According to reports, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth have separated. Usually this blog doesn't really care about celebrity couple gossip, but this married couple make up the core of band I enjoy from time to time and could possibly affect the status of the band as we know it. Though there hasn't been any word whether the band will proceed beyond their tour of South America they completed in Brazil on November 14th, will their show in San Paulo, Brazil be their last? If it is, here's the video of the last show!!
To complete this "circle of life", I'm also posting a live audio recording of their first ever live performance from 1981 at Noise Fest in New York. Appropriately, the band makes music that resembles a avant-garde type of noise. This is similar to the band's early albums and their sound has progressed album to album to include more song structure and vocals that didn't resemble shouts and cries, if anything at all. I can't honestly say I've listened to every note, but all things considered the sound quality isn't too bad. Not for every one's taste, but this is sound art and you can make what you want from it... Enjoy!
This is the last album feature for the "Unappreciated Classics" mini-series I've been posting for the last couple of weeks and I thought it would be appropriate to end with a Canadian band. I bought this CD years ago at a used CD store (I can't recall where exactly) not only because of the awesome eye-catching cover art, but because it's produced by Kurt Bloch of the Fastbacks and Young Fresh Fellows. I previously praised Mr. Bloch's handiwork as a producer on a past post and his work on The Stand GT's full length debut does not disappoint. This is pure power punk pop at it's best! This record's amazing! To record this album, the band left their home base of Glengarry, Ontario and travelled to Seattle's Egg Studios to work with Bloch. The band went on to record two more full length albums and a bunch of 7" ers, but their crowning achievement has to be Magically Delicious, which of course in this country remains fairly unknown.
Lead singer/songwriter/guitar player, Chris Page went on to record some solo albums, the first two under the name, Glen Nevous, then two under his own name. As well, Chris formed another band, Camp Radio and they have released two albums, the most recent, September of this year. I have their first self-titled album and it's sound is almost a continuation of The Stand GT (maybe better!) and you can stream the most recent disc, Campista Socialista on their website. As a matter of fact, you can stream and buy all Chris' projects (solo, The Stand GT and Camp Radio) on the site, so if you enjoy this post, please be sure to sample and purchase/download directly from the artist. Enjoy!
01. Mudsick 02. Paying The Piper 03. The Wait 04. The Great Big Brainwave 05. No Punchbacks 06. Planet Bob's 07. Strain 08. Near In Control 09. Always A Laugh 10. Into Downs 11. Dragged Across This Boredom 12. Mary's Favourite Number 13. I Retire 14. Bonus Track (note: The second half of the track is silence) 15. Bonus Track
While surfing around the other night I came upon a link to, "Help Mary Lou Lord Make Her New Record" on the website Kickstarter. If you've never heard about Kickstarter, it's a great fun concept that allows artists to post their projects (music, films, etc...) and appeal for donations and funding from "private backers" in exchange for incentives such as an advance copy of the product, signed and personalized mech (t-shirts, posters, CD's) and personal connecting experiences (Skype conversations, dinner, house concerts). Similar to Pledgemusic, it allows the fans to contribute in advance with some pretty cool rewards. Anyways, this MLL project caught my eye because I'm a fan of her music and I have some of her live concert recordings. She seems to be such a genuine music fan and she's an enjoyable performer. I feel bad I missed the deadline to donate, but the project successfully reached its funding goal and I look forward to the first new Mary Lou Lord full length album since 2004. The last I heard about MLL was that in 1995 she suffered a vocal cord affliction called spasmodic dysphonia. I assume as a vocalist this could be career ending, but I'm guessing she wants to make music again and hopefully tour. This could be good!
Though she only put out 3 full length albums, Mary Lou released a several EP's and singles on the Kill Rock Stars indie label. Possibly her finest moment was her self-titled 8-song (mini-LP) EP, which featured a cover of Daniel Johnston's Speeding Motorcycle. The first song is the only song that gets the full band treatment, as the rest of the songs are only Mary Lou and her guitar. Her simplistic sincere approach and the honesty and sweetness in her voice had me hooked first listen and in case you didn't know, Mary Lou started out honing her craft busking in and around Boston's subway stations. Some might think of her as a Juliana Hatfield wannabe, but her own style and identity is evident on all her recordings, it's just unfortunate she didn't quite reach the full potential of her talent with the vocal cord issue that stalled her. In some ways, her career has come full circle from her early indie records to a stab at a major label with Got No Shadow and now to a (future) self-funded record. I know she wants to impress with the new record and prove she still has the goods. Years ago, I burned a CD-R of this EP together with Got No Shadow, but there are some glitches in the sound. Alas, the other day I found an upgraded version online and after downloading it I thought this was something that is too good not to be further shared. If you don't have this already and even if you don't appreciate soft breathy vocalists, trust me, this is well worth the download! It's a wonderful record.
