Friday, December 18, 2009

SLAB! archival track

No new rips yet (having a slow period ripwise), but Steve Dray did drop a comment with a link to a previously unreleased SLAB track, a seriously rockin' rehearsal recording of "Death's Head Soup". It's so good I'm promoting it to a full-fledged post. Here is Dray's note:

finally put up a rare version of Slab doing Deaths Head Soup

its one of the very first rehearsal versions.... very scuzzy and dirty
vaguely Stooge like ...sorry it glitches here and there

Get it!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

God Mother & Country - Foot on the Rock

God Mother & Country existed for a short time and put out just this one 12" in 1985, on the Kaz label. Official band members where David Wright and Bruce Smith, Neneh Cherry's first husband and likely the reason she sings lead vocal on this track. Other Rip Rig & Panic alumni appear as guest musicians, the whole list being: Sean Oliver, Nick Straker, Paget King, Henry Defoe, Dave Defries, Ashley Slater, Simon Morton, and Afrodiziak. As for the sound it's pretty standard electrofunk, along the lines of the more commercial efforts of 400 Blows or Brilliant, though with a nice skronky sax solo at the end. The B-side is a dub version of the A-side. The record was cut with insanely high levels; I've done my best to tame them, but there's still some distortion and clipping in the rips. Get the vinyl rip here or here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Junk - Continuation of Madness

Continuation of Madness is the third and final album by Bay Area acid-skronk quartet Junk, released in 1997 on their own Faffco Records label. The core trio of David Robbins (baritone sax), David Schumacher (guitar), and Frank Swart (bass) is intact from the previous album, while former drummer Diego Voglino is replaced by Malcolm Peoples. (See the previous entry for a full band bio.) The band's postpunk influences are on display here: "Ascending Thirds" is a fantasia on Liquid Liquid's immortal "Cavern" bass riff, and "Tippy Top" sounds like a lost SLAB! track. The full track list is:

01-Continuation of Madness
02-F U, Frank!
03-Stoppin' in Gilroy
04-Ascending Thirds
06-Chutney con Carne
07-Leslie B
08-Tippy Top
09-Kojak Girl
10-Bowleeged Otis
11-Foreign Relations
12-Jive Picnic
13-Win Some, Lose Some
14-The Spoiling Kids

Malcolm Peoples was in turn replaced by Ian "Inkx" Herman; that lineup lasted for only a year and did not result in an album. Junk disbanded; Robbins, Schumacher, and Herman continued as Post Junk Trio, releasing four albums between 2001 and 2007. The last, Chinatown, is in print and readily available for purchase in mp3 format. The first three are more elusive, and may eventually grace these pages. In the meantime, get the Continuation of Madness CD rip here or here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Junk - Kiss My Acid Jazz

Junk were an instrumental four-piece band who made music somewhere in the borderlands of acid jazz and skronk; the rhythms were too smooth for skronk, but David Robbins' baritone sax was too edgy for acid jazz. The band's bio from their seemingly abandoned website (last updated April, 2001) reads:

JUNK has been called a jazz band, a funk band, a jazzy-funk band, a funky-jazz band, an "anything but jazz" band, even (horrors!) an acid jazz band. While critics can't agree on how to define them, the listeners & dancers who have heard and seen JUNK will usually agree on this: they have a talent for moving their audiences (body and soul) and they do it intelligently, confidently, and without getting hung up on the labels others try to hang on them. Call it what you like--it swings, it grooves and occasionally it goes off the deep end. But label it, and the music will punch a hole through the box you tried to put it in.

JUNK's beginning can be traced back to 1988 when Dave Schumacher (guitar) and David Robbins (baritone sax) roomed together at Boston's Berklee College of Music, while Schumacher played with Frank Swart (bass) in a band that was to have a significant influence on JUNK. Six years later they all met again in the Bay Area and hooked up with Malcolm Peoples, the local drummer of choice for numerous funk/hip hop acts. Their first CD, JUNK was born out of jams worked out in a smoke-filled rehearsal space. The buzz got going right away. "A solid album," said Stepjazz magazine, "which really shows the possibilities of this music and this band." Urb agreed. "Quite against the pretty boy space cowboy pseudo-funkateer pretenders, they are willing to funk themselves into a cold sweat without apology or gimmickry."

Following tours of the West Coast, the band entered the studio with Philip Steir of Consolidated to record Kiss My Acid Jazz. A more varied CD than the first, KMAJ 's jazz/funk mix was spiced with some experimental cuts that raised a few eyebrows but also brought them critical praise, and national radio airplay. JUNK was nominated in the Outstanding Jazz Band and Jazz Album categories of the 1997 Bay Area Music Awards (Bammies).

The "band that was to have a significant influence on JUNK" would be Morphine, whose defining "low rock" sound is echoed in Junk's heavy bass-and-baritone-sax orientation. Get the CD rip of Junk's second album, Kiss My Acid Jazz (Faffco Records FAFFCD-02), here or here; check back in a week or so for their third and final album. (Have a rip of the first? Please let me know, I'm looking for one.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Coloured Stone - Black Rock from the Red Centre

Black Rock from the Red Centre from 1987 is the first US release by Australian Aborigine rock band Coloured Stone; the twelve songs are taken from the band's first two Australian albums from 1984 and 1985. The album profile from Rounder Records reads:

With the emergence of two groups, Coloured Stone and the Warumpi Band, Aboriginal rock 'n' roll is becoming a significantand exciting genre in Australian popular music, with two albums to their credit in their homeland (from both of which Black Stone From The Red Centre is drawn), Coloured Stone saw its first release sponsored by the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association's own record label, lmpaarja. Recorded in one night, their debut LP contained "Black Boy" and "Kapi Pulka," which became #l hits, via Radio Australia, in the Pacific Islands Region.

Composed of two sets of brothers, the Lawries and the Coabys, with Buna Lawrie as songwriter, lead singer and drummer, Coloured Stone's songs and their sounds are naive, which is not to say simplistic, and they're straightforward and disarmingly honest. On this record you have straightahead rock songs devoid of the usual aggression and hostility and you have unique mixtures of all the different shades of modern pop from country to R&B to rock and reggae mixed up in totally new ways.

Finding original rock in the Australian bush is like finding a punk band in Dubbo —- it happens, but don't count on it. The uniqueness of this new breed of desert musician is that they play fast, loud and often raucous music in a landscape otherwise dominated bythe perennial C&W tunes and easy listening folk, not so much in the fact they are black. The melodies are there, the beat is there and the performances are uniformly strong. . . Coloured Stone is not some kind of folk or ethnic band; they make rock & roll with all the wit and taste that one can expect or hope for, from the personal to the political without heavyhandednesss or didacticism. Years of discrimination and determination, and long days and nights on the bush tracks have honed Coloured Stone and Lawrie's songs to afine edge.

