sister Station
04. Out of My Hands
05. Annmarie
06. Joke of a Party
07. Track 6, Track 7
08. Laura
09. Lower Providence
10. Brown and Grey
11. Audiophile

Now hosted on Amazon.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Spliffs - House of Seven (1987, Revolution)

It's with utmost pleasure and beaming pride that I present to you a record that has eluded me for about...oh, say, two years or so, but it's been a damn loooooong two years.  And almost immediately upon being enlightened of this Queensland, Australia quintet, I also learned that The Spliffs were the province of collector-scum record vendors on Ebay and - and very few of them at that.  It's a damn shame these jangle-wranglers from the Northeast quadrant of Oz didn't break out beyond the handful of local indie labels that would have them during their 1985-88 run.

It only took two Spliffs songs to win me over as a posthumous, albeit lifelong convert: "Merry Go Round" from this album, which I initially caught wind of via a fanzine comp CD, Off The Hip 4, and "You Know What They'll Say" from the band's debut single, posted on the now defunct blog.  Admittedly, "Merry Go Round" rings a little precious, at least sonically, but with lines like:  "Mary go round, talk to the boys/Take another ride on the merry-go-round/When Mary goes round they treat her like a toy," the sentiments raised may not be as innocuous as they seem.  Hmmm.  A Ricken-pop classic, as are "4 Seasons" and the memorable leadoff cut, "Never Say Goodbye," which would later make it onto a single, also released by Revolution Records.  House of Seven isn't quite the unremitting jangle pleasure-palace that I had pined and anticipated to frolic in, with more than a few selections applying a more mature singer/songwriter tact, sounding not far removed from what Crowded House were doling out due-south in New Zealand.  The only clunker in the bunch is "(I Work For) K.A.O.S.," a cheesy, sax-laden ditty celebrating Get Smart that's frivolously out of character with it's nine accompanying "bona-fide" songs.  Regardless, this album is a major and phenomenal find.

I would be remiss if I failed to point out that Twilightzone! blog did an entry on House of Seven in late 2009, however this rip is straight from my recently purchased copy, ripped at 320 kbps (for a change)!  You can also check out the Spliffs "You Know What They'll Say" 45 over at Sons of the Dolls.  Enjoy.

01. Never Say Goodbye
02. Blow Away
03. Once Again
04. Jester's Song
05. Merry-Go-Round
06. (I Work For) K.A.O.S.
07. 4 Seasons
08. Slow Train
09. Can't Live With Myself
10. Are You Happy Now?

MP3  or  FLAC

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Singles Going Single #168 - Truck Stop Love "Stagnation" 7" (199?)

When I shared Truck Stop Love's How I Spent My Summer Vacation album a few months ago, I inquired what else the Manhattan, KS outfit had in their arsenal.  Guitarist/mouthpiece Rich Yarges was kind enough to answer the call, and one of the items he mentioned happened to be this very single, which I recently unearthed.  Having admittedly anointed the Minneapolis trifecta of Soul Asylum, The Replacements, and Husker Du as role models, TSL return the favor on the positively crankin' "The Liquor Has Hardened Me." "Stagnation" pulls in the reins a notch, suggesting that No Depression stalwarts Uncle Tupelo had made a dent in TSL's collective psyche.  You simply cannot go wrong here ladies and gentlemen.  BTW, could anyone inform me of the release date?  This record would appear to have been self-financed, as there appears to be no label affiliation whatsoever.

A. Stagnation
B. The Liquor Has Hardened Me


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bridge Climbers - Full Bag Don't Bend (1984, Explosive)

With it's daft yet somehow strangely appealing album jacket, and an esoteric title to match, I couldn't resist taking a chance on this baby.  The Bridge Climbers were at one point going by the slightly lengthier moniker of Dale Lawton & the Bridge Climbers, naturally credited to the helmsman of this Tulsa, OK quartet.  Full Bag... starts things rolling with the reggae-lite tinged "Cameo," affording a little flair to the Climbers otherwise unsuspecting mid-tempo, power-pop/wave type stuff.  "Tightrope," featuring local legend Dwight Twilley on backing vox, strums along in a more conventional stride, as do the even more stunning "Lost and Found" and "Little Girl You."  The rootsy "Let's Rock It" closes this affair out in Rockpile-ish fashion.  Lawton soldiered on into the '00s with a new cabal dubbed the Dale Lawton Stampede, who can be experienced on a thing called YouTube.

