Thursday, March 22, 2018

Shoes - 5/10/14, Bell House, Brooklyn, NY

As the band readily admits between songs, "We don't get out much."  Indeed, It’s not every day that Shoes play out, even in robust markets like New York.  Much to their credit, Zion, IL's power pop mavens did trek due east for the first annual Brooklyn Power Pop Festival in the spring of 2014.  In addition to the billing of the gig, they had a good enough excuse to spread their wings as just two years prior they dropped their tenth, and much belated studio album, Ignition.

For the uninitiated, Shoes were leading lights in the power pop vanguard during the late '70s/'80s, bringing definition and prominence to their chosen genre.  Any whiff of the brothers Murphy (Jeff & John), Gary Klebe, (and for this performance) Johnny Richardson on percussion, in the twenty-first century is nothing short of an event for Shoes obsessives.  Granted, their pipes aren't quite as pristine as they were three decades earlier, but their overarching approach at this 2014 concert was just as nimble and airtight as their halcyon days.  In addition to a devastating volley of classics like "Burned Out Love," "Too Late," "Tomorrow Night," and "Love is Like a Bullet," they excavate some particularly deep tracks from Stolen Wishes, and all the way back to Black Vinyl Shoes.  You'll hear plenty of newer cuts too, on this superb audience recording that can often boarder on a soundboard tape.  I've made this available in MP3 and FLAC below. 

01. Intro
02. Head vs Heart
03. Hangin' Around With You
04. When It Hits
05. Your Devotion
06. Say It Like You Mean It
07. Mayday
08. Too Late
09. Don't Do This To Me
10. Love Is Like A Bullet
11. Curiosity
12. Boys Don't Lie/Do You Wanna Get Lucky?
13. She'll Disappear
14. Your Very Eyes
15. In My Arms Again
16. Burned Out Love
17. Torn In Two
18. The Summer Rain
19. Heaven Help Me
20. Feel The Way That I Do
21. Tomorrow Night
22. Hot Mess
23. She Satisfies
24. Capital Gaina
25. encore break
26. I Don't Miss You
27. Hate To Run

MP3 (320)  or   FLAC

Sunday, March 18, 2018

I saw the light but I missed the heat.

Another batch of four eps, including two that are quite recent.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Means - Of Communication (1981, Spurious)

It appears The Means called Downey, CA home, but otherwise they were a bit all of over the map...yet never quite lost. "Talk it Over" has a sprite, staccato-y guitar line and wave-ish synths, "Russian Roulette" finagles with a catchy dollop of two-tone, blue eyed-ska, and "Fryin' Pan" excavates a fine vein of power pop, a la the Knack and early Joe Jackson. A good bit of the remainder of Of Communication isn't as memorable, but another keeper, "Love's Too Bad" has a skip towards the end that I couldn't remedy.  Take it or leave it.

01. Talk it Over
02. Russian Roulette
03. Love's Too Bad
04. Roomate
05. Fryin' Pan
06. In My Mind
07. In Your Eyes

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

45 Spiders - Mizu No Oto (1998, Deep Reverb)

I featured one of 45 Spiders other albums, Standard Forms of Communication, when this site was still in it's relative infancy. I think I appreciated that one more than Mizu No Oto, and having said that, I also have to concede that this co-ed D.C. trio weren't exactly the pinnacle of their forte, specifically indie rock.  Truth is though, there's really no one in their class around these days, playing the "thoughtful albeit challenging" card, a la bands of their ilk from yesteryear like Versus, Seam, and even Yo La Tengo circa Electr-o-Pura.

Skittish webs of guitar, spindly dissonance and a mildly downer undercurrent go a long way in defining Mizu No Oto.  The shorter tunes ("Derive" and "Everything Goes") tend to be the more memorable ones here, but the entire record is worth investigating.  Enjoy (you will).

