Sunday, November 29, 2015

...and what would you say if it was all up to you?

The second (and IMO) best album from this long-running Aussie troupe, plus an ep that followed one year later.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Missed in Diary - Dissolve ep (1995, Eye)

Upon sharing a 1991 7" from Detroit's Missed in Diary a few months ago, one of our readers was thoughtful enough to supply me with a link to a subsequent ep from them, originally issued in 1995.  And it's a killer offering at that, flexing the beefy post-punk musculature that was evident on that 45 exponentially.  This ain't your sisters' namby pamby, pancake makeup-wearing bunch of goth sissies, not by a long shot.  The pummeling drum salvos alone (programmed as they may be) set in stone these lads could rock with a vengeance, a la Red Lorry Yellow Lorry or Band of Susans.  Jeff Cornett's pipes are indeed gloomy, but never doomy, and his icy guitar leads lend themselves perfectly to both the premise of MID's pensive prose and the dense sonic latticework they're steeped in.  In a word, Dissolve is transfixing.  A big thanks to Megan for setting us up with these files.  Methinks I'm going to have to locate an original copy of this CD for myself.

01. To Crowd the Hours
02. Pause for Effect
03. Wonders Why
04. Gone
05. Dissolve


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sex Tide - Vernacular Splatter ep (2015, Superdreamer) - A brief overview

Arising not from the primordial ooze of say, California's fabled La Brea Tar Pits, rather central Ohio, Sex Tide manage to pack a subterranean wallop entirely of their own accord.  Yep, insert those earplugs 'coz Vernacular Splatter is gonna hurt, if only on your first or second encounter, anyway.  Where can you find the DIY post-punk ethos of local yokels Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, the eccentricities of The Fall, and Sonic Youth's SST-era sprawl all rolled up into one garage-stompin' greaseball?  You got it, right here on the six-track Vernacular, where the rubber meets the proverbial road, graciously scooped off the same slab of asphalt that only Flipper and AmRep bands of yore once dared to tread.   And speaking of Flipper, this coed twosome wrangle up a raw, likeminded ruckus, with copious portions of low-end to spare.  Highlights include the throbbing opener "Are You Even Alive," and a little further in the slow-burning muck of “Why Don’t You Want Me” which plods along like a molasses paced train wreck, equally compelling and repelling.

Vinyl copies (with splendidly hand-screened back covers) are available straight from Superdreamer Records, and Bandcamp, where you can also get your digital fix. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Welcome to fray and feast.

This 1986 album should have made these four gentlemen millionaires.  It didn't.  And neither did their next album, or the one after that...


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Swervedriver - KCRW Brave New World session, 2/23/93

I suppose this doesn't require much explanation or heavy insight.  It's Swervedriver circa Mezcal Head on one of America's closest answers to the John Peel show, KCRW's Brave New WorldAdam Franklin and Co. perform and spiel for roughly a half hour, with a natural emphasis on Mezcal tunes, and a couple of oldies.  This was taped from an FM broadcast and the audio quality is slightly wobbly at moments.  Buyer beware.

01. intro
02. Last Train to Satansville
03. talk
04. For Seeking Heat
05. talk
06. Sandblasted
07. Duress
08. talk
09. Kill the Superheroes
10. outro

MP3  or  FLAC

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Retriever - Greatest Moments of Doubt (1998, Anisette)

Upon doing a web query on this bygone southern California outfit, I discovered that a music blog had presented a previous Retriever record - mine!  Given that I've showcased some 1000+ music titles on these humble pages, I suppose I'm entitled to forget one or two I've shared along the way.  At any rate, here's another eight-songer courtesy of the same folks, whom I unfortunately have few details to enlighten you about.  Recorded over the span of three years, 1995-97, Greatest Moments of Doubt tenders some patently indie-centric fare in the manner of early Lilys and the Raymond Brake, even managing to shoehorn some tweaked Polvo-y guitar bends into "Evil K" and "Collapsing."  In fact, this is practically like finding some long-lost Slumberland Records product tucked away in the storeroom at Mod Lang in Berkeley.  "From Pixels to Providence" shifts gears into Elliott Smith turf, and "Never Comeback," exudes the type of downer, lo-fi tact that only the Clinton-era could muster.

01. Zenith
02. Evil K
03. Rollercoaster
04. From Pixels to Providence
05. Collapsing
06. Never Comeback
07. 10,000 Predictions
08. East Coast Knacks


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Arcwelder - 20th Century Masters: The Singles Collection (1992-95)

It's been eight years since I've broached the topic of Arcwelder, a band that was an indispensable soundtrack staple of my collegiate years.  So why the drought you might ask?  In a nutshell, their record label for the better part of the '90s, Touch and Go has done a fine job of keeping their albums commercially available all these years.  Sure, you might be a bit hard pressed to find hard copies of Pull, Xerxes, Entropy and Everest at your local record watering spout, they're for the taking (at $8.99 apiece) from the usual suspects.  And you really should invest a little time and some well-earned samolians to hear some on Arcwelder, a guitar-driven Twin Cities power trio, who were clandestine proteges of yet a considerably more renown Mpls power trio from exactly one decade prior (catch my drift)?

