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

Pounding Serfs - Pounding Serfs (1989)

Pounding Serfs were formed in the beautiful ocean town of Anacortes, WA, by Jonn Lunsford, Bryan Elliott, Dale Robinson, and Frank Barcott. Jonn Lunsford is the brother of Bret Lunsford, guitarist for Beat Happening and D+. In 1989, K Records put out its fourth release, the self-titled album by Pounding Serfs, produced by Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening. At some point, the Pounding Serfs broke up, with members going on to form Gravel, The Crabs, and several other bands. In July 2002, Pounding Serfs played a reunion show, at the first annual What-the-Heck-Fest, in Anacortes, WA.

Download : Pounding Serfs - Pounding Serfs

vineri, 4 iulie 2008

Trip Shakespeare - Lulu (1991)

“Trip Shakespeare unfortunately went unnoticed in their time and more unfortunately have remained in obscurity, but they were lucky enough to record in a time when major labels took greater chances with music and would more often indulge ambitious projects. Lulu is the group's defining set, a result of inspired and talented musicians with an expense account to afford their aspirations and enough sense to exploit it appropriately. Why then did this record go through the ringer almost completely unnoticed and why did the reviews the album received tend to be overly critical? Part of the answer has to do with the timing of its release. 1991 was the great embrasure of the grunge movement when Nirvana's Nevermind set the decade-long trend for the popular music charts. The release of a melodically complex and romantic pop masterpiece with lush vocals was entertained by neither the critics nor the masses, and no doubt A&M had lost much of the majesty they found in Trip Shakespeare when they were signed two years previous, which is a shame since Shakespeare's leader, Matt Wilson, was at the height of his poetic optimism and the melodic hooks he wrote with his brother Dan Wilson are complex, plentiful, and on par with the classics of pop music's innovation. John Munson's bass playing is superb throughout, most notably in "Today You Move," where his delicious and seductive work is given the spotlight of a tender solo complete with a second harmony bass track. Whether percussive, sweet, subtle, or upfront, Munson's interplay with drummer Elaine Harris is a potent example of a confident and capable rhythm section propelled by Harris' unique and bouncy drumming, the result of her abnormal technique of standing behind the drum kit and playing the bass drum with sticks instead of a foot pedal. She keeps rooted the endearing, snakey tendrils of music Matt and Dan Wilson generously dish out, but in fact, every player is an astute melodic force here and all have a keen sense of dynamic, giving this record, as absolutely full of ornamentation as it is, quite a bit of breathing space in the necessary parts. While the vocal prowess of the group had come across splendidly on Across the Universe, here the band is unreal. Obviously proud of their vocal abilities, the album opens with an a cappella introduction, all of 17 seconds in length, equal to anything the Beach Boys pulled off, if not more impressive on account of the passionate deliverance. It's a bold introduction; opening with the line "None of the regular rules were true," but Trip Shakespeare knew they had an amazing product and they were ready to show it to the world, and this is only the introduction -- the harmonies abound throughout the entire album with stunning proficiency. It is a rare instance in the music industry, major label or otherwise, to hear an album created by a group so obviously enchanted and inspired by each other, an album so loved and so toiled over that its contents continue to give indefinitely, an album so steeped in worshiping beauty that no amount of criticism -- positive or negative -- can mangle or tarnish its crystalline brilliance. A short while after Lulu came out, Trip Shakespeare were dropped by A&M and subsequently broke up, no doubt a declaration that they had done all they could to transcend the "regular rules." (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Trip Shakespeare - Lulu

Pyramidiacs - All You Want (1994)

“Characterized by a upbeat power-pop feel, the Pyramidiacs sound has remained consistent since the group's 1988 origins. Based in the Sydney suburb of Fairfield, Australia, the original line-up of Eddie Owen (guitar/ vocals), Bob Susnjara (bass/ vocals) and Mickster Baty (drums) took upon a musical idolization for the Replacements, Teenage Fanclub, Big Star and Matthew Sweet. With the 1992 addition of guitarist Mick O'Regan, the Pyramidiacs would eventually release a slew of singles and compilation tracks before their 1993 full-length debut, Don't Wish It. The following year saw the Pyramidiacs' second album, All You Want, released through Pink Flamingo Records before their 1995 European tour. The group's third album, Teeter Totter, came out in 1996 courtesy of Ranezz Records.” (From AllMusicGuide).
One of the best australian power pop albums. Don't miss this one! 

