Tuesday, June 30, 2015

God's Favorite - Myrmidon ep (1985)

Despite their chosen moniker and song titles like "Blue Heaven" there doesn't seem to be any religious agenda permeating Myrmidon, what seems to be this L.A. quintet's lone release.  God's Favorite dole out five, speckless tunes slipping vaguely into the "wave" realm, laced with gentle flourishes of piano.  Fans of Roxy Music, Dream Academy and the Grapes of Wrath might find something of note here, though these gentlemen don't necessarily possess the charisma of the aforementioned.  Oddly enough, an outtake from these sessions "Children Eat Dirt," posted on YouTube bears more of an edge (a la the Teardrop Explodes no less) than anything on the record itself.  It's submitted below for your approval.

01. Blue Heaven
02. Julie Saxby's Diary
03. (Hurry, Hurry) Sunday
04. Parade of Toys
05. Lights Out


Sunday, June 28, 2015

All your patriots are just millionaires.

The second album from a pensive and occasionally profound Massachusetts trio.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Teriyakis - 7" ep (1996, Priápus)

There must have been some suspicious particulates in the water this Lawrence, KS based outfit was imbibing at the time of this recording in '96.  The Teriyakis' noisenik proclivities were at the very least informed by Polvo's dissonant juxtapositions and alternate guitar tunings.  I'd argue these folks were even more bent, given their ability to make one song sound like a jumbled melange of two compositions...or more.  "Romper Stomper" and "Red Hula Hornet" simultaneously merge the techniques of early Pavement, the Feelies and then some.  The concluding "The Power of Pablo Neruda's Vest," bears a chilled-out Velvets-y lilt, and is by far the least unwieldy thing on here.  Let it be known that Bob Weston worked on subsequent Teriyaki's releases.

01. Positive Forestry
02. Red Hula Hornet
03. Romper Stomper
04. The Power of Pablo Neruda's Vest


Regal Degal - Not Now (2015, Terrible) & Day Creeper - Central States (2015, Superdreamer) - A brief overview.

My first impression of seeing Regal Degal perform last summer - Let's Active using the Cocteau Twins distortion effects.  Yes, this Brooklyn by way of Lost Angeles trio was something pretty damn gnarly.  And even if they didn't consistently transfer that startling live alchemy to their early studio endeavors (2012's Veritable Who's Who not to mention a few free form experiments) they're inching closer.  Not Now is a sizable rung in that developmental ladder.   Sonically, RD possess a pair of telltale quotients that are becoming all the more apparent on successive records - chiming guitar tones and vibrato-enhanced rhythms.  That latter facet exudes a mildly trippy sensation without amounting to anything too heady.  This formula may not strike you as particularly radical, and maybe it isn't, but when meshed with Josh da Costa's echoey pipes and intermittently oblique prose, Regal's artful, noise-pop cocktail sounds exponentially more fresh and post-modern than anything Pitchfork or other taste-makers are likely to steer you towards. 

If there are any obvious signposts on Not Now's highway late-80s Wire is an apt one, albeit Regal tuck such inspirations into a warmer context, not dissimilar to skewed new wave revisionists Part Time and The Drums.  The highlights here are numerous, key among them the quivery "Pyramid Bricks," previously available on an ep of the same name. "Delicious'" gyrating pop shuffle is as toothsome as it's title implies, and "Sit Like a Chair's" dense, post-punk aplomb is more likely to purge you from your throne than keep you seated.  You can acquaint yourself with a smattering of  Part Time's surreal magic via SoundcloudNot Now can be purchased straight from Terrible Records, or digitally from the usual suspects.  

