Friday, December 31, 2010

Searching For The Now #4 - Pains of Being Pure at Heart/Summer Cats (2008)

To tie up the end of 2010, I'll share volume four of Slumberland's "Searching For The Now" single series, which featured The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Summer Cats. No, wait, don't run away! Yes, I admit, I'm not a very big fan of what Slumberland has been putting out as of late, and Pains of Being Pure at Heart aren't exempted from that. But despite loathing their LP for admittedly superficial reasons (come on, at least put the Pastels in your thank-you list), this version of their song "Come Saturday" is, in my opinion, a superior version. It's definitely an early recording, probably long before they began writing their LP and it definitely came first. And I unabashedly admit that this song is concentrated catchy in a can; no one can resist these hooks! So anyway, the point of this entry is mostly to share an overlooked version of that song. I don't know a thing about Summer Cats apart from them being from Melbourne. Their single is pretty good, too; listening to it again this morning, I was immediately reminded of Built of Spill and Talulah Gosh simultaneously ... go figure.

This was Slumberland #82. It is out of print. See you next year.

Searching For The Now #4 - Pains of Being Pure at Heart/Summer Cats MediaFire

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Summer Hits - Beaches and Canyons 1992-96 (1996)

Ripped this more for myself, as I wanted to replace the poor digital copy I had on my computer. My musical upgrade equates to your musical gain. The Summer Hits were a Further-related project that included guitarist Brent Rademaker, who gave me this CD for free. They released many 7" records, but I'd think that this CD is their most recognized and listened-to release. "Criminally overlooked" is a beaten cliche that I will begrudgingly use to describe this band; I can't think of a band more overlooked, given its pedigree. This has been tossed around for years and years, but this band remains one that listeners give an instant pass. A compilation of noisy, carefree pop music that someone sober may not get the first time around, but give it a shot and you're sure to find a cozy, cacophonous niche worthy of an edgebreak. Just kidding.

The Summer Hits - Beaches and Canyons 1992-96 MediaFire

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thought Riot - The Dangerous Doctrine of Empathy E.P. (2003)

Here's a record I didn't even know existed, let alone ever heard of before I bought it. Thought Riot were an anarcho hardcore-esque band with members from Livermore and Modesto. They were a favorite of mine around the time their full-length Sketches of Undying Will came out. I believe they were on A-F Records at one point or another.. told you it was a long time ago. I only ever saw them once unfortunately, but it was a good time. They've been teetering on playing a reunion tour for the past couple years, but it hasn't happened apart from a one-off show on September 11th of this year, a show that I found out about a month too late. So much energy coming from these guys, despite the sentiments and sound aging too poorly for me. In any case, these guys ruled back in the day. Maybe you'll like this, maybe not... If it's any incentive, the flips are Fugazi (Burning Too) and Redemption 87 (The Plague) covers.

This EP was released on The Record Labelation from San Leandro, CA, a label run by a member (or members?) of Livermore's own Silent Film Stars. And that doesn't mean a thing to anyone not from Livermore...

Thought Riot - The Dangerous Doctrine of Empathy E.P.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Matsuri - Endship (2010)

Matsuri are a band that never get old for me, despite seeing them play a hundred times over the past few years. I still get just as excited by their energy, positivity and presence in 2010 as I did in 2007. I caught the end of their set last night at their very own DIY space and had a blast. While I was there, I picked up the CD version of their new LP, which has yet to come out. They had to push back the release date due to delayed mixing, so they were still taking pre-orders... at the show. Never before last night had I seen a band take pre-orders in person. But that's okay. It probably happens more often than I am aware. If you checked out any of the music I posted in my previous Matsuri-related post, you're bound to like this as well.

Matsuri - Endship MediaFire
Matsuri - Endship Buy It

Monday, December 27, 2010

School Knights - Rush S.K. (2010)

School Knights are a pair, I think, of musicians from Colorado, I think. This is their brand new EP entitled "Rush S.K." Four "lo-fi" songs of the poppy, "mathy" variety. Okay, I'll stop being jaded for a moment: this is pretty good and I'm enjoying it as I listen to it for the second time. Nice woozy, guitar-driven rock music written by a couple teenagers - isn't that what it's all about anyway?

This is literally brand new, so go buy a copy from Bridgetown Records if you like this. One hundred were made and one of those hundred could be yours.

Link was removed per the label's request. Sorry, go buy it!
School Knights - Rush S.K. Buy It

Sunday, December 26, 2010

V/A I Know Why They Call It Pop (2010)

In 1994, a little-known Boston label called Pop Narcotic released a double 10" compilation entitled "Why Do You Think They Call it Pop?" The bands featured on that compilation ranged from infamous to small timers, but the compilation nonetheless had its desired effect: it captured the state of pop music in its many forms at the time, and remains a milestone in the genre.

It's 2010 now, and Rok Lok Records, an overtly pop label themselves for the most part, decided it would be fitting to pay homage to that compilation and that era with their own, similarly named compilation. Ranging from the most primitive one-man bedroom pop pseudonyms to full fledged bands, the compilation gathers a colorful, diverse roster of musicians and genre, from coast-to-coast and down to Brazil. The influence is evident; in my opinion, this comp probably could have fooled pop junkies if it said it was thrown together in 1996 rather than 2010. Rok Lok's owner Mike dedicated the 20-song cassette to "all the people banging on a 4 track till the wee hours of the morning, tape labels and tape traders." It comes highly recommended from me to anyone with an ear for genuine, intimate tunes and a musically open mind.

One hundred of these tapes were made, and there are about eight left at the time of this posting. If you're eager, head over to Rok Lok and snag a copy.

V/A I Know Why They Call It Pop MediaFire
V/A I Know Why They Call It Pop Buy It

Single Mary - 4 Song E.P. (1987)

A genuinely mysterious quintet from Eugene, Oregon, Single Mary self-released this aptly named four song EP in 1987. Simple punk songs with synth, saxophone and male-female vocals. A brief search came up with no information for this band. There are probably a couple hiccups in this rip somewhere, but it should be fine other than that.

