Sunday, March 26, 2023

Once you were the first in line and now you’re in the back...

From 2002. The muscular fourth album from a fellow who finally corralled a backing band, and along the way relegated his oft trademark sad ballads to the back seat. 

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


Thursday, March 23, 2023

V/A - Every One a Classic!!! Vols. 1 & 2

Even after all these decades, not only am I discovering artists from the classic era of Brit punk and power pop, I'm still discovering entire series of compilations dedicated to preserving them. Granted a good many of these collections are bootlegs, but nonetheless. Case in point, the six volume Every One a Classic!!! CD compendiums issued by a UK one-off imprint, Punk, Mod, Powerpop. From what I can discern, there's absolutely no copyright date provided as to when they were pressed, but with a little research the music featured on each set covers the era of 1977-81. Best of all, the cuts don't come much deeper than what's presented here. Between the two installments I'm presenting today, there are 30 acts, of which I only had direct familiarity with one (The Now) prior. 

Truth be told, I didn't have the opportunity to research everyone on the two rosters, but per my queries on Discogs and elsewhere, the vast majority of bands involved only stuck around long enough to mint a single ep or 45. Quite literally one and done, but as always, the brevity of an artist's discography is rarely indicative of the significance of the roughly seven minutes (or so) of music that's occupying the wax. Generalities are a bit fuzzy to level here, but Vol. 1 seems to skew slightly more towards power pop, while the second volume tends to shine the spotlight on more aggro punk. There are plenty of exceptions on both disks. At the very least, virtually everywhere the laser lands you're bound to encounter something good/acceptable, but a good half of the tunes are of significantly higher caliber than that. Highlights are plentiful, and though I'm strapped for time a few recommendations would have to include Quality Drivel, Shock Treatment, Moving Targets (UK), Train Spotters, Acme Attractions, Martin and the Brownshirts (very New York Dolls-y), Cyanide, and Radio City (the latter being as an enticing a power-pop proposition as the moniker might lead one to believe). Enjoy.

Volume 1
01. Acme Attractions – Anyway
02. Fascinations - Blue Movies
03. The Escorts - Bingo
04. The English - Hooray For The English!
05. Xpress - Junked-Up Judy
06. HorrorComic - England 77
07. Warm Jets - Big City Boys
08. Moving Targets - The Boys Own
09. The Trainspotters - High Rise
10. Fun 4 - Singing In The Showers
11. The Rivals - Here Comes The Night
12. Shadowfax - Calling the Shots
13. Blunt Instrument - No Excuse
14. Lenny And The Lawbreakers – Me And Bobby McGee
15. The Now - Nine O'clock


Volume 2
01. The Perfectors – YT502951D
02. Quality Drivel - Stagnant Minds
03. Sta-Prest - Schooldays
04. Kidz Next Door - Kidz Next Door
05. Silent Noise - I've Been Hurt (So Many Times Before)
06. Bee Bee Cee - You Gotta Know Girl
07. Martin And The Brownshirts – Taxi Driver
08. Psykik Volts - Horror Stories #5
09. Long Tall Shorty - Win or Lose
10. Accident On The East Lancs – Tell Me What You Mean
11. Notsensibles – The Telephone Rings Again
12. Xtraverts - 1984
13. Shock Treatment - Big Check Shirts
14. Radio City - Love and a Picture
15. Cyanide - I'm a Boy


Sunday, March 19, 2023

Poisoned by the time, you know everything should rhyme.

Recordings from 1985-88. If you're into early Wedding Present and Close Lobsters this will be a treat. 

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

Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Weeds - Windchill (1988, Permanent)

A friend with Weeds is a friend inde....oh never mind. But chances are this Wisconsin power-trio did have some friends and a gaggle of fans in their proverbial corner. No wet-behind-the-ears slack here. Much to the contrary - rather robust and resonant in fact, recalling the usual suspects from Minneapolis, but moreover the Weeds debut, Windchill has a discernible Midwestern tincture to it.  Loads of guitar-laden amperage, with ballsy, cranking salvos like "Replaced," "Leslie's House" and "Dicked," that are certain to leave a concussive impression on your little eardrums. If you've enjoyed some of the band's featured in the early days of this site like the Pedaljets and Hollowmen I doubt you'll go wrong here.  The Weeds followed this up with King Crow in 1992. 