Here's another album I bought on a whim, not knowing anything about the band or the type of music they performed. I'm certain I bought this on a trip to Minneapolis in the early 90's or so and my only hint about the band's background judging by the CD back cover was that it was released on a label based in Minneapolis. I figured they must be a local band and I pretty much was buying anything from the Twin Cities circa mid-80's because of the amazing bands from this era (Husker, Mats, Soul Asylum, Run Westy Run, Magnolias etc.).
During my first listen of All The Pancakes You Can Eat, I knew I made a good decision. Their sound fits in nicely with the above mentioned bands and they sounded not unlike the Volcano Suns and maybe even the Minutemen. Catchy, gritty, and full of intensity, this probably isn't the best choice of background music for a romantic evening with your wife (...or whoever). I think it's an instant classic, at least it should be! I still don't know much about the band, but I did recently download their Strawberry Enema cassette. Other than that, I don't know if they recorded much else. The expanded CD version of the vinyl record has 14 bonus tracks (from the original 16), so you definitely get your money's worth (probably another reason I was attracted to this CD).
Cool note: The cover photo of the CD features the band members sitting on what looks to be a large painting. What they are actually sitting on is 1000 white "blank" album jackets laid out together to create on large abstract painting created by the band. I'm guessing they squeezed, sprayed and rolled around in paint to create 1000 unique album covers each featuring 1/1000 of a original art piece (some examples I found online are pictured). Sounds like a really cool idea, I'm going to keep a lookout to buy one of these records if I can find one. Let me know if you've seen or own any. Enjoy!
1 Intro / I Hate This Song 2 Tricycle Hell 3 Set An Example 4 Underwater Pastor's Daughter 5 Grey Bosom Jut 6 Lost At Your Party 7 What's In The Fridge? 8 Lovely Town 9 Brain Surgeon 10 Just About To Lose It 11 Patrik 12 Shade Tree Mechanic 13 Self Help Books 14 Fishing Song 15 Worst Thing You Can Do (For A Living) 16 Ron Goes To The Faust 17 Makin' Time 18 Christmas Part II 19 Fuckcess 20 Gorilla Meat Cup 21 Haircut 22 Heard This Before 23 Liquor Store 24 Joe Part II 25 Lobotomy (Vacation From My Mind) 26 Candy Girl 27 XMas Trees / Marital Aids 28 Some Kind Of Superman 29 Colour My World With Shit 30 Whole Lotta Love
It must have been very cool living in Massachusetts in the 80's and early 90's with so many great bands coming from the Boston area. Much like the scene in Minneapolis around this time, many key and influential bands emerged from Mass that have dominated my play lists and record (CD) collection. Many TDIT favs are from in and around the Boston area, The Pixies, Jonathan Richman, Dinosaur Jr, Buffalo Tom, Blake Babies (Juliana Hatfield), the Lemonheads, Scruffy The Cat, Belly, the Dogmatics, and the Breeders are just a small sample. The Volcano Suns are a band that included members and past members that were a part of other well known Boston-area bands. Founding member (and the only constant member), Peter Prescott was a member of Mission Of Burma before he formed the Volcano Suns in 1984 with Gary Waleik and Steve Michener who left the band before the first album to form Big Dipper. Michener also was in Dumptruck. The Volcano Suns went on to record six albums and the best way I can describe their sound is noisy, often compared to Husker Du and possibly Mudhoney. I have their first two albums on vinyl and their next two on cassette, and their finest moment in my opinion is their debut, The Bright Orange Years.
The Bright Orange Years sounds like a band jamming in their basement or garage, but shining through the noise is a tuneful melody that is fast, furious and a wonderful mess of audacious fun. I love this record, it's loaded with lots of really good songs that grab you and take hold more than the imitative crap available today. All the bands mentioned above that have a connection to the Volcano Suns are also in my own collection of music and in the case of Dumptruck, I recently bought the reissues of the first 3 albums on CD even though I have them on vinyl and cassette already (hmmm...possibly another post idea!). I highly recommend them as well as the Big Dipper 3-disc anthology, Supercluster which includes their first EP and first two full length albums along with demos, outtakes and unreleased songs. Anyways, these bands are more proof Boston is much more significant than just Aerosmith, Boston and the Cars. Sorry, link removed!
Up until about a month ago I didn't know this record existed or had I ever heard of the Orange Humble Band. I stumbled upon it on another music blog, as I noticed the singer of the band was Ken Stringfellow (The Posies) and that Mitch Easter was also involved. Orange Humble Band's debut album, Assorted Creams was released in 1998, but the band was formed in 1995 by Daryl Mather (Lime Spiders, The Someloves) who had an albums worth of songs, that would be the basis of their first album. The recording began in 1995 with Bill Gibson (bass), Matt Galvin (guitar), Peter Kelly (drums), and Anthony Bautovich (vocals). This line-up recorded the early version of the album in Australia, with final recordings taking place in Mitch Easter's studio in North Carolina with Ken Stringfellow adding lead vocals.