Single Mary - 4 Song E.P.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

No update, just wanted to wish my readers a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Thanks for sticking around! I have a couple things up my sleeve to finish the year with.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lollipop - Live at Reptilian Records 7" (1997)

Another noisy freebie from the same recent trip. Lollipop were a Maryland band that relocated to San Francisco, released two full-lengths and several 7" records that included a split with Thee Headcoats, and broke up by the end of the nineties. Most of their output was on Amphetamine Reptile, but this particular was on Reptile Records, the same label that brought you a couple Buzzov·en-related singles. One of the inserts likened this band to Blue Cheer and MC5 in the same breath, but you be the judge. Two loud raw live recordings packaged in a hand-screened "dayglo" sleeve. Well, well well.

Lollipop - Live at Reptilian Records MediaFire

...and somehow I managed to befuddle this post by ripping the second song at the wrong speed (not that you noticed), so here's your correction. I re-uploaded the above .RAR file with the correction, but in case you already downloaded the previous link here is the standalone second track. Sorry:

Lollipop - Carburetor Dung 45RPM MediaFire

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Molly McGuire - S/T EP (1993)

Now for one of Kansas City's best kept secrets... Molly McGuire are just one of those kinds of bands. Despite putting out two full-lengths, two splits, this 7" and a compilation track, perhaps even more, people still scratch their heads about them. And I know I'm onto something with this obscurity thing, because I searched all over for a hint of blog'd on this record and I came up with nothing. I'm surprised! In any case, sitting among other Kansas City Sound notables like Giants Chair, Shiner, and Boys Life, Molly McGuire embraced a grungy, cacophonous indie sound that eventually attracted major label attention. The release of their full-length, "Lime," saw their signing to Epic Records. But like so many other post-Nirvana signings, Molly McGuire never seemed to catch on commercially and drifted out of sight.

This EP was released in 1993 on Caulfield Records. It's apparently very difficult to track down information on this band, but if you're a fan of other KC bands at the time, you're bound to like this. I had never even heard this record before I bought a copy of it, so this is exciting to share here.

Molly McGuire - S/T EP MediaFire

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mutants - New Dark Ages 7" (1980)

Speaking of San Francisco, here's an important one, so listen up. The Mutants were probably one of the first  punk bands to come about in San Francisco in the late 70's. They released this 7" and a full-length entitled "Fun Terminal," which carried them across the country on what I believe was their only national tour. They also two splits, a live one with (Impatient) Youth and a studio one with Apocalypse Hoboken I had the pleasure of seeing this band in 2007 at Gilman - completely mind-blowing, enthusiastic performance, with lots of old timers and teenagers alike going nuts

There's nothing in particular I want to say about this. It's a catchy, completely flawless punk gem that's worth way more than the $5 I paid for it, monetarily and otherwise. No matter who you are or what you're into, give this a shot for a good time.

Mutants - New Dark Ages 7" MediaFire

Friday, December 3, 2010

V/A The View From Here: The San Francisco Compilation (1987)

Avid readers of an almighty blog that needs no introduction probably caught this record last year, so for those folks this is no news. Indeed, I am a bit disappointed to be the second (perhaps third) of the collective blogosphere to unleash this wacko slab on the world, but I suppose it doesn't hurt to add my own two cents. Besides, this gives me a chance to inadvertently remind readers of another San Francisco obscurity; as it turns out, White Stain's Wally Sound produced one of the songs on this compilation. Bet this guy is getting tired of his name being thrown around these parts... Anyway, lots of interesting new wave and punk-related sounds emanating from this. A couple, more familiar names like Camper Van Beethoven are thrown in among mostly San Francisco native unknowns, but all the more charm value. Catchy and occasionally campy, but entertaining one hundred percent of the time. This was released in 1987 on Medical Records. Here is the tracklisting which I will now unabashedly copy from the aforementioned blog:

01. Pray For Rain - 2 Steps Forward
02. The Naked Into - Dark Comes Down
03. Vox Humana - Concept Day
04. Camper Van Beethoven - Happiness Is a Porpoise Mouth

05. The Ophelias - Palindrome
06. Standing Naked - Soul
07. Tooth & Nail - Stuck in a Nightmare
08. Kelley Gabriel & Clocks of Paradise - Sandra
09. Hold My Head, It Hurts - Carnival Ride
10. The Sneetches - I Need Someone
11. The McGuires - Garbage Man

12. Spot 1019 - Taste the Feel
13. Child Support - Classified Information
14. Blue Movie - Dog Song

V/A The View From Here: The San Francisco Compilation MediaFire

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ova!/Happy Mother's Day, I Can't Read - The Number on My Forehead is Gone (2004)

I once had a cat. Her name was Sugarfoot. She was the best cat I ever had; my current cats pale in comparison. She was always following me around and rubbing up on me and actually drank her milk, and really loved me. The feeling was mutual. But then she ran away or was eaten or was blown up by a firework. That made me very sad, and angry, and frustrated, and confused, and full of pent up rage. It made me want to play sloppy, guitar-driven noise rock with a slight prog lean, maybe sorta. It also made me want to create coagulating harsh noise that isn't quite tough enough to induce vomiting, but sweet enough to leave one longing for the embrace of an incinerator. Finally, it made me want to mix the two with a group of good friends, and to name our subsequent collaboration "Awesome." That's how this split on Freedom Form makes me feel. It makes me miss my cat. I love you, Sugarfoot.

(Apologies for the pauses in between tracks. It was pressed that way.)

