By default, I'm a huge fan of the Seattle band, the Fastbacks. I first heard of the band when I was ordering Young Fresh Fellows albums and merch from the Popllama catalog back in the early 90's. The Fastbacks album, Very, Very Powerful Motor was released by Popllama and I realized Kurt Bloch from the Fastbacks was also in the Fellows. Bloch had formed the Fastbacks with Kim Warnick and Lulu Gargiulo back in 1979 and in 1989 joined the Fellows after guitarist Chuck Carroll left the group. Bloch played in both bands until the Fastbacks disbanded in 2002. The Fastbacks were important in my musical taste development because they one of the first female fronted bands I really enjoyed. Their songs have a punky edge with a poppy sensibility, but it was Kurt's guitar sound that sold me on the Fastbacks...and besides anything Kurt Bloch plays on or produces is amazing!
Good news for Fastback fans that missed them the first time, the band is reunited for one show on July 8th for the Annual West Seattle Fest!! The best thing is that it's free and all ages, but unless you live in Seattle or are travelling there, you're out of luck. Of course, I can't be there, but I would kill to hear a recording of their set, so if you hear (or see) anything posted, please let me know.
To tide you over, here's a tour compilation of the Fastbacks when they toured in Europe opening for Pearl Jam in 1996. The sound quality is outstanding, as it is soundboard recordings and the performances are top notch. Enjoy!
FASTBACKS Europe '96 Tour compilation, November 1996
01. No Information 2:30 02. Hung On A Bad Peg 1:43 03. Fortune's Misery 2:42 04. Which Has Not Been Written 0:57 05. I Found The Star 1:40 06. Gone To The Moon 1:41 07. All About Nothing 2:31 08. Impatience 3:37 09. On Your Hands 2:35 10. Stay At Home 5:43 11. Apologies 1:33 12. Just Say 2:29 13. Banner Year 2:43 14. Parts 1:46 15. Set Me Free 6:02 (w/ Mike McCready, guitar) 16. Leavin' Here 3:27 (w/ Eddie Vedder, vocal)
Kim Warnick: Vocals and Bass, Kurt Bloch: Guitar and vocal, Lulu Gargiulo: Guitar and vocal, Mike Musburger: Drums (bass on 07)
Tracks 1, 2, 4-7 and 15 recorded 96.11.24 at Cascais Pavillion, Portugal. Tracks 3, 9, 10, 14 and 16 recorded 96.11.25 at Cascais Pavillion, Portugal. Tracks 8 qnd 13 recorded 96.11.03 at Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, Germany. Tracks 11 and 12 recorded 96.11.22 at Anoeta Velodrome, Barcelona, Spain
Gutterball is a supergroup that formed with members from prominent college-radio bands. Steve Wynn (vocals, guitar) from the Dream Syndicate, Stephen McCarthy (guitar, vocals) is from the Long Ryders, Bryan Harvey (vocals, guitar) and Johnny Hott (drums) from the House Of Freaks and Bob Rupe (bass) of the Silos. This all-star band concept reminds me a bit of Golden Smog because the music they make together is just as good (and often better) as the member's original bands. When you listen to Gutterball and Golden Smog records and their live recordings, you can hear the joy and feel the chemistry these musicians have. Gutterball recorded three albums, mainly of original material and toured during a good chunk of 1993-1995. For a tour archive and an extensive concert recording archive of the band, check out the Gutterball page at the Stevewynn.net traders site.
Turnyor Hedinkov is a hard to find import and was limited to only 2000 copies. It is a collection of demos of songs not found on Weasel (2nd album) and Gutterball (first album), as well as alternate versions of songs previously released. All the bands albums are well worth tracking down, I bought the first album on cassette, back in the day and I love it so much, I recently bought it on CD (used) because the tape sounds wavy. I bought the Weasel CD on eBay years ago and it too is excellent. Enjoy!
Speaking of great sounding concert recordings, here's a Long Ryders show at the Bottom Line in New York City on May 7th, 1987. Recently I've been highlighting key bands from the Paisley Underground genre from the mid-1980's such as Green On Red, Dream Syndicate and the Long Ryders who were some of the bands I was into at the time. Much like the Dream Syndicate concert, the Long Ryders are at their creative peak on this album and this live recording showcases the band at their rocking best. Though the band was touring their latest (and final) album at the time, Two-Fisted Tales, the setlist reflects the band's entire career.
I can't remember where I got this CD, I might have downloaded it from a trial eMusic account I had briefly, but I believe it is available only as an import. The sound is amazing, as it was professionally recorded for a live radio broadcast and if you're a fan of the band, it's almost like being there...in 1987. Enjoy!!