As a big fan of the Posies, I'm surprised I hadn't come across anything by OHB, though if you look at the number of bands Ken Stringfellow has played with and contributed to (Posies, Minus 5, R.E.M., Big Star, Saltine, The Disciplines, etc.), I'm not surprised I missed this. Back in the 80's I bought up anything that had Mitch Easter's name on it, either as a producer and of course his awesome band, Let's Active, so when I heard these two names were involved I was excited, yet hesitant. On the surface, this line-up has quasi-supergroup implications written all over it, but it's anything but that because it has a very cohesive and unique sound to it. The first time I listened to Assorted Creams I was instantly in love with their sound, the great melodies and the richly layered pop songs. This album is as good (or even better!) than the best Posies records and should be considered one of the best power pop albums of the 90's. It's a shame it hasn't gotten the exposure it deserves, so do yourself a favour and have a listen to this essential unappreciated classic! Enjoy!!
The Heartbreakers only recorded one official studio album, so most of their releases were live performances released both officially and through many bootlegs. Many of these live albums suffered from either poor sound quality or inconsistent and incoherent performances from Johnny and his band. These live recordings are lasting documents of the career of Johnny Thunders (he also recorded a couple of studio solo albums), both the good, bad and the ugly. There were also some sweet gems that showcased what a great band they were live or at least give you a glimpse of what a interesting and entertaining performer he was when he wasn't all drugged-up. Among the better sounding live albums I own is D.T.K. Live At the Speakeasy, Live At the Lyceum Ballroom and Live At Max's Kansas City.
The Live At Max's Kansas City album was the first Johnny Thunders And the Heartbreakers I ever heard which immediately led me to become a Johnny enthusiast. If you listen to just one Johnny Thunders record, I strongly recommend Live At Max's because it possesses all the good reasons that I love about the band. It captures the band at their sloppiest best with some excellent guitar-play and amusing on-stage banter between Thunders and Walter Lure. This recording captures the band in fine form and they deliver a powerful and coherent set of great rock music far exceeding the performances of their debut studio album (L.A.M.F.), as the sound quality is amazing. The album was recorded in 1978 at a series of reunion shows at Max's Kansas City with Johnny Thunders, Walter Lure (vocals, guitar), Billy Rath (bass) and Ty Styx, sitting in for original drummer, Jerry Nolan who at this point hadn't returned to the band. The version of the album that I have posted is the expanded reissue that includes additional tracks from a live recording a year later (with Jerry Nolan). These tracks were intended for a second live recording from Max's that was taken from a 3 night stand that resulted in only 5 usable tracks (4 of these tracks on the reissue) recorded on the third night. Apparently, Thunders suddenly left the stage after the first 5 songs and never returned that night...strange, but true, which is unfortunate because the recording both in sound quality and performance up to that point was quite good. Apart from the bonus tracks, this reissue is a much improvement as it sounds much fresher and crisper than the original vinyl. Another unappreciated classic...if you're a fan of Johnny Thunders and/or The Heartbreakers, this is "must-hear"!! Enjoy!!
I mentioned in the last post about having some J Church on the flip-side of the Jawbreaker tape, so I thought it would be a good time to post some J Church. I have a fair bit of their music to choose from as I have a good chunk of their discography spread throughout my collection on cassettes taken from vinyl, CDs I've bought and mp3s I've downloaded. This is nothing compared to the extensive amount of material the band has recorded and released. In the band's first 3 years, they released two full length albums, a singles collection and over 30 singles and compilation tracks. In total, the band has released an estimated 150 records, an incredible achievement for any band! Check out the band's discography page on their website to marvel at what a prolific band J Church was.
I chose J Church's second full length, Prophylaxis as my choice for part 3 of "Unappreciated Classics" (see the last 2 posts), not because it was their best album, but mainly because it was the first album that introduced their music to me. I taped this and their first singles collection (Camels, Spilled Corona And The Sounds Of Mariachi Bands) onto cassettes from my younger brother's albums and they still hold up with me even today. Prophylaxis contains some of their more well known songs that really defined their sound, such as No Surprise, Foreign Films, Financial Zone, Marge Schott and Why I Liked Bikini Kill, always a live fav. I think to really fully appreciate J Church, I suggest a listen to the many singles collections albums (there was at least 4) they released as a good starting point to hear the best of the band.
Lance Hahn was huge supporter of the punk music scene in San Francisco as well as an amazing songwriter, a great live performer and he released a staggering amount of good music. He and his band will be sadly missed since Lance passed away in 2007 at the age of 40 due to Kidney complications, but the music he left behind will surely be his lasting legacy. Enjoy!