01. Cold Blooded Snake
02. Replaced
03. California
04. Duty Calls
05. Funny
06. Leslie's House
07. Under the Bed
08. Hush Hush
09. Graceland U.S.A.
10. Dicked
11. Safer Than Sorry
12. untitled


Sunday, March 12, 2023

I'm drinking on a schedule to keep it in control so I don't ever have to quit outright...

Wicked, infectious piano pop from 2019.

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


Saturday, March 11, 2023

Human Hands - s/t (1982, Independent Projects) - 2 x LP w/ bonus 7"

This one was a lot of work to put together, if only due to the sheer heft of the album. Roughly 90 minutes of music from an obscure L.A. post-punk conglomerate, Human Hands, and I know that even among those who venture to download it, not all of you are likely to sift through it all. But that's more than ok.  My expectations are realistic. 

In their original 1978-81 incarnation, the quintet in questions managed to eke out one single, an ep, and somewhat posthumously, this two LP extravaganza in 1982 consisting primarily of demos and live material. Aesthetically, the band's closest kin might have been a slightly more renown local troupe, 100 Flowers (a band who had their antecedents in the considerably less serious Urinals). The Human Hands drew considerably from the left-of-center music that surrounded them, which meant everything from Gang of Four and Wire to the more tuneful reservoirs of the fledgling New York no-wave scene. They bore an uncanny noisenik flair, and while there probably isn't one morsel in this set that you might refer to as "polished" there's an accessibility there, especially if you were fond of staccato rhythms, flourishes of jovial Farfisa organ, and topical songwriting. "Dilemmas," "Stupid World," "I Got Made" and "Go Existential' are a handful of my favorites. The Mission of Burma-esque "The Man Who Knows Too Much" is a real peach, as is the icy, marathon length "Phantoms in the Darkroom."  

As I mentioned a great deal of songs here are either live or in embryonic stages. Several of them underwent more formal recording, and can be had on the 1997, Bouncing to Disc compilation. In the 2000's Human Hands resurfaced with an overhauled lineup and in the process expanded their discography considerably, releasing their debut LP Backyard Anthems in 2008 and a couple of subsequent EPs. Original drummer David Wiley passed away in 1988. More info can be had on Human Hands via their website

01. Hex
02. Dilemmas
03. Stupid World
04. The Man Who Knows Too Much
05. Rapture of the Deep
06. My Kitchen
07. Ghosts
08. Checkout
09. I Got Mad
10. She Eats Bugs
11. Lurk
12. Dog Food
13. Crazy Lies (live)
14. Dillemas (live)
15. New look (live)
16. Diplodicus
17. Sticks and Stones (live)
18. Go Existential (live)
19. Phantoms in the Darkroom
20. Beginner's Rap
21. Upside Down
22. Carnivore
23. Happy Ending (live)

bonus single
A. Sensible Guy
B. Fair


Sunday, March 5, 2023

Is this love out of fashion, or is it the time of year?

There was a lot of talk last week surrounding the fiftieth anniversary of a certain landmark album.  How about another pivotal record that just celebrated it's fortieth anniversary, and what if I was to offer you just the bonus disk to the deluxe version thereof?  Enjoy. 

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


Throw 7" (1992, Limited Potential)

With a little more amperage and angst Chicago's Throw might have been convincing grunge contenders, and to the contrary, had they possessed a sunnier disposition and quickened their riffs they could have passed for punk-pop. I'd say that to everyone's advantage they wound up as genuine, distortion-driven indie rockers unto themselves, at least as far as this pair of tuneful and confident slammers were concerned.  Think in the same vicinity as Monsterland, Poole and other crunchy contemporaries of their era. This was Throw's debut, but they would soon buttress their profile with well received albums including 1994's Trace that found the band curtailing some of the fuzz and angling in a more nuanced direction with lengthier songs that arguably bordered on post-rock.  

A. All Too Human
B. Parasite


Velouria - Smooth! Lite tape (1996)

No, they don't really sound like the Pixies, but would you believe a few '90s "small of fame" faves of mine like Fig Dish and the early Figgs?  I'm also picking up vague glints of everyone from Bracket to Triplefastaction, but this 1996 demo really isn't as derivative as I'm making it out to be.  Yeah, this is really impressive - hella power chordy with a firm grasp of melody. Self described "pop dorks," Velouria hailed from Silver Lake (that's L.A. to most of you) and went on to record a pair of 45s and just as many albums. This was a sweet find. 

