Monday, April 28, 2014

The Clientele - Falling Asleep 7'' (Merge, 2014)

The Clientele
Falling Asleep 7''

Rating: 7.5 fancy dances out of 10

The Clientele are definitely one of those bands I'll forget about for long stretches of time, and then I hear some of their dulcet AM radio dream pop and fall in love all over again.  This slab of Carolina blue wax is part of the year-long seven inch subscription series Merge is running throughout 2014, their 25th anniversary.  I'm not a Clientele super-fan but as far as I know both of these tracks are exclusive to this release, and both are fantastic - though I'd personally give a slight nod to the B-side "Orpheus Avenue" as the stronger of the two.  I have a feeling a lot of Clientele fans are going to be spending a nice chunk of change buying this one off of eBay or Discogs. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pagans - What's This Shit? 1977/1979 (Thermionic, 2014)

What's This Shit? 1977/1979

Rating: 7 wife kites out of 10

I bought this Pagans record on a whim this past Record Store Day, not because I wasn't sure what to think of the band, but because I had no idea the release existed!  I'd never heard of the label - they appear to only exist to put out Cleveland punk records, and very sporadically at that.  But it was distributed by Light in the Attic and I trust their tastemaker status in the industry these days, so why not give it a shot?  Plus, only a thousand copies were pressed, so I'm sure I could get my money back down the road if I wanted to. 

Side A of the record is a live set by the band from spring of 1979.  It's sort of a sloppy mess and includes both a Who cover ("I Can't Explain") and a Rolling Stones cover ("Heart of Stone," with many of the lyrics missed or forgotten), but the sound quality is pretty good and it's a fun listen of a an incredibly underrated punk band from the first wave.  

Side B is sort of a repress of their single "Six and Change" - a single that the last time it came up for sale on Discogs it sold for eight hundred bucks!  Their version of this single only had that one song on both side of the record, but here the seven inch version is paired with two unreleased outtakes of the same song.  Those outtakes aren't really needed to be honest, and why they placed the outtakes before the official version is somewhat confusing, but I suppose they need some material to make that side of the record a little longer.  

It's a pretty good record, especially if you're already a fan of the band or early punk in general.  Worth a shot if you fit either of those criteria. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ashley Stove - Slow 7'' (Karf, 1993)

Ashley Stove
Slow 7''

Rating: 6.5 habitual line crossers out of 10

Ashley Stove were local Triangle indie poppers who wrote good songs and even had the backing of juggernaut label Merge (though they weren't nearly as big back then), but they never seemed to really take off, even around here.  They were just one of those bands who were very enjoyable while you are listening and/or watching them, but for some reason didn't have that staying power. 

Grifters - Holmes 7'' (Darla, 1993)

Holmes 7''

Rating: 6 satanic condos out of 10

The very first Darla record is this here Grifters seven inch, or at least that would be my best guess since it's numbered 001.  Both the title track and the B-side "Junkie Blood" can also be found on their 1994 album "Crappin' You Negative," so I suppose this record is really only for the big fans or the people who happen upon it randomly in the used bins.  It's more of the same gruff rock from these guys, not that I'm complaining.   

Mark Kozelek And Desertshore - Mark Kozelek And Desertshore (Caldo Verde, 2013)

Mark Kozelek And Desertshore
Mark Kozelek And Desertshore
Caldo Verde

Rating: 7.5 little kids out of 10

Mark Kozelek is of course the former frontman of the iconic Red House Painters, and on this outing he is paired with Desertshore, a group made up of his former bandmates from RHP and Sun Kil Moon...I'm guessing this is as close as we get to a Painters reunion, but who knows.  What I do know is this is probably the strongest record he has put out since the first Sun Kil Moon record "Ghosts of the Great Highway" back in 2003.  He might seem like a miserable person and once yelled at my friend from the stage for taking photos of him even though Koz's label asked my friend to do it, but goddamn the man knows how to write dreamy depressing folk songs about as well as anybody.  "Tavoris Cloud" is an instant favorite but there's really not a bad song in the bunch.  

