duminică, 17 august 2008

Melpo Mene - Holes (2004)

“Erik Mattiason, the man behind Melpo Mene, might have never reached an audience outside of his native Sweden if "I Adore You," the lead single from his second studio album, hadn't been featured in a popular Volvo advertisement in 2008. Naming his project for the Greek muse of tragedy, Mattiason began recording his folky, electronica-tinged songs in the early 2000s. He was signed to Imperial Recordings, the home of likeminded singer/songwriter Jose Gonzalez, in 2003, and his debut EP on that label, Don't Save Me, was released the following spring. Another EP, Hello Benjamin, came out in the autumn, and his debut full-length, Holes, hit stores in Scandinavia before the year was out. His third EP, 2005's Jedi, signaled the end (for the time being, at any rate) of Mattiason's relentless release schedule. After three years of relative quiet, the erstwhile unknown Melpo Mene found himself launched into the mainstream when Volvo snapped up "I Adore You," a track from his upcoming album, for a commercial that aired around the globe, notably in the United States. His sophomore album, Bring the Lions Out, came out on Imperial in the summer of that year.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Melpo Mene - Holes

vineri, 15 august 2008

Papercuts - Mockingbird (2004)

“Mockingbird is the long awaited follow-up to 2000's Rejoicing Songs (released on CassingleUSA). Difficult to characterize, Papercuts' second release shuffles along like a marching band on quaaludes....if that marching band also had a morose Steve Nieve on keyboards and was produced by Phil Spector and Kevin Shields.
The lush arrangements and biting lyrical content (try "Pan American Blues Pt. 2," or "A Fairy Tale") are reminiscent of Scott Walker, or more recent practitioners of gloom such as Red House Painters, Okkervil River or Rufus Wainwright (minus all the bombast). The main distinction though, is the groove. Even the slowest, most quiet tracks on Mockingbird will get your head nodding, like your favorite early pop/r&b single playing at 33 rpm.
Jason Robert Quever is the mastermind here, handling all songwriting duties and playing a bit of everything. He's joined by Matt Popieluch (keys, backing vox.) and Luke Top (drums), both of whom are from The Cave-Ins and have played with Cass McCombs as well. Natalie Mazzuca provides viola on several cuts and Antenna Farm's own Paul K. lays down some keys on the title track.
With some of the catchiest pop tunes that we here at Antenna Farm have heard in quite some time, Mockingbird will get funky, it'll lull you to sleep, lift your spirits and make you hurt.” (From Antennafarmrecords.com).

Download : Papercuts - Mockingbird

joi, 14 august 2008

The Ballet - Mattachine! (2006)

“In years past, when indie pop was referred to as "gay," it was more likely a junior high put-down about general wussiness than it was about dudes making out. When actual homosexuals such as Stephen Merritt wrote about their romances, they were largely obscured in flowery language, a symptom of a time when lovers were, as he said, "beat up just for holding hands." More than a decade later, followers of Merritt's Magnetic Fields can more openly talk about the realities of their urban man-love. On the strength of their self-released debut, Mattachine!, the members of New York City's Ballet might be the gold standard in this "sissy pop" movement.
Opener "Personal" is ambiguous only for the twenty seconds or so before Greg Goldberg sings, "I saw you on Gaydar." With a production sheen surprising for a band whose D.I.Y. disc bears the telltale blue belly of a CD-R, the Ballet takes a characteristically light and witty approach to Internet cruising. The bold sequencing of such an unmistakably queer song as the opener colors everything that follows. Although the subsequent charmer, "Cheating on Your Boyfriend," has no gender-specific pronouns, it's hard to hear it as anything but a first-person account. On paper the subject matter and synth/string instrumental palette might make it sound like the Ballet is stealing the Hidden Cameras' lunch, but that band's hazy folk comes nowhere near the talent for succinct, hook-driven catchiness all over Mattachine!.
"I Hate the War," the finest song on the album (which features members of Aislers Set, Baskervilles and Voxtrot), proves that the members of the Ballet have more on their minds than boys. Rather than lecture on the finer points of the current political situation, the band focuses on relatable feelings of inarticulate helplessness. "Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na/ I hate the war" goes the infectious chorus. Instead of coming across as shallow, it sums things up nicely, hitting the inclusive note of a classic such as "Give Peace a Chance." Now that we've been stripped of the baby boomers' naive belief in the power of a pop song to legitimately change hearts, what else is there to say?
The Ballet excels in the sort of three-minute ear candy that boys and girls have been writing about each other for ages. That the band members so effortlessly co-opt the form to detail the gay scene is at once more interesting than the same old he-said/she-said and as casually revolutionary only in its universal likeability.” (From Prefixmag.com).

Download : The Ballet - Mattachine!

Snowglobe - Our Land Brains (2002)

“Formed by two high-school friends, Tim Regan and Brad Postlethwaite, Snowglobe's music traverses the psychedelic folk pathways first cleared by the likes of Gram Parsons and the Byrds and later explored by the likes of Neutral Milk Hotel and their Elephant 6 brethren.
Our Land Brains is a warm and inviting record filled with comfortable sounds and friendly melodies. Though the Beatles and Beach Boys influences aren't quite as obvious, Snowglobe shares many psychedelic affinities with the Elephant 6 bands, such as the Apples in Stereo and especially Neutral Milk Hotel. The result is a charming and affable listen with swelling thrift-store organs, horns, acoustic guitars, chimes, and even some strings all blending into a pleasing whole. The band's vocals are occasionally a little bit too restrained for their own good, limiting themselves within a specific vocal range. The songs are catchy enough, though, such as Tim Regan's "Dream Works" and Brad Postlethwaite's "Smiles and Frowns." Our Land Brains doesn't aggressively push in any progressive direction, but that's not really the point. Highly enjoyable.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Snowglobe - Our Land Brains

miercuri, 13 august 2008

The Lovetones - Meditations (2005)

“Drawing inspiration from late-'60s psychedelia and mid-'90s pop underground acts like Matthew Sweet, Australia's Lovetones formed in the early 2000s with Matthew J. Tow, Matthew Sigley, Serge Luca, and Chris Cobb.
If you're looking for an ultimate half-and-half fusion of John Lennon with early-'70s David Bowie, the Lovetones' second album is one of the closer approximations that's apt to appear. They credibly recall both of those figures in the arching vocals and earnestly penetrating vocals, and (at least as far as Bowie goes) in a vague sort of launching-into-the-cosmos ethos. As with many efforts that bring to mind icons of decades past, half and half don't necessarily make a whole on par with the whole of any single one of their inspirations. There's a slightly lazy, drifting feel to lyrical preoccupations, and a similarity of approach throughout most of the tracks, that the masters of these kinds of forms transcend with greater eclecticism and vision. Keeping your expectations realistic, however, it's a pleasant listening experience, with an effectively psychedelic-tinged, full but not densely cluttered blend of electric and acoustic guitar and keyboard textures. The keyboards in particular recall early Pink Floyd on "Genius" and the dramatic closing instrumental, "The Color and the Cut," which builds to an opus-like piece after a comparatively modest beginning. Among the highlights are "Inside a Dream," with its gently sliding guitar glides; "Come Home," which sounds a little like the Beatles' "Free as a Bird" as done by an indie band; and "Across the Sea," whose chorus can't fail to recall the melody of Buffalo Springfield's "Broken Arrow." (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Lovetones - Meditations

marți, 12 august 2008

The Chrysler - Cold War Classic (2005)

