Monday, December 30, 2013

Tradewinds blow where maggots turn to flies.

Presenting the artful and gratifying debut album from an aging indie rock bard who's bit off a tad more than he can in chew in recent years.

Friday, December 27, 2013

VA - Best of the Blog mix 2013

In what's become an annual tradition, I've prepared a (highly) condensed version of what I've been sharing for the past two months in the from of my yearly blog mix.  It serves as an ideal starting point for both lapsed Wilfully Obscure-ophiles, or for the more dedicated visitors who would simply enjoy indulging in a straight-up. 80-minute wedge of some of the finest audio treasures I was able to purvey to you in 2013.

This has easily been the most tumultuous year in the history of this site, if only for the fact that my file hoster of choice for nearly six years, scrubbed 50+ gigs of data that I had been sharing with you lot, without an iota of warning I might add.  For the most part, this matter is behind me, and roughly 80% of the links on here are currently active.  Additionally, work obligations have chiseled into my recreation time more than ever (not that many of you have probably noticed).  As the years go by, it seems as though I have fewer "big unveilings" to present to you, with the creme de la creme of my collection already exhausted and immortalized on Wilfully Obscure.  Nonetheless it's still fun, and I have plenty more to offer. And while we're on the upside of things, 2013 brought with a fresh new segment, namely Mystery Mondays, allowing me to (temporarily) share a segment of my collection that I have been reticent to do so before. 
The twenty-four song collection I'm presenting today is a patchwork of disparate genres, often inconveniently rubbing elbows with each other, may they be punk-pop, jangle, or frankly unclassifiable.  For those who find it fit to devour these couple dozen tracks in one sitting, there are bound to be some uncomfortable segues - a sort of microcosm of this site itself in many respects.  Along with twenty jams I've already unleashed, there are four additional ones that I haven't, and they're denoted below.  Enjoy.

01. Sardina - Ding Dong, The Liberty Horse
02. Sugarplastic - Jesus Doesn't Live Here Anymore
03. Tobin Sprout - Serial Killer
04. Second Childhood - Smashing Mirrors
05. The Church Grims - Plaster Saint
06. James Dean Driving Experience - Drop Dead Darling
07. The Love In - Late as Usual
08. The Wake - Lion's Heart*
09. Perfect Strangers - Small Town*
10. Nuns of the Great West - The Right and the Wrong*
11. Nocturnal Projections - In Purgatory
12. Lion Tamer - West 64
13. Garden Variety - Turnout
14. The Crush - Get Out Of My Head And Into My Hands
15. G-Whiz - You Popped My Life*
16. Splendor Head - Number on the Radio
17. John's Black Dirt - Lights Flashing
18. The Donner Party - John Wilkes Booth
19. The Trace - This Time
20. The Nines - Jennifer Smiles (demo)
21. Something Fierce - My Hands Are Tied
22. Brave New World - Brave New World
23. Cries - Death in Boston
24. Enemies in the Grass - Day After Day

* = previously unshared


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Now the time has come to put you down, what a sound...

Merry Christmas.  Need a hint?  We have you covered here.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Black clad preacher on a mountain road...

Deluxe reissue of an LP originally released in 1987.  It's the third, and IMO, best effort from this Georgia quartet, featuring an album's worth of bonus material.

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, December 21, 2013

The Black Watch - Short Stories ep (1989, Eskimo)

Thus far, any space I've dedicated to The Black Watch has purely concerned current/recent releases, but the group's back pages technically stretch all the way back to the Reagan-era, with their debut LP, St. Valentine bowing in 1988.  This ep followed a year later.  So what of the Watch at this phase in their career?  For starters they exuded a much more Anglophile angle than they do today, with frontman John Andrew Fredrick adopting a Brit accent at times.  Secondly, there's the inclusion of violinist J'Anna Jacoby in the Black Watch's lineup, who also doubled as a guitarist.  Her chamber-groomed strings are all over side one, particularly on the reflective "A Mess of Yesterday."  However it's side two that houses Short Stories most glittering prize, the clangy, deftly crafted pop stunner "The Mad Hatters" that foreshadowed even finer moments to come in the Black Watch's soon to be bustling catalog of albums.

