Thursday, May 30, 2013


For better or worse, you won't be seeing any new content until early-ish next week.  I haven't decided if I'll be skipping Mystery Monday entirely, or just pushing it to another day.  Until then, sit tight and plunge into the archives, the links for which (in most cases) are current. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Wolfhounds - Unseen Ripples From a Pebble (1987, Pinky)

Before I part for a trip to witness the band this entry concerns, I couldn't resist sharing the very album that endeared me to them.  The Wolfhounds are a British aggregation who came of age in the C86 era, and were fittingly featured on the seminal NME issued C86 cassette compilation in 1986.  Not only were they a custom fit for such jangly and bittersweet sonic environs, the Wolfhounds espoused an ethos that was utterly quintessential of that short-lived mini movement.  Their premiere full length, Unseen Ripples... manages to resonate crisply and buoyantly a quarter century after the fact, striking a balance (albeit unintentionally) between what the Smiths and Mighty Lemon Drops were projecting, couched in a demonstrably more humble DIY context.  IMO, the earliest Hounds records were the most appealing, and there were several singles and EPs surrounding this album.  The band parted ways in 1990 after releasing their third album, Attitude, but reconvened in 2005 for a reunion concert, and again in 2012, which also saw the first new Wolfhounds record in 22 years, Cheer Up.  A sizable portion of their back catalog is now available digitally on iTunes and Emusic

I should also point out this isn't my rip of the album, so a hearty thanks to whomever went to the trouble of digitizing this.

01. Me
02. Sandy
03. Rain Stops Play
04. Goodbye Laughter
05. Lost But Happy
06. Cut the Cake
07. In Transit
08. L.A. Juice
09. Rule of Thumb
10. Deadthink
11. Public Footpath Blues
12. Handy Howard

Now available on Bandcamp on wax or name your price download with an album's worth of extra tracks. Who says you can't have it all?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Idiot Savant - The Rest on Down ep (1984, Blackberry Way)

Yet another band to crawl out of the Minneapolis underground in the mid '80s, although Idiot Savant had precious little in common with the "holy trifecta."  Instead, this foursome opted for occasionally quirky left-of-the-dial wave/pop type stuff (hold the keyboards, thanks).  Kent Militzer peels off some jagged and sinewy guitar lines when he gets the notion to, but mouthpiece Brian Drake is the consummate and dominating personality among these six grooves.  The Rest on Down was followed up by a full length, A Finger Through the Floor of Heaven a year later. 

01. Down to Sleep
02. Beat the Clock
03. Throw it Away
04. Wheel of Fortune
05. The Rest on Down
06. In My House


Monday, May 27, 2013

They say that indecision makes one weak. My indecisions suddenly been deepened.

I present to you a phenomenal punk/pop album from a high profile act whom you would never guess were capable of such magic. A Plimsouls cover to boot.

Having difficulty accessing the file?  Please try again a little later.  Too many people hammering the link simultaneously is apparently giving Netkup's servers a headache.  With this in mind, I'll leave this up for a few hours past the usual twenty-four, k?  You're welcome to comment, just don't give away anything obvious.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Well Nigh Forgotten - Betty's Wake (1992, Moist)

A Chapel Hill power trio who were most certainly in the “Mould” of Overwhelming Colorfast, Arcwelder and Skunk.  Not necessarily as vital as the aforementioned but I’ll be damned if Well Nigh Forgotten don’t come close at moments.  Frothy riffola for miles and miles.  And would you believe they even throw in a Dwight Yokham cover?

I know that WNF have at least one single to their credit, alongside a compilation track or two. 

01. Coattails and Crutches
02. Betty's Wake
03. Policy
04. Chicano Art
05. Favor
06. Scholar Gypsy
07. Easy Come
08. Dragon Feast
09. Taste of Asphalt
10. Anchoring
11. You're the One
12. phone call

Friday, May 24, 2013

Absolute Ceiling 7" (1987, High Wire)

Absolute Ceiling were a Kansas City-area entity, who so far as I can determine may only have this 45 to their credit.  "Many Years From Now" is a potent, indie rock jewel that still holds up to the extent it's title suggests.  A/C had the Midwestern DIY thing in their veins, pulling a little bit from Minneapolis, not to mention points beyond.  "Many Years..." floats a sheet of tracing paper over the likes of the Libertines, Pedaljets, and a myriad of other bands belonging to that ilk, while the flipside effectively milks a garagey riff without getting to raucous.  In addition to these two tracks, some live visual evidence is provided below.  Enjoy

