Tuesday, June 24, 2008

CHAPTERHOUSE - An EP Collection - 1990-1991

From AMG: Chapterhouse formed in 1987. Drummer Ashley Bates, bassist Jon Curtis, guitarist Simon Rowe, and vocalists/guitarists Stephen Patman and Andrew Sherriff allegedly called themselves Incest early on but made a smart decision to change the name. Long before they laid down their first demos, they rehearsed and honed their live show. One 1988 gig, performed in their home base of Reading, won a supporter in Sonic Boom. The Spacemen 3 member wanted to release the band's music on his Bop-a-Sonic label, but that never materialized. Instead, the band signed with BMG's Dedicated subsidiary -- home of Cranes, Global Communication, and (ding ding) Spacemen 3 (if only for 1991's Recurring). By the end of 1990, the band replaced the exited Curtis with Russell Barrett and had a pair of four-song singles -- Freefall and Sunburst -- released and reviewed with mostly favorable results. A third single, early 1991's Pearl, gained them even more attention, featuring an oft-used John Bonham sample and background vocals from Slowdive's Rachel Goswell. This set the stage for the full-length debut Whirlpool, also released in 1991. While it didn't capitalize on the band's building popularity quite as hoped (the rise of grunge made sure the group didn't have more than a small, if rabid, cult following stateside), they were able to stir up a couple low-charting singles and a sizeable fan base in England. After the Mesmerise single closed out 1991, the band went silent for over a year before reappearing with 1993's Blood Music. "She's a Vision" and "We Are the Beautiful" were successive, successful singles; the album from which they came otherwise sunk. It was accompanied by a slew of remixes, many of which came from Global Communication. (Initial copies of Blood Music -- meaning most of the copies that are floating around, since it wasn't a blockbuster -- came with a bonus disc of nothing but remixes.) The band was then laid to rest, anthologized in 1996 by the handy double-disc Rownderbout compilation. Sherriff continued to work with electronic music with the Bio.com and Bionic projects; Barrett later became part of Inner Sleeve; Rowe joined former Slowdive members in Mojave 3; Bates went trip-hop for 4AD's Cuba (aka Air Cuba).

Falling Down - 1990 - Freefall [E.P.]
Need (Somebody) - 1990 - Freefall [E.P.]
Inside of Me - 1990 - Freefall [E.P.]
Sixteen Years - 1990 - Freefall [E.P.]

Something More - 1990 - Sunburst [E.P.]
Satin Safe - 1990 - Sunburst [E.P.]
Rain - 1990 - Sunburst [E.P.]
Feel The Same - 1990 - Sunburst [E.P.]

Mesmerise - 1991 - Mesmerise [E.P.]
Precious One - 1991 - Mesmerise [E.P.]
Summer Chill - 1991 - Mesmerise [E.P.]
Then We'll Rise - 1991 - Mesmerise [E.P.]

Pearl - 1991 - Pearl [E.P.]
Come Heaven - 1991 - Pearl [E.P.]
In My Arms - 1991 - Pearl [E.P.]
Pearl (edit) - 1991 - Pearl [E.P.]

192 .mp3 (cbr)

THE AUTEURS - EP Collection - 1992-1999

From AMG: When the Auteurs released their debut album in 1993, the British press linked them with the massively popular Suede as part of a "glam revival." While the band can blast out guitar-drenched rockers like Suede, the Auteurs come to life when they draw from the quiet side of such distinctively English guitar pop bands like the Kinks, the Smiths, and George Harrison. Luke Haines, the group's guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, writes highly melodic pop songs that combine the airy melodies of Harrison with the cutting social observations of Davies; they're sharp, intelligent songs, full of humor and gorgeous melancholy, even when they're loud rockers. With their two albums, New Wave and Now I'm a Cowboy, they've earned a devoted cult in the U.K. without gathering much support in the United States. By the time the group released the Steve Albini-produced After Murder Park in early 1996, they had even lost most of their cult audience in the U.K.; accordingly, the album was a stiff, even on the indie charts. Before its release, Haines had dropped hints in interviews that the record may be the Auteurs' last. Six months later he released an album with his side project, Baader Meinhof; a new Auteurs record, How I Learned to Love the Bootboys, appeared in 1999.

