Friday, June 30, 2006
TV ON THE RADIO + MATT POND PA + VOXTROT at Prospect Park, June 30
Hey guys, sorry I haven't been keeping up the pace this week. Some of you probably know why it's been a very busy week for me. I took the job of booking shows at a few key places in the city, too, so I'll be doing that part-time from here on out in addition to the 4,500 other things I have my hands in. The big thing is tonight, a little show I helped coordinate. I don't have time to really post about these bands, but I'm proud of how eclectic the lineup turned out and with the weather taking a turn for the best, tonight will be special. Let it be Michelob. See you as the sun goes down....
TV On The Radio TONIGHT
Matt Pond PA BROOKLYN STARS
Voxtrot FAST ASLEEP
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
SILVERSUN PICKUPS "Carnavas"
FLOP "Whenever You're Ready"
Oh man. I guess the one big problem I have with the majority (really, there's some good ones out there) of music blogs is the fact that young reviewers (starting to sound like old lame guy here) go instantly apeshit for anything they perceive as new and readers often put a ton of stock into it. Most of us who have been alive long enough to know that music didn't start with the first Death Cab For Cutie single, know that new is fairly arbitrary. That new is pretty much old dressed up in a ringer t-shirt or a Neighborhoodie. So, along with our themes at Little Elpees of "Great Compilations" and "Local Heroes", today, we add "You Stole My Sound, Fucker".
The first installment of YSMSF features two bands seperated by about 13 years, but they share the same distortion pedals. Silversun Pickups are blog gold right now. See if you can't find a blog that doesn't mention them. They've recently played some shows with Voxtrot and I saw them this past year at SXSW with Dirty On Purpose. Pretty solid really, I didn't have any complaints. And pretty. I downloaded "Dream At Tempo" a few weeks back and it's been in heavy over here, but I couldn't help to think it sounded, um, EXACTLY like someone else.
I made the match when "Woolworth" by Seattle's (?) Flop came on random, I love the 28,000+ songs on shuffle, man. Flop were a band that probably I only liked. Seriously, no one liked them ever. OK, that's not true. I booked a club in Chicago in 1994 and played Flop's "Whenever You're Ready" before bands came on. People always asked what it was, however, no one actually ran out to buy it. It's probably the best cutout bin purchase you can make, if you see it.
Some of these bands are hardly aware of this stuff, it's not their fault, really. But like most great pop songs have been written, we're starting to see, that, unless someone reinvents the guitar, we're doomed to hear the same sound every few years. Tell me if "Dream At Tempo" and "Woolworth" don't sound similar (you have to get past the woo-woo intro on the Silversun track). The vocals, the guitar sounds, the whole bit. Yes, I know, the songs are different. Thank god. Next time, I'll have to find a new band that sounds like "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea". Yeah, that'll be hard.
Silversun Pickups DREAM AT TEMPO
Monday, June 26, 2006
FUGU/ST. ETIENNE split 7"
When I started this blog, nearly two months ago, I intended to post some very bizarre finds from my vinyl collection. However, I find that there's also tons of stuff I selfishly want to have pop up in my daily random iTunes library. I could mine my indie rock singles for years and probably have enough ammo for a hundred more blogs. There are a few 45s that are quite lovely, however, and rise to the top of the pecking order. I'll get back to the bizarre next week.
Fugu has had the good fortune of having some very big names fall madly in love with their orchestrated pop. Fugu is, just one person, the fabulous and French, Mehdi Zannad. He started creating the Emitt Rhodes-Brian Wilson-esque gems sometime in the mid 90s. With singles on eclectic international labels like Escalator and Sugarfrost, Fugu started to make a name for them(him)self. Mysteriously, he named the songs with titles like F21 and F27. Maybe perhaps rivalling Mark Robinson or Factory Records with their obsession to assign everything a number.
To date, however, Fugu is still fairly unknown. Fugu 1 came out on Minty Fresh in the US back in 2001 and barely made a blip. Their second and latest elpee, As Found, is fucking brilliant, and has yet to find an international audience or a release in the US (or even outside of France for that matter). Back to the big names though, bands like Stereolab and St. Etienne loved Fugu so much, they co-released singles together. Talk about a dream come true!
