Sunday, August 29, 2021

You've got a motor for a mouth and a pack of cigarettes that keep your cardigan lousy.

From 2016.  

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


swimming 7" (1994, Rough Trade)

Not to be confused with the more current indie conglomerate of the same name, this Swimming were a largely unknown quantity, and per Discogs this was their lone release. They are said to have connections to a contemporary UK indie band, She (who were later rechristened Glitterbox) but this 45 packaged in a relatively scant black and white sleeve offers no personnel details.  The quartet in question was an immensely noisome bunch, with their a-side "cut her out" sounding like Sunny Day Real Estate jettisoning off on a fiery, dream-pop rocket, soon to crescendo into a smoldering plume of feedback and fuselage cinders.  Their second act, "crawl," is a heavy (and heavy handed) spasm of feral stoner rock, possessing some of the trappings of Monster Magnet and Spaceman 3. Not bad at all.

a. cut her out
b. crawl


Saturday, August 28, 2021

Creatures of Habit ep (1990, Fuel)

Another record I picked up, without a single note heard prior, simply because it looked interesting and had a reasonable price tag attached to it. Creatures of Habit were evidently creatures of the Twin Cities, but for what it's worth didn't follow in the footsteps of any of the more obvious Minneapolis forerunners (whose names I'm too lazy to type out).  Instead this quartet suitably fit the bar band mold, albeit they had a batch of original tunes worth unleashing to the world at large.  Despite bearing some discernable pedestrian appeal the Creatures fit the indie mold better than AOR, and more power to 'em if you ask me.  The band's rootsy, and even milder twangier inclinations were in fact smart, not hokey - a trick that can be hard to pull off, but these gents possessed the charm and chops to hone these five cuts into winners. 

01. Forever
02. Stand Up
03. Throw it Away
04. Are Here
05. Use It or Lose It


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Only his blue eyes still drill me as I get to know my friend the floor.

A 1991 collection featuring the bulk of this band's first three EPs spanning 1984-86.

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


Butterfly Child - Tooth Fairy ep (1991, h.ark!)

Apologies for not getting more music to you this past week.  I remember getting a request for this one a few years ago.  Tracking down files of it seemed like a wild goose chase at the time, but I was able to locate it more recently.  Butterfly Child wielded under the radar dream pop from the UK with occasional extra-heady guitar follies to keep things interesting, not unlike those early Moose eps. "Softest Things Since Skin" alone is alluring enough to make me seek out the rest of their catalog.  Surely I've passed over their recordings in used bins over the years being none the wiser. Enjoy.

01 softest thing since skin
02 words that end in 'g'
03 jaqueline frost
04 hollycopter


Friday, August 20, 2021

The Farewell Party 7" (1988, Cut Out)

I was encouraged by what I heard on the The Farewell Party's 1988 LP, Here a few years ago, and was compelled to seek out this single contemporary to the album.  The F/P's setup was essentially a quartet of Americans whom for whatever the reason decided to eke out a living in West Germany instead of the U.S.. Had this combo been a Stateside endeavor, I'm sure college radio outlets would have embraced them wholeheartedly, given this foursome's penchant for lucid indie-pop creations laced with artsy angles, vaguely hinting at the Go Betweens, Felt, Galaxie 500, and otherwise.  The two originals on this 45, "32 Views of Emma" and "(Such a) Fragile Thing" are at once inspired and  tuneful, bristling with freshness and potential that sadly didn't translate into a follow-up album or even another single.  If you're wondering if their take on the Door's "People Are Strange" is faithful to the original you'll just have to download this joint to find out.

A. 32 Views of Emma
B1. People Are Strange
B2. (Such a) Fragile Thing 


Sunday, August 15, 2021

We're just two deep space lovers and this feels alright...

From 2012. Breezy, chilled-out synth pop my ears haven't been able to let go of for the past few weeks.  In a nod to the album title, this is one "variant" you'll crave being infected with.

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


Saturday, August 14, 2021

Regular Guys - Jayhawk Pop (rec. 1979-1981)

I have a feeling this one is going to be available as a limited engagement folks, so don't sleep.  The label responsible for this reissue, Hyped to Death was behind the wonderful Teenline compilations which I've made available on here for quite sometime.  Unfortunately, H2D's website is down, indefinitely it would appear, and I'm unable to determine if the Regular Guys Jayhawk Pop is still available to purchase. 

Though it may not have been a deliberate gesture on their part, rarely has a moniker so aptly summed up a band's m.o. Regular Guys were a turn-of-the-decade Lawrence, KS contingent who played power-pop inclined rock 'n roll, pretty much straight down the middle, with no oblique angles or artsy proclivities. Perhaps a tad too non-descript on some levels, they played a linear but potent game not unlike their midwest contemporaries Off Broadway (USA), Secrets and Hawks.  

During their lifespan they managed to eke out a remarkably memorable 1980 ep, It's a Secret, but it wasn't until 20+ years later that the full extent of their recordings were made available to the world at large.  Jayhawk Pop, commences with the four cuts from It's a Secret, and for it's plentiful remainder the compilation, traces the history of a slightly different permutation of the Guys, with Dave Stuckey replacing original guitarist/mouthpiece Mark Gilman.  And it's not all straight-up power pop either, as the Regular Guys explored related tangents such as proto-punk, roots rock, and less obviously Americana. The booklet, which I've scanned in, provides a more thorough backgrounder on the band than I ever could, and there are generous track-by-track liner notes to boot from bassist John Odell.  So dig in. The full track list is to your left.


Sunday, August 8, 2021

And when he can't speak from too much wine, you're always there with his line...