Recommended Cuts:
"Island of Greed"
"Breaking Hearts"
"Dancing In The Moonlight"
"Take Me Back To The Dreamtime"

The full track list is:
01 Island of Greed
02 Breaking Hearts
03 Sacred Ground
04 Michael William Lawrie
05 Kapi Pulka
06 She's the Girl with the Broken Heart
07 Dancing in the Moonlight
08 Take Me Back to the Dreamtime
09 Magic Girl
10 When I'm Gonna Learn
11 I Wish I Was Living In Your Dreams
12 Black Boy

Get the vinyl rip here or here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Monkeyspank - Demons Flew Out Of My Mouth

Here is an artifact from the Baltimore music scene in 1990: Monkeyspank's first album, the 7-song Demons Flew Out Of My Mouth on Merkin Records. The entry on Monkeyspank reads:
Monkeyspank was a Baltimore hard rock/funk band active in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Monkeyspank featured an unusual lineup of three drummers/percussionists, two bass players, and a guitarist.Monkeyspank’s sound owes equal debts to guitar-driven heavy rock and polyrythmic funk, in some degree similar to the Red Hot Chili Peppers (albeit with a much darker edge) and local Baltimore contemporaries The All Mighty Senators. They released two albums, the vinyl-only Demons Flew Out of My Mouth and Blue Mud.
The band lineup was: Bill Corsello, Allison Futeral, Dave Kahle, Kevin Keelty, Kendall King and Brian Rice. The track listing of Demons is:
1 Snakejuice
2 1000 Dead Jim Backuses
3 Akio's Dad
4 I Am Sam
5 Dr. Omar
6 Hero
7 I Shake My Stick
Get the vinyl rip of Demons here or here; see the Monkeyspank MySpace page here; get some "where are they now" information here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jon Butcher Axis - Stare At The Sun

The All Music Guide entry for Jon Butcher reads:

Jimi Hendrix disciple Jon Butcher achieved some moderate chart success in the mid-'80s as the singer/guitarist for the Jon Butcher Axis. Coming out of the Boston club scene in the early '80s, the Butcher Axis (which also included members Chris Mann [Chris Martin, actually] on bass and Derek Blevins on drums), issued such albums as 1983's self-titled debut, 1984's Stare at the Sun, and 1985's Along the Axis (Butcher dropped the Axis for such releases as 1986's Wishes and 1989's Pictures From the Front), opened for local Boston heroes the J. Geils Band in addition to other harder-edged bands, and issued a few singles that enjoyed some success on radio and MTV -- "Wishes," "Goodbye Saving Grace," and "Life Takes a Life." Butcher continued issuing solo albums in the '90s -- Positively the Blues (1995) and Electric Factory (1996) -- while a hits compilation (1998's The Best Of: Dreamers Would Ride) and an archival concert (1999's King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents) were also issued. In addition to his musical career, Butcher founded the Electric Factory Recording Studio, which focuses primarily on film, TV, and multimedia work. (Greg Prato)

According to Wikipedia, "Jimi Hendrix disciple" is a bit of an overstatement:
"If you grew up in the era of Jimi Hendrix as I did it would be nearly impossible NOT to be influenced by his brilliance and amazing facility as a guitar player. To be sure, my early impressions of the Jimi Hendrix Experience were completely life altering, but so too were my impressions of Albert King. Jeff Beck was and remains a constant source of inspiration, and working with Jeff on the MTV/ VH-1 video Ambitious remains an all time high." Jon also lists among his influences Richie Havens, John Lennon Bob Dylan and Keith Richards. While Butcher is humbled by the Hendrix comparisons he emphasizes that they may be superficial. " Being black and playing a Stratocaster might lead one to assume Jimi was my sole influence but that wouldn't be true. Like most musicians, in fact like most people we're a complex mix of a lot of things."
The 1984 album Stare At The Sun contains nine original compositions and a cover of Bill Nelson's "Eros Arriving" from his groundbreaking album The Love That Whirls. Get the vinyl rip here or here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

John Fred and his Playboy Band - Love My Soul

John Fred and his Playboy Band had their biggest hit in 1968 with "Judy In Disguise (with Glasses)", which satirized both the Beatles and the huge sunglasses that were a fad at the time. (Everything old is new again!) John Fred Gourrier was from Louisiana and his band excelled at Southern R&B grooves, but this style never translated into a national hit for them. It was only when they went for a pop gloss that their songs broke through. After three albums on Paula Records, the label dropped them and they disbanded. Fred got a new band together and signed to MCA/Uni, releasing a few more singles and one album, Love My Soul (1970). The new band did not include Fred's former saxophonist and songwriting partner Andrew Bernard; he wrote most of the songs on the album with his manager, Lynn Ourso. There is a distinct Beatles influence throughout the album, evident from the first track, "The Big Show", which not only sounds like "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", it also references it in the lyrics, along with "Judy In Disguise" (but which was written by outside songwriters). Side one closes with a Memphis-style cover of "Back in the U.S.S.R.", previously released as a single. In the middle of side two, the title track sounds like Fred's "Let It Be": a downtempo ballad that builds to an anthem, at which point the horns play the "Judy In Disguise" riff (co-written with Bernard). Sprinkled through the record are three more obvious singles: "Three Deep in a Feeling" (previously released). "Candy's Candy Kisses" (a dead ringer for Tommy James), and "Sadie Trout" (the album's other Bernard co-writing credit). Robert Christgau evaluates the album thusly:

With his sharp, nasal drawl, Fred was born to pop, and though he's lost collaborator Andrew Bernard, he's keeping Shreveport's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Fan Club going all by himself. Would anyone but a genuine eccentric rewrite "Sweet Soul Music" as a tribute to Johnny Winter, Pete Townshend, and Nilsson? "Agnes in Disguise (With Blanket)": "Sadie Trout." B-

The full track list is:

01 The Big Show
02 He Was My Friend
03 Where Will You Be
04 Three Deep in a Feeling
05 Sweet Soul Music-Can't Be So Bad
06 Back in the U.S.S.R.
07 Where's Everybody Going
08 Open Doors
09 Candy's Candy Kisses
10 Love My Soul
11 Leo Our Hero
12 Sadie Trout

Get the vinyl rip here or here. It's not from pristine vinyl so be prepared for some clicks and pops; if you like it you should be able to find a sealed copy for $40 or so.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Gary O'

Canadian singer/guitarist Gary O'Connor had been in the bands Cat, Liverpool (a Beatles tribute band), and Aerial before going solo as Gary O', releasing his first solo album on Capitol Records in 1981. Anyone who listened to AOR radio in the early 80s will be familiar with "All the Young Heroes", as perfect an example of that genre as was ever made. About the Gary O' album, Wikipedia says:
The first single "I Believe in You" became a smash hit in Canada, and the follow-up, a remake of The Hollies' song "Pay You Back With Interest" even reached the Billboard Hot 100 Charts, where it peaked at #70.
I never heard either of those songs on US radio; it was "All the Young Heroes" that was a hit with fans of what is now known as "melodic hard rock." The full track list is:

