Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Z-Rocks - mLP (1981, Z)

My power pop kick is very much your gain this week.  With that, here's a gem from that genre's classic, turn-of-the-decade ('70s-'80s) era.  Z-Rocks made a splash in their native Houston with a penchant for captivating hooks, crackling guitar lines, and a pinch of punky thrust, drawing from such noteworthy contemps as The Cars and Joe Jackson.  For that matter, the trio color successfully outside the lines on the Merseybeat immersed "Was it a Dream."  Only eight numbers here (seven if you discount the backwards tape experiment "Autoworld), but much more Z-Rocks material has recently been made available online, namely from CD Baby and iTunes (I'll give you a hint - one source is much cheaper than the other).  Finally, you can inquire more about the band here, and find out what a couple of the Z'sters are up to these days.  This rip is taken from my own vinyl copy, and I would encourage you to support Z-Rocks by patronizing the links above.

01. You Know My Name
02. The Teacher's a Punk
03. Don't Ever Tell Me
04. Was it a Dream
05. The Way She Looks at Me
06. Autorock
07. Real World
08. Autoworld


Monday, July 28, 2014

Little things like attitude, the way that we both hate seafood...

Way back in April '08 I shared a trio of eps from this southern Cali band.  Today I'm presenting their stupendous 2004 full length.  Make sure to check out the bonus folder, which contains among other items a Lemonheads cover.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Town Cryers - All's Well ep (1987, Flat and Black)

It seems this Ottawa four-piece had a thing for Tommy Keene, or at the very least his ringing guitar tones.  Call it jangly, call it chiming, or just call it flat-out bliss, cos' The Town Cryers luckily had that resplendent formula down pat.  And jolly good on them for it, as it yields some damn-near mesmerizing salvos in the shape of "Like a Telegraph," "You Told Me," and "Annie Says."  Admittedly All's Well is chockablock with familiar chords and themes that have been belabored by rock and roll hopefuls past and present, but my door is always open when it's delivered with the acumen the Town Cryers bring to the table.

I didn't realize until post-purchase that side two, track one ("Cry at Night") had some serious gouges embedded in it.  So many in fact that I spent a good half-hour editing them out, only later to learn that lead Cryer, John Allaire (who's still active btw) had made the entirety of this EP available for download on his site, alongside subsequent T/C releases.  Nonetheless, the remainder of my rip was fairly pristine and I'm offering it at a higher bitrate.

01. Like a Telegraph
02. Annie Says
03. Not Until
04. Cry at Night
05. You Told Me
06. Here We Go Again


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Javany - Brighter Than Color (1985, Tribal)

Well, I'm probably going to lose some serious punk points with this one.  In fact there's barely a power chord punctuating this rather genteel slab of wax.  Javany (still trying to decipher if that's what this trio were known as collectively, or if this is actually a solo LP credited to the eponymously referenced front man on the back sleeve) register on the weaker end of the power pop spectrum, occasionally demonstrating some folky proclivities on Brighter Than Color's quieter pieces, watering down the oomph factor even more.  That being said, I like to think I'm sniffing faint traces of the Raspberries and Dwight Twilley - or perhaps Brighter... is really just a soft AOR record with a handful of rough edges and I'm merely deluding myself.  Plenty of ballads, a few clunkers, and a couple of genuine keepers like, "I Lied" and "What You Want," are what's in store for those brave enough to indulge in this long departed trio that once roamed the Inland Empire.

01. Eleana
02. What You Want
03. Screaming Eyes
04. I Believe in Somebody
05. La Unica
06. The Mine
07. Here For You
08. I Lied
09. Kaboom
10. Brighter Than Color


Monday, July 21, 2014

The oxygen is plenty, don't touch that dial.

Just in time for summer, a mildly surreal power-pop classic from the mid '90s.  A lot of you may have this already, but I've tacked on a vinyl-only b-side that's sure to reel you in.  Cheers.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Crash - Everything Under the Sun (1992, Justine; rec 1985-87)

I haven't really brought them up on here, but I'm a big Ultra Vivid Scene acolyte, or more specifically prime-mover Kurt Ralske.  When a friend introduced me to Crash in the early '90s, he made a point of informing me that it was Kurt's pre-UVS band.  Upon hearing Everything Under the Sun (a consolidation of Crash's EPs and I Feel Fine LP) I failed to draw any obvious parallels to Kurt Ralske, most notably because he wasn't singing.  Instead, Crash featured a Morrissey-esque but otherwise undistinctive mouthpiece in the guise of Mark Dumais, who was passable as a vocalist, but a tad short on charisma.  As an entity, Crash dined on the work of a considerable number of their UK indie contemporaries, but had a propensity to spit out much of the charm in the process.  At the very least Ralske's guitar-work compensates, and occasionally Crash really get the ball rolling, namely on the chiming "Almost," and the rousing, Velvets-indebted "In My Head."  As a final saving grace, Everything Under... improves considerably as it's latter half progresses.

