At long last, another 5-star-er from my not-so-vast collection. I put Lorelei's "Sometimes..." right up there with Velocity Girl's "Forgotten Favourite" and Primal Scream's "Velocity Girl" on the mantle of indie pop feel goodness. This song is from their first 7", released on Slumberland Records in 1991. By the b-side, they were already noticeably darker. By their next release, their chanteuse was gone and their metamorphosis into an angular, abstract indie rock band was complete. They're still making music, as you can read about here. I like their music on both sides of the cocoon, but The Bitter Air EP is still the standout for me.
Side A - Lorelei - Sometimes... [5 stars mp3]
Loop are one of those favourite bands that are among my favourite bands in principle, and forever, but that I rarely listen to anymore. Yet I love Loop, and if I had to list my 10 favourite bands, Loop would be in there. I love their droney humourlessness. I love their refusal to write verse-chorus-verse songs. I love that they're still obscure despite being seminal. I love that Loop backwards spells qooL. How qooL is that? I used to own a complete set of Loop CDs, including that red limited edition Italian bootleg, but I sold them all for a pittance when I moved away to grad school in Victoria, BC, in 1995. I have regretted this sale frequently and completely, and have been slowly re-amassing my Loop collection. I've found used copies of Heaven's End (1987), The World in Your Eyes (1987), and A Gilded Eternity (1990). I have Wolf Flow (1991) on cassette (whoo!). And some kind soul on the now-defunct Shoegazer's Dream collective posted the Italian bootleg CD so I have that in mp3 form now too. I'm still missing Duel (1992) and, most sadly, I still lack a copy of my very favourite Loop album: Fade Out (1988). A complete discography of loop can be found here. I passed up a vinyl copy of Fade Out on my otherwise lovely honeymoon in San Fran in 2002. I found it at Amoeba Records (Haight-Asbury location), and it was only $10, but we were trying to travel light and USB turntables hadn't been invented yet, so I passed it up in the hopes that I'd stumble across it in CD form at some point. Never did. Damn! If anyone out there could post the Fade Out album and provide a link to it in the comments section, I'd be grateful. I won't hold my breath. For now, here's a so-so Loop song from The Gilded Eternity era. "Arc-Lite (Radar)" is from the 12" single released on Situation Two Records in 1989. The single included the album version, "Arc-Lite (Sonar)", and a 10 minute yawn called "Sunburst" that doesn't blow me away, cf. my favourite Loop songs like Burning Prisma, Fade Out, and Brittle Head Girl. Unfortunately, this 12" is the only Loop I have on vinyl, so you'll have to seek out some better Loop stuff elsewhere.
Side A - Loop - Arc-Lite (Radar) [3 stars mp3]
It turns out that my first L-choice is also Canadian, hence the uh, clever, pun on Mr. Cohen. I really like the Pub Slop EP (another uh, clever pun, this time on that Seattle record label), released around 1993 on Halifax, Nova Scotia's l'il label Cinnamon Toast Records. The songs bridge indie pop and folk/alt-country naturally. In comparison to "One's a Heifer" (see previous post), "Frightened Of" still sounds fresh to me. My EP is #285/500.
Side B - Leonard Conan - Frightened Of [4 stars mp3]
On the minus side, I only have one piece of vinyl by an indie band starting with a K. On the plus side, it's a Canadian band, so up goes YSKOD's Can-Con ratio (that's Canadian Content, folks). KCS were from Guelph, Ontario. I picked up this self-released 7" at a show they did in Winnipeg in around 92-93. They were better live than this rather dated-sounding indie-rock song suggests. I'm always suspicious of songs that sound angry but could be about making a grilled cheese sandwich for all the lyrics convey. It's also quite possible that I'm just not listening closely enough. Years of listening to shoegaze (where every other song seems to be about the sun, a wave, the moon, the tides, a vapour trail, dusk and/or dawn, some sophomoric metaphor for being "high", being blind, or smootching) has discouraged me from listening to song lyrics too closely unless I catch some encouraging snippets or know the lyricist will deliver the goods. Surely I've discouraged you enough that you must give this a listen now, no? Dare you disagree with my lowly 2-star attribution?