“The Chrysler's first album (2003's Failures and Sparks) was a very pleasing amalgamation of classic American influences (Neil Young, the Band), emotional U.K. sounds (Coldplay, Snow Patrol), and hooky Swedish pop. Their second, 2005's Cold War Classic, makes a small step forward both in songcraft and production, making an already good band pretty close to excellent. As before, the band's sound is built around a sparse foundation of guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums. They layer in judiciously placed violins, percussion, horns, and backing vocals. This time out, though, Henrik von Euler's production is a bit sharper and the arrangements more carefully plotted out, which adds an extra dimension to the sound of the album. The songs would have worked stripped down to nothing, though, as both of the band's composers, Pelle Lindroth and Anders E. Rudström, have written some very fine songs that adeptly balance emotion and melody. Lyrically the duo is pretty downbeat and restrained, with the subject matter of the songs ranging from heartbreak to nostalgia and on to melancholy and regret. Musically, they have a wider palette, utilizing bopping indie pop with horns on "While the Tide Is High," strummy C86 twee-isms on "It Was 1982" and the sweet-as-summer "Blue Gold," as well as more appropriately downcast sounds on the dramatic "First Blood" and "Holland Park" (both of which sound like they could have been played by the Bad Seeds), the back porch country minor key ballad "Catholic Tuesday," and the exceedingly autumnal "Eddie." Lindroth and Rudström trade off vocals (singing their own compositions), and they both have wonderfully rich and evocative voices, perfect for the equally rich and evocative songs they have written. Cold War Classic is the kind of record you can disappear into; it creates a gentle and peacefully sad mood that's hard to shake for a while afterward, like a well-written book or well-made movie that creates its own world. The Chrysler don't get the same praise that some of their poppier and hipper fellow Swedes get, but they seem like a band that's going to be making records this classic for a long time to come.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Chrysler - Cold War Classic

Seaside Stars - The Magic of Stereo (2001)

“Every so often, I'll get a cd from a band I'd never heard or heard of, and put it on, and instantly love it. That can't even begin to describe this disc. I put this on, and by the third song, it's already in my year's top ten. This is the jangle pop record of this new decade, and probably the best melodic guitar pop band I've heard since East Village (with the possible exception of Brideshead, though I may like these guys more). There is absolutely nothing bad I can say about this record, so I guess I'll just continue raving... The guitars: perfect sound, mixing crystal clear guitars with ever-so-slightly distorted rhythm guitars, that occasionally break out louder for the breaks. The music is generally upbeat and always moving. The vocals: sunny male vocals with lots of heavenly harmonies and backing vocals. Think East Village, Teenage Fanclub, Speedboat... take the best bits of all and you'll have "The Magic Of Stereo". All of this comes from two German fellows, and I really can't wait to see what they do next! The disc comes in a funny wraparound cardboard sleeve, around the jewel case (like the Sloan "Navy Blues" cd). Do whatever it takes to find this cd, and you'll love it, too!” (From Indiapages.com).

Download : Seaside Stars - The Magic of Stereo

luni, 11 august 2008

Aerospace - The Bright Idea Called Soul (2001)

“Aerospace is: Torbjörn Thorsén, vocals and guitar; Kristian Rosengren, guitar; John Boqvist, piano and organ; Christer Nilsson, bass; Fredrik Balck, drums.
At the outset, Aerospace was all about playing live. All about playing live and all about going on tours. Little surprise, then, that the blondest {and friendliest, possibly} band in the business embarked on their first three-date jaunt to Malmö and back a mere month after forming in Toby’s living room, one of the last days of January 2000. The first ‘practice’ was more about deciding who should play which instrument than grinding the same song for hours on end and the resulting line-up was Toby on vocals and guitar, Kristian on electric guitar, John on organ and Wurlitzer piano and Christer on the bass {Fredrik joined a little later on drums}.
Sticking to their unorthodox ways {unorthodox in a world where bands are half-expected to spend five years in a tiny basement before even considering playing live, at least} the fab five lined up shows in their native Sweden, slowly gaining a reputation among fans of their brand of breezy-but-energetic, melodic guitar pop, and an ardent following wherever they went, celebrating their six month-anniversary by touring the west coast of America for half a month. Rising to the occasion, Aerospace played larger venues than ever before, taking in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle as part of the New Modern Tour, featuring premier American indie pop bands Majestic, My Favorite, The Fairways and others.
Recording always seemed an afterthought, but the sessions that eventually surfaced on »The Bright Idea Called Soul« were just as spectacular as the live shows, still the number one priority of Aerospace.
The fall meant more concerts and the band perfecting their craft through playing all over Stockholm and the rest of the country, with the first birthday crowned by the award for “Best Newcomer” at the prestigious Benno Awards early 2001.
The year that followed saw the band again supporting some of their musical heroes: The Aislers Set and The Lucksmiths on their respective tours of Sweden, and another summer of love was spent in San Francisco where Aerospace “blew away most of the other bands” {Peter Hahndorf, TweeNet} at the four-day Popfest 2001.
One year later, Aerospace can add an album and twenty-odd shows to their resumé {including first-time trips to Norway, England and Scotland and playing with Belle and Sebastian in Stockholm} and are getting ready to record the follow-up to »The Bright Idea Called Soul«, set to take their music to the next level.” (From Labrador.se).

Jimmy Jimmy - Here in the Light (1986)

“Jimmy Jimmy would have been considered a forgotten band from the '80s if anybody had actually known the group in the first place. A duo consisting of vocalists/guitarists James O'Neill and Jimmy Kemp, Jimmy Jimmy debuted with the chirpiest of singles -- the keyboard-laced jangle pop gem "I Met Her in Paris" -- in 1985. Reminiscent of Herman's Hermits and the Mindbenders, Jimmy Jimmy had enough Merseybeat charm and British Invasion hooks to make listeners believe that they were '60s relics. Perhaps that is why the group failed to achieve mass acceptance, at least in the U.K. Obscure to most British and American music fans, Jimmy Jimmy found a spot between Aztec Camera and the Housemartins on the Philippines' new wave radio stations, as "I Met Her in Paris" and, to a lesser degree, the lovely ballad "Lady" became staples of the format. Syrupy lyrics and boyish harmonies overflowed on the band's only LP, Here in the Light, released in 1986 on CBS in the U.K. Since the late-'90s Internet explosion, Jimmy Jimmy has acquired greater recognition, as collectors of rare new wave and indie vinyl have sought out the duo's scarcely available small discography.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Jimmy Jimmy - Here in the Light

duminică, 10 august 2008

Chasing Dorotea - Chasing Dorotea (2002)

“While buying magazines in a mall we noticed some truly wonderful music coming from the speakers. Gentle little songs with sensitive whispery vocals. We asked the boy behind the counter what it was. That boy was songwriter Christopher Sander and the wonderful music was by his very own; Chasing Dorotea.
In the autumn of 2001 Christopher Sander gathered a bunch of friends to join Chasing Dorotea, started playing live in Sweden and, most importantly, recorded this wonderful self titled album.
Some people have compared him to Nick Drake, Red House Painters and Belle & Sebastian. And Christopher Sander certainly has the same obvious talent for letting emotions go straight from guitar and vocals to heart of the listener. Expect this songwriter to stick around for a good time.” (From Labrador.se).

Download : Chasing Dorotea - Chasing Dorotea

The Kane Gang - Miracle (1987)

“Kane Gang was a blue-eyed soul trio from North East England that had a few UK hits and one U.S. hit in the 1980s. Named after the movie, Citizen Kane, the trio recorded for the indie record label, Kitchenware, that was also home to Prefab Sprout.
Vocalists Martin Brammer born in Seaham, County Durham and Paul Woods, plus multi-instrumentalist Dave Brewis formed the trio in 1982, after meeting in small local bands, and signed to a small record label, which led to a deal with London Records in 1984.
Their debut album, Bad and Lowdown World of the Kane Gang (released in the United States as Lowdown), was released the next year, and spawned two United Kingdom hit singles. These were "Closest Thing To Heaven" (#12) and a cover of The Staples Singers' "Respect Yourself" (#21). The latter was also a hit in Australia, reaching #19. The album had a decent pedigree, being produced by Pete Wingfield, and having both P. P. Arnold and Sam Brown as backing singers.
The band's next album, Miracle, released in 1987, spawned two U.S. hit singles: "Motortown" (#36 U.S. / #45 UK) and another cover - this time of Dennis Edwards' "Don't Look Any Further" (#64 U.S. / #52 UK).
Woods left the band in 1991 to attempt a solo career. Woods and Brewis also worked on an album which was never released.” (From Wikipedia).

