Wednesday, November 29, 2017

V/A - Today Brooklyn, Tomorrow the World (198?, Brooklyn Beat)

So this one cuts both ways - half relatively serious (good) indie rock combos, with the remainder striking me as jokey/niche/novelty.  Problem is this Brooklyn scene report intermingles the whole lot of them haphazardly, when the far more logical route would have been to dedicate one album side to each contingent, as it were.  Also, it doesn't help that Today Brooklyn... fails to designate a copyright date on the sleeve or insert, though 1988 might be a good ballpark.  The band with the dippiest moniker, Squirrels From Hell, manages to wield this record's most crucial selection, "Cinderella Girl." a warm, analogue-hued slice of ragged and ringing guitar pop, with just the right measure of serrated distortion.  To my understanding there was more to come down the pike from the Squirrels, but in something of a different guise.  Medicine Sunday exhibit a similar aptitude, and would also be a shoo-in for left-of-the-dial hanger-oners like yours truly.  The Fields are strummy, goes down easy folks of some measurable distinction as well, and I introduced you to the formidable Woodpecker on these very pages about a year ago.  One thing that this comp doesn't need is an obnoxious take on "Shortnin' Bread," not to mention the bluesy piss-take Frank's Museum commence this disk with.  These transgressions aside, ...Brooklyn's more worthwhile inhabitants make this borough worth your perusal.

01. Frank's Museum - Baby's Got a Thang for Nasty Weather
02. The Original Rays - Ballad of the Green Berets
03. Squirrels From Hell - Cinderella Girl
04. Chemical Wedding - We Are Not Afraid
05. Formaldehyde Blues Train - St. Louis
06. Medicine Sunday - Conviction
07. The Fields - Beautiful
08. When People Were Shorter and Lived by the Water - Shortnin' Bread
09. Woodpecker - 25 Years
10. The Moe - Romance is Risky


Sunday, November 26, 2017

You won't get far if you're going nowhere.

This week it's the expanded reissue of this genre-defining band's 1993 comeback album. 


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Terminal White - Death and Love ep (1986, White)

Sometimes I like to pitch ya'll a curve ball now and again.  The opening salvo, "Slaughter Me," on this Chicago unit's first ep oozes coldwave and synthy minimalism galore - not usually the stuff I specialize in.  In fact, Terminal White are wont to cling to their drum machine as fiercely as the marshall-istic beats that emanate from it.  Factor in ever-so-slightly pious, goth tinged vocals, and you might might be tempted to write T Whitey off altogether.  But if you're willing to invest a few more minutes in Death and Love, you'll be pleased to discover that things warm up quickly on "Waterboy" awash in sweet, clangy post-punk guitar lines.  "It's All Over in April" caps things off on a decidedly somber, albeit approachable note.

Terminal White are still in existence, and responsible for a recent mini-album, Blind Pig, available from the usual bevy of digital vendors. Also, for those of you who are noncommittal about downloading Death and Love, it can be streamed through the band's website, alongside a variety of their other endeavors.

01. Slaughter Me
02. Where do You Run?
03. Waterboy
04. It's All Over in April


Thursday, November 23, 2017

R.I.P. Tommy Keene - Songs From the Film expanded ed. (1986/1998)

This wasn't what I intended to share with you on Thanksgiving, but considering the number of mentions of him I've doled out on these pages, I'd be remiss if I didn't extend my condolences to his followers, or at the very least acknowledge that Tommy Keene passed away today unexpectedly in his sleep.  In this year/era of premature celebrity deaths, I've nearly become desensitized to the ever mounting and staggering accumulation of losses, but as I'm sure is the case with a great many of you, this one really stings.

Not only did Tommy record and issue an immense amount of spotless, par excellence guitar pop in his own right, his touchstone was wielded like a giant, melodic dragnet upon a myriad of artists that were "captured" subsequent to the start of his solo endeavors in the early '80s.  So many of his acolytes have been praised on Wilfully Obscure it's downright mind boggling. 

Much, much more can be spoken of Tommy Keene, and no doubt will be, but for toight I will leave you with this reissue of his first proper solo album, Songs From the Film from 1986.  R.I.P. TK.


PS: I will try to attend to any and all broken Tommy Keene download links from earlier posts in the coming days. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I'm not looking for escapism, I just want to escape.