01 All The Young Heroes
02 Pay You Back With Interest
03 California Goodbye
04 I Believe In You
05 Suzanne
06 The Way You Look Tonight
07 Just A Little Love
08 Nightrider
09 Been A Long Time

And the musicians are:
  • Gary O': vocals, guitars
  • David Landau: guitars
  • George Doering: guitars
  • Peter Wolf: keyboards, synthesizers
  • Jai Winding: keyboards
  • Richard Landis: keyboards
  • Bryan Garofolo: bass
  • Craig Krampf: drums
  • Jim Haas, Stan Farber, Jon Joyce: backing vocals
  • Charlie Calello: string arrangements, conducting

"The Way You Look Tonight" could have been a single as well, though it's awfully close to the Raspberries' "Go All the Way." Gary O' released his second and last album, Strange Behaviour, in 1984; since then he has worked as a songwriter. Get the vinyl rip of Gary O' here or here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

House of Schock

Of the three members of the Go-Gos to release solo albums, drummer Gina Schock was the last, her House of Shock album appearing in 1988. Although it's technically not a solo album, as "House of Schock" is the name of the partnership between Schock (drums, vocals) and Vance De Generes (bass, backing vocals, brother of Ellen). Then backing up House of Schock is "The House Band" of Chrissy Shefts (all guitars, backing vocals), Steven Fisher (drums--I guess Gina didn't play all the drums), and Jim Biggs (keyboards, backing vocals). The album leads off with the sublime single "Middle of Nowhere"; I was going to post the video here, but it seems to have disappeared from the web. Nothing else on the album rises to the same level, but Schock makes it clear that she is by far the rockingest of the Go-Gos. The full track list is:
01 Middle Of Nowhere
02 Just To Dream
03 Walk In My Sleep
04 Love In Return
05 Where Love Goes
06 Never Be Enough
07 This Time
08 Seems Like Forever
09 The World Goes Round
10 Walk Away

The CD format of this album must have had a very small run, as it's now a collector's item fetching upwards of $50. If you would like a vinyl rip @192kps to listen to while you save up for a CD, get it here or here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jeff Sturges and Universe

And now for something completely different! I have ripped and posted just about all of my postpunk rarities (i.e. out of print and not already served up on another blog), so for the time being I'm going to take a side journey into other odds and ends that fall outside of the stylistic tone of this blog to date. The first such oddity is the 1971 album by Jeff Sturges and Universe, a hard-rock big band recorded live at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Sturges is the arranger and conductor; the mammoth band he assembled comprised:
  • Trumpets: Bobby Shew (lead), Tommy Porrello, Jon Murakami, Rich Cooper, Derek Watkins
  • Trombones: Jim Trimble (lead), Bill Booth, Dan Trinter, Stan Nishamura (bass trombone)
  • Saxes: Archie Wheeler, Burt Esterman, Don Menza, John Phillips, Gary Freyman
  • French Horns: Art Maebe, Dick Perissi, Aubrey Bouck, Ralph Pollock
  • Lead Guitar: Dean Parks
  • Bass: Dennis Kelly, Don Baldwin
  • Organ, Electric Piano: Hal Stesch
  • Percussion: Roger Rampton
  • Congas, Bongos: Mike Lewis
  • Drums: Jimmy Manone

That's eighteen horns, mostly playing full blast; this record is anything but subtle. Apart from one Sturges original, all the tracks are covers, the most recognizable today being Mountain's "Mississippi Queen"; "bombastic" hardly begins to describe it. The full track list is:

  1. Junior Saw It Happen (Jim Pulte via the Steve Miller Band)
  2. Sin's a Good Man's Brother (Grand Funk Railroad)
  3. Never In My Life (Mountain)
  4. Clown (The Flock)
  5. Rice Pudding (Jeff Beck)
  6. Mississippi Queen (Mountain)
  7. Acid West (Sturges)
  8. Keep On Burnin' (credited to Ryan/Devers, Berwill Publishing... ???)

I can't find any information on whatever happened to Jeff Sturges after this, but if you like to rock out with horns turned up to eleven, he left a nice artifact for you to enjoy. My vinyl copy is in pretty sad shape, and while I did run a click removal on the whole recording, there is still noticeable surface noise. But for now it's the best (i.e. only) rip available, and hey, surface noise adds character! If someone puts up a better one, I will gladly redirect to that one. For now, get the vinyl rip here or here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Jesse Rae - three 12-inch singles

Look! There's Jesse Rae before he had his steel helmet and five-foot Claymore (sword)! 1985 was the year of Jesse Rae's career-defining single, "Over the Sea", the extravagant video for which established the helmeted, kilted, sword-wielding image he maintains to this day. But he must not have had the helmet and sword yet in 1982, as that is the year of the record pictured above, the Columbia release of the double-A-side 12" single of "Rusha" b/w "Desire" (the first of the 12-inch three-pack offered here). This is a different version of "Rusha" than the one on The Thistle; it's about a minute and a half longer, and is an earlier recording, though both of them feature Bernie Worrell on keyboards. "Desire" was a single for Rae in 1979 on Bold Records; I have never seen or heard that record, so I don't know if this is the same recording or not. It is a bizarre electro piece with funny sampled voices providing much of the rhythm track and goofy lyrics; its seven-minute length may be excessive, but once you hear it you will never forget it.

Next up is the 12-inch single of "Over the Sea", again signficantly different than the album version. In addition to the hotter mix (which my PC recording setup can just barely handle, sorry for the distortion on the sibilants), there is a more active rhythm synth, no instrumental indtroduction, and an additional 30 seconds of music. The real gem on this record is the first track on the B side, "Party Crackers", a wicked eight-minute funk jam. Closing the B side is an instrumental verion of "Over the Sea", with an extended Bernie Worrell synth intro in his distinctive freaky style.

