I typically steer clear of sharing music that's commercially available, but I'm making a semi-objection to that rule here. More about the mechanics of that in a moment, and why you should consider supporting some of this band's proper releases in a moment. Let me formally introduce you to the Pleasure Leftists, a now potentially defunct Cleveland, OH aggregation that should settle the notion once and for all that there is indeed current music that's still substantive and moving. Helmed by Haley Morris, she commandeers her three male compatriots through a churning, whirling maelstrom of post-punk-cum-darkwave rock, bristling with tension and density, bearing an unmistakable reverence for melody. Given Morris' ceaseless, banshee-like wail comparisons to (you guessed it) Siouxsie and the Banshees might be inevitable, but in fairness, that class of '77 never quite served their shtick up this relentlessly heavy and pounding. Over the course of two eps and 2015's Woods of Heaven, the Leftists quality control is/was strenuous, making damn sure every ounce of energy seeping from the pores of this co-ed quartet counted in a colossal way. Visceral, baby.
So, what exactly is that blueish blob in the upper-right corner? It's the cover of a limited and very lo-fi Pleasure Leftists cassette, featuring music from the group's 2011 & 2013 eps, both of which are conveniently self-titled. The only unreleased goodie here is a cover of the Cure's "One Hundred Years," which commences side two. Presumably printed up to sell at live gigs (I bought mine at a record show), the fidelity of this tape is meager at best, with the vinyl and officially released digital versions far outstripping it. But to give you a taste of what this band has to offer I'm sharing this in full...at a mere 56 kbps, a paltry rip compared to the typical 320 kbps I tend to offer. Also, I didn't separate the tracks. Why? To encourage you to purchase the considerably better sounding iterations of these recordings physically on wax or legally sanctioned MP3s. Give both sides of this cartridge a whirl, feast on the ample goth-y mystique, and support the Leftists on the platform of your choice - iTunes, Amazon, emusic, and if you want to locate actual vinyl specimens, may I suggest you try here.
Side one: Animal Heart/Future Fights/Passage on a Ghost Ship/Nature of Feelings/Morning in a Room/Suits Side two: 100 yrs/Hunger Split/Not Over/Elephant Men
Closer to when I started this thing of ours called Wilfully Obscure, I shared two regional Replacements tribute compilations. Sorry Ma Forgot to Let Out the Cat, featuring Athens, GA artists, and So What, concentrating on Austin, TX talent. While the sentiment and premise behind these albums were fine, the music was considerably inconsistent. In 1999 came a third Mats tribute, I´m In Love....with That Song!, this time not merely siphoning the talent of one particular city scene, rather an entire continent, yielding much more satisfactory results.
No household names to speak of here, just minor, albeit credible Oz power pop luminaries including DM3, Jack and the Beanstalk, Ice Cream Hands, and the Pyramidiacs. There are some excellent renditions of "IOU," "Alex Chilton," and "Left of the Dial." Less obvious songs are broached as well - "Favorite Thing" and 'Rock n Roll Ghost." Erbs and Pisces is Smudge's Nic Dalton and Tom Morgan. They simultaneously take to task the Replacements first single, "I'm in the Trouble" b/w "If Only You Were Lonely" with intriguing results Full tracklist in the photo to your right.
Another Record Store Day has just crept into the annals of retail history. This year marked the tenth anniversary, and although attendance was full bore per-usual (not to mention the frustratingly scarce limited runs of day-specific releases) something seemed a tad anticlimactic about this one. At any rate, I thought I'd revisit a couple of relatively recent bygone titles from 2015 and '16 respectively.
Technically it's not titled as such, but he four-song ep known as Alternates, was Sloan's contribution to the RSD fray two years back, featuring (yep, you guessed it) four alternate takes of songs that made the cut for their 2014 platter, Commonwealth. Side A takes the cake for me, with a more fleshed out ensemble take of the Jay Ferguson penned "Neither Here Nor There," and an a slower, revealing arrangement of Chris Murphy's "Get Out." Sloan's latest volley of albums haven't necessarily been their most rewarding meaning this companion piece to the aforementioned Commonwealth falls shy of essential for casual fans, and arguably not entirely crucial for diehards. You be the judge.
