Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Metal Flake Mother - Deem-On 7'' (Moist, 1990)

Metal Flake Mother
Deem-On 7''

Rating: 6.5 dried up pens out of 10

Metal Flake Mother is best known in my local areas as a predecessor to the famous Squirrel Nut Zippers.  Much to my surprise, they were also apparently the predecessors of the vastly underrated Family Dollar Pharoahs.  MFM are on sort of a surfy, Pixies-like alterna-college rock path - nothing groundbreaking, but an enjoyable slab of Pepto Bismol pink (!!!) wax.  You would have never expected the Zippers to be the next step from this for Jimbo Mathis, but knowing this band also lead to the Pharoahs and their instrumental surf rock makes PERFECT sense. 

Shalamar & Gary U.S. Bonds - Deadline U.S.A. & D.C. Cab (MCA, 1983)

Shalamar / Gary U.S. Bonds
Deadline U.S.A. / D.C. Cab
Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack "D.C. Cab"

Rating: 5 mohawks out of 10

D.C. Cab remains the greatest movie of all time that stars Mr. T, Gary Busey and Bill Maher.  I dare you to find me a better one.  I watched this movie way more times than is probably healthy as a kid.  Subsequently, I not only own the full length soundtrack, but this 45 as well.  The Shalamar song is still kinda awesome, and produced by Giorgio Moroder!  Very, VERY eighties sounding.  I just listened to the Gary U.S. Bonds side and have already forgotten it. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Teenage Fanclub - Mellow Doubt 7'' (Creation, 1995)

Teenage Fanclub
Mellow Doubt 7''

Rating: 7 kickin' dancers out of 10

Teenage Fanclub might be the greatest pop band of all time.  Don't argue with me.  The front of this is the title track, also featured on the great record "Grand Prix."  The flip is not only unique to this release, but has a fantastic name - "Some People Try To Fuck With You."  Good, not great, song that is probably fitting for the other side of a single. 

Kublai Khan - Alexander the Great 7'' (Chocolate River, 1996)

Kublai Khan
Alexander the Great 7''
Chocolate River

Rating: 7.5 meth loads out of 10

Kublai Khan were a Berkeley band in the June of 44/Shipping News math rock mold, which is a direct descendent of Slint and that lot.  I first heard of them from a Zum compilation, and surely picked this up used at some point at one of the local Amoeba Records.  All three songs on this are great and highly recommended if you like those bands already mentioned.  As a bonus, the second song is called "Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat."  Let's get more songs named after awesome wrestlers music producers!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bomb Pops - Girl Daredevil 7'' (A Turntable Friend, 1994)

Bomb Pops
Girl Daredevil 7''
A Turntable Friend

Rating: 5 shackled ankles out of 10

I have no idea where I got this Bomb Pops seven inch from, but I know I've had it forever.  Maybe a bargain bin during my freshman year at UNCW?  Possibly from the radio station on campus when I worked there?  It's the sort of record that's just good enough to hold onto, but not get excited about.  Pretty typical twee pop from that early nineties era.  You could definitely do worse I guess.

Victory and Associates - Party Savior 7'' (Seismic Wave, 2010)

Victory and Associates
Party Savior 7''
Seismic Wave

Rating: 6.5 empty drums out of 10

Gold vinyl!  I don't think I've ever seen that one before or since.  Not sure why, it looks pretty great.  Victory and Associates come from Oakland and while I'm technically friends with a couple of the members (officially making this "friend rock"), that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable.  They've got a "big" rock sound - sort of singalong NYC hardcore punk mixed with seventies glam rock in the vein of Starz, if you can imagine such a combination.  They're definitely a tough one to easily describe.  The title track is for sure the best of the two, a catch track that almost drifts into Les Savy Fav territory.  The b-side "Thousandaire" doesn't hit quite with the same level of awesome, but it's not horse meat either. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Kingsbury Manx - Bronze Age (Odessa, 2013)

The Kingsbury Manx
Bronze Age

Rating: 8 telephone chords out of 10

The Kingsbury Manx seem to be an easy band to overlook.  That's even true here in the Triangle, where both the band and I live.  They don't perform live a ton but when they do it's to little buzz and middle-sized crowds at best.  And all that is a shame because they are one of the best folk pop bands to be found anywhere.  I place them in the same vein as the Clientele and Mojave 3, who perform a similar brand of dreamy, almost orchestral-sounding pop music.  Even a comparison to Wilco isn't far fetched, especially if you're referring to older "Summer Teeth" era Wilco before Nels Cline came in and barfed a bunch of talented-but-terrible guitar all over their sound.  