01. Go Plum Crazy
02. Crescendo Until Howling
03. Derive
04. Speed Fiends do Glover Park
05. The Unfolding of The Rest Of Her Life
06. Everything Goes
07. Mizu No Oto

Sunday, March 11, 2018

They make children...not like this one...

The bonus disk, and only the bonus disk from an expanded reissue of a seminal debut album, circa 1980.


Catching up with Saint Marie Records - Amusment Parks on Fire, Miniatures, and more.

There aren't many record labels I follow, much less one whose entire roster is at the very least acquaintance-worthy (if not always fanboy-worthy).  Saint Marie Records is one of those rare exceptions for me, much like Sub Pop and Matador were in the '90s, however S/M's focus is on dream-pop, both present and past.  Here's a roundup of some of their latest - and quite possibly greatest.

Amusement Parks on Fire have been one of my go-to bands since I caught wind of their debut in the mid '00s.  Based in Nottingham, England they just so happened to bear a resemblance to their London neighbors to the south, My Vitriol.  Both groups employed heaps of effects and amps, but APOF drew more from the shoegazer side of the noisome spectrum (think Swervedriver meets Loveless), and better yet released three glorious records and about a half dozen eps between their initial 2004-10 lifespan.  Fronted by Michael Feerick, it seemed the Parks never lived a moment when they're weren't excelling, even if it fell like they were literally the best kept secret in music.

Their third album, Road Eyes appeared in 2010 and was as incomprehensibly good as their previous
offerings.  Eyes was a near-concussive sprawl of amped-out riffs, wily dynamics and sweet penetrating hooks, packing just enough woozy shoegaze aplomb to distinguish themselves from...well, anybody, when you come right down to it. You could say APOF were equal parts cumulus clouds and freshly laid asphalt, sparking a visceral but grounded rush to whomever was in earshot.  "Flashlight Planetarium," "Echo Park" and the title piece were plenty blissful, but engulfingly cinematic in scope to boot.  Frankly, it all felt a little too good to be true - and in reality it sorta was, because in the wake of Road Eyes they disbanded.

In 2017, APOF reconvened and before the year was out, so was a new single, "Our Goal to Realize," virtually picking up right were they'd left things on Road Eyes, in a gauzy haze of feedback and melody.  In addition, to the new 45, Saint Marie just issued an expanded version of Road Eyes, exactly doubling it in length with a whole 'nother nine-song LP consisting of b-sides, demos and unreleased scree.  It's available in modest quantities on black and splatter colored vinyl directly from the label.  You can also get your digital fix there, or if you prefer Bandcamp or iTunes.

By Jove, it’s as if I’ve located Cocteau’s…Twin!  And it only took 35 years.  In all seriousness, New Zealand by way of Australia's  Miniatures are wholly unrelated to Elizabeth Fraser, et al, but they exude so much of the sonic dazzlement their forbearers made their calling card, it’s hard to underemphasize the comparison.   In spite of everything they cull from the not-too-distant past, Miniatures gracefully tuck in their own billowy endowments.  Their debut, Jessamines, is dream pop in the most epitomizing sense of the term, spilling out an engulfing glaze of chiming chords, and Annemarie Duff’s ethereal vocal prowess.  It’s reverie-inducing stuff for sure, and if you’re anything like me you’ll gladly forgive them for employing that relentless drum machine.  Jessamines is in fact not just one of the ten best nu-gaze albums of 2017, but perhaps the decade itself.  A must, must listen, and you can do so straight from Saint Marie, Bandcamp, and the usual digital vendors.