01. Where Ford Falcons Come To Die
02. Audrey & Anguish
03. Sunbeam
04. Women's Wednesday
05. Perpetually You
06. Reville


Sunday, February 26, 2023

...the power lies inside the head, not inside the hand.

On February 17th I learned that the frontman for this band (and several others) had suddenly passed away the night before. A musician, photographer, skater, and mentor and friend to literally thousands who never forgot where he came from. This one hit hard. 

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


VHF - One Chance ep (1986, Straight-Face)

Truth be told, the sleeve on this one almost scared me off - but with a price tag of only a dollar I figured I didn't have much to be frightened of.  Ultimately, as is the case with most records I purchase, I had no regrets with this one. As the band's depiction might indicate, VHF were of "rock o' the 80s stock" to be sure, but possessed enough bright, ringing guitars, and a forward thinking aptitude (say along the same lines as the Red Rockers) to straddle the AOR and left-of-the-dial divide with relative ease. I don't have much in the way of biographical deets to share on these guys. VHF apparently hailed from the Philly-area, toured the northeast and even opened for the Tubes for a good month or so. The internet informs me this was their only wax. Enjoy.

 01. One Chance
02. Harmonium
03. Video
04. In Time


Friday, February 24, 2023

Das Damen - Noon Daylight 12" (1989, What Goes On)

Though the band's influence is debatable, Das Damen's presence on the indie circuit during the Reagan/Bush-era was downright inescapable, with these New York noise-punks constantly filling new product in record shops, not to mention touring their butts off. While I don't have an adequate amount of time to spill on their background at the moment. I can at least impart that their sonic forte was malleable enough to incorporate elements of everything from metal to pop. 

The A-side to this wax, "Noon Daylight," in my opinion was the epitome of what the band was capable of - dense and melodic, yet somehow breathable in spite of the extraneous feedback. It's taken from their 1989 Mousetrap LP on Twin/Tone, and if you have any affection for the late '80s Minneapolis sound you're almost sure to appreciate it. As for the 12" in specific I'm posting, this is a European import boasting two live b-sides from a Boston 1989 gig.  "Give Me Everything" is a Magazine cover, and a relatively obscure one at that (a b-side maybe?). 

A. Noon Daylight
B1. Give Me Everything (live)
B2. Firejoke (live)


Sunday, February 19, 2023

Perhaps it's something that he had for dinner.

A debut from 1992. Won't give away anymore than that. 

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


Toby Redd - A to Z (1982, Plastic)

"Do I save it for Chanukah or not?"  That's the question I was pondering when deciding to share this gem now or later. In the end, I decided not to make you wait until December, but that's not to say the music on Toby Redd's debut A to Z is rarely short of excellent.  Just when I think I've had my finger on all things primo-power pop from the late '70s and early '80s I encounter a long-lost artifact from a miscellaneous looking Detroit-area quartet circa 40 years ago.  The band's main, if not only, claim to fame was the inclusion of future-Red Hot Chili Pepper drummer Chad Smith, though he doesn't appear until a later iteration of TR's lineup. Furthermore, Toby Redd isn't the name of the frontman or for that matter any member of the group. A to Z is a really solid excursion into melodic, DIY-ish power pop bearing punky (but not overpowering) nuances, with an awareness of yesteryear rockers like The Who.  For the most part, these guys would have fit in relatively well with the rosters on such coveted compilation series as Powerpearls and Teenline, because T/R really had the chops to deliver something genuinely memorable on salvos like "More Time," "Double Timed," and "Melea."  Am not really sure who to draw comparisons to here.  Maybe the Plimsouls, albeit vaguely, not to mention the latter work of such British punk troupes like Stiff Little Fingers and 999, but again, you really have to listen for it.

Regarding that later Chad Smith lineup of Toby Redd, the band released their second full length, In the Light for Nemperor Records in 1986, which startlingly enough was reissued for Record Store Day just two years ago. 

01. Can't Get a Job
02. Double Timed
03. More Time
04. Make it Up to You
05. Harry's Alright
06. It Ain't Me Babe
07. Won't Get Far
08. City
09. Why Can't I
10. Melea


Sunday, February 12, 2023

Yeah we got a way with words, so hey look now I'm flippin' the bird...

