Monday, July 19, 2010

Weed Hounds - Beach Bummed 7"

Weed Hounds, it seems, have quickly become a very familiar name. Their newest 7", this one, has already been passed around, consumed and digested in the so-called blogosphere, but I don't think it'll hurt if I throw my own comments into the mix. Taking obvious influence from 90's fuzz-y giants like My Bloody Valentine, Weed Hounds produce contemporary shoegaze-tinged pop diddys especially reminiscent of Black Tambourine. The big difference is that Weed Hounds seem to travel down a more pop-oriented, summer themed road. Also, as soon as I put on Beach Bummed, I was immediately reminded of the 1991 single Granny 9X by Seam. It was peculiar how similar the introductions to those songs were, although no plagiarism was involved of course; just scary similarities. Besides, Beach Bummed, like its B-side Skating Away From The Cops, is a lo-fi summery tune as opposed to slowcore dynamite. This 7" seems like just the thing for a lonely summer day, when everyone is gone and you're hanging out under the shade... or something. Can't wait to see what's next with this band; if I'm not mistaken, a full-length is coming up.

Weed Hounds - Beach Bummed 7"
Weed Hounds - MySpace

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gaze - Seedless 7"

A little more obscure Rose Melberg-related project on K Records. This already sounds like another Melberg worship entry, which is even more ridiculous in this case considering she isn't the frontwoman in this band. Gaze was Miko Hoffman on guitar, Megan Mallett on bass, and Rose Melberg on drums, along with all three of their voices. Two songs were recorded by Calvin Johnson, with the remaining one being recorded by John Collins (New Pornographers) and David Carswell (Smugglers) at their JC/DC studio in Canada. Slow-mo standard pop recorded in 1997. This was International Pop Underground volume 84.

Gaze - Seedless 7" Mediafire

The Cannanes - Frightening Thing

A really fantastic single by Australia's Cannanes. The flip side is wonky and pretty forgettable in my opinion, but "Frightening Thing" is a bona fide twee pop gem that is as catchy as hell; it's honestly one of my favorite singles. This was International Pop Underground volume 37. I got this for $0.98 despite the sticker's objections. A shame about the clip, though.

The Cannanes - Frightening Thing Mediafire

Friday, July 16, 2010

Government Alpha - Hesitation/Consumption

Picked this up about three, maybe four years ago at Amoeba for the displayed price. Never thought I'd find a Government Alpha record in the dollar bin, let alone his first one from 1995 on Vinyl Communications. This record's labels call for both 33 and 45 RPM, so I ripped it at both speeds for your dual enjoyment. This is the sole work of one Yasutoshi Yoshida, who is also a member of Monster DVD.

Government Alpha - Hesitation/Consumption (33 RPM) Mediafire
Government Alpha - Hesitation/Consumption (45 RPM) Mediafire

Thursday, July 15, 2010

White Stains - White Stains EP

Deviating quite a bit from the theme of my last few posts with this obscurity. I came upon this EP in a local thrift store, wedged in between a couple gospel records that are probably still there. An old friend was mine was considering buying it, but he decided to let me since he was broke at the time. I was immediately intrigued by the artwork, so of course I snagged it for a couple bucks. Anyway, I have him to thank for this entry.

Getting it home, giving it a spin, I took in the eerie darkwave-esque tunes of San Francisco's White Stains, a five piece who apparently only put out this EP. Creepy vibes, downright strange imagery, even a few (you guessed it) pop tendencies in some spots, especially dead on in the Glockenspiel bits. The lyrics are a little reminiscent of fellow San Francisco natives Switchblade Symphony (there's a reference I never thought I'd make again), although this record is less brooding. Lots of references to God and theology. A very intriguing and enjoyable record.

I'm glad that I am blogging about this now rather than back then, because when I attempted to dig up information about this band, I believe that I got this band mixed up with a later Swedish band of the same name. This band is made up of three women and two men (which is contrary to another person's comment that this was an all-girl band), while the other darkwave band seems to revolve around two Swedish men, not to mention this particular record was recorded in San Francisco in 1983 while the latter White Stains were active beginning in 1987. Both bands, incidentally, have a similar sound, so I wouldn't be surprised if they somehow ended up being the same band... but signs point to no. Any further information about this band or release would be appreciated. It was Round Black Records #1, evidently the first and last release according to Discogs. Members, as they are credited on the back, were Contessa Kathleena D'Onofrio (guitar and vocals), Contessa Susana Volkana (vocals and tapshoes), Contessa Suzanna Ramsini (piano, Glockenspiel and vocals), Wally Sound (guitar and bass), and David P. Silva (drums). Awesome artwork on the front and back.

White Stains - White Stains EP Mediafire

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Softies - He'll Never Have To Know EP

No doubt a familiar name and record to anyone who doesn't live under a rock, or just listens to pop music. This particular Softies EP was released in 1995 on K and was only preceded by their Loveseat 7" on Slumberland. Four twee pop tunes done the only way the Softies could do them: cute, sweet and incessantly melancholy. I can always count on Rose Melberg to take a upbeat melody and render it into a nostalgic anthem of teenage longing. This is the first record of theirs I've had the pleasure of adding to my collection, so I'm more than happy to share it with readers who may be unfamiliar, or those who lack quality MP3s of the recordings.

The Softies - He'll Never Have To Know EP Mediafire

The One AM Radio - Credible Threats (2010)

I'm pretty late on this one. I ripped this and uploaded it to what.CD as soon as I got it in the mail, but somehow never got around to posting it here. Better than never, but I'm sure this incredible single has no doubt been passed around already... Oh well. Another batch of contemporary poppy goodness from this former one-man project (if I'm not mistaken) called The One AM Radio. Includes a remix of the single on the B side by a member of the Mae Shi. Enjoy.

