Daniel - S. CD

Daniel Gugins, where are you now?
And hey, did you ever get over that “S.”?

At the time Daniel Gugins unleashed his self-released CD “S.” on an unsuspecting and deeply uninterested world (circa 1999) he was working for Slimline Sunrooms in my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. In fact, he was building a sunroom in my dad’s house. He gave my pop a copy of “S.” which, upon hearing, I promptly pilfered. Like that other musical oddball of the same first name, Gugins is obsessed with a particular woman who serves as a bottomless muse for his over-the-top home-recorded homages. There are also a few differences between the two. Johnston is a troubled genius. Gugins…is not. Gugins wears jean shirts embossed with the Slimline logo. Johnston…has likely not. But I’m telling you, this “S.”, it’s a truly great pop album. It’s all handcrafted. Like a sunroom. And it unselfconsciously conveys his love for a woman who obviously could not, even with great effort, get any more over him. Like a sunroom. And whoo boy, that Gugins can cobble together a chorus of choice cliché! But this is pop music, and somehow, don’t ask me how, I don’t even want to know how…it works. It really works. You will laugh at Daniel Gugins. You will feel sorry for Daniel Gugins (or at least be awed by his cringe-inducing lack of self-insight). You will tap your feet and bob your head. You will also help me make Daniel Gugins very slightly semi-famous so he can bring sunshine into the darkest corners of everyone’s houses. If you please: Go forth, download, and Guginsify. Then help me spread the Gospel of Gugins. Hallelujah and Fiat Lux.

Sample mp3: Daniel - I Swear It
Full download: http://www.zshare.net/download/9761694754de5f/

Dixie's Death Pool - Beauty Sleep CD

In 1995 I left Winnipeg for Victoria, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. A generous trade. The Victoria music scene was surprisingly vibrant for a city of 300,000...particularly in the alt-country vein. One of the biggest buzzes was Dixie's Death Pool, a fairly aptly named band, led by the oft-mother-of-pearl buttoned scenester Lee Hutzulak. DDP shows at Thursday's pub were always filled with anticipation as the band took forever to set up their gear and then took forever to take the stage. Truth be told, I found DDP a rather frustrating band to listen to live. Just when a song finally started building into something wonderful it would derail into an abstract oblivion and never return. I imagine that was entirely the point, but after too many teases I find I tend toward teleology. When they finally got around to settling on versions of their songs for their self-released 1999 debut album "Beauty Sleep" I was anticipating something magical. I was disappointed again. Lots of interesting spooky/cool moments and well worth a listen, but too many of the songs fall apart without creating the desired "sinister buzz." Let me know if you think I missed the deep end of this pool.

Sample mp3: Dixie's Death Pool - The Sinister Buzz
Full download: http://www.mediafire.com/?dxmbzbzmgrz

The Dudes - This Guy's The Limit CD

Yeah, we smoke more drugs than fat girls would, if fat girls could smoke pudding.
- The Dudes ("Sundays")

Winnipeg, Victoria, Calgary...the wee arc of my Western Canadian life brings us to The Dudes, whose timeless debut album demands an exception to my pre-2000 rule. "This Guy's The Limit" (a mondegreen you'll appreciate if you try telling someone about this album...which you should) was recorded at least in part in the kitchen of "Rock Central", a grand old house in Calgary's Victoria Park seedy/industrial core that was home to many local musicians and host to many free SPAM and pancake and backyard concert Stampede Breakfast extravaganzas. The CD was self-released in 2002 on Moustache Wax Records. You shall find a willing slot for it between your "Early Mouse" and "Jr". You shall note that The Dudes are funny and charming, but the most important fact about them will be self-evident: They rock. Rock Central was recently torn down in Calgary's quest for 100% gentrification. It's been a while since I've seen the Dude Bombs, those blimpheaded do-gooders who join the band on stage for a few minutes of crowd riling per show, but according to their website, they're still active. So, if you like this album, be sure to track down 2003's Beepuncher EP and 2006's Brain Heart Guitar full-length to hear more Dudes songs plus reworkings of some of these Calgary Classics.

Sample mp3: The Dudes - Release the Daughters
Full download: http://www.zshare.net/download/9771648978ab11/

Charalambides - Union LP

Only 500 copies of Charalambides' debut LP were released on Siltbreeze in 1994. According to one interview with Tom and Christina Carter it was never re-released on vinyl or CD because the master tapes were lost. The music and the handmade sleeves are both wonderful works of folk art. There was no insert with my copy at least, and no information other than the song titles on the back cover. Perfect; that's all I needed to know. The album opens with my favourite Charalambides song--Florian--11+ minutes of shimmering, gentle waves of distorted guitar that, more than almost any other song in my discography, warrants use of the word "transcendent". A brief reprise of the same song completes this Union. In between you'll find five unique and original indie-folk songs perfect for listening to as you watch dust motes drifting across a sunny room, curtains curling near an open window, the cat licking its paws. Time doesn't so much stand still as it ceases to be relevant while the tone arm eases its way across this lovely artifact.

