26 July 2012

ARCHIVE Londonium 1997


by John Bush
The trip-hop project Archive was formed by Darius Keeler and Danny Griffiths, who originally met in 1990. The pair released a few singles on their own Swam label, worked with Genaside II, and formed Archive in 1994. Signed to Island, Keeler and Griffiths released their debut, Londinium, in 1997. After splitting briefly, the two re-formed and released their second album, Take My Head, on Independiente in 1999.



by Dean Carlson
Northern Picture Library's debut is largely impulsive, frayed, and capable of creating an affecting, almost inactive atmosphere. Sandwiched in between the on-stage self-destruction of the Field Mice and the creation of Trembling Blue Stars, Alaska underplayed indie traditionalism as it took an unexpected, interesting tenure into dream-based ambient pop. Annemari Davies and Robert Wratten's compositions were frequently free of guitars, lyrics, or drums. By avoiding an emphasis on found sound, however, songs like "Glitter Spheres" and "Skylight" were also connective and built from melody, while "Dreams and Stars and Sleep" seemed to anticipate the predatory, childlike dub gospel of Saint Etienne's Sound of Water and Dusted's When We Were Young. Northern Picture Library would break up soon after its release, but Alaska's better moments, its quieter moments, were some of the more memorable, most overlooked yields of all of the Field Mice's offshoots.

23 July 2012

TEN BRIGHT SPIKES Astro Stukas 1992

1 Norse 3:36
2 Your Breathing Doll 2:48
3 Vertical Brando 1:49
4 Spleen 2:01
5 King Of Sweden 2:52
6 Dogstar 2:25
7 Ten Bright Spikes 2:32
8 000,000 3:09
9 Plumflower: Prayer For The Night, Ghostshirt, Waterghost 9:15

MOPED It Won't Sound Any Better Tomorrow 1996




by Jason Ankeny
Moped mines Yo La Tengo territory on their debut It Won't Sound Any Better Tomorrow; a trio with a sharp melodic sense and alternating reedy male/wispy female vocals, they kick up a joyously noisy pop racket on superior moments like "Stephaen Hero" and "Window Shopping." The group certainly doesn't break any new ground, but what they do, they do well. 


1 Mouthsore
2 Stephaen Hero
3 Window Shopping
4 Turkey
5 Vague
6 Does Your Back Hurt
7 Hotel
8 Cheap Strings
9 Bangs And Booms
10 Roadtrip
11 Sibling
12 Bottle
13 Through The Cracls
14 Keep In Touch


On You 1994

EP 1992
La Horne 7 inch  1995

Raw Candle 7 inch 1993

7 YEAR BITCH Sick 'Em 1992

Reupped November 2012


[+] by John Bush
Inspired by Seattle punk band the Gits and their fiery vocalist Mia Zapata, 7 Year Bitch is one of the most aggressive punk bands on the American indie scene. Vocalist Selene Vigil, guitarist Stefanie Sargent and drummer Valerie Agnew were playing in the Seattle group Barbie's Dream Car when their bassist left for Europe. They recruited Elizabeth Davis and played their first shows with the Gits. After a self-titled debut single in 1990, 7 Year Bitch signed with C/Z Records. The first album Sick 'Em appeared in 1992, but was overshadowed by Sargent's death just before it was released; Roisin Dunne became the guitarist's replacement the following year. In July 1993, Mia Zapata was brutally killed in Seattle, and 7 Year Bitch recorded ¡Viva Zapata! as a tribute. The group then signed with Atlantic and in 1996 released Gato Negro, their major-label debut.
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TEXAS Southside 1989