01. Dream in Blue
02. A Mess of Yesterdays
03. All Over Again
04. The Mad Hatters


Friday, December 20, 2013

Re-up: Versus - Let's Electrify ep (1993)

It was brought to my attention that the d/l link to one of my first shares on this page was dead, specifically for Versus' scarce debut ep, Let's Electrify!  You can read the original entry here.  I'm making this available again both in MP3 and FLAC.  Enjoy.

01. Silver Vein
02. That Girl's Gone
03. Noogie
04. Let's Electrify
05. Seaweed Rising
06. Sea Girl

Available on Bandcamp

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

VA - Listen and Learn With Vibro-phonic (1999, Vibro-phonic)

I was on the fence about this compilation when I critiqued it many years ago for a certain publication, and for what it's worth, after a decade plus, I'm barely more moved now than I was then.  The text of that review follows shortly, but I've got a few more cents to pitch in. 

Vibro-Phonic Records was very much in cahoots with a Los Angeles power pop staple called the Jigsaw Seen (previously featured on W/O here), issuing no less than half a dozen albums and eps.  This leads me to believe the label may have been spearheaded by the Seen themselves, but as Herman Cain once famously uttered, I don't have any facts to back this up.  Vibro... was a fairly LA-centric label, as the inclusion of the Wondermints, Jupiter Affect, Wednesday Week and The Last would illustrate.  And speaking of The Last, yes this is that Last, although you would hardly guess this was the same psych-punk legends who gave us L.A. Explosion!, at least by their contribution here, "Perfect World."  One of the non-Southern Cali acts on this roster is Tube Top, WFYI are a big fave of mine.  The liners notes indicate that their "Keep it a Secret" is a Sid and Marty Krofft cover.  There are quite a few no-names here, the bulk of which didn't ring my proverbial bell.  Supposedly, Listen and Learn consists of unreleased and b-side material by everyone involved, however that was fourteen years ago, so some of these tracks may have surfaced elsewhere in the intervening years.  Anyway, my 1999 review is below, as well as a tracklist.

More of a compilation than a label sampler, Listen and Learn…showcases a wide-spectrum of new-ish pop artists.  L.A.’s beloved WONDERMINTS (who incidentally couple as BRIAN WILSON’S backing band) offer the self-explanatory “Rejected Beer Ad #1,” that Coors apparently passed up.  THE JIGSAW SEEN, TUBE TOP and THE JUPITER AFFECT (featuring the irrepressible MICHAEL QUERICO of PERMANENT GREEN LIGHT and THE THREE O’CLOCK) round out the rest of the “power pop” contingent here.  UNITED STATES OF EXISTENCE’S “L.E.S.3” is psyche inspired new wave, WEDNESDAY WEEK’S “Just My Size,” flirts with kitsch-pop, and THE LAST blend quivering vocals amidst a dub backdrop on “Perfect World.” 

01-non credo - trace of ether
02-the last - perfect world
03-the jigsaw seen - another predictable song
04-ann magnuson - moonage daydream
05-insect surfers - massachusettes
06-wondermints - rejected beer ad #1
07-tube top - keep it a secret
08-the jupiter affect - suicide samba
09-kristian hoffman - green circles
10-united states of existence - 1.s.e.3
11-wednesday week - just my size
12-drool bros. - halloweenish
13-andrew - dream about you
14-skooshny - the water song
15-non credo - traces of ether (reprise)


Sunday, December 15, 2013


Looks like Windows took a dump on me, which means I'll be down for a few days.  Totally unexpected.  Sorry folks.

A Flock of Seagulls "Space Age Love Song" - An appreciation of, with 15 interpretations.

Here we go again, with yet another exercise in redundancy.  Previously on these pages I've featured self-curated compilations of every cover version I could find of a couple of my all-time favorite songs, specifically Eddie and the Hot Rods's "Do Anything You Wanna Do" and Brian Eno's "Needles in the Camel's Eye."  I find "Space Age Love Song" to be equally worthy and enduring, and in many respects more sonically dazzling than the aforementioned tunes, although I hardly set this series up as a competition.  Everybody is familiar with A Flock of Seagulls signature hit, "I Ran (So Far Away)," but fewer people have encountered the 1982 follow-up single, "Space Age Love Song."  Chart-wise, it only peaked at #30 in the States, thus relegating the Seagulls to one-hit-wonder purgatory, yet if you've actually listened to the tune you know just as well as I do that it's superior to "I Ran."

