Monday, January 24, 2011

Various Artists: Commercial Music

I've noticed that several blogs - most notably Systems of romance and Crispy Nuggets - have showcased homemade compilations of obscure and random tracks, and I thought "Wow, I should get in on that!". So, consider this post my getting in on it. This compilation features a huge array of songs ripped from records and CDs of mine. Most of them are from singles, compilations, and private releases on which there was one really good song amidst a bunch of less-interesting tracks.
I figure a quick breakdown of the songs is a good idea:
First up is a song called "Tuesday's Eyes" by a band called The Company. This was featured on an obscure UK compilation that I posted a couple years ago, but was taken down with no explanation. The song is a pretty great dancely electro-pop track. The song "Perfect Leader" by the late Gregory Jones (whose other projects I have previously posted) is a great semi-experimental synthpop song from an album of experimental electronic soundscapes). Next is an atmospheric darkwave song by the original "Christian goth band" Idle Lovell, which is fortunately not overly preachy.
The song by Native Alien is from a 7" that was self-released in 1986, and has a well-produced and very catchy new wave sound that sounds a bit inspired by bands like Flock of Seagulls. Maybe it's a tad pompous at times, but it's a good track. From a 7" on the Himalaya Records label is a song by Where is China?. They have a 7" and an LP, but the song "Mean Words" is probably the only song from them that I really like. The next track, by New Johnny Five, is the first song from their sole album - the rest of the album is standard college rock/AOR fare, but "The Reasoning" is a total synthpop hit that's completely different from anything else on the record.
San Francisco is represented by the unknown and unapologetically poppy synth gem "Watch Me Dance Alone" by a band called Shadow Show. It comes from a self-released 12" that also inexplicably contains a synthpop cover of the Gilligans Islandm theme. Taking things even further into the poppy realm is the ultra lo-fi new wave/synthpop pearl by Teai Benet, 2 O'Clock Love. Teai Benet was a scenester in the Houston punk/new wave scene and self-released this truly enjoyable song on a 7" in 1983. It's cutesy without being precious, and the refrain really digs itself into your brain.
Minimal synth fans will like the song "I'd Rather Not" by Mark, James, and Julie. This is from a 7" from 1981. The five-song 7" that this song can be found on has four straightforward and unspectacular piano and lounge songs, but this song is completely different - it's pure electronics and percussion with sung/spoken male and female vocals. Continuing the minimal synth sound is a song off the only record by Your New Friends, a self-released 12" from 1986. This song is chock-full of lo-fi toy drum machines, warm electronics, and reverbed vocals that sound like they were recorded in a coffee tin. It's an odd track with questionable singing and almost emo-ish lyrics, but I find it very enjoyable, and it appears on eBay every few months for those interested.
Next up is a completely obscure song from a band called Velvascurge. Pure electronics, great vocals, with a sound (at least during the verses) that is occasionally similar to Rational Youth. Next is a song from the (apparently) extremely sought-after 12" by Charlie's Brother, called The Wishing Tree (Megatree Mix). Imagine Robert Smith fronting a first-wave Jamaican ska band covering an ABC song. Yep.
The song by Reverse Heck is a great darkwave song with tape loops and synths and cellos that's on a 1985 compilation called Life Out There. That comp primarily features what I could only describe as Tex-Mex-Polka music. The compilation remains unknown because nobody in their right mind would even bother to listen to that very, very, very niche genre. After that is a song by Jim Whiting, a punk rock kid from the east coast who self-released a four-song 7" in 1983. The record had three quite-good lo-fi powerpop/punk songs - and also "I Fall Around", a completely over-the-top killer gem of pure heavy old-school electro, which is the one I included (obviously)
A more recent song by another San Francisco band, Ssleeping Desiress, is next, from a 2010 demo cd-r. The rest of that CD is also excellent, but I wanted to narrow it down to one song to include on this collection. After undergoing a few incarnations as a duo with live drummers, Ssleeping Desiress is now essentially a one-man band with electronics, detached vocals, and an old-school reel-to-reel. I played this song the first time I DJd the "Wierd" party in NYC and the people on the dancefloor loved it. It reminds me of an old French coldwave song. Following that is a song from a 1986 compilation called The Mad Scene that was put together by Butch Vig. The comp mainly has standard guitar-based 80s indie/college rock fare (the kind that Vig was known for producing before the 90s). But the song by The D'a'ns is pure electronics. It has lots of samples and dirty synth basslines and super-ultra-completely cheesy singing and lyrics, and it sounds like The Short Wave Mystery doing a Detroit techno song. But I can not. Stop. Listening. To it.
Next - and going in a COMPLETELY different direction -is a more guitar-based song, "Counter Circular" by SF band IfThenWhy. It's a short song, a dark, almost gothic college-rock track with a bit of a proto-punk influence. After that is a song that mixes UK post punk, middle eastern themes, darkwave, and synth music to surprisingly excellent effect. "Life in Riyadh" by Riyadh is from the same compilation as the Company song that starts out this compilation.
Next up is a hazy gothic shoegaze masterpiece by And Tears Fell, a band who released a CD or two on the Epithet Records label I have a feeling that this song will prompt a lot of people to seek out their material, which is highly recommended. You can download a lot of their songs from their iLike page here.
Closing out the comp is an epic song from a Swedish band called Pojken Med Grodan I Pannan. For the most part their sole EP wasa mix of prog rock and alt-rock, but this song mixes simplistic drum machines, synths, and vocals that border on choral chanting. Despite some questionable bass meandering in the middle of the song (ugh), it's a pretty good track to end with.
But wait! There's more! A super-secret bonus track by a band called Headthrob! A song about being hung over! From a one-song single that was literally packaged in a barf bag! A song with the line "I think I'm th-, I think I'm th-, I think I'm th-throwing up"!
Please don't hate me for including this song. If you burn the comp to a CD, you'll have to delete this song to make it fit. That was all part of the plan...


Vanilla Face said...

Nice one, glad to see you joining in on the fun ;)

Unknown said...

Thanks for such a detailed write up on each song.

La Forme Lente said...

Thx for very nice comp :) It will be 2 tracks of Ssleeping desiresS in my next release (another compilation called Circuit d'Actes) :) gautier

goutroy said...

Yes! I can't wait for the new comp, the first one was great!

Marie said...

...would it be possible to post Velvascurge's ep at some moment?
It goes for tremendous prices on ebay... :-/

guiver said...

hi friends and congratulations , I would like more information on this LP and also more information for native alien group , is the best song of new wave , i leke very much but who write this song , why only one song , who is the producer...very very thanks
albert spain

chris sessions said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this compilation!!! I love the Teai Benet track "2 O'Clock Love". I've been trying to i.d. that one for a while now and had no luck until I heard it on your compilation. Thanks again! Keep up the good work!