Ova!/Happy Mother's Day, I Can't Read - The Number on My Forehead is Gone MediaFire
(The previous link was erroneous, as it was missing the first track. Sorry.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Toss - Titles of the Greatness of Been (2002)

Teetering on the edge of drone-drenched electroacoustic jams and full-on noise, Toss was a Belgium trio who put out two impressive albums on Kraak (or (K-RAA-K)³, if you really want to), the same fellas who brought you a Dolphins Into the Future LP this year, among other notables. Their last one, this one, Titles of the Greatness of Been, is a nervous, wandering guitar-based improvisation jammer that's just malleable enough to be deemed amorphous. Some tracks linger in heavy electronic contemplation, while others oscillate wildly with bursts of various instrumental buzzing, dubbed field recording and foamy mumbling and/or gurgling. There. Is that mailing list enough for you? Also, if I attach the word "lo-fi" to this, will you download it?

Toss - Titles of the Greatness of Been MediaFire

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Get Up Kids - Loveteller 7" (1996)

Once upon a time, I stupidly threw a copy of this record across the Pacific Ocean and never saw it again. Now, thanks to a special someone, I got another copy of what is probably one of my favorite singles. There's no doubt in my mind that the Get Up Kids are a household name by now, so I'll spare you the introduction. It's criminal that this song, "A Newfound Interest in Massachusetts," often goes unnoticed when new listeners peruse this band's discography. If you've never heard it or you're looking for a place to start, jump on this opportunity. This band has been and will always, unabashedly, be one of my favorites.

This record saw a lofty series of reissues - six total - and was put out by Contrast Records in 1996. This was the band's first single and, as far as I know, their first recorded output.

I don't know if anyone was alert to it, but my latest entry, Pavement's "Summer Babe" single, was deleted per a DMCA takedown notice from Blogger. I guess Matador doesn't like sharing as much as I do! But anyway, like I said in my last entry, expect a slight lapse in updates for the remainder of the month and into December, as I need to concentrate on end-of-the-semester business.

The Get Up Kids - Loveteller 7" MediaFire

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Surgery - Little Debbie 7" (1992)

Here's a loud one from the Nirvana-era wave of sloppy, noisy punk. Surgery was a New York band that, before jumping to Atlantic Records, put out a series of records on Amphetamine Reptile Records, this single being one of them. They were a band from the late 80's until 1995, when their frontman passed away. The single draws likeness to bands like Tar and Cows, although with a more alt. rock/grunge lean, with loud, repugnant guitar, scummy vocals, and maybe a little hint of humor thrown in. Pretty good underground alternative rock that never quite made it commercially, but is nonetheless dirty, catchy, heavy goodness fit for the ears. Shame about the cover though, huh? But I'm not complaining, this was a freebie. Apologies for the bit of surface noise.

Surgery - Little Debbie 7" MediaFire

EDIT 11/20: And I just now realized that I had a YouTube link up there the whole time. Hoo boy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nerdy Girl - Dime Store Hussy 7" (1996)

Okay. I have a solid hour before work, it's a gloomy, rainy day outside, and I'm currently burying myself and my sorrows in records before I spend my Sunday standing around for a few hours. What better time could there be to share another twee pop EP? Nerdy Girl was, maybe is, a pop quartet from Montreal that was, maybe is, fronted by Cecil Seaskull. Such a sweet voice on this girl, definitely a perfect fit for the music she's playing. This record was a split release with No Life and Janken Pon records, the former from Los Angeles and the latter from Montreal. Three down-tempo, sweetheart pop tunes for the long, incoming winter. Enjoy your Sunday.

For the obsessive compulsive (read: me), I accidentally put the release date on the folder and the tags at 1995, when in fact it's 1996. Who cares, but sorry!

Nerdy Girl - Dime Store Hussy 7" MediaFire

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Candyland Carcrash - S/T 7" (1996)

This has been passed around for years now, you're right. But the reasoning behind this entry is twofold: for one, I don't much feel like talking about my next share right now, and for another, I'm excited to finally get my hands on a copy of this. This is one of my favorite records from the genre and era, and if you're looking at this, you probably know what it is. It's also my chance to rip this for myself and simultaneously rid myself of the rip that's been tossed around the Internet all this time. There are three songs on this record, not two, and the B-side is "The Pain Will Double If You Leave Me Now," which has been incorrectly titled as the first track on the A-side, "Baffled on the Seventh Floor." The second track on the A-side is titled "Mine" I think; the insert's font is so hard to decipher. Some people say the track is titled "Science," but I don't think so. I guess you could say that the B-side also has two tracks, as there's groove split near the end with only the sound of feedback recorded to it, but I don't think that counts... Enjoy.

This is was released on Clay Garden, the same label that released a Channel 7" . On a side note, the copy I got of this record came with an insert from the late Very Distro, advertising the "new" Starkweather record. Thought that was cool...

The Candyland Carcrash - S/T 7"

And here are the raw, unedited .WAV files if you prefer. I tried to do the recording justice, but I realize that I could have done a bit better.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Morgan & The Organ Donors - Arrogant Man EP (2010)

A friend and I hopped on a train and braved the light rains and Giants fever in San Francisco last night to catch Broken Water on their current west coast tour, which will stretch as far as Tijuana if I'm not mistaken. No doubt a familiar name this year, what with their LP on Night People and all. But this entry isn't about them.

A three-piece Olympia punk band called Morgan & The Organ Donors are tagging along with Broken Water on their tour. While I hadn't heard them before last night, I was open minded. The name sparked my imagination, conjuring up fantasies of riot grrrl crusties (strange imagination, I know) or the like making a ruckus at an art space on a chilly Friday night. I was way off, though, as "Morgan" (real name Sara Pete) along with her "Organ Donors" (James Maeda on guitar and Fajr Wilson on Drums) belted out a handful of dance-y 60's garage rock tunes complete with all the best hooks imaginable. I don't dance, but even I was given to a little bobbing during their set. My friend noted the surf influence, especially the far out surf-related gear the guitarist was using that night. Great people, very great music! We talked with them briefly before and after the show, too, but I mention it only to confirm that they're rad kids. If any of your soul happens to be left after its inevitable jading, you'll dig the hook-ridden, punk-laden Arrogant Man EP.

