Thursday, June 30, 2011

Funland - Sweetness ep (1993, Arista)

Funland were one of several Dallas, TX combos (along with the Toadies, Hagfish, etc) to be plucked from the Deep Ellum circuit in the wake of Nirvana's meteoric rise to the top of the alt-rock food chain.  Unlike most of their scene cohorts, they didn't boast much of an indie pedigree, and in fact, I believe Sweetness was their first proper release.  More power pop than grunge, Funland's linear yet satisfying modus operandi went hand in hand with one of their contemporaries, Best Kissers in the World (who have been on a reissue spree of late, but I digress).  From what I recall, "City of Wet Angels" and "Fall Away" both received moderate airplay, but the ep failed to catch fire and Arista passed on releasing a full length by the quartet.  Kind of a shock, since all the ingredients seemed to fall perfectly into place here.  The concluding "Obligatory Cover (For the Kids)" is a medley of Air Supply's "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" and "Lost in Love," which as far as I'm concerned didn't do "the kids" much of a favor, at least not the one typing this.  Funland at least had the good sense to commission Hate! comic book scribe, Peter Bagge to illustrate the striking album sleeve.    

In 1995 the independently issued The Funland Band, album hit the pavement, but it's abrasive bent rivaled that of an Archers of Loaf record, and as such, was a pretty far cry from Sweetness.

01. City of Wet Angels
02. Fall Away
03. Drop of a Hat
04. Sack Hop
05. Hate Thing
06. Amarillo
07. Obligatory Cover (For The Kids)


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bucket Number Six - s/t (Boat, 1988)

For a young indie trio hailing from the Midwest in the late '80s, you'd think Bucket Number Six would be blazing a path bejeweled with power chords and post-punk exuberance.  Not so fast, at least as far as these suburbanite, Chicago denizens were concerned.  I'm tempted to hurl the ol' "cowpunk" tag at 'em, like so many horseshoes pitched at a stake in the ground, but truth be told, they're not a terribly aggressive lot.  More roots-rock than country, BN6 nonetheless pile on twangy, slide geetar licks generously on their opening salvos "Fallen Heroes" and "Blues for Orson."  It's a sonic motif that's employed prominently on this self-titled platter, but if it's more conventional fare you're craving, "Underneath a Mississippi Moon" and the Jackie Robinson paean, "Only the Ball Was White" flow more in the vicinity of the Feelies.  Found this archived article regarding Bucket Number Six over at the Chicago Tribune, that's fairly revealing.  From what I've been able to glean online, this was their one and only album.

01. Fallen Heroes
02. Blues For Orson
03. Only the Ball Was White
04. Little Faith
05. Time to Disappear
06. Thin Man Theme
07. It's About Time
08. Underneath a Mississippi Moon
09. Cold Feet
10. C.C. Boom
11. Buy Me a Bottle Beer


Monday, June 27, 2011

Guided By Voices - The GBV Super, Fun, Wow, Xtra Valu-Pak!

When I was approached by a reader a few weeks ago to share some scarce and miscellaneous Guided By Voices songs, it dawned on me that while I've posted no less than three voluptuous collections of rare GBV material, there were still plenty of gaps.  Not only that, that aforementioned trifecta (consisting of To Trigger a Synapse, The Carefree Kitchens Are a Blast, and most recently Beyond the Bars and Churches) wasn't the product of my labor and/or assemblage, but that of other gonzo GBV sycophants.  It's kind of misleading to credit myself as the "curator" of this fourth batch of long deleted vinyl sides, compilation appearances, and home recordings, but it's the closest I've come thus far to piecing together something in that arena (though technically, a handful of the tracks were cherry picked from already cherry picked fan comps, that for one reason or another I failed to obtain in their entirety). 

