Sunday, December 31, 2023

Life's a circle, that's for certain...

A 26-track singles compilation spanning 1982-87. And while I'm at it, Happy New Year.

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


The Meteors - Teenage Heart (1980 PVC)

One more for 2023.  This is the first LP from Dutch denizens, The Meteors, a six-piece no less.  Released in their homeland in 1979, Teenage Heart didn't land on Yankee shores until a year later, with a considerably re-sequenced tracklist, yet surprisingly a far superior album sleeve. If this one gives off classic, vintage power-pop vibes you're about half right. Their songs weren't necessarily of seminal stock, but nonetheless, the Meteors managed to steep Teenage's eleven cuts in a steady amalgam of pub rock, new wave and numerous variations thereof, never quite breaching into a straight-up punk threshold.  One of the two or three mouthpieces sounds like a dead-ringer for Murray Head, and while the band isn't necessarily distinctive the tunes are for the most part satisfying, especially the rambunctious "(One Hand) On the Wheel" (actually titled "My Balls Ache" on European versions of the record). Seriously, they honestly thought American audiences were that sheltered and sensitive?  Two more Meteors albums followed, Hunger and Stormy Seas, neither of which have made it to my turntable.

01. It's You, Only You
02. Hold Me Tight
03. Everything I Touch Turns Into Gold
04. Berlin
05. Orbit
06. (One Hand) On the Wheel
07. Wired
08. Teenage Heart
09. Action
10. Blitzkrieg
11. Nina

Sunday, December 24, 2023

No more excuses, my shadows have a secret.

Merry Mystery Christmas Monday.  Here's a very non-holiday centric album from 2019. 

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


Thin White Rope - Bottom Feeders ep (1987, Frontier)

Not everything I share necessarily stimulates me, and this one is a fairly representative case in point.  No, Thin White Rope were never a top-tier favorite of mine, even though I'm appreciative of their 1985 debut, Exploring the AxisBottom Feeders was something of a stopgap effort between that album and their '87 effort, Moonhead. A few tracks here, including "Macy's Window" and a scalding live rendition of Suicide's immortal "Rocket U.S.A." wound up as bonus cuts on the CD version of ...Axis, and are two of my top recommendations.  The opening boozy blues throwdown "Ain't That Loving You Baby," is too obnoxious for my tastes, but "Atomic Imagery" exudes a brooding temperament I'm much more capable of latching onto.  I haven't delved into the remainder of TWR's catalog, but I'm tempted to, even if the entirety of this ep failed to rub off on me.

01. Ain't That Loving You Baby
02. Macy's Window
03. Waking Up
04. Valley of the Bones
05. Atomic Imagery
06. Rocket USA (live)

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Scarce/Funland 7" (1994, Delmore)

This single surrounds two bands who were eventually scooped up by the majors in the wake of the Smashing-vana hoopla circa the mid-90s.  In the case of Scarce, originating from Rhode Island, there's a pretty fascinating backstory to be had. Frontman Chick Graning fresh off of a stint with gnarly, indie distortion-mongers Anastasia Screamed suffered an aneurysm shortly after the release of Scarce's 1995 debut DeadSexy, which necessitated him to relearn to walk and speak. By 1996 Graning recovered enough to warrant Scarce to book shows again, but ultimately, the band splintered a year later and wouldn't reconvene until the late '00s. Bearing a throaty timbre, Graning's vocal aplomb on the dynamic and lovingly scrappy "It Was Dry" recalls the cathartic wail of Squirrel Bait's Peter Searcy. This tune also wound up as a b-side to an import ep

I've covered Dallas' Funland by way of their fantastic Sweetness ep, which saw the light of day a full thre decades ago. In a classic case of "I loved their early stuff," by the time the band (with a pre-Centro-Matic Will Johnson in their lineup) got around to tracking this single's contribution, "Blue Sister" they were beginning to shorn the power-pop affectations that made Sweetness such a treat. What they still had was impressive even if "...Sister" rang a bit repetitive, not to mention a little lyrically underwritten.