Download : The Kane Gang - Miracle

The Kane Gang - Motortown

Blueboy - Unisex (1994)

“Reading, England-based indie-pop outfit Blueboy was led by singer Keith Girdler and guitarist Paul Stewart, who previously teamed in the little-known Feverfew. Upon recording the first Blueboy demo in a friend's shed, the duo sent a copy of the song "Clearer" to the famed Sarah Records label, which agreed to release the track as a single in the fall of 1991; with the subsequent additions of second guitarist Harvey Williams (of Field Mice/Another Sunny Day fame), singer/cellist Gemma Townlet, bassist Mark and drummer Lloyd, the group returned in mid-1992 with "Popkiss," soon followed by the full-length If Wishes Were Horses. Resurfacing the following year with the singles "Meet Johnny Rave" and "Some Gorgeous Accident," Blueboy issued its second LP Unisex in the spring of 1994; soon after Mark and Lloyd left the band, with Townlet assuming bass duties and Martin Rose signing on to play drums for the 1995 single "Dirty Mags." When Sarah folded later that year, label co-owner Matt Haynes formed the new Shinkansen imprint, bringing Blueboy with him to release 1996's "Love Yourself"; by this time the line-up was again reduced to the original duo of Girdler and Stewart, with vocalist Cath Close, bassist James Neville and drummer Ian Gardner completing the lineup for 1998's The Bank of England, reportedly the band's final release. Girdler and Stewart also recorded as Arabesque and later Beaumont.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Blueboy - Unisex

sâmbătă, 9 august 2008

The Pearlfishers - Across the Milky Way (2001)

“An ever-shifting Scottish group led by singer/songwriter David Scott, the only constant member, the Pearlfishers are a glorious soft pop band mixing acoustic-based music with subtle orchestral flourishes, rather like a Glasgow-based Prefab Sprout with a major Brian Wilson fixation. Since forming in 1989 the Pearlfishers have refined and broadened their sound while maintaining a steadily growing cult following.
During the always-nostalgic '90s, any number of musicians paid homage to some combination of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Burt Bacharach, trying to channel those influences into perfect pop that could actually stand alongside the work of their heroes. From the gruff Fab Four cops of Oasis to the acidic easy listening of the Divine Comedy to even the angelic, surf-kissed harmonies of R.E.M.'s Up, you could hardly open your ears without some reminder of the divine three B's. But no one, perhaps, has been able to invoke the entire trio as effectively as the Pearlfishers' David Scott does on Across the Milky Way, a gorgeous album good enough not to send you immediately scurrying to your record collection for a taste of the real thing. Songs like the pastoral title track, something Brian Wilson might have conjured up if he'd been born in Scotland instead of California, and "New Stars," three blissful minutes of everything that's great about jangle pop, are the real thing, in fact -- and that's just the first two cuts. With help from a string section, horns, a pair of drummers, and even a banjo player, Scott isn't limited in his influences. A true student of pop, he nods here to everything from the Brill Building to sentimental '70s AM radio fare. But he always returns to those often-elusive touchstones, with impeccable results. Wouldn't Bacharach himself want to claim the heart-tugging, flügelhorn-flecked instrumental "The Vampires of Camelon"? Wouldn't Mike Love and company have loved to tackle the soaring chorus of "Shine It Out"? And couldn't the gentle "Paint on a Smile" pass for a McCartney offering from a mid-period Moptops album? To some, that probably reads like sacrilege, especially given that Scott's lyrics, while often evocative and never dumb, aren't the equal of his music. Then again, that would be a tall order indeed -- and after all, the words of Scott's idols are usually remembered far less often than their hummable, loveable, damn near-inescapable tunes. If those are what you're looking for, then Across the Milky Way sounds like an outing for the ages.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Pearlfishers - Across the Milky Way

1000 Violins - Hey Man That's Beautiful (1988)

“One Thousand Violins were a sixties-influenced indie-pop group from Sheffield, Yorkshire, who had several UK Indie Chart hits in the late 1980s.
The band was formed in 1985 by Darren Swindells (bass), Colin Gregory (guitar), John Wood (vocals), David Warmsley (keyboards/guitar), and Peter Day (drums). Gregory and Warmsley had previously played together in The Page Boys. Their first single, "Halcyon Days" was released in 1985. The follow-up, "Like One Thousand Violins" was voted into that year's Festive 50 by listeners to John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show, the band having recorded a session for the show earlier that year. 1986 saw a second Peel session, and the band breaking into the indie chart with "Please Don't Sandblast My House", which reached number 11. In 1987, Day was replaced by Ian Addey, and the indie hits continued with "Ungrateful Bastard", "Locked Out of The Love-In", and "If I Were a Bullet". The following year the band's debut album, Hey Man That's Beautiful was released, and Wood departed, to be replaced by ex-Hazze Office singer Vince Keenan. With the band troubled by financial problems and 'mind differences', they split in 1989.
Colin Gregory went on to form The Dylans. Keenan went on to join Splendid Fellows and later SPIGGOTT. Warmsley died from cancer in 1992.
While the band's success during their lifetime was limited, the internet and the interest in this era of indie pop saw interest in the band increase. Vinyl Japan issued a collection of the band's work in 2001, Like One Thousand Violins.” (From Wikipedia).

Download : 1000 Violins - Hey Man That's Beautiful

The Fairways - This is Farewell (2004)

“Outstanding collection of songs recorded between 1998 and 2004 by sadly departed San Francisco pop darlings The Fairways. One of the most beloved bands on the international pop scene, the band produced highly melodic songs coupling jangling guitars, piano, organ, flute and strings with the melancholic voice of lead singer Brent Kenji. In one energetic burst at the turn of the century The Fairways released a brilliant debut single and album, contributed tracks to several international pop compilations, toured the USA and Japan, and placed a song in a mainstream Miramax film. Despite glowing reviews and an ardent following across the globe, the promise of a highly anticipated second album never materialized and the band drifted apart. While bassist Jen Cohen played in fellow San Francisco hitmakers The Aislers Set, Kenji went on to form the celebrated Matinée duo The Young Tradition. The 13 tracks on this swansong CD include eight previously unreleased songs that formed the basis of that elusive second album, two tracks from their sold out ‘Darling Don’t You Think’ 45 on Matinée, a song from a limited split single with The Aislers Set, and two tracks from a 2001 tour CD. In addition to signature Fairways originals, the album includes covers of select songs by Japanese pop group Three Berry Icecream, venerable American songwriter Walter Donaldson, and Scottish indie legends Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes. This is Farewell is a modern indiepop classic and a wonderful way to say goodbye to a truly remarkable band.” (From Amazon.com).

Download : The Fairways - This is Farewell

vineri, 8 august 2008

moi Caprice - Once Upon A Time In The North (2003)

Danish 4 piece band moi Caprice rose to underground fame in the late nineties when they entered the top slot on the Alternative Chart with the song The Sun & the Silence as the first unsigned band ever. A few years would pass before the band released their first actual single, Daisies, and despite it being a slightly awkward ballad, the song turned into a minor hit in Denmark, and with 7 consecutive weeks in the top slot of the Alternative Chart is was the biggest hit on the chart in 2002. The band ended the year with a nomination for best new band of the year at the Radio Awards. The next single, Artboy Meets Artgirl, proved moi Caprice one of the finest art rock bands in the country, and paved the way for their 2003 full-length debut, Once Upon a Time in the North, which was widely praised by the critics. After an extensive tour moi Caprice released their second album, You Cant Say No Forever, in early 2005. Again the reviews were amazing, some claiming it a true masterpiece. Both To the Lighthouse and My Girl You Blush turned into hits, on both the Alternative and the mainstream charts. In early 2006 moi Caprice was nominated for the grand prize of the Radio Awards. moi Caprice has been widely acknowledged for their skilful song writing, their apt ear for the pop tune in a dark melancholic musical setting, their highly intelligent lyrics in an original style that is inarguably the sound of no one but themselves. The band has just released their third album "The Art of Kissing Properly".