Whatever the case, here's thirty more doses of Pollard scree, offal and debris, in all their mangled, half-assed glory.  Things commence with the four songs from their 1994 split single with the Grifters.  From there it's onto more studio gold, including the three bonus tracks from the Jellyfish Reflector boot (5-7), the Nightwalker singles (8-10), compilation tracks, outtakes (17-26), and I close things out with the stark, melancholic, and exceedingly arcane "The Mind Refuser," culled from the Japanese incarnation of Half Smiles of the Decomposed.  One song here, "Whiskey on Your Breath" was also included on my first clusterfuck share (Trigger a Synapse), but I'm presenting again with slightly improved fidelity.  It's my favorite GBV outtake, and in fact, the melody was lifted for a song (the title of which escapes me) that later appeared on Suitcase 2.

Given their extended and apparently open-ended run of "Classic Lineup" dates, one would hope the boys had the horse sense to sneak into a recording studio for a week or two to rekindle some of that prolific, Clinton-era magic, but don't hold your breath - not by a longshot it would seem.  At any rate, three cheers for the mind refuser...

from split 7" w/ the Grifters
01. Hey Mr. Soundman
02. Announcers & Umpires
03. Evil Speaker B
04. Uncle Dave

Jellyfish Reflector studio songs
05. Pantherz
06. I'll Buy You a Bird
07. Bughouse

Freedom Cruise/Nightwalker split 7"
08. The Freedom Cruise - Cruise
09. Nightwalker - Lucifer's Aching Revolver

Nightwalker - one sided 7"
10. Firehouse Mountain

11. Scorpion Lounge Shutdown (Ptolemic Terrascope magazine comp 7")
12. One Track Record (Sponic magazine comp)
13. I Am A Scientist (live) (Threadwaxing Space Live: The Presidential Compilation)
14. Invisible Man (Breeders cover on vinly vers. of Crying Your Knife Away live boot)
15. Sucker of Pistol City (Plugs for the Program ep)
16. The Opposing Engineer Sleeps Alone (split single w/ New Radiant Storm King)

Otherwise unreleased:
17. Foolish Booger
18. Dancing With My Gun
19. Whiskey On Your Breath
20. Talk to Me
21. Industrial Morning
22. Up We Go (aka New World Rising)
23. The Happy Song
24. Never
25. Ruth (fan mix)
26. Sea of Clover (Sprout on vocals)

X Fest 99 compilation
27. My Valuable Hunting Knife
28. Teenage FBI
29. I Am a Scientist

30. The Mind Refuser (from Japanese Half Smiles of the Decomposed)


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Singles Going Single #177 - Morning Glories "Tower" 7" (1994, Burnt Sienna)

New York's Morning Glories were one of dozens of '90s indie hopefuls to ink a record deal with Cargo Records, but by and large I overlooked them at the time.  Better late than never, and while I'm going to try to get to one of their full lengths before my follicles start sprouting grey hair, I'm confident this wax will tide you over.  Two servings of crunchy guitar rawk that move me in much the same way as first as the first Pond album did (which to this day I regard as one of the finest debuts of the '90s).  Super tight playing as well - these guys start and stop on a dime as if it was going out of style.  Loving this big time.

A. Tower
B. Average Crowd Pleaser


Friday, June 24, 2011

Redd Kross - Third Eye demos (1989/90?)

I'll kick things off by admitting that Neurotica is, and is likely to remain my Redd Kross album of choice...although there wasn't much to complain about when they turned in their follow-up, Third Eye was there?  Well, now that I think about it, I suppose I do have one gripe about Third Eye - it tanked commercially, thanks to a seemingly indifferent Atlantic Records, but I digress.  1987's Neurotica is really where R/K began to dabble around the fringes of pop music, particularly the Paisley variety.  Fast forward three years, and the McDonald clan had totally immersed themselves in bright chords and saccharine harmonies, much to the chagrin of longtime listeners who were groomed on Redd Kross' nascent punk yammerings.  The genesis of the songs comprising Third Eye weren't quite as shiny as the finished product, as evidenced by this set of demos, which include gritty, early takes of "Annie's Gone" (two versions in fact)," "Bubblegum Factory," and "1976."  Better yet, there are FIVE tracks here that never even made in onto said album: "Crazy Horses," "Baby Save Me," "Hope You Feel Better," "Teen God in an Oily Cocoon," and "Left Out in the Cold Again," (that last one exhibiting some pronounced audio issues, due to a presumably dodgy source tape).  Look for another Redd Kross post in the near future.  By the way, unless you've been living under a rock, bassist Steven McDonald has been lending his talents of late to OFF! an amazing hardcore punk revival "supergroup" (a la pre-Rollins Black Flag) featuring the Circle Jerks' Keith Morris as frontman, who sounds like he hasn't missed a friggin beat.