 by William Ruhlmann
Despite taking their name from one of the 50 United States of America and adopting several American-sounding musical styles, the Scottish pop/rock band Texas found nearly all its success in Europe starting in the late '80s, including the multi-million selling albums Southside, White on Blonde, and The Hush, and a series of hit singles such as "Say What You Want," "In Our Lifetime," and "Summer Son." Bass player Johnny McElhone (born April 21, 1963, Glasgow, Scotland) organized the band in Glasgow in 1986. McElhone, a veteran of the bands Altered Images and Hipsway, brought in singer and rhythm guitarist Sharleen Spiteri (born November 7, 1967, Glasgow, Scotland), lead guitarist Ally McErlaine (born October 31, 1968, Glasgow, Scotland), and drummer Stuart Kerr (born March 16, 1963, Glasgow, Scotland). The group took its name from the film Paris, Texas, which had boasted a score by Ry Cooder, whose slide guitar playing heavily influenced McErlaine, and Spiteri sang without any discernible Scottish accent, giving the band a distinctly American sound. Texas made its concert debut in March 1988 at Dundee University in Scotland. McElhone's previous connection with Mercury Records through Hipsway led to the label's signing the band, which initially tried to record with Bernard Edwards of Chic as producer before settling on Tim Palmer instead. The first result of this association was the single "I Don't Want a Lover," the initial effort of the writing team of Spiteri and McElhone, which Mercury released in the U.K. in January 1989. On March 4, it peaked at number eight. Southside (the title referring to a neighborhood of Glasgow), the debut album, was released in March and peaked at number three at the end of the month. As Texas toured the U.K. and Europe, three more singles were released from the album, but failed to reach the Top 40; nevertheless, Southside eventually sold more than two million copies worldwide. Meanwhile, Mercury released "I Don't Want a Lover" and Southside in the U.S. in July. The single broke into Billboard's Album Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks radio charts before finally entering the Hot 100, where it peaked at number 77 on September 30; the album peaked at number 88 a week later.
Texas continued to tour Europe in 1990 before beginning work on their second album. Kerr left and was replaced on the drums by Richard Hynd (born June 17, 1965, Aberdeen, Scotland), and keyboard player Eddie Campbell (born July 6, 1965, Glasgow, Scotland), who had been playing with them live, became an official member of the band. Mothers Heaven was released in September 1991 and proved to be a commercial disappointment, peaking at number 32 in the U.K. on October 5. In the U.S., the track "In My Heart" reached the Modern Rock Tracks chart as Texas made its first visit to the country in November, but the album failed to chart. "Alone with You," the album's third single, returned them to the British Top 40, reaching number 32 on February 15, 1992, but their first substantial hit single since "I Don't Want a Lover" was a one-off cover of Al Green's "Tired of Being Alone," which peaked at number 19 on May 9.
Again, after touring primarily in Europe, Texas retired to write and record another album, this time turning to Paul Fox as producer and recording at Bearsville Studio in Woodstock, NY, which gave them their title, Ricks Road, the name of the dirt road leading to the studio. "So Called Friend," released in advance of the album in August 1993, peaked at number 30 in the U.K. on September 11. (It was later used as the theme song for the U.S. television series Ellen, starring Ellen DeGeneres [1994-1998], and in the 1996 feature film Last Dance, starring Sharon Stone.) A second single, "You Owe It All to Me," reached number 39 on October 30, before Ricks Road finally appeared in November, hitting number 18 on November 13. The album was not released initially in the U.S., but it eventually came out in 1994 as the band made several trips -- in March, May-June, and August-September -- to tour in North America. Despite this effort, like Mothers Heaven, Ricks Road failed to chart in the U.S., selling a meager 38,000 copies. The band wrote off the American market thereafter, concentrating primarily on Europe.
One more single from Ricks Road, "So in Love with You," made the British Top 40, peaking at number 28 on February 12, 1994. But by the time Texas closed its touring in support of the album in December, it was ready for an extended break, and little was heard from the band over the next two years, while they worked on their fourth album with producer Mike Hedges. They re-emerged with a hometown concert in Glasgow on December 5, 1996, and in January 1997 came the advance single "Say What You Want," which became their biggest hit yet, peaking at number three on January 25. That surprising comeback was followed by the album White on Blonde, which entered the British chart at number one on February 15, 1997. It remained in the charts nearly two years, selling 1.7 million copies in the U.K. alone and throwing off three more Top Ten hits: "Halo," "Black Eyed Boy," and "Put Your Arms Around Me." The band spent the year touring extensively in Europe and made its first trip to Australia in May. (They did not tour the U.S., where White on Blonde finally was released on August 5, 1997, as "Say What You Want" appeared in the film comedy Picture Perfect, starring Jennifer Aniston, although they did find time for a promotional trip in October. The album did not chart, but Hollywood continued to favor the group, with "Put Your Arms Around Me" appearing in the 1998 film Ever After, starring Drew Barrymore.) On February 9, 1998, Texas appeared at the BRIT Awards, performing "Say What You Want" in the company of rapper Method Man of Wu-Tang Clan. The seemingly unlikely pairing led to a new recording of the song, and the single "Say What You Want (All Day and Every Day)" by Texas featuring Wu-Tang Clan (actually, just Method Man and RZA) entered the U.K. charts at number four on March 21. The band played shows periodically during 1998 while working on its next album. That fifth album was prefaced by the lead-off single "In Our Lifetime," which entered the British charts at number four on May 1, 1999. The Hush, which followed within weeks, showed the band as consisting of Spiteri, McElhone, Campbell, and McErlaine; soon after, it was announced that Mikey Wilson was the new drummer. The album entered the charts at number one on May 22, 1999. Second single "Summer Son" reached number five in August, but "When We Are Together" stopped at number 12 in November, capping Texas' run of consecutive Top Ten British hits at seven. Touring continued throughout 1999.
Texas' next single was "In Demand," a Top Ten hit released in October 2000 that prefaced The Greatest Hits, which hit number one in Britain in November and spawned a second new track, "Inner Smile," that reached the Top Ten in January 2001, and the band launched an extensive European tour. (By this time, Mercury wasn't even bothering to release Texas' records in the U.S.) In July, they issued a remixed version of their first hit, "I Don't Want a Lover," which made the Top 20. Spiteri then took time off to have a baby, giving birth to a daughter on September 9, 2002. So, more than two more years passed before the October 2003 release of the sixth album, Careful What You Wish For, which was prefaced by the single "Carnival Girl," featuring Kardinal Offishall, a Top Ten hit. (The credits announced that Neil Payne was the new drummer, replacing Wilson, and that a new guitarist, Tony McGovern, had joined.) The album peaked at number five and also featured the Top 40 hit "I'll See It Through." By November 2005, when the seventh album, Red Book, was released, Texas' commercial fortunes had declined, but the disc was still able to debut in the Top Ten in France, the band's most reliable market. (The album marked the addition of keyboard player Michael Bannister.) "Sleep," a duet between Spiteri and Paul Buchanan of the Blue Nile, was excerpted as the album's third single in January 2006 and made the U.K. Top Ten.
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1 I Don't Want A Lover 5:01
2 Tell Me Why 3:59
3 Everyday Now 4:33
4 Southside 2:00
5 Prayer For You 4:50
6 Faith 4:19
7 Thrill Has Gone 4:24
8 Fight The Feeling 3:37
9 Fool For Love 3:54
10 One Choice 4:02
11 Future Is Promises 4:14