Last but not least we have the sixth installment in the Saint Marie's Static Waves compilation series, a double disk CD that serves not only as a label sampler, but a treat for dedicated supporters can hear a spate of previously unreleased goodies.  The aforementioned Parks and Miniatures make a showing, as well as primo stablemates Presents for Sally, Snow in Mexico, Bloody Knives, Secret Shine and Spotlight Kid, but the gravy for me was a really cool volley of remakes.  We Need Secrets take on the Lily's early nugget "Claire Hates Me," Crash City Saints do a splendid job with OMD's "Souvenir," and a subdued interpretation of New Order's "Regret" is handled by Lotte Kestner.  And if you want some icing atop said gravy, Jeff Runnings of For Against renown donates an exclusive demo, "Watch," dating back to 1988!  Another embarrassment of riches, and the price tag is attractive to match.  Get it right from the source here.  BTW, be on the lookout for reissues of For Against's 1990s catalog soon, or better yet, check out the Pledgemusic campaign to fund it. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

V/A - It's Another Iowa Compilation - Unchartered Territories (1988, South East)

So there's probably not a lot of household name talent here, but I think you'll be pleasantly (if not incrementally) surprised.  I actually posted the predecessor to Vol 2 eons ago, and there are quite a few acts that follow over (after all, the records only came out a year apart and that weren't that many comp-able indie acts in the Hawkeye State).  At any rate, both sides of this collection are pretty consistent, with the first half containing a trifecta of bands I've enthusiastically dedicated space to n W/O over the years, namely, Full Fathom Five, Dangtrippers, and the Hollowmen.  The last of those three contribute a distorto-molten gem "Pavilion," which would have fit splendidly on either of the Hollowmem's two albums.  As for the relatively unknown quantities 23 Lies mine a noir vein, Movable Feast and Stone Wakening deliver some riff savvy indie rock, while the Merry Pranksters and Made Ya Look wield something approaching power pop. As for House of Large Sizes, I could never get into them.  Really gave 'em a chance too.  BTW, my apologies for the radio station writing on the cover.

Incidentally, many more volumes in the Iowa Compilation series would could down the pike, and even existed long enough to accommodate the biggest band to ever come out of the state, Slipknot. Indie rock makes for strange bedfellows folks.

01. The Eclectics - Big Tough Dreams
02. House of Large Sizes - What If There's a Fire
03. Artificial Limb Embrace - Let me In (Your Blood Bath)
04. Full Fathom Five - Ego Explosion
05. Dangtrippers - Cult Pop Guru
06. The Hollowmen - Pavilion
07. 23 Lies - A Pale Blue in the Muddy Grey
08. The Tape-Beatles - Ads Become the News
09. Stone Wakening - A Thought
10. Ted Cutler - Crawl
11. Chronic Love - Sid
12. The Merry Pranksters - Now
13. Movable Feast - The End of the World
14. Made Ya Look - The Dreamers
15. The Punishment Club - Getting Too Round
16. The Tape-Beatles - Individual Choice

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Band of Susans - The Peel Sessions (rec. 1988/89)

Aw, man.  This is probably the only Band of Susans album in my collection (save for their first ep which I posted ages ago) that isn't on iTunes.  Their history is a bit lengthy, so I'll let you peruse the details here if you're so inclined.  The overall premise of the band, at least initially, was to have an inordinate amount of guitarists (say, three or so) to pack as a big a sonic wallop as possible (they did).  The band's original lineup entailed no less than three women named Susan (surnames: Lyall, Tallman, and Stenger), but only the latter of those three (on bass) made it onto the pair of John Peel Sessions I'm presenting here.  The sessions surrounded a couple of their early and most cathartic axe-squalling salvos, Hope Against Hope and . 
Love Agenda.  Though his involvement in the band was brief, Page Hamilton performs on the 1988 Peel session, which was just prior to him running off to the races with Helmet, and I believe he sings on the songs as well (sure sounds like him).  The first of the sessions kicks off with a rather straightforward rendering of Gang of Four's "I Found That Essence Rare," and a slightly more unhinged take on the Stones "Child of the Moonlight."  The real highlight is the Susan's own maelstrom, "Hope Against Hope," perhaps their defining moment.

The July 1989 session yields merely two cuts, including the Susan's spin on Wire's Chairs Missing chestnut, "Too Late," and yes, it cooks.

