Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Past Records of The Week.

July 13th - July 19th

Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications - 2009 Rough Trade Records

I only recently made the leap from Pulp to front man Jarvis's solo work. Thanks to a good friend, I was turned on to his debut album Jarvis not too long ago. Jarvis has since grown on me, and it seems to reveal a hidden surprise every time I play it. It's definitely the type of album that grows and grows on you (and once you get past Mr. Cocker's explicit instructions: "As always, please do not read the words whilst listening to the recordings"), even more doors to his creative world seem to miraculously open.

Further Complications is different than Jarvis, and I'd go as far as to say it's a bit better. Firstly, it needs to be known that he worked with legendary rocker/producer Steve Albini on this one,so you know it rocks even before listening to it. And it does. Jarvis also apparently had a bigger hand in the composing of the songs (which range from slow soul burners to grungy rock tunes). Further Complications takes it up notch with louder guitars, blasting drums, and more aggressive vocals. Jarvis sounds like a 1970's David Bowie transplanted into some neo-britpop realm, singing about some new and amazing things in an experimentally racy fashion.

June 29th - July 5th

Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves - S/T - 2009 No Idea Records

This record is awesome and I almost missed out on it. I made a prejudice against the record, figuring that the "other guitarist for Hot Water Music" was more than likely joining the growing list of folk/country rock that a lot of the punk alumni are doing well with right now. But I soon realized it's not just another record that every band practicing hard for Gainesville's next FEST might obsess over.

The record starts off with a powerful pop/alternative radio-friendy song (something of a tame 1992 J. Mascais singing to a moderately paced song that could have been featured on the soundtrack for Singles). It then moves into a folkier sound with some fingerpicking fireside relaxers and some giddy-up drumming but periodically dips back into the aforementioned 90's alternative sound. The record is crisp and Chris's voice is so good on this that I think he could easily handle whatever form his solo sound ends up taking. Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves is a really solid and impressive record that will hang by my turntable for a good bit.

June 22nd - June 28th

Sonic Youth - The Eternal - 2009 Matador Records

This record is pretty amazing. It's a double, so it's pretty lengthy and the CTI Jazz style quality of the jacket makes it even more admirable. Their instrumental sound on this album is pretty classic, but their vocal and lyrical stylings maintain the high-quality maturity streak they've been on for a while now (since at least 2004's Sonic Nurse). That wonderful combo makes for a very listenable record. The Eternal borrows the grungy sounds from their SST releases, EVOL and Sister, grabs a hint of excitement found in Dirty and Goo, and revisits the vibe of their previous release, Rather Ripped. Throw those together and add a little element of psychedelia and you have yourself The Eternal. I'm also impressed that they went from Geffen in the majors to indie label Matador. I'm souped to hear what else they do under Matador; so far it's Jay Reatard split and this new one. You're two for two guys, keep it up.

June 8th - June 14th

The Church - Untitled #23 - 2009 SecondMotion Records

The Church is one of the bands that has stuck with me as a favorite for longer than most bands that I currently still listen to. A large part of the reason is based on Steve Kilbey's vocals (in my top five of all time vocalists), his lyrical content as well as the skills and overall production of most all their works. For some reason The Church never achieved the stardom that I believe they deserve out here in the states. In '81 they hit the U.K. charts with "Unguarded Moment" and then when the world almost forgot about them they popped back up in 1988 with the hit (and U.S. charter) "Under The Milky Way" off of the record Starfish. That would be the most noise that these Australian rockers would make for quite some time.They've made a great musical transformation over the years as well. Their early days began as neo-psychedlic and new wave that turned proggy and complex into the 90's. Also in the 90's they experienced troubles with members and some addiction issues but persisted with their three original founding members. Despite their issues and lack of commercial success, The Church trudged on with its back to their past, and it shows. Their catalog is impressive, with dozens of singles and albums - nearly pumping something out every year since they formed. Some good, some amazing. Last night I was in the mood to listen to The Church. I put on the 1982 s/t record and fell asleep blissfully. When I woke up this morning, I checked my mail and my cousin Dave had sent me the new record, Untitled #23. (thanks dude!) This is by far the best thing they've put out in at least five years. It recaptures the atmospheric magic and angelic guitar work of 1983's Seance and 1984's Remote Luxury, but takes you to the darker places found somewhere between 1990's Gold Afternoon Fix and their epic 1992 release Priest=Aura. The production is gorgeous, the subject matter of the lyrics is touching and real, and the anti-pop soundscapes they experiment with are a complete success. The vinyl release hits shelves June 23rd.