Rounding out the 3-pack is the 12-inch single of "Hou-di-ni" b/w "Idio-syn-crazy", both of which appear on The Thistle in more or less the same versions (though "Idio-syn-crazy" is decoupled here from the album's "Scotland the Brave" instrumental intro). I've packaged all three 12-inch vinyl rips in separate folders in a single archive file; get it here or here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jesse Rae - The Thistle

Here is the only album by funky Scotsman Jesse Rae (not to be confused with Oregon "roots pop with a blues edge" band Jessie Rae; why they would choose a name that is so close to an established musician's is a mystery to me). Wikipedia says:
Jesse Rae is a Scottish singer from St Boswells,[1] who is particularly remembered for his single "Over the Sea", which reached number 65 in the UK Singles Chart in 1985.[2][3] The video for the single – which features a kilted, helmeted, claymore-brandishing Rae in both New York City and the Scottish Highlands – won a Vira award.[4] An album entitled The Thistle was released in 1987 on WEA but failed to chart. As a songwriter, he is also remembered for the 1982 Odyssey hit single, "Inside Out".[5][6] In 2007, he stood for the Scottish Parliament as an independent in the Scottish Borders electoral constituency of Roxburgh and Berwickshire.[7] He
gained 318 votes for a 1.2% share of the vote.[8]

The opening track is Rae's own recording of his hit for Odyssey, "Inside Out". What the article doesn't mention is the funk pedigree of The Thistle: it was produced by Zapp leader Roger Troutman, who also plays on most of the songs, and his brother Lester plays drums or percussion on about half of the tracks. As if that weren't enough, Funkateer Bernie Worrell plays on five tracks, and P-Funk guitarist Michael Hampton puts in a couple of appearances as well. That said, the album is definitely a product of the 80s, and while it's among the best of 80s pop-funk, it's not exactly timeless. But it's got plenty of good licks, and the thickest Scottish brogue you will ever hear on a funk record. Get the vinyl rip here or here, and check out the videos below. Oh, and about the outfit: Rae "rarely appears in public without his steel helmet and full Scottish garb."

Monday, June 8, 2009

Various Artists - Rock'n'Horreur

Here is another album courtesy of Stephan James/Stephen J. Munson of Living In Texas: Rock'n'Horreur, a French compilation of psychobilly bands from 1989 (or 1990, details are sketchy). Most of the bands are French as well, with the exceptions of Batmobile (Dutch) and Hi Grip (Swiss). Living In Texas, represented here by their best song, "The Girl in the Red Leather Coat," were actually English but had laregly relocated to France by this time. While the eleven bands here take different approaches to rockabilly, injecting varying degrees of camp horror, the influence of the Cramps is always felt. The track listing is:

Rock Side:

  • 01 Crabs - Mort Au Volant
  • 02 Batmobile - Amazones from Outer Space
  • 03 Washington Dead Cats - Babe You're a Nightmare
  • 04 Dead Ox Gulch - Vendredi 13 Pour Beurki Crado
  • 05 Rocco and the Rays - Ballad of John Lee Hopper

Horreur Side:

  • 06 Burial Party - Flat Twin Woman
  • 07 Living In Texas - The Girl in the Red Leather Coat
  • 08 Happy Drivers - Nervous Man
  • 09 Wampas - Seul
  • 10 Los Mescaleros - Witches Revenge
  • 11 Hi Grip - Kleopatra
The name of the record company is not even listed anywhere, unless it is AR; the catalog number is AR 002. The collection was compiled by Mat Firehair of the Washington Dead Cats. I have included a large photo of the back cover in case you want to try to read the liner notes (in French and English). The blue type on amber background is hard to read on the jacket itself; it is even harder to read in the pic, but it is still barely legible. And now that I take the time to read it, it's not at all informative, just a few sentences that link the song titles together into a "story". Oh well, delete it if you like, I won't be offended. Get the vinyl rip here or here.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Various Artists - Live at the 101: Club Sandwich

Here is Club Sandwich from 1981, the third and final (for now, at least) vinyl rip from 101 Records' series of budget-priced live compilations. All the songs were recorded at the 101 Club in St. John's Hill, Clapham. The previous two LPs posted here each had two or three bands that went on to greater fame. On Club Sandwich, though, only one band broke through: The Fix added another X to their name to become chart-toppers The Fixx. The song included here, "The Strain", appears on some versions of their Shuttered Room album. The full Club Sandwich track list is as follows:

01 Repro Central - Ring-a-ding
02 The Fix - The Strain
03 Rock Salmon and the Pomme Fritts - Fast Cars
04 Victims of Pleasure - Slaves To Fashion
05 Nautyculture - Someday Sunday
06 Rainbow Remipeds - Tropical Milk
07 Rank Amateurs - Games Up
08 The Edukators - Electric
09 Daddy Yum Yum - Mind Over Matter
10 The Mistakes - Jukebox
11 Malchix - Demons of Light and Sound
12 Repro Central - God Don't Bleed

After The Fixx, the Rainbow Remipeds produced the largest catalog of the rest of the bands here, though mostly as simply The Remipeds. They had a horn section and played the melange of rock, funk, jazz, dub, and Latin music commonly known as "postpunk" and most often associated with Pigbag. The Remipeds don't quite have Pigbag's wit and energy, and their calypso accents in "Tropical Milk" are in questionable taste, but if you like the genre then you shouldn't miss them. They reissued their only album, The Tahiti Syndrome, in 2005 with bonus tracks. Check the album webpage for samples of all songs, and be sure to check out the opener, their signature tune "Hawaii Five-O." The Remipeds MySpace page has loads of videos which could keep you busy for half an hour or so. Rock Salmon and the Pommes Fritts and Daddy Yum Yum both contribute decent rockabilly tracks (the later featuring an accordion). I can't find any information on Rock Salmon, but Daddy Yum Yum left a bit more of a trail. A Brighton band, percussionist Willi Kerr describes their music as "thrash skiffle." Kerr and Dave Simner are now members of the "Old Time, Hillbilly and Hellfire Gospel" band The Curst Sons. Repro Central got two tracks on the album, though they are not noticeably better than the other nine bands. Rank Amateurs sound more than a bit like the Police, and the rest of the bands play competent new wave that is good for a listen but not particularly memorable. If nothing else, Club Sandwich is a fantastic time capsule, a snapshot of the bread-and-butter of new wave as opposed to the most popular stuff that is remembered today. Get the vinyl rip here or here.