Scarce - It Was Dry
Funland - Blue Sister

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Sorry I wanted to be your boyfriend again.

A guilty pleasure from 1996. 

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


Thursday, December 14, 2023

Marshall Crenshaw - pre-Warner Bros demos (1980-81)

And so we've finally arrived at night number eight.  The big enchilada.  The one that everyone will be talking about (well a few dozen of you anyway). Up until this point I haven't offered anything by Marshall Crenshaw, except maybe the stray comparison.  You could chalk that up to a lack of shareable M/C material, be it studio or live recordings. That's all changed in a pretty marvelous way. 

Marshall's self-titled 1982 debut was one of the most seamless and gratifying records of the then still-relatively young eighties. Seemingly having emanated out of absolutely nowhere this hopelessly romantic protagonist conveyed himself via buoyant, but grounded guitar-pop tunes that didn't really skew to any of the prevailing trends of the year...or even the gaudier trends to come in the ensuing Reagan-era.  But where did this man come from?  The world was treated to a considerable amount of insight via the 1998 release of The 9 Volt Years...Battery Powered Home Demos and Curios.  Marshall's bare bones, home studio prototypes were imbued with more charm and TLC than even the most empathetic themes and notions conveyed on his finished album versions. Little did the vast majority of us know that 9-Volt's... fifteen cuts were culled from a larger portion of his go-it-alone endeavors., and that there was much remaining on his enlightening demo reels. 

This collection, apparently once available as a bootleg cd-r, takes a deeper dive into the blueprint phase of some of his most renown titles, including but not limited to "Brand New Lover," "The Usual Thing," and "Mary Anne."  The early arrangements of these numbers reveal that Marshall was so spot-on, and quite frankly visceral in his apartment that little modification was required when he made the transition to a proper studio.  But certainly, there's an even greater purity here amidst these early takes. Beyond that, much like the aforementioned 9-Volt disc, there's a handful of wholly unreleased songs in this batch.  "Communication," appearing in similar incarnations twice, is an infectious, driving rocker that would have further enhanced any of his crucial early records.  Elsewhere, "We Belong Together" and "She's Not Mine Anymore" (the latter fed to singer/songwriter Robert Gordon to record) illustrate that much like Marshall's adored Beatles, even when he doesn't bring his A-game, his outtakes and b-sides are still preferable to other artists most sterling material.  Again, this collection functions as an extension of the 9 Volt Years, and despite some dodgy audio in portions it's still revelatory, and in all ways an immense feast for the ears.

01. Never Gonna Happen Again
02. Communication 1
03. We Belong Together
04. This is The Love
05. She's Not Mine Anymore 1
06. Somebody Like You
07. Now I've Got You
08. She Can't Dance
09. Not For Me
10. Brand New Lover
11. Communication 2
12. I'll Do Anything
13. Rockin' Around in NYC
14. Soldier of Love
15. For Her Love
16. Something's Gonna Happen
17. Mary Anne
18. The Usual Thing
19. There She Goes Again
20. Cynical Girl
21. She's Not Mine Anymore 2

MP3  or  FLAC

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

...and crack you up

Tonight I've decided to blur the lines between traditional Chanukah uploads and Mystery Monday.  Yes, I'm keeping this one (relatively) secret, but unlike my usual ritual of removing the link in seven days I'm going to keep this one active until the powers that be tell me otherwise. Ironically, it consists of completely unreleased versions, but given the higher profile of the artist (whom now routinely headline sold-out arenas) I feel the need to go... clandestine. But I shall reveal a few clues as follows.

  • 2006
  • Cincinnati by way of Brooklyn
  • Fourth album prototypes w/ sum unreleased
  • A dozen and a quarter selections
  • regninreb. renssed.