01. Annie's Gone
02. I Don't Know How To Be Your Friend
03. Crazy Horses
04. Shonen Knife
05. Bubblegum Factory
06. Baby Save Me
07. 1976
08. Left Out in the Cold Again
09. Elephant Flairs
10. Hope You Feel Better
11. Zira (Call Out My Name)
12. Teen God in an Oily Cocoon
13. Annie's Gone


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Singles Going Single #176 - Graig Markel 7" (1999, -ismist)

You wouldn't know it from the scalding, white-hot cocoon of feedback and tuneful thrust that encompassed virtually every recorded note laid down by Seattle's New Sweet Breath, but lurking in the midst of that gloriously, amp-ridden raucous was frontman Graig Markel, who when separated from his cohorts (bassist Nicholas Rock and skinsman Jeff Hazel) was adept at composing some of the most contemplative and transporting singer-songwriter soundscapes that have ever met this set of ears.  Really, the guy's that good, and all the proof you need lies in the grooves of his initial volley of solo records (Verses on Venus, Hard Grammar, among others) and for that matter this single, which appears on -ismist Records, a label that Graig goes back a long way with.  The lucid and sheik, neo-cosmopolitan sumptuousness of "July" and "Sugar in Bloom" find Markel crossing into thresholds that NSB never envisioned, and I like to think serve as an appetizer to those aforementioned full-lengths.  In the years following this humble 45, he turned his muse to the electronica endowed Animals at Night, and even more recently our man is back with some brand new solo jams for you to devour over at his Soundcloud page. 

A. July
B. Sugar in Bloom


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Miracle Legion - Out to Play promo ep (1992, Morgan Creek)

For those of you who couldn't get enough of Miracle Legion's Drenched long-player back in 1992, you'll be happy to lay your ears on this if you've been holding out for something extra (though I imagine most of us have moved on).  Out to Play is a radio promo disc featuring six cuts from Connecticut's strummy, college rock staples.  Most notable among them are two covers - a faithful execution of Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust," and a twangy traipse through da Byrds "Mr. Spaceman," that are exclusive to this CD.  We also get the decent studio outtake "Over to Hell," and the less than decent, "Down Down Down, So Good Gone Bad," which amounts to five-and-a-half-minutes of hazy, acid-trip psycho-babble.  Consider yourself warned.  As you might guess, Out to Play features the song of the same name, one of Drenched's choicest moments, and one more album track, "So Good."  If you have yet to make your acquaintance with Miracle Legion, this is a nice launch pad, but I'd actually start with the record that started it all, 1984's The Backyard ep.  The Music Blog of Saltyka and His Friends also has quite a bit to opine on  Miracle Legion, and they apparently had far more time to dedicate to this topic than I have.

01. Out to Play
02. Over to Hell
03. Ziggy Stardust
04. Mr. Spaceman
05. So Good
06. Down Down Down, So Good Gone Bad


Monday, June 20, 2011

Luxury - EP #1 (1981, Angry Young)

This thirty year relic didn't come particularly cheap, but then again what would you expect for a long out of print record from a band that earned a coveted spot on the 2004 Yellow Pills: Prefill compilation?  The early '80 was an especially fertile period for power pop and Luxury, who operated out of the the relatively far flung environs of Iowa, weren't immune to the bug that had thankfully infiltrated so many music palettes of that era.  This quintet's spin on things wasn't quite as linear and showroom clean as say, the Rubinoos and Shoes.  Kerry Swan's wonky keyboard lines, and Luxury's overall embrace of speedy tempos slotted them that much further left of center than their more generously compensated contemporaries.  EP #1, (which as fate would have it proved to be their only extended playing disk) falls a notch or two shy of being a wall-to-wall goldmine, but it's most striking moments like "Bible School" and "Eyes of Love" make a case for Luxury being ahead of the curve of their crowded field of competitors.  The band's discography is rounded out by two preceding singles, one of which is archived here.