Sample mp3: Charalambides - Florian (Reprise)
Full download: http://www.mediafire.com/?z3j90deezc2

Charalambides - Market Square 2 x LP

A year after Union, in 1995, the lumbering beast that is Market Square was unveiled on Siltbreeze. A much darker affair than Union, the double LP begins with a harrowing message left on Tom and Christina's answering machine from a guy threatening to kill himself if someone didn't pick up the phone. A guy who had the wrong number and who did not leave his phone number. Yeesh. There are some gentle moments here too, but overall it's an emotionally draining, uneasy, and sometimes frightening 90 minutes. According to the web interview I read, it was never released on CD because it's too long. But surely it could be broken into 2 CDs given that it was as 2 LP set. Perhaps the real reason is they are as afraid of this album as I am.

Sample mp3: Charalambides - Magnolia At Last
Full download LP1: http://www.mediafire.com/?dgvmvbmwdzb
Full download LP2: http://www.mediafire.com/?jd0mjzgmoey

The Cannanes - A Love Affair With Nature LP

One of the most underrated bands in my discography, I was chuffed to see Australia's The Cannanes live at The Hopetoun Hotel in Sydney in 2006. This lovely LP was self-released in 1989, re-released on white vinyl in 1991 on Feel Good All Over, and re-re-released on CD by Ajax in 1995 with no less than 14 bonus tracks, which I have yet to hear. I encourage you to visit their web site for more info.

Sample mp3: The Cannanes - Take Me To The Hotel Johanna (and Let's Trash the Joint)
Full download: http://www.mediafire.com/?t9b8zjwm2pi

Calling at Duke Street - An Anti-Fascist POP Compilation LP

Sparkling, fun indie-pop comp released on A Turntable Friend in 1993, to fight fascism no less. Been a long time since I bought a compilation that attempts to fight...anything. Why don't indie poppers rock against the machine like they used to do? I guess that fascism is one tough customer. Hope you can read the bands and songs on the jpg.

Sample mp3: The Seashells - Lovebirds
Full download: http://www.mediafire.com/?10dngggjdlt

The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Anemone/Cold to the Touch 7"

Go on. One more BJM single isn't going to kill you. Two instant classics on this 1995 Candy Floss/Tangible co-release. The version of "Anemone" is different from the album version...not sure about "Cold to the Touch". Regardless: Damn good mister jams.

Full download: http://www.zshare.net/download/89600976dc8812/

Boyracer - In Full Colour CD

Ah, redemption songs. I bought and rashly sold this Boyracer CD back in the day, then rebought a copy of it last year at Calgary's Hot Wax Records for $7.95, as the perspicacious can deign. A bargain. Some critics panned this full-length for being overly long and/or for petering out at the mid-way point, but with 21 tracks in 43 minutes you can afford to job the skip/delete button at will and still have time for tea before toast. As was Boyracer's forte, the ratio of catchy indie-rock winners to losers on this 1996 Zero Hour release seems quite high to me.

Sample mp3: Boyracer - Foam
Full download: http://www.zshare.net/download/895990854c531f/

Blaise Pascal - E-Filter CD EP/Foreword CD

Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed. - Blaise Pascal

Damn that's good. So's this. The other Blaise Pascal--the one-time Vancouver-based indie rock band--showed lots of promise on these two self-released CDs (5-song EP from 1993, 8-song mini-LP from 1994), but they quickly faded from obscurity into further obscurity. Speaking of which, they sound kinda like a seriouser Further...or a moodier Pavement.

Full download (both CDs): http://www.zshare.net/download/895909664f1911/

P.S. They were also included on the "A Day In The Park" compilation I posted last week.

Analogue - 5 Demos

Back in the day, a guy in Chapel Hill made me a swell mix tape of North Carolina bands (including Kitchen Puff's Polvo double 7") just cos. Gosh that was nice of him. And all he got out of it was spreading good music around. Imagine! Just ahead of Polvo he taped me 5 demo songs from his own band, Analogue. I told him I really liked his band, and fortunately it was not a lie. Concrete indie rock tripping over loose Pavement. "Bleacher" bemuses my inner thrasher, but "Croon", "Technical Serv.", "Endurance Test", and "Pets de Westlake" (which opens with some decent coughing) are original and compelling. Analogue went on to release at least one 7" record (previously featured here). These are the only demos I plan to post on YSKOD, so humour me and give them a demo, won't you?