I'd sorta spaced out on the man's output for the better part of a decade, but I have a feeling this record is going to pull me back in.  At a minimum, I'm due an excessive period of obsessing over the Red House Painters discography.  Which someone really really REALLY needs to reissue on vinyl. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Devo & The Flaming Lips - Gates of Steel 7'' (Warner Bros, 2014)

Devo & The Flaming Lips
Gates of Steel 7''
Warner Bros

Rating: 7.5 television scripts out of 10

This was really the only "novelty" I bought at this year's Record Store Day on a whim.  On silver vinyl and "limited" to 7500 copies (does that really count as a limit?!?), it features a live version of Devo performing their greatest song "Gates of Steel" on side A, and side B is a live version of the same song by the Flaming Lips.   The sound quality on both versions are great for live tracks, so no issues there.  The Devo version is pretty true to the studio original, and the Lips really take a different track, slowing it down, making it noiser - generally doing what they do to songs.  I suppose it would have been silly to pair an original with a cover that sounded just like that original.  Anyways, a fun, short record worth a grab if you dig these acts. 

Portastatic - Starter 7'' (18 Wheeler, 1993)

Starter 7''
18 Wheeler

Rating: 7 meth pipes out of 10

As near as I can tell this is the first thing Mac of Superchunk ever released as Portastatic.  It mostly sounds like his previous work with Bricks at this point, only he's totally by himself (outside of Jim Wilbur, also of Superchunk, adding some guitar to the last song "Dragging a Crow") - lots of jangly acoustic guitar and reverb on the vocals (and everything else).  All good, enjoyable songs, but the highlight would have to be the cover of the Undertones' classic "Teenage Kicks."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Crooked Fingers - Sleep All Summer 7'' (Eastern Fiction, 2005)

Crooked Fingers
Sleep All Summer 7''
Eastern Fiction

Rating: 6 broken electricians out of 10

This Crooked Fingers record was "recorded live to minidisc" at "the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, PA" on 11/15/2004.  Both the title track and the B-side "You Must Build a Fire" feature the backing vocals of Emma Pollack from the Delgados.  And despite my love of this band, the Delgados, and particularly these two songs, the whole thing is a big pile of "meh."  The recording sounds tinny and thin, and if it's not a good recording of a live show what's the point of releasing it?  It does make want to go listen to the great Crooked Fingers' record "Dignity and Shame" though.  I can't give it a terrible rating because I love everything about this on paper, but it could have been so much better. 

Richard Ashcroft - Check the Meaning 7'' (Hut, 2002)

Richard Ashcroft
Check the Meaning 7''

Rating: 5.5 lonely people out of 10

For those not aware Richard Ashcroft was the frontman of orchestral britpop band The Verve, and his solo output doesn't veer too far from the mothership he arrived on.  The title track here is the first song from his 2002 record "Humam Condition," and was likely the first single.  It's a fine song, more of the same from the dude really.  The B-side "The Miracle"...shit, I've already forgotten it.  

C-Clamp - Passing 7'' (Seek Lamp, 1995)

Passing 7''
Seek Lamp

Rating: 6 bent hats out of 10

C-Clamp were sorta part of the math rock movement of the mid-nineties, even though they only barely qualified in that genre...more of a post-rock band with vocals, really.  They were the sort of band you enjoyed when they were playing, and then you'd forget all about almost the second you stopped hearing them...not a mediocre by any means, just forgettable for some reason.  Both of these songs are on their "Meander + Return" record from the same year, but the vinyl of that seems to be pretty hard to come by. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Kingsbury Manx - Been Passed Over 7'' (All City, 2000)

The Kingsbury Manx
Been Passed Over 7''
All City

Rating: 7 organ sisters out of 10

The Kingsbury Manx have long been a favorite, so I was excited to find this in the sale box at Amoeba some years back.  I think this seven inch is the first thing they released, even pre-dating their excellent self-titled album that I can't listen to enough.  Both of these songs (the title track and "Down with Circumstance") are very much in line with that early material - dreamy pop music that sounds vintage and new at the same time, somehow.  Both tracks appear to be unique to this record, at least at first glance. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Picasso Trigger - Valentine 7'' (Jettison, 1993)

Picasso Trigger
Valentine 7''

Rating: 7.5 European marquees out of 10

At a time when most of what was coming out of the Triangle was pretty straight-forward indie rock, Picasso Trigger came on the scene full of piss and vinegar sounding like King Gordon-fronted sonic youth on a punk rock binge.  The title track is also on their great debut album "Fire in the Hole," something I'm almost positive I owned on cassette even though it's not listed on Discogs.  The B-side is equally worthy of attention, a strong jam named "Calling God."  Pretty sure if this band came out today it would be hot shit with the kids. 