This is music that rewards those who listen closely, with hooks that creep in rather than grab you from the first note.  Their self-titled debut record might still be my favorite, perhaps partly because of nostalgia, but the band keeps getting better with age.  Someone could easily convince me that "Bronze Age" is their best output, and I doubt I'd have much of a retort.  "How Are Things Done" and the upbeat Grandaddy-ish "Future Hunter" are as good as anything the band has written, and either could and should be used to convert folks into fandom.  The Manx deserve it. 

Grifters - Corolla Hoist 7'' (Shangri-la, 1992)

Corolla Hoist 7''

Rating: 6 controlled farts out of 10

A pair of sludgy Grifters songs, "Corolla Hoist" and "Thumbnail Sketch."  Sometimes listening to this band makes you think the record is dragging.  Both are enjoyable songs, at least in the sense that anything the Grifters do is enjoyable.  In my mind they occupy the same space as folks like Nick Cave or Tom Waits in that I have to be in the right mood for their brand of abrasive rock.  But those times when you are in the mood it's pure gold. 

The Pets - Baby It's You 7'' (Raw Deluxe, 2006)

The Pets
Baby It's You 7''
Raw Deluxe

Rating: 6.5 smooth faces out of 10

My first repeat offender in reviewing old seven inches, the Pets return with another pair of good songs.  Like before, both tracks are high quality (but not stellar) punky garage pop.  They were always a band that was more enjoyable live rather than recorded anyways, and the recordings are perfectly fine.  Maybe the best thing about this release is the baby blue marbled wax it's made out of.When going the colored vinyl route I highly recommend this combination.  

Additional useless information - etched into the run-out on side A is "Root Beer Zen;" side B features my life motto, "Beef Beef Beef."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Small - Makes Me High 7'' (Matt Label, 1991)

Makes Me High 7''
Matt Label

Rating: 7 pink petals out of 10

Small (or Small 23 as they would later be known) were a staple of the Triangle music scene but never got the acclaim the big three did - Archers of Loaf, Polvo, and Superchunk.  It always felt they were just outside that group in both listenership and press.  It also doesn't help their legacy that the label they were on, Alias, has gone under.  This was their first release I believe, back when Eric Bachmann of Archers of Loaf was one of the guitarists and vocalists.  He only occasionally took lead though, and the music was a little janglier in a Replacements sort of way so you'd really never confuse the two bands.  The title track is an early staple of the band and well regarded by me, and the b-side tracks "Nasty Little Chick" and "Somebody Owes Me Money" are a little rough as the group is still finding their sound, but still worth checking out if you're a fan.  I've got a few more of their singles so you'll be hearing more from these guys. 

MOTO - Magic Words 7'' (Jetpac, 1992)

Magic Words 7''

Rating: 6.5 manly feats out of 10

I've always thought of MOTO as the garage pop version of Guided by Voices - they're led by one man, Paul Caporino, and an army of additional bandmates that have come and gone over the years.  They've released a ton of music over the decades, though MOTO have definitely not hit GBV's numbers.  And more than anything, both groups specialize in quick, simple pop songs that get stuck in your head.  That said, both songs on this single, "Magic Words" and "Ghosts" are not the band's best work.  Decent tracks sure, but not on the level of classics like "I Hate My Fucking Job" or "Dance Dance Dance Dance Dance To the Radio."  Still worth a listen though, maybe just not as a starting point for the long-lived group.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Clash - Rock the Casbah 7'' (Epic, 1982)

The Clash
Rock the Casbah 7''

Rating: Duh.

The Clash...they were a pretty good band I hear.  Not going to bother with the title song because almost everyone can sing it from heart, and for good reason.  The flip side is a track called "Long Time Jerk," which sounds like a "Sandinista" outtake or something that would have appeared on an early Big Audio Dynamite release.  What I 'm saying is the song has lots of keyboard laser sounds obviously.  

As a side note, I have no idea when to call something a 45 or a 7''.  This is a 45, but is it not also a 7''? I think I'll just call any record this size a 7'' to keep things simple. 