Download : Pyramidiacs - All You Want

The Sneetches - Slow (1991)

“The Sneetches' third album (and their first to feature the group's final lineup of singer/guitarists Matt Carges and Mike Levy, drummer Daniel Swan, and new bassist Alec Palao, better known as co-editor of the '60s pop fanzine Cream Puff War), 1991's Slow, isn't quite the equal of their 1990 career high-point, Sometimes That's All We Have, although it stays on that album's course: dreamy, often languid melodies meander under lushly overdubbed harmonies singing Carges and Levy's occasionally quirky, often intriguing lyrics. Slow is a bit more musically varied than their earlier records, moving easily from the shoegaze neo-psychedelia of songs like "Over Round Each Other" directly into the sunny, British Invasion-like surfaces of "What's in Your Mind." The production is pristine without being antiseptic, and the band's usual mix of mod and punk influences peek through, along with unexpected new textures like the almost bossa nova feel of the ballad "Heloise." Newcomers should still probably start with Sometimes That's All We Have or the excellent compilation 1985-1991, but Slow is where they should go next.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Sneetches - Slow

joi, 3 iulie 2008

Guadalcanal Diary - 2 x 4 (1987)

“After the musical and commercial disappointment of Guadalcanal Diary's second album, the overcooked and overproduced Jamboree, the band took a simultaneous step back and leap forward on their third long-player, 1987's 2x4. 2x4 found the band working once again with producer Don Dixon, who had captured their mingled punch and jangle on their debut, 1984's Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man, and the happy irony was that Dixon was able to give the band the tougher and more detailed sound they failed to get on Jamboree. At the same time, Guadalcanal Diary rose to the occasion with a batch of songs that merited Dixon's more muscular treatment; 2x4 isn't short on pop smarts, but Murray Attaway and Jeff Walls put a lot more weight behind their guitars on this set, and bassist Rhett Crowe and drummer John Poe weren't afraid to keep up with their wall of sound. "Things Fall Apart" and "Litany (Life Goes On)" proved Guadalcanal Diary could have their cake and eat it too, holding on to the obtuse Southern accents of their earlier work while introducing plenty of Big Rock swagger to the mix, as "Little Birds" and "3 a.m." offered reassurance that the band still knew how to turn down their amps when circumstances demanded. If Guadalcanal Diary succumbed to the stereotypical sophomore slump with Jamboree, they managed a far stronger third-inning rebound than the majority of their peers on 2x4, which sounds like the group's strongest and most confident album.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Guadalcanal Diary - 2 x 4

Guadalcanal Diary - Litany

The Mockers - Somewhere Between Mocksville and Harmony (1995)

“Though the Mockers have included a large cast of musicians hailing from all corners of the U.S. rock scene, the band's foundations were laid by two preteen Beatles fans living in Spain in the early '70s. Tony Leventhal and Seth Gordon were the children of New York expats living on the southern coast of Spain when they met. The third-graders quickly discovered their common love for rock & roll and formed a friendship that would last a lifetime. When their families eventually moved back to the States, both began learning guitar and keeping in touch regarding their plans to form their long-awaited rock band. Many years later the two converged in Virginia, creating the surf-pop band the Mockers. With a rotating cast of lead guitarists and drummers, the Mockers climbed their way to the top of the live music scene in Virginia. They spent the next several years touring tirelessly, sometimes playing as many as 20 engagements a month. As the band conquered the East Coast and Midwest, they earned the attention of the local press. Their relentless schedule began to wear thin, and the bandmembers took a long break to regain their creative spark. Some years later Leventhal and Gordon decided it was time for the Mockers to record their debut CD. The 1995 release Somewhere Between Mocksville and Harmony garnered excellent reviews, including a Billboard Critic's Choice Award. Ironically, the disc saw the greatest amount of airplay in Spain, resulting in heavy touring throughout the country and a reconnection with the boy's old stomping grounds.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Mockers - Somewhere Between Mocksville and Harmony

miercuri, 2 iulie 2008

The Grapes of Wrath - Treehouse (1987)

