Thursday, April 29, 2010

Brian Ritchie - Sonic Temple And The Court Of Babylon - Vinyl album featuring Violent Femmes on SST Records

Features Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes

Brian Ritche - The Blend - Vinyl album on SST Records

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Monday, April 26, 2010

The Undertones - The Peel Sessions - Cassette tape on Strange Fruit Records

Given that the Undertones were indisputably one of the great pop bands of the late '70s/early '80s, and that they only left behind four studio albums, fans were enormously grateful for this archive release. These three sessions were recorded between January 1979 and November 1982, all with Bob Sargeant as producer. The first comprises material from their eponymous debut, the second features songs from follow-up effort Hypnotised, plus a corny but fun cover of Gary Glitter's "Rock N' Roll," a live favorite that is unavailable elsewhere. The third session is from considerably later in their career, its four tracks drawn from the critically reviled (but still excellent) The Sin of Pride. Highlights include the daft spoken intro/outro to "Here Comes the Summer" -- a pretty daft song anyway. Add in a storming "Tear Proof" (the band's best song never to achieve single status) and good liner notes from Dave Cavanagh, and this is the perfect adjunct to the group's thin discography.

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Shonen Knife - Christmas Record For You - Rare red vinyl seven inch on Rocvkville Records

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Angst - Cry For Happy - Vinyl album on SST Records

The three gentlemen in the band called Angst had definitely done their rock & roll homework when they made this album, and they knew the elements that mix to make a great three-minute song. This mix of up-tempo pop with elements of country twang and punk energy has an innocence and enthusiasm that makes the album timeless. The bluesy organ work on the slow-burning cover of "Motherless Child" could have come from any Steppenwolf album, and there's a hint of Mersey in the harmonies of "Time to Understand." There are some clinkers among the stellar tracks, but even those are rather endearing; "My Dinner With Debbie" is a love song to a woman who is a good cook, and it sounds like it was written and recorded by a band who had missed several meals. Overall, Cry for Happy is a marvelous work of pop craftsmanship that has three or four pieces that should've been at least minor hits. Listen to the hook-laden perfection of "I Could Never Change Your Mind" or "Long Road" and listeners will find themselves wondering what the radio programmers were listening to that was half this good.

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Alter Natives - Group Therapy - Vinyl album on SST Records with members of Gwar

Originating in Richmond, VA and signed to an experimentally minded SST records in the late '80s, the Alter-Natives were a flute and sax led improv-esque quartet that received high marks for their instrumental brand of noise. Both 1986's Hold Your Tongue and 1988's Group Therapy were based around this set up, but 1989's Buzz scaled back the flute and sax for a more traditional set up, using the old favorites: drums, bass, and guitar. As a strange aside, the Alter-Natives also carried within their ranks an early member of cartoon metal crazies, GWAR. Drummer Jim Thompson played with the foam-padded pariahs until 1987 as Hans Sphincter (later changed to Hans Orifice).

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Leaving Trains - Rock N Roll Murder - Blue vinyl 7 inch on SST records

An indie-rock subversive who has been known to perform in dresses almost as much as his ex-wife Courtney Love, Falling James (Moreland) has led the Leaving Trains with a revolving lineup since the group formed in 1980. Originally in a Los Angeles punk band named the Mongrels during 1978-79, Falling James formed the Downers in 1980 (with David Roback, later of Mazzy Star, and John Hoffs, the brother of the Bangles sisters) and then the Leaving Trains later that year, with guitarist Manfred Hofer, bassist Tom Hofer, keyboard player Sylvia Juncosa and drummer Hillary Laddin. The band gigged around the area during the next three years, but included only the Hofer brothers by the time Leaving Trains debuted on vinyl with 1984's Well Down Blue Highway, on Bemisbrain/Enigma Records.

Check out their awesome records here!