The Cardigans / Matt Pond & Beth Wawerna - Split 7'' (Devil in the Woods, 2004)

The Cardigans / Matt Pond & Beth Wawerna
Split 7''
Devil in the Woods

Rating: 6.5 mean kids out of 10

Another Devil in the Woods split - I don't know if I had a subscription to this or my friend that worked for them gave them to me, but I have a lot more of these records than I remembered.  Side A is a live version of "No Sleep" from Dansk radio, whatever that is, by the Cardigans.  Good song but not on the same level as their early, sweet pop from the mid-nineties.  The regular version is on their record "Long Gone Before Daylight," which I know from the internet because I never listened to this album.  The other side is a collaboration between Matt Pond and Beth Wawerna called "Devil in the Water."  I have no idea who Beth is, but she adds some female vocals to what would otherwise be a run-of-the-mill Matt Pond indie folk dirge. 

Trouser Mafia - Indie Don't Get Laid 7'' (Hella Rad, 2002)

Trouser Mafia
Indie Don't Get Laid 7''
Hella Rad

Rating: one hundred million friend points

I'm so deep in involvement with all the parties who had a hand in putting this out I couldn't possible review this nonsense in an unbiased way.  It is a ridiculous record from start to finish.  Side A is "Indie Don't Get Laid" by Ajax Green (then of Granfaloon Bus, now of the Wrong Words), a song he wrote for a Matador Records contest to get free Belle & Sebastian tickets, a band he doesn't even like.  He won.  Side B I have less back story about, other than it is Jason Smith (of the Mothballs) along with the band Dealership making fun of indie pop fans.  I think both songs would be very catchy and enjoyable even to people who aren't friends with these goofs, but who knows.  I certainly love it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Gris Gris - Mary #38 7'' (Birdman, 2004)

The Gris Gris
Mary #38 7''

Rating: 6.5 distant skies out of 10

More prototypical psych rock from the Bay Area's Gris Gris, the modern founders of the movement that brought so much attention to that area via Wooden Shjips, one of Ty Segall's thousand projects, and numerous other acts.  The title track on side A is real solid, and also available on their self-titled debut album that came out the same year.  For my money the other side "Baby You're Mine Now," despite having a title like a pre-war blues song, is mediocre at best.  

Fuzz / CCR Headcleaner - LAMC #10 7'' (Famous Class, 2014)

Fuzz / CCR Headcleaner
LAMC #10 7''
Famous Class

Rating: 7.5 green bananas out of 10

Famous Class has been killing it with this recent split seven inch collectionFuzz takes the A-side with a scorchin' rocker called "Till the End of the Day," an instant favorite that begs to be listened to over and over - boogie sludge at it's finest.  On the other side you have CCR Headcleaner, who make a nice pairing with Fuzz in that they sound like if you took a cassette of Fuzz and microwaved it before trying to play it.  Their track "Free the Freeks" comes off like it is being performed in a pool of molasses, or as if you can never get the record on the correct speed.  For some reason this kinda sorta works though, it's like something Pavement would have released when they first started out if they also had aspirations of being butt rockers. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fuzz - Sunderberry Dream 7'' (In the Red, 2013)

Sunderberry Dream 7''
In the Red

Rating: 7.5 soggy fries out of 10

Fuzz, Ty Segall, yada yada yada...y'all know the back story of this band.  The title track here is great and all but the real story is the B-side, a cover of the King Crimson song "21st Century Schizoid Man."  Holy shit this track just burned my eardrums from the inside out!  It's pummellingly sludgy and heavy in all the right ways, like a hammer to the head of a compulsive drunkard you find in a dark alley.  Did I say too much?  I've honestly never paid any attention to King Crimson, thinking they were just one of those prog bands that the weird smelly guys who enjoy role playing games like, but this has me rethinking not only my stance on that band but life as a whole. I really don't want to go to any special stores to buy dice with more than six sides. 

Palace Songs - Horses 7'' (Drag City, 1994)

Palace Songs
Horses 7''
Drag City

Rating: 6 black masks out of 10

Back before Will Oldham was Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, he was multiple variations on the name Palace - in this case, Palace Songs.  Musically this is very much in line with his other releases as Palace, very delicate and quiet twangy folk, it feels as if you could break these songs in half.  But of course you can't do that, because music doesn't exist in a physical form and if you try to break the air coming from your speakers in half you'll just look like a moron.  Side A here, the title track, is a Mekons cover, and the B side is a track called "Stable Will" that I believe to be an original.