“The Grapes of Wrath were a jangly alternative folk-pop quartet formed in Kelowna, British Columbia, in 1983 by brothers Chris Hooper (drums) and Tom Hooper (bass), along with vocalist/guitarist Kevin Kane (later adding keyboardist Vincent Jones).
Early comparisons to R.E.M. are clearly justified on Treehouse, a jangly folk-pop masterpiece. On this, their second album, the band seem considerably more confident and focused. Crisp and bright production, courtesy of Tom Cochrane (ex-Red Rider), compliment the glorious harmonies and melancholy, introverted songs perfectly. A sadly overlooked classic of '80s guitar rock.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Grapes of Wrath - Treehouse

The Grapes Of Wrath "Backward Town"

Thee Headcoats - The Kids Are All Square: This Is Hip! (1990)

Thee Headcoats (1989 – 2000), was a band comprising Billy Childish (real name Steven Hamper, or William Charlie Hamper), Bruce Brand, and Johnny Johnson. Childish was featured on guitar and vocals, Brand on drums and backing vocals, and Johnson on bass. The band was the most prolific of Childish's many musical projects, releasing fourteen full length albums. Formed in Kent, England in the late 1980s, the band was well known for its garage rock sound, explicitly sticking to this format on almost all of their albums. The band's signature sound as well as their prolific writing has been attributed to Childish's love of simple, direct recording. The band has been on multiple labels including Billy's own Hangman Records and Sub Pop.

Download : Thee Headcoats - The Kids Are All Square: This Is Hip!

Pugwash - Almond Tea (1999)

Since releasing their debut power-pop album in 1999, ‘Almond Tea’, Pugwash, aka songwriter Thomas Walsh and friends, has become an instant favourite of Irish and British music critics alike, many of whom nominated ‘Almond Tea’ as their album of the year. The Hotpress rated it – only 4 weeks after its release – as one of the Top 30 albums of the Millennium (actually 23, ahead of Suede, Orbital and almost everybody else you’d care to name!) As a result, Thomas Walsh has been singled out by many critics as one of the most talented new songwriters to emerge on the Irish scene in recent years.

Download : Pugwash - Almond Tea

marți, 1 iulie 2008

Green - Elaine MacKenzie (1987)

“Four hours of this all-but-forgotten Chicago pop band may be a bit much for all but the most anglophile power poppers, but guitarist Jeff Lescher's group was the kind of all-embracing pop band that burbled around in the late-80s, pre-grunge underground. Far ranging enough to embrace everything from Merseybeat balladry to neo-soul falsetto workouts to off-the-wall experimental pop, Green was a critics' darling back in the day for its ability to turn all manner of styles into gleaming, melodic jangle pop. The 1986 debut is a bit thin on the ground--bare production values drag it down--but has its share of rough-cut gems. By Elaine MacKenzie, though, Lescher had found his voice, and it remains a mystery why Material Issue and the Posies are fixed in the collective memory as the era's prime bands when Green was offering up such frothy guitar pop as "She's An Addiction" and the riff-happy "Up All Night," the latter of which could've been a nice mod-rocker in the hands of a singer like Steve Marriott. That Lescher could also write something as sublime as "Don't Ever Fall in Love With Someone When You're In Love With Someone Else," a strange mélange of Association-style pop and Elvis Costello at his Bacharach best, proves he's an unfairly lost talent.” (From PopCulturePress).

Download : Green - Elaine MacKenzie

The Mopeds - The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Mopeds (1998)

“Originally intended as a musical collective between two brothers and a friend, The Mopeds first got together in 1994 and recorded a handful of demos without leaving their own bedrooms. Fun was all that mattered rather than making a career out of their music. But with the three years to follow, The Mopeds grew tighter and started playing around their native Sweden. With a sound that's been described as "typical Swedish pop" The Mopeds found themselves compared to the likes of XTC, The Cardigans and The Presidents of The Unites States of America, on top of their own brand of lo-fi production and lyrical humor. Showcasing this style with the help of Vibrafon Records, The Mopeds put out a number of releases in 1997. This discography includes two singles, the Hände Hoch EP and their first full-length The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Mopeds.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Mopeds - The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Mopeds