If you like this, and you happen to be on the west coast, catch this band with Broken Water before it's too late. They're playing in southern California for the remainder of October and into the beginning of November, then turning around and heading back up to the northwest to take a breather and play a couple more. And while you're there, pick up this record.

Also, can I say that I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Whirl were also on the bill last night?! What a performance!

Morgan & The Organ Donors - Arrogant Man EP MediaFire
Morgan & The Organ Donors - MySpace
Morgan & The Organ Donors - Buy it from K

Monday, October 25, 2010

Zumpano - Wraparound Shades 7" (1994)

Before the New Pornographers, Carl Newman fronted another, lesser known Canadian Sub Pop band. That band was called Zumpano, a quartet that released this single and two albums within only a few years during the early nineties. Their album "Look What the Rookie Did" is up there as one of my favorite pop-oriented albums (in a long, long list), despite its rough concept and execution. Newman obviously bloomed later in his career, but his talent still shone through in his earlier efforts. This single, "Wraparound Shades," is backed with a rare cover of "Orange Air" by Jimmy Webb, a man who has recorded a million other songs in his lifetime.

Zumpano - Wraparound Shades 7" MediaFire

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Megapost #2: Bay Area/Not Quite Bay Area DIY Emo & Screamo from 2005 - 2010

Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive post. The title should have "that I have copies of" at the end to be a little more accurate, but I thought that would look silly. An ear-to-the-ground screamo geek in the Bay Area that's been conscious for the last few years might recognize some of these. And if not, here's a gift from me to you.

A recent outing to the first screamo-related show I had been to in months prompted me to rip my old demos and EPs by bands that I've met over the years. These bands did, and some still continue to do, DIY punk like it should be, and unless I'm mistaken all of these CDs were handmade, heartfelt jobs that are worth every penny I spent on them when they were new. And these guys always had tables full of stuff, be it music, artwork or whatever. I have so much attached to this music, it's ridiculous; the above picture along brings out a lot. I'm reminded of the last few years, the friends I made, the strange places I went, all the spaces around the Bay Area we discovered - a whole network of kids with enough positivity to power the houses they played in. I digress, though, as I'm speaking as if those memories are a thing of the past - they are as much the present as they were four, five years ago.

This is almost a vanity post, since I consider some of these people friends, and since I am also sharing the latest John Cota tape in this entry, which incidentally is their whole, remastered discography. Even though this may be a little more for me than it is for anyone else, I hope I can provide enjoyment to someone else by sharing this music. That being said, there are still so many more bands whose music I didn't pick up way back when. Some of these bands intertwine and often played with each other, so it's a given that, with a little digging, you're bound to find more. And go buy some of their music! Some of these bands are still together and still tour with other bands. Every person in these bands, that I've personally met and even those I haven't, were genuine, enthusiastic people who made great music free from ego, image, aesthetic, and other bogus stuff.

The following means a lot to me.

John Cota - "2009" Tape/Remastered Discography (these are the MP3 masters - thanks Max)

Home Is Colored Gold - Spring Tour Demo (this didn't come with a tracklisting, and I couldn't find one on the Internet - sorry!) - one member went onto John Cota
I Was The Explosion - Three Songs - one member went onto John Cota
Moldar - Last Five
Matsuri - Demo (this was their first, first demo I believe. I think their later demo had four songs, while this one only has three.)
Nord Mariner - 4 Songs
Nord Mariner - S/T CD - Redwood City emo band, who, unless I'm mistaken, are on hiatus but not broken up.
John Cota - Demo CD
John Cota - Tour CD
Matsuri/Moldar - Summer Tour 09 Live - great live recordings from last year, but I don't know where from
Moldar/Calculator Split

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bill Nelson's Red Noise - Revolt Into Style 7" (1979)

Stopped in to say hello at my favorite spot again this evening and ended up leaving with this interesting piece. Bill Nelson's Red Noise was fronted by guitarist Bill Nelson, who was a member of Be-Bop Deluxe prior to this eponymous project. The band released two singles as well as an LP, and all in 1979 apparently. Definitely falls into the new wave file, but Bill's music pushes the boundaries of the genre a bit on this single, touching on punk and synth pop tendencies throughout. Very aggressive, guitar- and synth-based music. All in all, a few bucks well spent. Not crazy about it, but it's not bad!

Bill Nelson's Red Noise - Revolt Into Style 7" MediaFire

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Further - The Further John Peel Sounds 7" (1995)

Readers may remember my entry regarding Further's first single on Bong Load Records from back in July. I picked that gem up on my own, but I bought today's share from Brent Rademaker himself. He had been selling Further-and-related records on eBay for a time and, eager to get copies myself, I browsed his eBay account for whatever he had been selling. Ever the naive one, I was disappointed at how much he had been charging for shipping (as it turns out, a little extra actually makes sense for a 2xLP) so I messaged him and asked him about working out a deal. Eventually, I ended up getting their John Peel sessions, the Sometimes Chimes full-length, as well as a copy of the Summer Hits CD for a cool $40 or so. Not bad, and certainly not what I deserved for berating his shipping policy. I suppose, if it's any consolation, I didn't know it was him until it was too late.

Anyway, that little diddy dragged on a bit too long. This record was released on Boxing Day Records, a label which either didn't actually exist, was so obscure that I can't find a thing on it, or was a disguise for self-releasing this record. In any case, this is a hard to come by record with even harder to come by recordings. If you dug the previous Further record, give this a shot. This came way after their first single however, and way after most of their material had been recorded, pressed, and subsequently out of print. You've got tracks from all over the place here, from the beginning of their discography to the "end." The rendition of "Misinformed Youth," which by the way is titled "The Kids Are All Wrong" on its original 2x7" release, is my favorite cut here.

Here comes the best part!