BeatlesS - Lil' Man 7'' (Jettison / Wifflefist, 1993)

Lil' Man 7''
Jettison / Wifflefist

Rating: 5 kid messes out of 10

I have absolutely no idea how to describe BeatlesS...they were a local band at the very start of my college career in the Triangle, and neither then nor now did I have a clue what to say about them.  There's some industrial influence in there, and early electronic influences before that genre became what it is today, and...shit, I don't know.  Just know the credits list a broom, shop vac, and something called a "cattle-a-sound" as part of their instrument stable.This shit is so weird I have no idea if it's good or awful, but I know I sure as hell don't understand what is going on.  So it gets a rating right in the middle and I'm moving on, confuses as always. 

Kpants - Love 7'' (Grinning Idiot, 1995)

Love 7''
Grinning Idiot

Rating: 6 small stoves out of 10

Sometimes you buy a record because you love a band or a particular song, and other times you buy a record because the band named themselves after a "Get a Life" reference that in high school you and a friend wanted to use as the name of a clothing company...such is the case with this release by Kpants.  And as far as super random bands go, this isn't terrible - the title track is a fairly catchy poppy punk song, and the B-side is a cover of the Modern Lovers' "Hospital."  Sort of a weird cover, but at least they picked a good song.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

M.O.T.O. - Places We Used To Go 7'' (Rockville, 1992)

Places We Used To Go 7''

Rating: 7 rusty rocks out of 10

Another slab of M.O.T.O. jangly garage pop gems, this time on marbled Pepto Bismol pink.  Not Paul Caporino's greatest work, but all three songs - the title track, "Love Back," and "Skeletons Need Their Sleep" - are strong offerings, "B" level work for this pop hook mastermind.  More people reallt should listen to this band - start with "Kill MOTO" and work your way from there.  They've released a near-GBV level of music.  

Hurl - Positronic Ray 7'' (DeSoto, 1993)

Positronic Ray 7''

Rating: 7.5 indebted fathers out of 10

Another great Hurl seven inch of their mathy post punk or whatever the hell you want to call it.  The title track is great but the B-side "Radishes" is the standout gem here.  That song can also be found on the excellent debut album by the band "A Place Called Today."  In another ten years or so look for Numero Group or someone of that ilk to do a retrospective on these guys and re-release all their albums. 

5ive Style - She's Humanoid 7'' (Sub Pop, 1997)

5ive Style
She's Humanoid 7''
Sub Pop

Rating: 5.5 sword balls out of 10

I listened to the shit out of the self-titled 5ive Style album back in college, though it's been years since I gave it a spin.  I remember them being a funky version of the instrumental band Tortoise, so I was really thrown off when the title track had vocals.  It's entirely possible they had occasional song with vocals then, but my brain has totally forgotten about it.  Not sure I like them with singing, to be honest.  Music still sounds good though.  The B-side is a cover of Brian Eno's "Burning Airlines Give You So Much More," whic is adequate but just makes me want to listen to the original. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Golden Millennium - Golden Millennium 7'' (Peek-A-Boo, 1999)

Golden Millennium
Golden Millennium 7''

Rating: 6 black castles out of 10

This Golden Millennium record was the results of a one-off supergroup formed around the fact that a couple of dudes bought gold fleck Les Pauls at the same time and felt they should play some glam rock.  Everyone in the band has some sort of pedigree, but the biggest name is Britt Daniel of Spoon.  I'm sure everyone involved had a lot of fun doing this, and it was probably fun to see live, but the recording is no more than a hair above average.  They play two originals and two covers of glam classics - T-Rex's "20th Century Boy" and Bowie's "Suffragette City."

Supergrass / Ikara Colt / Apostle of Hustle - Split 7'' (Devil in the Woods, 2005)

Supergrass / Ikara Colt / Apostle of Hustle
Split 7''
Devil in the Woods

Rating: 6.5 thief codes out of 10

The draw on this seven inch split between three bands is the first track, a live version of the great "Mansize Rooster" by Supergrass.  One of their very best songs, and it's a good recording, though they do that thing I hate when I see bands live - have the crowd sing parts of the songs for them.  I'm paying to hear the band do the singing, not these dumb dipshits around me!

