Jun 30, 2009

V/A. Airspace. Volume 1.

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A01 The Groove Farm - Number One (Rough)
A02 Five Year Plan - See You In Heaven
A03 Golden Dawn - George Hamilton's Dead (Demo)
A04 Remember Fun - Clearly Blurred
A05 Benny Profane - Rob A Bank
A06 Flatmates - Turning You Blue (Campfire Mix)
A07 Beat Hotel - Going Through It
A08 Close Lobsters - In Spite Of These Times (First Version)
B01 Rosehips - Crazy Kind Of Normal
B02 St Christopher - To The Mountain
B03 Rodney Allen - Circle Line
B04 This Poison! - The Great Divide
B05 Field Mice - That's All This Is
B06 Cud - Only (A Prawn In Whitby)
B07 Stitch - You And Me
B08 Yak - Head Count


Jun 25, 2009

Bogshed. Live at the Old Cock. Halifax.

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Since the Membranes post actually garnered a comment, I thought I'd put up something else in that vein. Like the Membranes (and the Noseflutes, the Shrubs, Jackdaw With Crowbar, and A Witness), Bogshed combined impossibly mangled guitar riffs, sledgehammer bass, and near hysterical, shouty lyrics into something utterly ludicrous but still compellingly melodic. All of their songs seem to be about something, but not being British I have no idea what they're talking about most of the time, which just adds to their absurdist appeal.

They were another one of those bands that actually appeared on the C-86 cassette, although that label seems to be pretty much interchangeable with "twee" these days. There's still something about them that seems quintessentially British, like the words "yob" or "gormy".

I thought they were one of Ron Johnson's deranged cohorts, but a little googling reveals that they were in fact signed to John Robb's Vinyl Drip label. John Robb was in The Membranes, who weren't on Ron Johnson, either. So there's that. Anyway, now that we've gotten that straightened out, here's a pretty good bootleg of one of their live shows.

Old Cock

The unofficial Bogshed site

Bogshed on myspace

Jun 23, 2009

American Analog Set / White Magic. Songs of Hurt and Healing.

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I haven't the faintest idea why Tylenol briefly decided to branch out to the depressive hipster set by giving away this split release with copies of some magazine I picked up in an airport years and years ago. Prozac seems like it might have been a better sponsor, or maybe they just should have stamped "Brought to you by a bowlful of weed" on the cover. I guess it didn't have the intended effect, because it doesn't seem like they ever put anything else out.

Songs of Hurt

American Analog Set's official site
American Analog Set on myspace

White Magic's official site
White Magic on myspace

Yume Bitsu / Landing. Dryystonian Dreamscapes. Volume 2.

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Landing don't play music so much as emanate it, like the perfume of a giant, night-blooming flower, languorously unfolding its succulent, lobed petals on the forest floor; dappled moonlight splashes it with a galaxy of vibrating stars. Nearby, a silver pool ripples as trees bend and stir the water with careful twigs. It's music to listen to with your eyes closed.

This is volume two of the Yume Bitsu live album. You can find volume one here.

Volume 2, part 1 (Landing)
Volume 2, part 2 (Yume Bitsu)

Landing's official site
Landing on myspace

Yume Bitsu's official site
Yume Bitsu on myspace

Jun 19, 2009

Hopewell. Contact.

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If time travel ever becomes possible, and you decide to go back and spend the 70's racing moon buggies across the lunar surface, Hopewell have written the soundtrack to that activity for you.


Hopewell on myspace

Hopewell's official site

Jun 17, 2009

Sun Araw. Leaves Like These.

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These ferns come from a world where sunlight fights against easily giving up its treasures, and carnivorous plants gnaw their meat out of thin air. Each leaf is a tooth, and the forest resounds with the crunch of their chewing. It's a wilderness vastly indifferent to your presence. If it consumes you, there's no malice. Perhaps it eats as a form of obscurantist ritual, licking away knowledge it wants to keep hidden. Or perhaps it's not eating at all, but slowly masticating its way forward on muscle-teeth, the scrape and clack of a million bony feet rhythmically blurring together into an ominous, wheezing purr.

Under a hood of shadows deep as an ocean trench, there is the churning pulse of rushing green blood. A tendril sketches dancing hieroglyphs into the soil. Max Ernst would feel at home here.


Sun Araw at Not Not Fun

Jun 15, 2009

Passmore Sisters. First Love, Last Rights.