Curious?  Download away. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Perfect Strangers - Protected in America (1986, N-Beat)

Mostly a coincidence, this one ties in with another Chanukah entry I gifted you this week, and even a second one (tangentially anyway).  As for the record at hand, there have probably been no less than three dozen bands who've christened themselves as Perfect Strangers over the millennia, with a good chunk of them having had their legacies cataloged on Discogs. 

This set of Strangers congregated in Jackson, MS, and constituted something of a precursor supergroup for yours truly. Granted, it's unlikely you'd be familiar with any of the members or the other acts they were associated with. Not long after this record was issued  bassist Fritz Martin and percussion basher Chris Hall would compose two thirds of Square Root of Now, while guitarist, backing vocalist Scott Coopwood would eventually make another band we've covered before, Yazoo Beach his claim to fame, relatively speaking. The arguable fulcrum of the band, mouthpiece Kris Wilkinson has few outside affiliations, but does a bang-up job on this short but sweet ten-song platter.  Her cool vocal hues on Protected in America's commencing salvo, "Small Towns" sit atop Coopwood's icy, ringing arpeggios a la Martha and the Muffins timeless "Echo Beach," emanating a flawless and inviting pairing.  A similar sonic template courses through bittersweet post-punk traipses like "The Storm," the title cut, and the keyboard-inflected "2 Steps Back," the latter of these approximating a more benign variation on what Siouxsie and the Banshees were attempting just a few years prior.  Ultimately, P/S's modus operandi sat a few rungs shy of conventional new wave, but wielded a textured, noir edge that would've likely dissuaded mainstream FM playlists. Side A is near-perfect and a sheer delight on repeat listens.  

 A little further in "I Live For You" finagles with a poppier underbelly, the subdued, ballad-esque "Treasure is Kept" falters slightly, but Perfect Strangers regain their footing with a vengeance on the melancholic finale, "Shelter."  Not to belabor the point, the Strangers mesh of chiming guitars and vaguely downcast vocals make for a compelling and alluring combination just about anywhere the needle lands on Protected... As for the tie-ins I mentioned, I just featured a Square Root of Now single last night, and I'd be remiss if I failed to point out that Tim Lee of the Windbreakers sings and plays on "Treasure is Kept." Perhaps not a carpet-to-carpet masterpiece, Protected in America is still more than ovation worthy, and might be the most enticing LP I've unleashed in ' enjoy. 

01. Small Towns
02. The Storm
03. Protected in America
04. Another Faith
05. 2 Steps Back
06. Majority Rules
07. I Live For You
08. The Treasure is Kept
09. Halloween
10. Shelter

MP3  or  FLAC

Monday, December 11, 2023

Six superlative singles!

I wasn't planning on doing another volley of singles until next year, but I've been sitting on a lot of interesting titles, plus let's face it, life is kinda short. This assortment is a pretty good cross section of what I try to feed you these days, but I like to think they're a cut above what I might post on say, a random Wednesday in May. Download links in MP3 or lossless FLAC are available at the end of the post. With that in mind let's proceed. 

Waxing Poetics - Hermitage/Return 7" (1984, Celery)

Perhaps the pinnacle of all the singles I've shared in the last 365 days.  I haven't featured anything by Waxing Poetics since '08. This dandy 45 exudes more than a wink and a nod to vintage R.E.M., with "Hermitage" appealing to the same pleasure centers that made everyone's first spin of "Radio Free Europe" such a revelation. As it would happen, two year later Peter Buck would co-produce this Norfolk, VA quartet's debut album, also titled Hermitage.
The Deflowers - New Day Tonight/Ten Days (1992, Stand Like Cleopatra)

I don't think there's a note by the Deflowers that's passed my ears that I haven't taken an automatic liking to. These Seattle denizens bore a far greater resemblance to Buffalo Tom than Mudhoney, and were all the more stimulating as a result.  A thoroughly winsome mix of melody and sophisticated song-writing chops. Check out their even more cranking Shiny New Pony album and other assorted releases from the link above.

Square Root of Now - But She's a Nice Girl/Dream Belief (1984, DeWeese Music Prods.)

