Sunday, March 19, 2023

Vigil - the lost second album

You may have seen my previous posts on Baltimore/Washington area band Vigil (FKA Here Today). Their second album, On To Beggar and Bitter Things, was slated for release in 1990, but was shelved after the band broke up. At long last the album is now available to the public via Bandcamp, with cassette, CD, and digital download format options:

This album was recorded in 1988 at Sheffield Audio/Video in Maryland. It was mixed at Sheffield in 1989 by Bill Mueller and produced by VIGIL and Sam Prager.
All songs written by VIGIL except Thirteen which was written by VIGIL and C. Macsherry
Special thanks to Bruce Dickinson (Vigil, Tragically Hip), Dirk Griffin, Howard Thompson (P. Furs, 10K Maniacs, Garbage) and John Anthony (Genesis, Queen, Tubes, Ace).

Jo Connor - singing, guitars
Andy R. - guitars
Gregg Maizel - bass
X-factor - drums

Monday, February 20, 2023

That blogroll in the right column is pretty much a graveyard now, isn't it? I think I'll leave it as is for commemorative purposes.

Guess what, I'm back! I have some new rips to share. Watch this space!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Peter Hope returns!

One of the most-represented artists on this blog has been industrial soul growler Peter Hope: as the frontman for Sheffield skronkmeisters The Box, in partnership with David Harrow for the Sufferhead EP, lead singer of Chain and Flex 13, and in collaboration with Jonathan "Jono" Podmore, about which he writes, "I am proud to say that, for my money it remains one of the most compromising & uncommercial albums of all time." (You can listen to it here... and then buy it!) Noisy, visceral, and vital, Peter Hope's music marries punk, free jazz, and electronic avant-garde, and is some of the most exciting music of the late 20th century. But this is all by way of introduction to the following announcement:

I am overjoyed to report that Peter Hope is back! The short version is that he is once again excited about the music scene and has moved to Glasgow from a self-imposed exile in the Outer Hebrides to start his own label, Wrong Revolution, for the purpose of reissuing music from his own extensive catalog (under the Exploding Mind moniker) and also releasing "material by NEW & ESTABLISHED bands & artists with a focus on the EXPERIMENTAL & CHALLENGING end of the Sonic Spectrum" (as Wrong Way Up). (See Pete's full statement here.) The first two Exploding Mind releases are out now: a cassette called Loud/Wrong/Proud (about which more later), and a CD called Hoodoo Dance. Hoodoo Dance is a generous 17-track sampler of both released and unreleased material spanning Pete's entire career (so far), with tracks from Hoodoo, Soup, The Box, Peter Hope/David Harrow ("Too Hot", one of the best songs of the 80s IMO), Flex 13, White Trash, Chain, and two solo tracks. A lot of the material on it I have never even heard before! Hoodoo, Soup, and White Trash are all new to me, and it's great stuff! I can't help thinking this is what Tom Waits thought he was doing on Bone Machine. Anyway, Hoodoo Dance is up for streaming and digital download purchase on Bandcamp, and a CD is available from Klanggalerie. And since Bandcamp streams are embeddable, here it is to listen to right here:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Here Today (Vigil) - The It/On Me

A generous reader has donated a rip of an early single by Vigil, back when they were called Here Today: "The It" b/w "On Me". The Bauhaus influences are on full display here: "The It" has a beat similar to Eno's "Third Uncle" (by way of Bauhaus), and Jo Connor echoes Peter Murphy's vocal cadences (but not his voice, their timbres are totally different) on "On Me". It's quite exciting to hear something from so early in their career! I can't find a solid date for it, but I would guess it's from around 1983. Get the vinyl rip here or here. (See here for a FLAC rip of the Vigil CD.) And many thanks to our benefactor!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Arthur Blythe - Illusions

The CD reissue of Arthur Blythe's 1980 LP Illusions is out of print and selling for high prices on the secondhand market, so here is a vinyl rip for anyone who would like to hear it without having to shell out $50-200 for a CD. This album is part of my James Blood Ulmer collection, as his guitar playing is all over it. Ulmer's guitar is also the only electric instrument in this album's lineup, the full list being:
  • Arthur Blythe, alto sax
  • Fred Hopkins, acoustic bass
  • Steve McCall, drums
  • John Hicks, piano
  • James Blood Ulmer, electric guitar
  • Abdul Wadud, cello
  • Bob Stewart, tuba
  • Bobby Battle, drums
The tuba gives the tunes a heavier beat and grounding in traditional jazz than the average avant-garde jazz session, and Blythe switches easily between lyrical leads and free wailing. Illusions was the third in a string of nine Blythe albums released by Columbia between 1978 and 1987, and came at the same time as Ulmer's brief tenure at the label, which resulted in the fiery Black Rock and Free Lancing LPs as well as the classic trio set Odyssey. If only Columbia had managed to push this jazz subgenre into the mainstream! The track list of Illusions is:
  1. Bush Baby
  2. Miss Money
  3. Illusions
  4. My Son Ra
  5. Carespin' With Mamie
  6. As Of Yet

Get the vinyl rip here or here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Brains - Electronic Eden

After months of fruitless searching for a rip of the Brains' second album, Electronic Eden (Mercury, 1981), I discovered I still have my vinyl copy, so I've ripped it myself and present it here for your enjoyment. From Atlanta, Georgia, the Brains are best known for their song "Money Changes Everything," which appeared on their first album in 1980 and was made famous by Cyndi Lauper's cover version in 1983. The Brains played solid new wave rock, with a lyrical quirkiness and intelligence (courtesy of lead singer Tom Gray) that gave them more new wave credibility than many of the North American "new wave" bands at the time that were actually AOR bands with a bit of a new wave sheen (e.g. Loverboy, Huey Lewis and the News). There is a lost masterpiece on this album: "Heart in the Street" is an impassioned anthem to the diminished dreams that come with growing up. Stylistically it prefigures the sound of Collective Soul, a band that would spring from the Atlanta area ten years later and achieve much greater success. "Collision" is a rather macabre song about a girlfriend's not-quite recovery from a car accident. The full track list is:
01 Dream Life
02 One In A Million
03 Hypnotized
04 No Tears Tonight
05 Eyes Of Ice
06 Asphalt Wonderland
07 Little Girl Gone
08 Ambush
09 Heart In The Street
10 House Of Cards
11 Collision
For a more in-depth look at the band and its history, see R. Smith's excellent blog post. (Short version: after being dropped from Mercury Records, they released the Dancing Under Streetlights EP on the independent Landslide label in 1982, underwent some personnel changes, then broke up. A couple members joined the Georgia Satellites. Tom Gray now leads the blues/roots band Delta Moon.) Electronic Eden was produced by Steve Lillywhite (as was their first album) and engineered by Mark Richardson, and contains lots of that gated snare sound that was all the rage in those days. Get the kind-of-noisy vinyl rip here or here.