Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wilde & Reckless ep (1981, Leo)

Tamer than their moniker might suggest, Wilde & Reckless were an Aussie five piece that sported a decidedly pedestrian power-pop tack that would have been in league with Tommy Tutone, Donnie Iris and the A's.  Short on innovation, taut execution and adequate hooks were Wilde's saving graces, and helped get them by on "Young Girls," "Why Won't You" and "What's Your Name."  Enjoy (or not).

01. Young Girl
02. She's Good to Me
03. What's Your Name
04. Radio
05. Little White Lies
06. Why Won't You.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Well Wishers - Comes and Goes (2016) - A brief overview.

I'd be flatly deceiving if I were to inform you that Well Wishers henchman, Jeff Shelton had something on his agenda other than power pop, so deceive you I shan't.  While he doesn't futz with his linear recipe too much on WW's eighth outing, Comes and Goes, there are moderate tangents at play here, operating in a framework just malleable enough to keep things interesting.  A pair of true blue keepers bookend the album, "Impossible to Blame" and "Nature's Son," neither of which will allay the bevy of Posies comparisons that have been leveled at Shelton.  As I've recently noted, The Posies aren't sounding much like themselves these days, so dare I say these riff-addled pearls serve as inadvertent equalizers?

As for what falls between the two "bookends," Comes and Goes rewards sublimely with the resonant, harmonic sway of "Comes Around" (featuring Lisa Mychols on backing vox) and Shelton's patented, plaintive jangly persuasion imbuing "Tomorrow," and "In Love With."  The album isn't without it's rawer flirtations with tension and cynical frustration, as only a forty-something could engender, on the crankin' ''Somebody Lied" and "Three Nights in Bristol."  Par for the course with any Well Wishers album, Comes... conversely counters said moments of constructive angst with sobering comedowns, specifically in the guise of "Nobody's Dancing Alone" and the aforementioned "Comes Around."  

Have and hold Comes and Goes for yourself today through CD Baby, Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, or purchase a hard copy straight from the band, with a bonus CD of your choice no less...for a limited time.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

And you're wondering where the benefit of being you went...

From 1996 and '97.  The first two albums from a distortion-spiked power pop trio who hovered around
the outer reaches of Los Angeles.  Produced by Earle Mankey no less.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Grey Parade - The Reason (1985, Plan B)

The vendor who sold me this wax affixed a post-it-note stating, in so many words, that this record fit's the band's moniker.  Bit of an exaggeration there, as was the Echo and the Bunnymen comparison also mentioned on the note.  If anything, Grey Parade's vaguely noir pastiche of wave and post-punk was less than radical, often culminating in what a fusion of the Lucy Show and Modern English would amount to.  The melancholia factor isn't as prominent as you might anticipate on The Reason, albeit the themes and prose populating the LP are intelligent and considered without getting too heady.  "Flags are Burning" and "Impressions of Africa" are great jumping off points for the unacquainted.  This was ostensibly the quartet's lone full length, and a seemingly difficult record to track down at that.

01. Crocodile Tears
02. Flags are Burning
03. Each Time We Touch
04. The Empty Room
05. The Reason
06. Winter
07. Exteriors
08. The Chosen Few
09. Impressions of Africa
10. Heaven and Hell


Monday, June 20, 2016

In times of crisis we turn to the vices.

Was able to get up and running again to provide you with a slightly belated Mystery Monday.  This band has been a featured act on more than one occasion here.  These eleven recordings date from 1981-83.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What it is.

If it seems I've been posting on an already sporadic basis it's about to get worse.  Folks, both of my computers aren't functioning properly, and it appears my main system will need to be replaced altogether.  The site isn't going anywhere, but I'm going to be posting on a very infrequent basis for the remainder of this week and next.  In short, if you tend to make Wilfully Obscure a daily destination feel free to hold off for a week or so.  Otherwise, a lot of the archived links are active again.  Apologies for all the recent re-up requests that I haven't been able to attend to, and ditto for all those comments and emails I've neglected. Keep it lit.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

"This music has been mixed to be played loud, so turn it up."

The second bonus disk from the deluxe edition of a 1989, seminal modern rock album.  I guess this is where my head is at right now.  BTW, the bulk of these tracks are instrumentals, but I wouldn't let that stop you.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Eagulls - Ullages (2016, Partisan) - A brief review

Just a mere two years ago, Eagulls eponymous debut hurled down like a sonic thunderbolt, igniting a sustained, careening blaze by way of George Mitchell's sung/barked timbre, inextricably fused to a raft of stabbing guitar salvos more fearsome than just about any of the band's twentieth century inspirations.  The term "post-punk" gets wielded around more than a ferris wheel at a county fair, but I'll be damned if the second half of that quotient didn't actualize it's meaning on Eagulls.  If anyone espoused the notion that this Leeds, UK quintet's visceral, power chord surge was their only angle, the comparatively tempered Ullages (pronounced eulogies?) is going to throw them for a very abrupt loop.  As it's come about, Eagulls have opted to jump someone else's train...and they've put on their pout to prove it.  

Be it sheer influence, homage to a graying Robert Smith, or merely the necessity to scratch a Seventeen Second-long itch, Ullages is steeped in all things Cure.  To deny this proposition would be the equivalent of denying that airline food lacks quality, or that OJ did the dastardly deed in the summer of 1994.  In fact, it's not a matter of whom Eagulls are trying to portray themselves as prodigies of, so much as the specific era they're heartstrings are tethered to.  Said era can squarely be designated to 1989's Disintegration, the second module in the Cure's "gloom" trifecta, bookended by '82s Pornography, and the third installment, Bloodflowers which arrived in 2000.  The dirty little secret about the latter Bloodflowers is that while it fit Smith & Co's moody mold, the tunes weren't particularly memorable or endearing.  In more than one respect the 'gull's sophomore offering picks up smack dab where the line was cut on Disintegration a quarter century ago. 