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The few write-ups I've come across describe the Passmore Sisters as sounding like an "angry Housemartins", and, although I can hear the Housemartins comparisons in their earnest , cultured harmonies and upbeat melodies, they don't sound particularly angry. A tad more revved up, a little rougher around the edges, maybe. Altogether great jangle-pop from a sadly bygone era.

First Love

Passmore Sisters on myspace

Passmore Sisters entry on foxdude records

Jun 12, 2009

Membranes. Pulp Beating—1984 And All That.

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The Membranes sound like the Birthday Party riding a hurricane full of bulldozers down a whirling hall of knives. Chances are, they're here to do you harm.

This compilation features all of the Death to Trad Rock tracks, plus three new songs.

All That

Membranes wikipedia page

Jun 11, 2009

Mixtape. A Pastoral.

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The line of the horizon was clear and hard against the sky, and in one particular quarter it showed black against a silvery climbing phosphorescence that grew and grew. At last, over the rim of the waiting earth the moon lifted with slow majesty till it swung clear of the horizon and rode off, free of moorings; and once more they began to see surfaces—meadows spread wide, and quiet gardens, and the river itself from bank to bank, all softly disclosed, all washed clean of mystery and terror, all radiant again as by day, but with a difference that was tremendous. Their old haunts greeted them again in other raiment, as if they had slipped away and put on this pure new apparel and come quietly back, smiling as they shyly waited to see if they would be recognized again under it.

~Kenneth Grahame
The Wind in the Willows

1. The White Foliage - Drug Song
2. Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice - I Am the One I Am and He is the Caretaker of My Heart
3. Animal Collective - Kids On Holiday
4. Palm Fabric Orchestra - Window Down: Still Far from the State Line
5. Pink Floyd - Grantchester Meadows (Live)
6. Movietone - Ocean Song
7. Espers - Byss & Abyss
8. Landing - Wings of Light
9. The Microphones - Great Ghosts
10. The Verve - Butterfly
11. Great Lakes - A Banana
12. Yume Bitsu - Part 8
13. Cocteau Twins - The Thinner the Air
14. Antony & the Johnsons - Paddy's Gone
15. Joanna Newsom - Bridges and Balloons

It all fits on one CD, but once again I had to split it up to fit under mediafire's size limit. Artwork included (incidentally, that's a picture of the actual Grantchester Meadows on the cover).

Pastoral part 1
Pastoral part 2

Jun 10, 2009

Charm Pops. Unavailable.

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Remember when the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev were putting out albums that captured bees inside jars and moths in incubators? Densely layered, buzzing, warbly, sugary, speaker-frying, pop weirdness? Do you miss that? Then you need this obscure gem in your collection.

Essentially the third Radial Spangle release (April Tippins and Alan Laird remain), it was produced by Mercury Rev's Dave Fridmann and featured two ex-Flaming Lips drummers. This is closer in spirit to their Syrup Macrame album, but looser, goofier, and more fun. I highly recommend the songs Gravity's Supple Truss and The Big Ol' World Without You.


Radial Spangle's wikipedia page

Jun 9, 2009

14 Iced Bears. Wonder.

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Another band that only seems to have (barely) merited a footnote in Britain's late 80's/early 90's indie music history. Slumberland's In the Beginning collected their early singles, but positioned them squarely in the Twee/C-86 camp, while the last two thirds of their career saw them expanding into, and on Wonder, mastering neo-psychedlia.

I'm constantly wondering why so many of these bands I love never struck it big and are only remembered by cultists these days. The Bears seemed to be plagued by line-up changes, but I don't know if that really held them back. Bad marketing? Not being aligned with a more popular scene? For example, Ride bores me to tears, but are still fondly remembered and easy to find—presumably because they always seem to be mentioned alongside the infinitely superior My Bloody Valentine—whereas all of the 14 Iced Bears albums (even the reissue) are long out of print. Wonder seems to be, by far, the hardest to find.

Honestly, this album is fantastic. If I'd known about it back in 1991, it would have been on constant rotation on the CD player in my dorm room, and nearly every song would have made it onto one of the mixtapes I sent my girlfriend. Bright, supple, exuberant psychedelia oozes from every track, and they pack in so many ideas, textures, and sonic alleyways on each song that even the shorter ones leave you with a satisfyingly full experience. Remember when everything had that super-saturated, candy-colored aura, like the cover of The Breeder's Last Splash album? That's what this sounds like.