From 1996. An album bustling with songs befitting a platinum pedigree...but such status was simply not in the cards.

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


Tobin Sprout/eyesinweasel - Demos & Outtakes (unabridged version) (1999, Luna)

Am stunned I didn't think of getting to this sooner.  To introduce this under the banner of "file under Guided By Voices" will probably be an insult to go a good half of you reading this, but for the unacquainted Tobin Sprout was perhaps the foremost member (aside from frontman Robert Pollard) of Guided by Voices' classic lineup, responsible for seminal lo-fi indie platters as Propeller, Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, in the early/mid '90s, and for a slew of records in the '00s when said lineup reconvened for an extended reunion.   

These days, Sprout's focus is on painting, not so much making music, but when GBV started to blow up circa 1994 he was all in, not only contributing a bevy of stellar songs to the aforementioned albums and beyond, but also prepping material for a spate of solo albums, beginning with Carnival Boy in '96.  The 1999 release which I'm sharing today is a double vinyl LP collection of demos for songs that would occupy his first three solo records, plus the singles and lone full length for his short-lived but remarkable Eyesinweasel project.  

So far as demos, outtakes, odds & sods compilations go in general, the worthiness of such compendiums depends for better or worse if the songs occupying them are promising in their most nascent incarnations. In Toby's case, his Clinton-era material proved to be his absolute halcyon era, both within and without Guided By Voices. As songwriting went, the man in question was always the more insular yin to Pollard's extroverted yang in GBV, and this modest acumen carried over to his solo material as well, belying a certain charm and sensitivity that Tobin could genuinely lay claim to.

Right from the get go, armed with just a guitar (and/or keyboard), a drum machine, and naturally, a portastudio of some variety, the initial versions Sprout laid down captured not only the flow and arrangement of his songs, but more importantly the essence thereof, so much so that laying down the finished versions was seemingly a breeze given that Toby nailed down the demos to a fault. That's not to say there aren't differences between these prototypes and the versions that were recorded for mass consumption, which is what made this collection such an enormous treat. Plus, there are some worthwhile cuts here that never made it past the demo stage, "The Lords Of Pretty Things," "Quarter Turn Here," and an ace cover of the Tall Dwarfs' Kiwi-pop gem "Highrise" among them.

The original incarnation of Demos & Outtakes was 31 songs long and spread over two vinyl LPs, housed in a plain white gatefold sleeve, with transparent stickers and black typeset identifying the title of the album and it's songs. I bought it upon release and almost immediately made a tape of it for my car. Two years later a truncated 20-song version of Demos... landed on CD. To my knowledge, this is the first digitized creation of the entire thing, and as mentioned, I can't believe it just dawned on me to put this together now. Voila, and enjoy in both MP3 and lossless FLAC. 

01. Seven and Nine
02. The Lords of Pretty Things
03. Jealous Mantles
04. I Didn't Know
05. To Remake the Young Flyer
06. Making a Garden
07. Highrise
08. Hit Junky Dives
09. Dusting Coattails
10. To My Beloved Martha
11. Cereal Killer
12. Quarter Turn Here
13. E's Navy Blue
14. Little Bit of Dread
15. Blankets of Hair
16. Sot #1
17. I Wonder If It's Cold Outside
18. Slow Flanges
19. Something Today
20. Silicone Slugs
21. Paper Cut
22. Digging Up Wooden Teeth
23. Ketiling Park
24. Curved Warlords
25. Smokey Joe
26. Exit Planes
27. There She Goes Again
28. Water On The Boaters Back
29. MP
30. Hint #9
31. Piano

MP3  and  FLAC

Friday, February 10, 2023

The Dentists - See No Evil 7" (1992, Homestead)

This isn't the first post I've dedicated to The Dentists, and it very well may not be the last. Who would've guessed that a band with only five proper albums to their credit would be such a completist's nightmare?  At any rate, 1992 didn't yield a new Dentists album, but the band kept busy and managed to release a series of singles: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and fittingly Speak No Evil. This is one of them, and perhaps a bit regrettably it doesn't offer a cover of the Television classic of the same name. Technically there is a cut titled "See No Evil," but it's merely a ten second poem. The real meat and guts of this 45 is the killer a-side, "Box of Sun," a bright, confident, melodically-endowed stunner that would eventually make an appearance on the band's 1993 LP, Powdered Lobster Fiasco. The flip side, an acoustic rendering of one of the Dentists' earliest chestnuts, "I Can See Your House From Up Here," is evidently exclusive to this wax. I'm pretty certain I have the other two singles in the ...No Evil series, when and if I get to them that remains to be seen. 