It's been noted that the lyrical content of many AFoS compositions don't elaborate much further than the sum total of the song title.  Technically that's not applicable here, as the phrase "space age love song" or any variation thereof, isn't once uttered by the cleverly coiffed Michael Score.  In fact, between it's merged verse/chorus, "SALS" only offers about six different lines total - but therein lies the beauty.  As underwritten as the piece is, it isn't particularly noticeable thanks to a sublime and alluring instrumental feast of swarming synths and even more prominent echo-laden guitar.  This amalgam is nothing short of heady, and words hardly do justice in describing it, so with that, I'm presenting fifteen separate readings of "Space Age..." served up by the likes of such fairly unknown quantities as Brief Candles, Tennis System, Teeel, Dark Distant Spaces, The Bomb, Lazlo Bane, Electric Blankets, No Motiv, and The Molly Ringwalds.  For good measure, I'm tossing in a KMFDM remix, and a live rendering of the song in question by a notable Oklahoma based combo.  To top it off is a re-recording of "Space Age..." by the originators themselves.

As for Mike Score's "waterfall" hairdo that unintentionally immortalized A Flock of Seagulls (not to mention the very connotation of "new wave" itself) our man's scalp no longer contains the adequate number of follicles to replicate it, sad to say...though I do think he's still touring.  The band's '80s catalog has recently been reissued by Cherry Red.  


Friday, December 13, 2013

Times Beach - Love and Politics tape (1986, Beach-head)

This was one of those "it looks mildly intriguing, and the price is sure right, so I'm gonna plunk a few dollars down" Ebay listings from a couple years ago.  Times Beach were a nondescript, left-of-the-dial leaning Minneapolis troupe, featuring one Katy Thomasberg, who positioned herself in front of the mic more often than not on Love and Politics, an eleven song cassette album.  One side of the cartridge explores the Love theme, and you can guess what follows on the opposite, though this Twin Cities combo hardly strike me as hardcore activists of any stripe.  "The Best of Me," "She's So Cool," and "Swept Away" all benefit from a swift, uptempo propensity without careening off the rails.  Bonus points for the sizzling guitar lead on the concluding "In This Town."

01. Hurt Me
02. The Best of Me
03. The Dream
04. Stop
05. She's So Cool
06. I Love the Sound

07. Swept Away
08. Life in the World
09. R.O.W.
10. Shotgun Lobotomy
11. In This Town


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Full Moon Tan ep (1983, Elefant)

While not a total cold case, there are scant details to be had online regarding Full Moon Tan, a quintet who ostensibly called Mt. View, California homebase.  If anything, it's impossible to deny that FMT weren't an inch above milking the technology of the day to their most gratuitous advantage. This six song platter is rife with trendy, wave-pop nuances, that are almost enough to asphyxiate anyone in earshot with a skinny leather tie.  Singer Michael (no last name provided) exudes some discernible Sting-esque vocal inflections, without necessarily duplicating Sting's timbre, if that makes any sense.  Full Moon Tan were considerably more frivolous and tongue-in-cheek than the Police, placing them in league with the Brains and Donnie Iris.  If you're looking for a fun, and often catchy new wave record with an amateurish bent, you've hit the jackpot.

01. No Money, No Chick, No Car
02. I Want to See Her Again
03. Corner of My Eye
04. You're Full of Excuses
05. Aliens
06. I Don't Want to Be Alone With You


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Well Wishers - Dunwoody ep (2013) - A brief overview

When I learned that the impetus for the creation of this ep was a dream (literally) endured by Well Wishers prime mover Jeff Shelton, it immediately brought to mind similar circumstances that occurred twenty years or so ago to another musician.  In the early '90s, on the heels of their successful debut Facelift, Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley found inspiration in slumber as well.  Upon awaking one day from a dream that involved AIC recording an acoustic ep, Layne soon brought that dream to fruition with the 1992 ep, Sap.  Coincidentally, Dunwoody is predominately acoustic, and precisely like Sap, five songs in length.  For better or worse (frankly much for the better), Shelton isn't Layne Staley, rather a singer/songwriter of a different stripe, with a hankering for crunchy, straight-up riff pop, that's yielded nearly a dozen albums between his three primary delivery systems, the Spinning Jennies, the more recent Hot Nun, and of course the Well Wishers. 