Download : moi Caprice - Once Upon A Time In The North

moi Caprice - Riding in Cars With Girls

Naïve - Fish (1986)

Naïve was a new wave post-punk band formed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1983. Fish is their full debut album, released in 1986. A very rare record.

Download : Naïve - Fish

joi, 7 august 2008

Underground Lovers - Rushall Station (1996)

“The innovative Underground Lovers are the premier group bridging Australian music from the traditional drums and guitar rock of the past to the technology and electronic-influenced music of the late '80s and beyond. It all started as the musical expression of Glen Bennie and Vincent Giarrusso, and within the space of ten years and six albums it ended up that way again.
As GBVG (their initials) Bennie and Giarrusso released their first single "Blast" in 1988, establishing the Underground Lovers' basic characteristics: Bennie's striking hypnotic guitar atmospheres balanced against Giarrusso's acute pop sense. By forming a group the following year, they were able to extend their imaginations. The serene vocals of Philippa Nihill offered yet another color, compared to Giarrusso's rhythmic leanings. On-stage, Nihill and Giarrusso swapped both vocals and keyboard duties, supported by bass and drums, and encased by Bennie's unique guitar approach. The Underground Lovers played their first gig in Melbourne in May 1990. Two gigs later they recorded their independently distributed debut album.
Their second album Leaves Me Blind was released in England even before Australia, after the head of England's cult label 4AD happened to be Australia, heard the finished record and offered the group a one-album deal on 4AD's sister label Guernica. 4AD's spotlight led to strong import sales in the U.S. Americans assumed the band was British. The British thought the Underground Lovers were in tune with the burgeoning Manchester scene. The Underground Lovers knew they'd developed what they were based on: British influences like Joy Division and New Order and local Australian inspirations. The band's third album Dream It Down became their mainstream label debut, a lush record which almost gave the band a hit record with "Las Vegas."
The Underground Lovers didn't enjoy their tenure under a major record company and chose to leave rather than be told what they had to do in order to achieve that hit single. The next album, Rushall Station, was released on the group's own ironically-named Mainstream label. Phillipa Nihill had left for a solo career, but still appeared on a couple of the tracks. It just meant that Bennie and Giarrusso could please themselves where they pushed the Underground Lovers next. On record and on stage, the Underground Lovers could be whatever they needed to be to suit the occasion. While Bennie and Giarrusso are in charge it's always unmistakably Underground Lovers. Under the same methodology they have created two more albums, Ways T'Burn and Cold Feeling. In between they have released another single and performed as GBVB; Bennie produced Phillipa Nihill's debut solo album and Giarrusso wrote and directed the movie Mallboy.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Underground Lovers - Rushall Station

marți, 5 august 2008

Sandpit - On Second Thought (1998)

“One of Australia's most unrecognised indie-pop outfits, Sandpit enjoyed a brief but productive career spanning 1994-1998. Like their previous EPs, this album was released through Fellaheen Records, and is both their first and last album, with the band members going their seperate ways after its release.
Running in at just under 40 minutes, the album is comprised of ten tracks, two of which (Along The Moors and Greater Expectations) were released as singles. The sound of the disc could be best described as fractured, melodic, indie-pop. It is this, along with guitarist Brendan Webb's tendency to experiment with altered guitar tunings and unusual chords, that have led some to liken the band to Sonic Youth.
The songs on the album range from upbeat indie-pop (Along The Moors), Hold Yr Horses, Helicopters, Greater Expectations), to slower and more reflective songs (Metamorphosis, I Positively Hate You Now, Walk In A Straight Line), while others are dynamic-driven instrumental tracks (Whole Again, DI/Eclipse) and the final track, Crepe-Paper Fortress, sounds like a combination of all these traits.
Musically, they are a guitar driven three piece, though Brendan experiments with the use of a melodica and e-bow to expand the band's sonic boundaries. Lyrically, the album is introspective and emotionally diverse, sometimes melancholic and joyful in the same song (see Along The Moors). This contrast is played upon in tracks such as Hold Yr Horses and I Positively Hate You Now), in which the emotional qualities of the lyrics and music are juxtaposed against eachother to great effect, with a nagging degree of tension accompanying each track as a result (more on this later). The main focus of the songs is on the vocals and guitar, with no real feature parts for the bass and drums, played by Stephanie Ashworth and Greg Wales respectively. This not a shortcoming, but rather a strength, as the rhythm section perform with an exceptional degree of tightness throughout the disc, not just with eachother, but also with the guitar and vocals, whether on driving tracks like Helicopters or on more rhythmically lethargic tracks like Metamorphosis.
Overall, On Second Thought provides a solid listen of creatively written and diverse indie-pop, by a band with enough variation in the mood and style of their songs to keep the record from becoming tedious, and enough musical ability and creativity to establish them as a unique group with a sound that was truly their own. Definately a shame that they didn't last any longer, but a record like this remains something to be proud of all the same.” (From Sputnikmusic).

Download : Sandpit - On Second Thought

duminică, 3 august 2008

Dada - Puzzle (1992)

“With their clean pop sound, catchy melodies, and clever lyrics, some journalists labeled Dada the Police of the '90s, although the trio wasn't as musically adventurous as that group.
Guitar riffs permeate dada's pleasing debut Puzzle, wedded to thick slices of an equally important influence -- '60s psychedelia. The L.A. trio offers plenty to keep the ears busy: the orchestral sadness of "Timothy," and insidious melody of "Dog, " strung-out ravings of "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, " and over-the-edge teen-angst of "Dizz Knee Land." Avoiding tedious jams, keeping the songs tight and memorable, combined with a taste in cover art worthy of L.A.'s best psychologists, helps make this disc an intriguing puzzle.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Dada - Puzzle

sâmbătă, 2 august 2008

DM3 - One Time Two Times Three Red Light (1993)

“Fronted by singer/ guitarist Dom Mariani (formerly of The Stems and The Lime Spiders) DM3 got their start in 1992 with the accompaniment of bassist Toni Italiano and drummer Pascal Bartolone. Bringing out their own brand of power-pop to the town of Perth, Australia, DM3 debuted with their first single "Foolish" in 1993 before following it with their first full-length 1 Time, 2 Times, 3 Red Light in 1994. After a European tour in support of these two releases, DM3's second album Road to Rome came out in 1996 before Bomp Records hooked up a "best of" compilation in support of the band 1997 US tour entitled Dig It The Most. With the 5 Greasy Pieces EP released that same year courtesy of Citadel Records, another compilation of b-sides and out takes entitled Garage Sale saw the light of day in 1998.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : DM3 - One Time Two Times Three Red Light

luni, 28 iulie 2008

World of Twist - Quality Street (1991)

“Electronic bubblegum outfit World of Twist formed in Sheffield, England, in 1985. Singer James Fry (the younger brother of ABC frontman Martin Fry) and drummer Tony Ogden co-founded the group, recruiting guitarist Gordon King, bassist Andrew Hobson, saxophonist Rory Connelly, organist Nick Phillips, and synth player Andy Robbins to complete the lineup. Drawing inspiration from Roxy Music, producer Joe Meek, and obscure Northern soul singles, World of Twist enjoyed an obvious kinship with fellow Sheffield act Pulp, which formed around the same time and even supported WoT during their earliest live gigs. The band's original lineup proved short-lived, however, and split sometime in mid-1986. A new World of Twist surfaced in Manchester in 1988, with Ogden now on vocals, King still handling guitar duties, and Hobson manning the synthesizer. Keyboardist Alan "Adge" Frost, audio/visual effects specialists MC Shells and Angela Reilly, and drummer Nick Sanderson rounded out the new lineup. A four-song demo tape appeared in early 1990, and with the British music press' infatuation with the so-called "Madchester" scene at its zenith, World of Twist was quickly anointed the city's next major star. Upon signing to Virgin Records' Circa subsidiary, their hotly tipped debut single, "The Storm," nevertheless fell just shy of the British Top 40, and the same fate greeted its follow-up, a Martin Hannett-produced cover of the Rolling Stones' psychedelic-era classic "She's a Rainbow." World of Twist promoted their 1991 debut LP, Quality Street, via a sold-out tour that magnified the band's theatrical aspirations. Ogden regularly took the stage wrapped in tinfoil that was systematically unraveled during each night's opening song.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : World of Twist - Quality Street

sâmbătă, 26 iulie 2008

Marmoset - Today It's You (1999)