Further - The Further John Peel Sounds 7" MediaFire

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Built to Spill - So and So So and So 7" (1994)

Yeah, I'm on a pop kick again! It's 2010, so it's doubtful that a band like Built to Spill need an introduction. This one of their early singles from 1994. It was put out by the obscure Saturnine and was recorded at Dub Narcotic by Calvin Johnson. What could I possibly say to justify either of these tracks? What's more, what could I say about this band that hasn't already been said? These tracks, "So and So So and So From Wherever Wherever" and "Terrible-Perfect" (which incidentally shared lyrics with a Treepeople song), were later featured on "The Normal Years" rarities compilation CD that K put out in 1996, which I also have a copy of and am tempted to share. If you're at all familiar with Lonesome-and-earlier-era Modest Mouse or Martsch-related projects like Treepeople, you know what to expect here: Built To Spill in the early and even late nineties was something really special. Even shortly after the inevitable-and-well-deserved jump to a major label they put out some killer tunes (Fly Around my Pretty Little Miss, for example), which is saying something. But as for everything before that? Just listen. "Save some place in your mind / I'm getting good at time."

Built to Spill - So and So So and So 7" MediaFire

Friday, October 8, 2010

Names For Pebbles - Mods and Miniskirts EP (1996)

A very short-lived New Haven pop group fronted by someone named Joey Maddalena, who I suppose must be pretty famous somewhere in this crazy world. Pretty abrasive recordings with some garage rock influence here and there, poppy hooks and oddball musicians. You'll get what I mean by that last part by the second song, maybe; the keyboard bits are gem. This was their second record, was one-sided, and was hand-numbered out of one-hundred-and-fifty. This record was released by Blackbean And Placenta Tape Club!, the same label that put out some of Six Cents and Natalie's music. Hey, anyone ever work at Target?

Names for Pebbles - Mods and Miniskirts EP

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

V/A The Way Things Change Volume 2 7"

First off, let me say that it's been a mixed bag of new wave and punk material for the past few entries, so I'd like to mix it up and share one of my favorite volumes from a great pop compilation series. Second, I'm reluctant to share this particular record because, despite being fantastic, there is a lot of surface noise that I think is a result of the orange color and heavy vinyl; hopefully you'll be able to look past that. If there is enough response, I'll probably share the rest of the series, or rather the volumes I have.

The first volume of "The Way Things Change" was Red Square Recordings first release in 2001. Red Square was run by Jen Turrell of Boyracer and Possum Moods, among others. As you can plainly see, there's a great mix of pop-oriented bands on this particular volume, the obvious standouts being Softies, Microphones, and Dear Nora. I can't quite place what it is about this record that's had me playing both sides over and over again since I got it a couple years ago. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say it's the overall mood it conveys. The mood of every song is quite somber and longing, even Dear Nora's track, which is instrumental more or less. Also, if you notice, the album art is a drawing of boy and a girl standing in the rain. The album art changed from volume to volume, and I assume that they were released during different times in the various seasons and that it wasn't just a coincidence.

Whether or not the songs for each volume coincided with the seasons is a mystery to me, although it would be cool if that were the case. I'd say this a twee comp, but every song resides more in the stripped down bedroom realm, especially the Mac Dare and Park tracks. In any case, here it is, an overlooked comp with a handful of not so overlooked artists. By the way, the Softies do a Rocketship cover (guess which song) and, as always, the Microphones are overrated.

V/A The Way Things Change Volume 2 MediaFire

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Draw Blank - S/T 7" (2002)

Here's an oldie... well, an oldie where I come from. Not exactly, but they were close by anyway. Draw Blank were four-piece punk band from that were active in the early 2000's. If I'm not mistaken, this was their first record of two that they released. I never had the pleasure of seeing these guys live, but a local totally serious, eager, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, 1/3 hardline punk band (I guess it wouldn't hurt to mention them!) did a cover of their song "Hollow Years" in 2005 or so, and I've held onto these tunes ever since. I actually got my hands on a physical copy at a show last year, and could hardly contain my excitement, much to the owner's bewilderment.

I say that because this record, despite being close to my heart, is nothing extraordinary: just four guys doing punk their way (incidentally, that being the only way) one summer. But this record and band has a unique, carefree quality that many punk bands of today seem to forget about. These are non-pretentious, straight-forward jams with no gimmicks or egos attached; nothing plastic is apparent and nothing has been perverted with bogus attitudes. I don't claim to be the exhaustive source on hardcore/punk know-how and I'll never pretend to, but as an outside observer who's been going to shows nearly all of my life, I can say that whatever heinous ongoing transformation within the attitudes of some punk bands and their fans becomes manifest in the aesthetics and ideologies of some hardcore today. Punk becomes less and less fun when ego and image come before the music. But anyway, this isn't my soapbox and this blog isn't supposed to have a political bent.

There's very little information on these guys left, but superpunk extraordinaire Chris Hopkins over at Critical Hit Records wrote a lovely article wrought with more nostalgia than I could pack into this particular entry. Go there if you want to learn more. What follows is Draw Blank's full-length 7", recorded "in six hours" at Burnt Ramen. Enjoy the pro quality; there aren't even any groove splits in the vinyl. Now, whether the band is named after the S.O.A. song or not is a mystery to me...

Draw Blank - S/T 7" MediaFire

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rodney and the Brunettes - Little G.T.O. 7" (1978)

This is an interesting one that was fun to research. I was sorting through the stacks yet again at my favorite spot when the owner came out with a stack of 45s he thought I'd be interested in, marked way down of course. The only one I bought was this one, mostly because it was the only original of the bunch but also because I had no idea what it was despite it being on Bomp! On a side note, there was a copy of that complimentary live Jam EP stuck in there, but I'm a stickler for condition so I left it as well.

Rodney Bingenheimer was (well, is; he's not dead) a prolific DJ in the Los Angeles area who was heralded as being the "Mayor of the Sunset Strip" at the height of his fame. He gained notoriety for his radio personality and was friends with celebrities galore. He helped along lots of now noted punk bands that were just starting out at the time, the Germs being one of them I believe. Anyway, what I originally thought was a legitimate band called Rodney and the Brunettes turned out to be Rodney Bingenheimer performing a cover of the song "Little GTO" with Blondie in his backing band. Blondie put out this single with Rodney after he promoted their band extensively; this record was how they thanked him. The single was written by surf group Ronny & The Daytonas (more specifically John Wilkin), so you can put two and two together on the name similarities. The flip, "Holocaust on Sunset Blvd.," is cool and all, but I think that you can safely skip it. That is, unless you're a rabid fan of Southern Californian accents...