01. Cameo
02. Tightrope
03. Try to Remember
04. Company You Keep (dub version)
05. Little Girl You
06. Lost and Found
07. All That Glitters
08. Let's Rock It


Monday, April 11, 2011

Wobble Test - trixinickybambibo tape (1990)

This turned out to be one of my best $1 Ebay finds in quite some time.  Regarded by some to be one of the finest bands to come out of Milwaukee, WI, Wobble Test's discography apparently consisted of merely this cassette and a compilation appearance.  V-Fib Recordings website summarizes up their career better than I ever could:

Three teenagers from New Hampshire meet a boy from Milwaukee and decide to take their high school diplomas to the middle of nowhere to create rock 'n' roll in an absolute vacuum. Sound like a recipe for disaster? Yeah, well, kinda. . . but the tunes, man! Milwaukee's Wobble Test were a full throttle mix of Big Star, Jane's Addiction and The Knack. It's what's parked at the intersection of pop genius, depression, acid, amateur enthusiasm and beer. What The Replacements might have sounded like if they really partied.

The band consisted of Mike DeVogel (v, g), Tim Buckley (v,g), John Daniels (b), and Stevo (d). "Rewind" was the first tune off a brilliant 1989 cassette-only release called Trixybimbosomething (the combined names of Wobble Test's childhood dogs). The fellas in this band went on to play in other favorites Maki, Soda, Bi-centenial Drug Lord and Koester.They're kinda V-fib's "Patient X". The disease started here.

In addition to some of the aforementioned comparisons, I'm picking up trace elements of Pure Joy, The Senseless Things, and Soul Asylum (not as if this Brew City quartet had actually been familiarized with those first two).  My only hesitation in sharing trixinickybambibo is that the audio quality of the last two tracks gracing side one (esp "Bells") ironically hold true to the band's moniker, sounding unnaturally wobbly and warbly, most likely the byproduct of an aging cassette.  Architectural Dance Society blog posted a nice write up on the band a few years ago, discussing among other things unreleased Wobble Test recordings (though all audio links are presently broken).

After W/T called it a day, Tim Buckley and John Daniels would later move onto the Blow Pops.

01. For Reasons I Have 9
02. Rewind
03. Daze
04. Bells
05. The Charm & the Strange
06. Verse Me
07. That One/Standing Fair


Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Mommyheads - Flying Suit (1994) & Finest Specimens (2010) - a brief evluation

During their tenure in the mid 90s, The Mommyheads moniker popped up in a variety of places - compilations, fanzine reviews, and even concert handbills from far away places.  Despite the fact that this San Fran by way of New York crew intermittently made it onto my radar throughout the Clinton-era, our paths never really crossed, that is until the internets made life a lot more convenient.  Acquainting myself with many of the artists on this blog has been a retroactive endeavor, and the Mommyheads are a case in point.  In fact, around the time I finally started investigating them, I caught wind of the news that two CDs had hit the market, the Finest Specimens career retrospective, and a reissue of their 1994 fan-favorite album, Flying Suit.

Generally speaking, any given Mommyhead's song isn't inordinately complex, though the decades-spanning Finest Specimens is a challenging collection to dissect, and somewhat pointless to categorize.  Two concurrent threads that stitch Specimen's 21 songs together are the 'Heads penchant for lucid, uncluttered performances and for the most part, conciseness.  Early artifacts (circa 1989) like "Cactus Farm" and "Gravity" show off a jazzy dexterity hinting at the rhythmic aplomb of SST-era Meat Puppets.  A plusher pop awareness would begin to gestate on 1992's Coming Into Beauty LP, represented here by the whimsical "Like a Brick," and "Wedding Day's sonic mosaic of multi-tracked vocals.  It's unclear as to whether the Mommyhead's had serious ambitions of concocting a full blown pop record, but the aforementioned Flying Suit comes close enough, possessing tight, hook-laden and mildly askew gems like "Worm," "Sandman," and "Bottom Out," that weren't too dissimilar to what the Shins and the Sugarplastic had waiting in the wings for us in the coming years.   The reissue of Flying Suit comes tricked out with three bonus cuts, providing exactly 37.5% bonus content.

The Mommyheads went a stretch without recording after 1995's Bingham's Hole, but returned in 2008 with You're Not a DreamFinest Specimens features a handful of selections from that platter, and even digs into the well for some live recordings from a variety of eras.  Check out the Mommyheads over at Dromedary Records where you can purchase both albums, digitally or otherwise.  

