Friday, May 31, 2024

Coral - Pillowtalk (1994, Fistpuppet)

Though he fronted Richmond's Coral through the first half of the '90s, when word of Bob Schick's passing was announced late last week far greater emphasis was placed on the band he commandeered circa the Reagan era, Honor Role.  H/R began as an acerbic hardcore punk endeavor that over the course of two albums and numerous singles gradually gave way to a less frantic pace, and were one of the first bands of their ilk to adopt mathy textures amidst a bespoke, artful parlance.  Their concise but challenging song/poem/puzzle type-things were hardly the stuff of accessibility, but their petite catalog rubbed off on aggregations ranging from Seam to Drive Like Jehu.  

Coral, much like Honor Role themselves, entailed a certain amount of concerted observation - probably too much so for someone like myself, circa 1994, who was besotted with the likes of The Posies and Jawbreaker.  Time marches on, tastes become more refined, and the need for instant gratification wanes...and as such, a reassessment of the band in question was in order.  The post-rock inch evidenced in H/R may not stretch a mile or even a kilometer in the guise of Coral, but I'll be damned if what I'm encountering on Pillowtalk isn't considerably more breathable, simultaneous to this band's frequent penchant for all things dissonant. Schick's sung/spoken patois blends in well with Coral's finagling of first generation-emo sonic leanings, yet never concedes to anything wrought or exaggerated.  You'll certainly not unfurl any twee or precious niceties here, but this quartet falls well short of the abrasiveness of say, Fugazi or any of that legend's fill-in-the-blank Dischord Records stablemates.  A torrent of incongruent minor chords goes a long way in coloring-in the tense, cerebral, and all-around obliqueness of Pillowtalk, an album that challenges and ever-so-subtly provokes.  As I've said in reference to a copious amount of unrelated artists on these pages, this one is an acquired taste well worth acquiring.     

01. Figure 8
02. Wallpaper
03. Your Reward
04. Puzzle Me
05. Mime Appeal
06. Soup n' Sandwiches
07. Ruth
08. Big Grab
09. Lil' Buddy
10. Box Truck
11. Get to You
12. Floating By
13. More of the Same

Sunday, May 26, 2024

You checked in with a broken heart, we don't even know where to start.

From 2010. A killer comeback. 

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


Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - World's Collide (aka "Black Tracks" ep) (2004)

Here's another one that god knows I don't have a physical copy of it.  I boarded the Lorries truck pretty late in the game, 1989 to be exact, but caught up quickly, though I never saw them live in any incarnation. Thought they were essentially put to pasture sometime after their independently released fifth album, Blasting Off in the mid-90s, frontman and focal point Chris Reed revived the name for the occasional live gig and this particularly limited edition ep, which is titled Worlds Collide right on the sleeve, yet is more commonly referred to as "Black Tracks." Whatever I suppose, while the tunes are passable, and in the case of "The Only Language" and "Driving Black" pack some discernable punch, it's evident that this is Reed wielding all the instruments or is backed up by a very taut bunch of hired guns, almost certainly not original guitarchitect Wolfie Wolfenden (dare I say I'm mistaken?). At any rate that's how this four-song cookie crumbles, and considering what an adherent I was I gladly lapped this up when it turned up in the post-Napster epoch.

News dropped earlier this year of an impending (and final) Red Lorry Yellow Lorry LP, Strange Kind of Paradise, to surface in the near-future along with some potentially accompanying eps to boot. To tide you over, check out a live 1992 concert that was made available via BandcampBandcamp a couple of years ago, bonus-ized with some modern-era studio tracks.    

01. World's Collide
02. I Need Time (Off My Mind)
03. The Only Language
04. Driving Black

Sunday, May 19, 2024

First he started with furniture, then he moved onto parking lots...

A 2022 compilation that cherry picks the best of this band's four crucial eps dating from 1993-94.