01. Did She Really Mean That
02. Eyes of Love
03. Tube Ballet
04. I Wasn't Ready For That
05. Bible School
06. Countdown


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Frontier Theory - Atlantic mLP (1987, Top)

Frontier Theory appear to be one of the few vintage, D.C. alt-rock bands that haven't been adequately anthologized, or quite frankly mentioned anywhere at all.  They definitely weren't angular or edgy enough to rub elbows with the Dischord Records contingent, but upon giving Atlantic a few spins it sounds to me that Frontier Theory would have fit like a glove on the 415 Records roster, recalling the jangly but barbed strains of so many Translator and Red Rockers albums.  Am hearing some Northern Pikes and Fire Town on here as well, but more likely coincidence that a conscious effort.  Not quite an LP, but outlasting the length of a typical EP, Atlantic was followed up a proper full length, No Waltz in the Meadow in 1988.  The last few seconds of the title track have some nasty pops and snaps, due to a small scratch.  Tried to edit them out as best I could, but should a cleaner copy surface I'll be inclined to re-post this one.  BTW, producer Bob Read spent some time in another local outfit, B-Time, on the same label, who have also been covered in this past entry.  If you're lucky enough to be a subscriber to the online incarnation of The Washington Post you can read this pertinent article regarding Frontier Theory.

01. Atlantic
02. Progress
03. Have You Fallen
04. The Wild Bourgeoise
05. News For You
06. Summer's Over
07. Frenzy


Singles Going Single #175 - How Happy 7" (1987, Heartbeat)

File this satisfying, though not-so-innovative electo-pop single under the "new romantic" genus for sure.  I say un-innovative in the respect that How Happy (going by the record label, presumably hailing from Indiana) are tinkering around with a synth/wave formula that already sounded dated by the time this disk was minted in the late '80s.  "1982 is on the phone and they want their sound back," so to speak.  Both cuts are more chilly than chirpy, yet still entirely approachable.  Judging by the band photo gracing the sleeve, these boys weren't as amusingly coiffed as Duran Duran and A Flock of Seagulls.  Fortunately for How Happy, their tunes could stand on their own. 

A. 2nd Time Around
B. I Remember You


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Moviola - Frantic (1995, Anyway/Spirit of Orr)

Moviola have been a venerable indie staple in their native Columbus, OH since the early '90s, but have made few ripples elsewhere.  Frantic is one of their earlier efforts, originally seeing the light of day in 1995 on Anyway Records, and was reissued at the turn of the millenium on the Spirit of Orr label with four bonus cuts (five, if you count the unlisted fifteenth track).  The record runs the gamut from noisy lo-fi pop to contemplative, but often cranky, navel-gazing laments.  You'll find your fair share of chaffe to be separated from the wheat on Frantic, but it's an interesting crop to harvest, with standout offerings like "Color Copy," "Ice Fishing" and their rendition of "Walk," originally penned by one of Columbus' finest, Belreve, who I've previously dedicated much deserved space to on these pages.   

Since it appears that Frantic is still being sold through Spirit of Orr, along with several other Moviola releases, I'll be leaving this up for one week only!  If you like what you hear please patronize the band, who by the way are also sharing a few new songs on Bandcamp.