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Posies - Broadcasts, Vol. 3

Welcome to the third installment of the seven volume, Posies Broadcasts collection, a fan-curated assemblage of the group's on-air radio performances and FM concert simulcasts, which were surprisingly plentiful and well archived.   As I mentioned in my initial Posies onslaught two weeks ago, most of these sessions came to pass when Auer, Stringfellow and Co. were pushing their Frosting on the Beater and Amazing Disgrace albums.  This set is no exception, consisting primarily of two sterling sets for Amsterdam's 2 Meter Sessions, one from late '93, and then a 1996 follow-up for Amazing Disgrace.  The '93 Frosting-era session contains a few tongue-in-cheek, impromptu covers of Teenage Fanclub and Deep Purple tunes among others.  The session notes (included in the folder) mention that two songs from the original '93 broadcast ("Dreaming" and "Burn and Shine") were omitted due to inclusion on the At Least, At Last box set, and a 2 Meter compilation CD respectively. 

2 Meter Sessions, Amsterdam, November 1, 1993
1. Flavor of the Month
2. Any Other Way
3. I Am the Cosmos (Chris Bell cover)
4. Teenage Fanclub Jam
5. When Mute Tongues Can Speak
6. Elvis Costello Jam
7. Earlier Than Expected
8. Deep Purple Jam
9. Dream All Day
10. Dave Brubeck Jam
11. Coming Right Along

2 Meter Sessions, Amsterdam, April 13, 1996
12. Everybody Is a Fucking Liar
13. Throwaway
14. Please Return It
15. Ontario
16. Broken Record
17. World
18. Limitless Expressions

from Pukkelpop Festival, Hasselt 1998
19. Broken Record


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bluebird - The Two (2000, PacifiCo)

The Two wasn't Bluebird's first record, not was it their last, and furthermore it wasn't even their strongest release...however it was my indoctrination into the meager cult dedicated to this bunch of low-profile, L.A. denizens.  Bluebird's modus operandi (at least as The Two is concerned) can loosely be boiled down to "post-hardcore" with significant persuasion by a myriad of  '90s Dischord Records signees.  I should add, this is one moody mofo of an album, spanning spastic punk freakouts like "Two Friends" to the downright placid and contemplative "Moonless Night in the Monument." What really sold me on The Two was it's genius pair of opening tracks, "Skeletons Day Parade" and "Still Life (With Moving Parts)," both of which sport briskly paced tempos, chugging guitar lines, and most poignantly of all, illustrate how invigorating Bluebird's genre of choice can be when augmented with a walloping dose of melodicism.  

As mentioned above, The Two wasn't quite the band's finest hour.  That would arrive three years later on their Dim Mak Records platter, Hot Blood, which found them tacking towards the more tuneful and rocking rush of the Doughboys and Foo Fighters.  There's a thorough Bluebird bio on Dim Mak's site that you would do well to read if you have any further inquiries on this ostensibly departed Cali five-piece.  Original copies of The Two may still be available here and here.

01. Skeletons Day Parade
02. Still Life (With Moving Parts)
03. Birth of Inertia
04. Shedding Skin
05. Two Friends
06. Low Gear
07. Rider
08. Moonless Night in the Monument
09. Silver Touch
10. Bird on a Wire

Now on Amazon.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Singles Going Single #167 - Potential Frenzy 7" (1992, Neptune)

For a little while in the '90s, Mickey Mouse and the gang down at Dizz Knee Land had to share the same home turf as this Orlando trio, who took a few choice stabs at the rotting corpse of punk rock (soon to be revived by a plethora of mega-bucks major labels shortly after this single was released, but I digress).  Potential Frenzy's Norah Salmon grabs the mic for the saucy and mildy anthemic "Please Go Away," a taut power chord-addled ditty that's approximately three parts The Muffs and one part L7.  Sweet stuff.  Bassist John Saylors takes over on "Airwaves (Paid Off)" which clearly bemoans the homogenization of FM radio playlists years before Clear Channel went on their monopolistic feeding frenzy later in the decade.  PF's bio reads as follows:

This was the first Potential Frenzy project with the original line up. This was and is a true DYI project. Potential Frenzy was a pure pop punk band from Orlando Fla with roots from Boston and Washington. Drums Peter Oldrid Bass & Vocals John Saylors and Guitar and Vocals Norah Salmon. Please Go Away the A side was later redone on the first cd Potential Frenzy which won a Jammy Award in 1994. Potential Frenzy played with the Ramones, Buzzcocks, Seven Mary Three, Tabithas Secret. Seven Seconds, Nicoteen, Screaming Iquanas of Love, Gold Finger, Soul Asylum, Monday Mornings ,Joe PoPP and many more. This 45 is a Jem if you can somehow get do so. The band only made 500 copies 400 in the red sleeve and 100 in the blue sleeve.