MUSLIMGAUZE Abu Nidal 1992?


[+] by John Bush

22 July 2012

MEMORY DEAN Shake It Up 1997

upped by Brad


[+] by Cub Koda
Memory Dean is the latest entry in the alternative music sweepstakes, their music encompassing a wide range between edgy rock, sunny pop and moodier offerings, all of it wrapped up in catchy hooks and seamless vocal harmonies. Formed in 1989 by core members Jay Memory and Bubba Dean when both were students at the University of Georgia in Athens working as an acoustic duo act, the group grew with the additions of drummer Larry Voss and bassist Mark "The Shadow" Ross. Constant touring built up a rabid regional fan base, which led to the release of three independently produced albums, 1992's Highway Twenty-Nine, 1993's Memory Dean and 1995's Stomp. All this regional activity eventually caught the attention of Capricorn Records, who signed the band and hooked them up with producer/engineer Jeff Tomei (Smashing Pumpkins, Collective Soul, Cool for August, Matchbox 20) for their debut album, Shake It Up. Still Hungry Souls followed in 1999. "Although a lot of people tried pigeonholing us," says Memory, "we've never fit into any musical category. It would have been easier to say we're a rock band or a pop band, but we're not. All these different elements are important in music, and our goal is to bring them all together."
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MIND SIRENS Decatur Cherry Smash 1994


 Mind Sirens

Brian Butler-Guitar, Vocals Mike Barker-Bass Ian Davis-Drums
Longtime Chapel Hill, NC band (they first recorded in 1990) finally gets the full-length treatment on this co-release with Durham, NC's Jettison Records. The current lineup includes Barker and Butler, as well as Simeon from Dickweed and Go-Botz on guitar, and Dave Dixon from 81 Mulberry on drums.
The band mixes murky new-south melodies with Dinosaur Jr.-style guitar wigouts, while Baker's multi-octave vocals weave a tender trap on top of it all. "Alaska", reprised from an earlier Jettison 7" single, makes the entry fee worth it all by itself, with its soaring beauty.
Produced by Todd Goss and Caleb Southern at Kraptone Studios. Cover art was done by Laird Dixon of the band Zen Frisbee.
The band have had a number of exhausting and confusing lineups over the years; the one constant has been guitarist/vocalist Brian Butler. Past members of the band include Chris Eubank of Spatula, Paige Ivey, Bill McCormick (solo artiste and member of Evil Weiner), and Ian Davis (formerly of Bicentennial Quarters). Someday somebody needs to do one of those "family tree" things for Chapel Hill...
Brian was previously in a band called Other Bright Colors who toured around quite a bit and released a 7" and an LP during their six year life span. Look for their stuff.
With the songs: "Redesign My Mind", "Thinking Without Seeing", "Back Of My Mind", "My Reasons", "Ant History", "Head-Stomach Highway", "Lifeline", "Undone", "Alaska" and "Breton".