01. I Feel Fine
02. What I Found
03. Don't Look Now (acoustic)
04. I Go Round
05. All I Get
06. International Velvet
07. Cindy Jewel (demo)
08. John Stood Bye
09. Don't Look Now
10. Almost
11. Bright Colored Lights
12. In My Head
13. Rings, Chains and Groups
14. Superfly
15. Everything Under the Sun


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

milf - ha ha bus! (1994, Big Deal)

Back in 2009 when I went milf crazy (as in the band folks) and posted the bulk of their discography, I left out two important pieces of the puzzle with the intention of featuring them at a later date.  That "later date" turned out to be today in fact, as my priorities inadvertently shifted in the five year layover.  For those of you with a question mark over your noggin in regards to the aforementioned, let me catch you up to speed with my synopsis on the band from my March 2009 entry for their split single with Tugboat Annie:

Got milf? Buffalo sure did, at least throughout a good swath of the early-to-mid '90s (before most of us actually knew what the now infamous acronym meant). One record scribe likened the trio music to a Husker Du 45 played at 33. Though not the most spot-on description of their sound, milf dispelled a sinewy, distorto guitar sprawl with jawdroppingly tuneful sensibilities bands from the Queen City have experienced before or since. Numerous short form recordings (tapes and 7"s) came and went, but their flooring debut album ha ha bus! on Big Deal Records found them at their creative apex, with the commendable antidope to folllow shortly thereafter. 

Five years on, I wouldn't rephrase a smidgen of that summation, but if these guys are fresh to your eyes/ears milf's proper debut is a good place to start your journey.  ha ha bus! isn't wall to wall fireworks, though it's most stunning offerings (check out this trifecta of perfect tens: "hate me," "model t," and "and there's me") are as visceral and gloriously amped-out as music of this ilk gets.  Dense, gauzy guitars soaked in a dream-pop haze, a noisome delivery system, and Justin Chapmans loud/soft vocal aplomb were milf's killer cocktail, one that was employed to it's fullest extent on ha ha bus!, which unfortunately wasn't quite duplicated on their follow-up, antidope.  Will get to that one soon, and hopefully fix the broken links in my previous ovations to the group.  Enjoy.

01. punch
02. model t
03. bad idea
04. angst and daisies
05. me
06. and there's me
07. hate me
08. hair bitch
09. certain people shouldn't lie
10. primate me


Monday, July 14, 2014

Day dreams on the ceiling, ridges in my memory…

The '91 sophomore LP from Bay Area, popcore mainstays whose career has spanned four decades.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

BOB - What a Performance ep (1987, Sombrero)

In reference to the title, quite.  Perhaps choosing such a ubiquitous moniker hampered BOB's efforts to make a name for themselves (pun somewhat intended) in the fertile UK indie heyday of the late '80s.  After all, they were a band, not an individual.  Alas, BOB were a year late with What a Performance for placement on the coveted, genre-inducing C86 cassette compilation, yet they exhibited a similar fey, bouncy lilt that scenesters the Bodines and June Brides had made their calling card.  The title track and the tweaked reprise of it, "Worra Performance" is a fantastic slice of homegrown, post-Marrissey indie-pop, fleshed out with some unobtrusive horns about halfway in.  BOB hit the perfect balance wherever the needle falls here, and it's little wonder why they were so championed by John Peel. 

Incidentally their 1991 LP, Leave the Straight Life Behind has been reissued and greatly expanded.  Details here or at Amazon

01. What a Performance
02. Piggery
03. Deary Me
04. Memory of a Free Lunch
05. Worra Performance


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Nixon's Head - Traps, Buckshot & Pelt (1987, Groove Disques)

Before doing my homework, I was prepared to reference Nixon's Head exclusively in the past tense, but not only do they have an online presence, they're still roaming the earth apparently, or at least their corner of Philadelphia.  Just when I thought that all the City of Brotherly Love had to offer was cheese steak sandwiches and the Dead Milkmen, the wise bard at the often noted Little Hits blog tipped me off to this marvelous indie rock contingent, who sadly released but a handful of records during their initial '80s lifespan, this one being the lengthiest of the bunch.  For Traps, Buckshot & Pelt, Nixon's Head were a five-piece setup, and a fairly no frills one at that.  No gaudy Reagan-era schlock here pal, just straightforward guitar rock with faint resemblances to Twin-Tone epoch Soul Asylum (albeit quieter), Mercyland and Agitpop.  "I Like You" and "She Should Know Better" get my juices flowing the most, though I'd be misleading you if I passed this disk off as being anything less than totally consistent.  This rip was taken straight from my own crackly copy, but it appears the band has made this and a previous ep available on Soundcloud.  If that weren't enough, original vinyl copies might still be obtainable from the Groove Disques store, where you can also investigate their "reunion" releases at very modest prices.