Per Amazon, it appears Potential Frenzy issued a CD as well.  Another commentary on the band is available at your leisure over at Killed By Florida blog, and directly below you can fix your gaze on a lively Frenzy covering the Clash's "White Riot."

A. Please Go Away
B. Airwaves (Paid Off)


Monday, April 4, 2011

The Probers - Mad At the World ep (1982, Hyperion)

I may not have of a wealth of background info to regale you with regarding this seven-piece Rhode Island set, but I do know a rock solid power pop disk when I hear one, and The Probers near-30 year old Mad at the World ep is the cats meow.  Plenty of rollicking fun here, and very much of the era I might add.  "Betsy," "Tell Me," and "Take It Like a Man" recall the finest work of their (slightly) more renown contemporaries, The A's and Donnie Iris, and while we're at, thrown in a dash of candy-coated pop sheen a la the Rubinoos.  It's seems someone has posted a non-LP Probers track via a makeshift video on YouTube, and as a bonus you can glean a little bit more about the band in the rather lengthy comments section.

01. And Violets Are Blue
02. Betsy
03. Mad at the World
04. Anonymous Affair
05. Tell Me
06. Take It Like a Man


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Various - Half-Assed 7" (1994, Kranepool/Shithouse Rat)

A few days ago, Shiny Grey Monotone blog shared the 1994 soundtrack to the indie flick Half-Cocked.  Not to be outdone, I was inspired to post this 7" comp, the cover of which is a picture-perfect mock of the sleeve for said soundtrack.  The rose-red motif is where the similarities end however, as Half-Assed wasn't for a movie at all, rather a showcase of six Albany, NY-area bands that were making a solid go of it at the time.  Most notable to me, and perhaps even you, is the inclusion of a non-lp, lo-fi Figgs nugget "1000 People Grinning," which incorporates a bit of a Merseybeat vibe. Catapult also appear to be on something of a 4-track kick here as well.  We also enjoy a tune from Dryer, a trio of co-ed indie popsters who I've spoken of highly on here before.   Don't have much to offer on Small Ax, although their contribution, "Holy Ways" definitely subscribes to Amphetamine Reptile aesthetics.  Beef made a name for themselves on the Albany club circuit back when this wax was churned out, but I'm not sure if you guess it from the sound of things here.  The Coal Palace Kings were No Depression acolytes to the nth degree, with several releases under their belt, and the swinging little country number, "Asskicker Theme," despite it's slightly pugnacious title, is as good a place as any to make your acquaintance.

01. Small Ax - Holy Ways
02. Beef - Papercup
03. Coal Palace Kings - Asskicker Theme
04. Catapult - Seasons Change
05. The Figgs - 1000 People Grinning
06. Dryer - Helicopter


Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Braves - That's the Hot Part (2003, Arms Reach)

That's the Hot Part, issued on the now defunct Arms Reach Records label, was my first exposure The Braves, and though it pales slightly to the quintet's bolder follow-up, Love & Mercy, it's remarkable in it's own rite, albeit something of an acquired taste.  The group's rather indigenous blend of emotive fervor, gently smothered melodies, and unconstrained delivery all come together fluidly (and fluently) on this immensely promising half hour of power.  If you're still unconvinced, read what Big Takeover magazine had to say:

I’d love to ghettoize this album with a convenient, dumbed-down catchall tag, like “jangle-core” “mid-fi” or “inide rock,” but alas I’m out of luck.  There’s something immense going on within these five inches of aluminum that defies applying such mundane designations.  That’s the Hot Part pulses and breathes with the kind of sparseness and downbeat purity the Spinanes and Inbreds have made their calling card, but an average song length of a scant two minutes lends a detached and mildly fragmented template to the Braves performances.  Perhaps it’s not by coincidence that “Hear, Say!” lifts a good chunk of the melody from REM’s Murmur classic, “Catapult,” as The Braves’ strongest songs mesh with the refreshingly disassociated and atmospheric context of that album.  In this day and age, I’d say that makes That’s The Hot Part all the more vital.

You might still be able to obtain copies of TTHP through the always reliable and reasonably priced InterpunkJohann's Face Records who released the aforementioned Braves sophomore album, Love & Mercy should still have plenty of those in stock, as does Interpunk.

01. This is My Wife
02.  And These Are My Wedding Day Shoes
03. You're No F- Jazz Guitarist
04. Your Car
05. Young Loves
06. I Am a Patriot
07. We Haven't
08. Oh Wait, Yes We Have
09. But a Lieutenant
10. I Want to Build Us a Big White House
11. Young Lies
12. Gentlemen's Blues
13. Hear, Say!
14. Your Harmless Disposition