The word "Dunwoody" came to Shelton completely at random, and after a little investigation he learned that it was the name of an Atlanta suburb.  The ep is a loose concept piece, but to this set of ears and established Well Wishers clientele, this is more of a detour than anything else.  Not just in the respect that Shelton stays unplugged for a good 3/5 of Dunwoody, moreover for the delicate lilt that colors "Butterflies" and "Good Luck."  The effect strikingly recalls the Posies, specifically their debut, Failure, which employed a similar sonic aptitude.  The comparatively amped-up "Open Up Your Eyes" and "Real Today," are typical of what our man usually brings to the table, albeit in a more contemplative context.  You can sample these numbers for yourself over at Bandcamp, where you can provide a modest donation if you enjoy what you hear.  Dunwoody is available from the usual host of digital peddlers: iTunes, Amazon downloads and Emusic, and physically from Amazon.  Check out Facebook too. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Netkups... apparently down in it's entirety, which means none of us will be downloading anything for a bit.  Check back in a few.

Call it new propaganda...

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, December 7, 2013

Blown - Forever mLP (1993, Parasol)

Blown.  Forever.  Those two words spoken or read in unison suspiciously conjure up something akin to a lascivious fantasy, but I'm sure that wasn't what Blown head honcho Nick Rudd had in mind.  With that aside, I haven't mentioned Nick a whole lot on these pages, though I took a liking to his music ages ago, not only by virtue of this record, but primarily through his association with Velvet Crush, and just as significantly, the jangle-rock combo he strummed for in the late '80s, Weird Summer.  Particularly on their first two albums, Cry for the Moon and Homer, WS bore the telltale lilt of "new south" aggregations like Let's Active and the dBs, but with a more durable, rootsy hue.  That aesthetic carried over to this excellent mini LP, which incidentally was the premiere release for the then fledgling Parasol Records imprint.  The Rickenbacker infused ambiance of the Weird Summer albums isn't as dominant on Forever, but it nonetheless could pass for a Mitch Easter or Don Dixon production - and in my world that spells quality.  If this turns the key for you, check out a 1996 Weird Summer 7" that I'm also hosting on here.  Enjoy (or not).

01. Blown
02. Forever
03. A Lesson Learned
04. Good One
05. Windows
06. Blue
07. A Night Like This
08. Waltz


Friday, December 6, 2013

Chain Letters 7" (2013, Pogo Time) - A brief overview

They mail hail from Toronto, but Chain Letters are far more in sync with the Pointed Sticks, not to mention a myriad of bygone Dangerhouse Records alumni, than noisenik homeboy brutes Fucked Up and Metz.  Their debut wax ("Bad Reflection" b/w "Boulevard Girls") is sheer adulation of the punk-pop medium in it's most genuine and pure distillation, sans the over-emphasis of either of those key components.  Sophia Dilley (formally of Young People With Faces) commandeers her quartet through a pair of mid-tempo, three (or perhaps just two) chord beauties, brandishing just enough of a visceral surge to keep this classic formula rewarding and ripe.  Bravo.  You can sample "Boulevard Girls" below, and if you dig what you hear, Dead Beat Records has a few copies left in stock.  The Chain Letters can be emailed here.  I should also tout their Soundcloud stream, which not only makes both songs available for public consumption, but provides a couple dozen more tracks from unrelated but like-minded contemporaries, making for a super sweet mix where you're sure to happen upon some very pleasant surprises. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

8th Night of Chanukah: The Pursuit of Happiness - Love Junk demos and more!

Can't believe the final eve of the Festival of Lights is upon us already!  I'm going out with a bang, with one of my most substantial finds in recent years.  You might say this one is for the dedicated, and given the popularity of my previous TPOH entries, I know there will be no shortage of you downloading this robust 90-minute collection of demos (well, mostly demos) that were cut before Todd Rundgren got his hands on Moe Berg and his esteemed co-ed crew.  Not only do you get to revel in prototypes of the majority of the devastatingly phenomenal Love Junk, but there's a startling array of true-blue outtakes that have never seen the light of day in any incarnation ("If You Feel That Way," "One Milkshake, Two Straws" etc).  Fairly revelatory stuff too, with the occasional alternate lyrics, not-quite-solidified arrangements, and the like.  Even before they got signed, the group's telltale harmonies and backups were already baked into the cake, and not so much an invention of Rundgren as I mistakenly long assumed.   
The fact that there are so damn many songs here is the icing in the cake.  There are two live covers: "Last Kiss" (yes, the one Pearl Jam would later to the bank), and an homage to Runt himself with a version of "Couldn't I Just Tell You," though sadly that one is an incomplete recording that I gracefully faded out (sorry).  Tracks 22-25 were culled from TPOH's independently released I'm An Adult Now ep, which I made available here way back when.  If you're looking for a little dessert, may I point you to some of Moe's pre-TPOH endeavors, Modern Minds and Facecrime as well.  As for the main course, do enjoy.