Included today are tracks from the 1999 split single on the ultrasmall, Amberley Records, out of the UK. St. Etienne mix a Fugu song, Fugu return the favor. Pretty rare and nice stuff. Don't let this be your introduction to Fugu, however. Let that be "You Pick Me Up" from As Found. Cute how I did that, right?
Fugu F32 (St. Etienne Mix)
Saint Etienne SATURDAY (Fugu mix)
Sunday, June 25, 2006
BARBARA MORGENSTERN "The Grass Is Always Greener"
HOT CHIP "The Warning"
Hey, a Sunday special! I don't normally post on weekends, but it's been a pretty dismal weekend in Brooklyn. Not much to do except drink, eat, and listen to new music.
I love the new trend in electronic pop. Well, that anyone cares about music made with Juno 106s, that's the part I love. I get goosebumps when I hear sequencers and blips and bleeps. Sad, but true. I think it comes from hearing that opening song from The Human League's Dare when I was 12. Those sliding heavy synths just floored me. Still do.
Here are two tracks from new releases you should know about. Barbara Morgenstern is on the fabulous Monika label and remixes others as well as dishes up some fabulous German new wave. Hot Chip are a trendy UK band but won't be quite as big as Bloc Party or Keane for the obvious reason that they rely heavily on smarmy electronics. Dig them both and pray for sun in the 718.
Barbara Morgenstern THE OPERATOR
Hot Chip COLOURS
Friday, June 23, 2006
LAZY SMOKE "Corridor Of Faces"
Sometime in the early 90s, a friend of mine sent me a mixtape with a ton of cool flowery psych pop from the late 60s on it. I knew some of the names, sure, but for the most part, it was a huge education. Sagittarius, The Millenium, We All Together, even Colin Blunstone from the Zombies made an appearance. The one band I obsessed about, however, was the Lazy Smoke. Cool name, even cooler songs.
I set out to find out everything I could about Lazy Smoke's only release, Corridor Of Faces. I couldn't have picked a harder subject. This extremely rare 1968 elpee was released in a limited edition of 1,000. This would be the equivalent of a release on Shrimper or even my late, March Records. I set out to find the vinyl. When I started dropping their name at record shows or with people in-the-know, they laughed. They told me, good luck, but be prepared to spend about $500 for a copy. Ugh! Still, I searched.
After a few years of popping in to various record shops in various cities, I told myself, "TODAY IS THE DAY, I will find it TODAY!". Today, of course, being a record fair in Austin, Texas during SXSW, possibly in 1995. Wouldn't you know it? I found it. $25. Yes, yes, it was a bootleg, but still, I had a copy of this elusive elpee! Fuck, kill me now, I'm such a geek. Sorry, mom, for dropping the f-bomb there.
I will not be able to articulate any facts about the Lazy Smoke, and soon after this treasure hunt, small indie label Arf! Arf! re-issued the whole damn thing plus bonus demos anyway. But you can read about them and buy the collection here and listen to a few tracks, well, here. "Sarah Saturday" is a Rhodes driven pop delight and "Under Skys" could be the best track not on Olivia Tremor Control's Dusk At Cubist Castle. I spared you the crackle of the vinyl by ripping the cd versions, but trust me, the vinyl sounds yummy, and if you ever come over, I'll play it for you. It's a prized possession.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
B-MOVIE "Forever Running"
Oops. Sorry I've been slacking. I really intend to post at least once a day. It's hard. I mean it only takes like 15 minutes for an entry, but I totally understand how people are fueled by comments or feedback.
It's starting to become very obvious to me that the majority of the vinyl I own came out between 1976 and 1988. I guess that makes sense, being the formative years for me. I'm also realizing I'm a very big pussy. I'm looking forward to the new Scritti Politti record. I like guys who sing like girls. I've just realized that Grandaddy are my favorite band of the last 5 years. I also like that fake romantic crap. Early Spandau Ballet, the Associates, sigh. Maybe that's why I took to B-Movie in high school.