The concept for the pairing of relative post-punk newbies Metz, and intermittently active vets Mission of Burma has an elementary theme - have each cover a song by the other. Ironically, Metz don't take to task one of Burma's lauded signature songs (e.g. "Academy Fight Song) instead settling on an album cut from 2006's Obliterati, the group's second aughts era reunion album. I'm not as acquainted with Metz oeuvre, as it were, but Mission of Burma's coarse take of "Get Off" leaves me with the impression that both combos are a match made in dissonance heaven. Sloan- Alternates ep (2015, Yep Rock)
01. Neither Here Nor There 02. Get Out 03. 13 (Under A Bad Sign) 04. The Lesson (One Portrait)
Couple weeks ago I got a pretty hep request for Christmas' (the band) idiosyncratic debut In Excelsior Dayglo...and here it is. While I'm considerably partial to their much more developed sophomore disk, Ultraprophets..., (circa 1989) IED revels in it's own indigenous vibe - sometimes dissonant, occasionally challenging and always unscrupulously skewed. This Beantown co-ed trio, splits up vocal duties between string wrangler Michael Cudahy and drummer Liz Cox, the latter bearing no small resemblance to the B-52's Kate Pierson. Writ large, there isn't a pervasive pop angle to the record, and from a sonic standpoint Christmas remind me heavily of indie contemps Agitpop and Volcano Suns. To a lesser extent, the Pixies too, but that's a loose comparison at best. As mentioned, their next record proved to be more substantive, but there's no disputing that much like the holiday they nabbed their namesake from Christmas were indeed a singular and revealing entity.
01. Big Plans
02. Loved Ones
03. Boy's Town Work Song
04. True Solider of Love
05. Tommy the Truck
06. Girl Police
07. Dig We Must
08. Pee Wee
09. Everything You Know Is Wrong
11. A Pig Amongst Men
12. The Hottest Sun
13. Fish Eye Sandwich
Nine years ago I wasn't expecting such a fevered reaction to two records I shared by an old school Austin, TX outfit, Glass Eye. Those releases, the Marlo ep from 1985, and 1986 full length follow-up, Huge saw gazillions of downloads and at least two or three rounds of refreshed links. Amazingly, the band's official website is still intact, and evidently interest in Glass Eye is still palpable. I didn't realize it at the time I procured it a couple years ago, but the 1988 Christine ep was an appetizer of sorts for the quartet's second LP, Bent By Nature. The dynamic title piece is intermittently disciplined and wiry and one of the single most effective songs in their catalog. A traipse through Paul Simon's "Cecila" absorbs a full two minutes of it's precious 150 seconds building up to it's frenzied crescendo, albeit still gratifying. Christine winds things out with the sardonic country rendering, "The Ballad of Abraham Lincoln," a song bearing, shall I say, schizophrenic tendencies.
03. Perder La Guerra
05. The Ballad of Abraham Lincoln
When the Thumbs were active in the late '70s/'80s there was a myriad of directions they could have ventured into - ska, new romantic, rockabilly, hardcore, AOR, etc... The long and short of it all is that they wound up as an honest to goodness rock and roll band, sans any pretensions or gimmicks. Granted, that m.o. is much more scarce these days, said option wasn't much more tempting in the Thumbs era. About four years ago, I shared their previous, self-titled 1979 effort. At that point I found these Kansas blokes to be a tad common, and by a matter of degrees they still were three years later, but with age comes progress, and if you're lucky, inspiration. The Thumbs were indeed blessed with a spoonful of luck or two to tighten up their power pop cum bar band pastiche on No Price on Earth, hinting that they just might have listened to a Jonathan Richman or Velvets album or two. Kansas City to Lawrence Vinyl blog has provided some useful insight into this record as well, but isn't sharing the music contained within. That's where we come in.
01. The Coast is Clear
02. Who Wants This Sadness
03. Jennie Says
04. Like You
05. I'm Jesus
06. Out of His Mind
07. It Won't Satisfy
08. No Twist
09. (I Almost Feel) Like Facin' the World
11. Things You Gotta Know
12. The Payload
13. Last Word
Sorry I've been slack of late. I should have more needle-drops to post in the non-too-distant future. Here's one I wrote up for a publication about ten years ago.
if it wasn’t enough to man the coveted guitarist position in what is arguably
the world’s preeminent indie-rock combo, the Vancouver based New
Pornographers, Todd Fancey stretches his schedule for a band in his
own rite and namesake.Although NP reign
supreme in terms of the hipster quotient, Fancey are more overtly pop than his
full-time outfit could ever hope to be. In fact, Todd has coined his concoction
as “super pop,” and with immense, sublime wonders such as “Heaven’s Way,”
Downtown II,” and “Lost in Twilight,“ Schmancey is a veritable
saccharine avalanche.Absorbing it’s 14
selections in one sitting might be tantamount to an overdose, but aficionados
of The Pearlfishers, Heavy Blinkers, and Zumpano (a defunct Vancouver band with
ties to New Pornographers) will be more than up to the challenge.
