Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jawbreaker- Unfun

Continuing with another classic record that needs to be re-explored, I have the first album from Jawbreaker. The band managed to score a major label deal in 1995 and recorded their most accessible, Dear You to some negative response from their fans and music critics. The band's sound was much more polished and produced than their past releases and the tensions in the band at this time led to the demise of Jawbreaker. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Dear You, the songs were catchy and the guitars were much more clean sounding and obviously the band/label were trying to cash in on the whole Nirvana/Green Day-punk going mainstream-thing, but if you want to hear why Jawbreaker is such an influential force in punk/alternative circles during the early 90's, dip deeper into their back catalog.

Unfun was probably the most punk record Jawbreaker recorded. Every song has an urgency and the songs have some bite. The recording is rougher and the band is grittier, but this is the reason I like Jawbreaker. Bivouac and 24 Hour Revenge Theory are also very good, but you can't discount the impact the first record had on my musical tastes at the time. My brother bought Unfun on vinyl back when it was released and of course I dubbed it to a TDK cassette (doubled up with some J Church) for my listening pleasure. The version I'm posting is the remaster from 2008 which included songs from the 1989 7" EP, Whack & Blite.

Unfun (1990)
  1. Want
  2. Seethruskin
  3. Fine Day
  4. Incomplete
  5. Imaginary War
  6. Busy
  7. Softcore
  8. Driven
  9. Wound
  10. Down
  11. Gutless
  12. Drone
  13. Lawn
  14. Crane
  15. Eye-5
(Tracks 13-15 from 7" Whack & Blite)

JAWBREAKER- Unfun. rar

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Squirrels- What Gives?

There have been a lot of records that haven't received the attention or gotten the recognition they fully deserve. This is the first of a mini-series of what I consider overlooked classics, albums that I think are important and should be heard. Some of these albums are out-of-print and hard to find, while others might be still readily available, so hopefully there's something of interest for at least some of you.

The first album I want to share is a request, The Squirrels, What Gives? This is an amazing album (CD) that is bizarre and strange with some unbelievably catchy songs, but it is unlike anything you'll hear today. Rob Morgan leads an all-star cast of Seattle cult-heroes from the likes of all the Young Fresh Fellows (McCaughey, Bloch, Carroll, Sangster, Hutchison), a couple of Posies (Auer, Stringfellow), Dennis Diken (Smithereens) as well as the regular Squirrels line-up (Eric Erickson, Joey Kline and Craig Ferguson) as they make up various incarnations of the Squirrels Group/New Age Urban Squirrels/Mighty Squirrels. Some great covers (Game Of Love, Vincent Van Gogh), and an eclectic mix of originals highlighted by, Oz '90 (an all-new mix of their previously released classic single, "Oz on 45"). This song is worth the price of the CD alone, but the whole disc is a wild ride of weirdness that must be heard to be believed. As I've previously mentioned on past posts, this was my first ever CD (I bought it in Seattle in the early 90's!), even preceding my purchase of my first CD player. I got a friend to dump it onto a cassette tape so I can at listen to it. Probably one of my best "blind" (albums/CD's I had no idea what the band sounded like before buying) purchases ever!

What Gives? (1990)

1. Game of Love
2. Vincent Van Gogh
3. One in the Spirit
4. Timothy
5. TV Leg
6. My Gal
7. Wild Honey Pie
8. Please Behave
9. Oz '90 [Medley: Ding, Dong the Witch Is Dead/If I Only Had a Brain
10. Pope on a Rope (Cigarette Butt)
11. Get Down
12. The Demise of Ricky Nelson
13. Lean on Me
14. Woman's Prison
15. Let Me!

THE SQUIRRELS- What Gives. rar

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's Lowe Beats Time!

If you're a big fan of Nick Lowe or one of his past bands, Brinsley Schwarz or Rockpile, you must have a listen to The Lowe Beats. The Lowe Beats are the ultimate Nick Lowe cover band consisting of some veterans of the Seattle music scene, Scott McCaughey (Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows), Jim Sangster (Young Fresh Fellows), John Ramberg (Model Rockets, Minus 5), Graham Black (Model Rockets) and Hugh Jones. What began as a "one-off" project in the late 90's has included gigs in 2002 and in 2008 to reunite for the Jesus Of Cool 30th Anniversary. Video of that show is available for your viewing pleasure on YouTube. Here's the first of six from that show. Recently, Scott opened for Nick Lowe in Seattle.

The show I'm posting I received in a trade years ago is from 2002 and although it was billed as Minus 5, it was really a Lowe Beats warm-up gig for a New Year's Eve show 3 days later at the Sunset Tavern. I have a recording of the NYE show as well, which has a much expanded setlist, but the sound quality is much better (less crowd noise) from the Crocodile show. Great songs and a fun, loose and inspired performance!

The Lowe Beats (aka Minus 5)
Crocodile Cafe
Seattle, WA

December 28, 2002

Audience recording

01. Let's Eat
02. Born Fighter
03. Look I Like
04. Marie Provost
05. Crackin' Up
06. Lately I've Let Things Slide
07. Cruel To Be Kind
08. Switchboard Susan
09. She's So Fine
10. I Don't Want The Night To End

Scott McCaughey- vocals
Jim Sangster- guitar, vocals
John Ramberg- guitar, vocals
Hughie Jones- bass
Graham Black- drums

THE LOWE BEATS- 2002-12-28. rar

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rockpile- Live At Montreux 1980

Sorry for the lack of posts for the past week. I was out of town (in Edmonton) and before I left I actually stockpiled and uploaded some music that I had meant to post if I was bored in my hotel, but I was just too occupied (lots of hockey to watch on TV) and busy, you know how it is...