14 Iced Bears on myspace

Whale. Pay for Me.

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Whale hailed from Sweden, and, having noted that their country made great porn but lousy music, decided to combine the two. Having already filled an album with sleazy/cheesy songs like Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe, I'll Do Ya, and Young Dumb n' Full of Cum, they naturally decided to pay tribute to the master of all things dirty and sexxy by covering Prince's Darling Nikki. As I recall, Buzzbox Babe was pretty rockin', too.


Whale wikipedia entry

Jun 6, 2009

High Rise. Psychedelic Speed Freaks '84-'85.

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We were fortunate enough to catch Acid Mothers Temple on their last swing through the States, and they put on what was unquestionably the greatest concert I have ever seen. Like, so good I very nearly quit my job to follow them around on tour, à la the Dead. They came on around midnight and played for two solid hours. I don't know how they have the stamina; I was exhausted just watching them. Most of their albums have a wonderful scribbly quality to them, but live, they laid on a huge slab of monster-sized, head-banging acid rock.

Tsuyama Atsushi functioned as sort of the bandleader, keeping the band grounded with his masterful bass playing while Kawabata Makoto plugged his guitar into a super nova and exploded all over the stage. Tsuyama also has an incredible voice. A lot of what he sang sounded like a cross between throat singing, a human didgeridoo, and maybe Yma Sumac. Songs veered from white-light scrambles, to heavy riffing, to something that I can only describe as medieval doo-wop (the briefly acapella La Li Lo). I could swear that they even played a tiny snatch of Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother.

I don't know if "jamming" even applies to what they do. They finished with Pink Lady Lemonade, which frankly I could have listened to all night. I don't think there's any such thing as too long of a song for these guys. I was utterly blown away, uplifted, and transformed.

High-Rise could be Acid Mothers Temple's grandfathers (Spiritually, at least. Astonishingly, they're barely fifteen years older). I really don't need to say much more than that Psychedelic Speed Freaks is the most succinct, accurate and truthful description a band has ever given itself. Like Kawabata, they reach for zen nirvana through epic geysers of guitar noise played at supersonic speed; flinging out notes like they were using them to smash atoms in a cloud chamber.


High-Rise on myspace

Jun 4, 2009

Robyn Hitchcock. Unhatched Crablings. Volume 4. The Palest Imaginings.

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09/10/11: Link re-upped. We just got a new computer and the zipping program looks different, so let me know if it works for you.

1. Satellite of Love (Lou Reed) (electric)
2. Beetle Train with Antlers
3. If We Had a Baby
4. Stealing Glass (Lennon)
5. Baby You're a Rich Man (w/Morris and Andy) (Beatles)
6. Tonight (w/Morris)
7. KUSF Song (improv) (w/Morris and Andy)
8. If We Hear Music
9. Loop the Loop
10. Billy the Kid (Dylan) / Ring of Fire (Cash)
11. Within You, Without You (Beatles)
12. The End (Doors)
13. The Lizard

Crablings 4

Robyn Hitchcock official site

Robyn Hitchcock on myspace

Robyn Hitchcock. Unhatched Crablings. Volume 3. Statues In My Bathroom.

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1. Cirrus Minor (Pink Floyd)
2. The Ghost in You (Psychedelic Furs) (w/accompaniment)
3. Strange (solo, with secrets)
4. The Main Thing (Roxy Music)
5. Take This in Rememberance (aka "Lucy")
6. I Found a Reason (Velvet Undergound)
7. Wolfpack (Syd Barrett)
8. Arnold Layne (Pink Floyd)
9. Long Gone (Syd Barrett)
10. 'What are you drinking, Robyn?'
11. Silver Dagger (Trad, arr. Baez)
12. Wide Open Star
13. 'Dead Wife with Harmonica'
14. Human Music
15. The Face of Death (solo)

Crablings 3

Robyn Hitchcock official site

Robyn Hitchcock on myspace

Robyn Hitchcock. Unhatched Crablings. Volume 2. Who's Got All the Tunes.