A. Many Years From Now
B. Paint the House in Blood


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jamboree - Melt Down ep (1985, Jayrem)

Though I hadn't the slightest familiarity with Jamboree, I was stoked to discover this New Zealand relic, which was issued no less at the height of that nation's fertile indie music phenomenon.  Had I stumbled upon the next Chills or Verlaines?  Um, no, I don't think so.  In fact this four piece hardly meshed with the Kiwi pop aesthetic at all, and even more frustrating Melt Down's first selection (title track) found this foursome absorbed in rote "modern rock" mode, definitely sounding like a glossy product of their era.  Next up, the hushed and insular "A Familiar Quietness" makes a break for the very polar extreme, but unconvincingly I have to say.  Nonetheless, Jamboree manages to salvage the remainder of Melt Down in robust fashion, delivering three slices of pensive, forward thinking guitar pop that would do everyone from Lloyd Cole to Steve Kilbey proud.  A happy ending after all.

01. Melt Down
02. A Familiar Quietness
03. Cold
04. Out of Season
05. Spin Me


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Infections - Sub-Rosa (1986)

With a name like the Infections they have to be punk...right?  Um, no, I don’t think so.  A lot more straitlaced then I was expecting, I took a chance on these Michiganders by virtue of a very snazzy record sleeve and a healthy dose of mystique. In fact, Sub-Rosa is surprisingly diverse, ranging from the nervy, pub-rock groove of "Reykjavik," to "All Your Life," a Beatlesque piano ballad that gradually blossoms into a more ornate motif that's downright orchestral by the end of it's six minute journey.  Faint Mersey/paisley inclinations involve "Mind Grow" and "Candle Against the Darkness," easily the most winsome two moments here.  The long-winded tracks occupying side two aren’t as consistently enticing, but the ethereal “Under the Rose” finishes Sub-Rosa off on a high note.

01. Big Machine
02. Mind Grow (Apple Blossom Girl)
03. All Your Life
04. Reykjavik
05. Candle Against the Darkness
06. Red Sky/Blue Heart
07. Blue Serene
08. Under the Rose 


Monday, May 20, 2013

It went the dull and wicked ordinary way.

Happy Mystery Monday.  This installment features a 30 song assemblage of b-sides and rarities from an outfit that has a new album slated for release tomorrow. 

Having difficulty accessing the file?  Please try again a little later.  Too many people hammering the link simultaneously is apparently giving Netkup's servers a headache.  With this in mind, I'll leave this up for a few hours past the usual twenty-four, k?  You're welcome to comment, just don't give away anything obvious.  American Mary forever.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Love In ep (1987, Love Chain)

Ok, so this one is kind of a big deal.  I almost opted to save this as an end-of-the-year treat, but I couldn't wait.  The Love In were a magnificent guitar pop trio who had all six feet cemented indelibly into the jangle.  Hailing from the L.A. area, and without much national distribution, the band's lone ep didn't make it onto my radar until someone posted a clip of "Late As Usual" online two years ago.  Was immediately taken, and sought out a copy of my own.  Tore no small amount of hair out in doing so, but earlier this year I finally obtained a factory sealed 12 by 12 inch square of the disk I had been so pining for, from one of the band member's no less (yes, the internet is a handy thing).   

As for the ep itself, the Love In waste not a split second of it's roughly 21 minutes, raining down the most spellbinding harmonies you're likely to encounter this side of a Three O'Clock record.  Tom Sheppard's chiming fretboard runs exude a sublime synthesis of Peter Buck and Roger McGuinn, while bassist Kurt Stake's capabilities as a frontman completely seal the deal.  The arpeggio-driven "Late As Usual" functions as a startlingly jawdropping opening salvo, but other nuggets of gold, including the "Young Mr. Jones" and "Dad's So Jealous of Youth" also satisfy at an optimum level.  The Love In is nearly essential as anything Ric Menck's attached his fingerprints to, and should likewise move fans of the Smithereens and Dreams So Real.

A big round of applause goes to Kurt for setting me up with everything.  With any luck there will be more Love In to follow...