Lifter Puller - Lifter Puller 7'' (Skene, 1995)

Lifter Puller
Lifter Puller 7''

Rating: 6.5 outnumbered tanks out of 10

I always and still prefer Lifter Puller over the follow-up and more popular band the Hold Steady, but honestly not a lot separates them.  LP are little slower, more melodic, less soundtrack for dive bar brawl.  These two songs, "Slips Backwards" and "Nassau Coliseum," are exactly what you expect from the band, decent tracks but nothing to mess your pants over.  This does appear to be the only location to get the first song though, for you collector sorts.    

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Dodos - Carrier (Polyvinyl, 2013)

The Dodos

Rating: out of 10

Another good solid indie pop record from the Dodos.  I'm sorta racking my brain on something interesting or worthwhile to say here...the record sounds pretty much how you would expect their new album to sound, not as good as their early work like "Visiter" but certainly worth a listen.  I full expect to forget about this record and then rediscover it a year and a half from now and get excited about.  It wouldn't be the first time I've done that with the Dodos.  

As a side note, this might be the worst and/or most pointless review I've ever written, and that's saying something.

Pipe - Ashtray 7'' (Merge, 1993)

Ashtray 7''

Rating: 9.5 hiccup parties out of 10

Pipe.  PIPE.  MOTHERFUCKIN' PIPE!!!  I have a love of this band as strong or stronger than any other band in existence, so know that going in.  That said, this record is fantastic and if you disagree fuck you very much.  Sadly, they're not as well known outside of the Triangle as they should be, but in my heart and brain and even loins they are superstars.  The front of the record is the title track, a driving punker in the vein of Drive Like Jehu but better if you can imagine such a thing.  The flip is a cover Joy Division's "Warsaw."  Sure, you might not need another Joy Division cover, but you're getting it and you're gonna like it because they make that song theirs and now the original is lucky to be considered second best.  The only reason the score on this one isn't perfect is because there aren't more songs. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hurl - Madison Earful 7'' (My Pal God, 1996)

Madison Earful 7''
My Pal God

Rating: 7 brown trout out of 10

Hurl were a crazily overlooked band in their day and continue to be so.  I'm sorta guessing at this release date as I can't seem to find documentation anywhere online as to when this actually was released.   The title track is a mathy post-rock gem, the sort of song that had me listening to this band through a lot of college.  The flip side "Dual Showman" is decent but sorta devolves into noise at the end (something that can be seen as good or bad depending on your particular tastes).  This is a good slab.  As a bonus, the sleeve is silk-screened and it looks awesome. 

Acid House Kings - Play Pop! EP (Marsh Marigold, 1992)

Acid House Kings
Play Pop! EP
Marsh Marigold

Rating: 6 gravy boats out of 10

As if the release date above didn't give it away, this is a really old Acid House Kings release...maybe even their first?  The band definitely isn't at their twee pop best, but you can hear the basic building blocks in this early work.  Really missing the great harmonies that make me think of this group, guess they hadn't discovered that voice yet.  The first song is called "She Fakes Apples" and I really have no idea what the fuck it's about.  How do you fake an apple?  Maybe this a Swedish translation issue.  Decent track though.  The other three songs are all decent but nothing worth writing home about.  This seven inch is worth seeking out if you are one of those nerd fans that needs to own everything, otherwise I wouldn't put too much effort into it.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Love Language - Ruby Red (Merge, 2013)

The Love Language
Ruby Red

Rating: 6 closed circuit cameras out of 10

I'm quite fond of the Love Language, they're local lads (and ladies depending on the line-up) and they've put out a couple of very enjoyable records.  But this third outing, "Ruby Red" - while definitely not bad, just isn't holding my attention.  Nothing jumps out and grabs you instantly after a few listens the way tracks from the previous albums did.  It certainly sounds good though, and maybe it's a slow grower that grabs me eventually, or maybe it will take a live viewing of these songs to further trigger my interest here.

The Clap Band - This Is My Notebook 7'' (Rodent, 2000)

The Clap Band
This Is My Notebook 7''

Rating: It's Fuckin' Weird.  

You know when you can't find it on Discogs you've got something.  The Clap Band were a special gem from SF in the early 2000s, a band likely to end up on one of those outsider/weirdo record compilations at some point.  Just two dudes clapping and sorta singing/chanting about topics like auto-asphyxiation masturbation.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Obviously, words cannot do justice this band. 