10/4/88 session
01. I Found That Essence Rare
02. Throne of Blood
03. Child of the Moon
04. Hope Against Hope

7/2/89 session
05.Which Dream Came True
06. Too Late

Sunday, March 4, 2018

For every closed door open windows let in air...

Stunning, forward thinking indie rock from 2015, with a tincture of retro pizazz to keep things interesting.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Private Domain - s/t (1987, Chameleon)

I've seen this one kicking around on Ebay and in record stores for ages, but I didn't take the plunge until a few days ago.  Bought it based on the intriguing album jacket more than anything else, which is entirely superficial of me.  Turns out that Private Domain claimed San Diego as their physical domain when this disk lurched onto the racks, courtesy of Chameleon Records, who I believe were more renown for acts like Dramarama, but I digress.  Not the subrosa masterpiece I was hoping for, the album (which was re-released a year later on another label, bearing a vastly different track list) is your proverbial mixed bag.  PD's approximation of white boy rasta on "Turn Out Right," and their apparent signature piece "Absolutely Perfection" are at the very least passable, and in some cases outshine the album's less satisfactory moments (like the pitiful power-ballad misstep "Broken Hearts").  Despite some '80s shtick and period keyboard trickery, Private Domain were at their most effective and assertive when they skewed to a riffier album rock motif, exemplified on "So Comfortable," not to mention the pseudo power pop of "Burn the Torch," which was a hell of a lot more convincing than Cheap Trick's sappy radio hit at the time.

01. People Living in Shadows
02. Spiratual Warfare
03. Don't Need That Much
04. Just Let Me Love You
05. So Comfortable
06. Absolute Perfection
07. Burn the Torch
08. Broken Hearts
09. Turn Out Right
10. Wrong People

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Fat Tulips - Starfish (1994, Vinyl Japan)

The first and only album from these Nottingham, UK denizens, following an avalanche of well received singles and EPs.  Fat Tulips were your sort of quintessential co-ed twee-tet, with Sheggi's humble, every-girl vocals and Mark D's steady volley of hard strummed chords.  They were an indie label-only proposition, existing from 1987-94, and they seemed to fly the banner of the unheralded imprints they recorded for.  I can't say how Starfish stacks up to their earlier offerings, because I simply haven't heard enough of them, but the brunt of this album is above average, albeit not always shattering.  Many selections hearken back to the stylings of the then recent C86 movement, and elsewhere you might catch a glint or two of the Primitives.  Enjoy (or not), but I think you will.

01. So Unbelievable!
02. A World Away From Me
03. Ribs
04. The Sweetest Child
05. Chainsaw
06. I Promise You
07. My Secret Place
08. Double Decker Bus
09. Clumsy
10. If God Exists
11. Big Toe
12. Nothing Less Than You Deserve
13. Letting Go
14. The Death of Me
15. Never

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Designated driver falls down on the floor, I guess I'm staying over again.

The 2000 sophomore effort from lauded Halifax, NS pop meisters, who supplemented faint symphonic tinges to an already intoxicating formula.


The Choir - Artifact: The Unreleased Album (2018, Omnivore) - A brief overview.

The pickings (both literally and figuratively) for fans of Ohio, proto-power pop legends, The Raspberries were remarkably slim after the quartet disbanded in 1975.  Sure, there were the four legendary albums to fall back on - Fresh, Raspberries, Side 3, and Starting Over, but there were next to no buds remaining on the tree.  In fact, no non-LP b-sides, outtakes, expanded reissues or the like were to be had, and most fans (even the die-hard variety) haven't even encountered demo or alternate renditions of the bevy of the band more well known staples, such as "Let's Go All the Way," "I Wanna Be With You," and "Overnight Sensation."  The only compensation for dedicated Raspberries devotees jonesing for a few more morsels came in the guise of frontman Eric Carmen's solo records, and a handful of spinoff bands like Tattoo and the often rewarding Fotomaker, involving guitarist Wally Bryson.  At best, the Raspberries would reunite in the twenty-first century, and grow a pair of live reunion albums (including the recent Pop Art, which documented a stunning 2004 performance at the House of Blues in Cleveland).  And ironically, the only way forward for ears hung up on the 'berries is in fact...backwards? 