01. Out to Graze
02. Color Copy
03. Pipes & Fittings
04. Delusions
05. Sensuous
06. Thank You Matches
07. Ear to the Wall
08. All By Myself
09. Bank Machine
10. Frantic
11. Rodeo
12. Walk
13. Drinking Wine
14. Ice Fishing
15. unlisted


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Sunshine Factory - Sugar & Sway - This Was Tomorrow (2011, Saint Marie) - a brief evaluation

If you stopped following the dream pop circuit when the major labels bailed on virtually every single downward staring signee by the mid-90s, then you've missed out on a cornucopia of hundreds of entries that have opted to go DIY, or for that matter slug it out on the many indie imprints that would have them.  The Sunshine Factory and Sway are representative examples of shoegazer "revivalists" (so to speak) one charting a relatively conventional course, with the latter rolling the dice - both to satisfying effect. 

The Sunshine Factory are denizens of Mobile, AL, an unlikely locale for a duo delivering all the requisite dream pop earmarks we've come to know and expect.  On Sugar, the Factory's second outing, we're divebombed with globs of woozy, penetrating tremolo, and swells of swarming syncopation.  Unsung yank’s like Fudge, Black Tambourine, and Drop Nineteens seem to provide more inspiration to S/F than the genre’s more renown Anglo mainstays and good on them for it (though shades of the Boo Radleys manage to sneak in through the factory gate).   Sugar is seeped in traditionalist, Shoegazer 101 aesthetics, but Factory deftly blend in some shifty electronic tricks, never overpowering mind you.  And would you just listen to the juicy, plump hooks that propel "Domino" and "My Sugar Cane" into melodic overdrive.  Sugar is a killer confectionery. 

Moving from the sweet to the sweetly-surreal, Sway have been kicking around Ventura, CA for over a decade, evolving from a quartet to what is presently a solo vehicle for Andrew Saks.  The unsuspectingly enlightening This Was Tomorrow falls on the heels of a handful of eps dating back to 2006.  Billowy, rhythmically aware, and deliriously ethereal to a fault, this corker of a debut suffers from a staggering embarrassment of sublimeness (let alone riches), and as far as I'm concerned we wouldn't have it any other way.   ...Tomorrow is a pristine, gale force surge of disorienting, blissed-out dream pop, basking in the digital glow of soft keyboard treatments that unfurl and erupt with astonishing frequency.  My Bloody Valentine melded with a touch of Owl City?  Sort of.  New Order on a Swervedriver bender?  Perhaps.  Saks has a damn near-perfect thing going, but I would probably nix the vocoder (or whatever device he's applying that sounds like one).  It's difficult to pick a favorite song here, but I'd sweat it down to "What I Know" or "Nucifera."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Nullstadt - Flesh (1988, K-9)

This was an impulse purchase from a few months ago.  I had been hearing very intermittent murmurings of Buffalo's Nullstadt for close to two decades, but was never proactive about investigating them.  Had I been depriving myself of something special for all the years?  I'm still trying to figure that out, and more specifically, still trying to put my finger on Nullstadt's rather unique melange of "new romantic" rock and stark, avant-synth wanderlust.  The only pertinent web-based bona fides I've managed to conjure up on this unlikely Rust Belt sextet (I believe they were only a six piece for this album) is a vintage video profile on YouTube, and an article focusing on a 2007 reunion concert which ran in conjunction with the release of a book about goth music.  Truth be told, there isn't a speck of pancake makeup or ethereal spookiness of any kind emanating from the collective pores of this band, at least at this juncture in their career.  A good reference point for Nullstadt's rather oblique stripe of post-punk is the band Japan, circa Tin Drum, though Flesh has many more layers of onion skin to peel through (with some occasional jazz improv tendencies, mechanized drum fills, and dadistic dance maneuvers not being least among them).  Nullstadt were wise enough to commit "A Similar Crisis" to video tape, as it's Flesh's most obviously accessible number.  You can witness the visual evidence for yourself below. 