(I thought for a long time that was Jim Skafish on the cover, but according to the fine print on the back it's Rick Mann.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Various Artists - Live at the 101: Band'its at 10 O'Clock

Here is another album from 101 Records via Polydor, documenting live performances at Clapham Junction's 101 Club. Also from 1980, the track listing on this one is:

01 The Scene - All People Go Mad
02 The Hit Men - She's All Mine
03 The V.I.P.'s - Causing Complications
04 The Piranhas - Yap Yap Yap
05 Real To Real - White Man Reggae
06 Holly and the Italians - Chapel of Love
07 Electric Eels - Thoroughly Modern
08 Jane Kennaway & Strange Behaviour - Catch Cool
09 Thompson Twins - Squares and Triangles
10 Huang Chung - Baby I'm Hu-Man
11 Comsat Angels - Independence Day
12 Wasted Youth - Jealousy
I have determined that The Scene is an early name for the band Giants, who released "All People Go Mad" as a single in 1982. Giants featured guitaris/songwriter Gordon Reaney and singer Paul Cox. The Hit Men soon consolidated their name to The Hitmen, the first band on Ben Watkins' road to fame. The Hitmen's two albums are also available on this blog (with "She's All Mine" appearing on the first); see here. The V.I.P.'s formed at Warwick University in 1978; lead singer Jed Dmochowski left in 1980 to pursue a solo career, the rest of the band forming Mood Six. See below for a vintage video of "Causing Complications." The Piranhas went on to some success, with their song "Tom Hark" becoming an enduring football anthem (I am told). Real To Real included a pre-Depeche Mode Alan Wilder. Holly Beth Vincent/Holly and the Italians had a couple alternative hits with "Tell That Girl To Shut Up" and "Dangerously." I can't find any information on the Electric Eels (they are definitely not the 70s punk band from Ohio); the "Thoroughly Modern" songwriting credits are for Methane Wernick and Mad Molecule, which I am pretty sure are aliases. They are obviously big fans of Eno-era Roxy Music, and their musical chops are far above most of the other bands included here. Jane Kennaway put out a couple singles and has a band now called A Different Kind of Honey. The Thompson Twins really date-stamp this record with a live version of their single "Squares and Triangles" and its repeated chorus of "one-nine-eight-o," bearing little resemblance to their later hit material. Wang Chung appear as Huang Chung; Sheffield's Comsat Angels put in a version of "Independence Day," a song they later recorded for two different studio albums; and Wasted Youth's "Jealousy" sounds like a twisted remake of "Crimson and Clover." Get the vinyl rip here or here.

I've got one more Live at the 101 comp to rip and share, then it's on to other things.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Various Artists - Live at the 101: Warts'n'All

Here is one of a series of live albums released in the early 80s by the house label (via Polydor) of the 101 Club in St. John's Hill, Clapham. Each of the albums contained tracks by several up-and-coming bands recorded live at the club and was released at a budget price in a rough cardstock sleeve with tabloid-style graphics. From 1980, this compilation includes:

01 Album Intro
02 Thompson Twins - Physics & Chemistry
03 Thompson Twins - Slave Trade
04 Jane Kennaway & Strange Behaviour - Atmospheres of England
05 Philip Gayle - Hermaphrodite
06 Deaf Aids - Heroes
07 Local Heroes SW9 - Competition
08 Local Heroes SW9 - Stabbed in the Heart Again
09 Deaf Aids - Bristol Stomp
10 Jane Kennaway & Strange Behaviour - Scratching at the Surface
11 Philip Gayle - The Ambassadors
12 The Mechanics - If I Make My Own Bed
13 The Mechanics - Higher & Higher

Unless you have heard these early Thompson Twins tracks before, chances are you won't recognize them as the same band who performed "Doctor, Doctor", "Love On Your Side", or even "In the Name of Love"; they sound like a punk-influenced new wave band! David Bowie-ish singer Philip Gayle later achieved some chart success as Philip Jap with his Trevor Horn-produced single "Save Us" (and the Tony Mansfield-produced "Total Erasure"); his lone solo album is quite good and is available on the Off the Record blog. The third and final act on this record to have managed to put out an album is Local Heroes SW9, whose members included Kevin Armstrong (later of the Passions) and sometime Thompson Twin Matthew Seligman. Jane Kennaway put out a couple singles and appears to have a band now called A Different Kind of Honey; Deaf Aids also released just two singles; and I can find no mention of the Mechanics other than on this album. They are more bluesy than the rest of the bands, but work up a nice groove on the original "If I Make My Own Bed" and then encourage an audience singalong in the cover of "Higher and Higher." The only information I have on the band members is that the songwriting credit is for Terry Quinn.

About the rip: the pressing is not great: there is noticeable surface noise and an above-average amount of clicks and pops. I removed as many as I could, but some remain. Also, the sound quality on side 2 suffers from the 29-minute playing time; levels (and general sound quality) are lower than on side 1. I have normalized the levels, but the quality is what it is. It's no worse than FM radio, at least. New links: Get the vinyl rip here or here. More Live at the 101 albums to come.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Living In Texas - Believe

I'm back! This time I bring you the final album by Living In Texas, Believe, released in 1991. It's a far cry from their great recordings of the mid-80s, mostly due to guitarist Daniel Glee's absence. Believe really emphasizes how much Glee contributed to the band's sound: his unique fusion of gothic, punk, and rockabilly styles made Living In Texas stand out. While Glee gets a couple co-songwriter credits, he apparently left the band before the recording sessions. Guitars on Believe are handled by former second guitarist Jeff Wallace and newcomer Claudia Pinto, plus various solos and extra guitar parts by Marc Sullivan, Steve Forward, and Laurent Roubach. A lot of the guitar work is disappointingly generic, in the manner of middle-of-the-road radio fodder. Only Stephan James's lyrics and singing provide continuity with the band's past, but even he has indicated that his involvement at the time was half-hearted. Judging by the number of people involved (in addition to the five band members and three extra guitarists, there are five more musicians credited for keyboards, percussion, and backing vocals) it sounds like the recording process was rather scattershot. The ten songs are good; the execution is hit-or-miss. But even if it is not the band's best work, it is still better than a lot of more popular music. Get the rip (from the Cent Pour Cent vinyl release) here or here.

This concludes my Living In Texas discography project, in the sense that I have ripped and uploaded everything I could find, including generous contributions from Stephan James and some helpful readers. If I unearth any more I will add those as well; likewise, if you have anything I've missed, please contact me (through the comments or at funderglass at yahoo dot com) if you would like to contribute some rips to the cause.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Living In Texas - Beautiful/Television 45

I haven't had any time for ripping lately, so this installment features another reader contribution. Marco provides us with the Living In Texas single "Beautiful" b/w "Television," which was released in 1985 on the French label Comotion Musique and did not appear on any of their albums. Once again this is the band in their prime, featuring the two-guitar lineup of Daniel Glee and Jeff Wallace. Marco has lovingly ripped the 45 at 320kbps and scanned both sides of the sleeve and both sides of the label as well! Get the archive file here or here. Thanks, Marco!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Onyx - Call of the Wild and Jet Set singles

Last July I posted a rip of a 1982 cassette by Onyx, an obscure Boston-area New Wave band. Their two 45s had long eluded me, but last week a generous reader provided me rips of them. (Thanks, Martin!) They are:
  • Call of the Wild b/w S.O.S.
  • Jet Set b/w Saturn 09

"S.O.S." and "Jet Set" appear on the cassette as well, but these vinyl rips obviously have better sound quality. "Call of the Wild" and "Saturn 09" round out the Onyx canon with more of the same sweet blend of minimal electronics and heavy basslines. Martin has also provided nice scans of the sleeves. The back cover of "Jet Set" contains the most information about the band I have yet seen: production and copyright credits are for Judd Stone and vocals are by "Beveur." The songs were recorded and mixed the The Loft in Boston and engineered by M.J. Klein. Web searches have turned up no more information on these people; does anyone out there know of them and their pre- and post-Onyx endeavors?

