Sunday, October 30, 2022

She had a full pack of smokes, I had cash from my folks...

From 1995. Even the "weakest" link in their catalog of stellar albums was superior to their competition's greatest work.

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


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Red Rain Coat - s/t (1990, Blue In)

Sometimes when I receive a request for a band I'm wholly unfamiliar with it can lead down a pretty rewarding rabbit hole.  Much as I dig the new find, sadly, after doing what little research I could, I wasn't able to find out many pertinent details regarding the long defunct Red Rain Coat, presumably an indie quartet that possibly called Switzerland home. In terms of what imbued their music however RRC's collective gaze seemed to be fixed on Ireland, particularly taking a page or two from the likes of Power of Dreams, Cactus World News, and early(ish) U2. For their debut LP they decided to give fans and the world at large nearly two albums worth of material, and judging from just an initial, listen I'm grateful they were so generous. Preceding the LP was a 1987 single that spoke even more relevantly to their post-punk bona fides, the video of which you can view here. Enjoy.

01. Facade
02. Mother
03. Lokomotion
04. Running Round
05. Avalanche
06. She Likes Rain
07. Runes 2
08. Small Place
09. Footsteps
10. Wonderland
11. Spaghetti
12. Look For Somebody Else
13. Love or Hate
14. Wasteland
15. Past
16. Sometimes
17. Love Will Break My Mind
18. Runes 2


Monday, October 24, 2022

Breck & Scott - Dream You Away + The Orbits (rec. 1976-88)

The tale of fellow Wisconsinites Breck Burns and Scott Krueger began when the two met in the early '70s as teenagers, but the world (or at least the country...or maybe just the state) at large didn't pull them up on radar until their first serious band, The Orbits made inroads in the power-pop circuit via their brilliant 1980 7" "Make the Rules," which I'll get to a bit later. Almost simultaneous to The Orbits, the duo alongside Scott's girlfriend Jill Kossoris would become part and parcel of one of Milwaukee's most renown unsigned bands, the Shivvers.  The Shivvers. and their incendiary 45, "Teenline" (another crucial 45 blast from '80) were quite literally a story and phenomenon unto themselves. 

The real meat and potatoes of this post concerns Breck and Scott's work post-Orbits/Shivvers, which was well hidden until the Hyped to Death folks did more of their crucial excavation efforts, yielding this cd-r album in the mid '00s. Still residing in WI throughout most of the '80s the duo in question had no good excuse not to continue collaborating, even if they kept their recordings to themselves, which they did for almost a couple of decades. Per the liner notes, they never bothered to field tapes to labels, and from what I've been able to glean never played out. The high strung, punky power-pop of the Orbits and Shivvers was largely phased out by the mid '80s when Breck & Scott's commenced recording sessions semi-informally in their spare time. With a more mature and seasoned acumen in hand, and best of all, no record label or management hovering over their shoulders, our protagonists weren't informed by any pretensions or even the prevailing trends of the era. Oddly enough, with a lack of supervision (so to speak) the boys sounded doubly more disciplined on Dream You Away's dozen or so tracks, most of which exude surprisingly clean and measured tones, without sapping any of the songs' natural energy.  The overall effect isn't quite as charming as say, Big Star or Velvet Crush, but not entirely removed thereof either.  A more accurate comparison might be Butch Vig's pre-stardom outfit, Fire Town. The strummy "Without a Sound," the gritty and muscular "Day Into Night" not to mention the wistful ballad "Let Me Know" are all immaculate keepers...and there's more gold where that came from. 

Dream You Away thoughtfully, and for that matter, crucially appends The Orbits aforementioned lone single, two frenetic power pop bangers, laced with the same mid-fidelity aptitude that worked wonders for the Shoes on their contemporary platter Black Vinyl Shoes, and maybe to a less obvious extent what the Plimsouls were up to around the same juncture. If you're hungry for more than just a pair of two-minute Orbits tunes (and who wouldn't be) four unreleased demos are graciously tacked on.

Breck and Scott
01. Dream You Away
02. On My Roof
03. Look What You've Done to Me
04. You're in Love
05. She Won't Change
06. Alone
07. Without a Sound
08. Frank Lloyd Wright
09. Day Into Night
10. Pine Circle
11. Here and Now
12. Let Me Know
13. Day Into Night (live)

The Orbits

14. Phenomenal World
15. Make the Rules
16. Having Fun
17. Smart Suit, Shirt &Tie
18. Until the Word Gets Out
19. The Waiting Game


Sunday, October 23, 2022

She had to take it to the majors, couldn't keep it on the down low.