01. Manifesto
02. A Similar Crisis
03. Steinland
04. War Time
05. Walking on Unstable Ground
06. Reincarnation
07. Voices Out of Sight
08. China


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Posies - Broadcasts, Vol. 7

We've come to the end of the road folks.  I mentioned from the get go that since the recordings from the Posies Broadcasts series were derived from radio sessions and concerts circa the Frosting on the Beater and Amazing Disgrace albums that things were bound to get redundant.  Although I was true to my word, these songs boast an inherent beauty, power, and charm that have stood the test of time (that is if you count fifteen years or so as much of a test).  Vol. 7 is one of the better of these rather voluptuous compendiums, culled from two performances, the first being from an ace acoustic session with Jon and Ken at 99X FM studio in Atlanta.  In addition to playing the "standards" from the aforementioned platters, the boys reach all the way back to their '80s roots and play "Like Me Too" from Failure, not to mention my favorite Dear 23 number, "Everyone Moves Away."

The second half of Vol. 7 is comprised of the band's 1996 Reading Festival gig, which is quite likely the biggest audience they've played to before or since.  A faithful rendering of Cheap Trick's "Surrender" seals the deal .  A very big and special thanks to K.M. (you know who you are) for painstakingly assembling each and every volume of the Broadcasts series.  I've merely been offering these to world at large in a neat and tidy compressed audio format.

99X FM, Atlanta 5/5/96

1. Throwaway
2. Please Return It
3. Going Going Gone
4. Golden Blunders
5. Solar Sister
6. Like Me Too
7. Flavor of the Month
8. Ontario
9. Everyone Moves Away

Reading Festival, August 1996

10. Daily Mutilation
11. Ontario
12. Dream All Day
13. Everybody Is a Fucking Liar
14. Flavor of the Month
15. Grant Hart
16. Solar Sister
17. Definite Door
18. Surrender


For Squirrels - Baypath Rd (2008 remaster) & 1993 demos

I've had For Squirrels on the brain ever since namedropping them in my Naomi's Hair entry a few days ago.  Before they pondered the significance of Kurt Cobain in "Mighty K.C." (from their 1995 Example album), and more notably before the tragic van accident from the same year that claimed the lives of singer Jack Vigliatura, bassist Bill White, and tour manager Tim Bender, the Gainesville, FL quartet issued a self released CD in 1993, Baypath Rd.  Limited to one thousand copies (or so I've heard) Baypath Rd. became an almost instant collectors item as word of For Squirrels misfortune got out, and in years to come would routinely fetch over $100 or so on Ebay.  I don't have an original copy, or even a cd-r of an original, but MP3s weren't hard to come by, and in fact are available from the For Squirrels fanpage linked above. The Squirrels aforementioned sophomore disk, Example, sounded like a perfect fusion of Nirvana-esque tantrums amidst the esoteric folk/pop tenor of Fables/Pageant-era REM.  On the other hand, the preceding Baypath Rd plays out almost as if Nevermind failed to see the light of day altogether.  The REM influence on Baypath is unmistakably pervasive, and for that matter signals where Michael Stipe & Co. would have gone were it not for all the "innovations" they dabbled in during the '90s.  Vigliatura bears a cathartic, yearning timbre that would be deemed "emo" in todays marketplace, but Michael Tooke's ringing chords countered the Squirrel's angst factor in ways their contemporaries didn't contemplate attempting,  "Go On Up" and "Flagboy" were terse, driving rockers, while on the opposite side of the coin, Baypath offered more than it's fair share of reflective ballads in the form of "Kill the Birds" and "Left Behind," among a few others.  To this set of ears the album's crescendo is struck on "Nathaniel's Song" a brisk, strummy pop jewel buttressed on a backbone of sublime multi-tracked harmonies.  A highly endearing set of songs

As mentioned, copies of Baypath Rd are long gone, but one particularly enthusiastic For Squirrels supporter with some studio know-how took it upon himself in 2008 to "remaster" the whole enchalada, giving it a louder mix and boasting the album's sonic attributes in general.  The original Rapidshare link where I obtained this from has expired, so I created my own and have provided it below, but do yourself a favor and view this Live Journal page for more details.  As an additional download, I'm also sharing six demos the band tracked in 1993, including a handful of songs that didn't make the cut for Baypath.  There's also a bevy of F/S live shows, more demos, and evan a radio appearance up for grabs over at