“Crafting a shambling, uniquely Midwestern take on British post-punk and psychedelic pop sounds, Indianapolis' Marmoset began playing in the '90s with the lineup of bassist/vocalist Jorma Whittaker, guitarist LonPaul Ellrich, guitarist/vocalist Dave Jablonski, and drummer Jason Cavan.
There's something in Marmoset's sound that's reminiscent of indie-rock in the early 1980s -- touches of the occasionally dark, Velvet Underground-influenced jangle of the Feelies, Mission of Burma, the less cutesy work of the Television Personalities, even the later work of Wire. On the other hand, there's also the jerkiness of a band like Slant 6, a bit of new wave, and a slight resemblance to early Unrest -- to Marmoset's credit, none of these references can really capture the unique but still familiar sound they've crafted. Today It's You offers a slew of rather brief songs in this vein, and while some are not entirely engaging, others are constructed in such interesting, off-kilter ways that they wind up being quite good ("Shatter the Lovely," "Speakers," "Laugh Giraffe").” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Marmoset - Today It's You

vineri, 25 iulie 2008

Care - Diamonds & Emeralds (1997)

“Care were an Alternative Rock band formed by Paul Simpson and Ian Broudie in 1983 in Liverpool, England. The band released a string of singles in the 1980s but soon broke up without producing an album. Their songs, which include "Whatever Possessed You," "Flaming Sword," "My Boyish Days," and "Chandeliers," were compiled and released posthumously as the album Diamonds and Emeralds (1997, Camden/Sire Records).
Paul Simpson, in between Care's activity, was the vocalist of another English band, The Wild Swans, whose songs include the Zoo Records 12" single "The Revolutionary Spirit" and "Young Manhood," "Bible Dreams," and "Whirlpool Heart," from their first album Bringing Home the Ashes (1988, Sire); currently, Simpson uses the moniker Skyray and released the albums The Dream Diaries and Liquid Crystal Display, both in 2004.
Ian Broudie, on the other hand, became more successful after forming The Lightning Seeds in the late 1980s, releasing a string of albums which spawned hit singles like "Pure," "All I Want," "Life of Riley," "Three Lions," and "Life's Too Short." Now solo, Broudie released his first album, Tales Told, in 2004.” (From Wikipedia).

Download : Care - Diamonds & Emeralds

miercuri, 23 iulie 2008

Tactics - My Houdini (1981)

“Tactics was a band formed in the late 1970s in Canberra by David Studdert (vocals & rhythm guitar), Angus Douglas (lead guitar) and Robert Whittle (drums), with bass players Steve K (1977), Steve Ball (1978) and Geoff Marsh (1979-81). With Marsh as bass player, they moved to Sydney and quickly became known for running against the grain musically, lyrically, and stylistically. Always fronted by songwriter Studdert, the lineup changed marginally for each album until they finally called it a day in 1990. After moving to the UK during the 90s, Studdert formed Mumbo Jumbo - touring and releasing an album - before a brief stint back in Australia where he fronted an 8-piece band called The Inside Up in 2000/2001.
Tactics' first album, My Houdini was released in 1980 to critical acclaim, and captured the energy of their live sound with clarity & passion. Its overall colours were deepened by some slower, more reflective songs such as 'The Usual', 'Frozen Park' and 'A Settler's Complaint', which weren't present in their live set. Finding style through natural arrangement, everything was considered, even saxes and flutes make an appearance despite those days of the DIY (post)punk police. The album stood out from anything else at the time not least because of its songs and playing, but for the studio experiments with a natural flow of ideas. Though a cohesive identifiable whole, no song repeats itself.” (From Wikipedia).

Download : Tactics - My Houdini

marți, 22 iulie 2008

The Killjoys - A Million Suns (1993)

“First meeting in the band Wild Science, guitarist Craig Pilkington, and singer Anna Burley left the band as it moved towards a hard rock sound. They teamed up as the Killjoys where their pop-folk tendencies found a suitable outlet. Releasing their first EP in 1989, Audrey (which produced the single "Fall Around Me"), the Killjoys then contributed a cover of the Seekers' "Another You" to the various artists tribute album, Used and Recovered (1990).
Their debut album, Ruby, won the 1990 Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Award for Best Independent Release and the band signed a new deal with MXL. Craigie-Smith was replaced by Daniel Palamara who was in turn replaced by Michael Hohnen before the band released a new EP, Spin, in November 1991. The Killjoys then traveled to the U.K. to record their second album, A Million Suns, with producer Craig Leon (Ramones, Pogues, Bangles), which was released in March 1993. It spawned the singles "Beauty + Danger" (February 1993) and "I Lied" (June 1993).” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Killjoys - A Million Suns

The Lucksmiths - A Good Kind of Nervous (1997)

“K Records' releases usually carry the tag "international pop underground," a hopeful declaration of cross-cultural unity among bands from Olympia to Glasgow to Tokyo. These are musicians concerned with overt melody and romanticism, and they operate below the radar. The Lucksmiths are such a band. Few outside their environs of Melbourne, Australia, have ever heard of them--they haven't even put out a 7-inch on K--but the trio plays gentle songs with resolute charm.
Primary vocalist Tali White sings in a light accent, enunciating each clever turn of phrase and strumming out catchy if non-flamboyant riffs that bounce along over jaunty rhythms. The band's third full-length is a tour de force of pop for a breezy and clear afternoon, abounding with commentary on youthful love and vignettes about life in a modern town. On the infectious "Punchlines," the band works up a white-soul saunter while Donald laments a relationship in which the woman doesn't get his jokes.He's even more wistful in "Guess How Much I Love You," a touching tale about a long-distance affair, with a circular chorus about missing his lover in places such as the bookstore and the laundromat.
It's neither as brooding as the Smashing Pumpkins nor as grandiose as Bush, and that's half the point. The Lucksmiths play pop for people who wish to look beyond the glossy surface.” (From Willamette Week).

Download : The Lucksmiths - A Good Kind of Nervous

luni, 21 iulie 2008

Stump - A Fierce Pancake (1988)

Stump were an Anglo-Irish indie/experimental/rock group featuring Mick Lynch (vocals), Kev Hopper (bass), Rob McKahey (drums) and Chris Salmon (guitar) formed in London in 1983. Their first release was a four track EP Mud on a Colon released in 1986 through the Ron Johnson record label. This was followed by a self released mini album Quirk Out produced by Hugh Jones which included their cult hit Buffalo. An album A Fierce Pancake released in 1988 was recorded in Berlin and London produced by Holger Hiller with assistance from Stephen Street. The album did not bring the crossover success the label had hoped for and the band split before any new material was released.