June 1st - June 7th

Human Adult Band - Samantha (b/w Samantha song/poem by Jad Fair) - 2009 Third Uncle Records

Amazing 7" by Jersey shredders Human Adult Band gets backed by guru of alternative creativity, Jad Fair. The Human Adult Band (who credit themselves as the writers of the song Samantha), play their version as something between the discordant guitar slicings of Jandek, and the primarily illegible yet melodic vocals of The Fall's Mark. E. Smith. Once you are satisfied with their vision, you flip over the records to hear the driving force of Half Japanese's Jad Fair busting out his creepy rendition. Imagine the opening theme to Pee Wee's Playhouse - slow samba/island beats with birds chirping, whistles and Jad's famously distinct vocals. Great stuff.

May 25th - May 31st

We're All Broken - Blacktop Cry - 2009 Devildance Records

We're All Broken have been a band for awhile now, but it wasn't until the release of 2009's Blacktop Cry that they actually began to receive their long-deserved recognition. Albeit that they had a pretty serious line up change (rhythm section remaining while vocalist and drummer are welcomed as the newest WAB members), We're All Broken have achieved all new heights with their most recent DevilDance Records six-song EP release. The guitar work screams DYNAMIC while the bass and drums blast you through each track with great satisfaction. But that's not all. Joe Wilson's contributions to their sound (vocals, third guitar,harmonica,etc) pull their whole world together. Post-hardcore rock for sure, with range-conscious singing, We're All Broken have become a band that sounds like you wished all your favorite 90's melodic rock could pull - but with an edge you may or may not be ready for. Keep it up boys, y'all sound "fixed" to me now.

We're All Broken
Devildance Records

May 18th - May 24th

Cheap Girls - Find Me A Drink Home - 2008 Los Diaper Records

Cheap Girls rock pretty hard, taking me back to the nineties with an alt-rock sound that might remind one most of the bands involved in the later grunge departure era. The first thing that strikes the listener is the unique vocal style. Imagine something between Ken Chinn of SNFU and Bob Mould (Sugar and solo). You'll quickly find yourself either loving or hating Cheap Girls. There really is no middle-ground. Download this album here and find out whose side you are on.(and donate to the label or buy the LP if you dig it)

May 4th - May 10th

Chain and the Gang/Down With Liberty...Up With Chains!- 2009 K Records

The latest creepy project from "punk gone gospel yeh-yeh creative freak huh" Ian Svenonious and friends (Thanks Matt!) This delightfully exciting concept record captures the collaborative thoughts and tunes of a wide array of pseudo-inmates who all share the same belief: "If this is 'freedom' then lock me up and throw away the key". I can't help but to love everything this man and his lunatic followers press on record. From classic cover design (including vintage paste-over cover) to the chanty hymns found within, Down with Liberty will make the listener question the motive of any person involved on this record, while unconditionally loving it.

April 27th - May 3rd

Pavement/ Live Europaturnen MCMXCVII- 2008 Matador Records

This is part one of two (so far) very limited live Pavement Albums. This was available as a Matador “Buy Now Get Early” campaign by Matador. Original set to be released in 1998, you’d receive a copy this record with an advance purchase of Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed. Re-release (Matador “Buy Early #6” promo). The recording of the show is of very high quality and sounds brilliantly crisp. There are rumors that there were only 500 of this record pressed whereas 2500 copies of the very similar Live in Köln record was pressed for Record Store Day. A lot of people are confusing these two records for the same record and selling them online under similar descriptions. These are two very different releases and shows, only visually distinguishable by the fact that this record has a purple cover versus Live in Köln’s orange cover. Also, track listings are found on the Live Europaturen and Live in Koln labels themselves, in Spanish and English respectively.