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1. Chain Mary to the Bed - SUNY, Binghamton NY, 10/2/90
2. You're so Repulsive - Didn't make it to You and Oblivion
3. The Feelers was Everywhere - KCRW's Brave New World, 3/18/96
4. Brain Death - Rough Trade Records, SF 4-29-93
5. Shadowcat - McCabe's, 9/22/95 (late set)
6. Surfer Ghost - Demo
7. Snow Strike - WHFS Cafe, December 1990
8. I Thought I Saw Julian Cope - McCabe's, 5/25/90 (late set)
9. Consider Me Gone - KUSF, 10/5/89
10. It All Adds Up - KROQ "Lovelines" 9/8/91
11. Retinal Damage
12. Mousaka Song - Gaston Hall, Georgetown University 5/17/93
13. Meat Home - Neurotic Records, SF 9/24/94
14. Demons and Fiends - Didn't make it to _You and Oblivion_
15. Ten Fingers - Golden Gate Park, SF 7/3/89
16. (Sadly Not) My Dead Relations - KUSF 4/28/93
17. The Fortunate Son - Club Quattro, Shibuya Tokyo 11/10/93
18. Waterloo Sunset (Kinks)
19. Send Him Some Dentures - KROQ "LoveLines" 9/8/91
20. Queers for Jesus - McCabe's 5/5/91 (late set)
21. Sin City (G Parsons) - McCabe's 5/5/91 (late set)

Crablings 2

Robyn Hitchcock official site

Robyn Hitchcock on myspace

Robyn Hitchcock. Unhatched Crablings. Volume 1. Moments In the Orchard.

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1. Mr Rock and Roll - Kennel Club, San Francisco 5/21/91
2. The Angel Upstairs - McCabe's Guitar Shop, Santa Monica 7/18/87
3. Rabbit Train - The Backstage, Seattle 5/1/93
4. The Vomiting Cross - Kennel Club, SF 5/21/91
5. A Most Peculiar Voice - Lady Mitchell Hall, Cambridge UK 11/27/78
6. Cherry-Red Daughter - The Ark, Ann Arbor MI 4/15/5
7. Messages of Dark - Diamond Club, Toronto 10/16/90
8. Weasel Turned His Back - WHFS, Omega Studios Rockville MD 1/7/96
9. Dark Globe (Barrett) - Maxwells, Hoboken NJ 7/28/88
10. Every Day is like Sunday (Morrissey) - A&M, Los Angeles 1993
11. Draft Morning (Byrds) - The Backstage, Seattle 9/27/89
12. It Takes a Lot to Laugh (Dylan) - Cabaret Metro, Chicago 4/9/88
13. The Crystal Ship (Doors) - KROQ FM/"Stand Back, Dennis"
14. Rain (Beatles) - "The Green EP" Town Pump, BC 3/23/86
15. Satellite of Love (L Reed) - Omega Studios, 1-7-96
16. Wild Mountain Thyme (Byrds) - Mountain Stage, Charleston WV, 1991
17. Odds and Ends (Dylan) - The Crocodile Cafe, Seattle, 10-4-95
18. Bog Down in the Valley - McCabes 5/5/91 (early set)

Crablings 1

Robyn Hitchcock official site

Robyn Hitchcock on myspace

Jun 1, 2009

A Witness. Double Peel Sessions.

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disposable razors

A Witness were a gloriously deranged group with satirical, dada-esque lyrics, sneering, elbow-to-the-ribs vocals, stabbing, pulverizing guitar riffs, and a thick, chunky, beefheartian sound, as if they were pulling their rhythms out from underneath piles of loose rubble. Sort of Half Man, Half Biscuit, Half Deerhoof, Part Bogshed. They hail from the forgotten, darker, non-twee side of the C-86 cassette. Sadly, they broke up rather early on in their career after the death of founding guitarist Rick Aitken. Keith Curtis went on to join the equally commercially unfriendly Membranes, Alan Brown toured with The Great Leap Forward, and Vince Hunt created the soundscape project Pure Sound before banding together with Alan as Marshall Smith. They keep track of their collective goings on at Euphonium Records (linked below).

The Peel Sessions give a pretty good overview of their versatile sound. Everything from jagged, nuggets-style punk to nearly sing-along, bizarro-pop (the amazing, godlike I Love You Mr. Disposable Razors). There's practically no telling where they could have gone. In a just world, whispering their name would grant you entry into the same underworld of teenage cool to which Joy Division or Sonic Youth serve as magic keys. This is vibrant, indispensable music.


A Witness official site