01. I'm An Adult Now
02. Revolutionary
03. If You Feel That Way
04. All I Want (live)
05. Handsomest Man, Prettiest Girl
06. Shave Your Legs
07. Talk and Talk
08. Filling in the Spaces
09. Make It Through the Summer
10. When The Sky Comes Falling
11. Hard to Laugh
12. Looking For Girls
13. Last Kiss (live)
14. Killed By Love
15. Take You With Me
16. Wake Up and Smell Cathy
17. Walking in the Woods
18. One Milkshake, Two Straws
19. Ten Fingers
20. Man's Best Friend
21. Down On Him
22. I'm An Adult Now (radio mix)
23. She's So Young
24. All I Want
25. Killed By Love
26. Couldn't I Just Tell You (live) (cuts)


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

7th Night of Chanukah: The Sugarplastic - Ottawa Bonesaw 7" box + bonus (1993, Pronto)

You may be a stranger to the Sugarplastic, but the Sugarplastic are no stranger to Wilfully Obscure, as this is the fifth entry I've dedicated to them, not counting compilation appearances.  Kiara Geller, Ben Eshbach, and various associates have been the esoteric yin to the proverbial yang of the traditional indie pop cognoscenti, off and on now for over twenty years, garnering comparisons from XTC to the Monochrome Set.  Due to relatively widespread availability, I have resisted sharing their five proper albums, but there's been a lot of extraneous material that's needed a proper nailing down, and that's where I've been laying down the hammer.  Case in point, their ultra scarce "Sheep" single, limited to a mere edition of 200 copies in 1993, which I've conveniently made available since '08.  Back than I foisted the "holy grail" meme to it, somehow forgetting the nearly as hard to come by Ottawa Bonesaw triple 7" on Pronto Records, also from '93.  That's one song apiece to each side of wax making for an even half dozen...with only two of those tracks appearing elsewhere.

If you're familiar with the Sugarplastic's Geffen offering from 1996, Bang, the Earth is Round you're likely to recognize "Polly Brown," spotted here in an early incarnation.  That selection, along with the five others, are indicative of the group's trademark mercurial charm, one that's fantastically weird, whimsical and erudite (though not necessarily all at once).  The title track is particularly advanced, with the Sugarplastic kicking their own oblique "pocket symphony" into high gear.  In addition to the ...Bonesaw box, I'm including the three songs they contributed to the M.E.G., L.A. Sampler compilation, also on Pronto Records.  The version of "Ottawa Bonesaw" is actually identical to the one on the box, but the fidelity is superior to my vinyl rip.  You'd also do well to check out "Jesus Doesn't Live Here Anymore," a smokin' little ditty that very well might make it into my hypothetical Sugarplastic Top-10 of all time.

Ottawa Bonesaw
01. Brownly Corduroyd
02. Polly Brown
03. Grasshopping
04. Dover
05. Ottawa Bonesaw
06. Debussy and Me

M.E.G. comp tracks
Jesus Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Ottawa Bonesaw


Monday, December 2, 2013

The Semantics - Powerbill (1993/96, Geffen Japan/Alfa Int.)

And it's guilty pleasure time.  Blame it all on Ben Folds, who in 1996 (thereabouts) brilliantly enlightened me via his own crew, Ben Folds Five that pure pop music didn't have to be gussied up in power-chords to be effective.  It was not long after my acquaintance with BFF, that I backtracked and boned up on the preceding decades' bounty of power-pop and the like, but my hankering for more music from the man himself never dissipated regardless of how recent it had been since he spun a new record my way.

As I trolled and turned over every stone online, I learned that Ben "The Voice" Folds had some involvement with an unknown Nashville outfit in the early '90s called The Semantics.  Though I never got confirmation on the specifics, it's been noted Folds played drums on some demos for the band, and was even asked to join the group, which he obviously declined.  In his place, the core duo of the Semantics, William Owsley and Millard Powers recruited Jody Spence.  Spence would pen some of the songs that comprised Powerbill, but left prior to it's recording.  In a phenomenal stroke of luck, it was none other than Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr who filled the drummer vacancy.  Having Starkey in the lineup was perhaps more of a boon to the band than it was to him.  Amazingly, on the trio's one and only LP, Powerbill, the percussion-work is hardly the draw, but I'll get to that in a few moments.