April 20th - April 26th

Jay Reatard / "Sonik" Youth - Split 7" - 2009 Matador Records

Jay Reatard grabs side A on this Record Store Day exclusive 7". The song is called "hang them all", and it's a pretty solid track.The song draws techniques from his past success, including hooky repetitive riffs and vocals, with a bit of a warm, vintage low-fi feel. Side B belongs to Sonic Youth. The track is titled "no garage" and was appropriately recorded in the basement of Thurston's Moore's record label Ecstatic Peace! in Northhampton, Massachusetts. The song is instrumental, save a slightly distant "1-2-3-4!" heard rounding the final lap of the song’s composition. Not only does the song sound as if it could be handpicked from nearly any favorable sonic youth period, but it's a great and intense track. The song so perfectly drops into a lock groove at its finale. I thought I was losing my mind - in a good way.

April 13th - April 19th

Q-Tip - The Renaissance - 2008 Universal Motown Records

His second solo release (1999’s Amplified was his first and 2002’s would-be second release, Kamaal the Abstract was never released), Q-tip brings us his distinctive character once again. Reminiscent of his early Tribe Called Quest days, Q-tip unleashes a full album of new quality rhymes, drenched in style. Another hip hop classic that is sure to withstand the test of time. Special thanks to my roommate Matt for turning me on to his record.

April 6th - April 12th

Portishead - Third - 2008 Island Records

So it took eleven years for them to make a new record, but I’m not complaining in the least. As a huge fan of their debut album Dummy, I worried towards what I thought was the end of their career in 1998/1999 when it seemed they would never return to their original sound. Third takes the listener on an intimate trek through the troubled but intelligent mind of Beth Gibbons. A more retro 60’s experimental psych/krautrock sound is apparent in this album, a move I feel was very smart. The effects on this record don’t scream NINETIES like their previous works, but rather offer a timeless, more reserved vibe. Once again I can picture Ms. Gibbons smoking a cigarette in the rain with her head down, preparing thoughts for their next record.

March 30th - April 5th

Wire - Object 47 - 2008 Pink Flag

Wire is a band that started very strong and held their own for their first three albums and for the several singles and EPs that followed. It wasn’t until their next full length, 1987’s Ideal Copy that I began to wonder where the band was headed. They had an eight year break from releasing a full length album, and following up 1979’s 154 couldn’t have been an easy task. All the corny effects and production tricks used in their albums throughout the mid-later 80’s makes it hard for me to enjoy their music during that time frame. Also, a 90’s industrial sound becomes evident in their more recent stuff with the exception of this newest album, Object 47. This record is fantastic. It sounds like an immediate follow-up to 154, and a complete success at that. One of those records where it almost feels like the band finally listened to their fans and did the right thing.

March 23rd - March 29th

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash- 2008 Matador Records

It took me a year to finally give this record an honest listen. I heard the promo in early 2008 and was actually turned off to the record upon first listen. Over this past weekend I found a clean copy of Real Emotional Trash and took a minute to sit down and give the record my full attention. A good friend of mine recently spoke of his positive opinion on this release as well, and I’m glad I bought this. As a Pavement fan for as long as I can remember, I go heavily guarded into all of SM’s newer material. Fortunately, by the second track of Real Emotional Trash I realized that I was listening to the classic tricks of SM’s Pavement days with a heavier, rock and roll edge. Quite good.

March 16th - March 22nd

Blank Dogs - On Two Sides- 2008 Troubleman Unlimited

A dark low-fi minimal synth sound that almost makes me wish Blank Dogs was a band from 1981 that I could brag to my friends about discovering. Something of a metal box PIL session coupled with an early New Order track but with that new desirable home recording sound that is capturing the attention of underground music creeps of late. Textured and poppy, On Two Sides takes the listener on a faceless journey through a non-cliché execution of a recently well traversed path.

March 9th - March 15th

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - S/T- 2009 Slumberland Records

If you thought loneliness was something you got over, you haven’t heard this album yet. Brooklyn, NY’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s Debut self-titled LP is a dream/fuzz pop gem that will take you places you thought you forgot. Timelessly simple layout screams “Creation Records 1988” or “UK Brit Pop I somehow overlooked”, and that’s just the start of the journey. Powerfully soothing production on this record could calm the beast in anyone, in moments. Magical male/female vocal melodies sung over something that fits somewhere between Belle and Sebastian,The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The Field Mice. Gloom meets pop. This is the first time in a while that I’ve gone from side A to side B and back to side A in a first listen. Bravo.

