Sunday, July 31, 2022

She weaves with every thought, every thought I never had.

A debut mini-album from 1989, later expanded to a full-length.

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


Beetkeepers - s/t (1988, No Other)

I haven't ventured many forays into "folk pop," even of the collegiate variety which Columbus, OH long defunct Beetkeepers could rightfully be housed under.  This trio operated above the fray in this often tricky realm, not overdoing it with No Depression seasoning, rather skewing more in the vicinity of R.E.M.'s Reckoning, albeit more economically with sparer sonic heft than Michael Stipe & Co. Frontman/mouthpiece James Olsen was either blessed or cursed (take your pick) with a set of pipes that approximated James Taylor and perhaps less-so Paul Simon, but regardless of your opinion of said icons, this circumstance fortunately doesn't blunt the impact of anything on Beetkeepers. Olsen's prose is deft, and refreshingly a cut above average, managing not to resemble his combo's left-of-the-dial contemporaries, due largely in part to the group's spartan, folky tenor. Several Beetkeepers songs have been disseminated on YouTube if you wish to partake in a sample before diving into the LP in general. 

01. For All Parts East
02. Don't Walk Alone
03. Since He's Been Gone
04. In the Blazes
05. Young One
06. Ghost House
07. Holiday Time
08. National Rose
09. Written in the Dark
10. Talking in Bed
11. What My Childhood Did to Me
12. True Ways


Sunday, July 24, 2022

Maybe there's a river under this one...

From 2012. Almost as enticing as a new Sonic Youth album.  

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


Green On Red - Gas Food and Lodging demos (1984)

Unfortunately it's been another week of nil activity and shirked responsibilities on my part, but for what it's worth more than complacency was to blame for yet another drought-ful seven days. In fact I didn't have time to digitize any more wax for you, so it's another cut and paste job for you, culled from my ever-expanding archive of torrent downloads.  

Green On Red. To my ears not always the most representative of the Paisley bunch, but who the heck said they were even trying to fit in?  After two self-titled EPs (well, maybe the second qualifying as a mini-LP) which found the band functioning at their most artful and psych-tinged apex, their 1983 long-player Gravity Talks tightened their competence and sonic prowess, finding them transitioning to new environs. That transition to an often saucy melange of edgy guitar rock and plenty of Americana seasoning congealed two years later on 1985's Gas Food and Lodging, often regarded as the quintessential feather in their cap. There are far greater GoR authorities than I, so I'm tempted to wrap my write-up here. I'm able to offer this one to you in your choice of MP3 or FLAC. Hope you enjoy.

01. Gas Food Lodging
02. 16 Ways
03. Old Black River
04. Hair of the Dog
05. This I Know
06. Sea of Cortez (end cuts)

MP3  and  FLAC

Sunday, July 17, 2022

During therapy nightmares visit me. Flying nails attack the soles of my feet...

From 1996. Bubblegum the punk.

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


Mables - s/t cassette (1993, Elephant Six)

As soon as I caught wind of the Apples in Stereo circa the mid-90s I was enamored instantly. Between stellar albums like Fun Trick Noisemaker and Tone Soul Evolution and an incredible bevy of early eps and singles (collected on 1996's Science Faire) I was all but wed to the retro-fitted pop splendor of Denver's finest export of the decade. The co-ed, Robert Schneider-led troupe in question toured frequently, and were a prolific bunch at that pumping out a new album or single almost annually. Even in a year that saw the release of the aforementioned Tone Soul Evolution, Apples fans were endowed with another treat, a full length record, Pyramid Landing and Other Favorites, by Schneider's solo spinoff project, Marbles, or so it seemed like a spinoff anyway.