B-Movie, not unlike, Scritti Politti, went from experimental and respected art school indie rock band, to high gloss over produced pop band. Hmmm. I seem to have no problem with that. Forever Running was, from what I know, their only US release. It was on Sire and came out in 1985. The formula for making me plunk down my money, Sire + 80s = me needs it. No idea where I got this, maybe Camelot Music in the Ocean County Mall, but I did pay full price, whatever that was in 1986.
B-Movie's big underground hit, their I Melt With You, was Nowhere Girl. You may have heard it. It's pretty solid, even in its primitive 12 inch form. It's re-recorded on Forever Running, but I'm omitting it here. I have included two of my fave tracks, I dunno, they just stuck with me all these years, though the production is hard to swallow sometimes. For good measure, I've also added B-Movie's rare US 12 inch for "A Letter From Afar". Hope you like. I'm going to dig up all my sweater vests and donate them to Goodwill now....
HEART OF GOLD
A LETTER FROM AFAR
Monday, June 19, 2006
THE BONGOS "Beat Hotel"
I spent the weekend in New Jersey. New Jersey is one of those underrated places. Riding in the car, my friends were astonished, saying they didn't know such beautiful scenery existed in New Jersey. New Yorkers (or anyone not from the garden state) just know Newark or Jersey City or smokestacks or the Meadowlands. They don't know the pine barrens, the barrier beaches, and the Delaware Water Gap. They probably don't know the Bongos either.
I've credited many people, times, and places for my discovery of new music and education. This post is dedicated to Kenny Stump and his older brother. When I was a sophomore in high school, I jumped the fence, and never looked back. Up till then, I was on a steady diet of anything that was left of center, sure, but just barely. U2's Boy, Squeeze, Elvis Costello, were still fairly underground for 1985 and far from platinum, but not unknown. That was, until, we made mixtapes from Kenny's brother's record collection, sitting there, ripe for the pickin'. I stockpiled empty Maxell XL-90s and went over there after school to make random mixtapes. I quickly discovered bands like Ultravox, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, and well, the Bongos. I felt like I hit the jackpot.
I've been trying to recreate that first mixtape forever but my memory fails me. I do know for a fact that "Come Back To Me" was on it though. It holds up really well, too. It took me a while as an adult to find Beat Hotel, but of course, I found it around 1990, at the old Pier Platters in Hoboken. Of course, I say, because the Bongos were a Hoboken band. It has long been deleted and it amazes me it hasn't been re-issued, never on cd as far as I know. And the death of Pier Platters was a very sad thing for me, too. As a teenager, I would park my car in Hoboken, to take the PATH into Manhattan, but not until I'd spent a good portion of my gas money on records at PP.
I followed Richard Barone through college, nabbing the rare Cool Blue Halo cd, when it came out. "Numbers With Wings" is a definite classic, too. I think he made some more solo elpees, but nothing I remember as keepers in my collection. Enjoy the Bongos, as underrated as New Jersey, methinks.
COME BACK TO ME
Thursday, June 15, 2006
FRANK SINATRA JR. "Spice"
"These songs represent what are, after all, my favorite musical tastes and I hope that these tastes which bring spice to my life will bring spice to yours, now and in the future". Holy shit, livin' on the edge with Junior! Was "spice" a catch phrase back in the late 60s? Wow. I so have to use it now.
Not a clue what I was thinking when I grabbed this elpee from the Phase Four shop in Cambridge, Mass several years ago (anyone know if it's still open?). I must've been suckered in by the tracklisting and my complete curiosity of what Ol' Blue Eyes offspring might sound like. Oh, now I know, it was the fact that he covers a Free Design song. I wonder if that was the equivalent of James Blunt covering Sufjan Stevens. Released in 1971, Jr. muddles the spices with his shaky pestle, his non-distinct croon up in the mix over some pretty solid Nelson Riddle arrangements.
The best thing about this elpee though is the over the top biography and synopsis of the songs on the back of the cover. Good, no, great reading. "From the clove of the WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND, to the pepper of the TROLLEY SONG, from the sugar of SO MANY STARS, to the garlic of BLACK NIGHT, we have, I think, examined and utilized all of the tastes and fragrances...". The garlic? You can't make this shit up, someone wrote it, possibly Jr. himself. High fives all around.