March 2nd - March 8th

Crystal Stilts - Alight of Night - 2008 Slumberland Records

There is something dark and strangely appealing about this record by Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts. The album opens with a low-fi washy wall of textured sounds and the light shaking echoes of mesmerizing bells. Once you settle in and absorb all the elements, you realize that the genius is in the simplicity and minimalism of their compositions. At times I wonder if songs were written in dim lighting sometime in the middle of a winter night. Other times I envision a group of peyote-eating longhairs, circling a campfire in the middle of the desert. Either way, the album is intriguing, interesting, and mysteriously addictive.

February 22nd - March 2nd

The Estranged - Static Thoughts - 2008 Dirtnap Records

With intense guitar work that seems like it’s straight off of your favorite mid eighties Homestead Records release and vocal melodies that sound as if they were arranged by Roger Miller of Mission of Burma, and executed by Greg Sage of the Wipers, The Estranged “Static Thoughts” ties together the greatest elements of some of the greatest post punk bands out there. Their driving, catchy, mid-tempo compositions will leave you eagerly awaiting their next release.

February 16th - February 23rd

Red Stars Theory - But Sleep Came Slowly - 1997 RX Remedy

Their first effort, and in my opinion their best to date, But Sleep Came Slowly will rock you, shock you, and eventually ease you into sleep. Debuting on Sup Pop subsidiary, RX Remedy,BSCS is pure gold. I found this record back in 1997 when it was first released, and I picked it up based on the cover art. Needless to say, I scored. This record makes its way to my turntable regularly, and each time I hear something I’ve never heard before. The band features Pacific Northwest rock legend James Bertram and Modest Mouse drummer Jeremiah Green, along with a handful of other amazing musicians. Lois Maffeo steps in for a female vocal spot as well. The dreamy rhythms and exciting crescendos make this record a timeless classic worth holding on to.

February 9th - February 15th

Marked Men - Ghosts -2009 Dirtnap Records

I was very excited to hear that these guys were putting out a new album and very excited once I heard the album. It's not a far stretch from their previous works, which is a great thing since their past two albums have been amazing. Same droning guitars and memorable hooks, with some new surprises. The song structures are a bit more clever and developed and in my opinion, the album is a success.

February 2nd - February 8th

Nobunny - Love Visions - 2008 Bubble Dumb

An exciting, low-fi, bubblegum,Ramonesy,solo record with more memorable hooks than any recent records I can quickly drum up. Maybe something like if Ben Weasel and a random member of The Spits had a mutant bunny baby who knew how to tease an overly excited fun punk fan base. This record is hip yet humble.

January 26th - February 1st

Spacemen 3 - Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To -1990 Father Yod Productions

This collection of early S3 recordings proves that these guys had the knack long before some of their more popular songs became polished and better known. Tracks from as far back as 1986, exhibit hints to future space rock classics like "Walkin' With Jesus" (then titled "Sound of Confusion"). A really neat piece of history for fans of this band's wall of white noise. These early versions might be more chilling than their later masterpieces, but raw and real if nothing else.

January 19th - January 25th

The Locust & VA - Well I'll Be A Monkey's Uncle - 2000 GSL 032

Here’s a little flashback to the good old grind days. The Locust combined interesting and funny lyrics with fast, energetic songs, generally under a minute in length. This record is a set of remixes from some great stuff with the help of Kid606, Sinking Body, I am Spoonbender and more. This two LP set contains “camo” wax on one disc and an intense etching on the other. I had the pleasure of getting to see them in Columbus, Ohio back in 2002 as openers for the Moss Icon reunion. People got naked, dressed like chickens, and there was even a community kiddie pool in the middle of the pit. Members have gone on to play in bands such as: Swing Kids, Crimson Curse, Some Girls, Holy Molar, Head Wound City, Cattle Decapitation, Tristeza, and The Album Leaf (to name a few!) Although the band continues to play and write today, I’ve been a bit out of the loop with their newer material. From what I am seeing in the new generation grind scene is that the band is still buzzing and the kids are still swarming for them.