Rodney and the Brunettes - Little G.T.O. 7" MediaFire

Friday, October 1, 2010

Goodtime Washboard Three - Oakland 7" (1964)

I'll touch a little on my folk roots here and share a great single by this not-so-well-known group, Goodtime Washboard Three. The threesome was made up of "Wayne Pope on washboard, Bruce Bratton on washtub bass and Dick Fagerstrom on banjo" and played music with instruments you'd more likely find in a swampy Louisiana bayou in the early 1900's than in the Bay Area in 1964. I'm always on the lookout for new folk gems, so finding this single on Fantasy Records by such a familiar name (at least for me) was a real treat. Two cuts of California-themed tunes, which certainly helps in my continued enjoyment of them; I've played the single, "Oakland," quite a few times since I bought this. In fact, I'm really surprised I hadn't heard the tune before because, incidentally, the "Oakland" tune, apart from being quite humorous and entertaining, seemed to attract some popularity to the band. More than 12,000 copies of this single sold (apparently), and the band even appeared on the Bing Crosby show. Unfortunately, they didn't rise to the fame they thought they would; the albums they recorded never even saw the light of day. Despite this, some incarnation of the band apparently still exists and plays sporadically. All this history of my home, great music, and entertainment for fifty cents out of my pocket!

Goodtime Washboard Three - Oakland 7" MediaFire

Secret Ties - Dancin' In My Sleep 7" (1986)

Happy October. Here's a great synth-ridden, corny disco tune from 1986 on Nightwave Records, a small Hollywood-based label. Female-fronted with male backups, the single begins with a wobbly a cappella, then busts in with the keyboard beats complete with predictable poppy hooks. The flip is a lot slower, sexier and soulful, not to mention a lot less dance-y than the single. A cool single for fans of later disco stuff, especially the obscure side of space disco. I couldn't find a thing on this band, so someone should fill me in!

Secret Ties - Dancin' In My Sleep 7" MediaFire

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Repeat Offenders - So Long, Suzie Wong 7" (1982)

Another new wave-related single, albeit a less obscure one. Repeat Offenders were a five-piece band from San Francisco. As far as I can tell, they released this one single, contributed to a compilation, and then broke up in 1986. More on the new wave side than the previous entry, the single (also like the previous entry) has two cuts of female-fronted, poppy new wave stuff. I'm not sure whether they were purposely trying to be humorous, but the synonymous track makes me think so. W. K. Wong's got a great voice on these tracks though; that did it for me.

This was self-released on R.O. Records. Think about it.

Repeat Offenders - So Long, Suzie Wong 7" MediaFire

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Pearls - Running in Circles/Ripe Rage 7" (1980)

Obscure Los Angeles new wave/punk from the year 1980. The Pearls put out one single on Tonguelash Records, this one, and recorded an unreleased album. They appeared on New Wave Theater, although no one seemed to catch onto them. A nice recording with smooth, but occasionally snotty female vocals. It was tough to find information on this one, sorry.

The Pearls - Running in Circles/Ripe Rage 7" MediaFire

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hydroplane - Failed Adventure 7" (1998)

I'll hastily admit that I bought this one a few years ago solely for its in-store description: "NICE FEMAIL VOCALS, DRONEY, SPACE ROCK..." That's verbatim, friends. I guess record store employees aren't exactly hailed for their literacy. Regardless, here we have a haunting single from Hydroplane, a band that, regrettably, I'm unfamiliar with. Incidentally, I'm am familiar with a band that preceded this one, The Cat's Miaow, a Melbourne twee-pop extravaganza.

Strange, how those sort of coincidences work out sometimes. Even stranger is the blatant musical about face in comparison, with Miaow churning twee... butter (heh, sorry) and Hydroplane conjuring slow-burning, Dead Can Dance-esque minimal dream pop as downer as it comes. I can't speak for their albums as I haven't heard them (yet), but this single gives one a good idea. "Failed Adventure" is creeping and anti-climactic, a long, droning trudge backed with Kerrie Bolton's longing crooning. The flip side, "Now You Know All That You Need to Know," is bare bones, mainly made up of one faint drone and electronic beats, and is a bit of a throwaway, although not without its own melancholy merits. Made me think, perhaps the band recalling its past a bit? Maybe not.

This record was Elefant Records #97. Can't quite place this band next to anything genuinely similar, but it'll come to you.

Hydroplane - Failed Adventure 7" MediaFire

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Fents - First Offense (1983)

Another big surprise for me, I came upon this (cheap!) copy of the Fents' first record at my favorite shop and, once again, I was intrigued by the artwork. What I thought might be another hard rock find turned out to be surprisingly excellent jazz fusion fronted by keyboardist Adam Holzman. Although I am usually not one to take enjoyment out of jazz fusion (don't get me started on Weather Report, for example), I listened to this record for the first time reluctantly, and then three more times because I found it to be so great. Maybe it's just because I'm a sucker for a synth, but I found that Holzman's keyboard work carried these radical syncopated compositions to the next level, while the more guitar driven tracks I liked a little less. I enjoyed the track "Four's a Crowd" in particular for that very reason; I thought his work there was reminiscent of other obscure synth artists like Roland Bocquet, if they had made jazz fusion anyway! Incidentally, and oddly enough, Holzman went onto play and tour with Miles Davis. Holzman is apparently still musically active, though I haven't a clue about the remainder of the band. Sadly, the guitarist, Ted Hall, passed away a couple years ago. This band put out a second album and that was it for them as far as I can tell. This record was released on Not Yachting Records; it was hilariously published by How Come You Don't Have a Singer? Publishing. You should listen to it more than four times.