I've been besotted with the Square Root of Now's 1987 Bent Around Corners LP ever since I happened upon it sometime in the early 2000s. And why shouldn't I be obsessed with that album's often surreal but consistently sublime reinvention of new romantic synth-pop?  SRN were kind enough to bequeath us that one mesmerizing full length, but there was a single that preceded it, and here it is.  They hadn't quite fully grown into their sound at this point, so to speak, but this was a solid start, especially the jaunty A-side.

beatrice blinded - two days wide/disappear (1994, Mallbunny)

Evidently this one's so scant that even the mighty Dicogs isn't providing an entry for it. A co-ed quintet from the college town of  Ithaca, NY, Beatrice Blinded's take on dream pop was heavy-handed to a fault, and no doubt why they needed to employ multiple guitarists plus a pedal/effects-board the size of a small canoe. Think the first Lilys album and some of Velocity Girl's nascent shoegaze forays. A little formulaic by todays standards, but B/B were something of an anomaly in their day.  
Nu-Este - From This Side of the Window/If You Want (1982, Intense Intents)

This was another ace discovery this year. Nu-Este were from Philly, and by my estimation the gentlemen in this trio must be hovering around 60 y/o or thereabouts these days. All the accumulating years aside, this is really smart, edgy post-punk sporting an artful flair that thankfully doesn't do so at the expense of eschewing some poignant melody on the driving, mid-tempo "From This Side..."  Vaguely reminiscent of Mission of Burma and Middle Class, Nu-Este opted to volley their tunes at a somewhat milder pitch.  As coincidence would have it, our fellow blogsters at Systems of Romance did a piece on this single a couple of years ago, but the rip you're getting here is completely unique.   

Whooping Cranes - Hope/Stopped Breathing (1986, Zip)

I did an entry on the Whooping Cranes That's What I Need album one whole decade ago, so it's about time for a follow-up, eh?  The band's skittish aplomb and endearing quirkiness on both of these two verbose tracks should've slotted in like a glove on college radio.  The Cranes sounded like they were grazing on the same plateau as contemporaries Agitpop and Nixon's Head, if those names happen to ring a bell. Really nails the dual creative/charming bullseye, and I'm very much liable to revisit their aforementioned follow-up LP for dessert .

MP3  or  FLAC

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Game Theory - live @ Fat Fonzies, Sacramento 10/5/84

It's not the first time I've hosted material by Game Theory and with any luck it won't be the last (but you never know). On this particular night in Sacto, CA we zoom in on Scott Miller, Gil Ray, et al ignite Fat Fonzies, a venue they were no strangers to. This performance was sandwiched between the band's Dead Center (1984) and Real Nighttime (1985) albums, with the setlist slightly favoring the latter. 

Arguably the band still hadn't quite peaked, but virtually everything in G/T's repertoire up until this point was golden, and they had accumulated a number of early classics under their belt, several included on the setlist - "Curse Of The Frontierland," "Nine Lives To Rigel Five" and "Penny, Things Won't."  "Friend of the Family" sounds particularly vicious and vibrant, as does a fast and frenetic execution of "Real Nighttime." A couple of covers make an appearance, both fun but a tad frivolous - a rendition of "Aliens in Our Midst" originally penned by Sacramento garage punks The Twinkeyz, and a done-to-death Fab Four tune to finish the crowd off.  This is a decent audience tape with the drums prominent in the mix, but not grating or overpowering.  Not their definitive concert, but there's plenty of spunk and magic to be had.  Per the liner notes of the original torrent seeder, it's regarded as the first live G/T tape in circulation. Enjoy!