01. Late as Ususal
02. Young Mr. Jones
03. On the Reds
04. Freedom Now
05. Dad's So Jealous of Youth
06. Home for the Holidays


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Parrish Blue - Western Roads (1987, Jolt)

Sometimes a record appears in my collection and I simply can't recall how it arrived there or where it came from.  Such was the case with Parrish Blue's Western Roads, an album that was likely obtained in a vinyl buying binge of mine, and plucked off the shelf and converted to ones and zeros for the first time this week,  No joke.  At any rate Parrish Blue are hardly of the esoteric sort, playing non-descriptive guitar-pop, with occasional glints of mid-80s R.E.M., albeit in a demonstrably more pedestrian context (see "Cooperstown").  Kind of a Pedaljets vibe going on too, especially on some Western's keepers like "Boomerang" and "Arm and Arm."  The rest is a mixed bag, but usually tolerable.  By the way, you can claim your own copy on Ebay for a mere $100.  Ain't nothin' but a bargain.  

01. Remember Me the Same
02. Handshake
03. Boomerang
04. Coopersville
05. I Am the Revolution
06. Western Roads
07. Arm in Arm
08. Take Me There
09. Forget the Lies
10. The Dove


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Godrays/Rodeo Boy 7" (1997, Sit-n-Spin)

A chunk of splitsville action coming at ya, this time from a band with something in common to one I introduced you to just the other night, What Now.  As was the case with them, the Godrays have strong ties (two in fact) to Small Factory.   The 'rays involved exactly two thirds of the Factory, specifically mouthpiece/guitarist Alex Kemp and drum-wrangler Phoebe Summersquash.  Their double 7" ep, Songs for TV Stars showed up on Wilfully before, but I couldn't let this split single get away, especially considering it offers two exclusive cuts, both of which hit a slightly more dissonant stride than say, their album, also called Songs for TV Stars.  The second of the two Godrays selections, "The Thrifty Heart Song" is a Rodeo Boy cover, who also reciprocate with a 'rays song ("Vampires Suck") on their side of this torrid 7" affair.  While we're on the subject of Rodeo Boy they made a sweeter impression on me here than their (at least the few I've heard).  "Another Chorus Comes" is like Pavement meets Figgs, and really makes me want to re-investigate their back catalog.  Cool beans.

01. Kick It Around
02. The Thrifty Heart Song

Rodeo Boy
01. Another Chorus Comes
02. Vampires Suck


Sunday, May 12, 2013

What Now - Small Record With Four Songs 7" (1985, Incas)

Providence, RI's What Now were fronted by future Small Factory ringmaster David Auchenbach.  Given that Rhode Island is so tiny, it's no surprise that the handful of bands I know of who've come out of the Ocean State contain relating members, but I digress.  What Now didn't emanate an iota of the Factory's abundant twee factor, but the punky verve of "Noisemaker" and "Anthem" are nonetheless warm and melodic, in a not dissimilar vein to Husker Du.  The starker "All My Life" is colored from a dronier sonic palette, while "The End" opts for a relatively contemplative tone.

01. Noisemaker
02. All My Life
03. The End
04. Anthem


Friday, May 10, 2013

Stürm Group - s/t (1984, Green Fuse)

Thought I would stick with the post-punk theme I've been angling towards all week, and Toronto's long-departed Stürm Group struck me as superb candidate for today's slot.  With a pervasive Bauhaus bent and an unremitting rhythmic sway, this north of the border quartet resided on the lighter end of the darkwave continuum.  Much of their well-endowed cadence is perpetrated by Walter Sobczak, whose loping and often zig-zaggy bass lines go a long way in dictating this album's ominous and chilly textures.  "The Lottery I Am" and "The Gin Palace" are where the Stürm's efforts and talents really make themselves evident.  If you're anything like me you might sense traces of the Lucy Show and Comsat Angels, but these guys definitely cut their pearly whites on Peter Murphy and Co.  Enjoy (or not).

01. Outdoor Cafe
02. Upon a Nerve
03. Loaded Life
04. Folding Chair
05. The Gin Palace
06. Red Balloon
07. The Lottery I Am
08. In the Shower


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book of Lies - Cryptic Memo ep (1983, Fever)

I caught wind of this thirty year-old relic just a few months ago.  Upon receiving it in the mail I learned that the Chicago area-Book of Lies had the good fortune of hiring the services of the late, great Iain Burgess, who has his name strewn all over this thing, including a co-production credit.  Cryptic is a fairly accurate one-word summation of the Book's modus operandi, but "oblique" is even more befitting.  Billed and depicted as a trio on the back cover, but with some songs credited to a quartet of musicians inside, prime mover Preston Klik leads his troupe through four pieces of curious, art-damaged (anti)pop, boasting a sonic ken well ahead of their time.  Book of Lies wield an avant angle that's dense and lithe as all-get-out, and if fact, the only parallels I can faintly draw might be to Japan, or Perry Farrell's pre-Janes outfit Psi Com.

