Sunday, June 30, 2019

All I ask for is release no matter what the cost.

A somewhat lengthy 1988 debut album of lusciously hazy indie pop.

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


Summercamp - unreleased sophomore album (2001)

I'm not sure how long I'll be leaving this one up folks, so don't sleep.  It's not often I post anything thoroughly unreleased (and unsanctioned at that), but ever since sharing Summercamp's Tonight! ep, a scarce import disk that followed up their devastatingly great debut, 1997's Pure Juice, a bunch of you had inquired if a follow-up had been recorded.  I've know since about 2002 that Tim Cullen, Sean McCue and Co. had indeed tracked a subsequent album that never saw the light of day, but I had no further details to offer.  I'm not certain who the original source was, but low and behold someone came forward with files of said unreleased album a few years ago, and by the goodness of their heart I was a fortunate recipient.  Since then, the clamor and hunger for this long-shelved album never completely died down.

This really shouldn't come as a surprise given how addictive the infectious Pure Juice was.  Factoring in it's major label backing, Juice exuded obvious commercial "procurability," as it were, but amid it's radio-friendly bona fides was a restless surge of crunchy guitars and power pop viscosity that threatened to make a break for outright pop-punk.  The sessions for Summercamp's second (and apparently untitled) record followed a similar pattern without falling into any formulaic trappings.  Parallel to Pure Juice's faster songs ("Nowhere Near," "On Her Mind") this disc has no shortage of power-chord ridden barnburners - "Like a Wave," "Unscrew," and "Uncoordinated," that if anything up the tempo ante.  Even when exploring the other side of the coin, the more subdued "Perfect Little Thing" and "Escapism" while a lot less frenzied never breach sappy ballad territory.  With a generous fourteen tracks total there's plenty in-between to frolic in as well.  Cullen and McCue's quality control was pretty astonishing, and there's nary a bum track in this bunch.  Summercamp's contract with Maverick Records ostensibly had the option to turn down a second record.  Whether this was due to insufficient sales of Pure Juice, or perhaps s shakeup at their label (more likely it's parent company, Reprise) it isn't fully known why Summercamp's second album never got the green light - but neither of these reasons reside in the songs themselves.  And at long last you can hear them for yourself. 

Incidentally, the band reunited for a 2015 show (or perhaps multiple ones) in their native Santa Barbara...and a new song was released, "Peach Tree" which you can find on Bandcamp

01. The One I'm Without
02. Like a Wave
03. That Don't Mean Nothin'
04. The Funny One
05. Hear Me Now
06. Open Up
07. Unscrew
08. Happy
09. Escapism
10. Uncoordinated
11. Perfect Little Thing
12. Call Her Tomorrow
13. Face
14. Far Away Look


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Happy Accident - No Clear Channel (2002, 10 GeV)

Despite a 2002 copyright there's barely a stitch in the digital sphere regarding Happy Accident, a Philly trio with a doggedly cheeky disposition who happened to sport a guitar-pop acumen embracing everything from folk to punk.  Plaintive lyrics and varying gradations of harmonies abound on No Clear Channel, with the band making their most effective case on the rugged "The Frisco Mixer" and the pure power pop of "Pretty Assholes."  Elsewhere, "Call in Sick" elicits such choice observations as, ...the kind of sick that makes you feel good enough to see a museum, and not feel too guilty.

An added treat is a cover of "The Earthquake Song" an obscuro chestnut by a bygone, early '80s wave outfit from the L.A. area, Little Girls, who coincidentally I was tipped off too quite recently...and might be sharing some of their own handiwork in the not-too-distant future.  For now, let me know if Happy Accident does anything for you.  One last note.  The band's label 10 GeV has a functioning website, but it won't take you far beyond a handful of streaming audio clips. 

01. Pretty Assholes
02. Grey Socks
03. The Earthquake Song
04. Think Thrice
05. Call in Sick
06. Big Selfish Baby
07. The Frisco Mixer
08. Blue Shirt and Khakis
09. F.U. Ending


Sunday, June 23, 2019

I'll be writing the soundtrack for the rest of my life.