Download : Stump - A Fierce Pancake

duminică, 20 iulie 2008

The Nines - Calling Distance Stations (2006)

While Steve Eggers has honed his craft for the last several years in earlier incarnations of The Nines, "Calling Distance Stations" is the first recording to reveal the breadth and depth of his gift. Among those who willingly participated in the project were XTC auteur Andy Partridge, who collaborated with Eggers on “Receiving Me,” and smart-pop cult hero Jason Falkner (Jellyfish, the Grays, Air, Paul McCartney), who mixed several tracks and sang backing vocals on “Darkening Sky.” Joao Carvalho (Sloan, Barenaked Ladies, Cowboy Junkies) and John Adams (Sarah Sleen, John Cage) split up the rest of the mixes.
BACK STORY: The first Nines LP, Wonderworld of Colourful, came out in Canada in 1998 on the Bare Naked Ladies’ Page label and was distributed through EMI. Later that year, Universal Music Canada released a piano-based four-song EP. This preliminary version of the band was sufficiently appealing to connect with the pop underground and top the Canadian college chart, but, as Eggers readily admits, the Nines were then still very much a work in progress. Still, this initial studio foray did offer a tantalizing glimpse of the young artist’s potential. The second Nines lineup cut Properties of Sound, released in North America in 2001 (Airmail Recordings picked up the album in Japan a year later). Additionally, several of Eggers’ songs wound up on network TV series, including Dawson's Creek, Party of Five and Joan of Arcadia (and most recently the theme song for Global Television's comedy sitcom "The Jane Show"). Since then, Eggers has totally committed himself to the making of "Calling Distance Stations",writing, refining and recording the material, and finding cohorts who could help him achieve his vision, which is predicated upon bringing the grand legacy of the 1960s into the present. Picking up where the Beatles left off is a big challenge, but it can be done, as XTC, Jellyfish and Spoon have proved. The Nines belong in that rarefied company.
written by: Bud Scoppa (Rolling Stone Magazine, Hits Magazine, Paste)

Download : The Nines - Calling Distance Stations

sâmbătă, 19 iulie 2008

Cardinal - Cardinal (1994)

“The sole album from the Richard Davies/Eric Matthews pairing achieved something close to legend status in a few short years, at least among those taken by the fusion of guitar pop with orchestrations. Although the combination isn't that groundbreaking to begin with — everyone from the Left Banke to Burt Bacharach had already tried something similar 30 years previous, for a start — Cardinal is still definitely enjoyable while not, in fact, being greater than the sum of its parts. While Matthews is a brilliant arranger, playing everything from harpsichord to trumpet and marimba, it's Davies' songs that carry the day, which a cursory review of Matthews' solo work versus Davies' makes clear. Regardless, together the two did achieve unexpectedly sharp heights. The recruited backing band, including, of all people, drummer/co-producer Thee Slayer Hippy from Portland punk legends Poison Idea, keeps everything moving well enough, while the two chief figures happily eschew the prevailing grunge fallout of 1994 for something else entirely. Davies' quietly impassioned, slightly dry singing avoids both whispery vagueness and trying to sweat too much, perfectly matched by Matthews' fun, killer interpretations. Matthews gets moments of slightly lugubrious and breathy lead singing at points, most notably on his own solo composition "Dream Figure," while the duet with Davies on "You're Lost Me There" is enjoyably low-key and mysterious. While Davies' lyrics are generally clever enough, they're also easy to avoid concentrating on in favor of the experience as a whole. Full-on cult appeal arrives in the form of "Singing to the Sunshine," a cut from the self-titled album by the late-'60s group Mortimer. Other strong numbers include the clever time signature shifts throughout "Tough Guy Tactics" and the closing drama of "Silver Machines." (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Cardinal - Cardinal

Zerra One - Zerra One (1984)

“Formed in the early '80s by Paul Bell (vocals, keyboards), Andreas Grimminger (guitar), Adrian Wyatt (bass), and Korda Marshall (drums), Zerra 1 had the spiky haircuts and dour vocals common to British new wave artists from that period; their cool looks and stylish sound should've gotten them played on MTV, but America remained indifferent.
Darkness immediately falls on Zerra 1's self-titled first LP. On the opening track, "Mountains & Water," singer Paul Bell sounds as if he's in agony. His vocals ache with the pain of a man who has a noose around his neck. The music's slow, dramatic rhythms, especially the spectral keyboards, show that Zerra 1 has learned a thing or two from gothic rock icons Joy Division. But other than "Mountains & Water" and "Diaries," Zerra 1 aims for something more ambitious than being another Joy Division clone. Bell, guitarist Andreas Grimminger, bassist Adrian Wyatt, and drummer Mike Mesbur take U2's expansive sonic landscapes and give them a little grit. Bell's lyrics are not always comprehensible, but the feeling in his singing is. On "Tumbling Down," Bell's vocals have the urgency of a ruler watching his kingdom collapse; moody, driving riffs paint pictures of crumbling walls. Bell's voice may seem odd to some; however, it's hard to resist the emotional pull of "I Feel It." The scrappy guitars of "Rain" recall Passion Puppets, but that's probably because both bands share an obvious infatuation with U2. Bell nearly captures Bono's soaring vocals on "I Know"; in fact, it could easily be mistaken for a U2 song. Zerra 1 starts to meander near the end; nevertheless, it's an explosive debut.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Zerra One - Zerra One

vineri, 18 iulie 2008

The Candyskins - Space I'm In (1991)

“Emerging from the same Oxford, England pop scene which also yielded Radiohead and Supergrass, the Candyskins were formed in 1989 by frontman Nick Cope, his guitarist brother Mark, lead guitarist Nick Burton, bassist Karl Shale and drummer John Halliday.
Space I'm In is a nice solid production, stuffed with lots of great-sounding pop guitar (from jingle-jangle acoustics to wah and fuzz-tone riff), strong drums and nice bass work. While it's another page in that well-stuffed book of nuevo-'60s rock (complete with hints of Squeeze and an Elvis Costello vocal imitation on "Black and Blue") it's a melodic, well-done and highly enjoyable page that's worth rereading a few times. For good measure, they even cover a Stephen Stills song and have an original called "Freedom Bus." (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Candyskins - Space I'm In

joi, 17 iulie 2008

The Bongos - Drums Along the Hudson (1982)

“The Bongos were one of the most distinctive bands to come out of the briefly bustling Hoboken pop scene in the early '80s -- Richard Barone's songs were gloriously hooky, but also forcefully propulsive enough to live up to the group's name (aided immeasurably by Rob Norris' agile bass and Frank Giannini's precise drumming), and Barone's guitar work managed to be melodic and oblique at the same time, carrying the tune while allowing room for his own sonic interjections, which could be noisy or richly smooth at will. The Bongos were different enough from their contemporaries that Drums Along the Hudson has dated remarkable little since it was released in 1982, sounding less like "new wave" than a simply timeless example of smart, edgy pop. The joyous charge of the opening cut, "In the Congo," is pure glorious sugar rush, "The Bulrushes" is fraught with seductive mystery, "Three Wise Men" very nearly beats the Feelies at their own high-tension game, and "Glow in the Dark" is one of the most charmingly off-kilter love songs ever. (Norris' anti-television diatribe "Video Eyes" fares somewhat less well than the other tunes, but there's no arguing it's still timely.) Add in a T. Rex cover that's sensuous and almost funky and you get a minor masterpiece from the era of the skinny tie that's still bracing stuff today.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Bongos - Drums Along the Hudson

miercuri, 16 iulie 2008

Easterhouse - Contenders (1986)

“Easterhouse sounds so much like the Chameleons on Contenders' opening track, "Out on Your Own," that the credits need to be double-checked. As with the Chameleons, Easterhouse likes to set a mood, often a somber one. Andy Perry's dour vocals and his brother, Ivor Perry's driving, shimmering riffs summarize the golden years of English post-punk; the moody atmospherics of the Chameleons, the angry folk-rock of New Model Army, the summery jangle of the Smiths -- they're all here. What Contenders doesn't have are enough songs that are worthy of being heard again. Although the crackling energy of Contenders easily knocks out Easterhouse's languid second LP, Waiting for the Redbird, it still falls short; the album becomes increasingly less interesting as it unfolds. The initial three tracks on Contenders -- "Out on Your Own," "Whistling in the Dark," and "Nineteen Sixty Nine" -- raise expectations for the rest of the LP; sung and played with the relentless enthusiasm of a young band unleashed in the studio for the first time, they'd make a sensational EP. Unfortunately, Easterhouse has a tendency to meander, and sluggish songs such as "Lenin in Zurich," "To Live Like This," and "Estates" drag the album down. Moreover, Andy Perry's voice is buried beneath the mix; consequently, his political lyrics are not always intelligible, draining them of the power they probably had on paper. Contenders is only half as good as it could've been.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Easterhouse - Contenders

luni, 14 iulie 2008

Map of Wyoming - Trouble Is (2000)