The opening "Book," with it's abstract spiritual connotations, doesn't make for the best intro, but the remaining three songs compensate, some of which possess a surprising measure of warmth coming from such a mangled delivery system.  Bass (quite possibly of the fretless variety) is quite prevalent throughout.  Those who are capable of feeding off of Cryptic Memo's crooked energy will find the mystique of this record enthralling.  A Google query, believe it or not, conjured up this brief write-up in the New York Times:

On ''Cryptic Memo,'' the Chicago- based rock trio Book of Lies purveys a funk-oriented, densely mysterious and quite original sound, and answers an old question: ''Who wrote the book of love?'' These folks claim they wrote it, and that it's really a book of lies. ''Cryptic Memo'' is available in new-wave and import stores...
01. Book
02. Tree of Laughter
03. Rattlesnakes
04. & Then Some


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Re-up: The Verge - Habitual 7" ep +2 (1983)

Per the title above this is a re-upload, but then again that may not be saying much since virtually every download link shared on these pages from our 2007 inception to January of this year was stifled in one fell swoop when my file-hoster of six years, Rapidshare, pulled the plug on the "library" Obscura.  I've made significant gains in restoring the majority of said links, but I thought I'd re-do this one entirely, given it's significance to me and so many of you who originally downloaded it since it made it's digital debut in November of 2007.  In this iteration, I've re-ripped the record from scratch, editing out the more extraneous surface annoyances, and I've doubled the bit rate.  If that weren't enough, I've expanded the sleeve art considerably.

The Verge were a phenomenal and relatively short-lived Albany, NY post-punk trio, who recorded a small body of work during their early-80s lifespan, with an even more minute segment of those recordings having been made available for public consumption.  From what I've been informed by band personnel (as well as the thoughtful testimonies of some ardent Verge aficionados left in the comments portion of my original entry) the Habitual ep and a contribution to the Albany-centric, 1982 compilation record Hudson Rock, comprise the group's scarce surviving fossil record.

The Verge's regrettably limited oeuvre was nonetheless deliriously visceral, bearing flashing signposts to such period luminaries as Joy Division, Killing Joke, Mission of Burma, and even a dab of pre-ego U2.  Not plagiarism so much as compulsive inspiration, The Verge's revisionism married a sweeter guitar tone to the demi-nihilistic angst of the aforementioned.  One arguable exception to this winning formula is "Picturesque," whose dive-bomb salvos of serrated power chords elevates the trio's game to a doubly more fearsome level.  That comp cut I mentioned, "1-2-3-4-5-6" is also situated on a different plateau, and functions much better as a one-off track than it would have served on the ep.  As a bonus, I'm sharing the heretofore unreleased jewel, "Day and Age," which was furnished to me by a Verge alum himself.  How's that for gratitude?

If you haven't had the opportunity to immerse yourself in these recordings before, it's never too late.  As for the rest of you, please treat yourself to an upgrade.  If you fancy what you hear, you'd do well to enlighten yourself by reading the copious comments section from my original write-up

Habitual ep
1. Tradition
2. Understand
3. Picturesque
4. Hypocrisy

1-2-3-4-5-6 (from Hudson Rock compilation)
Day and Age (unreleased!)


Monday, May 6, 2013

Failure of all punk.

This week's installment is an anthology from a quartet that made the transition from hardcore to post-punk, even absorbing a little melody along their journey.  Half studio, half live...and roughly half out-of-print.  You know how these things work.

Having difficulty accessing the file?  Please try again a little later.  Too many people hammering the link simultaneously is apparently giving Netkup's servers a headache.  With this in mind, I'll leave this up for a few hours past the usual twenty-four, k?  You're welcome to comment, just don't give away anything obvious.  Enjoy.  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dead Trend - False Positive (2013, Cabildo/Cut the Shit) - A brief overview.