Onto an entirely different kettle of fish, namely Day Creeper, a no frills punk 'n roll aggregation from Columbus, OH.  There's precious little in the way of mystique populating the ten grooves on Central States but who needs mystique when you have songs?  Scraggly and rugged little ditties at that, with a straight-up, ass-kicking panache a la some of my ferocious faves like Snatches of Pink, Finger, and the Affected, even dipping into the Supersuckers and Stones bag of tricks now and again.  Day Creeper spill earnestness and grit in the manner of an overfilled beer stein just about anywhere the needle lands on ...States, yet are disciplined enough to abstain from any gratuitous maneuvers.  Have a copy (vinyl only!) delivered to your doorstep via Super Dreamer's website, and if you require further convincing you can stream a handful of songs on Bandcamp.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ripe - Filterfeed (1990, Polyester)

I more or less passed on Ripe's 1993 album The Plastic Hassle, but when I found a copy of this one a year or so back I didn't hesitate to dive in.  Smart move, as Filterfeed is considerably more inviting.  Smart, tuneful indie rock not far removed from Straitjacket Fit's swirly schtick, though Ripe hailed from Melbourne, Australia, not the Kiwi isles.  In my online excavation of Ripe, I was greeted with the proposition that this foursome was once touted as "the next Sonic Youth."  Bit of a stretch there, as the likes of "Spacesuit 4 2" and "Julie" foreshadowed the noisier end of '90s Britpop if anything.  I really wish this had been made available on CD, as my copy of Filterfeed is laden with extraneous vinyl noise.  Anti-static inner sleeve be damned.  In addition to their two full lengths Ripe released four times as many singles/eps.

01. Filterfeed
02. Spacesuit 4 2
03. Tensehead
04. Dream Killer
05. Dodging the Steamroller
06. Impact is So Harad
07. The Hedgeburner Tales
08. Halfway Back
09. Julie
10. Easy


Sunday, June 21, 2015

We have our looks and perfume on.

Presenting the companion "EP" to this band's 2008 DVD.  I've tacked on a radio session from 2007 to sweeten the pot. 


Friday, June 19, 2015

The Revelons - Anthology (2004, Sepiatone)

I picked this one up several moons ago on the expectation that it might be interesting - and it was.  Covering The Revelons 1977-82 lifespan, the hodgepodge Anthology entails the band's precious few recordings, including a single cut for Ork Records in '79 ("The Way (You Touch My Hand)" b/w "97 Tears").  Denizens of New York and fixtures at CBGBs (Hilly Kristal contributes brief liner notes) the Revelons dabbled in a myriad of punk-related pastiches including proto, post and wave.  Sometimes operating as a quartet, others as a five-piece, frontman Gregory Lee Pickard was the band's focal point.  The Revelons revolving door of collaborators included Fred Smith of Television and Jay Dee Dougherty courtesy of Patti Smith's tribe, though these guys barely harkened to the sound of either of those legends.  The first half of this collection easily trumps the second, not only containing that edgy Ork Recs 45, but a pair of previously unreleased power pop jewels, "Brighter Side" and "Outlaw With a Gun."  Culled from a 1981 studio session, these dandy ditties slot vaguely in the vicinity of The Knack and Dwight Twilley, and would have made for a winsome follow-up single.  Anthology closes out with two tracks from a 2002 reunion session.

By the way, that aforementioned Revelons single for Ork was reissued as part of the Ork Records Complete Singles 7" box set, perhaps the most decadent treat of this years cavalcade of Record Store Day releases.  Check out the specifics at Numero Group's website

01. Red Hot Woman (1980)
02. The Way (you touch my hand) (1978)
03. Lover's Dilemma (1978)
04. 97 Tears (1979)
05. Brighter Side (1981)
06. Outlaw Without a Gun (1981)
07. My Town (1980)
08. It's a Beautiful Life (1982)
09. White Elvis (1982)
10. All These Things (The world's fair) 1977
11. A Children's Story (1982)
12. The Way (you touch my hand) (1979)
13. Sail Away (2002)
14. Architecture of Love (2002)


The Dream Syndicate - The Days of Wine and Roses (1982, Slash/2015 Omnivore) - a brief overview.

Go ahead and trick yourself into believing that the Dream Syndicate spearheaded a movement, or were the figureheads of the 1980s so called "Paisley Underground" in their stomping ground of Los Angeles.  The truth is Steve Wynn and Co. would have had just enough going for them had they been the lone fish in the pond of say, Boise or Gloversville.  To get down to brass tacks, what the Dream Syndicate had going for them was sheer inspiration, which in their case involved extending an outstretched arm into the well of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground.  It was a nervy reach at that, sparing no interest in the likes of Neil Young and CBGB fixtures Television either.  And nowhere in the band's revered catalog did they spark as visceral a charge than with their 1982 debut full length, The Days of Wine and Roses, which is seeing reissue this week on Omnivore Records. 