Anyway, for your listening pleasure, I've included the Free Design cover, a Holiday Inn lounge take on "Everybody's Talkin'" from Midnight Cowboy (Nilsson = pissed), and the Williams/Nichols penned "We've Only Just Begun" which was a monster hit for the Carpenters. Have a great weekend, I'm off to the Delaware Water Gap to eat lobster and see how many PBR's it takes to rock myself to sleep.
TOMORROW IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF MY LIFE
WE'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
THE POSIES "Feel" b/w "I Am The Cosmos"
I was reading the other day that a Big Star tribute that's been in the works for many years, featuring Wilco, Juliana Hatfield, etc. is finally coming out. I pretty much thought there were at least 20 such tributes in existence already. Look, I love Big Star, like, a lot, and I get it, they were vastly underrated, but enough is enough. I dig the Posies, too, who are sadly likely to suffer the same fate, though their catalogue is a bit more spotty. And I get it, the Posies love Big Star, too. Awesome. Now I see why bands sometimes don't want to contribute to tributes. You get known for it.
Even with that rant though, the tracklisting does look awesome, so I'll be even a little curious to hear it. In fact, this is probably the one to own I guess. And you do have to credit the Posies for shining the spotlight on Chilton & Bell when no one seemed to care or remember. They even went so far as to inject themselves into Big Star by playing as Alex Chilton's backing band for a series of live shows. It's just too bad Chris Bell couldn't be there. I'm in the minority by saying the #1 album is the best. There's something about the sadness in Chris Bell's lyrics and melodies that I prefer, that gives me goosebumps. Pick up the collection on Ryko to see what I mean. If you can get past "You And Your Sister" without crying, you are soulless.
The Posies released this 7 inch on Popllama sometime in 1993(?), I grabbed it from the defunct local Chicago record shop, Blackout (Hi Jillian), for $3.49. This may have started the wave of adoration towards Big Star, I can't pinpoint the month or year when it seemed everyone was talking about them again. And I can't keep track of how many Chilton/Bell compositions the Posies have recorded over the years, but neither of these make a showing on the aforementioned tribute. For all I know, they are only available on this single.
I AM THE COSMOS
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
YO LA TENGO "Yo La Tengo Is Murdering The Classics"
Tuesday doubleheader! Hurray for Little Elpees!
I'm not normally motivated to post twice in a day, but here's a quickie about beloved Hoboken trio, Yo La Tengo. New album with the best title ever "I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass" comes out at the end of summer on Matador. "Beanbag Chair" can be had right here.
YLT visit WFMU during their fundraising marathons each year. Callers can call in and request a cover song. They've compiled 10 years worth of their sometimes bizarre, sometimes sublime renditions on to one cd, you can get it here. I nearly peed when I heard "Route 66", easily the cutest version of all-time. For good measure, here's Yes's "Roundabout" which I hope reaches the ears of an Anderson, a Wakeman, or a Howe. That is all.
DALEK I "Compass kum'pus"
I picked this up knowing nothing about Dalek I. It was in the 49 cent bin at Reckless, but the things that popped out at me were, the year (1980), the names involved (Hugh Jones, Chris Hughes), and the strangely phallic artwork.
If you pop back to the posting about Graduate, you'll see I had a little thing for Tears For Fears' The Hurting elpee. It was produced by Chris Hughes. Oh! Now I remember, see, Tears For Fears handpicked him to produce that based on the Dalek I elpee. Yay. I get it now. Hugh Jones later produced every great record ever. Start with Dumptruck's For The Country and cruise to the Colourfield's Virgins & Philistines and you'll see what I mean. Dave Balfe ended up in Teardrop Explodes. This Dalek I elpee was a little crossroads for everyone maybe?
I still knew next to nothing about Dalek I when I spun Compass kum'pus for the first time. I did fall pretty hard for the cascade of synthesizers and decidedly long-division lyrics. I always love when bands dress up love songs by peppering them with bizarre lyrics about inanimate objects or science or architecture or something. Maybe that's why I'm a sucker for Britpop. I could imagine being the only kid on my block knowing about this record when it came out. Maybe it's not too late, maybe I still could be.