Solomon Grundy - Spirit Of Radio - Clear vinyl 7 inch featuring Van Conner of the Sreaming Trees on SST Records

Screaming Trees was a musical group considered part of the grunge music movement of the early 1990s. Founded in Ellensburg, Washington in 1985, their sound was a mixture of arty '60s psychedelia and west-coast punk rock. Though highly regarded among critics, they never achieved the superstardom of other grunge acts such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains or Pearl Jam. They disbanded after touring for their last record, Dust, released in 1996.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Slovenly - Plug - 7 Inch vinyl on SST Records

Loved by those who were lucky to hear them, Slovenly formed when Saccharine Trust drummer Rob Holzman put together the band Slovenly Peter after his departure from Trust in 1981. The "Peter" was eventually dropped, and the band released its debut on the Minutemen's New Alliance label in 1985. That debut, After the Original Style, was quickly overshadowed by the band's next three releases, the well-received Thinking of Empire (1986), Riposte (1987), and We Shoot for the Moon (1989). Having switched to SST, the band had put together a mélange of sounds ranging from the Fall and Wire to the Red Crayola and Captain Beefheart. Their final release, 1992's Highway to Hanno's, was also released by SST. After that, bassist Scott Ziegler, drummer Rob Holzman, and guitarist/vocalist Tom Watson formed Overpass and released two albums as such.

Click here to enjoy 3 tracks of 1986 punk pleasure

Pell Mell - Smoke - White vinyl 7 Inch On SST Records produced by Steve Fish

Pell Mell was an instrumental rock combo formed in 1980 in Portland, Oregon. The original members were Arni May, guitar, and Jon-Lars Sorenson, bass, from the Portlnd avant-garde group UHF, and from local Reed College Bill Owen on guitar, and Bob Beerman on drums. This iteration of the group performed and recorded the songs on their first EP release in 1981, "rhyming guitars", which gave the group exposure over the nation's college radio network. In 1982 the foursome hired a manager, Bruce Pavitt in his pre-Sup Pop mogrification, and did a summer tour of the US , visiting colleges and punk clubs on both coasts. Arni May left the group just as the tour was ready to hit the road, re-birthing Pell Mell as a power trio with quickly-acquired chops and skills in those summer months on the road. This version of the band can be heard on the album "Live Cassette", recorded in a Portland club. With the tour over and a desire to keep playing, the entire group moved to a single house near Berkeley, CA, to continue writing and recording the next album, "Bumper Crop". Some of the unreleased songs from the "rhyming guitars" recording session, added to those from a later session with new member Greg Freeman, were released in 1985 on an album named "For Years We Stood Clearly As One Thing". While in Berkeley, more personnel changes took place. Steve Fisk joined as keyboardist, and after making the recordings for the second album, Jon-Lars returned to his career in engineering. Over the seventeen years the band existed, it experienced a number of line-up changes and recorded for no less than five labels. The drummer, Bob Beerman remained the only constant member of Pell Mell, but its most permanent and final lineup included other notable musicians like keyboardist Steve Fisk, bassist Greg Freeman and guitarist David Spalding. Fisk is known for his extensive production work as well as his solo music career and work in Pigeonhed and the Halo Benders. Freeman-- formerly a member of the Call-- also was a producer outside of Pell Mell. David Spalding was the guitar tech for the Call as well.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

No Man - Diamondback - White vinyl 7 inch with Roger Miller of Mission of Burma on SST Records

Mission of Burma dissolved in 1983, due in large part to guitarist Roger Miller's hearing problems, directly caused by the astonishingly loud band's volume. Miller (along with bandmate Martin Swope) joined Erik Lindgren's experimental chamber music project Birdsongs of the Mesozoic immediately, and simultaneously pursued a more rock-oriented direction with his one-man live project Maximum Electric Piano. No Man is basically a combination of the two approaches, mixing the avant-garde concepts of Birdsongs with the muscular oomph of Miller's rock & roll edge.

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GobbleHoof - Headbanger / Ridin Shotgun - Seven inch vinyl featuring J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr on SST Records

The fact that J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr) was the drummer on GobbleHoof's six-song debut ensured a measure of fanzine-level interest for the Amherst, Massachusetts, group. However, the person who really makes GobbleHoof worth hearing is Charlie Nakajima (who was in the pre-Dinosaur Deep Wound with Mascis and Lou Barlow), less a singer than a dramatic speaker with a commanding presence. His credit for "narration" rather than vocals is apt. As guitarist Tim Aaron reels off competent grunge noise (complete with wah-wah and all the trimmings), Nakajima recounts his lyrics in a weary, resonant deep voice, only occasionally reaching out to catch passing melody notes.

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