Some astonishing scraps from the cutting room floor, 1997-2003.

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


The Actuals - s/t ep (1984, Egg Acres)

The Actuals were presumably the pride and joy of Bridgeport, CT (or thereabouts) in the early '80s and made this record to show for it.  On the surface, it appears this five-piece had affixed themselves to the coattails of Oingo Boingo and Fixx and were hanging on for dear life (albeit with a slightly less over-the-top penchant than Oingo, with nearly zero social conscience of the latter).  These guys operated on the more frivolous end of the new romantic spectrum, and as such should have gotten more mileage out of these half-dozen tunes, but back then commercial returns were usually minimal on privately pressed records.  In the grand scheme of things, The Actuals isn't a subpar disc at all, merely dated.  In doing my research for this I happened upon an a song predating this album, in fact their namesake tune which I've shared the video of below.  The YouTube link will take you to a short bio of the band. 

01. Sensation
02. Space Gun
03. Realize
04. By the Way
05. Caught in Between
06. Someone's There


Friday, June 21, 2019

The Dishes - Hot Property! 7'' (1978, Regular)

Toronto's Dishes were one of zillions of bands that came and went, largely before I really started paying attention to music.  Tis a damn shame, because had I been born, say fifteen years prior to their 1975 inception this vibrant six-piece would have been a blast to see live.  Too docile to be deemed punk, nor as synth-reliant as the emerging new wave scene, The Dishes functioned on their own artful plateau.  A full-time saxophonist in the guise of Ken Farr was one of the group's most distinguishing attributes, overshadowed only by frontman Murray Ball whose animated timbre is a vaguely acquired taste.  Comparisons you ask?  Trace elements perhaps of Roxy Music, Dead Fingers Talk, and even a dab of Bowie.  Hot Property! dishes out a trifecta of genuinely classy, deftly crafted tunes with enough personality and pizazz to ensure you lick this platter clean every time.  Another 7" preceded this one in 1977, and in 2001, the Kitschenette retrospective CD followed, which seems to be garnering more cash than the original 45s.  A full history of the band is presented on the The Dishes homepage.

A. Hot Property
B1. Summer Reaction
B2. Secret Storm


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

V/A - Spondu (1995, N. Meridian)

Bit of a curveball here, but perfect for the wilfully obscure quotient this site so glaringly strives for.  I found this specimen on Ebay last year - a sixteen-artist DIY cassette compilation with a return address of Portland, OR.  It's titled Spondu, and it wouldn't surprise me if it accompanied a fanzine of some sort, but there's really no evidence to support that theory.  No tracklist on the tape sleeve, just a small, purple insert that doesn't elaborate in the slightest about the details of any of the participants.  The only underlying thread evidenced throughout Spondu is a preference for 4-track worshiping, lo-fi finaglers.

Occupying a good share of real estate here are oodles of virtually unknown freak-folk types, savage noiseniks, and even a handful of comparatively song-structured purveyors - just don't expect much in the way of "pop."  Many of this cassette's contributors would have sounded perfectly at home on such imprints of the day as Shimmy Disk and Shrimper, and for those of you in the audience that subscribed to the aesthetics of say, Sentridoh you're sure to unearth a nugget or two.  Richmond Fontaine's "White Line Fever,"is the runaway winner here - a spare but ballsy ballad a la Uncle Tupelo.  I also had fun with Shiny Beast's nimble, hard-boiled instrumental "Squirrel Fur Coat," and Sidecar's early-Nirvana worship.

01. Tercio Polo Vonrui Robot - My Mame is Xar
02. Pedro - Peeping Tom
03. Monston VCR - Slumber Party
04. Sidecar - Got the Words
05. Lamy Can Kill - Airport Road
06. Richmond Fontaine - White Line Fever
07. Santiago - No Sunshine
08. Shiny Beast - Squirrel Fur Coat
09. Fit Port Danga - Flying the Colors/I Can't Turn You Loose
10. Mag Wheels - Xylophone Hovers
11. Jenna - Sandstorm
12. The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl - Our Swords Are Thirsty
13. Magic Happens - Master of Sleep Tai Chi
14. National Rockombo - Hobre Soltero
15. (The Gob) - Comin' Round the Bend
16. Karen Reitzel - Hot Cross George


Sunday, June 16, 2019

No clue.

