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!