Showgirl - 1992 - Showgirl EP
Glad To Be Gone - 1992 - Showgirl EP
Staying Power - 1992 - Showgirl EP

Chinese Bakery - 1994 - Chinese Bakery: Part 1
Government Bookstore - 1994 - Chinese Bakery - Part 1
Everything You Say Will Destroy You - 1994 - Chinese Bakery: Part 1

Chinese Bakery - 1994 - Chinese Bakery: Part 2
Government Bookstore - 1994 - Chinese Bakery: Part 2
Everything You Say Will Destroy You - 1994 - Chinese Bakery: Part 2

Unsolved Child Murder - 1995 - Back With The Killer EP
Back With The Killer Again - 1995 - Back With The Killer EP
Former Fan - 1995 - Back With The Killer EP
Kenneth Anger's Bad Dream - 1995 - Back With The Killer EP

Light Aircraft On Fire (Single Version) - 1996 - Light Aircraft On Fire
Buddha (4-Track Band Demo) - 1996 - Light Aircraft On Fire
Car Crash - 1996 - Light Aircraft On Fire
X - Boogie Man - 1996 - Light Aircraft On Fire

The Rubettes - 1999 - The Rubettes EP
Breaking Up - 1999 - The Rubettes EP
Get Wrecked At Home - 1999 - The Rubettes EP

192 .mp3 (vbr)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Reckless Sleepers - Big Boss Sounds [Full CD] - 1988

In 1988, the group Reckless Sleepers came together. Jules Shear was the lead vocalist in the group. Initially Elliot Easton (lead guitarist for The Cars) was to be a member as well, but that didn't work out, and Elliot instead ended up recording a solo record (Change No Change) with Jules doing all of the co-writing.

Guitarist Jimmy Vivino should be familiar to anyone who watches Conan O'Brien, as he is in the house band the Max Weinberg Seven, and leads it when Max is on tour with Springsteen.

The debut (and only) CD is full of great tunes, but only one was actually written by Jules: "If We Never Meet Again" which was a minor hit in the States.

Jules Shear (lead vocal, guitar)
Jimmy Vivino (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Brian Stanley (bass, vocals)
Steve Holley (drums)

Tried To Please Her
This Heart
I Wake Up Loving You
If We Never Meet Again
Big Before It Bursts
Mary Lou
Big Boss Sounds
Notting Hill Gate
It Came Quick (And It Didn't Stay Long)

256 .mp3 (vbr)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

LAUGHING HYENAS ~ Merry Go Round [Full CD] ~ 1987

Quite possibly one of the most under-rated/under-appreciated bands ever. Yeah, I'm biased, as I've loved this band for nearly 20 years. Now it's your turn...

From AMG: They had obvious influences (most notably the Birthday Party and Fun House-era Stooges), but the Laughing Hyenas were a fierce, sulfuric blast of fresh noise that galvanized the Michigan punk scene with this 1987 debut. Merry-Go-Round is a brawling, bloodied lip of a record, delivering twice the cathartic buzz that vocalist John Brannon's former group, Negative Approach could muster, and even then at half the speed. The Laughing Hyenas perfected their attack over the course of the next two releases, reaching a climax with the brutal masterpiece Life of Crime, but Merry-Go-Round sets the template with deceptively simple voodoo blues and a rhythmic complexity that's rarely acknowledged. Kevin Strickland's sinister bass riffs are in lock-step with Jim Kimball's tribal thud, and together they form one of rock's great rhythm sections, laying the framework for Larissa Strickland's jagged, strangled guitar and Brannon's raging, throat-ripping bellow. The Laughing Hyenas dealt primarily with pain, both sonically and lyrically, examining the pain of love, lust, guilt, and death. Even if Brannon wasn't yet at his lyrical peak (much of the imagery seems drawn from gangster movies), he was already penning some striking lines, particularly the introductory confession that he's "been a sinner all my life/But that you already know," aiming to "stain the walls with love." Other numbers find him repeating stanzas from previous songs or just filling space, but the lyrics to "Hell's Kitchen" are priceless rock & roll-scat nonsense at its best ("Popeye the sailor man/He lives in my frying pan/I turn up the gas/Burn off his ass/Popeye the sailor man"). "Gabriel" is the centerpiece, a dark celestial vision distinguished by a funereal trumpet hook that most successfully conjures the spirits the Hyenas were after. The compact disc release of the original EP comes augmented with some nice extras, most notably "Soul Kiss," previously available only on the cassette version of Merry-Go-Round. Also welcome is the frenzied, aggressive "Candy," from the B-side of the "Here We Go Again" single. Recorded live in Germany, "Dedications to the One I Love" is proof of the hypnotic intensity the Hyenas were capable of in person, plus Brannon's confused, deadpan banter with the audience ("I can't even think") gives a taste of the damaged charisma they radiated on-stage. The remaining tracks date from the waning days of the original lineup, recorded with guitarist P.W. Long (who was soon to poach the rhythm section for Mule); "Don't Bouge My High" is funnier than probably intended, and the band's contribution to a 1992 Alice Cooper tribute single for Sub Pop ("Public Animal #9"), is a game try from genuine fans, but will only sound good to someone who can't compare it to the prototype.

Hell's Kitchen
That Girl
What Tomorrow Brings
Soul Kiss
Dedications To The One I Love
Don't Bouge My High
Public Animal #9

320 .mp3 (vbr)