Get the vinyl rips here or here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Living In Texas - An Assortment

Here are some more Living In Texas tracks from a CD-R compilation sent to me by frontman Stephan James (now known as Stephen J. Munson of Spacegirl and the Cowboy). The eight songs in this batch come from three records:
My End of Heaven (1983)
  • My End of Heaven
  • Awaken

God Bless America (1984)

  • God Bless America Part 1
  • God Bless America Part 2
  • The Day of All Days

The End of the Beginning (83-89 compilation?)

  • Mexican Nun
  • I'll Always Remember You
  • She Lives Inside My Head

If you were a fan of Living In Texas, or if you have come to know them through this blog, you know what to expect and these tracks will not disappoint! I am tantalized by the possibility that the 2-CD The End of the Beginning collection may hold tracks yet unheard (and unshared); anyone have that? There is still more Living In Texas in the queue; the next to appear will be the 1991 album Believe. In the meantime, grab this set here or here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Promenaders

The Promenaders were a pseudonymous project of musical anarchists (or eclecticists, depending on your point of view) Lol Coxhill and Steve Beresford, among others, and in some respects can be seen as a precursor to their long-running Melody Four group with Tony Coe. A note on the back cover sets the scene:
Pot-pourris of old and new favourites ... unique renditions of established melodies ... some insights into their own personal contributions to contemporary music. That's what you can expect from the Promenaders' first long player. It's been skilfully recorded to capture all the flavour of a Brighton performance ... music, announcements, sun, sea, holiday makers, ATMOSPHERE.
Yes, it's postpunk busking circa 1981, with irreverent versions of a whole slew of songs done medley-style, arranged to fit the (self-imposed) limitations of the Promenaders' instrumentation:
Recorded live by Dirk Pitt on Brighton Beach, with Free Bonus Track (the last track) from their performance in an "Exclusive Brighton Discotheque." And now for the incredibly long song list:
  1. Nellie The Elephant
  2. Louie Louie / The Promenader's Shuffle / Whistle While You Work / Calling All Workers / The Dambusters March / Do Re Mi / Eine Kleine Nachtmusik / American Patrol / South Of The Border / Let's Twist Again
  3. My Grandfather's Clock / Al Capone / Ghosts / The James Bond Theme / Holy Family / Walkin' The Dog / Prommin' The Bass / Oklahoma / Parade Of The Penguins / I Could Have Danced All Night
  4. Chicago
  5. Moon River
  6. Rock Around The Clock / Tin Roof Blues / Philly Dog / Promenaders Jazz It Up / Saturday Jump
  7. Stranger On The Shore / Rondeaux Makes It Up
  8. Happy Talk / The Hokey Cokey / Knees Up, Mother Brown
  9. "A", You're Adorable / There's A Long, Long Road A-Winding / Do Re Mi / My Favourite Things / You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To / Chim Chim Cheree
  10. (Won't You Play A) Simple Melody / Tibetan Promenade / Nellie The Elephant

The last track, which is introduced as "Won't You Play A Simple Tibetan Melody," may be the funniest song you hear all week. This is the Promenaders' only album, released by Y Records in 1982; get the vinyl rip here (new link) or here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Living In Texas - Kingdom EP

From a fan's perspective, one of the worse practices that the major labels refined in the 80s was a long wait between albums, the limitation of bands' releases to a mere trickle to be dispensed every few years. In the 60s it was not uncommon for bands to release two or more albums per year, then the 70s ushered in the one-album-per-year schedule. But in the 80s the labels found they could keep working an album for years, gradually releasing songs as singles to prop up sales of the album. (I blame Michael Jackson's Thriller for this practice.) The flip side was that independent labels found another way to compete with the majors: in addition to releasing fresher, more adventurous music, they could release it at a faster pace, without necessarily waiting for an entire album's worth of material. A band could produce a steady stream of singles and EPs (4-6 songs) to keep put music in front of the public several times a year. (And with the impending demise of the CD we may see that model come back.) That was a double-edged sword for fans: more music from favorite bands is a good thing, but the vagaries of independent distribution also made it easy to miss something. Thus it is that twenty-odd years after the fact I am still finding music by Living In Texas that I missed when it was new. One of those records is the Kingdom EP, released by the band on their own Chainsaw label in 1984, consisting of four songs:
  1. Department Store Graveyard
  2. Kingdom 2
  3. Lollipop Sperm
  4. Godemocrafasc

"Department Store Graveyard" is an odd gothic dirge; "Kingdom 2," previously presented here in a live version (as "Kingdom III"), benefits from a studio recording. The long jam is similar in structure and rhythm to the great early Modern English B-side "The Perfect View" but with more energy. The two songs on the flip side bring in the "jungle" drums for the band's trademark "voodoo gothic rock" sound. Kingdom is another top-notch release from an overlooked band; get the rip here or here, and check back for more archival material from Living In Texas.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Vigil - FLAC

This entry is a repeat of one of last month's posts, but with a key difference. The original post linked to a standard 192kbps mp3 rip from vinyl. An alert reader turned up a copy of the CD release, however, and a quick order made it mine. So I am breaking with my normal policy to present a FLAC rip of this special CD, one of the first rock CDs to be digitally recorded, mixed, and mastered. The archive is spread over three files (join with HJSplit or 7Zip):

RS: File 1
BD: File 1
DF: File 1
HF: File 1

This rip eliminates the distorted sibilants in my vinyl rip, and of course the surface noise; it is pristine. (CD ripped to FLAC with Exact Audio Copy.)

For those who missed the band info the first time around, here it is again:

Continuing our brief musical tour of Baltimore in the 1980s, here is the sole major-label release of Vigil, previously known as Here Today. Here is the capsule history of the band from the Vigil MySpace page:
Vigil was a modern rock band that recorded and performed in the mid to late 1980's. Once upon a time in the "Land of Pleasant Living" aka Baltimore there was a group of musicians known as Here Today: Jo Connor, Andy R, X Factor and Gregg Maizel. They recorded a classic song called "Whistle in the Yard" and soon signed to CBS records, changed their name to Vigil and were promptly dropped. Vigil was quickly signed by Chrysalis Records and recorded their debut lp in glorious digital. It was released in 1987 and sold enough copies to allow them to record another lp but only one track, "Therapist", was released by Chrysalis, appearing on the Nightmare on Elm Street 4 soundtrack. Eventually the second album was released on cassette only as Onto Beggar and Bitter Things.
Vigil was influenced by UK bands, particularly those of the Gothic persuasion, and as a result their expansive, dreamy sound was quite different from most of the other Maryland bands of the era. "I Am Waiting" was released as a 12-inch single, but it was the wah-wah-guitar-fuelled B-side, "I Love You Equinox", that garnered all the airplay on WHFS:

I have never found a copy of the self-released, cassette-only second album, but I presume that the first three songs on Vigil's MySpace player come from it, since they are not on the first album. The full track list of the first album is:
  1. Until the Seasons
  2. I Am Waiting
  3. White Magic Spell
  4. Gargoyles
  5. I Love You Equinox
  6. Whistle in the Yard
  7. The Celiba Sea
  8. The Garden
  9. Born Again
  10. The Benefit of the Doubt

Vigil singer Jo Connor now fronts the Jo Connor Band, which "performs classic Vigil songs along with new faves."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Nort - G.O.D.A.M.B.