Jupiter Sun released this one-sided 12" EP on "I Wish I Was A Slumberland Record" in 1994. Mine is #489/500. It's decent indie pop with a dollop of shoegaze/jangle. "Violet Intertwine" has to be among the worst song titles ever though. Yeesh.
Here is some space rock from Seattle's Jessamine; a cover of Suicide's "Cheree", released on Jessamine's own Silver Apple label in the early 90s. The A-side, "Ordinary Sleep" is perhaps even better, but it can be found on the CD-version of their self-titled 1994 release, I think.
More Idaho for you. Here are a couple of songs from their limited edition 10" EP "Bayonet" released on Fingerpaint Records in 1995. Mine is number 409, but I don't know how many were pressed. The vinyl version includes 3 tracks not on the CD version, but two of these are just atmospheric soundscapes (codename for "throwaways"). However, I really like Juke Box...it was recorded in 1990 when John Berry was still part of the band. It indeed sounds like a haunted jukebox. The A-side song "The Worm" is classic down-in-the-mouth-indie-rock-style Idaho. So, eat your potatoes; see you next week.
Side A - Idaho - The Worm [3 stars mp3] Side B - Idaho - Juke Box [4 stars mp3]
I have....ONE I-band on vinyl. One! Idaho. Here's the B-side to the Skyscrape/Star 7" released on Ringers Lactate in 1993. The A-side is a classic, but you can find it on their debut album Year After Year. Not sure if this B-side was compiled elsewhere. Anyone know?
Slightly out of the prescribed order, appropriately enough, are Toronto's The Hidden Cameras, after whose "High Performance Rodeo" show in Calgary I picked up 2004's "The Arms of His 'Ill'", a 10" EP consisting of seven 4-track demo versions of songs that ended up on their acclaimed album Mississauga Goddam. The Hidden Cameras sure seem to enjoy releasing their demos. Most of the demos here are similar in style to the album versions, but it's nice to hear them in a slightly more intimate and stripped down form. And yes, this is in fact one of the few records I've bought this millenium. My wife and I nearly saw the band a second time in Montreal, but we opted to stay at the very comfortable venue "Casa Del Popolo" to drink Cheval Blanc and Coup de Grisou and hear Carrigan, As The Poets Affirm, The Acorn, and Kiss Me Deadly for a mere $5. We had a damn good time. Here is the lovely "no strings attached" version of "Builds the Bone".
Side B - The Hidden Cameras - Builds the Bone [4 stars mp3]
Back in 1993, Tangible and Bomp! records co-released an amazing box set of six 7"s by San-Fran-area bands Hollowbody, Orange, Nebtwister, Acid, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Reverb. Only 500 copies of the box set were made, and mine is #235 (though the 7"s were sold separately too). The box set came with Issue No. 1 of "The Brian Jonestown Blotter", written anonymously in Church-of-the-Subgenius style, which documents the San-Fran music scene from which BJM emerged. Over time, as the alphabet and my discography allow, I will share some of the songs from this box set with you. I'm rather short on H-bands (save for Hood, whom I will save for next round), so here is the A-side of the Hollowbody 7". Fans of BJM and Spacemen 3 need apply.
Here is one of my favourite 7" singles of all time. And apparently I'm not alone: see the 3-hive post here (where you can also download the excellent A-side "1620"). This was the 2nd release on Slumberland Records' spinoff label "I Wish I Was A Slumberland Record". It came out in 1993 on lovely orange marbled vinyl as you can see. Speaking of wishes, I wish Henry's Dress had stuck with their muddy dirge bent, instead of moving toward the feedback-drenched pop for which they're known. As far as I know, "Stumble" remains in demo form only.
Side B - Henry's Dress - Stumble (Demo) [4 stars mp3]