01. Penny, Things Won't
02. Real Nighttime
03. Curse Of The Frontierland
04. Waltz The Halls Always
05. 24
05. Friend Of The Family
07. Nine Lives To Rigel Five
08. Aliens of Our Midst (Twinkeyz)
09. I Wanna Get Hit By A Car
10. Shark Pretty
11. Rayon Drive
12. I Want To Hold Your Hand 

MP3  or  FLAC 

Saturday, December 9, 2023

V/A - Here Comes That Girl - U.S. Power Pop Vol. 1 [1978-1987] & Knock Me Down - U.S. Power Pop Vol 2 [1977-1986] (2007, Sold-It)

So the story goes, and unnamed record dealer in Europe was sitting on a stash of scarce, private-press power pop singles from a bevy of Yankee unknowns, and prior to unloading his trove onto the marketplace he had the foresight and capitalistic savvy to digitize and compile several of them on two cd-r compilations that were seemingly as difficult to come by as the original 45s. So much so that I don't have physical copies of said cds myself.

I suppose that if MP3s will suffice for me, they will for a few hundred of you as well.  Between these two collections there are 30+ bands, the majority of which I don't believe have been compiled or at the very least profiled anywhere. Despite this quantity I have less to unpack here (save for a pair of  lofty tracklists) than you might think given time constraints on my end and the lack of biographical details available on the artists themselves.  In a nutshell, back in the early/mid '80s when I was getting my head around the likes of Genesis and Hall & Oates, it seems that in every city, burg and borough there was at least one or two under the radar outfits toiling away in obscurity playing for a crowd of 50 or so warm bodies at a local dive, and occasionally were proud enough of their craft to warrant recording and releasing a 7" single on their own label, or better, yet a local imprint that was willing to bankroll the few hundred dollars it would require to bring such an endeavor to fruition.  Scores of such unknown quantities have cropped up on digital DIY collections like the Teen Line and Powerpearls series, but the entrants involving the two albums I'm featuring today, Here Comes That Girl and Knock Me Down seem to be of an especially more arcane variety.  

While a good 99% of musical connoisseurs were tethered to top-40 radio and MTV at the time, lower-profile contestants with monikers like Peer Group, The Windows, The Crickle, and P-15s operated in a parallel universe of sorts, honing a more homespun variation of the pop polemic, conveyed via a far more meager delivery system. Yet in the grand scheme of things these bands occasionally yielded results more heartfelt, sincere and satisfying than their comparative major label counterparts. There was no internet (at least as we know it) or social media outlets to propagate any of these 42 songs when they  originally saw the light of day between '77 and '87.  Those in "the know" by and large lucked out by virtue or attending local venues, tuning into college radio, or more likely had the good fortune of being informed by good old fashioned word-of-mouth. Sure, The Finders and Atlantics never became "stars" per se, they at least had their profiles enhanced a few decades after the fact once the internet eventually dredged up their names in forums and blogs (um, maybe like this one?). In short, better late than never. 

If it's the more aggro or punky side of the power-pop spectrum you're angling for, you might want to stick to your KBD comps, as what you'll encounter on both of these compendiums populate the more melodic end of the three-minute gamut. Surprisingly, Wilfully Obscure has only overlapped in two or three instances with the contenders here, limited  to the likes of the Fan Club, The Choice, and Finders. That means there are three-dozen or so new rabbit holes to plunder, so have at it.

V/A - Here Comes That Girl - U.S. Powerpop 1978-87
01. Atlantics - Television Girl
02. Britins - She Knows
03. Brunettes - You and Me
04. Choice - Strange
05. Crickle - Henry the VII
06. Effections - Cheerleader Crush
07. Fan Club - Just Another Kiss
08. Finders Which Way
09. Hitman - Give Yourself to Me
10. Bill Kern - You're Not Coming Home
11. Masterbeats - Silver Lining
12. Glenn Miller & Impossibles - Walk Right Over You
13. Nems - Solider of Love
14. News - She's So Square
15. P-15's You're Not That Girl
16. Peer Group - No Attraction
17. Pets - Break Em All Down
18. Point - No Desire
19. Rom's - Where Were You
20. Sliders - Here Comes That Girl
21. Windows - Don't Hang Up

