Monday, December 30, 2013
Tradewinds blow where maggots turn to flies.
Friday, December 27, 2013
VA - Best of the Blog mix 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.
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...
Monday, December 23, 2013
Black clad preacher on a mountain road...
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)
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)
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
A Flock of Seagulls "Space Age Love Song" - An appreciation of, with 15 interpretations.
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)
01. Hurt Me
02. The Best of Me
03. The Dream
05. She's So Cool
06. I Love the Sound
07. Swept Away
08. Life in the World
10. Shotgun Lobotomy
11. In This Town
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Full Moon Tan ep (1983, Elefant)
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
06. I Don't Want to Be Alone With You
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The Well Wishers - Dunwoody ep (2013) - A brief overview
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
Call it new propaganda...
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Blown - Forever mLP (1993, Parasol)
03. A Lesson Learned
04. Good One
07. A Night Like This
Friday, December 6, 2013
Chain Letters 7" (2013, Pogo Time) - A brief overview
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
8th Night of Chanukah: The Pursuit of Happiness - Love Junk demos and more!
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
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)
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.
01. Brownly Corduroyd
02. Polly Brown
05. Ottawa Bonesaw
06. Debussy and Me
M.E.G. comp tracks
Jesus Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Monday, December 2, 2013
The Semantics - Powerbill (1993/96, Geffen Japan/Alfa Int.)
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
17. Celebrity Art Party
18. Don't Stop (Til You Get Enough