Truth be told, there are a few Arcwelder morsels that never made it into the digital age, starting with a 1992 single, featuring two less-than-obvious choices for covers, The Beatles and Prince.  To this day, I'm still debating which fares better.  The boys delivered yet another 7" slab in '92, featuring the rumbling, yet tunefully assaulting A-side "Raleigh" plucked straight from their Pull long-player.  It was backed with two exclusive goodies, including "Walls" which careens and juxtaposes between chilly verses and a killer chorus hook.  Arcwelder's last official 45, offering "Captain Allen" from the then forthcoming Entropy album, also brandished a cover of the Volcano Suns signature tune, "White Elephant" for it's b-side.  A straightforward but gratifying spin on that classic post-punk nugget I might add.  Finally, I'm capping off this lil' collection with the band's contribution to a 1998 Chunklet fanzine CD compilation.  How does a rendition of The Move's lighthearted "Cherry Blossom Clinic" grab you?  BTW, a fourth Arcwelder single exists of "Favor" and "Plastic," both of which also appeared on the band's out-of-print second album, Jacket Made in Canada, which you can check out in full alongside their debut This, right here.

PS:  Arcwelder released a 1988 single when they were originally going under the guise of Tiltawhirl.  Sadly, I'm not in possession of this record.  

01. I Am the Walrus
02. Sign o' the Times
03. Raleigh
04. Walls
05. Rosa
06. Captain Allen
07. White Elephant
08. Cherry Blossom Clinic

1 & 2 - covers 7" (1992, Big Money Inc)
3-5 - Raleigh 7" (T&G)
6 & 7 - Captain Allen 7" (T&G)
8 - The Money Shot! compilation (Chunklet magazine)

MP3  or  FLAC

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Living mental isolation...far from your contamination...

Seventeen greats from one of post-punks greatest.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Now - Here Come the Now (1977-79 + 2002, Wizzard in Vinyl)

As you might guess, there was/is more than one band out in the universe going by the name of "The Now," and frankly, I'm not sure if these guys were the best out of that supposed contingent.  Content-wise I'm a little on the fence about this collection, but I figured I'd put it out there so you lot could sort it out on your own.  The inception of the Ramones debut barnburner in 1976 was the proverbial face that launched a thousand shits, er, I mean ships.  A disproportionate number of young hopefuls taking the call to arms emanated from the British isles.  The Now, from Peterbrough, were one of the lesser known punters in the hundred or so class of '76-'78 punk cabal who actually made it to vinyl.

Upon absorbing their brief catalog, I've come to the conclusion that the Now were something of a one-beer-short-of-a-six-pack proposition.   The small volume of tuneage they flung at their termite ridden wall of choice didn't always adhere to the surface.  Commencing with their 1977 single, "Development Corporations" it was clear these boys were angling in the direction of (very) early Mekons and Wire. The song in question, as well as the loosely existential bent of it's flipside "Why?" made for vaguely interesting societal screeds, but fell short of anything approaching classic status.  Per the liner notes, the band concurs. 
Another single, "Into the '80s" came down the pike shortly thereafter, and was an improvement, as were five more cuts tracked in 1979 that really found the Now congealing in all pertinent aspects.  Still, you'd be hard pressed to discern any pop tunes from their slim volume of work.  By 1979 the quartet was splitsville.

Fast forward to the 21st century.   Renewed interest in the band yielded not only reissues of their two singles, but a reunion which entailed dusting off old 1977-era notebooks containing lyrics to songs that had yet to be committed to tape.  A quarter century later in 2002 The Now brought said text roaring to life - a half dozen songs worth to be exact, fulfilling that nascent potential of yore with salvos like "You Student" and "Here it Comes Now" that positively crank.  A splendid way to cap this reissue off to be sure.  Here Comes the Now was available on CD from the Japanese Wizzard in Vinyl imprint, and an even more limited vinyl incarnation was issued in a dosage of 500 copies.

01. Development Corporations
02. Why?
03. Development Corporations
04. Into the '80s
05. 9 O'clock
06. Into the '80s
07. 9 O'Clock
08. Don't You Believe Me
09. Seven Days Ago
10. So Simple Then
11. QQ/52
12. Room at the Top
13. You Student
14. Here it Comes Now
15. Labour Party
16. Third World War
17. Office Workers
18. The Invaders

1 & 2 - first single (1977)
3-5 recording session
6 & 7 - second single (1979)
8-12 - 1979 recording session
13-18 - 2002 reunion recordings


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Earthmen - Flyby ep (1993, Summershine)

For those of us in the States, anyone's knowledge of Melbourne Australia's Earthmen probably began and ended with their first LP, 1993's Teen Sensations.  Signed to Seed Records (a boutique division of Atlantic Records masquerading as an indie) in the western hemisphere, and the much hipper Summershine down under, the Earthmen doled out gnarly, feedback-addled guitar hysterics on this ep's title-track, that would do J Mascis proud.  The decidedly strummier "Too Far Down" is mellower fare for sure, but this quartet dip back into their bag of dizzying distortion tactics on the closing "Stacey's Cupboard," which in case you were wondering also made it onto a single.  I was never what you would call a fanboy of these chaps, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the hell out of their records when I got the notion to pull them out.  You can school yourself further on the Earthmen from the links offered above as well as a more exhaustive bio here.