A. Box of Sun
B1. See No Evil
B2. I Can See Your House From Up Here (acoustic)


Sunday, February 5, 2023

Leave your sneakers at the door, you don't need them no more.

From 2003. Unsung, riff-addled indie rock that's too good to miss (though unfortunately it might be a bit late for that). 

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


Moon - Questionable Places and Things (1990, Skyclad)

There have probably been as many bands monikered Moon or "The Moon" than there are actual phases the Earthbound satellite is known to entail. With that observation out of the way, this Moon hailed from West Virginia, and was primarily composed of frontman Mark Poole, and drummer/vocalist Perry Kirk. When he gets the notion to, Poole adjusts his guitar mechanisms to emulate the finest of Bob Mould's sacred riffage on Husker's Warehouse... album. The most prominent example of this is on Questionable's delectable opening salvo "The Never Room," and further in, making other intermittent appearances. By and large the Husker Du comparisons pretty much cease there.  Skyclad, the label responsible for this album is known for it's garage rock pedigree, but Moon's m.o. veered towards rough-hewn power pop, steeped in plenty of crunchy distortion, albeit nothing too raucous.  If you enjoyed guitarsy indie rock emanating from such mid/late '80s locales as Minneapolis and even Athens, GA jump on this one. 

01. The Never Room
02. Two Options
03. The September Song
04. In the Backwoods
05. Can't Stop the World
06. Jane Roberts
07. Listen
08. When You Wrecked The Room (With The Nervous Green Light)
09. Brain Don't Fail Me Now
10. The Broken Picture
11. I've Got A Way Of Gettin' Back At People


Sunday, January 29, 2023

And if you’re sleeping and having nightmares in your head...

Everyone knew this recently departed gentleman's main gig, but in 1990 he struck his neck out with a rewarding, little publicized spinoff project that harnessed the grit and tuneful gait of early Dinosaur Jr. R.I.P.

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


Rational Youth - s/t ep (1983)

Sometimes an album jacket meshes almost perfectly with the very music it cloaks. A collection of seemingly random shapes and colors all corralled in a slightly off-center rectangle amidst a plain, light grey backdrop punctuated by a pattern of small blue triangles captures the aesthetic of what Montreal's Rational Youth were trying to exude here. The band's preceding 1982 debut, Cold War Night Life bore an even starker album sleeve, almost perfectly mirroring the icy, post-punk synth salvos awaiting the listener. For their major-label debut in '83, R/Y managed to sand down some of the more serrated edges that endeared themselves to their original tranche of fans without going too soft.  The five-song Rational Youth balances the quartet's subtle, noir sensibilities with a brighter pop accessibility, a la A Flock of Seagulls, but for whatever the reason, R/Y weren't able to cash in on the techno-pop zeitgeist burgeoning around them. Nonetheless, a second album, Heredity, materialized in 1985, and after the band's dissolution multiple retrospectives and live albums sprouted, and even a  few reunion gigs occurred as recently as 2021, albeit with a modified lineup. Three of the five songs appearing here were rerecorded for a 2021 ep, Wavelength, which is available here.   

01. In Your Eyes
02. Just a Sound in the Night
03. Latin Lovers
04. Holiday in Bangkok
05. The Man in Grey


Monday, January 23, 2023

Agitpop - Open Seasons (1988, T/T)

Word went out approximately two weeks ago that Agitpop frontman and focal point John DeVries passed away. Like the overwhelming bulk of artists I spill ones and zeroes on, I didn't know DeVries at all, but being acquainted with his music, and more specifically the four albums he and his two Hudson Valley, NY compatriots were responsible for in Agitpop was more than sufficient so far as my ears were concerned.  Often referred to as art-pop/punk, and even more consistently compared to the likes of the Minutemen and fIREHOSE, DeVries and Co. were coming from a considerably different angle than their southern Cali contemporaries. 

