Sunday, May 30, 2021

Stepped on you in boots that were filthy...

Ingeniously tweaked indie/tronica circa 2010.

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


Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Barking Boys - The Yes Girls (1987, World)

So I was a little on the fence about posting this one, because frankly I'm not even sure if I'm down with it.  The Barking Boys were actually a coed combo, presumably from Toronto.  I'd love to give you some personnel info but there's none to be had on the jacket. Perhaps there was an insert that was supposed to go with this and it somehow got displaced before I acquired it.  Who knows, but nonetheless there are boy/girl vocals all over this one, and sadly the male on the mic has an obnoxious parlance to his shtick.  Far more unfortunate, he dominates over his female counterpart on the vast majority of Yes Girls. TBB are gently nudging towards new wave a la latter day Talking Heads, minus much in the way of substantive lyrics, but sonically they have potential here with an equal mesh of gits and synths.  The only entirely female-fronted piece, "Cool it Down" is catchy with a DIY bent, not unlike the kind of stuff you'd encounter on an episode of MTV's Basement Tapes way back when this record was making the rounds in the mid-80s. After this promising number Yes Girls ebbs and flows on a downhill gradient with the "dude's" pipes just not slotting in well with the rest of the proceedings.  Even though this doesn't do the trick for me, you might very well be a different case, so I hope I haven't scared anyone off.  BTW, my copy of the record formally belonged to a radio station, and with it's stickers and markings on the sleeve and such I opted to go with the stock image Discogs provided.

01. Cool it Down
02. Here She Comers
03. Ghost Story
04. Open City
05. Too Hot in Here
06. High Life/Low Life
07. Blood Money
08. Incident in St. James Town


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Vans with fifteen passengers are rolling over...

From 2004.

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


Saturday, May 22, 2021

V/A - Pop Matters (1995, Wagon Wheel)

I can't believe it hasn't occurred to me share this one after all this time (maybe another blogger had this comp covered and I simply forgot?).  Anyway, the label that released Pop Matters was also responsible for reissuing the Paul Collins Band two albums on CD.  Paul himself was co-executive producer for this sampler of then-current up and coming power pop troupes, and conveniently in the mid-90s practitioners of that stripe of music were enjoying something of a resurgence. There really aren't any household names on Pop Matters to save mine, yours or anyone's life, but The Tearaways, Grip Weeds, Cockeyed Ghost and Jeremy (Morris) all garnered a reasonable modicum of support in indie pop circles, and continued making albums long after this comp had come and gone.  Talented as some of the other participants were, combos including The Kicksouls, Million O' Clock, Prellys and Twin Bees were scarcely whispered of again (or so it would seem).  There are faint parallels to ...Matters and the Yellow Pills compilations which were also a product of the same era.  The consistency of what's presented here is remarkable, and despite a full quarter century sailing by the bulk of this disk is mightily effective.  Dive in and discover a new-old favorite or two. 

01-The Grip Weeds - Salad Days
02-The Hippycrickets - Margaret Sez
03-The Critics - Every Good Boy
04-The Tearaways - Never Again
05-Big Hello - Your Mad Mad World
06-Major Nelson - No Home Outside This House
07-The Rockinghams - More Than One Way
08-The Jennifers - Keep It Up
09-The Kicksouls - Chickie
10-Twin Bees - Daddy Works For The Crime
11-The Idea - Private World
12-Million O'Clock - January Fool
13-Jeremy - I Want To Be With You
14-Cockeyed Ghost - Dirty Bastard
15-Prellys - The Peace I Might Have Lost


Friday, May 21, 2021

SLIP~ons - Bad TV 7" (2019, Scamindy) - A brief review

Brock Pytel isn’t exactly a household name, so if I may impart a crash course, he was half of the singing/songwriting force behind Montreal’s Doughboys, a rollicking, skate-punk friendly setup who were lucky enough to benefit from his talents in the late ‘80s.  The other half of the Doughboys, Jon Kastner, went onto slightly greater renown, steering his band to a major label in the '90s, albeit sadly, Pytel was out of the lineup by then.  If you've familiarized yourself with the first two Doughboys records, Whatever (1987) and Home Again (1989), Brock's vocals are easily identifiable as the gruffer and more rugged of the band's mouthpieces, on cult-classic punk-pop bangers "You're Related" and "You Don't Know Me."  The more I think about, he almost functioned as the foil to Kastner's comparatively more tuneful pitch.  

He’s been a bit reclusive ever since, managing an under-the-radar solo LP, Second Choice in 2000, but he's convened an ace new posse, the SLIP~ons, whose guitarsy power-pop is an apt showcase for his rugged timbre and emergent melodious chops.  The sonic palette on the band's second single, "Bad TV," isn't far removed from the canvas the Doughboys were won't to assault with spray paint, but it is more economical than what we heard from him in the '80s.  The hooks set in deep on the nearly five-minute "Bad TV," not only exemplifying how far he's evolved over the past three decades, but makes a strong case for this being the most compelling song he's attached his name to.  The even riffier "Cork & Kandy Glass" is another crunchy delight with a passionate melodic under-bite.  Sure, there may only be two numbers amidst these grooves, but it will leave you craving more, desperately more if you're anything like myself.  Many happy returns Brock!

Physical and digital versions of the SLIP~ons latest 45 are available on Bandcamp, and are also streaming on Spotify.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

I'm a businessman - we mean business, man!

These '80s wise-asses finally got a bit more serious when the next decade caught up with them. This one includes an intriguing rewrite of an undeniable power pop classic.  