At least not one of the lyrical variety, because guess what?  I can't make out the words!  I will say this is a lovingly fractured, distorto-indie rock masterpiece from the epicenter of the genre in the '90s.  Enjoy.

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Rainyard - Ice Cream Overdrive tape (1989)

I never had much invested in The Rainyard, but finding files of this exceedingly scare tape a couple decades after the fact made me wish I'd been tipped off to them.  Perth, Australia was their corner of the globe, and a fertile locale it was, with the band sharing the same stomping grounds as The Stems, Early Hours, and The Hairs, among dozens of others pop-centric guitar wonders of the day.  The modest, homegrown proposition it was, Ice Cream Overdrive is oddly enough seismic in terms of what it brings to table as far as hooks and jangle are concerned, because it sounds like they've cornered the market on both via superlative cuts like "Your Way Mr. Leary," "Beneath the Skin" and "1000 Days."  It wouldn't be too far fetched to surmise these guys absorbed a lot of Brit indie imports from a few years prior (say, early Primal Scream), and perhaps by pure coincidence didn't seem to be far off the mark from what the Stone Roses had baking in the oven at the time.  Primo stuff.  You can check out more from the Rainyard as well as related subsequent projects over here.

01. Beneath the Skin
02. Wasted Rain
03. Your Way Mr. Leary
04. What Kind of Joke
05. 1000 Days
06. Another Yesterday
07. Night Unkind
08. What's Left is Said


Thursday, June 13, 2019

92 Degrees - s/t (1995, Black Vinyl)

92 Degrees were an unheralded Chi-town trio of power pop lovin' youngins', who for their second album (this one) were taken under the wing of Shoes prime mover Jeff a sizably considerable extent.  The record in question was produced and engineered by Murphy at the Shoes-helmed Short Order Recorder studios in Zion, IL, and was released on that band's very own in-house label, Black Vinyl Records.  Now that's what I call cutting out the middleman.  Nonetheless, 92 Degrees hearkened not to Zion's finest sons, rather the likes of contemporaries Greenberry Woods and Matthew Sweet, not to mention (at least to varying extents) the jangle and harmony of forebearers the Hollies.  Beyond that, the band doesn't extrapolate or build upon the formula erected and fortified by the aforementioned, but they sustain it splendidly.  For some reason you won't find his name listed in the credits, but Material Issue's dearly departed Jim Ellison lends vocals to the mid-tempo "Have You Ever Had Love?"  92 Degrees reserve their most robust artillery of fireworks for the resplendent, tension-laden finale "She'll Never Know." 

92 Degrees was preceded by a 1990 mini-album, Money Makes the World Go Round, which in fact was issued on Ellison's homegrown Big Block Records imprint.  You can check it out at Amazon Downlows

01. Black Hole
02. I've Been Thinking Of You
03. I'm Telling You Now
04. Sharon Won't
05. A Lot to Give
06. Have You Ever Had Love?
07. When I'm Gone
08. Believe in Me
09. In Her Glow
10. Mrs. Jones
11. She'll Never Know


Sunday, June 9, 2019

...and everyday we'll eat toothpaste and pretend we like the taste.

From 2007.  This one is sure to be polarizing - as in a good 85% of you will be polarized into the camp that never, ever wants to encounter this again.  Conceived as something of an inside joke, this album may seem easily dismissible given it's rampant chaos and juvenilia, and is in fact the least essential full-length this band has to offer.  Truth is, it's surprisingly addictive thanks to a bevy of offbeat melodic structures...but you'll have to invest a couple spins in it to find out.  Am curious to see if any of you are up to the challenge. 