01. Four Corners
02. The Same Thing
03. I Like You
04. She Should Know Better
05. My Best Friend
06. Let it Go
07. Instant Woody


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Waking Hours 7" (1992, Brilliant)

It's singles like this that make all the dollar bin rummaging I do worth the dusty task it so often is.  Per the back sleeve, Richmond's Waking Hours bear a certain mod appearance, when in fact they inch more towards the Merseybeat side of things.  I have a name for music of this esteemed caliber - "Ricken-pop," though I don't have an iota of proof that anyone in this trio actually strapped on a Rickenbacker guitar for these two sublime performances.  If you're an aficionado of the Smithereens, Something Fierce, Grip Weeds, or even the Nashville Ramblers, this 45 is worth it's weight in jangly gold.  Check out their Myspace page for more equally divine tunes.

A. What You Don't Know
B. I'm Falling Down


Monday, July 7, 2014

the sign at the fork in the road says "straight on"...

The 1993 solo debut from a Chapel, NC luminary.  Also included are a couple of singles that were issued shortly thereafter.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A note about all Netkups hosted files.

As some of you may have noticed, all Netkup links are currently not functioning. While the Netkups website is still active, their servers are not, nor have they been for almost a week now.  I apologize for this, as I am still using them as a file hoster for some of the older entries that you've requested I revive.  I've been employing Zippyshare exclusively for more recent entries, but that's only the tip of the iceberg in terms of deep catalog I've been offering you for the past seven years. 

For you established Wilfully Obscure clientele, you might recall that in January of 2013, my file hoster of five 1/2 years, Rapidshare, abruptly kicked me and over a thousand of my files straight to the curb, without the slightest explanation.  Shortly thereafter, I migrated about 90% of those files to Netkups, but I've had some substantial difficulties with them, and am sadly in the lurch that I currently am.  I have other options, the most obvious being Zippyshare, but as is the case with all file hosting clients, files are deleted from the servers if not accessed in 30 days.  In short, moving the entire Wilfully Obscure "catalog" to any single platform would be a Sisyphean endeavor, so I'm not sure what the future holds, even if Netkups finally gets their shit together.  In a nutshell, if there's something that you want to grab that's currently unavailable, I'm taking requests (and yes, I'm still going to be plugging along with new stuff).  Cheers.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Buzzcocks - Songs in a Different Time (2001, Prism Leisure)

Nobody needs another live Buzzcocks album.  Nobody.  Happy 4th everyone.

Recorded in Paris, 1995

01. I Don't Know What to Do With My Life
02. Love You More
03. Autonomy
04. Orgasm Addict
05. Promises
06. When Love Turns Around You
07. Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)
08. What Do I Get?
09. Oh Shit!
10. Fast Cars


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

V/A - Temple of Music - Independent Pop from Western New York (1996, Atom Smash/P22)

Before Buffalo, NY's main claim-to-lame was being the snow capital of the nation (though technically, Syracuse, three hours down the road, is actually subject to more of the white plague than the Queen City), the town in question had an even more dubious distinction - the assassination of President William McKinley at the Pan Am Exposition in 1901.  In 1988, a macabre opportunist with hip taste in music assembled a compilation LP highlighting the cream of Buffalo's up-and-coming crop, strikingly dubbed, We Killed McKinley.  Eight years on, another opportunist decided to try his/her/it's hand at providing yet another snapshot of the Erie County scene, highlighting equally worthy tuneage in the Clinton-era.  And to our good fortune they did a pretty apt job at it.  Temple of Music's CD sleeve and title is yet another dig at the 1901 tragedy, as it depicts the building where that unholy act took place (which by the way looks suspiciously like a Carnegie library, but I digress). 

The liner notes to Temple... openly attest that Buffalo failed to receive any bona fide support from "the mainstream press."  It's a scenario which played out in many mid-sized, less-than-cosmopolitan towns elsewhere in the States.  Too bad ace power-pop prodigies girlpope, Tremendo, BoBo, The Willies, and even Rochester's Koo Koo Boy didn't transcend the mainstream morass of the day.  Spawn's garagey goth, The Wrench's shredding' punk-pop, and milf's noiseome, but devastatingly melodious maelstrom are downright peerless as well, not to mention additional, well above average contributions from the likes of Stella, Java Man Ray Gun and Hula.

If you dig, physical copies of this and full lengths/ep's from the aforementioned girlpope and BoBo may still be available from P22, who by the way are responsible for some rather gnarly fonts as well.

01-BoBo - Suzie
02-Hula - Kissbox Diesel
03-The Wrench - Worry When We Get There
04-Tremendo - More Or Less
05-Durango 95 - Extraordinary Relief From Res Judicata
06-Rarely Seen Public Figures - Beautiful
07-girlpope - Song About Girls
08-The Tim - 360°
09-Spawn - Swirling Priest
10-Java Man Ray Gun - She's So Paranormal
11-The Amazing All My Children Band - Finding Out All About The Flowers
12-Dan Lewis And The Tomorrow File - Face On The Floor
13-Nimrod Wildfire Band - Happy Hunting Grounds
14-The Willies - Looks Like She's From Another World
15-The Wife Swappers - Ashtray
16-McCarthyizm - Take What You Can Get
17-Stella - Paint-Stain
18-milf - Super
19-Copper - Serial Killer
20-Koo Koo Boy - Sunday