V/A - Knock Me Down - U.S. Powerpop 2 1977-86
01. Abstracts - It's Me (1981)
02. The Cheeters - You Aint Breakin' Nobodys Heart (1985)
03. The Effections - Candy (1984)
04. The Finders - It's So Insane (1981)
05. The Gooses - Just a Tailor (1977)
06. Randy Gun - I Apologize (1980)
07. Bill Kern - Don't Listen to Them (1979)
08. The Krayolas - Cry Cry, Laugh Laugh (1980)
09. Mor's - The Girl Next Door (1979)
10. The Nems - A Girl Like You (1979)
11. The Noogs - Everybody Loves You (1980)
12. The Outlets - Knock Me Down (1980)
13. Peer Group - Change of Plans (1981)
14. The Rudies - Sherry Goodbye (1980)
15. The Shake Shakes - You Can Run (1979)
16. Squirrels From Hell - Adverse Reaction (1982)
17. Stan Skora - You Like It (1981)
18. Transistors - R-Love (is Approaching Critical Mass) (1980)
19. Tommy Trash - Why Not (1983)
20. The Windows - My Dear (1982)
21. The Young Idea - Cool Side of Town (1985)

Friday, December 8, 2023

File under Windbreakers: Bobby Sutliff - What I Wanted Wasn't What I Found: Home demos (1986)

In a nutshell, when singer/songwriter Bobby Sutliff passed away after a battle with cancer on August 29, 2022, the world in general didn't know what they lost, because frankly, the world in general wasn't aware of his presence in the first place. Nonetheless, I know he's not a stranger to a lot of you reading this, but just as a backgrounder for the uninitiated, I'm going to source some details from a piece I originally penned for the reissue of Bobby's 1987 album Only Ghosts Remain.

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. 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 band was a breath of fresh air. Almost immediately subsequent to several of the aforementioned albums, Bobby pursued solo endeavors resulting in five albums between 1987 and one posthumously released earlier this year, Bob Sings and Plays

As for the music concerning tonight's presentation, What I Wanted Wasn't What Found was not my creation, and in fact I have no source to credit the actual curator, so to whomever assembled this (possibly Bobby himself?), gracias. Despite it's purported recording date of 1986, none of the songs here wound up on his first proper album, Only Ghosts Remain, making the bulk of these compositions unique to this collection. Given these dozen and a half songs were likely committed to a four or eight track machine, sonically there's an organic, lo-fi bent to them. While certainly not buttoned-down, so to speak, Bobby doesn't engage in anything particularly sloppy either. The overarching vibe is akin to an early Mitch Easter of Don Dixon production, and while perhaps not as seminal as, R.E.M. or the dB's there's a plenty of charm and roughhewn warmth to revel in. Highlights include but aren't limited to jangly, engaging morsels like "Cold Cold Rain," "Call Your Name," not to mention the hazy psych tinctures (a la Rain Parade) employed on "Don't Come Here At Night."  Amongst a bevy of stimulating originals is a rewarding spin on the Flamin' Groovies masterstroke "I Can't Hide."  Though it may lack the continuity of a proper album, What I Wanted... is nonetheless a font of inspired, homegrown songcraft that will be a major find for both aficionados of the Windbreakers, and fans of guitarsy, indie pop emanating from the southeast circa the mid-80s. 

01. Our Little War
02. One Thing True
03. Quinn Street
04. Cold Cold Rain
05. I Thought You Knew
06. I Remember
07. I Can't Hide
08. What I Wanted Wasn't What I Found
09. Call Your Name
10. Wedding Bells
11. Too Much in Time
12. Our Little War
13. Being Chased by a Ghost
14. Don't Come Here at Night
15. I'm Moving On
16. I Want You, I Need You
17. Same Way Tomorrow
18. Small Town Romance

Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Posies - live in 1987 in Bellingham (first show!) & V/A - Bring Me the Head of Brian McKenna - a Posies Tribute (199?)