A compilation covering this UK post-punk outfit's 1980-83 studio recordings.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Reels - s/t (1979)

Denizens from down under, The Reel's peppy, organ-induced wave/pop was seemingly derived from the blueprint of such Elvis Costello slammers as "Radio, Radio" and "Moods for Moderns." To the band's credit, E.C. wasn't their only muse, boasting heightened rhythmic sensibilities that were more advanced than straight pub rock or power pop.  Robust but never overwhelming, The Reels manages to tread lightly into the same realm ska-lite demigods Madness were contemporaneously propagating.  The results are often infectious, with dizzying delights like "Prefab Heart," "Plastic Pop," and "Misused, Abused" all vying for the epitome of what this Aussie crew had to offer at the time.  The Reels didn't do squat in the States, and moreover they didn't hit pay dirt on their own home turf a couple years later with their breakthrough, Quasimodo's Dream.  If this record alone won't suffice, fear not, there's more Reels available on iTunes and such.

01. Plastic Pop
02. Baby's in the Know
03. Love Will Find a Way
04. Don't Get Me Wrong
05. Wonder Why
06. Misused, Abused
07. Prefab Heart
08. Spot the Ridge
09. Apathy
10. Go Away
11. The Meeting
12. Livalafaway 


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Crossfire Choir - Back to the Wall (1988, Track Record)

By popular demand here's the follow-up album to the first Crossfire Choir LP that I shared with you late last week.  The Ed Stasium-produced Back to the Wall eschews a lot of the gratuitous '80s gloss of the Choir's debut, and by and large opts for a more organic penchant.  The results aren't always consistent, but Wall finds the boys with their fingers on the pulse of something approaching power pop on "Do What You Want" and "Even Now."  "Bombs" and "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" exhibit some discernible and much appreciated vigor, while the concluding "Shrink Rap" is a goofball, hip-hop pisstake that buttons up the record in less than dignified fashion - but not enough to dissuade you from exploring the preceding eleven songs. 

01. Catalyst
02. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
03. Back to the Wall
04. Driven Man
05. Bombs
06. Neverland
07. Canary Song
08. Even Now
09. I Don't Feel Like Dancing
10. I Don't Think So
11. Do What You Want
12. Shrink Rap


Monday, November 13, 2017

In a jungle made of stars it's raining jewelry.

Cheeky but often sublime nouveau wave from 2011. 


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Crossfire Choir (1986, Passport)

More rock o' the '80s, comin' atcha.  So...this one wasn't exactly what I was expecting.  I've been interfacing with Crossfire Choir's albums for awhile - more like a decade or so to be exact.  I initially took the plunge with their third record, Dominique a couple years ago (which I'll get to in a future post) but I thought I'd start chronologically with these Florida to NYC transplants. A good half of the quartet's self-titled debut is actually pretty respectable, albeit nondescript at points.  Residing in the middle of the FM bandwidth, the band offer meager concessions to us left field types, sporting an array of mainstream-ish likenesses such as late '80s Duran, the Alarm, and Glass Tiger (yeah, I know, but occasionally accurate).

Oddly enough, C/C would wind up accumulating artistic cred as their tenure progressed, which was usually the polar opposite with any of their contemporaries, famous or otherwise.  So far as this platter is concerned, revelations are in short supply yet it's more than listenable, perhaps with one glaring exception.  One of Crossfire Choir's key selling points for yours truly was the inclusion of a CD bonus track (remember those?), "Frantic Romantic."  Any indie music-head worth their salt would make the safe assumption this was a cover of the Scientists post-punk classic, but startlingly it's an original - one that veers heavily in the vicinity of Oingo Boingo to boot.  Bummer.  Here's a link to an archived article on the Choir pertaining to the era surrounding the record in question. 

01. Love Hate Relation
02. Nation of Thieves
03. To Be Young
04. Walk Walk
05. The Last Word
06. Well Lets...
07. What's it to Ya?
08. Disappointment
09. Blue Eyed Thunder
10. Spark In Your Eye
11. Left Behind
12. Hell Hath No Fury
13. Waiting
14. Heaven and Earth
15. The Bringing
16. Frantic Romantic


Me - Here Comes Everybody 7" (1993, spinART)

I picked up this one based on a pretty reliable trademark of quality, the spinART Records logo.  The bargain price didn't hurt either.  Bearing an undeniably selfish moniker, Me evidently called Bristol, England home.  You can imagine what a Google-induced nightmare awaits you when looking up this five piece, but I digress.  On top of that, they aren't the most convenient to typecast either.  The A-side, "Here Comes Everybody" is awash with subtle neo-psych overtones, mildly akin to the Boo Radleys, and even less so the Lilys and Elephant 6 conundrums Olivia Tremor Control. To my ears the second flip-side, "Lucy" is the real deal, which deliberately or not finds Me melding C86 Britpop to the harmony laced aesthetic of old school power pop champs the Rubinoos.  My cup runneth least for a good three minutes anyway.  Several more Me singles and full lengths are available.  

