Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Braid - Rainsnowmatch 7'' (Polyvinyl, 1996)

Rainsnowmatch 7''

Rating: 6.5 lost sumbitches out of 10

A repress of the first single Braid ever released.  All three songs - "Sounds Like Violence," "Motion Light," "Perfect Pitch" - can also be found on their compilation "Movie Music Vol. One."  It's decent enough, but I was a much bigger fan of Braid's later material than their early stuff (not something I can say about very many bands). 

Portastatic - Naked Pilseners 7'' (Matador, 1994)

Naked Pilseners 7''

Rating: 7 furry criers out of 10

The second seven inch from Portastatic.  Why was this on Matador and not Merge?  Who knows.  Well, Mac probably knows, based on his Instagram that dude never forgets anything.  The title track here is also on the debut Portastatic full-length "I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle."  Both b-sides only seem to appear here - "Feel Better" and the highlight of the wax, "Josephine," a Magnetic Fields cover.  Mac really likes covering Magnetic Fields, and why shouldn't he, Stephen Merritt writes fantastic songs.    

Belle and Sebastian - Funny Little Frog 7'' (Rough Trade, 2006)

Belle and Sebastian
Funny Little Frog 7''
Rough Trade

Rating: 8 red convertibles out of 10

"Funny Little Frog" is one of the best songs/singles Belle and Sebastian have recorded in their late period*. It is not uncommon for this to be stuck in my head at any given time, or even all of the time.  The track can also be found on the album "The Life Pursuit."  The b-side, "The Eighth Station of the Cross Kebab House" sounds so much like a Madness song that I had to verify that it actually wasn't one (it's not).  In addition to here, it can also be found on their singles comp "The Third Eye Centre" as well as some charity benefit that it was originally written for.   

*The early period was everything up to and including "Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant"; the late period is everything from "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" to present day.  These delineations exist only in my head because I've listened to this band so damn much.

Constantines - Hard Feelings 7'' (Arts & Crafts, 2008)

Hard Feelings 7''
Arts & Crafts

Rating: 7 costly give-aways out of 10

The title track of this Constantines seven inch is also the opening track on their third & final album "Kensington Heights."  Criminally underrated band in my opionion, and really damn good live to boot.  Had a strong Fugazi vibe in person that isn't quite as obvious on the recordings.  The b-side is a song called "Easy Money," a quality song that would have also fit in well on their final record, but only seems to be available here. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Pavement / Medusa Cyclone - Split 7'' (Third Gear, 1994)

Pavement / Medusa Cyclone
Split 7''
Third Gear

Rating: 7 James Browns reading braille out of 10

I didn't even know this Pavement seven inch existed until I randomly found it in a used bin a few weeks ago.  Their song here, titled "Dancing with the Elders" is an early version of "We Dance" from "Wowee Zowee."  They're about 80% the same, some minor tweaks to the pace and lyric delivery being the differences.   If you're a Pavement completist, probably worth getting - won't cost you much anyways.  

As for the b-side, "Chemical" by Medusa Cyclone, I had never heard of them before buying this.  Kind of had that dark, noisy AmRep vibe, but not nearly as distorted or angry as most of their acts back in the early-to-mid-nineties.  If I happened upon more by them in a bargain bin I'd probably pick it up just to see what's going on. 

Total Shutdown - Broadcast Performances 7'' (Life Is Abuse, 2002)

Total Shutdown
Broadcast Performances 7''
Life Is Abuse

Rating: 6 sloppy chemicals out of 10

Total Shutdown were one of those Bay Area bands that my friend liked and the cool kids liked, but I could never get that excited about.  They were hardcore crossed with skronky noise rock, and better live than recorded.  Still, I bought this seven inch anyways just for the sake of nostalgia I guess.  There are six songs here, and as this plays on 45 I guess you can figure out on your own this band isn't one for long songs.  In fact, if I remember correctly 15 minutes was a long set by them.  I guess the takeaway is if you don't like a song, you'll get to hear a different one in about a minute.  

Side note - I'm impressed that a band that hasn't been active in a decade still has a working website.