The core lineup of the Raspberries, Eric Carmen, Dave Smalley, Jim Bonfanti, and Bryson, didn't materialize out of thin air when they congealed in the early-to mid seventies.  All of them, minus Carmen spent some time in the regionally successful, Mentor, OH-based The Choir - at one time or another anyway. Four singles were minted between 1966-70, including the minor classic "It's Cold Outside," which has been covered ubiquitously ever since.  Bearing a considerable Brit Invasion bent, the Choir didn't exactly bear the status of innovators, but with a sharp, albeit slyly rough-around-the-edges acumen they were a poplar live draw.  Before shutting the lights off for good in 1969, a final clutch of recordings were committed to tape, much of it seeing the light of day for the first time on Artifact - The Unreleased Album.

One facet to bear in mind regarding the Choir is that they underwent about seven different lineups and permutations during their tenure, and in fact, the version of the group you'll hear on Artifact contains only one fellow who crossed over into the Raspberries, drummer Jim Bonfanti.  This poses the question, just how much significance will this album hold to even to the most dedicated of the Rasp's fanboys?

Well, it's not a Raspberries album, nor does it logically predict what Eric Carmen and Co. would unfurl on those aforementioned and coveted four albums.  This leads us to judge Artifact almost wholly on it's own merits.  There are few overarching generalities to make about this record, save for the competence and execution of it's architects.  It's more of a matter of what appeals to you at the moment.  The sprite "Anyway I Can" bears a distinct Left Banke lilt, and is probably the only song in the bunch that possesses any inspirational antecedents to the more renown spinoff band in question.  Shades of the fab four abound...but so do Traffic, on organ-laced cuts "If These Are Men" and "Boris' Lament."  I could probably have done without the long-winded instrumental "For Eric," but elsewhere The Choir redeem themselves on the driving "David Watts," which would have probably slotted in nicely on an early Who or Kinks affair.  In the grand scheme of things Artifact is less about lineage and considerably more about the era it emanates from, and thankfully, it's not a record merely geared to folks who couldn't get enough of a sugar fix from those handful of Raspberries disks.  By the way, Artifact was preceded by another posthumous Choir compendium,  Choir Practice on Sundazed in 1994, rounding up some of the band's earlier single sides and then some.   

Artifact is available now from Omnivore, or iTunes and Amazon

Friday, February 23, 2018

Swallow the Bird - s/t LP (1987, Scorpio)

Since I can't find any background info on this rather miscellaneous quartet, this will be a short-ish write-up.  This appears to be Swallow the Bird's lone album, issued by Scorpio Records, the label that pressed all of their LPs on red, transparent vinyl.  Swallow lead mouthpiece and axe-slinger, Wayne Radly's vocal parlance loosely resembles that of World Party's Karl Wallinger, and to a lesser degree Robyn Hitchcock, but the similarities sorta stop there.  In fact, the vibe is considerably more humble here, and Swallow's quasi-narratives and bar-stool observations (Time to put money in the meter of life, per "Army of Time") are appreciated, if not outright relished in bite-sized increments.  A rather economical quartet, these gents understood how to properly mold slightly off-center keepers like "New Shoes" and "Your Neighbor Makes Me Sick" without over or under-doing anything.  If any of you have any pertinent deets on StB, by all means chime in. 