Here comes the best part...

...this copy was signed by the band, although the signature on the left was the "new guy" at the time. Now if only this band wasn't so obscure!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Furious Pig - Furious Pig EP (1981)

A strange one from London. Furious Pig were a very short lived quintet that made music using their voices exclusively - a capella, in other words, but not in the way you might think. It was an interesting $1 find; I almost didn't pick it up after listening to it at the shop, but I figured there must be more to this record than meets the eye. I got it home, made it through all three songs, and found that I was both bewildered and entertained, feelings well worth the buck I paid. This group, which took influence from popular avant-garde artists like Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa, set out to make a name for themselves in a National Melody Maker contest, but unfortunately didn't make the cut. Not ones to be discouraged, they continued to practice their droning chanting and went on to tour with the likes of The Raincoats, This Heat and Television Personalities. They even had a Peel session once. This EP, alongside a flexi and a couple compilation contributions, are all that this band left behind. A very intriguing "non-music," performance art gem that, incidentally, is worth quite a bit more than I paid for it. The label told me to play it at any speed, so I chose to rip it at 45 RPM because it sounded correct. I recommend playing it loudly while your neighbors are walking by.

Furious Pig - Furious Pig EP MediaFire

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Flock of Seagulls - Space Age Love Song 7"

Just a fun new wave one to close out my afternoon, don't take it too seriously! This is the single for this band's probably second biggest hit from their self-titled LP. This is my favorite song by this band, and a great example of dream pop-esque vibes used in new wave/synth pop music. Great for fans of those genres and/or people who haven't heard it before. It is backed with "Windows," which was available "for the first time" in the United States upon this single's release.

I have a couple other really rad LPs to talk about lined up. Have a nice week.

A Flock of Seagulls - Space Age Love Song 7" MediaFire

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Church - Columbus 7" Promo

Dug through Amoebas stacks three years ago and came upon one of the many versions of this single. The flip is supposed to be "As You Will" like the original, but is instead an edited version of the single. Cool huh? Not too cool, the edited version is mostly just the same single, except it's been trimmed down, probably for radio play. Still, a rarity, and a great single for fans and newcomers alike. A great, early single from this band who inadvertently spawned a plethora of sub par succeeding bands. For the curious, this is the W.B. (abbreviated for the sake of dispelling any potential attention it may reel in) promo; more information can be found here. Don't kill me, Kilbey.

The Church - Columbus 7" Promo MediaFire

Friday, September 10, 2010

Crawlspace - In The Gospel Zone

I went to my favorite record store today. While sorting through a stack that the owner hadn't priced yet, I found this (among other rarities that I didn't pick up/will pick up next time) sitting between a couple junk LPs. I ended up picking it up for three dollars.

Crawlspace, one of many synonymous Crawlspaces in the world, were an "Indiana-bred, Los Angeles-based" punk-influenced hard rock band that was fronted by Eddie Flowers of Gizmos fame. I put this on at the shop before I bought it, since I was instantly intrigued by the cover art but I wanted to know what I was getting into. It was a big surprise: the fusion of punk and space rock is spot on, and I found myself hooked within one song. The song "Aeroplane" in particular sounds more like a straight punk song than anything else. The best part is that sixteen minutes of the B-side is a cover of Can's "Little Star of Bethlehem," rendered into an all-out psychedelic space rock jam. In The Gospel Zone is an obscure little jammer that I'm glad to have discovered. Also, apologies if this rip is sub par - trying out some new settings in Audacity this time. Let me know what you think.

Crawlspace - In The Gospel Zone MediaFire

Monday, September 6, 2010

Linda Smith - Till Another Time 7"

A little less on the obscure side this time around, with this largely overlooked Linda Smith single on Slumberland. According to the bio, Smith was in a folk band called the Woods (not that Woods) before departing and incorporating her folk prowess with 90's minimalist lo-fi of the jangly twee kind. A taped solo effort, Smith relies on strummed guitar, tambourine, keyboard beeps and beats, as well as some reverb just as a sprinkle on top. Plus, it's on 90's Slumberland; if this is a mystery, that alone makes it worth a listen or two. A pretty standard pop single, but one that is not without its merits. The single may remind one of the shoegazey side of the Slumberland roster during the early nineties, while the flips are a lot lighter and more pop-oriented. This was Slumberland #16 and it's still in print. Tell me what you think after you count how many alliterations were inadvertently used in this entry.

Linda Smith - Till Another Time 7" MediaFire
Linda Smith - Till Another Time 7" Buy

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Knit Separates - Maybe In Time I Could Change & The Memory Relaxer 7"

The Knit Separates were a band from San Francisco that, oddly enough, included a member of Social Unrest. (Incidentally, I just passed up an opportunity to pick up that band's SU-2000 LP yesterday...) While Social Unrest played pretty standard 80's hardcore in Berkeley, the Knit Separates go in a completely different direction. These two 7"s are great and, I daresay, abstract examples of the "lo-fi" sound that was reigning during the early-to-mid 90's.

On a side note, I use the term lo-fi with slight reluctance, as it's a word that I have superficial problems with. What could be called lo-fi back when and what is called lo-fi now are two different things. In my opinion, it is something that is now applied aesthetically, and as a means of projecting a band's image. And besides that, it's a rather stupid term. With that said, let's move on.

These records are very interesting to me, although there is nothing complex nor particularly profound about these recordings. However, it's their unrefined, minimal qualities that make them as beautiful and genuine as bands like Un. Both bands have a similar, simplistic sound that relies mostly on twangy strummed guitar and a vaguely distracted vocalist. The remarkable difference them is that this band presents itself as quite humble. I gather that this was a group of musicians from different backgrounds, although similar scenery, who perhaps settled down and wrote down the melodies that had been festering inside them in the background for years. Maybe, maybe. This band is a bit of a mystery and it was difficult to pull up anything personal about them.