01. Flyby
02. Too Far Down
03. Roll
04. Stacey's Cupboard


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Though I have fallen down, I'm through falling for you.

Primo indie power pop from 2001.


The Four Color Manual - Guardian for a Year (1998, Sudden Shame)

Presumably from the environs of the New England area (based on the Vermont locale of Sudden Shame Records), Four Color Manual's mildy dissonant and dynamic aptitude would probably be deemed as emo by today's standards, but their overarching shtick was through-and-through indie rock.  Much like an onion, this trio was a layered proposition, revealing a noisome cross section depicting the likes of Unwound, the Promise Ring and Seam.  Glints of melody eke out of slight cracks ensconced between the rough-hewn slices of "Chambers," "She Fought the Devil," not to mention others.  Guardian of the Year sounds unmistakably like a debut, but FCP's latent potential wasn't realized on subsequent records, because evidently there weren't any.

01. Margin of Error
02. Chambers
03. I Not Consent
04. For Montreal
05. Scrape
06. A Study in Josh
07. Reason to Roast
08. Slipped Knot
09. Holding on to Sound
10. She Fought the Devil
11. New Make Over


Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Swizzlesticks - s/t (2002, Defacto)

I don't exactly have a bounty of specifics to extol on this power pop quartet, but nevertheless I'm sure that a good many of you will be firmly in their corner upon imbibing this disk.  The Swizzlesticks hearken back to such old reliables as Poole and Splitsville, when indie imprints like Big Deal and Not Lame were the order of the day.  There's even echos of the Plimouls and Material Issue bangin' around on "She Says No to Everything" and "I Just Wanna Know You." A quick scan of the credits reveal that the 'sticks give props to none other than David Bash, and as I'm frequently inclined to impart, "bash the head that does not Bash."

01. She Says No to Everthing
02. Fall Again
03. Tremblin' Hands
04. Hang Around
05. Dani Stole My Girlfriend
06. Cupid Missed His Mark
07. Make Me
08. Used to be a Man
09. Late Night Movie
10. Down
11. I Just Wanna Know You
12. Say You Love Me Too


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

V/A - Aqua Bear Legion Vol. 5 (2015, Aqua Bear Legion) - A brief overview.

If you've ever desired a birds-eye microcosm, or for that matter a handy summation of the goings-on within the still-fertile Ohio indie rock circuit, the folks at Aqua Bear Legion have made it all to easy for you - over the course of a beautiful, double gatefold album no less, for their fifth installment in the various artists series of the same name.  Yes, it's everybody's favorite swing state - the one that's "HI" in the middle and round at both ends, home to such stalwarts as Guided By Voices, the New Bomb Turks...and Nine Inch Nails.  You'll find nothing that sounds like the latter of those here mind you.  In fact, ABL 5.0 kicks things off with a jangly bang from Joseph Airport, loosely in the mold of the aforementioned GBV before they lost their coveted charm.  One of only two participants here I've dedicated Wilfully Obscure text prior to today is Connections, whose "Everybody's High" is exclusive to this wax, and is almost as much fun as the proceedings on their Private Airplane and Body Language platters.  Their Pollard/Sprout fixation appears to be waning I might add, or perhaps this is just a quick respite.   Elsewhere Herzog soak up seBADoh's classic aplomb like they were a damn dry sponge, WV White keep the guitarsy slacker momentum going, the D-Rays serve up a surfy surprise and The Guitars split the diff between Brit Invasion acumen and power pop prowess.  And we haven't even gotten to disk two yet (but we're fixin' to right now).

The remaining half of ABL 5 trends in a more angular direction.  There's scuzzy punk, and oodles of it - Dead Hand of Man, Weird Science and Kid Tested.  Cleveland's Murderedman wallow in sludgy, Melvins-esque muck, while Hookers Made of Cocaine are the debauched barrel of monkeys their moniker capably suggests.  Wry popmeisters the Kyle Sowaches are present with a commendable new song, and Dayton residents The 84 Draft close this affair out on a sobering, slow burning note with "Scarlet & Cream."  BTW, about half of the tunes on this comp are exclusive tracks. You can order this on handsome, clear blue vinyl, or go the digital route if a bargain is what you have in mind. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

I sure miss the world before it changed.

I would suggest starting with track seven first...