Back in the late 80's, there was a period when the vinyl record format was in decline and CD's were still the new technology, so I bought lots of pre-recorded cassettes. Up to this time I mainly used blank cassettes to tape LP's from friends and my own collection to enable me to listen to my music in my car and on a portable player...the Walkman! I wasn't convinced the CD would replace record albums, but I quickly found many albums were only released on CD or cassette. The first CD I bought was The Squirrels, What Gives? released in 1990 (because it was ONLY available on CD), which pre-dated my actual purchase of a CD player, so I got a friend to dub it to cassette.
One of my best cassette purchases was The Dream Syndicate's, Live At Raji's which was a limited edition, (long out of print) live album which captured the band at height of their career. Actually, Live At Raji's was released in 1989 after the band had broken up, but was recorded before their last studio record, Ghost Stories was recorded. What struck me the most by this live album was it's sound. It was crisp sounding, without overdubs and over production, in my opinion, the ultimate live album. Definitely one of the best sounding live albums I've heard. These live versions easily outshine the studio versions with an energy and passion felt only at a live show. I have their earlier live official release, This Is Not The New Dream Syndicate Album....Live! which pales in comparison both in sound and performance. The original release of Raji's was an edited version of the show, but thankfully the re-release is the complete concert. My cassette was sounding a little ragged, so this upgrade is very welcome! If you're a fan of the Dream Syndicate, this is a must-listen and if you've never heard the band or have a passing interest, this is a good place to start!
01. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.
02. Still Holding On To You.
03. Forest For The Trees.
04. Until Lately.
05. That's What You Always Say.
06. When You Smile.
08. All Along The Watchtower.
09. Tell Me When It's Over.
11. The Days of Wine and Roses.
12. The Medicine Show.
15. John Coltrane Stereo Blues.
The first reunion show for Scruffy the Cat in 21 years took place at TT the Bears in Boston on Sunday. I would have loved to have been in Boston since Scruffy the Cat was one of my favourite bands in the 80's (right up there with the Replacements and Young Fresh Fellows) and a certain hockey game on Monday night would have been a bonus and worth the trip to Beantown.
As a tribute to Scruffy the Cat and Charlie Chesterman, here's a great Scruffy show from 1989 after the release of their last full length LP, Moons Of Jupiter. On this past Sunday, the members of Scruffy the Cat reunited for a benefit concert to help Chesterman as he battles cancer. Haven't seen an audio recording of the show so far, but there are some live videos from the show posted on YouTube. I'll post some here soon. Enjoy!
For no apparent reason other than one of my co-workers played, Gas Food Lodging (which I gave him!) on his iPod today at work, I thought I would post some Green On Red. My first exposure to Green On Red was back in the day (circa 1985-ish) on a mix tape of music and I vaguely remember hearing, Time Ain't Nothing and the song, No Free Lunch. I bought the vinyl mini-album a short time later, it was followed by the purchase ofGas Food Lodging and taping a copy Gravity Talks, their first full length.
No Free Lunch was Green On Red's major label debut and I doubt it sold huge numbers, but it showcased the strong contributions of newcomer, Chuck Prophet and singer/songwriter, Dan Stuart's ragged and jaded view of Americana. This record still has a place on my turntable and on my iPod and it brings to mind fond memories of my younger, more carefree days of living at home and cruising in my mom's Honda...yay, it's finally summer! Enjoy!
Since Scruffy is scheduled to reunite for a show in June, I thought I would offer up a rare-ish piece of 7" vinyl. Here's a one-off release featuring a split single featuring two of my favourite bands, Scruffy The Cat and Young Fresh Fellows. I have most of their official releases and I enjoy it all, but these two bands stand out in my mind because of their incredible live shows. I saw Scruffy The Cat at the Le Rendez-Vous in Winnipeg opening for Vancouver band, 54-40. Suffice to say, I left after the Scruffy set and didn't stick around to see 54-40, I saw what I came for and the 35-40 minutes of STC's frantic set was well worth the money! Their energetic show had me wish I saw them in a smaller venue as the headliner and I regret not seeing them a year or two later in an Osborne Street bar. The Fellows are always a great live band and unfortunately I've only seen them also as an opening band. In Winnipeg, in 1990 (?) with the Hoodoo Gurus and in 1992 opening for They Might Be Giants at the legendary Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. Definitely some of my fondest concert memories and all these shows left a lasting impression that had a huge impact on the music I listen to.
This 7" featured exclusive songs from both bands, as the Scruffy the Cat side is what I think is their last song they ever released (correctly if I'm wrong). The Fellows song is amazing, one of my favourites. Fun, super short, but sweet!! Enjoy!
(Note: Not sure which side is the A or B-side? I didn't transfer my vinyl copy, but instead uploaded a digital copy I downloaded.)