Welcome to night one. So I'm going into this one with more than a little bit of trepidation.  By now a lot of you have disavowed The Posies, or at the very least one of the group's core components.  In case you've been living under a rock you can get caught up to speed here. Ultimately, I decided to put these two offerings on the table...but why you might ask?  Well, the simple fact is before the troubling revelations, accusations, and the band's acrimonious and sudden dissolution in 2021, there was a phenomenal body of music to be had.  It's still phenomenal.  Heck, just excise the band's career down to three albums, Dear 23 (1990), Frosting on the Beater (1993) and Amazing Disgrace (1996) and their place in power-pop is cemented right then and there, yet they gave us much more than that, almost all of it good to great. From this point on I'm going to ignore the soap opera, and focus entirely on what I came here to offer, two untainted pieces of music I hope you'll simply be able to appreciate.  

First up is a tape of what I've been informed is the Posies debut performance, all the way back in 1987 in their hometown of Bellingham, WA. I don't have an exact date or venue details to offer, but considering the set consists entirely of covers it's not hard to rationalize this was very early in the band's career when they were functioning exclusively as an acoustic duo.  In fact we don't even get a hint of what they'd offer on their 1988 debut, Failure.  Besides the fact that Stringfellow and Auer were adept players and harmonizers this early in the game they also had commendable taste with the likes of The Jam, R.E.M., Replacements, Squeeze, Billy Bragg and yes, the Beatles all coming under their scrutiny in this 46 minute set. The performances are lucid, slightly cheeky, and by and large faithful to the original arrangements, and the tape sounds as if it was plucked straight from the soundboard - that or an extremely tight audience recording. The only glitch is that the intro to "Mrs. Robinson" is cut off.  This one has likely been in circulation among collectors for a few decades now, but for the brunt of you this is bound to be a delight (to one degree or another).

Just a few months ago the existence of a Posies tribute album (ostensibly a cassette only release) Bring Me the Head of Brian McKenna, was absorbed into my radar. No copywrite was provided, but considering that the format is a tape, and with the inclusion of a cover of "Start a Life" from the band's 1998 LP Success, I'd peg the date of release to be hovering around 1999 or 2000. The album does have a curator, but I''ll let that be revealed in the liner notes for those of you whom opt to download this.  The pressing of this one was likely minimal, as there is no mention of it anywhere online. A few hundred copies (if that) I would guess?  There's nary a household name to be head here, with only the likes of The Pyramidiacs and Walter Clevenger triggering any personal recollection.  

As far as tributes go this one is pretty straightforward.  Nothing leftfield you might say - just primo songs covered with reverence yet sheer passion. For whatever the reason, the Dear 23 chestnut "Any Other Way" has the distinction of being featured here twice, but I'm not complaining. Lots of homegrown, bedroom-tracked vibes on this one.  As for the puzzling title, I can't help but wonder who Brian McKenna is/was. So much so that I did a quick Google query, yielding a match for a recently deceased film director of the same name, who seemingly had zero ties or overlap with the band.  Your guess is as good as mine.  Full tracklists for this and the live gig are below. 

Live in Bellingham 1987
01. Mrs. Robinson
02. I'm Looking Through You
03. Don't Look Away
04. Swingin' Party
05. I've Just Seen a Face
06. Sitting Still
07. That's Entertainment
08. I Can't Reach You
09. English Rose
10. You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
11. Separate Beds
12. Greetings to the New Brunette
13. Superman
14. So Sad About Us
15. Strange

MP3  or  FLAC

VABring Me the Head of Brian McKenna - a Posies Tribute
01. Every Damn Day - Help Yourself
02. Walter Clevenger - Paint Me
03. The Pyramidiacs - Open Every Window
04. Khadejah Dein - Coming Right Along
05. Hammerfish - Dream All Day
06. Gino Scarpino - Any Other Way
07. Nerdburgers - What Little Remains
08. Underwater Sunshine - Everyone Moves Away
09. The Superstitions - How She Lied by Living
10. Juji Frootz - Any Other Away
11. WINK? - Earlier Than Expected
12. Little Buddy - Under Easy
13. Ed Taboada - Flavor of the Month
14. The Warm Jets - Start a Life

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Chanukah, anyone? Eight consecutive nights of downloadable gifts are imminent.