One the B side, Ikara Colt is totally ripping off the Fall, but you could pick worse bands to rip off, and they don't do an awful job at it.  Apostle of Hustle is...honestly, I don' have anything to say about them - boring jangly Canadian indie rock.  I guess they have some connection to Broken Social Scene.  It's not awful or anything, just meh. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Delta 72 - On the Rocks 7'' (Kill Rock Stars / Dischord, 1995)

The Delta 72
On the Rocks 7''
Kill Rock Stars / Dischord

Rating: 5 king guards out of 10

The Delta 72 were always one of those bands that my friends all loved but I never was able to get into them.  The band was a little punk, a little garage, and a little John Spencer Blues Explosion...and a lot of shrieked vocals, which were the main thing that kept me from committing to the band.  Something about those vocals just didn't sit right with me.  Knowing that it should come as no shock that the only song on here I truly love is "Hip Coat," the instrumental second song on side B (there are three songs total on the release). They were apparently a hoot live though, and I would believe that. 

The Dusters - Forest Fire 7'' (Superbad / Dischord, 1996)

The Dusters
Forest Fire 7''
Superbad / Dischord

Rating: 6 broken breadsticks out of 10

This appears to be the first release by the Dusters, given they soon changed their name to the Capital City Dusters and recorded the rest of their material under that moniker.  They weren't as "DC" as many other Washington punk bands, a little poppier and not quite as noisy.  Both tracks here, the title track and B-side "Seventeen," were also part of their debut full-length "Simplicity."  Not a crucial record by any means, but it's decent. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

M.O.T.O. - 4 Pac 7'' (MOC, 1996)

4 Pac 7''

Rating: 8 held together footballs out of 10

M.O.T.O., garage rock's answer to Guided by Voices, presents four songs of catchy scuzzy goodness in this record.  The strongest track is the opener "Meet Me by the Flagpole," one of my favorite songs the band has ever recorded.  The other three tracks are no slouches either as Paul Caporino is a minor genius when it comes to creating songs that burrow their way into my brain, but that opening track is the most noteworthy. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Thermals - No Culture Icons 7'' (Sub Pop, 2003)

The Thermals
No Culture Icons 7''
Sub Pop

Rating: 7.5 back coaches out of 10

The Thermals put out some great records in the early oughts that I was just nuts about, sounding like the Mountain Goats gone punk.  Of the four total songs on this seven inch, the first two (aka side A) are also featured on their debut full-length "More Parts Per Million," with the two tracks from side B "Capture with Magnet" and "Everything Thermals" appearing to be only available on this release.  Good record, worth a find. 

The Promise Ring / Texas Is the Reason - Split 7'' (Revelation, 1996)

The Promise Ring / Texas Is the Reason
Split 7''

Rating: 8.5 fancy shotguns out of 10

I was a complete Texas Is the Reason fanatic back in my college days, and I still quite enjoy their very small catalog of music.  Their song on this split "Blue Boy" was always one of my favorite songs of theirs, and I distinctly remember making a copy of this song (and the other side) onto a cassette so I could listen to it in my car over and over.  Which I most definitely did.  The other side is the Promise Ring, who I loved slight less than TItR back in the day but has not stood the test of time nearly as well.  Still, their track here "E. Texas Ave." is pretty decent if not a little whiny. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Seam - Days of Thunder 7'' (Homestead, 1991)

Days of Thunder 7''

Rating: 7 ghetto kings out of 10

Another early Seam seven inch from the days when Mac from Superchunk was in the band. But Mac or no Mac, with Sooyoung singing and leading the band, they always sounded like Seam regardless of the rest of the band (no insult intended at any of the many people who performed with Seam).  This record features one song from their album "Headsparks," one Big Boys cover song, and one track that appears to be an original only found here.  Seam is one of those bands I will forget to listen to for a while, but I love them every time I hear them. 

Farside - Farside EP 7'' (Revelation, 1995)

Farside EP 7''

Rating: 5.5 broken thrones out of 10

I loved the Farside full-length "Rigged," but I've had a tough time getting into this EP.  I wasn't nuts for it when it came out and my recent re-listen didn't really change things.  The only really good song is that last one, "Knox," and the rest are basically throwaways.  Oh yeah, what do they sound Socal punk I guess?  They're not as bro as the typical Orange County fare, but not truly punk either.  Heavy, melodic, and at least on "Rigged" lots of catchy songs.  So just listen to "Rigged."