понедельник

Timbuk3 - Greetings from Timbuk3 (1986)

'For most people, Timbuk 3 is the answer to that music trivia question of what band had the one hit in the mid-1980s about the future being so bright you have to wear shades. But for those of us living in Austin, Texas in the 80s, they were the little band made good on the same Indie label as R.E.M., and when their second album didn't strike the same national chord as the first, we shrugged and thought the third would. But it didn't, nor did the fourth or the fifth even though fans like myself bought them. Pegged as a novelty band, their fifteen minutes were used up in that one song, to be replaced on national radio by quirkier bands like Smash Mouth, Barenaked Ladies and Cake.

I like all their albums, but I find this debut to be the most consistent although certain later individual songs are stronger. At the time of this release, Timbuk 3 were the husband and wife team of Pat and Barbara McDonald. Pat played guitar and harmonic while Barbara played bass or guitar. The unofficial third member of the group was the boombox with drum loops. For their live shows, for example, Pat would place the boombox on a stool on the stage of the Hole in the Wall, a burger joint on the Drag next to the University of Texas, and he and Barbara would swap out cassettes depending on the song they wanted to play. (They would later expand to an actual four piece with a rhythm guitar and drummer.)

Greetings from Timbuk 3 captured perfectly the quirky and unconventional arrangements fostered by being a two-piece trying to sound larger (think They Might Be Giants). The opening one hit, signifying its difference from the run of the mill with the opening funky guitar and harmonic, then the nasally voice of Pat singing, "I study nuclear science / I love my classes / I've got a crazy teacher / He wears dark glasses." Personally, the song appeals to me as much for the intertwined voices of Pat and Barbara (recalling some kind of 80s indie Fleetwood Mac) as the implied sarcasm (or is it understated irony) of the lyrics. Like the Mac, each song features the harmonies of a male and female singer, with one voice taking a slight lead.

The album switches between the goofy ("Hairstyles and Attitudes"), the serious ("I Love You in the Strangest Ways"), and the indescribable ("Facts About Cats"). But all of the songs have infectious melodies on the order of "The Future's So Bright," albeit neither vocalist has a strong or soothing voice, typically sounding more like Stan Ridgway and Exene Cervenka than Elvis Presley and Karen Carpenter. What then becomes the focus is the lyrics, which, even in the love songs, are clever and surprising. For example, in the song "Just Another Movie," Pat sings:

"Presidential elections are planned distractions
To divert attention from the action behind the scenes
Like a game of chess when the house is a mess
Or a petty money squabble when your marriage is in trouble
Or a football game when there's rioting in the streets"

I'm sure some of why I like this album is its Austin roots. But the main reason it appeals to me is its strange blend of cynicism and humor and the egalitarian union of male and female. It's an album that reflects me, my beliefs and style, and that proves it irrestible.' Amazon.com review



Tracks:

1. The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades
2. Life Is Hard
3. Hairstyles and Attitudes
4. Facts About Cats
5. I Need You
6. Just Another Movie
7. Friction
8. Cheap Black and White
9. Shame on You
10. I Love You in the Strangest Way

my vinyl @256

пятница

The Gadgets - Gadgetree (1980)


The Gadgets' debut album which came out in March 1980. Band members were Colin Lloyd Tucker, Matt Johnson (who became famous as "THE THE"), and John Hyde. Great minimal synth/electro album which reminds me of early Yello and The Residents. Since most of the tracks fade into each other I decided against a track indexing so that it doesn't spoil your listening pleasure...


Tracks:

1- SIDE A (Kyleaking/Making Cars/Narpoth/U.F.O. Report No.1/Sliddery/Singing In The Rain/Only One Me/Shouting ‘Nispers’/There Over There

2- SIDE B (Termite Mound (The Sound)/Slepe/Devil’s Dyke/Six Mile Bottom/U.F.O.Report No.2/Autumn 80/Duplicate/Pog Track/Thin Line)

my vinyl @256

my God, forgive me when I complain about life

my God, forgive me when I complain about life


вторник

Novalis - Flossenengel (1979)


one of the very few NOVALIS albums which are out of print (a CD version is know to exist, but I never came across a copy), this is the "Flossenengel" concept album from 1979. Symphonic prog/pop rock at its best, although at the end of that decade the 'prog' element was trimmed down to a minimum when compared to earlier albums like "Sommerabend" or "Banished bridge". Subsequent albums after "Flossenengel" paled in comparison, the 80s just weren't the right decade for these proggers and they split up in 1985.