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


Saturday, May 18, 2024

Mettle - s/t ep (1982, RMS)

Once again, Discogs doesn't quite nail it.  "Minimal?" "Darkwave?"  Post-punk yes, but to throw such ominous adjectives in the direction of this London, ON quartet makes me wonder what record the submitter was listening to.  As for the music itself, I'm not complaining in the slightest given Mettle's deft acumen of merging mildly dissonant art rock with warmer, borderline tuneful hues.  I'm gonzo for the texture and tones infiltrating this record's tantalizing "The Second Person" and "Evening Ocean," both accented with Gerry Collin's tingly, clangy minor chords interlocking seamlessly with Chris Jaco's subtle but bouncy bass runs. Not all of Mettle is as transporting as the aforementioned salvos, but these guys were functioning on a forward-thinking wavelength that most of their enlightened new-romantic contemporaries could barely register on, let alone succeed at so effectively.  My understanding is that this record was the sum total of Mettle's output, and a shame at that.  Not much info is available about this crew, with the exception of this site offering some scant background details and the option to stream all the songs. The rip I'm sharing here is from my personal copy.

01. Emotional Desert
02. The Second Person
03. The Invisbles
04. Evening Ocean
05. All You Wanted
06. Five/Four

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

British Properties 7" (1983, LowTown)

Yet another fine single I don't posses a physical copy of, but that hardly makes me any less appreciative. Presumably from Vancouver, BC, this 45 was the one and only arrow in the British Properties extra lean quiver. The duo in question dust off and retell "Eight Days a Week" amidst the motif of cozy, bedroom synth-pop, with a stroke of insightful context winning me over in ways the Fab Four never did.  As for the flip, the equally soft and cushy original, "Niag'ra Falls" oozes with warmth, mid-fidelity moxie, and minimalist efficiency.  I so love this.

A. Eight Days a Week
B. Niag'ra Falls

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Another push, another jab, another round. I'm not on my knees, I'm face down.

From 1993.  This is for Steve, even though he's merely credited here, not a performer.  It's been a sad f'n week. I'll be lucky if I don't bust out crying.

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


His Boy Elroy - It's Only Me tape (1988)

Picked this one up at a much beloved, secondhand music/book shop a few years ago at a price I couldn't refuse. This isn't the same His Boy Elroy that was signed to Columbia about thirty years ago, rather this one is more of a cold case. It's unclear where this HBE hailed from, as there's no correspondence address, but I wouldn't be surprised if their locale was in the environs of L.A. where this cassette album was tracked. It's Only Me is yet another loose alt-rock proposition that with a few more power chords and insipid songwriting could have passed for AOR fodder around the time of it's 1988 copyright date. Instead we're treated to something a bit more sophisticated, a la The Alarm, Rhythm Corps or even a more contemplative Duran Duran, albeit HBR weren't particularly on the new romantic bandwidth. Strong tunes and memorable hooks make this nugget of plastic worth investigating, and I'd outright recommend It's Only Me if the Epic Rumors platter I pitched you a few years back made a positive impression. 

01. New England
02. Tell Me
03. Rain
04. Walk in the Park
05. Something to Say
06. I'm Not Sure
07. Fabled Prophets
08. Only Me
09. Modern Love Song
10. Goodbye

Sunday, May 5, 2024

I haven't got a steady job and I've got no place to stay.

A classic from 1981 surrounded by several crucial bonus tracks from the same era.

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


Friday, May 3, 2024

The Windbreakers - A Different Sort (1987, DB)

No, it's not Chanukah or any other special occasion, so why am I featuring something by The Windbreakers?  Am just fulfilling request is all.  Plus, this is one of the only titles involving Tim Lee that hasn't seen a digital reissue.  Without the involvement of longtime (and recently deceased) partner Bobby Sutliff, A Different Sort is true to it's title in that it takes a different tack than the preceding Terminal (1985) and Run (1986) opting for a slightly subtler approach.  There's no shortage of crunchy guitars, albeit the going here isn't quite as angsty as evidenced by their aforementioned earlier records. Still, a not-so-pristine Windbreakers album is exponentially better than what passed for rock 'n roll on the more pedestrian side of the FM dial, and "Knowing Me," "So Much" and the especially vigorous "Forget Again" all wield the kind of grit and musculature Lee & Co. staked their reputation earlier on in the decade.  I'm making this available in MP3 and FLAC. 

01. Knowing Me
02. Fit In
03. You Closed Your Eyes
04. Better Left Unsaid
05. So Far Away
06. A Different Sort...
07. So Much
08. We Never Understand
09. Forget Again
10. Any Longer

MP3  or  FLAC