Monday, October 30, 2023
Sunday, October 29, 2023
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Sunday, October 22, 2023
Friday, October 20, 2023
A lot of you have no doubt read a flurry of remembrances on social media, or have found yourself spinning Twilley albums over the past couple of days. I had no personal connection to him, nor do I necessarily consider myself a major fan, but I appreciated his music, even ravenously at times. Most of what he had to offer is still available via paid download and streaming (and even the occasional reissue), and as of right now, the only thing I have to offer that's even slightly under the radar is this 2000 compilation composed out of outtakes and such, that ranges from 1973 to '94. Per the liner notes a good half of the songs are situated from 1983, just prior to his '84 Jungle album, the last record of his to score a charting hit by way of "Girls." That little morsel of trivia out of the way, for an album of abandoned material Twilley exuded a remarkable amount of quality control across a disparate and diverse selection of tracks. So much so, that even if you're a newbie to the man in question, Between the Cracks functions as a representative sampler of his arc as a songsmith. It's another reminder of a bona fide talent that even the most observant of us took for granted, especially in the latter decades of his career.
Wednesday, October 18, 2023
I've updated the folder with the corrected track and have made it available to download per the link below. The original write-up for the album can be accessed here, and for the uninitiated, if you're an aficionado of '90s dream pop from either side of the Atlantic, this one is something of a revelation. A big thanks to Sam who alerted me of this truly "lost" recording.
Sunday, October 15, 2023
"Chelsea Girl" has the beginning chopped off, and likewise with the ending of "Unfamiliar," which is a real pisser, but what can we do? Enjoy in either MP3 or FLAC.
Sunday, October 8, 2023
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As per the title of this entry, this little three-song reel wasn't an advance for Kontiki, so much as a teaser or appetizer. The first two tracks, "My Before And After" and "Spin My Wheels" would soon feature prominently on the album, with the third, "Innocent Street" being relegated to a b-side. "My Before.." strikes me as either a demo or unmixed version of the final product, which I like to think bears a slightly more organic hue here. "Spin My Wheels" is definitely an alternate take of the song, and an electric version at that. It was later released on the bonus CD of the 2012 deluxe edition of Kontiki. In addition, that expanded version of the album included "Innocent Street" as a bonus selection too, albeit in an acoustic iteration whereas my cassette provides a differing electric take. So there you have it. Three songs from 1996 that eventually saw the light of day a year later...with a few discrepancies. Enjoy.
Monday, October 2, 2023
Making his bow in the early '80s from the somewhat unlikely locale of Jackson, MS as half of the songwriting quotient of the Windbreakers, Bobby, partnered with Tim Lee, would be responsible for three memorable albums of collegiate guitar pop (Terminal (1985), Run (1986) and A Different Sort (1987), not to mention a handful of preceding EPs. Fortified with national distribution, despite being anchored to smaller indie labels the Windbreakers were something of a staple on left-of-the-dial radio outlets, and were a decent live draw, but they didn't come close to breaching the mainstream. To fans of jangle-laden indie rock coming remotely from the same environs as R.E.M. (and maybe less so the Dream Syndicate) the Windbreakers were a breath of fresh air. They were advanced enough to exist in the '80s, yet managed to thoroughly sidestep the most egregious and embarrassing trends of the era. When OGR was released the 'breakers were still a going concern and from what I've been able to glean there was no acrimony between Sutliff and Lee. That said, it was advisable for Bobby to put the album's eleven songs under a separate umbrella.
Just to get a little bit of trivia out of the way, Only Ghosts..., essentially began life as a Mitch Easter-produced five song EP, the lovingly dubbed Another Jangly Mess, that was only available as a European import which I've seen conflicting release dates of 1986/87. Another one of Bobby's collaborators, not to mention erstwhile music publicist Howard Wuelfing was so enamored with what he heard that he encouraged PVC/Jem Records to bankroll the recording of another batch of songs, once again with Mitch Easter at his fabled Drive-in Studios to flesh out an entire LP. Thus, Only Ghosts... was born. Despite being culled from two sessions the album doesn't feel patchworked together in the least, and is as consistent if not more so than anything the Windbreakers had been responsible for up until that point.
During the era surrounding OGR's recording/release, the Windbreakers was ostensibly Bobby's main meal ticket - yet not one iota of the record sounds half-hearted, or casually strewn together. Retaining much of the 'breakers edgy, forward-thinking pallor while simultaneously emboldening Bobby's overarching sonic heft, this was an album that seemingly had one foot steeped in indie rock aesthetics, with the other sporting an ambitious stride that could have instantly impressed more pedestrian ears.
The Windbreakers were partial to downcast themes and moreover, were known to exude a pessimistic tenor when it suited them, but as a solo entity Bobby was discernably more assured, and even downright confident. The driving, decided "Same Way Tomorrow" made for a primo opening salvo, declaring something of a brash clarion call. "Always Love You" and "Couldn't Help Myself" mine a similar, if slightly less strenuous vein. Further in, Only Ghosts... reveals itself as more of a mid-tempo specimen, albeit our protagonist is wont to circumvent traditional ballads. The overall effect is comparable to the first couple of Matthew Sweet albums, not to mention the Sweet-adjacent Velvet Crush precursor Choo Choo Train. Intoxicating jangly and strummy notions like "Won't Be Feeling Blue" pour down like an unremitting waterfall, and while the context of any given Bobby Sutliff tune is a cinch to glom onto, there's more than surface level depth at play here. OGR may not rewrite or out-innovate anything that came before it (by the Windbreakers or otherwise) but it's nonetheless a life affirming example of par-excellence power pop, with an aptitude that's nothing short of wholly earnest.
As mentioned above, Only Ghosts Remain has been given a new lease on life on the label that originally minted it, Jem Records. The album's original running order has been bested with eleven additional cuts from three of Bobby's subsequent albums (Bitter Fruit, Perfect Dream and On a Ladder). Amazon has you covered via CD or digitally.
Sunday, October 1, 2023
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