Dissonant and off-kilter to be certain (not to mention a real acquired taste if you were a more conventional pop listener) this trio bore warm and sentient affectations as well, especially on their final album, Stick It! wherein they were making significant tuneful strides. Truth be told they were halfway there on their penultimate LP, Open Seasons. DeVries' singular, half sung/half spoken parlance made for cutting commentary, yet occasionally a soothing and poetic balm too. Agitpop by and large occupied their own airspace, leaving indigenous chemtrails like "Straight Through to Nashville" and "Girl But Not a Friend," in their oblique wake, but not without inserting an ever-so-sly accessibility factor if you could spot it. 

Incidentally, for several years now I've been sharing a hard-to-come-by Agitpop promo ep from '89 that you can check out here. Furthermore, after the band were decommissioned (sometime around 1990 or so) DeVries went on to serve as mouthpiece for another downstate New York act, Cellophane, who I have yet to familiarize myself with.  

01. Straight Through to Nashville
02. It Won't Be Long Now
03. Getting Up to Go Down
04. Top of the Stairs
05. Three Boys and Space
06. Memory-Go-Round
07. Kick Back the Hands
08. Stagnant
09. Out to Pasture
10. Without a Trace
11. Girl But Not a Friend
12. Inventor


Sunday, January 22, 2023

Only accidental, the car was just a family rental...

My apologies for not getting anything new out to you this past week. Will try to rectify that tomorrow. In the meantime, for this week's M/M I've got something a bit left-of-center in mind. The relentlessly lo-fi and occasionally outright bonkers 1998 album I'm presenting features many a song (type thing) that would qualify as noise, or at the very least something glaringly unstructured. I suppose the key selling point here is that every so often this fast and loose collective hits you over the head with some pretty sweet hooks - that is if you're patient enough for them to present themselves.  Case in point, track 24 sounds like something Elvis Costello should have penned in 1978, albeit with a more polished arrangement.  This is one of the more interesting things I've offered in awhile

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


Sunday, January 15, 2023

Time to loose this senselessness, of happiness with no address.

From 2019.  The sophomore effort from a plaintive pop duo who feature a considerably big star. 

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


Junk Monkeys - Soul Cakes (1989, No Wonder/Restless)

Up until now I've presented you with every piece of the Junk Monkeys puzzle...except one. I've held off on sharing Soul Cakes out of concerns of redundancy. Technically, the band's only compilation, Soul Cakes pools together the brunt of the 1988 Kick Out the Jelly mini-LP, a few slices from the preceding Firehouse, and a couple of new songs ("Trade" & "Time Ain't On My Side") only made available here. It was a convenient way for folks like myself to become acquainted with J/M's vinyl-only, early affairs after being blown out of the water circa the band's 1991 Five Star Fling LP, a quantum leap from everything they attempted before. Akin to bands like the Magnolia's, this Detroit quartet were one of the most convincing students of the Replacements' punk 'n roll homeroom call. Perhaps not consistently wielding the wit of Westerberg & Co., at the very least the Monkeys boasted the same slightly manicured rambunctiousness and enough hooky acumen to pull off any three-minute song that landed on their setlist. As mentioned, they didn't quite fulfill their potential until the early-'90s, but considering what these guys concocted from scratch prior to getting signed, the band's earliest salvos are pretty remarkable. 

01. Lost My Faith
02. Anywhere With You
03. I Couldn't Smile
04. Trade
05. Today is Summer
06. Round and Round
07. Medicine
08. So American
09. Time Ain't On My Side
10. I Want More


Sunday, January 8, 2023

Just let the wind blow, just let it carry me home...

Noisome post-punk from 2013. Hard to believe this one's a decade old.

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


Fear of Strangers - s/t (1982)

Formally known as The Units (releasing one single under that namesake) and hailing from Albany, NY Fear of Strangers achieved a relatively high profile in the local/DIY community. Not necessarily capitalizing on new wave or punk, but often bearing the sway and gumption of both, the Val Haynes-fronted, coed quartet in question released their lone full length in '82. Perhaps a little overshadowed by local boys done good, Blotto, FoS were more my cup of tea, wielding a bevy of relatable themes and some out-and-out catchy guitar pop (dare I say the homespun video for "Shopping For a Dog" aired on MTV in the early '80s)?  Seemingly innocent and workaday as the going sometimes gets on Fear of Strangers, Val and crew breech into headier fare on "Guerilla War," which questions the ethics of U.S. military involvement in El Salvador, and furthermore manages to forecast the scope of American foreign policy into the next decade or two as well. Even more prescient, "Vigilantia" imagines an open carry dystopia where, you guessed it, everyone is armed to the teeth. Not every morsel on this LP is a revelation, but it's more charming moments make Fear of Strangers an above average artifact