In any case, both records are worth a shot for anyone interested in recent outsider music with pop tendencies. The first, Maybe In Time I Could Change, from 1997, is overtly sad, short, straightforward and a little poppy at times. The second, The Memory Relaxer, from the same year, is a lot quieter, toned down and elongated. The band released their music exclusively on 3 Acre Floor Records.

By the way, I highly recommend the new Pregnant LP to be on your upcoming playlist.

The Knit Separates - Maybe In Time I Could Change 7" MediaFire
The Knit Separates - The Memory Relaxer 7" MediaFire
The Knit Separates - Biography

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Is it September? Already?

Time flies. It seems like just last week I started the fall semester, when in fact it's been almost a month. I've been quite busy and distracted lately, but I'm hoping to update some time next week or even this weekend. I have some real rad obscurities in the (so-called) lo-fi realm to share. It's funny what kind of awesome stuff you can find in cheapo eBay lots, let me tell you! Anyway, thanks as always to my readers and those who comment; it means so much that people are actually checking out what I'm posting.

Take care!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Broken Water - Normal Never Happend 7" (2010)

No sleep, more posts. This is the newest 7" from this Olympian ex-Sisters threesome. Two more tracks of heavy Sonic Youth influenced punk from the hazy alternate universe of Broken Water. Like their preceding LP Whet, it's as catchy as it is dejected. Unlike the LP, it's a bit slower, although not without the band's signature distorted effervescence.

Broken Water - Normal Never Happened 7" MediaFire
Broken Water - Fan Death Records Buy the record

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Twin Stumps - Demos (2008/2009)

Managed to finish my collection of this now defunct band's music. These demos from 2008 and 2009 are the last of it. Lots of otherwise abandoned recordings on the second demo in particular. Very excited to finally get these and equally excited to share them. Punishing noise rock from New York that, in my opinion, transcended their peers during their short time together.

Twin Stumps - Demo #1 MediaFire
Twin Stumps - Demo #2 MediaFire
Twin Stumps - MySpace

Friday, August 20, 2010

Plutocracy - Off The Pigs 12" (2010)

Jumping from the reminiscing to share the new Plutocracy EP, which finally arrived at my doorstep this morning. Six cuts of anarcho grindcore the way only Plutocracy can do it. It's no Sniping Pigz, but it's still rad. Any fan of hardcore or grind at all will dig this, I'm 100% certain. I'm too exhausted to say much more. Enjoy.

Plutocracy - Off The Pigs 12" MediaFire

(To the one person who downloaded the previous file: sorry, download this again. I made a mistake on the track "Dank Upon a Time" and forgot to split it from the rest of the B-side. That's the last time I update at five in the morning.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Company of Heroes - S/T (2006)

Per the previous entry, here is another oldie, and probably the only other instance of screamo discussion on this blog unless I dig up something else notable. A Company of Heroes passed through one fine summer evening in 2006 with (*the*) Kidcrash and Arse Moreira while those bands were on tour together. The notability of that alone is twofold: first, that Kidcrash passed through my tiny insignificant hamlet, and second, that they were at the top of their game back then. But I digress since that was the first and last time I saw/listened to them. I believe that A Company of Heroes opened the show, totally stealing the thunder from the locals' egos by being a remarkably tough act to follow.

I am halfway kidding, but in all seriousness, for being a band that continued to beat the still beaten horse, something I partook in myself for a time (hell, still do), they did a very good job. This was halfway through a decade that saw the rise of bands like Funeral Diner and Orchid, as well as people who were so earnest in their quest to educate the masses by spreading the word about "real screamo"... Wedged between the heaps of monotony and screachings of Half Moon Bayinite heavyweights were this little known quartet that stepped in for a moment then gradually faded away, leaving only this handsome package (pictured above) in their wake.

(Take note any bandanas and gym shorts in this video... mid-2000's, I do not miss you)

I haven't the slightest clue whether or not this band is still active. As far as how the album sounds... even speaking on it now I can say with confidence that it's a very firm work that can still hold its own four years later. The absolutely shrill, desperate vocals of Bryan Goss wrap together these nine standard, though sophisticated screamo compositions tightly; something about his voice alone does it for me, regardless of what he's saying. Besides the music, the CD was put in a hand made package with a taped-on photo, stamped label on the back, professionally printed CDs and a fancy insert on wax paper... all for $7, but I (or was it my brother?) paid $5 because I didn't have enough on me. Also, Final Fantasy-themed track titles.

A Company of Heroes - A Company of Heroes
A Company of Heroes - MySpace

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hijack The Disco - Working Is Easy (2004)

Switching back to sentimental feelings for a little while, and sharing some more little-known bands that passed through my town in the early 2000's. I'm cruising all the way back to 2004 or 2005 for this one. Hijack The Disco played a show at a now-defunct pizza shop in town that, if I'm not mistaken, presented about nine bands for $4. I tried looking for the flyer, but came up with nothing unfortunately. I'll keep looking.

Despite my blurry memory, I remember this band putting on a reasonable set. Although I was lost in a haze of oi! punk and screamo (more on that in a later update) back then and thus had a temporary disinterest in pop music at the time, I was nonetheless impressed with this Oakland threesome's (?) alternative rock-oriented pop tunes. I was also quite broke at the time, and I couldn't afford their new album, so I was only able to pick up this EP, Working Is Easy, for the cheap price of $3. A few bucks well spent, as this EP turned out to be a five-song gem of quality, imagery ridden pop music worthy of praise. Crisp, cleanly executed with catchy hooks and variegated moods.

Another popular band around this time was Panic! At The Disco. No, I am not a fan myself, but many other people were, so much so that Hijack The Disco apparently garnered some confusion regarding the name conflict. To dispel this, the band changed their name to HIJK, and thus they have been ever since. I have neither seen nor heard them since watching the aforementioned set many years ago, but I trust the band is doing well.

Hijack The Disco - Working Is Easy Mediafire
HIJK - MySpace