Baypath Rd.
01. Flagboy
02. Kaberet
03. Go On Up
04. Kill the Birds
05. RO
06. Nathaniel's Song
07. Unicycle
08. Plymouth
09. Left Behind
10. 3

1993 demos
01. Go On Up
02. Flagboy
03. Cliche Song
04. Death of a Salesman
05. Pre-Skool Daze
06. The Incan

Baypath Rd.: Hear
1993 demos: Hear

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Naiomi's Hair - Tara (1989, Figurehead)

This was a neat find from my visit to Antique World this past weekend.  Purchased sound unheard (my take on the old phrase "sight unseen"), what little info I was able to glean online regarding Naomi's Hair is that they arose from the same Gainesville, FL scene that brought us Less Than Jake and For Squirrels (taking most of their cues from the latter I should add).  The proceedings kick off with the brilliant, sassy punk corker "Tilt-a-Whirl," a cover of an obscure Gizmos song, decked out in shades of Twin/Tone era 'Mats and early Snatches of Pink.  That nugget of gold is followed up by the chugging, anti-war screed "Tinker, Tailor" which wouldn't sound too far out of place on a vintage REM record.  Tara gets more eclectic on side two, thanks in part to the speedy, bluegrass-indebted melee, "Caroline," while the jangly but ever so wry "Con But For" and "Bobbies Prom Dress" highlight Naomi's Hair's budding pop charm.  Am very curious if there's more where this came from...

01. Tilt-a-Whirl
02. Tinker, Tailor
03. Without a Sound
04. One Shot
05. Caroline
06. Con But For
07. Bobbies Prom Dress
08. Lovin' Babe


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

All Systems Go! - I'll Be Your Radio ep (2001, Bad Taste) & Tell Vicky ep (2002, Bad Taste)

Ten years ago, when the news broke that alumni from the Doughboys (John Kastner) and Big Drill Car (Frank Daly, Mark Arnold) were forging a new musical alliance under the name All Systems Go! this drooling fanboy was licking his chops in complete and utter anticipation.  The prospect of a pop-punk "supergroup" comprising the key talents of two of the genres most consistent, talented, and gratifying bands of the '80s and '90s, was seemingly too good to be true, but when ASG's self-titled puck hit the ice in '01 my expectations were met in a huge way.  The album featured Kastner and Daly manning the microphone, barreling through eleven short and sweet numbers, including some of their career best, namely "Vodka Sonic" and "Can't Stop Getting High." All Systems Go owed more of a debt to Big Drill Car than the Doughboys, but when Daly departed before ASG's follow-up, Mon Chi Chi in 2002, the band's tenor shifted, if only marginally.  For that sophomore album, Daly was replaced by Tom D'Arcy, who had more of an active singing roll.  Mon Chi Chi's choicest offering was the incessantly catchy "Tell Vicky," a not so thinly veiled vignette that comes off as equal parts fiction and fact.  Moreover it was ASG's finest achievement, and my single most favorite song of '02.

The band only racked up a slim recorded catalog, spread out over the course of two relatively available albums (which I quipped about above) and three or four CD eps that were only available as European imports.  Being that those short form releases were scarcely distributed in North America, ASG proved to be less than completist friendly.  They compensated by releasing expanded versions of both albums (with Mon Chi Chi boasting twelve bonus cuts unto itself), but the catch with those is that they were Canadian releases.  There were still a few stray tracks missing from the bonus-ized incarnations, and so far as I can tell all of them were confined to the two disks I'm featuring here.  The venerable "Tell Vicky" is present, as well a demo version of Mon Chi Chi's "Motorbikes."  For the uninitiated, these eight songs are actually an ideal introduction to All Systems Go!  In 2006, iTunes brought A Late Night Snack to market, a digital-only collection featuring several of these b-sides, padded with assorted demos and outtakes.  If you enjoy what you hear, lay down a little coin and support the band...who will hopefully return. 