Then again "visceral" may not be the most apt term after all, considering Days of Wine... does require a modest amount of emotional investment.  Mine paid off with my second or third listen to the lead-off "Tell Me When it's Over." It aches so fabulously with Wynn's indelible guitar spiel, continuously cycling throughout the piece until the "ache" is gracefully transformed into a blissful, incendiary massage.  This sweet but sobering 3 1/2 minute masterstroke manages to segue seamlessly into the altogether more rousing "Definitely Clean," a furious slice of proto-punk outpacing anything the Velvets put their stamp on.  The breathless "Then She Remembers" follows suit, with a forward-thinking guitar progression situating the chorus.

The division of album sides that was all but lost in the CD age is of great significance to records like Days... where each physical half represents a (relatively) different modus operandi.  Though by no means "pop" songs, side one features considerably more concise and linear fare than it's flipside. The curtailed flights of fancy evidenced in the first half give way to the downright abstract on side two, not the least of which a pair of epic, stemwinding jams.  "Until Lately," the weakest link in otherwise strenuous set of tunes, ambles on for an aimless and ennui-laced four minutes or so before reaching anything resembling an apex, before finally thudding out a few minutes later.  As far as grand finales go, they don't get much grander than the concluding title track, a searing, white-knuckled catharsis, bleeding copious amounts of feedback and angst, the frenetic yin to the consoling yang of "Tell Me When It's Over."  The sound of petulant self destruction never sounded this good before or since.

This latest remastering job is crisp and clean, but does nil to exude any sonic elements that weren't present before.  As for the bonus tracks, none from the 2001 Rhino reissue of DWR (which included the preceding Down Here ep and two songs from Wynn's pre-DS outfit 15 Minutes) are appended to this incarnation.  Instead, all of that material is substituted with six songs from heretofore unreleased rehearsal sessions, ostensibly the closest items the band had in the vaults resembling traditional demos.  Among them are sneak previews of two songs ("Armed With an Empty Gun" and "Still Holding on You") that would appear on the Syndicate's second platter, 1984's Medicine Show.  The prototype of "Still Holding on to You," feeble as it may be, nonetheless boasts a sinewy charm the finished product lacks.  Also plucked from rehearsal tapes are two more long-winded jams: yet another Velvets indebted slow burner "Like Mary," and the more clamorous "Outside the Dream Syndicate."

The album with the giant turquoise block adorning the cover is available direct from Omnivore, Amazon, and hopefully a fine record dispensary near you. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lilys - Services for the Soon to be Departed ep (1997, Primary/Che)

I'm pressed for time, so a brief write-up is all that I have to offer tonight.  Then again, the Lilys' reputation is pretty damn well known, so I'm in luck I suppose.  By the mid '90s they had shed their shoegaze cocoon almost completely, so be prepared for that.  I've always said the Lilys never made the same album twice.  Perhaps the same can be said for their eps too.  If you dug 1996's, Brit Invasion-inflected Better Can't Make Your Life Better, Services... is roughly in the same ballpark.  Enjoy (or not).

01-Hark, An Open Channel
02-The Energy Channel (Tayt Variation)
03-Icy Water, Water Everywhere
04-The First Half Second
06-The Gravity Free Atmosphere Of MSA


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Partime (aka Part Time) - Virgo's Maze (2015, Burger) - a brief overview

Partime's David Loca (with "Speck" being an alternate surname when it suits hin) must be thoroughly exhausted.  After all, Virgo's Maze (a double album no less) is the fourth PT-related project to be unleashed in the last eighteen months, hot on the heels of Return to Cherry, Late Night With David Loca, and H.F.M. with the latter of those two being double-length cassette releases.  Top that Robert Pollard...but I seriously digress.  For the uninitiated, L.A.'s David Loca essentially is Partime, an ongoing mid-fi electronica project that often involves him as the lone performer on his records, but fleshed out with a full ensemble when onstage.  I've seen the much cliched "bedroom pop" accusation thrown in his direction at least a couple of times, and given his penchant for smearing hazy, vintage synths with Peter Hook-informed guitar lines and cheeky vocals of varying demeanor, I'm tempted to use that patently lazy assertion myself.  The first proper Partime (or "Part Time," take your pick) album, What Would You Say, alongside an opening slot for The Drums and Craft spells in 2012 was what sold me, and I've been trying to keep up with the man in question ever since.