The One AM Radio - Credible Threats 7" Mediafire

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Further - Filling Station

Hoo boy. Where to begin? Well, first of all, if you haven't heard this record or the ever obscure Further at all, it's very important for you to do so. What better place to start than here, with their first 7" on Bong Load Records from 1992, which delivers two slices of brilliantly executed 90's indie rock rife with poppy hooks... Honestly, I'm trying to do this record/band justice, but there are only so many words I can use. This record also differs a bit from their later material which tends to be more sloppy, noisy and unrestricted (three perfectly fine qualities by me.) This record is a bit more cohesive and probably what stuck them with the stigma that they were ripping off bands like Dinosaur Jr. "Filling Station" builds you up slowly, keeps you high, and "The Sad Truth" sends you out in a wobbly, cynical alt. rock haze.

Further - Filling Station 7" Mediafire

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Raymond Brake - New Wave Dream b/w Secret

Any hardcore peruse-r of North Carolina indie rock, or perhaps just 90's indie rock in general may recognize this Polvo-worship band. The Raymond Brake were just a group of kids playing instruments in their garage it seems like - barely nineteen and twenty - and yet they displayed enough skill to rank up with their big name contemporaries. I was happy to snatch this from a Discogs user about a week ago for a fair $6 or so. I got a bit more than I bargained for, too, getting a early version of their fantastic song "New Wave Dream," this one being an old recording that I hadn't heard before. While the rendition here isn't my favorite, the B-side "Secret" makes up for it, delivering a clean and melodic diddy a little reminiscent (at least in my opinion) of Superchunk if they were prepubescent. A really great single that I'm glad to have gotten my hands on. Now if I could just get their full-length, Piles of Dirty Winters, I would be a much happier man.

Here is a more woozy, superior, dreamy version of New Wave Dream from the aforementioned full-length:

The Raymond Brake - New Wave Dream b/w Secret MediaFire

Gone To Croatoan - They (2008)

Sorting through my box of 7" records, which incidentally I'm running out of space for, I rediscovered this obscure little gem from an equally obscure band hailing from Portland. Gone To Croatoan hopped on a two-dollar, 9+ band show that my friends and I (more so my friends than I) put on last spring (technically summer for me since I was done with school by then) in our late friend's living room. That was my highlight of my spring and probably my whole year, running over there right after I got off work and staying there through the whole night, even after someone tore a hole in the wall and shattered a sliding glass door. Although I'm tempted to put up the flyer that I made for it, that isn't what this entry is about. And also, the flyer is a ghastly sight, but we needed something.

Anyway, sorry, let's move on. Gone To Croatoan were the first band to play that show, albeit to only a handful of kids. I had my immediate doubts, seeing a two-piece band made up of only a drummer and a bassist. But what an unexpectedly impressive - and loud - performance they put on after all. Here is a video of part of their set. Although it doesn't really showcase a lot of the music, instead showcasing an alcohol and perhaps adrenaline-induced blackout, it does provide an example of how much power these guys can push out of a simple setup (Taken from their website.)

This particular 7", They, does a pretty good job of showing how this unconventional of an outfit can do a grindcore/punk hybrid record right, or at least their own way. Side A is speedy and effective punk music while side B is elongated, sludgy, distorted - just a real messy, ugly, fantastic nightmare. This is not pretty music by any means, and I say that with no ire implied (although, judging from my blog, I am a wuss and I enjoy a lot of wuss music.)

Gone To Croatoan - They

Monday, July 5, 2010

Frozen Embryos - Demo (2010)

If it just so happens to apply to you, happy (belated) Fourth of July. I suppose if I sought out one, I would be at a party feigning enjoyment, but instead I'm here writing up this entry, which is just fine by me. Besides that, my day didn't completely go to waste: I trekked out to Gilman St. to see Defiance, Ohio's second Bay Area show for this summer. I openly admit, I love that band, though I am only familiar with Share What Ya Got and thus I only recognized tunes from that record with a couple exceptions. Not a fan of the folk punk sub-genre other than that band, though. Too played out for me... But that's a story and opinion for another day.

Four other bands supported Defiance, Ohio at that show; among them was a new Oakland band called Frozen Embryos. I was reluctant to sit out their set given the chilly winds outside in Berkeley this evening, and I'm glad it worked out that way. This three-piece delivered some real catchy - dare I say it - garage punk tunes not unlike what's been coming out of parts of Florida lately (St. Dad immediately comes to mind, especially on the vocals.) The vocalist was also very open about his sexuality and views in between songs; he explained before one song that he, being a homosexual feminist, believed women shouldn't be the tools of the violent straight men in the world.

As far as the tunes go... well, it's a rough demo, although that's not much of a deterrent to already noisy, sloppy punk music like this. I enjoyed their performance and their overall vibe live, and their demo gives a pretty good idea of what they're setting out to do. The vocals are snotty and obnoxious in the best way - completely complimentary. The vocalist himself seemed like a pretty nice guy as well; he was giving away a zine that he wrote alongside the $2 demos, but I didn't pick it up because my bag was already full enough as it was.

I went looking around for any online contacts for this band, but none were found. They put an address on the back cover of the handmade demo, but I feel uncomfortable posting it in a public, albeit relatively unknown, space. I guess you'll just have to wait until they blow up.

The clip played at the beginning of the tape was taken from My So-Called Life.

Frozen Embryos - Demo Mediafire