Frank Stallone - Far from Over 7'' (RSO, 1983)

Frank Stallone
Far from Over 7''

Rating: 5 disco ducks out of 10

I can't remember why or where I picked up a lot of my short players, but I really REALLY don't know how I ended up with this Frank Stallone record.  The title track is the theme song to the "Saturday Night Fever" follow-up "Staying Alive."  The song is as cheeseball early eighties synth-dance pop as the movie, and you've certainly hear it many times before if you're my age, even if you didn't know Stallone sang it.  It's somehow terrible and enjoyable at the same time.  The b-side track is...who cares. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Jesus Lizard - Fly on the Wall 7'' (Touch and Go, 1994)

The Jesus Lizard
Fly on the Wall 7''
Touch and Go

Rating: 7.5 broken throws out of 10

It's the motherfuckin' Jesus Lizard.  Even if the b-side "White Hole" is just a pile of noise that made me think my speakers were broken, the title track is good enough to get this one a high rating.  Luckily it's also featured on numerous other records of their, so you don't even need to hunt this down unless you really want to.

The Pets - Sticky Situations 7'' (Sweet Rot, 2006)

The Pets
Sticky Situations 7''
Sweet Rot

Rating: 6.5 pale ravens out of 10

The Pets were a fun garage-punk-pop band from Oakland that I got to see a few times when I lived out that way.  They were never anything groundbreaking and neither is this record, but it's still a good quick listen.  Title track is definitely the winner, with the b-side "Never Ask for Help" not moving the needle much in either direction. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Get-Go - Jittery 7'' (Crunchy Record Stuff, 1997)

The Get-Go
Jittery 7''
Crunchy Record Stuff

Rating: 6 broken lovers out of 10

I'm not entirely sure how or when I came into possession of this record by the Get-Go.  As a person who moved from North Carolina to San Francisco, I may have been drawn to the fact that it was a San Francisco band on a small North Carolina label.  No matter I suppose.  Anyways, this is a very nineties-sounding indie pop act with both male and female vocals...sounds very reminiscent to what Teen Beat and K  and some of those labels were putting out in those days.  Title track "Jittery" is a catchy, enjoyable tune.  The flip side "Transistor Kisses" is completely forgettable - seriously, I just listened to it and have already forgotten what it sounded like. 

Garden Variety / Jejune - Split 7'' (Montalban Hotel, 1996)

Garden Variety / Jejune
Split 7''
Montalban Hotel

Rating: 6 thrown things out of 10

I've always loved Garden Variety, and their side of this slab "New Guitar Parts" still holds up as a really good song.  This band should have been much more popular.  Jejune is on the other side - in the mid-nineties at the height of my emo interest I was indifferent about this band, and this most recent re-listen did not change that stance. 

Whatever Brains - 4 Song EP (Sorry State, 2012)

Whatever Brains
4 Song EP
Sorry State

Rating: 7.5 beginning plagues out of 10

(Moving forward I will occasionally be including reviews of older seven inches I own as I go through my collection and figure out what I have, what I need to keep, and what I need to get rid of.)

A limited-edition Whatever Brains seven inch for Record Store Day in 2012 (limited to 220 copies total).  Like all things Whatever Brains, it fuckin' rules.  As the title suggests it includes four songs - a Double Negative cover, a Wall of Voodoo cover, a demo, and a remix of one of their songs by Waumiss.  If you don't already know the originals they cover you'd think they were just WB originals.  Wish I could find MP3s of this somewhere to listen to in my car or on my phone or wherever else I don't have a record player (aka anywhere not in my house).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Oblivians - Desperation (In The Red, 2013)

In The Red

Rating: 7 gray lobsters out of 10

Despite being an old man that should have been following the Oblivians from the start, I actually worked my way back to them from the fantastic Reigning Sound (both groups feature the fantastic Greg Cartwright or Greg Oblivian as he is known with this group).  "Desperation" marks their first record in over fifteen years, but you'd never know it from listening to the album.  Well, it is a little cleaner and better produced, and the entire group are better musicians than before - I suppose this can be seen as a positive or a negative depending on how dirty you like your garage punk.  All I know is this thing sounds great from start to finish for me, especially when Greg is the singer.  It won me over right quick and stands up to repeated listens.