There's an abundance of neuvo keyboard-pop virtuosos making the scene of late - Passion Pit, Porter Robinson, etc, however while those contenders have an itch for glitch, Partime is more about kitsch - and perhaps a little feigned naivety as well.  Not merely a few fabled "found sounds," rather a much more engulfing sonic palette built on a bedrock of raw, swarming synth riffs, the likes of which haven't been encountered this en masse since the Reagan-era.

The sprawling Virgo's Maze, features twenty homegrown tunes recorded over the span of the last five years - and it sounds it.  When you hurl this much at the proverbial wall, some of it simply ain’t gonna stick, not the least of which a thoroughly sardonic take of the Beatles "I Saw Her Standing There."  Although Paul and Ringo probably won't be seeing much in the way of royalties for that one, you the listener will be enchanted with Virgo's other selections, particularly the title track, "Strangest Eyes," "Touch Me Responsibly," and "Real Connection" all brimming with Loca's suave, melodic aesthetic and ironically hued vocal panache.  Of course, a Partime album would be nothing without a few glaring anomalies and Virgo surprises with the uncharacteristically lucid "River of Dreams" and "Fallin' 4 U."  The bouncy, guitar-driven "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" trades in new romantic for British invasion, while "Pussy of My Dreams" might pass for Thin Lizzy or T. Rex in an alternate universe.   If this is your first encounter with Partime you might be better off starting with the aforementioned What Would You Say or even 2013's PDA, but once you're inculcated in the cult of Dave Loca, it will be a no-brainer to indulge in Virgo's Maze as well.  It's available this week direct from Burger Records, Amazon and iTunes.  Check out a sample or two below via Soundcloud.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

...it got so cold that words just froze, had to wait 'til summer to find out what was said.

We just passed the ten-year anniversary mark of this glorious, emotive mess.  Perhaps my fave album of 2005...and the best thing this band ever had in them.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Replicants - s/t (1995)

Covers albums.  Covers bands.  No small shortage of perils with either proposition, and this one ain't much different.  The Replicants were a one-off mid-90s endeavor featuring members of three bands -  one prominent, one considerably less prominent, and one virtually unknown.  I will reveal nothing further of the Replicants roster, but will kindly provide a link for your perusal here.

The four Replicants were utter perfectionists (to this day even) and were not shy about sporting a high-tech aptitude even on songs they didn't write/compose.  Sometimes the renderings here are a bit too straightforward and stiff for their own good (i.e. "Just What I Needed" and "Cinnamon Girl") - but powerful, boy these gents were powerful.  Much of this rigidity is eschewed a bit further in, with a jaunt through Steely Dan's "Dirty Work," fittingly accorded a more relaxed treatment.  Elsewhere, Paul McCartney's played-out ballad "Silly Love Songs" is turned inside-out into something considerably more insufferable than the original.  Signature tracks by Gary Numan, Missing Persons and T. Rex are also represented, as are much less obvious selections from Pink Floyd and Bowie.  Deep tracks baby, deep tracks.  As an album, Replicants is an eye-of-the-beholder affair, but it's architect's collective prowess (and taste) is virtually indisputable. 

01. Just What I Needed
02. Silly Love Songs
03. Life's a Gas
04. Cinnamon Girl
05. How Do You Sleep?
06. Destination Unknown
07. No Good Trying
08. Are Friends Electric
09. Dirty Work
10. The Bewlay Brothers
11. Ibiza Bar


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Missed in Diary 7" (1991, Eye)

Detroit's Missed in Diary were yet another fine example of what happens when dream-pop converges at the crosseoads with post-punk.  While you still see examples of this nexus today, the formula was perfected beforehand in the late twentieth-century as this single effectively demonstrates.  MID's expansive sonic aplomb has been likened to For Against over at Kentucky Fried Wave blog, and rightfully so, however this quartet buttressed their noir, austere punch with even greater Anglophile sensibilities.  Jeff Cornett's dense washes of echoing guitars go a looooong way in defining both dizzying cuts here, blissfully dominating every square inch in sight.  Bravo.  As for the aforementioned KFW article, they had apparently shared the brunt of MID's meager discography but the link is dead.  As of right now this 45 is all I have by them.

