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