01. Witches Night 02. Lost in Twilight 03. Call 04. Gulf Breeze 05. Bitter Life 06. Blue Star 07. Fader 08. Karma's Out to Get Me 09. Whoa 10. Feels Like Dawn 11. Heaven's Way 12. Downtown II 13. Let the Breeze In 14. Cross 'o Gold
The folks attending this early December gig at Hoboken's legendary Maxwells got an early Christmas present with a visit from one of L.A.'s rising stars. From the notes of the original taper, the Rain Parade had some competition with an inordinately chatty audience that particular night. Nonetheless, the paisley vibe was discernible, with a huge oriental rug occupying half of the standing room (or in this case, sitting room with a good bit of the audience seated on the tapestry). Standards such as "What She's Done to Your Mind," 'Saturday's Asylum" and a run through Syd Barrett's "It's No Good trying" are all present and accounted for. A fascinating memento for Rain Parade aficionados of what was apparently a very unique gig. Special thanks to whomever digitized this set and supplied sleeve art.
Also, explore RP's compilation of demos, Demolitionhere.
01. Any Other Way
02. No Easy Way Down
03. No Good Trying
05. I Look Around
06. What She’s Done To Your Mind
07. Look At Merri
08. Saturday’s Asylum
09. Talking In My Sleep
10. It’s Gonna Work Out
11. All My Friends
12. This Can’t Be Today
13. Carolyn’s Song
14. 1 Hr ½ Ago
In 1977 this Memphis quartet "broke the ice" with Wanna Meet the Scruffs?, a colossally lauded proto-power pop album that unfortunately a relative few could partake in the invitation of. Chalk that up to limited availability I suppose. Furthermore, given it's esteemed reputation, it's been said that the fortunate few who owned the record dare not relinquish their copy under any circumstance. When it was finally brought into the digital age in 1997, the band revealed a treasure trove of unreleased recordings pre/post-dating Wanna Meet... Potentially, a lot of Scruffs fans back in the day may have missed the single I'm presenting here, as it seems nothing of theirs was nearly as publicized as that glorious debut.
Despite their locale and numerous connections, The Scruffs didn't gravitate to Big Star so much as the Raspberries. That influence isn't as pervasive on recordings subsequent to Wanna Meet, but by the time of this 1980 7" the band wasn't quite MTV caliber either...but they were oh so close. "When Donna Romances" is a nugget of power pop bullion for the ages, still subscribing to the precious moxie of that first album. The flip, "Rock n' Roll Heads" plays it faster and looser - literally, possessing a tell tale Ramones-y rhythm, curtailed just shy of the punk threshold. You can check out some additional Scruffs recordings, including some that are relatively recent here.
If it seems unimaginative of me to follow up my One Plus Two post from last week with yet another ep by the same folks in less than a week, I'm guilty as charged. In fact, on the heels of the Watercolor Haircut, I fielded a request for the band's follow-up The Ivy Room. Am still picking up on that strummy, Athens, GA vibe, and this record just might be the finest out of the three of them. Pretty much everything on Ivy jibes with me, however I found side two to be the spunkier side of the coin. Shut your eyes, pretend it's left-of-the-dial time in 1985, and light a stick of patchouli for yourself.
01. Other Days
02. September Night
03. Mystery to Me
04. Secret Question
I first/last wrote about One Plus Two almost a decade ago, so I suppose that makes me overdue. Information on this quartet was scant at best back then and ditto now. The equation in question were a co-ed indie pop foursome, potentially hailing from North Carolina, and from the sounds of it, it wouldn't surprise me if Mitch Easter was occupying their orbit (though he isn't credited here). The edgy record sleeve and oblique title lend themselves to a band with some mystique to enlighten us with, though in the case of One Plus Two their angle of attack was comparatively plaintive. Strum. Jangle. Hooks. Collegiate sensibilities. Etc. Chances are you've encountered a record of this stripe before, but for what it's worth it's done properly and satisfies in spades. .
01. Look Away
02. Much More
03. Over You