I noticed there has been a bit of a Nick Lowe renaissance recently with the release of a new album, The Old Magic, the re-release of the classic, Labour of Lust and a new release of an old recording from his band, Rockpile. Live At Montreux is latest product from Rockpile who previously released their only "official" studio album, Seconds Of Pleasure back in 1980. Actually, that was the only album released under the Rockpile name as the members of the band, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner and Terry Williams have recorded as a band on solo albums from Lowe (Labour Of Lust) and Edmunds (Trax On Wax 4 and Repeat When Necessary) due to contractual obligations with Lowe and Edmunds on different record labels. In fact, R.W.N. and L.O.L. were recorded simultaneously in 1979 during the same recording session, and they were probably the best known albums from both artists. Live At Montreux is an opportunity to hear Rockpile at their peak drawing from both their solo albums, though Edmunds songs dominate the setlist with only 3 Lowe tracks, but the band sounds excellent and showcases their amazing musicianship. There are better sounding live recordings available from Rockpile around, but it's great a "semi-official" release is available to exposure more of their music to the masses.


Live At Montreux 1980 (2011)

1. Sweet Little Lisa
2. So It Goes
3. I Knew the Bride
4. Queen of Hearts
5. Switchboard Susan
6. Trouble Boys
7. Teacher Teacher
8. Girls Talk
9. 3 Time Loser
10. You Ain’t Nothin’ But Fine
11. Crawling from the Wreckage
12. Let It Rock
13. I Hear You Knocking
14. They Called It Rock
15. Ju Ju Man
16. Let’s Talk About Us

ROCKPILE- Live at Montreux 1980. rar

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

R.E.M. Cassette Set

Last week I read an article online from Paste Magazine about a cassette demo recorded by R.E.M. back in 1981. Apparently, this has leaked on the good ol' internet and has appeared on some music blogs. A couple days earlier I saw it on Dime and didn't think much of it (since there are only a handful of songs), then I read the article and realized what a rare find this really is and how I would be crazy if I didn't download this artifact. I thought there might be some R.E.M. fans that read this blog or at least fans like myself that bought all their albums up until the early 90's. I've been re-buying (and downloading) their early albums again mainly for the bonus material. It brings back pleasant memories of when I first heard the song, So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry) and buying the album, Reckoning when it was first released at Pepper Records, that was directly across the street from the University of Winnipeg. Nowadays, I've been happy to listen to Peter Buck's projects such as The Minus 5, Baseball Project, Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3 and Tired Pony or anything he and Scott McCaughey have a hand in.

The cassette tape contains three songs, a couple versions or takes of each and supposedly there was only about 400 made. For a more detailed history and story behind the tape, I recommend the music blog, The Power Of Independent Trucking.

Cassette Set (1981)

  1. Sitting Still (fast "Polka" version, snippet)
  2. Sitting Still
  3. Radio Free Europe
  4. White Tornado
  5. White Tornado (take 2, snippet)
  6. Radio Free Europe (radio dub)
R.E.M. Cassette Set. rar (mp3)
R.E.M. Cassette Set FLAC (get this one if you know how to convert the files!)

Monday, October 03, 2011

The Jayhawks- Mockingbird Time Live!

The Jayhawks released their latest record, Mockingbird Time on September 20th, their first studio release in eight years and their first with their "classic" lineup of Olson/Louris/O'Reagon/Perlman/Grotberg since 1995's, Tomorrow The Green Grass. They have definitely retained their distinct sound on this release that makes you almost think this could have been recorded right after TTGG. Instead Olson split from the band in 1996 and Louris carried on with the rest of the band to produce some equally (even better, depending on your taste) fine music. This new record has risen the band from their reunited status and are touring in support of the new album instead of only playing songs from pre-1996 as if time stood still. I'm hoping they incorporate some songs from the post-Olson records on the latest tour, because I would love to hear, Big Star, I'm Gonna Make You Love Me and Tailspin, again.

What we have here is an invitation-only performance at the historic Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota a week before the release of Mockingbird Time. The show was recorded and broadcast on the 89.3 The Current and emceed by Mary Lucia. The band performs most of the album along with interview segments with Mary and they close the show with some of their classic tunes. A stream of the concert and some video is now on The Current page, as well as at npr. I'm not sure if the broadcast includes the entire concert (anyone there?), but the sound quality is near perfect so this is a must...and the new stuff sounds good, especially live!

The Jayhawks
Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN, USA

September 13th 2011

Live Broadcast on 89.3 The Current
MC - Mary Lucia
FM Broadcast

1. Intro's
2. She Walks In So Many Ways
3. Closer to Your Side
4. Hide Your Colors
5. interview / bio /etc
6. Tiny Arrows
7. stage banter
8. High Water Blues
9, Guilder Annie
10. Interview
11. I'd Run Away
12. Anne Jane
13. Tampa to Tulsa
14. Red's Song
15. Blue
16. Outro's

THE JAYHAWKS- Sept 13, 2010. rar
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