Another year and another Chanukah is upon us.  2023 is almost in the books and ready to be sealed away, but not before the annual Festival of Lights, which in our case means no more, but no less than eight consecutive nights of gifts in the guise of extra special uploads from me...and hopefully extra special downloads for you.  Comparatively speaking new content has been low this year, so this is perhaps the best and most constructive way I can compensate. Will I outdo myself from previous years?  Regrettably, maybe not but i just might come close. You'll have to tune in starting this Thursday night (the 7th, yes, damn early this year) to find out.  You can anticipate the reliable flurry of un/under-released vinyl, bootlegs, live offerings and demos. 

You might be asking what initially motivated me to begin this tradition altogether.  For one, it gives me a convenient excuse to share several mind-blowing "gifts" instead of just one big reveal on Christmas.  Secondly, Chanukah represents personal relevance to me.  We all know you were envious of that kid down the block who had a yarmulke festooned to their head, who was given the privilege of lighting the menorah, and of course, reveling in eight glorious nights of presents.  Once again, I'm paying it forward.  Previous Chanukah entries have featured WireVelocity GirlJellyfishHusker Du and Teenage Fanclub, but name recognition is hardly a guarantee.  As in past years, there will definitely be familiar faces, but also several entrants that have never garnered face-time on W/O.  Bear in mind that what's crucial and/or special to my ears may not be of equal essence to yours, but kindly, try to humor me.

At the top of each Chanukah upload will be a thumbnail photo of a menorah, with the appropriate number of lit candles to denote each succeeding evening until all eight slots in the candelabra are occupied on the concluding night of December 14. 

  • Look for the first Chanukah posting this Thursday evening, and then for the remaining seven nights 'round supper time all next week. 
  • Mystery Monday will be taking a break this coming Monday (Dec. 11) so as not to disrupt or distract from the continuity of the eight consecutive nights of the holiday.
  • Some offerings will be made available in FLAC (in addition to standard MP3).
That's it in a nutshell. Download responsibly. 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

This war of words is killing me.

A fairly astonishing debut from 2001. RIYL Seaweed and Ultimate Fakebook.

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


Six Finger Satellite/Green Magnet School – The Declaration Of Techno-Colonial Independence 2x7'' (1992, Sub Pop)

Here are a couple of really inventive bands that for whatever the reason I've rarely brought up on these pages before. Rhode Island denizens Six Finger Satellite, as their adjacent picture to your right is likely to suggest, were a band who very much functioned on their own wavelength so to speak. Bearing the same artful, aggro aesthetics of Volcano Suns, 6FS wielded wily dynamics and flirted with avant affectations, yet possessed a lopsided accessibility that catapulted both of their songs here, including the wonderfully urgent "Sex Transistor" over the top. These guys were a trip to witness live, and left us with roughly a half dozen albums, mostly rearing their weird little heads in the mid-90s.

Also from New England, and equally as fascinating were the Massachusetts based Green Magnet School, a noisy, sonic caterwaul of an indie rock proposition who were amped-out as all get up and sublimely guitar driven. Lots of angularities too and they had a penchant for gravitating towards austere motifs without ever succumbing to anything overtly gloomy. The concise, blitzkrieg assault of  "12 Guage" mines an early Jawbox vein, while a considerably slower cover of Neil Young's Freedom deep cut "Don't Cry" is surprisingly enthralling and effective.  GMS' 1990 debut platter, Blood Music is a heady, hot mess of a fever dream that is not to be missed. I might be sharing more from these folks at some point.

Six Finger Satellite
01. Crippled Monster Bearing Malice
02. Sex Transistor

Green Magnet School
01. 12 Gauge
02. Don't Cry