01. My Rockin' Horse Has Died
02. Alaskan Headquarters
03. Swallow the Bird
04. Army of Time
05. New Shoes
06. Dictionary Lover
07. Your Neighbor Makes Me Sick
08. New Suburbia
09. Migraine
10. Hourly or Salary
11. Lightning Won't Help
12. Eastern Death Mark

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Stained Veil - Livin on Leavin (1986, Smash)

How many of you kept tabs on Greek post-punk/goth bands in the '80s?  Yeah, me either.  Stained Veil were one of those very contingents, and they were a better late than never discovery for me.  Their's was a not-so-maudlin approach to the darkwave thing, sometimes bearing more in common with early New Model Army and The Wipers (the latter of whom they were known to cover live) than Bauhaus, Joy Division, etc...  A bit deficient in the melody department, they compensated with a textured and methodical modus operandi, that oozed a mildly sinister and subterranean mystique.  I believe the Livin on Leavin album was the only wax that was issued during their existence, and as good as this record's piercing guitar leads and overcast demeanor was, their subsequent recordings were doubly satisfying.  To be exact, those later tracks were released posthumously a few years ago under the title of Endless Hours, and are available from iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp.  Highly recommended, even if Livin on Leavin doesn't blow you away.

01. Change of Time
02. Reasons to be Alone
03. Dorian
04. Livin on Leavin
05. Without Them All
06. Lost
07. It's All the Same

Sunday, February 18, 2018

All I ask is for release, no matter what the cost.

A debut album from exactly thirty years ago.  Hard to believe.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

V/A - Lost in the Haze Vol. 21

My apologies for not posting more this week.  Hopefully this will help make up for that.  I'm following up on two previous installments in the Lost in the Haze series, a hand-curated array of compilation CD-Rs, courtesy of the now defunct Not Lame Records label and distro.  For the unacquainted, Not Lame flew the power pop flag high circa the 1990s-'00s, with an emphasis on CDs sold strictly through mailorder.  The CEO would frequently incentivize purchases by tossing in a handmade and self-curated cd-r compilation of impossibly rare songs that never made their way into the digital era proper.  God knows how many volumes existed in the Lost in the Haze series alone (at least 21, obviously).  Accompanied only by a tray card track list with no other pertinent details about the music presented, these compilations were stuffed into paper cd envelopes, and would tend to accumulate in various piles in my house.  With a veritable absence of artwork they went out of sight and out of mind for years until I was able to organize them until a few years back

The focus of Lost in the Haze was centered on overlooked and arcane also-rans (with the occasional rarity from a superstar) from the '70s to the early '80s. Volume 21 delivers no shortage of stunners: Susan (a male fronted band), New Hearts (who I think are actually a band named the Speedies) and Tattoo who featured none other than ex-Raspberry Wally Bryson.  I wish I had more time to provide a synopsis of the ten bands making the cut here, but hopefully you'll walk away with a discovery or two.  The tracklist is to your above left.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Band of Outsiders - Acts of Faith (1987, Sourmash)

New York's Band of Outsiders, must have truly lived up to their outsider quotient, as there is nil info or remembrances to be had on them, at least in cyberspace.  The cult band in question, had ties to yet another NYC cult act, Certain General.   The overlap between them will likely mean nothing to a good 99% of you, but if you want a more detailed timeline of their somewhat complicated confluence, Trouser Press lays it all out for you.

The Outsiders evoke the tenor and tonality of a group far more storied than they apparently actually were.  Still, that didn't stop them from swabbing elements from contemporaries like the Feelies, Dream Syndicate, Let's Active (occasionally) even stretching a little further back to the Soft Boys and the Velvets.  Their approach was more traditional than advanced, lending itself to a wholly earnest aptitude, which must have really flown in the face of flash and superficiality of their chosen era. Per Trouser Press:

Band of Outsiders relied not so much on hooks or abandon as an ensnaring ambience.

Acts of Faith, partially consisting of material from earlier EP releases, is a pleasurable if not a tad meandering listen.  I found most of the highlights residing on side two, including a John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band cover, "Remember," and the even brighter and livelier "Clean Saint," which loosely suggests an affinity for John Wicks and the Records.  The album caps off with the wailin' "Weeping Willow," a bratty, organ-laced, garage rock rave-up.