How’s this for a statistical dichotomy.  Dead Trend, a New England hardcore/punk conglomerate originating from the Reagan era (and known for making a point of reminding us of such) took 21 songs they had penned between 1986 and 2003 (27 years for those of you keeping track at home) into the studio this January and committed them to tape in the span of seven hours.  This quotient somehow never ceases to boggle my mind, and had I not already given away their genre of choice, most of you would have probably put two and two together.  Oh yeah, one more part of the equation - Dead Trend squeeze said 21 tracks into False Positive's roughly 26 minutes.   

While their Facebook bio posits that Midwest wrecking crews such as the Zero Boys and Necros were D/T's inspirational antecedents, I'd argue these guys had their collective gaze much more situated on the creme de la creme of the SST Records roster, particularly Black Flag and early Husker Du.  Bear in mind, Dead Trend were contemporaries of that pivotal pair, and being that they had a nearly three decades-old backlog of songs to tinker with, don't be surprised to hear such themes as the Iran-Contra Scandal and the 1983 invasion of Grenada brought passionately to the fore.  The often brusque and acerbic False Positive, doesn't necessarily scale the heights of say, New Day Rising and Damaged, but a similar aesthetic is nonetheless baked into Dead Trend relentlessly vigorous cake.  As an additional SST Records tangent to make note of, Mike Fournier (one fourth of the D/T roster) was responsible for penning an installment of the 33⅓ paperback series, specifically the one dedicated to the Minutemen's landmark double LP Double Nickels on the Dime.  

False Positive is slated for availability on Bandcamp May 7th (this Tuesday).  

Friday, May 3, 2013

Jawbox/Edsel split 7" (1993, DeSoto)

Was happy to oblige a request for this classic split screen of a 7" which is about to enjoy it's twentieth anniversary sometime this year (I want to say summer, but don't hold me to that).  When this hit the racks in 1993 I was quite the drooling Jawbox fanboy, and I was totally lamenting the fact that the coolest band in D.C. was about to embark on a major label venture.  Turns out I had little to fret over, and in fact, this wax offered a preview of their suprisingly uncompromising third album 1994's, For Your Own Special Sweetheart.  By mainstream standards "Savory" was dark, tense, and at least moderately dissonant, yet it felt like a comfy pair of moccasins to my ears.  Later re-recorded for Sweetheart, the variation appearing here is almost note-for-note identical, albeit a tad slower.  As for the abrupt ending, I believe it's by design. 

I became an instant Edsel convert upon encountering their half of the obligation, "Penaluna," which boasted a a heavily phased guitar technique, mimicking a woozy keyboard effect (or so my mind likes to think).  Throw a murky sonic mystique into the mix, top with a succulent chorus hook, and you have a mighty tasty post-punk confection on your hands.  I did a write-up for the Edsel album this would soon appear on, The Everlasting Belt Co., and though I had to pull the link, it has been reissued.

Jawbox - Savory
Edsel - Penaluna


Thursday, May 2, 2013

VA - Never Mind the Jacksons, Here's the Pollocks (1985, Abstract Sounds)

Well, this Brit eight-pack is certainly more dangerous than anything the Jacksons ever brought to market (collectively and otherwise), but some of the sub-rosa participants contained within inch considerably closer to the Sex Pistols realm.  Case in point would be the warbler for The Three Johns, who kicks this thing off bearing a strong resemblance to John Lydon's quivering wail, circa Second Edition.  Their track is promptly followed up by the even more avant Five Go Down to the Sea, but the real keeper on side one belongs to The Word, whom meld conventional new romantic aptitude with a hint of Echo and the Bunnymen.  I should also mention the Word's jangly chords anticipate the C86 indie movement that would soon be sweeping their home turf. 

Overall side two wins this match, commencing with a hot Peel Session take of New Model Army's "Small Town England."  The next tune, courtesy of The Gymslips was also cut for John's fabled hit parade, and is enough to renew anyone's faith in the girl-group contingent of the wave/punk arena.  The Bomb Party deliver a frothy, pounding surge akin to Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, albeit with more frivolous subject matter.  The concluding  "Violation," an offbeat spoken-word piece by Joolz, plays out like a small portion of a greater narrative, thus making for a decidedly confusing end to otherwise appealing compilation.

01. The Three Johns - Fruit Flys
02. Five Go Down to the Sea - Often
03. Hagar the Womb - Song of Deep Hate
04. The Word - Different
05. New Model Army - Small Town England (Peel Session)
06. The Gymslips - Empire Song (Peel Session)
07. The Bomb Party - Henry Was a Babysitter
08. Joolz - Violation (Peel Session)