January 12th - January 18th

Moolah - Woe ye Demons Possessed - 1974 Druidstone

I was lucky enough to find an original copy of this holy grail of the 1970’s underground NYC psychedelic experience. This masterpiece, allegedly recorded in a basement by Walter Burns and Maurice Roberson, will absolutely blow your mind. The frightening drums, chilling effects (tapes, noise, ???, etc), and ghostly/demonic voices will convince you to keep the lights on all night. Imagine Faust meets early Floyd to discuss a colossal mid seventies psychological horror/thriller by way of a 13th floor elevator. Beautiful. Repress available on 180 gram from Annuit Records. CD available on EM Records. I have to write more about this later.

Back Cover

“by the mystic fire

ye wait . . . . yor hide

glistening with sweat

of strange endeavors

performing dances

to the sun and moon

licking blood drinking tears

sacrificing love on the

altar of tomorrow

eating fruits of stolen vineyards

with withered young mouths

that sing old songs

which were forbid

the whirlwind . . . . . . !”

“look the dark clouds


on the horizon of doom

winds cross trees uproot

plagues of flies invade

the land at hand

o day of judge men

see ye children

of the accursed

what sown be reaped

given ye gods ye chose the beast

and eternity plays the tune

of unnamed horror

for terror is real

and so is hell!”


January 5th - January 11th

Os Mutantes - S/T - 1968 Omplatten/Polydor

I have to give credit to my roommate Matt for blasting this classic a lot lately. I can't seem to get enough. A Brazilian psychedelic masterpiece at it's finest. Powerfully melodic songs, interesting textured soundscapes, and Portuguese vocals that are so incredibly visual - you'll think you understand what they are singing...

December 29th- January 4th

Bo Hansson - Music Inspired by Lord of The Rings -1972 Charisma CAS 1059

This record is one of my favorite musical afterthoughts on the LOTR books. It's from 1972, very psychedelic, very ambient, very interesting. There's an organ, a Moog, a textured and exciting bass, guitar, horns, and powerful drums. Imagine ELP's Tarkus record, except you can take the entire adventure seriously. I particularly like putting this on before bed, but be forewarned: It gets pretty intense when those Ringwraiths start galloping through the shadows looking for you and your Hobbit friend.

December 22-28 2008

Love 1, Love 2 - S/T1968-1970?? - cat#221978/221979

I found this record in a batch of classical records. It was in a plain white sleeve with white center labels (as shown). I was hoping it would be a live recording of the band "Love", but surprisingly enough it was not. I have no idea what this record is or why anyone ever pressed it. It's two sides of corny "sexy" pg-13 dialog between a man and a woman in their late 20's. It's creepy, weird, and disappointing. The only reason this scored "record of the week" is basically because it's just too odd to go unmentioned. Please contact me if you have any info on this.

December 15-21 2008

The Marked men - S/T - 2003 Rip Off Records

I can't seem to get enough of this record. It's good to put on when a lady is around, it's good to rock out to with friends, and it's great at any volume. Driving 2-3 chord punk rock reminiscent of early 90's CA punk meets droney late 90's indie. Catchy riffs, fantastic vocals, solid song structures. You'll be singing along whether you figure out the lyrics or not.

December 8-14 2008

Lime Spiders - Slave Girl - 1984 Big Time Records

Legendary Australian indie rockers shred both sides of this EP. Original tracks taken from several different recording takes and a line up change come together in garagey psychedelic sounds. Raw, poppy, punky and down right awesome, this record has scored some serious quality playtime on my turntable.

December 1-7 2008

The Chameleons - Tony Fletcher Walked On Water...La La La La La-La La-La La - 1990 Glass Pyramid (recorded in 1987).

I honestly love everything the Chameleons ever did, but this is their masterpiece. This very rare posthumous release clearly captures the devastation surrounding the loss of their band manager and friend, Tony Fletcher. The group disbanded shortly after Fletcher’s sudden death and reappeared in 2000 for some short lived reunions.

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