So, Tears For Fears were fans, and I assume others were (the album hit the UK charts in 1980). I was working on a project with Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields a few years back and remember him bending my ear for an hour about Dalek I. If you ever want to crack Stephin, bring up obscure synthpop bands like Flying Lizards. He knows tons. You better know your shit though or suffer the consequences (children).
I love little discoveries like this and if you dig new wave, your interest is sure to be piqued. Here's two tracks from side A. You can definitely hear parts of that TFF sound in the soft verses of Destiny (Dalek I Love You). I'm off to see if there's some sort of collection on CD or iTunes now. Oh, here's a great link for some history on this: http://www.execulink.com/~robin1/mu_dalek-i.txt
For some reason it won't let me hyperlink a txt URL.
DESTINY (DALEK I LOVE YOU)
Friday, June 09, 2006
SUNNYCHAR "You're My Battery" EP
Short but way sweet post today. I wanted to find something to possibly ward off all this rain we've been having on the east coast lately. I just may have found it.
I totally miss the days when I would drop about $30 a week on 10 new singles at places like Ajax, Blackout, Reckless, etc. That 1991-1994 7 inch revolution is long gone and I miss it dearly. Of course, now I have a closet about to erupt with unwanted no name indie rock singles, but there are a handful of gems.
Not sure if Japan's Sunnychar is a complete gem, but I did remember liking it. The ultracute five piece released this 4 song EP/7" on Shredder in 1993. Never heard from them again. Let's see if can bring out the sun around here.
YOU'RE MY BATTERY
MY LITTLE GIRL
Thursday, June 08, 2006
v/a LIGHT INTO DARK: a Chicago music compilation #1
Yesterday, I euthanized my wounded indie label, one I had for 14 years. It started in a DePaul spare bedroom and ended in a Park Slope garden apartment. In between, there were office spaces, highs and lows, but I'll always remember the humble beginning and the limping end. I was fortunate to be able to find a way to bring new discoveries to the masses and even more fortunate that people listened. Sometimes I wonder how it could've sustained itself for so long. Mostly I wonder why it didn't turn into Sire or Creation.
I wonder what lofty goals Barry Waterman had in mind when he culled some local Chicago bands together for the vinyl only, Light Into Dark compilation. I wonder if he thought his Halo Records imprint would turn into Factory or Rough Trade. On the cover, it reads, a Chicago music compilation, #1. I guess there was supposed to be more. I was living in Chicago in 1989 when this came out, tail tucked firmly between legs from a failed stint as "college student". It was a good time to live in Chicago, the music scene was diverse and fertilizing itself.
To his credit, he was definitely a few years ahead of being in the money (a major problem with most palatable indies, wink). The most obvious evidence of that is two tracks from a jangly and gothy Smashing Pumpkins. I saw them play so many times back then. Tons of shows at Avalon or Metro. Way before Empty Bottle or Double Door. I even ended up friends with them eventually, some of them spending nights on my living room floor because I was the only one in the neighborhood with central air in the summertime. Before the symphony of hundreds of strident composite guitar tracks, these Pumpkin songs sound different, for sure. I still think of them as the ultimate indie band, even though, the "indie" crowd never really accepted them. No one in Chicago did, so they did for themselves. Isn't that what an indie band does?
Gold September, I saw open for Wonderstuff, in '89, and remembered liking them. The two tracks here are way faux British accent for me, but that was Mark Rew's thing, and he later overhauled it successfully with his band, Catherine. Catherine were one of the first bands I signed to the aforementioned beleaguered label. I don't remember Sevenletters, I'm sure I saw them around too, but strangely, this track holds up the best to these ears (doesn't the intro have an uncanny resemblance to the Cult's She Sells Sanctuary?). It's kinda Chapel Hill sounding, could've fit on Comboland. Poster Children contribute two tracks here, too.
I started my indie label in 1992 by hand picking semi-local bands (Walt Mink, Arson Garden, Gloryhounds) ripe for the championing and curated a collection called Uncharted. I was told it was the first ever compact disc to feature "local" bands (back then it cost a ton of money to press them). I remember WXRT making a huge deal about it and we convinced 6 of the bands to play a record release show at Metro. 1,000 people paid. Amazing. A good start I figured. I was able to release nearly 90 records after that. Halo, only one. Guess I'm lucky. Or dumb.