Sheffield's mighty "industrial funk" movement of the 80s fizzled out by the end of that decade. Cabaret Voltaire went house and then split up; Eric Random went AWOL; Chakk and Workforce disintegrated; and the band that best embodied the whole genre, Hula, disbanded despite securing a US record deal with Wax Trax. Hula's catalog has thankfully been reissued in digital form in recent years, but here is a related item that has not. Nort was Hula's drummer, and he put out a solo album in 1988 on Ediesta Records, Games Of Dance And Muscle Blood, usually listed in acronym form as G.O.D.A.M.B. Nort provides drums, percussion, voice, tapes, samples, bass guitar, treatments, sequencers, and keyboards, and is supported by a rather large cast of musicians:
  • Justin Bennett - drums, percussion, violin, samples, treatments, keyboards
  • D. I. Anii - drums
  • D'Silva - saxophone, keyboards
  • Sara - Voices
  • Alan Fisch - samples, treatments
  • Barry Harden - bass guitar
  • Dave Heppinstall - keyboards, voice, treatments, percussion
  • Sarah Morrell - trumpet
  • Alan Russell - guitar
  • Phaedre Selmes - voices
  • Phil Wolstenholme - kazoo

It's not quite a Great Lost Hula Album, but about half of it could be: the opener "It's A Dream" could almost fit on Voice, the short "Luther's Scream" sounds like Murmur-era Hula, and there are a couple ambient tracks that would sound at home on Hula's improvised Shadowland LP. Three other rhythm-oriented tracks are in the distinctive Sheffield funk vein but are more akin to Workforce's uptempo "Back in the Good Books." Which leaves a few tracks of odds and ends somewhere between ambient and rhythmic. G.O.D.A.M.B. is thus an essential record for, well, anyone who follows this blog! Get the vinyl rip here or here.

Nort has been active in two bands of late, Yonni and The Cherokees. He has also published an autobiography, A Kill Ease, through

The cover of G.O.D.A.M.B., while it has some interesting elements, is a bit of a mess. It was designed by Metroviral Visuals, which was Anthony Bennett, now a respected sculptor (and MBE awardee) whose bronze tribute to Beatrix Potter now stands in Bowness-on-Mere.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Living In Texas - The History of Rock & Roll

I'm back with another Living In Texas record, once again provided by the band's singer Stephan James. The elusive The History of Rock & Roll EP, released in 1986 by the Italian label Supporti Fonografici, is Living In Texas in their absolute prime, every bit as lively and raw as Glad Bad Sad and Mad. It opens with an Adam and the Ants cover (!), "Lady", and while the Ants really rocked on their original, LIT rock even more. "Lady" is followed by "A Taste of Mary," a bit of psychobilly with voodoo drums and spooky backing vocals; and that's it for side one. Side two consists of the rocker "Apple Red Convertible," an Italian-language version* of "A Taste of Mary," and "No:" which is... a rap! With main vocals by drummer Mathew Frazer! Rap songs by rock bands are usually cringeworthy, but "No:" is surprisingly good. And that's it, just five tracks. Producer Martin Young (of Colour Box) adds keyboards, and the manic cover art is by guitarist Daniel Glee, as usual. Get the vinyl rip here or here.

* "At least we tried to sing in Italian. At least we tried!", it says in the liner notes.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Peter Hope - Kitchenette, Leather Hands, Surgeons 12-inches

I have had little time for ripping lately, but I do have an exciting external contribution to present: three 12-inch singles by Sheffield wild man Peter Hope from the heady 80s. Many thanks to reader Alex for passing the rips along! They are:

Peter Hope & the Jonathan S. Podmore Method - Kitchenette (1986)
  1. Kitchenette
  2. Toilet (non-LP track)
  3. The Unknown Industrial Fatality

Peter Hope & Richard H. Kirk - Leather Hands (1985)

  1. Leather Hands (Master Mix) (ten minutes long!)
  2. Leather Hands (Radio Mix)
  3. Leather Hands (Crash Mix)

Peter Hope & Richard H. Kirk - Surgeons/N.O. (1988)

  1. Surgeons (12inch mixxx)
  2. Surgeons (Beats)
  3. Surgeons (Resurgancy)
  4. N.O. (12inch mixxx)
  5. N.O. (Dub Beats)
  6. N.O. (Giant Dub)

Each record is in its own folder, all three folders in one .zip file: get it here or here. Links removed: Kitchenette to be reissued soon!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Living In Texas - Everything Was...

I am delighted to announce that I have some more Living In Texas rips to share, thanks to none other than the band's frontman Stephan James! First up is the compilation album Everything Was... from the French label Made In Heaven, which collects the earlier album Everything Is... and a few other tracks:
  1. Sweet Little A-Bomb Baby
  2. Something Wonderful
  3. Oh Yeah
  4. Everything Is
  5. Kill
  6. Can You Touch the Sun
  7. Superman Is Dead
  8. When I Close My Eyes
  9. Heart
  10. Where Do We Go From Here?
  11. Love That Child

I'm not quite sure where these songs fit in the Living In Texas chronology, but the bulk of it sounds similar to The Fastest Men Alive (1985) in terms of musical style and production, so I'm guessing it comes between 1985 and the 1991 album Believe. The most notable difference between this record and (presumably) earlier material from Living In Texas is the prevalence of piano in the mix; there is even a full-fledged piano ballad, "Superman Is Dead." A larger trend that was happening in the late 80s was "dark" bands becoming poppier (think of The Cure's progression from "A Forest" and "The Hanging Garden" to "The Love Cats" and "Why Can't I Be You"), and that trend is reflected in this music as well on tracks such as "Sweet Little A-Bomb Baby," "Something Wonderful," and "Kill." But true to form, Living In Texas put a little more bite into it than the norm. Another standout in the sound is the chiming acoustic rhythm guitars in "Oh Yeah" and "Everything Is," the latter of which intercuts the band's trademark manic rockabilly with an expansive, arena-worthy chorus. And speaking of arenas, the album closer "Love That Child" is what U2 might have sounded like at the peak of their popularity (early 90s?) if they remembered to rock! In short, these eleven rare Living In Texas tracks rank with the band's finest and make an already-impressive body of work even moreso; get them here or here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cabal / Null Set