Tracks:

1- Atlanto
2- Im Brunnen der Erde / Brennende Freiheit / Im Netz
3- Flossenengel
4- Walzer für einen verlorenen Traum
5- Sklavenzoo
6- Alle wollen leben
7- Rückkehr / Ob Tier, ob Mensch, ob Baum

my vinyl @256

суббота

The Schramms - Rock paper scissors dynamite (1992)


'Melding pop, folk-rock, and alt-country sounds with quirky wit and a keen intelligence, the Schramms were the brainchild of gifted guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Dave Schramm, who debuted the group in 1987. Schramm, who had previously played with Human Switchboard and Jon Klages, left Yo La Tengo in 1986, following the release of their debut album, Ride the Tiger, and he soon began working up material with fellow Human Switchboard alumnus Ron Metz and drums and bassist Terry Karydes, who had played in an embryonic version of Yo La Tengo. After Karydes' bass was stolen, she moved over to keyboards, and Mike Lewis, another former member of Yo La Tengo, took over on bass, with guitarist Todd Novak and sax player Pete Linzell filling out the lineup. The band dubbed themselves the Walking Wounded and lined up a short tour only to discover a group in California was already using that name; as a joke, the band billed themselves as the Schramms for the duration of the tour, only to discover the name stuck. They opted to keep the moniker. The pocket-sized independent label OKra Records invited the Schramms to record an album, and they released Walk to Delphi in 1989. However, OKra's distributor, Rough Trade, went out of business a matter of weeks after the album came out, effectively stalling its release in the States. To the band's good fortune, the Schramms developed a strong following in Germany, and the European label Normal Records signed on to release the second Schramms album, Rock, Paper, Scissors, Dynamite, in 1992. By this time, Lewis, Novak, and Linzell had bowed out of the band; Al Greller signed on as the new bassist, and Schramm opted to go on without a sax or second guitarist. In 1993, Karydes also left the band, with George Usher taking over on keyboards; this edition of the Schramms recorded two albums, 1994's Little Apocalypse and 1996's Dizzy Spell. (Little Apocalypse was released in the United States by East Side Digital, who the following year reissued Walk to Delphi and gave Rock, Paper, Scissors, Dynamite its belated American debut; Dizzy Spell was distributed by the fledgling alt-country label Checkered Past.) In 2000, the Schramms returned to the recording studio with another new lineup -- Andy Burton joined as keyboard player after the departure of Usher, and a second guitarist, Jon Graboff, who had often guested with the group, signed on full-time. 100 Questions was the Schramms's first album which was not self-produced; J.D. Foster oversaw the sessions, and Syd Straw, Richard Buckner, and Jeb Loy Nichols contributed guest vocals." ~ Mark Deming, All Music Guide


Tracks:

The Welfare Of Your Enemy
The Right Place
Cycle Of Days
Let Them Lie Down
How Many Lives
Talking To Me Poor
Funeral Song
In The Mirror
The Chill
Her Darkness
Nine Years
In The Ghost House

@256

Rain Parade - Crashing dream (1985)


"Crashing Dream, Rain Parade's major label debut, has one simply beautiful song ("Depending on You"). Another ("Mystic Green") sounds uncannily like the Records, while "Don't Feel Bad" hybridizes two Beatles songs (you figure out which ones). The album is attractive but flimsy--competent technique in search of a spine and a direction. In other words, it sounds like the work of a band on the verge of breaking up--which, in fact, Rain Parade did not long after the album's release." Mazzy Star
This was my first RAIN PARADE album, I bought it back in 1986 after it was voted 'Album of the month' in the German MusikExpress magazine. Great songs, great sound, and it's a shame that it has never been released on CD. This is the vinyl version (I once also had the official MC version, but it's slurring so heavily that you don't really want to listen to it ;-)


Tracks:

1- Depending on you
2- My secret country
3- Don't feel bad
4- Mystic green
5- Sad eyes kill
6- Shoot down the railroad man
7- Fertile crescent
8- Invisible people
9- Gone west
10- Only business

my vinyl @256

среда

Zoogz Rift - Amputees in limbo (1982-85)


..and here's another one, a fine selection of Zoogz Rift recordings from 1982-85. Or as the maestro sez: "a collection of odds and ends too good to go unheard". Right on.


Tracks:

1. Heart Attack [1984]
2. But the Picture Has a Mustache [1984]
3. Moron Serenade [1984]
4. Evil Eye [1982]
5. Buffy and Jody [1982]
6. My Daddy Works for the Secret Marines [1982]
7. Searchin' for Clams Under the Glass Bottom Boat [1984]
8. Secret Marines - The Sequel [1983]
9. Disintegration Waltz [1983]
10. Eyes of Bodhidharma [1985]
11. Art Band [1984]
12. My Stuffed Animals Have Rabies [1982]

my vinyl @256