1 Redesign My Mind
2 Thinking Without Seeing
3 Back Of My Mind
4 My Reasons
5 Ant History
6 Head Stomach-Highway
7 Lifeline
8 Undone
9 Alaska
10 Breton

THE GODS HATE KANSAS Mischief is its Own Reward 1999

1. Never Start a Sentence With "My Old Rap-Metal Band..."
2. One-Penny Check
3. Everybody Wants to Be a Cop
4. Fuck Art, Let's Dance
5. Sunnyvale
6. It's Not the Caffeine, It's the Sugar
7. Greisswiesel
8. The Bottom Brick
9. You're the Man
10. Power Tool of the Patriarchy

21 July 2012

GUILT Bardstown Ugly Box 1995


[+] by Ryan Downey
Guilt's impact and overall relevance went largely unrecognized during their six-year tenure as an intense and emotive über-indie-noise-metal-hardcore band. Their songs combined the best elements of several genres without sounding contrived, and managed to evoke soulful emotion and raise thought-provoking questions within the confines of a musical style typically confined to mundane "evil" topics and horror imagery. Guilt evolved from the band Stepdown, which formed in 1991 with former Endpoint drummer Lee Fetzer and Endpoint bassist Kyle Noltemeyer on guitar, Christian McCoy on bass, powerhouse drummer Jon Smith, and Endpoint guitarist Duncan Barlow on vocals. Stepdown were fiercely political and rabidly confrontational, going head to head with the Nazi faction of the Louisville scene on more than one occasion. As Barlow's own personal battle with depression set in, however, the group's focus shifted and soon the name was changed. Fetzer left the group and Barlow picked up second guitar in addition to vocal duties. The Empty 7" was recorded at Mom's Studio and released by Initial, a small record label then based in Michigan. After a handful of shows, the band dissolved for almost a year, eventually re-forming and recording several new songs at DSL Studios that would later become the Synethesia 10"/CD EP on Initial. The record was heavy and intense, with darkly poetic lyrics and song titles named after colors picked to represent various moods. McCoy was replaced by Telephone Man's Ashli State before the band signed a deal with Chicago's Victory Records label. Guilt entered the studio with producer/Shellac member Bob Weston, who helped the band hone their sound by enhancing the drums, bringing down the metal element in the guitars, and eliciting top-notch, emotional performances. The end result was Bardstown Ugly Box, the band's masterwork, so named for a street in their native Louisville, KY. It was years ahead of its time in the hardcore/punk scene, fusing elements of noise, melody, heavy metal, punk rock, indie rock, and poetic storytelling seamlessly, with intensity yet class and style. Shortly after the album's release and subsequent touring with labelmates Earth Crisis, Noltemeyer left the group, with State soon behind him, the latter moving to Philadelphia and joining the ranks of "vampire" obsessed punk rockers Ink and Dagger. Barlow and Smith, together with Noltemeyer as a guest, recorded the Further EP, an odd collection of untitled songs that borrowed a bit from the heavy percussion and meditative drone of Neurosis and avant-garde, atmospheric and experimental music in general, though it still retained the band's trademark heaviness. In 1996, the band played one more show with By the Grace of God/Elliott guitarist Jay Palumbo on bass. Guilt reformed a year later, with State and Noltemeyer returning, to record two final songs and release them as a 7" single (a split release between Barlow's fledgling Nerd Rock and the now Louisville-based Initial) and play a final show on Halloween of 1997. In 1999, Nerd Rock compiled a collection of previously released Guilt compositions and rare recordings with a Stepdown demo (and more), releasing it as A Comprehensive Guide to Anger Composed in Drop D. A Stepdown reunion show in Louisville celebrated the collection's release, with the original lineup taking the stage.
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Chapter One - Man Versus Society
1 Gamma 5:06
2 Omega 4:49
3 Chi 4:48

Chapter Two - Man Versus Himself
4 XI 3:52
5 Omnicron 3:55

Chapter Three - Man Versus Human Nature
6 Theta 2:21
7 Phi 24:58