I was just reminded that it's the 25th anniversary of this one. This double album didn't merely introduce the world to a new band, but a full fledged collective to boot - one that paid dividends for a good decade or so. 

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


Plain Characters - Invisible Yearnings (1981, Abstract)

There probably isn't much I can tell you about these avant, UK post-punkers, or more specifically frontman Colin Lloyd-Tucker, than what's been conveniently disclosed on Nothin' Sez Somethin', wherein you can explore the arch of the man's entire career.  Plain Characters, who were responsible for this LP and some surrounding singles, were not the least bit plain as their ironic namesake suggests. At this stage in his career Tucker's timbre sat somewhere between Peter Murphy (albeit with more warble) and a less melodically inclined Bowie. Not a great selling point to start off with, and much of Invisible Yearnings exudes enough abrasive gestures to ward off all but the most adventurous of eardrums. The songs do bear structure however, with each of it's ten cuts possessing a relatively unique persona (or multiples thereof). Contrary to Nothin's assessment of this one, there are more than just a couple of memorable tunes here.  The aforementioned site's mention of the rhythm-prone "Menial Tasks" being amongst the more memorable ones is indeed worth singling out, suggesting what Duran Duran would have in store on their first two records.  Although the vast majority of Yearning isn't linear new wave, the mild melodic undercurrents that float "Not For Resale No. 2," "Counting Sheep" and the irresistibly percussive "O" make this an album worth tuning in for, even if it means lifting the needle now and again to bypass some of Tucker's more grating, experimental forays.  As for the rather beaten up sleeve, I resisted the temptation to make it more presentable in Photoshop, but the vinyl itself was thankfully in relatively flawless state. 

01. Affair 19.10.80
02. Labyrinth
03. Not For Resale No. 2
04. Zero Zero
05. Fingerprint City
06. O
07. Menial Tasks
08. Julia
09. Counting Sheep
10. The Four Lies


Saturday, August 7, 2021

Mercy Rule - demo (199?)

To paraphrase my friend's description of the amount of quality alt-rock to peruse in the early/mid '90s, the pool was flooded. Utterly in fact. Beyond the ubiquity of what was assailing (and sometimes delighting) us from the Pacific Northwest, there were other excellent regional scenes in locales ranging from San Diego to Dallas and Boston more than worthy of our attention.  Add to that tons of substantive American indie rock/pop from virtually every speck of the map. Indies like Amphetamine Reptile, Dischord, Teen Beat, Sub Pop, C/Z, Big Deal, and Caroline to name some of the more renown ones were all peaking during this epoch. Dream pop/shoegaze from both sides of the pond was a veritable banquet all to itself, and lets not get started on the pros/cons of Britpop. Lincoln, NE's Mercy Rule, were among hundreds of commendable 'fringe' acts jockeying for attention in the Clinton-era, that were passed over by well-intentioned listeners (myself included) who were utterly overwhelmed with all of the aforementioned and then some.

Mercy Rule were a female-fronted power trio who were ostensibly ingratiated into the post-hardcore/emo circuit, of which their one-time home label Caulfield Records were stalwart purveyors of.  Thing is, Mercy Rule didn't necessarily fit in with that contingent, and sonically their recordings were plenty emblematic of that.  Albeit plenty guitar-driven and angsty, they angled more in the vicinity of contemporaries Tsunami and the Poster Children - a pretty good place to be, unless you were making a break for the mainstream.  Nonetheless, by 1994, Mercy Rule had escalated to the roster of Relativity Records for their second and most successful LP Providence.  Three years later MCA had intentions of releasing the band's third full-length, eventually pulling the rug out from under them before it even made it to the pressing plant. What I'm sharing today is presumably the trio's first demo tape, in all it's rough hewn and borderline over-modulated glory.  Several songs here made it to their first EP, 100 MPH, though I couldn't tell you if the versions are the same.  A fairly concise roundup of the band's tenure can be read here, and two of the members folded into a subsequent combo Domestica

01. Someone Else
02. How it Feels
03. I Have Enough
04. Stand on Fire
05. It's Sad
06. What a Life


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Things are looking up, Shirley’s looking down.

From 1989. The third album from this Minneapolis bunch, just not who you're probably thinking of.

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


The Zimmermen - Way Too Casual (1989, Mushroom)

So it's been awhile since I revisited this Melbourne export - about thirteen years in fact since I shared a digitized version of the Zimmermen's 1986 debut Rivers of Corn.  One website (linked above) went so far as to describe them as "country rock," but to my ears Rivers... sonic aplomb lent itself more appropriately to the indie pop spectrum. Anyway, three years between albums can be a lifetime in the realm of a rock band and the Zimmermen, while still sounding familiar on Way Too Casual had adopted a more pedestrian bent. Not full blown hard rock or even Americana mind you, yet they were angling toward a tauter and more linear modus operandi.  ...Casual bears plenty of confident and driving rockers: "What Really Hurts," "Moral Obligation" and "Makes No Difference," all of which emanate varying shades of anthemic incisiveness.  These chaps were traditionalist as could be when it came to churning out ballads, with "All the Boys Need Love" and "Corsican Dreams" conveying themselves as all too ordinary, yet still listenable.  All told, Way Too Casual clocks in a solid, earnest day at the office.  

Unfortunately there's a small scratch on my copy of this record, affecting the beginning of "Shaking Hands" for one or two rotations, so pardon the 'jump' about ten seconds in.

01. What Really Hurts
02. Shaking Hands
03. Saddle Brides
04. All the Boys Need Love
05. Moral Obligation
06. Ties That Bond
07. Makes No Difference
08. Intellectual Dishonesty
09. Waiting
10. Corsican Dreams
11. Forever After