I'll Be Your Radio ep
01. I'll Be Your Radio
02. Static From Mars
03. All I Want
04. Wide Open

Tell Vicky ep
01. Tell Vicky
02. Motorbikes
03. Madness
04. Last Spark in Town


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chopper - s/t (1991, Zero Hour/1996, Big Deal)

Well, I'm short on time, so this will have to be a quick write-up.  I desperately need to digitize more vintage wax, but in the meantime here's the debut album from Connecticut's Chopper a band I introduced (or reintroduced) you to a few weeks ago via their 4Play ep.  From what I can tell that ep is reprised in it's entirety on Chopper, and furthermore, the label that originally minted the album (Zero Hour) is set to reissue a bonus-ized incarnation of it very soon, so I'm only going to be sharing this for a couple of weeks.  Chopper featured Steven Deal, formally of Bleached Black, a band I've already dedicated a couple of entries to.  Crunchy, riff-addled guitar pop seizes the moment on this near-perfect bakers dozen, which happens to feature three British Invasion-era covers: The Creation's "How Does It Feel (to Feel)?, the Small Faces timeless "Itchycoo Park," and an obscure George Harrison penned track, "The Inner Light," which from my understanding was relegated to a Beatles b-side in 1968.

01. White Summer
02. Caitlin Cries
03. Misery
04. She Went Away
05. Nice Girls (Don't Explode)
06. You're Tearing Me Up
07. I Fell (For a Chance)
08. Bloodspill
09. How Does it Feel?
10. Seven Wonders
11. Nice Girls (Don't Explode)
12. The Inner Light (live)
13. Itchycoo Park (live)


Friday, June 3, 2011

The Pengwins - Mad About the Band ep + 2 (1988, Circle)

Although the Mad About the Band ep was a product of the late '80s, The Pengwins run actually spanned 1976 to the early '90s.  Hailing from the environs of Fort Worth, Texas the five-piece Pengwins composed deftly honed power pop (or thereabouts) that could typically slot somewhere between the Plimsouls and Rubinoos, though not terribly derivative of either.  Mad About the Band was the group's lone ep, and luckily for them they nailed it perfectly, exuding the kind of acumen and moxie that most bands with ten times the back catalog are capable of.  Recently, frontman Lannie Flowers was gracious enough to personally furnish me with an album's worth of Pengwins outtakes and singles, of which I'm sharing two songs from along with the entire six song ep.  Included is the sumptuous single side "Life After High School," which deserves it's rightful place on any given Teenline compilation, or for that matter a homemade mix disk.  More Pengwins material may follow, but in the meantime, you might be interested in acquainting yourself with Lannie's solo albums Same Old Story, and last years Circles.

01. Same Sunglasses
02. Current Affairs
03. Please Give Me a Chance
04. You're Hooked
05. Daylight Reminds Us
06. Shameless

plus: I'm On Your Side
Life After High School


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mrs. Svenson - 1995 demo

Regina, Saskatchewan's Mrs. Sevenson made it onto my radar a good decade or so after their demise when I was running a Google query on Big Drill Car.  Turns out they had shared a gig or two with BDC when Mark Arnold and the boys were treking it out in Canada in 1989. That got me thinking Mrs. Svenson were worth investigating, and before you know it, I found my merry way to their Myspace page.  While I'm still trying to track down the band's 1995 Flood CD (brother, can you spare an upload if you have it?) I did find this six-cut cassette demo on Ebay a few months ago.  No liner notes or even a track list were furnished in the tape sleeve, leaving me to my own devices as to what the titles are.  Their aforementioned Myspace hovel does feature about a dozen tunes, helping me out with half of the tracks, but I still need the titles of songs 1, 2 and 6 (I think the first might be called "Stoned").  Speaking of which, that particular number packs a devastating hook, and for that matter a sweet resemblance to fellow Canuck's The Doughboys.  By and large, the proceedings follow suit, but I have a hunch that elusive Flood album would really the deliver on the promise of this tape.   Below you can check out their low rent video for "Home."  Enjoy (or not). 

1. Fall
2. Book of Truth
3. Never
4. Home
5. Life Lesson
6. All Along