01. Conviction
02. I Wish I Was Your kid
03. Somewhere East
04. Conversation
05. Longer Than Always
06. Remember
07. Killing Time
08. In a Minute
09. Fire in the Wall
10. Clean Saint
11. Weeping Willow

Sunday, February 11, 2018

...and if the wall seems like a door, attach new hinges to it so you can use it.

From 1991.  This is what you might call an "unaffected" major label debut.  A rarity for sure. 


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Mexican Pets - Nobody's Working Title ep (1994, Blunt)

This gem of a band/record breezed by my eyes not too long ago when I spotted some of their recordings on one of my file-sharing platforms of choice.  At the time I had no idea who Mexican Pets were, but the name must've caught my attention because before I knew it was downloading a folder of supposed "early demos," quite randomly at that.  Smart move on my part.  As it would soon become evident to me the Pets were a bygone Irish inde-rock outfit who to my sheer good luck wielded a penchant for meaningful songwriting couched in a distortion-savvy, albeit tuneful construct.  To this set of ears, similarities to one of their contemporaries in the opposite hemisphere, namely Australia's Glide, made for an enticingly pleasant surprise, though MP's likeness to the aforementioned was in all probability a sheer coincidence.  All of this aside, the songs on that demo spoke for themselves, drenched in bittersweet, melancholic sentiments, intermingled with melodic but fuzz-addled guitar swells (a la Swervedriver and early Dinosaur Jr.), all cloaked in a raw, mid-fidelity context that allowed the Pet's warm, analog hues to come bristling to life so genuinely.

The Pets' recordings never made it stateside, and the band folded by the late '90s, having only one proper album to their credit, HumbuckerNobody's Working Title is actually a consolidation of two earlier EPs, and those songs wound up on yet another future compilation.  A decent overview of their career can be accessed on Wikipedia, and hopefully there will be more to come regarding them in the not-too-distant future on these pages.

01. Stigmata Errata
02. Subside
03. Magnet Force
04. How to Have More Fun
05. Bruise
06. Merry Hell

Friday, February 9, 2018

Confuse a Cat - Ankles tape (1992, 360)

Well, I know this won't be for everyone, but Confuse a Cat are/were such a WTF proposition I couldn't resist pitching this into the sphere.  Their moniker (a nod to Monty Python) should tip you off to their decidedly eccentric and crooked nature. Hailing from the relatively conventional environs of Birmingham, MI, this coed foursome sounds like they had a shared affinity for the Violent Femmes, Stump, Agitpop, and perhaps Captain Beefheart.  The overarching vibe on Ankles is loose, but nimble, with bassist Jenny Gabel's skittish bass runs punctuating an already frisky sonic backdrop.  No power pop or overt catchiness here, yet CoC's tunes are just structured enough to infiltrate the fringes of your cerebellum - that is if you're willing to invest multiple spins of this often tricky reel.  "Let the Bugs Crawl" and the rambunctious, violin-enhanced "Latin Libra" are a couple of the arguable highlights here.

01. Latin Libra
02. Mellow Soul Breath
03. T.V. Boy
04. Let the Bugs Crawl
05. ¡Whirl!
06. Empty
07. Junco Bird

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Silver Tears - s/t ep (1984, Ripe)

I believe someone requested this a few months ago.  More rock o' the '80s, from southern Cali by the looks of things.  If you liked 415 Records acts like Red Rockers you're bound to dig this, although Silver Tears steered clear of upright accoutrements that contained fancy buttons and such.  A fairly pedestrian yet occasionally compelling modern rock modus operandi abounds here, with a bit of an Anglo bent dontcha know.  I especially enjoy the ringing guitar tones percolating on the melancholy-ish "Safe Home."  And maybe I'm the only one to pick up on this, but mouthpiece Roger Prescott extends a vocal panache that negligibly resembles Joe Strummer.  Like I said, that interpretation is entirely mine, so make of it what you will. 

01. Over and Over Again
02. Safe Home
03. High Life
04. New Funk