Sample mp3: Analogue - Endurance Test (Demo)
Full download: http://www.zshare.net/download/8629789cf69750/

The Amazing Phantom Third Channel Compilation 7"

Amazing is the word for this 4-song compilation released on Cher Doll in 1993, featuring a hepped-up Crayon, a J-A-M-C-y Watercolor Sunset, a lactose-and-vacancy-free Neutral Milk Hotel, some sticky-and-sickly Paste, and...Nancy's childhood record? Do tell...

Sample mp3: Watercolor Sunset - Hollywood Decay
Full download: http://www.zshare.net/download/8629375e0048c3/

A Day In The Park Compilation CD

Sacrament mimicked via aluminium format! A compilation of Now Sounds, a 16 suite of them no less, from this Durham, North Carolina label, released in 1994. Though it collects a veritable who's who of indie rock, overall I find it a so-so set. The only standouts for me are Crayon, Butterglory, and Spatula. Rounding (and in some cases grounding) out this comp are The Dambuilders, Archers of Loaf, Versus, Unwound, Grifters, Nothing Painted Blue, Small 23, Diskothi-Q, Blaise Pascal, Spent, Portastatic, Further, and Refrigerator. Will you beg to differ?

Sample mp3: Spatula - Dinghy
Full download: http://www.zshare.net/download/86291627d25133/

Mix Tape Field Day

And now for something completely related (and thanks for all the yeses).

In December I bought an iMic and introduced my iMac to a top-end Denon cassette tape deck that I found on top of a dumpster a few years back. The two got along marvelously, despite their differences. They allowed me to convert a box of old cassettes to mp3, and some of the fruits of this labour will be shared with you in the weeks ahead. Most of the cassettes I converted were originals, but I did convert a few mixed tapes of songs from 7"s and CDs that were once part of my collection but alas, were (in most cases) foolishly traded away. My discography would have been roughly three times the size had I clung on to everything I bought back in the day, but I couldn't afford to expand without some contraction. I've since re bought, and sometimes resold again, several of those albums, but some of the more obscure stuff has never crossed my path again, lamentably (waah! I want my Crayons back!). Fortunately, I taped some of those songs before trading (using a lower-end tape deck, mind), and most of the recordings sound surprisingly good in mp3 format.

So, this week I'm gonna share with you a whole mess of mp3s from four mix tapes made in 1994-5: three that I made myself and one mystery mix tape with no labels that some nice bloke made for me, which I need *your help* to demystify. So off we go. For the completists on the bus, I've tracked down the releases for most of the songs and have noted them in the comments field; corrections and anecdotes welcomed.

From the mix tape "Second Rate Tape of Misc Stuff Gone"
Crayon - Forever Nearly True
Grover - 3D Girl
Envelope - **1/2
Jeffersons - Radon
Unrest - Bavarian Mods
Unrest - She is Today or Nova Scotia (which is it, please?)
Velocity Girl - Your Silent Face (New Order cover)
Jale - To Be Your Friend
Versus - Astronaut
Lazy Circle - Manchester or You've Risen (which is it, please?)
Lazy Circle - Hypnotized
Orifice - Electric Landlady
Shiny Beast - Averice
Sloan - Pretty Voice
Eggs - Erin Go Bragh
Eggs - Rebuilding Europe (Wimp Factor 14 cover)
Eggs - Obliviist Pt 3

From the mix tape "Taped These Songs and Then Traded These Recordings Away To Some Total Strangers"
The 6ths - Rot in the Sun
Erectus Monotone - Fall Marches
Erectus Monotone - Fragment
Seam - Shame
Seam - Driving the Dynamite Truck
Helium - Wanna Be a Vampire Too, Baby
Helum - XXX
Vomit Launch - Stillness

From the mix tape "Sordid, Sorted, and Sold"
The Spinanes - Bad Karma
Versus - N.I.T.A.
Versus - Big Head On
Dirt Merchants - Love Apnea
Crayon - Another King of the World
Crayon - Green Stamp
Helium - Termite Tree

From the mix tape "Mystery Tape"*
Velvet Crush - Drive Me Down (great song! I got this one at long last!)
Mystery Band - Mystery Track 1 (is this New Order?)
Mystery Band - Mystery Track 2 (help!)
Mystery Band - Mystery Track 3 (S.O.S.!)
Mystery Band - Mystery Track 4 (huh?!)

* if you can solve 2 or more of these 4 mysteries (and if you are willing to leave your email in a comment so I can email you to get your addy) you shall win the unclaimed copy of Wingtip Sloat's excellent and out-of-print "Half Past I've Got" double 7" leftover from the last YSKOD contest!

P.S. I'm afraid I didn't tape any of the other songs from any of these releases...if you have the complete recording, feel free to post a link in the comments.