Geffen Records had the intention of  releasing Powerbill in 1993.  This failed to materialize, no doubt in part to the explosion of a certain contingent of aggro-rock bands of the era.  The album would remain on the shelf for three years until Geffen Japan in cooperation with Alfa International were prepared to throw their weight behind it.  Sadly, there wasn't much flexing behind that muscle, and as far as I'm able to determine, Powerbill was less than a hit in the Land of the Rising Sun. 

Given what I'm wont to filter into my ear canals, The Semantics Powerbill is a sunny side-up anomaly for yours truly - bright, buoyant, extroverted, not to mention considerably polished and radio-ready.  The lure for me was quite simply the songs, all eleven of which when stitched together, or for that matter individually, make for a relentless hookfest.  Sonically, The Semantics suggest what a guitar version of Ben Folds Five might have amounted to, maybe with a pinch of Matthew Sweet power-pop smarts sprinkled in for good measure.  In 1993 Powerbill would have sounded wholly unremarkable, and to less discriminating ears today it likely still would.  I'm sure you'll come to your own conclusions.  I think it's pretty damn good.  

Post-Powerbill, both Owsley and Powers would pursue solo endeavors, with the former finding a modicum of success with a self titled album for Sony in 1999, very much in line with the Semantics.  Millard Powers released a scarce solo album in 2001, but he later found success as a member of the Counting Crows starting in the mid '00s.  As I mentioned in a 2010 entry, Owsley tragically left the world that year of his own freewill.

01. Sticks and Stones
02. Future for You
03. Coming Up Roses
04. Jenny Won't Play Fair
05. Average American
06. Don't Say Goodbye
07. The Sky is Falling
08. Black and Blue
09. Johnny Come Lately
10. Life Goes On
11. Glasses and Braces


Sunday, December 1, 2013

5th Night of Chanukah: The Embarrassment - Retrospective tape (1984, Fresh Sounds)

What’s in a name?  The moniker of this Wichita, Kansas based entity actually should have been turned on it’s head and used to refer to the morass of their mainstream, 1980s contemporaries (dare I mention Night Ranger of Survivor for starters)?   Lauded by critics at the time (but generally forgotten about at this stage in the game) the key ingredients of The Embarrassment's nervy, mid-fi concoction consisted of Bill Goffrier's roughewn splay of clangy chords clad to John Nichols offbeat, albeit slyly melodic approach.  Think early Violent Femmes thrown into a blender with Great Plains or Volcano Suns, and you'll have a loose idea as to what the Embarrassment had in store. There was truly a moxie to their endearing madness, and for awhile (particularly the '90s) they were the stuff of cult-classic legend.  

The cassette-only Retrospective is as it's name implies.  One side studio material, the other live.  At the time this scarce reel hit the market, The Embarrassment had parted ways with an album, and ep and a single to their credit.  While Retro... isn't a thorough distillation of those releases it contains the band's signature piece "Sex Drive" along with eight more studio cuts, including a couple of tracks that never made it to their 1995 two disk anthology, Heyday 1979-83.  I suppose the real draw here for established fans is the live side of this tape, featuring nine tracks that I believe are exclusive to this release.  Among several spirited originals are covers of The Seeds "Pushin to Hard," and even Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop (Til You Get Enough," the latter of which is pulled off quite well considering it was fed though the Embarrassments meager deliver system.  If this tape persuades you in the least, I'd heartily recommend the aforementioned Heyday compilation, a bountiful 42 song collection containing the brunt of the Embarrassment oeuvre.  For now, enjoy this tape.

studio - side a.
01. Sex Drive
02. Berliners Night Out
03. Two Week Vacation
04. Can't Forget
05. Special Eyes
06. Two Cars
07. Sexy Singer Girl
08. Age Five
09. She's One

live, side b.
10. Pushin' Too Hard
11. Woods of Love
12. Time Has Come Today
13. Casual Man
14. I Only Want a Date
15. Podman
16. Lifespan
17. Celebrity Art Party
18. Don't Stop (Til You Get Enough