“Singer/songwriter Dale Duncan broadens his territory on his second rural, country-rock, post-Flying Color expedition. Plenty of trusty twang pops in on songs like "Hilltop" (thanks to Tom Heyman's stringed instruments) and "I Still Need It" (with its punchy horn section). Duncan returns to his R.E.M.-ish/Byrdsy roots on "Hard to Find" and also sneaks in the subdued sound of his beloved Neil Young on songs like "Adiosote" and "How Long?" A cover of Fred Neil's "Little Bit of Rain" is in keeping with the Map's heartbreak/homegrown esthetic. Heyman, (formerly of Go to Blazes) and Larry Dekker (formerly of Translator) join Duncan and multi-instrumentalist Chris von Sneidern in the roots rock framework; Ralph Carney sits in on woodwinds.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Map of Wyoming - Trouble Is

sâmbătă, 12 iulie 2008

The Crystal Set - Umbrella (1989)

“The Crystal Set was a Sydney-based Australian indie rock band formed in the early 1980s featuring Russell Kilbey (bass and lead vocals), Phillip Maher(guitar & vocals), Davey Ray Moor (keyboards & vocals) and Tim Seckhold (drums).
The Crystal Set were influenced by Sydney band Honky and the Cats members Phil Limon and HJ Watson and often played gigs around Sydney together as adouble act.The band released its first single, "A Drop In The Ocean", independently. It was signed to Red Eye Records owned by John Foy and the first single was re-issued through Red Eye. Their next two singles, "Wholly Holy" and "Benefit Of The Doubt", were moderate indie hits on the small but enthusiastic east coast Australian scene.
With the departure of Davey Ray Moor, Craig Hooper (formerly of The Reels) stepped in and the band released "Cluster". One side of the Red Eye released ep featured songs recorded with Moor while the other side featured compositions with Hooper. Upon Hooper's departure, Russell Kilbey was then left to take up duties on guitar and vocals and Luke Blackburn, a Melbourne musician, joined as bassist and vocalist.” (From Wikipedia).

Download : The Crystal Set - Umbrella

The Serenes - Back to Wonder (1993)

“The Serenes were a rock band from Joure, Friesland, The Netherlands. They formed in 1988 and disbanded in 1994. Their jangle pop music is comparable with the music of bands like The Feelies, The Chills and the early sound of R.E.M.. The sound of their guitars and vocals are best described as bright and clean. Their songs contain melancholy English lyrics, inspired by the serenity and loneliness of the silent and flat sceneries of Friesland. Both of their albums are well recognized by Dutch music critics. Still their albums have a top status in the history of the Dutch underground scene.
Their second and final album, Back to Wonder, was released in 1993 and contained 11 tracks. Three tracks were released as a single: Every Sunday, Feel Me and Here. Ale Bosma had been replaced by Pyter Kuipers. Also Paul Dokter left te band, on stage Wieb Zigteme performed on a replacing guitar.” (From Wikipedia).

Download : The Serenes - Back to Wonder

vineri, 11 iulie 2008

The Minders - Hooray for Tuesday (1998)

“If there is a definition for indie pop in the dictionary, there's a good chance there's a picture of Hooray for Tuesday next to it. The first LP from the Minders is full of hooks and harmonies that help define members of the Elephant 6 collective. With the help of the Apples in Stereo's Robert Schneider, the Minders succeed in making a pure pop record that doesn't get annoying. The lead and title track, "Hooray for Tuesday," is a classic and sets the tone for the album. While most of the record stays the course, "Comfortably Tucked Up Inside" slows down the pace just a touch and makes for a nice change, while "Our Man in Bombay" and "Bubble" give nice instrumental breaks. Sometimes it's easy to drown in too much pop, but the Minders make great pop that makes the 30 minutes not only bearable, but enjoyable.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Minders - Hooray for Tuesday

joi, 10 iulie 2008

Single Bullet Theory - Single Bullet Theory (1982)

“The new wave band Single Bullet Theory was shot down by major-label heartaches before they were truly given a chance to be heard. Single Bullet Theory formed in Richmond, VA, in 1976 as X-Breed, a group featuring Michael Maurice Garrett (vocals), Frank Daniel (guitar), and Dennis Madigan (drums). The band changed its name to Single Bullet Theory after Gary Alan "Goober" Holmes (guitar) and Davey Wynn (bass) joined. Inspired by the do-it-yourself ethic of British punk rockers, the group recorded and released their debut EP by themselves. However, Wynn departed from the band before the session was over, replaced by guitarist "Mudd" Herman. Daniel played the bass instead. Herman didn't last; the band added bassist Keith MacPhee and Daniel returned to his guitar. In 1979, the group opened for Patti Smith, one of numerous weekly gigs in the Big Apple that started to reward them with positive press clippings. The band was then asked to contribute a track to the compilation LP Sharp Cuts, distributed by Elektra/Asylum. The song "Keep It Tight" would eventually become Single Bullet Theory's lone appearance on the U.S. pop charts, peaking at number 78. In 1982, the group was offered a deal by Mike Curb Productions. However, the band wanted to release a single with their photograph on it. The label rejected the idea because of its cost; when the group promised to pay for it themselves, the company was incensed and withdrew their offer.

Single Bullet Theory - Keep It Tight
A year later, Single Bullet Theory was signed to the Nemperor label, a subsidiary of CBS Records. The band began recording their first album, a record given a pop polish that didn't accurately capture their sound. The video for "Keep It Tight" was added to MTV in 1984, but CBS abruptly stopped promoting it. "Hang On to Your Heart" was supposed to be Single Bullet Theory's breakthrough single; however, CBS never released it. Disillusioned by the music industry, especially CBS' lack of support, Single Bullet Theory broke up before releasing another LP.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Single Bullet Theory - Single Bullet Theory

miercuri, 9 iulie 2008

The Glands - The Glands (2000)

“With the Athens, Georgia music scene receiving national press from the likes of R.E.M. and the B-52's, members of the Glands knew that they wanted to create something their hometown was known for. So instead of having a sound that resembled laid-back college rock or wacked-out party rock, members Ross Shapiro (vocals/ guitar) Joe Rowe (drums), Craig McQuiston (bass), Frank McDonald (guitar) and Doug Stanley (keyboards) shaped more of a darker, laid-back, brit-pop style that doesn't cross the line of dismal or brooding.
Eponymously-titled albums that follow a previously released debut (especially once the band signs to a major label) usually seem to indicate that the band is going back to square one, and this self-titled album by the Glands -- who hail from the college burg of Athens, GA -- does just that, offering up refreshingly enigmatic, artfully arranged and bouncy Confederate pop that blends porch swing guitars, jazzy basslines, and jangling Paisley Underground and Britpop aesthetics. "Work It Out" sounds like a pre–Mersey Beat Britbilly workout that woulda rocked the U.K. back in '62, while "Straight Down" is pretty straight-up indie rock.
Vocalist/guitarist Ross Shapiro's endearing but heartbreakingly frail vocals have been compared to Village Green vintage Ray Davies, but fans of Olivia Tremor Control's Bill Doss or the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne may hear a little of them in there too. Doug Stanley's airy keyboard burbles and Craig McQuiston's keening lap steel will appeal to fans of the Elephant 6 collective sound as well.” (From AllMusicGuide).

marți, 8 iulie 2008

The Call - Reconciled (1986)

“Though none of the singles from The Call's Reconciled made a dent on the pop charts, the anthemic march "I Still Believe" and the galloping "Everywhere I Go" (with backup vocals by Jim Kerr and Peter Gabriel) both received significant AOR and college radio airplay. It significantly raised the profile of the quartet and their earnest, U2-like brand of rock. It is easy to apply spiritual overtones to the socially conscious lyrics, but the words are malleable enough to be mainstream and only on occasion become heavy handed ("Blood Red (America)"). Robbie Robertson plays guitar on the thundering stomp "The Morning" and the song itself has the same vibe as the band's later hit "Let the Day Begin." Some of the keyboards sound a bit dated, but, overall, Reconciled is enjoyable and established the band as one of the better purveyors of '80s "big music." (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Call - Reconciled

The Call - Everywhere I Go

Three Hour Tour - 1969 (1996)

“Three Hour Tour is an Champaign, IL-based power pop band led by the multi-talented Darren Cooper, a veteran of many pop bands including the '80s power pop group Choo Choo Train (which featured Ric Menck (drums, vocals) and Paul Chastain (guitar, bass, vocals), who later were members of Velvet Crush). Brad Steakley (aka Brad Elvis, from the Elvis Brothers) played drums for the band; he's now a member of the Chicago-based Big Hello. Like all of the aforementioned groups, Three Hour Tour heavily emphasized and pretty much stuck to the three-minute jangle rock format, emulating the familiar punch of '60s and '70s bands like Badfinger, the Beatles, and the Raspberries, as well as more recent bands like the Posies. In 1996, Parasol compiled 1969, a nine-song collection gathering two Parasol singles, a rare Christmas track (the unlisted tenth track), and "Love Sick Trip," which appeared on Yellow Pills, Vol. 1: The Best of American Pop. Velvet Crush member Chastain also co-wrote one of the songs featured here.” (From AllMusicGuide).
Ranked nr. 126 on 'Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide' by John Borack.