A. Here Comes Everybdoy
B1. Quester
B2. Lucy


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Holiday Slides - Ornate Coalmine (1989, $in¢ere)

An ace find here. What de minimis info that exists online regarding Holiday Slides somehow fails to mention this record.  For shame, because this New York trio come barging straight out the gate with "Fall of Rome," sounding like the best thing the Replacements didn't lay down for Don't Tell a Soul.  And believe it or not, it ain't downhill from there folks.  "That's Your Darling for You" is a glossy but wondrous slice of sophisti-pop faintly channeling the Three O' Clock and Squeeze.  In fact, the tenor of Ornate Coalmine feels like something of a precursor to soon-to-arrive conglomerations like Jellyfish, the Wondermints, Owsley, and heck, throw a little Sloan in there too.  Plush arrangements and polished songcraft utterly belie the fact that this was presumably a privately released album.  Not everything they fling at the proverbial wall sticks, but in addition to the aforementioned, make sure to investigate "Go to the Police With What You Know" and "Fe Fi Foe."  A cassette album that preceded Ornate, Can You Count the Brunettes? has been made available in rerecorded form on Bandcamp

01. The Fall of Rome
02. That's Your Darling For You
03. Fe Fi Foe (Be Big About This)
04. Down on Our Luck
05. Rick Wakeman
06. Astronauts on Your Birthday Cake
07. Ring
08. What a Lovely Surprise Karoline!
09. Have a Heart
10. Jason's Home
11. Go to the Police With What You Know
12. Terminal Hotel


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Where did I put this month's rent?

From 1998, but technically a year prior.  Divine crunch-pop with a slight Weezer underbite.


Zeitgeist - Translate Slowly (vinyl mix) (1985, DB)

A couple of you have pointed out the CD version of  Zeitgeist's (later The Reivers) Translate Slowly, which I initially shared back in 2007 is a different mix than the vinyl version.  So, voila, I'm presenting you with the vinyl mix, taken from my own copy. Yes, sonically there are differences between the two of them, with the original analog version striking me as a tad bit murkier and grittier.  The CD mix, as as you might expect, is the brighter of the two, yielding a more lucid semblance to just about every given facet of the record.  The link to that version is here, where it's always been.

For the uninitiated, Zeitgeist/Reivers crafted an impeccable album of jangly and clangy left-of-the-dial rock (this one).  After the name alternation they made two more equally substantive albums (Saturday and The End of the Day) for Capitol Records in the later '80s, and then some independently, including a reunion record in 2013.  Check out my original entry for Translate Slowly here, and the band's impeccably detailed website.

PS: Track twelve has a skip that I couldn't do anything about.  My apologies.

01. Araby
02. Cowboys
03. Legendary Man
04. Blue Eyes
05. She Digs Ornette
06. Things Don't Change
07. Translate Slowly
08. Sound and the Fury

09. Without My Sight
10. I Knew
11. Freight Train Rain
12. Hill Country Theme


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Nice Strong Arm - Cloud Machine ep (1989, Homestead)

In the mood for some insular, densely packed indie rock, often approaching something of a melancholic maelstrom?  Yeah, me too.  NYC noiseniks Nice Strong Arm never failed to satisfy in this realm.  I featured their Mind Furnace and Stress City LPs prior to tonight's offering, both of which garnered no shortage of approval.  I'm about 95% certain the Cloud Machine ep was NSA's final recorded spasm, featuring two new studio tracks on side one, with the flip providing some live action.  "Cloud Machine" is another slyly dissonant, subtly melodic post-punk jewel in the band's sinewy oeuvre, amped-out to the hilt I might add.  Can't get enough of that guitar.  The instrumental that follows it, "Cop Show" doesn't make quite the same impression, but a live (at CBGB's no less) run through the choice Furnace kernel "Faucet Head" on side two more than compensates.

01. Cloud Machine
02. Cop Show
03. Faucet Head
04. Life of the Party