By some accounts Baltimore's first and greatest postpunk band, Null Set was the brainchild of singer Bill Dawson (previously seen here with Black Pete) and guitarist Mark Harp. Null Set's highest-profile gig was opening for the Ramones at Johns Hopkins University's Shriver Hall, and they were semi-regulars at the Marble Bar and DC's 9:30 Club in the early 80s. Their Bauhaus fandom shows pretty clearly in their early recordings; "An Evening In Town" is their "Bela Lugosi's Dead". Null Set came to an abrupt end when an identically-named band from another city put out a record; Baltimore's Null Set ended up changing their name to Cabal. In 1984 they released their only record, a self-titled 6-song EP on Buck Awf's ad-hoc Awf-Trak label; on it they started to come out from under the Bauhaus influence and expand their sound, even approaching synth-pop on "New Horizon." Commercial success did not ensue, however, and the band drifted apart. Mark Harp went on to record hundreds of hours of music in a myriad of different projects; he eventually divided them into 24 hour-long thematic sections and posted them on his website (and at the Internet Archive) as 24 Hours with Mark Harp. Mark died in December 2004, but his website is still there. What I am presenting here is the 12:00 AM hour of 24 Hours, containing all the Null Set and Cabal recordings; I have renamed the files and added ID3 tags for better playback display, and put them into a single zip file for easy downloading. The tracks are:

  1. Cabal - Null Theme (Tracks 1-6 are from the Cabal EP)
  2. Cabal - In Touch
  3. Cabal - Future In Pain
  4. Cabal - Blissful Trust
  5. Cabal - Fall Flat
  6. Cabal - New Horizon
  7. Cabal - Open Up (Cassette only track from the Cabal EP release)
  8. Cabal - Assistance (Live at The Marble Bar Baltimore 1983)
  9. Cabal - Brash Finale (Also live at The Marble Bar 1983)
  10. Cabal - Check This Out (Recorded live in Bill's basement 1984)
  11. Cabal - No Way Out (Recorded live in Bill's basement 1984)
  12. Null Set - Null Theme (Tracks 12-14 from Null Set's demo recorded 1981 at Eastern Studios in Glen Burnie, MD, produced by Sam Prager)
  13. Null Set - Perception
  14. Null Set - Go!
  15. Null Set - An Evening In Town (synth thanks to Jack Heinicke)

CABAL - Bill Dawson - Vocals, Mark Harp - Guitars and stuff, Rich Dickson - Drums, Dave Zidek - Bass, Dick Hertz - Bass, Danny Brown - Keys, Steve Palmieri - Synth and sound, Les Hendrix - Bass, Mark King - Guitar & keys

NULL SET - Bill Dawson - Vocals, Mark Harp - Guitars & Stuff, John Chriest - Bass, Louis Frisino - Drums

Get the zip file here or here. (New links)

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Continuing our brief musical tour of Baltimore in the 1980s, here is the sole major-label release of Vigil, previously known as Here Today. Here is the capsule history of the band from the Vigil MySpace page:
Vigil was a modern rock band that recorded and performed in the mid to late 1980's. Once upon a time in the "Land of Pleasant Living" aka Baltimore there was a group of musicians known as Here Today: Jo Connor, Andy R, X Factor and Gregg Maizel. They recorded a classic song called "Whistle in the Yard" and soon signed to CBS records, changed their name to Vigil and were promptly dropped. Vigil was quickly signed by Chrysalis Records and recorded their debut lp in glorious digital. It was released in 1987 and sold enough copies to allow them to record another lp but only one track, "Therapist", was released by Chrysalis, appearing on the Nightmare on Elm Street 4 soundtrack. Eventually the second album was released on cassette only as Onto Beggar and Bitter Things.
Vigil was influenced by UK bands, particularly those of the Gothic persuasion, and as a result their expansive, dreamy sound was quite different from most of the other Maryland bands of the era. "I Am Waiting" was released as a 12-inch single, but it was the wah-wah-guitar-fuelled B-side, "I Love You Equinox", that garnered all the airplay on WHFS:

I have never found a copy of the self-released, cassette-only second album, but I presume that the first three songs on Vigil's MySpace player come from it, since they are not on the first album. The full track list of the first album is:
  1. Until the Seasons
  2. I Am Waiting
  3. White Magic Spell
  4. Gargoyles
  5. I Love You Equinox
  6. Whistle in the Yard
  7. The Celiba Sea
  8. The Garden
  9. Born Again
  10. The Benefit of the Doubt
  11. Enclosures (I have added this as a bonus track, it is the second track on the "I Am Waiting" B-side and did not appear on the album.)

The CD version of this album is a bit of a collector's item as it is one of the first (possibly the first) rock albums to be recorded, mixed, and mastered digitally ("DDD"). I don't have the CD, though, so I can only offer a vinyl rip for now; get it here or here. (I goofed a little on the track numbers in the tags and filenames, but everything still plays in the correct order.)

Update: I got the CD and have posted a FLAC rip here.

Vigil singer Jo Connor now fronts the Jo Connor Band, which "performs classic Vigil songs along with new faves."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Various Artists - 8 Essential Attitudes

For this entry we remain in Baltimore but go back a few years to 1985 for the Frantic Records sampler album 8 Essential Attitudes. The album cover depicts a can of "Cream of Baltimore" being poured onto a turntable: do not do this! It will ruin your turntable! Fortunately the package contains a solid vinyl LP which is perfectly suited to playing on a turntable. The "8 Essential Attitudes" are eight indie bands from the Baltimore area:
  1. Red Tape - I Know
  2. exibit A - yippi-i-o
  3. Beyond Words - On the Moon
  4. Thee Katatonix - Ordinary Sunday
  5. The View - Only Water
  6. Mission - When Thunder Comes
  7. Off the Wall - She's All Mine
  8. Clever Lines - After the Snow Melts
The most accomplished band here is Off the Wall, but their big-band rockabilly style is decidedly out of place. Red Tape lean toward an AOR sound, Thee Katatonix are the closest thing to punk rock here, Mission have a gothic vibe belied by their preppy appearance, exibit A have an indie-twee sound, Clever Lines go for the grand sound of UK acts like Duran Duran and Simple Minds, and Beyond Words and The View play middle-of-the-road new wave pop. Not as diverse as the gathering on the Merkin Seedy Sampler, but it's a smaller, earlier sample. Get the vinyl rip here or here. (I'm trying out flyupload with the second link; from what I've seen it has no waiting period and does allow download managers. Please let me know if there are any problems with it.)