Turns out, Marbles started simultaneous to the Apples themselves - and Pyramid Landing was only their second release. In 1993, a self-titled Marbles cassette was issued on the then nascent Elephant 6 label, presumably in exceedingly limited quantities. Since it was released prior to the World Wide Web really taking root, few knew of Marbles existence, and while it eventually took on the prominence of a collector's item it wasn't representative of what Schneider (and Co.) would have to share in the ensuing years.  With the world's newfound adoption of the Apples circa the Clinton-era, it was no secret that Schneider was a relatively profound acolyte of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. This is evident on this often scattershot and mercurial tape, with the overall effect being less Smile, and considerably more Smiley Smile. A bevy of lo-fi, bedroom frivolities dominate these ten tunes mingled with an assortment of found sounds and a slyly avant subtext.  The actual "songs" seem to get lost in the ether sometimes, bearing only a fraction of the trademark hooks Schneider would soon make his calling card. Marbles is interesting and occasionally amusing, but hardly essential. Nonetheless, it exists, and I'm sharing it here. As for Marbles' much more recommendable Pyramid Landing collection that album features re-recordings of several songs on that tape, albeit in more melodic and presentable guise. 

I don't have an original copy of this scarce cassette, so thanks to whomever was responsible for digitizing it.

01. Laughing
02. Kite
03. Swimming
04. Head
05. Bottom of the sea
06. Pyramid Laughing
07. Death My Bride
08. Invisible
09. Inverse Gazebo
10. Play Fair


Sunday, July 10, 2022

Someone is listening. That someone is you.

We're back at it with four eps, featuring a quartet of artists I haven't or have barely featured here before. Two from the late '90s, and another pair from the decade just past. Enjoy.

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


Saturday, July 9, 2022

Ghost of an American Airman - Some Day (1988, Plain Paper)

Had a request for this one many, many moons ago, and was curious to the point where I went to the trouble of actually locating a physical copy. Hailing from Belfast, Ireland but hardly bearing the socio/political heft of say, slightly more successful forerunners U2 or even the Alarm, Ghost of an American Airman's m.o. was less cumbersome, instead skewing towards more conventional themes. The Airman, fronted by Dodge McKay were forward-thinking enough to chart on the modern-rock continuum, albeit with discernible commercial ambitions, despite their debut, Some Day arriving on an indie label, ostensibly their own Plain Paper Records. Each side of the album commences with a bona-fide, radio-ready clarion call - "Big Lights" and "I Hear Voices," the latter of which made it to a single, and rightfully so given it's indelibly seismic chorus hook, one these ears just might never cease to tire of.  Though consistently listenable, not everything on Some Day bears the same must-hear urgency as the aforementioned, but "Time Means Money" wields another killer melody, sounding akin to what the Fixx were responsible for during the same era, while "Precious" finds the quartet holding their own against contemporaries Simple Minds.  All told, a rewarding find.

01. Big Lights
02. What I Want
03. Dance on Air
04. She's the One
05. Strange Times
06. I Hear Voices
07. Precious
08. Flesh and Bone
09. Saving Grace
10. Time Means Money


Sunday, July 3, 2022

It takes much more than bread to live...

A pair of mid-80s, Beatles-esque power-pop classics collected on one CD.

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


Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Paper Train - Run to the Alley (1987, SLIDD)

In the canon of groundbreaking '80s indie/alt-rock, sadly, you are not likely to find this particular record, but for what it's worth it's still pretty decent. Hailing from the outskirts of Rochester, NY The Paper Train were a coed quartet whose earnest aplomb thankfully didn't reek of the more garish and hair-sprayed trappings of their era. Blending just enough modernity to a predominantly basic guitars/bass/drums setup. PT's employment of keyboards was merely a subtext, not the emphasis. The band succeeds mightily on Run to the Alley's mid-tempo numbers, "Call On Me," "Catcher in the Rye," and "Wasn't Made to be Afraid." the latter of which exudes some vague R.E.M.-isms to nice effect. The tense "Lyndon LaRouche" is a sometimes scathing character study (not to mention an offbeat song topic), but nonetheless, the Paper Train pull off something effective. From what little I've been able to glean this was the band's first and final offering. 

01. Call On Me
02. The Phoenix Sings
03. Wasn't Made to Be Afraid
04. Through the Wire
05. Catcher in the Rye
06. Lyndon LaRouche
07. Endless
08. The Cabin
09. Time After Time
10. Run to the Alley