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