Smashing Pumpkins MY DAHLIA
Sevenletters GONE BY DAWN
Gold September DORIAN
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
GEORGE JONES "Country Heart"
This is a first for me. I'm trying this after a long night of drinkin'. No, really, I know it's hard to believe. My softball team was on the wrong end of a 11-0 shutout, so we were cryin' in our beers. Dos Equis Green actually, mmmm.
I've credited several people, sources, and places for my discovery of music, new, old, borrowed, blue, whatever. Like a sober person could write that last sentence. Impressionnant! Let's chalk this one up to the jukebox at Great Jones Cafe, the one place in the whole world I feel perfectly at home and safe. A proto post-punk at heart, an omnivore in spirit, I had no clue on what it felt like to be truly touched by country music till a late night drinking vodka lemonades at the Jones. When you come up through the ranks of the Smiths or New Order, it's hard to fathom the day that "She Still Thinks I Care" or "Your Cheatin' Heart" really hits home. Get your heart broken, see if you turn to the Cure or Willie Nelson. Seriously.
The one thing that most or at least some modern music seems to be lacking is soul. Not soul in a Motown way, but a soulful honesty in the lyrics. Sincerity is arbitrary I guess, but I think you can tell when someone is flooring you with cliches or failing to impress you with forced poetry. When George Jones sings "you've got me buffaloed into your ways of thinkin'", I believe him. Plus, I give him double extra credit for coming up with a totally boss saying that I think I'm going to use from here on out. Buffaloed. Awesome.
I bought this, not kidding, at the PS 321 flea market in Park Slope a few weeks ago. I really wanted some George Jones on vinyl and this is a pretty cool double elpee on Musicor which I've found is not terribly easy to get. Good for me. When you are listening, really pay attention to the words, the simple and sweet. It makes you realize that, in songwriting, everything has already been said, new bands just twist the words around and fancy them up. Sorry about any run-ons, I can't imagine when I read this in the morning it'll make any sense. I don't care. There's no desert too barren to cross.
I'M WASTING GOOD PAPER
SHIP OF LOVE
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
I was up late last night ripping some interesting records to iTunes. You can't have them just yet though. Enjoy the Summer Skewers mix which set a record for visitors to this site yesterday. I'm leaving the mix up until Friday then it's toast. See you tomorrow with the good stuff.
Monday, June 05, 2006
SUMMER SKEWERS: a summer 2006 mp3 mixtape
Tomorrow, things will be back to normal. However, today, I have a special treat for you. I've decided it's acceptable to stray from the formula of Little Elpees once and a while. It's hard work ripping vinyl to mp3. Not only that, sometimes I feel like listening to music made, like, this year. So, in honor of hot summer nights, pomegranate margaritas, and hours slaving at my 22 1/2 inch Weber grill (her name is Milly), may I present to you, a foxy blend of new or upcoming releases, Summer Skewers.
I won't come right out and say that I adore each and every track. New music multiplies like bunny rabbits around here and I just feel like sharing. You be the critics. I will say that I'm a big dumb sucker for the overproduced power pop represented here by The Feeling. If by the middle of August, "Love It When You Call" isn't an enormous hit, something went horribly wrong. I also obsess about the Phoenix track and am really eager to share new discoveries like Silver Lakes, Eighteenth Day Of May, and Oohlas. Also, indie rock hall of famers Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo make nice showings with new songs here. There's 21 newfangled tracks in all.
I hope you like, feel free to comment here about your favorites. This will only be up for a very limited time, so grab the tracks while you can. I can't say enough how important it is for us all to be better patrons of the arts, as well, so if you like something on here, spring for the cd or iTunes or something. It's good for your soul.
EAT SOME SUMMER SKEWERS
Friday, June 02, 2006
PRIVATE SECTOR "The Darkness Burning Bright"
PRIVATE SECTOR "House Of Birds ep"
PRIVATE SECTOR "Don't Take Your Grace Away"
The internet has changed everything. Duh. CDs and MP3s have changed everything. Double duh. When I started this blog, I was excited to have the opportunity to really comb through my vinyl collection for prospects to burn into my massive iTunes library (27,739 songs and counting). What was so fascinating to me, flipping through the albums, is how many of these releases are not on cd or mp3 or even spoken about on the millions of music blogs out there. I just figured everything has already been covered and archived. When it is, then the internet will end, right?