Download : Three Hour Tour - 1969

luni, 7 iulie 2008

Rubber City Rebels - Rubber City Rebels (1980)

"The Rubber City Rebels are an American protopunk band from Akron, Ohio, that formed in 1976.
The original line-up of the band consisted of Rod Firestone (vocals), Buzz Clic (guitar), Donny Damage (bass), Stix Pelton (drums) and Pete Sake (keyboards).
In their early years, the Rebels were fans (and friends) of fellow Greater Cleveland-area bands The Dead Boys and Devo. Their breakout show was opening for The Dead Boys at legendary New York City rock club CBGB in 1977. This led to a split EP with The Bizarros, entitled From Akron, which was released that year. Firestone and Clic would go on to open the Crypt in Akron, at the time the only punk rock club in the Midwest. Bands including The Dead Boys, Devo, Pere Ubu and the Bizarros played at this club.
The Rebels moved to Los Angeles in 1978, minus Pelton (who was replaced on drums by Mike Hammer) and Sake (keyboards were deemed unnecessary for the band's change to a "heavier" sound), and gained considerable fame on the Sunset Strip. They would frequently headline at the famous Whisky A Go-Go for bands such as The Knack, Fear, The Kats, The Nu Kats, The Dickies and The Plimsouls. The band was signed to Sire Records in exclusive company like The Ramones, however a clash between band and record label ensued and the recording contract was terminated before the Rebels could record their debut album.
Following some personnel changes in the band (Damage and Hammer left, replaced by Johnny Bethesda and Brandon Matheson respectively), the Rebels signed a deal with Capitol Records helped in no small way by Doug Fieger, lead singer of The Knack (who were also signed to Capitol) and a self-professed fan of the band. Matheson and Fieger had previously been members of The Sunset Bombers and had one album released on Ariola Records. The Rebels debut, self-titled album was released in 1980. Although praised by critics, sales of the album never vaulted the band past its underground status and they did not follow up with a second release." (From Wikipedia).

Download : Rubber City Rebels - Rubber City Rebels

The Northern Pikes - Snow in June (1990)

The Northern Pikes were founded in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1983 out of the relics of three Canadian prairie bands -- the Idols, Seventeen Envelope, and Doris Daye. The original lineup consisted of Jay Semko, Merl Bryck, Bryan Potvin and Glen Hollingshead, who left the band in 1985. Numerous drummers came and went until June of 1986, when Don Schmid joined to make it a permanent quartet.
The Pikes third album Snow In June saw the blossoming of Bryan as a singer and writer, most notably for the hit single "She Ain't Pretty". In addition the album featured other hits, "Girl With A Problem" and "Kiss Me You Fool", and featured a star-studded cast of additional musicians - Garth Hudson, Crystal Taliefero, John Sebastian and Stan Szelest, as well as mixes by acclaimed engineers Bob Clearmountain and Hugh Padgham. Recording again in Bearsville and mixing at A&M Studios in Los Angeles, the Pikes spent almost six months working on the album, considered by many to be their finest.

Download : The Northern Pikes - Snow in June

NORTHERN PIKES - She Ain't Pretty

duminică, 6 iulie 2008

The Lackloves - As Far as You Know (2000)

The Lackloves were formed in 1996 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by Mike Jarvis of early-90's power-pop band The Blow Pops, who enjoyed international success with the release of the classic pop albums "Charmed, I'm Sure" and "American Beauties", both released on Get Hip Records. Originally formed as a power trio with Dedrik Bornslger on bass and Tommy D on drums, The Lackoves picked up right where the Blow Pops left off.
In 1999, Jarvis got the Lackloves into the studio and on tape. These sessions, with former Blow Pop Nick Randazzo on drums, and the addition of lead guitarist Bob Eickhoff, resulted in the now out of sight, out of print, "As Far As You Know", the fine performances on which do well to showcase Jarvis's Lennon/Townshend/Wilson-inspired pop gems. The disc quickly sold out of its initial pressing and can now be found only in the extensive record collections of pop aficionados worldwide.

Download : The Lackloves - As Far as You Know

The Monochrome Set - Strange Boutique (1980)

“Monochrome Set's debut album for Virgin followed the indie success of their singles "Alphaville," "Eine Symphonie Des Grauens," and "The Monochrome Set." By the time it was scheduled, Andy Warren (ex-Adam & the Ants) had replaced Jeremy Harrington on bass, and the lineup was completed by guitarist Lester Square (also ex-Ants), Indian-born vocalist/guitarist Bid, and former Art Attacks drummer J.D. Haney. Although it can't quite match Eligible Bachelors for songwriting, there are a number of superb, non-single album tracks that make this an essential purchase for fans -- especially "Ici les Enfants," "The Puerto Rican Fence Climber," and "The Lighter Side of Dating." Amid the austerity of post-punk England, and before we became awash with irony and archness, we needed a band who could raise their eyebrows and smirk at it all without ever being condescending (or maybe only a little bit condescending).” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Monochrome Set - Strange Boutique

sâmbătă, 5 iulie 2008

The Trash Can Sinatras - Cake (1990)

“Scottish indie-pop stalwarts the Trash Can Sinatras were founded outside of Glasgow in 1987 by singer/guitarist Frank Reader (the brother of ex-Fairground Attraction singer Eddi Reader), guitarists John Douglas and Paul Livingston, bassist George McDaid and drummer Stephen Douglas.
Long before Travis and Coldplay came along, the Trash Can Sinatras enchanted college-aged Anglophiles with their jangly brand of emotive Brit-pop. Seen as musical fluff by fans of early-'90s pre-Nirvana alternative and ignored by fans of mid- to late-'90s post-Nirvana alternative, these five Scottish lads smoothed the edges but sharpened the hooks of a developing genre. The Trash Can Sinatras' 1990 debut, Cake, mixes intricately intertwined guitars, in the spirit of a more charming, less gritty Johnny Marr, with lush strings and sophisticated harmonies. Touchingly clever wordplay ("You came into my life/Like a brick through a window/And I cracked a smile") abounds, as on "The Best Man's Fall." The clean production -- necessary for such elaborate orchestration -- is extremely warm and inviting. Singles like "Obscurity Knocks" and "Only Tongue Will Tell" as well as "Maybe I Should Drive" prove to be the tastiest pieces of pure pop pleasure. But sugar can be bittersweet and laced with longing, as on "Thrupenny Tears" and "You Made Me Feel." Regardless of the relative mood, this debut is noticeably devoid of musical missteps -- quite a feat for a new artist. Easy on the ears and palate, Cake is as filling and digestible an album as one could hope. Subsequent Trash Can Sinatras releases reach for the same greatness but ultimately fall a little short. This precursor to early 21st century Brit-pop darkens the occasional used record store bin. And it tastes almost as fresh as the day it was made.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Trash Can Sinatras - Cake

trashcan sinatras - obscurity knocks