From 2009. I make no apologies if I already shared this LP a few years ago. I've had so many songs from it lodged in my head over the past few weeks it almost feels like an omen compelling me to put this out there. As a bonus, I'm including a companion ep to the album, which I'm pretty sure I haven't given you already. Sorry I didn't post anything over the past week. I should be remedying that tomorrow. 

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


Sunday, October 16, 2022

I always needed a plan to dislocate.

Quality power pop coupled with rich Britpop resonance from 2008.

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


Otto No 7" (1987, Permanent Rave)

Two young men, one young woman. What could possibly go wrong?  Sounds like the setup to some teenage comedy flick, right?  Guess again. It's a cold case weekend here on Wilfully Obscure, and what better way to spend it than with a coed wave trio dubbed Otto No?  Ostensibly hailing from New Jersey, this threesome manage to sidestep synths but boast virtually none of the cool cache of say, Let's Active or Pylon. To the contrary, Otto No strike me as Top-40 hopefuls on a razor thin budget, with Karla Crowley managing to salvage the day with a Bangles-esque chorus hook propelling "Getting Married," wherein she readily admits the couple in question "don't know each other very well." Okay, so that happened I guess, leaving one to wonder how that situation played out. As for the flip, "Looking Through Your Eyes," Joe Crowley seizes the mic, but not quite the anthem-atic grasp he seems to be striving for.  

A. Getting Married
B. Looking Through Your Eyes


Saturday, October 15, 2022

Sextet - s/t ep (1986, National Trust)

As the band's name suggests, Sextet were a six-piece, but aside from the music I can't tell you much of anything else. For synth-popsters they had some decidedly more aggressive label-mates, including but not limited to the Vandals, Fang and M.I.A. For what it's worth, this half-dozen posse didn't see to be particularly tainted by superficial '80s production techniques and better yet, they had a decent handful of tunes going for them. The Thompson Twins and Erasure Sextet were definitely not, rather you'd swear this crew was occasionally skewing more towards Aztec Camera and the Armoury Show.  I don't have much more to opine on this one, but if anyone wishes to spill some more pertinent details feel free to comment away.  Btw, the sixth track, a remix of "Plants and Animals" is unlisted, and unfortunately may have a skip around the 21-second mark.

01. I Lie in Wait
02. Captuered
03. Side By Side
04. Tight
05. Plants and Animals
06. Plants and Animals (remix)


Sunday, October 9, 2022

Try to cover it it's over my head.

From 1993. Everyone seems to celebrate this band's 1980s output. So far as I'm concerned they really excelled a decade later. Recommended if you have a thing for Husker Du or Overwhelming Colorfast. 

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


Saturday, October 8, 2022

Perfect Vision - Tongues Out mLP (1986, Backs)

The Perfect Vision ep I shared last year seemed to illicit a positive reaction, so here's another feast for your retinas, if not your eardrums. There isn't an abundance of difference between the two records. This Cambridge, England flock were still not exactly a radio-friendly fit by the time they got around to sticking their Tongues Out, so to speak. Still, Perfect Vision sport a wry accessibility at times, whether they were conscious of it or not thanks to no small amount of rhythmical agility.  The post-punk undercurrents buttressing so much of 1984's Broken Crown ep are evident on Tongues, "Damnation," but stylistically it's clear this quartet were content to have their fingers in a myriad of pies.  From what I can tell these fellows doggedly stuck to indie labels to disseminate their recordings, and while they would have probably gone further had they been taken under the wing of say, Rupert Hine, I'm grateful they prioritized keeping their credibility intact. 

01. Hole in the Soul
02. Scratch & Howl
03. Engines
04. Kick
05. Impossible Blue
06. Damnation
07. ...Like Engines


Sunday, October 2, 2022

I'm sleeping on top of the world.

From 1997.

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


Mick & the Maelstroms - Privates (1989, Rivet)

On what could be their lone LP, Mick & Co. don't stir up a Maelstrom, or even much cacophonous noise, but ironically enough, simply a batch of respectable pop rockers.  While they didn't necessarily blow up college radio playlists, the New York-area trio in question hardly blended in with the AOR types of their era either.  Even if Mick & the Maelstroms weren't intent on seizing the sound of anyone in particular they did boast a modicum or two of appeal amidst the boppy power-pop of the title track, plus the bittersweet "Not So Long Ago" and "Strange Things Start to Happen," a sturdy, melodic bar rocker. "Sous Quelle Etoile Suis-Je Ne?" is a cover, but I couldn't tell you squat about the original version.

01. Privates
02. Difficult
03. Levitation
04. When I Get My Car
05. Not So Long Ago
06. Strange Things Start to Happen
07. In the Bath
08. Leave Her Alone
09. Sous Quelle Etoile Suis-Je Ne?
10. Nothing to Fear