A good 70% of this phenomenon is anchored in Mitchell's telltale croon, which by the way is disciplined enough not to encroach into the more maudlin and exaggerated realms Smith so frequently breached.  Remarkably, you won't encounter much in the way of prolonged naval gazing or gratuitous gotharama here, as whatever toil or anguish ensues is part and parcel of the ambiance, not so much a despondent agenda.  Ullages reaches it's melodic and inspired apex on "Velvet" and "Lemontrees," with the Eagulls attaching just enough of their own signature handiwork to differentiate themselves from their otherwise obvious pioneers, and to their credit, the pounding "Aisles" is well outside the Cure's wheelhouse altogether.  In spite of it's overriding derivative tendencies, Ullages could be the most gratifying (and unintentionally nostalgic) album of the year.  It is available now straight from Partisan Records, Amazon and iTunes.  Take in the video for "Skipping" below

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lovers Under Pressure - The Elvis Years (1988, Stand Up)

I'm grateful I picked this one up, even though I didn't know a stitch about Lovers Under Pressure at the time.  And so it remains, as there isn't a shred to be rustled up regarding this cold case.  A trio, presumably from the Minneapolis/St. Paul vicinity, LUP would have been a perfect fit for the more pop addled end of the Homestead Records roster, nudging elbows with the likes of Big Dipper and Agitpop.  The Elvis Years is quintessential left-of-the-dial fare with jangly, hard strummed tendencies a la Peter Buck and a pinch of D. Boon and Johnny Marr.  The album's most sophisticated and prodigious moment arrives at the end of side one via "Epitaph," a Yankee distillation of five years worth of Smiths records...minus the pout thank you very much.  Hot damn.  The other side of the coin yields additional treasures, specifically "The Plans Went Wrong" and "Something Stayed."  Apparently a second Lovers Under Pressure album followed.

01. No Train
02. Leather Glove
03. The Collision
04. Epitaph
05. The Plans Went Wrong
06. Naked Fields
07. Dear Saturday
08. Something Stayed


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Why jump the gun when you're already hit?

The 1989 sophomore album from a Midwest enterprise I've featured here on more than one occasion.

Trip Shakespeare - Volt ep ( 1992)

On Volt, a band I kinda like covers a batch of songs I really like.  So what's the problem?  Still trying to conjure up a definitive answer to that, but a lot of Trip's remakes don't quite jibe with me.  Maybe it's the glossy production, or the soulful vocal inflections (deliberate or not) that put me off.  Still "What's So Funny..." and Neil Young's "Helpless" sound halfway decent in about anyone's hands.  And if you're anything like me, Husker Du and Big Star tunes are hardly anything to complain about.

01. What's So Funny About Peace, Love And Understanding?
02. Something In The Air
03. The Ballad Of El Goodo
04. Time Of The Season
05. Dead Set on Destruction
06. Helpless


Friday, June 3, 2016

Impossible Tymes/Next Time Passions - split 7" (1993, Elefant)

Two bands from Greece, of all places, both of whom were under the rapturous spell of Anglo indie pop, say circa 1987.  The Next Time Passions seemed to enjoy a slightly higher profile than their counterparts, (whom I'll attend to in a moment).  Spilling over with homage to the stables of Sarah and Postcard Records, NTP bring a pair of stunners to table, coupling a jangly aesthetic with a touch of romantic angst.  "She" and "Bats 25" both border on the sublime. What's more, the Passions have additional releases to plunder.  

The Impossible Tymes were actually an outgrowth of the NTP, though I don't have much of a clue as to whom in the group the lineage applies to.  This was the band's only commercial release, and considerably more chilled out than their record-mates.  Per the blurb inside the sharp gatefold sleeve: A '60, '80s & '90s cocktail full of drum machine, new wave guitars, psychedelic organ and poppy, flower power vocals.  Indeed that's where this trio stands, but the question now is where do you stand?  Download and find out for yourself.  BTW, both bands sing in English, but you'll pick up on the Greek accidents faster than you can say Field Mice.

Impossible Tymes
01. The Things You Love
02. Dream Brush Paint

Next Time Passions
01. She
02. Bats 25


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Out of the Fire - Into the Frying Pan (1988, Blast)

There's nil biographical data to be obtained regarding the co-ed Out of the Fire, so I suppose that this quartet's thinly sardonic yet otherwise nondescript spin on late '80s wave/indie rock is wholly fitting.  I was expecting this to be on the noir/goth wavelength, but instead Into the Frying Pan amounts to a relatively straitlaced affair.  Keys and organ are present, albeit not dominant.  As for text, OotF were of plaintive and pedestrian stock with the writing veering towards the redundant.  That leaves the music itself to compensate, and it does so capably on the swirling "Boys & the Girls" and the driving hoedown "Feel no Pain."  The whole eight-song affair closes out with the campy horror spoof, "Shopping Cart Murders."  Murder by shopping cart?  Must have been an '80s thang.  Enjoy (or not). 

01. Take it on a Ride
02. Merry Go Round
03. Cold in the Room
04. Boys & the Girl
05. Round & Round
06. Feel No Pain
07. Flowers in Your Hair
08. Shopping Cart Murders