01. I Need to be Told
02. Shopping For a Dog
03. Any Other Way
04. Guerilla War
05. Factory
06. Is it Worth It?
07. Volts
08. Happy Hearts
09. Hat and Coat
10. Black Sheep
11. Vigilantia


Friday, January 6, 2023

A not-so tedious endeavor in the precise art of underwhelment - Best of the Blog mix 2022.

After consecutively assembling these annual compilations for a good decade now, much like the token ball-drop in Times Square, I'm sure plenty of you saw this coming. I may be a day late and a dollar short, but at the very least give me some credit for consistency. The original premise when I did my first Best of the Blog mix was to whittle down the foremost highlights from a years worth of postings, sometimes totaling roughly 200 a year (not counting Mystery Monday entries).  Since then, the amount of content I've been able to offer has gradually been scaled back to roughly 100 titles a year (again, not counting MM posts).  To shed a little light on my diminished output, look no further than the laundry list of legit reasons and/or excuses I extolled upon a year ago. 

These compendiums are not just a convenient foot-in-the-door portal to what many of you would consider an overwhelming amount of vintage records and such that I tend to serve up over the course of twelve months, but also as a reminder to myself that I haven't exhausted the pool of bygone and unheralded bands from the twentieth century that I continue to discover, or at the very least get around to digitizing. Thankfully, 2022 wasn't an exception. The 25 songs that made the cut for this mix are loosely sequenced by genres to ensure relatively comfortable song-to-song segues, but you're sure to encounter a odd transition now and again.  Keep in mind, I don't profess to be a pro at this shtick by any means. In keeping with tradition, I've tossed in a handful of previously un-shared nuggets from artists I haven't covered before. They are noted with an asterisk. Enjoy, and stay tuned. 

01. Steppin' Razor - Follow the Leader
02. Ghost of an American Airman - Big Lights
03. Last Gentlemen - One Possession*
04. Love Pushers - Radio Girl
05. Tree Fort Angst - Save Me
06. River Roses - Phoenix 99
07. Breck & Scott - Day Into Night
08. True Rumor - Iowa
09. Gels - Quaker
10. Golden City - Diamond Suits
11. Hotline TNT - Lawyers in Love*
12. Crystalized Movements - Up Falling Down
13. Braille Closet - Tomorrow Russo
14. Eagertones  - We're Only Kids
15. Unaccounted IV - You're Always Alone
16. Bad Sneakers - Pictures of You
17. Paper Train - Catcher in the Rye
18. Red Rain Coat - Footsteps
19. Room Nine - Sea Without a Shore
20. Crawl Away Machine - Maps of Asia
21. 86 - The Prisoner
22. Eternal Triangle - Small Town
23. The Difference - P.M.T. (Pre Menstrual Tension)
24. Late Rivals - Ghostown
25. Lonely Bunker - Last Toast*


Sunday, January 1, 2023

My world is full of strangers, and I spend the day in chains...

A debut from 1994. 

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


Corps Diplomatique - This Can't Be Heaven (1987, SAM)

Happy New Year! Since I didn't get around to ripping any new vinyl this week, I thought I'd offer a long-lingering, but downright dandy record that's been taking up residence on my hard drive.  Corps Diplomatique were a Danish combo, who from what I can tell had no foothold in the U.S. or North America, but that didn't prevent them from having a rather distinct "rock of the '80s" modus opeandi in mind. This Can't Be Heaven, thankfully isn't smothered in bombast, or anything terribly excessive, but pretty much anywhere the needle drops, it's obvious this platter was a fairly big budget affair. Closest direct comparisons that come to mind would be Then Jerico, and tangentially mid-80s U2, but the guitar-work ricocheting amidst any given track is riveting, recalling the icy, echoing hues of  everyone from the Cult to Cactus World News, and even the Comsat Angels.  I really dug this one, and could definitely go for a CD reissue. 

01. The Picture
02. Generations
03. From the Tower
04. Victory/Everything
05. Soldier
06. Vicious Circle
07. The Trail
08. Children
09. Leaving