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


Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Flex - From the Vacuum (1985)

With it's rather obnoxious and LOUD, flared-out lettering adorning the sleeve, you might venture a guess that The Flex were a cabal of marauding metalheads or colorful skate punks.  The reality, in fact, is this (presumably) Chicago-native trio fall relatively in line with what I typically present you with on this humble site. From the Vacuum kicks off with the smart, incisive "China Dolls" flirting with post-punk undertones but ultimately revealing considerably more in common with contemporaries Wire Train and Translator. "New Wavelength" busts out the bands aptitude for jangly power pop, and what a glorious specimen this tune turns out to be. "What in the World?" indulges in biting, punky chords, and they circle their wagon back onto the pop trail for the winsome "Art Babies."  

By the time The Flex hit side two of this platter it's clear they have a bit of an identity crisis on their hands, with a haphazard melange of songs that run the gamut from the sloppy and unwieldy "Drunken Aerobics" to the dynamic, sax-enhanced "Tropikkana." Despite some occasional inconsistencies ...Vacuum is rewarding if not necessarily revelatory. 

01. China Dolls
02. New Wavelength
03. 20 Minutes Late for Cocktails
04. What in the World?
05. #16 to Rambach
06. Art Babies
07. Dschungle World
08. Draw A. Blank
09. Drunken Aerobics
10. Lovely Day
11. Sleeping Boys
12. Acceleration
13. Tropikanna


Monday, May 10, 2021

no clue

Sorry no lyrical clue this week. This is from 2003, and if you're into the sonic templates laid out by bands like Pinback and Wheat this might be up your alley. 

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


Saturday, May 8, 2021

Chameleons UK & Mark Burgess - random rarities

This is merely a self "curated" pastiche of various Mark Burgess and/or Chameleons tracks stitched together from bootlegs and fan-assembled collections I purloined all the way back in the Napster era. I paid no attention to sequencing, nor am I familiar with the sourcing of several of these tunes. There are a couple tunes from the odds and sods Chameleon's comp Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, an alternate version or two from the band's BBC Evening Sessions, a remix, demos, and even some unreleased bullion.  I included "Ever After" a song that appeared on the bonus EP that was bundled with Strange Times. For some reason this tune (possibly my fave Chameleons track overall) inexplicably didn't make it onto certain CD incarnations of that album. Also in this folder you can get an earful of Mark's pre-Chameleons outfit Mark Burgess & The Clichés, plus scarcities from some of his offshoot projects like The Reegs and The Sun and the Moon. In essence, I dedicate these melodies to you... Enjoy (or not).

Chameleons - Bobby Moore's Wine (Mad Jack demo)
Chameleons - Dear Dead Days
Chameleons - Ever After
Chameleons - Just Say No (unreleased)
Chameleons - Sally
Chameleons - Singing Rule Brittania (Radio One Evening Show, version two)
Chameleons - Splitting in Two (live)
Chameleons - Swamp Thing (loss mix)
Chameleons - The Healer (alternate version)
Chameleons - View From a Hill (Radio One Evening Show)
Mark Burgess - Mickey Mouschwitz
Mark Burgess & The Clichés - Leaving Town
Mark Burgess & The Clichés - Rock of Ages
Mark Burgess & White Rose Transmission - Digging for Water
The Reegs - The Dream Police
The Sun and the Moon - Angels
The Sun and the Moon - Love You, You Bastard


Friday, May 7, 2021

Sybil - Olympia 7" (1991, eMpTy)

Sybil.  Co-ed (weighted kinda heavily to the female end of the spectrum) Seattle denizens who later expanded their moniker to Kill Sybil featuring in their line-up drummer Patty Schemel who in a few years would make the migration to Hole just in time for their Live Through This and Celebrity Skin records.  After you take in this single you'll understand why it was a wholly logical move on her part, given this disc's a-side "Olympia" is blatant grunge-ola homage to Hole's first record, Pretty on the Inside, not to mention early Mudhoney. It's mildly amusing for the first thirty seconds but downright redundant for the duration.  By the time they hit the second song on the other side of the coin, "Dream" Sybil seemingly evolved into an entirely ball of wax, wielding jangly, indie-pop smarts and adopting a significantly more tuneful aesthetic, which fortunately carried over to Kill Sybil's lone, self-titled full length in 1993.

A. Olympia
B1. Push Me Down
B2. Dream


Sunday, May 2, 2021

think i was cooler when I hated myself...

From 1996. Despite being released by a major label, this one might have met a better fate had this trio stayed indie.  

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


Saturday, May 1, 2021

Brakes - For Why You Kicka My Donkey? (1979, Magnet)

The largely under-referenced (online anyway) Brakes were a London quartet, falling several few notches shy of punk. Think more along the lines of pedestrian power pop and pub rock with slightly more enlightened songwriting.  The closest comparison I can draw on their home turf might be The Flys, and stateside they bore a sonic resemblance to oft overlooked contemporaries the Tuff Darts and A's. Speaking of all things North American, For Why You Kicka My Donkey? never enjoyed the light of day in the U.S., but was somehow deemed fit for a Canadian audience. Some of the better songs here border on phenomenal, not the least of which, "The Way I See It," emanating a glorious pop acumen. "Blame it on the Brakes" bleeds shades of Cheap Trick's "Auf Eiedersehen," managing to insert some faint glammy tinctures in the process. "Last Man at the Station" is equally effective, and their reading of Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," if not wholly innovative, puts a spicy spin on things.  

01. What Am I Gonna Do?
02. I Don't Know Nothing About Hollywood
03. Doing Life
04. Who's That Man
05. Like a Rolling Stone
06. Blame it on the Brakes
07. The Way I See It
08. Last Man at the Station
09. Strange Man in the City
10. Yesterday's Arrival
11. It's a Shame