A. Wonders Why
B. Rise and Shine


Sunday, June 7, 2015

I feel like paying boredom bills…

The 1995 & 1997 albums from a slyly offbeat Britpop act that failed to find an audience on the American side of the pond.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Comsat Angels - Manchester, UK 10-12-83 & Fiction-era demos.

It looks like those mondo Comsat Angels deluxe editions are going to be delayed almost until Christmas, so to tide you over I thought I'd share this.  A brief but right good live set from late 1983, featuring a bevy of tracks that were contemporary to their fourth album, Land, topped off with their 1980 classic "Independence Day."  The C.S. Angels has going for a decidedly more mainstream vibe on that album, but you'd hardly know it from this concert, originally broadcast on the BBC.

Secondly, we have a batch of demos the boys were working in on in preparation for their last truly landmark classic LP, FictionFiction was the final record in a spectacular trifecta preceded by Waiting for a Miracle (1980) and Sleep No More which came a year later.  Among the nine tracks are two untitled pieces that failed to make the album cut.

You can download both in MP3 in a single file, or separately in lossless FLAC.  BTW, last month I featured the Comsat's Unravelled, a scarce 1994 import featuring radio sessions and the like from the Mind's Eye era.  Check it out here.

Live 10-12-83, Manchester, UK
01. Nature Trails
02. Will You Stay Tonight?
03. Mister Memory
04. Real Story
05. What Else!?
06. Alicia (Can You Hear Me?)
07.  Island Heart
08. Independence Day

Fiction-era demos
09. What Else
10. After the Rain
11. untitled #1
12. Not a World
13. Birdman
14. Pictures
15. Private Part
16. untitled #2
17. More

Get both in MP3 or live in FLAC & demos in FLAC

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Curtain Society - tape (1991)

These guys came onto my radar when I spotted them at a Big Takeover magazine anniversary concert at the Bell House in Brooklyn back in 2010.  I didn't realize it until the gig, but the Curtain Society dated back a good two decades ago, to the early '90s in fact when this cassette made it's way into the slipstream.  Oddly enough it's not mentioned in their discography, and that's unfortunate, because while this Worcester, MA trio may have still been cutting their teeth, this nascent proposition of mildly shoegaze-enhanced post-punk entices along similar lines to Springhouse, and perhaps a more lightweight Chameleons UK/Vox (who by the way were both participants in the same aforementioned Big Takeover-curated lineup).  I'd posit the three cuts appearing here are uniformly satisfying, but C/S matured into a considerably more advanced outfit on their three subsequent albums, including their most recent offering 2005's Every Corner in the Room.  You can learn more about them, and even purloin a few audio rarities from their webpage

01. Searachlight
02. Candle
03. Gravity


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Rein Sanction - "Creel" 7" (1991, Sub Pop)

My junior year of high school.  Picture this.  No extracurricular activities, piss poor grades in math, pathetic part time jobs stocking shelves and sacking groceries, acne, and unremitting rejection from the fairer sex.  My consolation?  Bands like Rein Sanction, who btw were a very recent Mystery Monday entry. 

Three unlikely long-hairs from Jacksonville, FL rising from the muck of the St. Johns River, who ironically didn't specialize in grunge-cum-metal, but a more technically finessed strain of downer indie rock they could truly claim as their own.  Dissonance, feedback and gloom are key watchwords here.  Indulge in sheer mountains of noodly guitar-work that only the likes of J Mascis could dutifully mangle to anywhere near the extent of this trio.  Mark Gentry's weary, wounded wails are the appropriate icing on this splendidly noise-addled cake.  The b-side is exclusive to this 45, but "Creel" can also be experienced on Rein Sanction's 1991 LP, Broc's Cabin, available digitally from Sub Pop and elsewhere.  I've made some of the band's earlier recordings available here in an entry from two years ago.

A. Creel
B. Willow Branch