**Please do not reveal artist in comments!**


Friday, June 7, 2019

X-Teens - Love and Politics (1984, Dolphin)

This isn't my first entry on the X-Teens, but it's likely to be the last, as I've exhausted the rest of their catalog previously.  As I've let on before, the X-Teens were a co-ed allotment from NC (Durham specifically) who fit in keenly with their respective era, without indulging too much in the gaudier affectations of it.  The Don Dixon-produced Love and Politics, while not wall-to-wall magic, is still the strongest thing they ever committed to tape, highlighting their penchant for plush, forward thinking power pop.  There are some near-perfect, ETC-endebted forays on Love... like side-A's robust trifecta of "Say it Isn't So," "Change Gotta Come," and "D.I.F.Y.," all thanks to guitarist Robert Bittle whose vocals are an uncanny dead ringer for Andy Partridge.  Kitty Moses gets her turn on the mic, delivering the stunning "All Day Long," and "Western Eyes," the latter a silky smooth ballad.  A really accomplished set of material, and it's unfortunate nothing by the X-Teens ever officially segued to the digital era.

01. Hostage of My Heart
02. All Day Long
03. Say it Isn't So
04. Change Gotta Come
05. D.I.F.Y.
06. Rain Rain Go Away
07. Western Eyes
08. Don't Listen to Him
09. You Belong With Me
10. Soaring
11. Kiss and Make-up Time
12. It Was Something


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Shane "Ride, Ride, Ride" 7" (1990, Horse Latitudes)

Not to be confused with the pro-wrestler of the same name, Shane is actually Wisconsinite Shane McMahon, and for this single (and a contemporaneous full length, Lifeboat Revolver) he's backed with a full band.  What little text that's been dedicated to the band/guy seems to purport they were a country/punk amalgam, but to me this is a straight-up, guitar-sy rock record, with a rootsy sway to it. "Ride, Ride, Ride" is a pounding, riff-addled banger that could have been given a rockabilly makeover in a different set of hands.  Love it just the way it is however, so I'm not complaining.  The more subdued (but markedly tense) flip, "Bareback" is exclusive to this record.  The aforementioned album "Ride..." is derived from, Lifeboat Revolver, has been given a new, digital lease on life here, and you can pursue more music from Shane as well.

A. Ride, Ride, Ride
B. Bareback


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Told my wife I was going out for a couple of beers, said I'd see her in a couple of years...

From 1995.  Scuzzy, serrated and acerbic midwest rock and roll, that in spite of it's obvious lo-fi aplomb enjoyed major label distribution, thanks to the post-Nirvana hoopla it was inherent to.


Parts Found in Sea - Every Soul's House (1987, Between)

Had a friend once who insisted the most ideal way to acquaint oneself with any/all bands is to a) see them in a live setting or b) via a live album.  There are more pros than cons to this theory, because after all, if a band can't pull it together on stage...  When I took a chance on this used Parts Found in Sea LP awhile back I bought it out of curiosity above all else, and wasn't the slightest bit aware I was buying a live disc.  Every Soul's House, predominantly recorded in the band's native Toronto is a crisp, well-recorded club document benefiting from Part's competent musicianship and general enthusiasm.  My complaint is that even after a few spins I still don't have a precise handle on what their modus operandi was, or perhaps more to the point if they had one in place at all. 

It's evident PFiS were club rats but bore virtually none of your typical "bar band" trappings, instead opting for more refined pop, with varying collegiate angles.  Rarely anything daring or strident surfaces here, but despite Every Soul's... anticlimactic tenor but that doesn't meant there isn't wheat to be separated from the often ample chaff.  "No Country," suggesting post-punk inclinations a la solo Tom Verlaine and to a lesser extent the Jazz Butcher is actually quite excellent.  Side two's penultimate "The Forest" is gloriously frenetic and amped-out as well, making so many of this album's comparatively non-descript ventures all the more puzzling.  And we get something of an anomaly via the bluesy "I"ll Go Crazy," which actually turns out to be a James Brown tune.  At the end of the day I see what Parts were capable of on stage, but I think I'm going to need to track down some of their preceding studio records to discern what they were really striving for. 

01. Black Cat
02. No Country
03. I'll Go Crazy
04. Sisterly Kiss
05. Leper Woman
06. Seat of the Writing Man
07. Walk Home at Dawn
08. Sad Eyed Girl
09. The Forest
10. Children