Local heroes (and I assume this is installment two), even, have found MySpace to breathe new life into their fan base, reach out to old fans, or simply get rid of a few 45s sitting in their closets. Try googling my favorite local band of 1986. Seriously. Private Sector got massive airplay at WHTG 106.3 my junior year of high school. I won "The Darkness Burning Bright" LP and tickets to their show at the Green Parrot in Asbury Park and even drove up to the station to collect my winnings from Matt Pinfield. Sigh.
To me, Private Sector were a massive hybrid of New Order and the Psychedelic Furs. The songs were solid, really catchy stuff. Indiepop faves, My Favorite, later reminded me of them, not only musically, but in that beleaguered local band that shoulda made it kinda way. PS were from Red Bank, NJ I think or points closeby and self-released on their indie, Rose Hill. However, as the band later evolved, their singer started to sing like Richard Butler with laryngitis, way affected, and not as nice as say, if they'd a Harriet Wheeler type. After high school I lost track of them and researching for this post, doing the dreaded google search, I came up with nothing. Zero.
Last week, when I first mentioned "local" heroes, I dropped Private Sector's name in with some other Jersey Shore modernrockers like Screaming For Emily. Even THEY have a MySpace page. Wow. OK, so feedback. Tell me what you think, really. Did they have potential? Do you have bands like this you loved? Do you know where they are now? Where's Spiral Jetty?
I've included the first PS song I ever laid ears on, the infectious "I Wish I Could Be As Certain". This one holds up the best, methinks. Also, here, is "Time And The Distance" and you tell me if that intro isn't so New Order, down to the guitar tone. "Don't Take My Grace Away" is where the vocals become a bit bizarre and the keyboard samples become very Bizarre Love Triangle. How bizarre!
Next week, more rock, more country, more fun....
I WISH I COULD BE AS CERTAIN
TIME AND THE DISTANCE
DON'T TAKE YOUR GRACE AWAY
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Various Artists "Alvin Lives (In Leeds)"
Volume 3 of, and say it with me in the monster truck pull voice, people: "GREAT COMP-ILATIONS!". Today's compilation kicks some serious ass, really. Not unlike Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father and from nearly the same era, Alvin Lives In Leeds was a benefit of some sort. Since I don't live in England, nor plan to, someone can fill me in on what the Anti Poll Tax issue was or the Can't Pay-Won't Pay Resource Unit.
Gushing with hot shit Brit bands of 1990, Alvin Lives features crazy covers of AM radio hits of the 70s. It's a fun collection even though there's some real stinkers included. And from bands I adore! Lush fares the best with their version "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep", written by an Italian, but a one hit wonderland for obscure Scots "Middle Of The Road". If someone has the original mp3 of this, send one this way, please? Cud stumble with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" though give them credit for covering it before the likes of the Flaming Lips. Robyn Hitchcock's "Kung Fu Fighting" is ridiculous.
But back to the whole album, taken as a whole that is, it's fun, really. One of my absolute favorite groups, the criminally underrated (see Triffids), Close Lobsters, tackle the sublime-on-the-right-day "Float On" by lost Detroit soul group, The Floaters. It's not soulful, quite the opposite, but it's hilarious. See if you can't make a mixtape this summer without including 14 Iced Bears' version of "Summer Nights" from Grease. Finally, The Wedding Present, who have whored themselves out to tributes and cover albums more than R.E.M. and Sonic Youth combined, contribute the UK favorite "Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)" not to be confused with Chicago's Make Me Smile.
Alvin Lives In Leeds is one of those albums that, when I see it, I buy it. I give it to friends. The one I have came from Reckless in Chicago, price: $1.99. I'd recommend it if you want a goofy snapshot of that shoegazy scene from 1990. At least it looks good in your collection.
Close Lobsters FLOAT ON
14 Iced Bears SUMMER NIGHTS
The Wedding Present MAKE ME SMILE (COME UP AND SEE ME)