Category: re-issues

New Video: Real Gone Music to Re-Issue a Two Critically Successful Paisley Underground-era Albums

Founded in 1981 as The Sidewalks by founding members and college roommates Matt Piucci (guitar, vocals) and David Roback (guitar ,vocals) Rain Parade expanded to a quintet with the addition of Roback’s brother Steven (bass, vocals), Will Glenn (keys, violin) and then Eddie Kalwa (drums). And with the release of their debut single “What She’s Done to Your Mind” in 1982, the members of Rain Parade quickly established themselves within Los Angeles’ Paisley Underground psych rock scene in the early 80s, a scene which also included The Bangles, one of the more famous and commercially successful bands of the entire scene.

Building on the attention they started to receive, the members of the quintet released their debut effort 1983’s Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, an album that renowned music critic Jim DeRogatis would later write in Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock that “Emergency Third Rail Power Trip is not only the best album from any of the Paisley Underground bands, it ranks with the best psychedelic rock efforts from any era,” as the band’s sound was largely inspired by The Byrds, early Pink Floyd, and others, but with dark and introspective themes.

Shortly after Rain Parade’s debut, David Roback left the band to form a new band Opal, and the band continued as a quartet, releasing 1984’s mini-LP Explosions in the Glass Palace, an album which NME would later praise for its “mind-meltingly beautiful guitar sounds, employed sparingly and dynamically amid dark, dizzy tales of murder, madness and drug paranoia.”

Eddie Kalwa left the band after the release of “You Are My Friend” and was repalced by Marc Marcum (drums) and John Thoman (guitar, vocals) was recruited to fill out the band’s second lineup, just as they were signed to Island Records. The reconstituted quintet released two more albums — Beyond The Sunset, a live album recorded in Japan and 1985’s Crashing Dream before breaking up. And unsurprisingly, the various members of the band went on to other creative pursuits with David Roback later forming Mazzy Star with Hope Sandoval.

In 2012, members of Rain Parade’s original lineup, Matt Piucci, Steven Roback and John Thoman, along with Mark Hanley, Alec Palao and Gil Ray, formerly of Game Theory played a reunion/comeback gig at Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco and that lineup played a number of live shows over the next two years, before Gil Ray’s departure due to cancer. Stephan Junca replaced Ray, who died earlier this year.

Almost 35 years after their initial releases, Real Gone Music will be re-issuing Rain Parade’s seminal and critically applauded first two efforts — Emergency Third Rail Power Trip and Explosions in the Glass Palace both digitally and on CD, with “Look Both Ways,” a track that was cut from the original Stateside release. Remastered by SonicVision’s Mike Milchner and approved by the band’s Matt Piucci and Steve Roback, the remastered re-issue is the first remastering of both efforts since they were initially released on CD back in the early 90s. And along with that the re-ssiue will include expanded liner notes from Paisley Underground critic and history Pat Thomas based on interviews and reminisces from the band’s founding members.

The re-issue’s first single is the jangling and anthemic “This Can’t Be Today,” a track that manages to be anachronistic — while we may know that the band was inspired by 60s psych rock, and it was released in the early 80s, it feels as though it could have been recently released by a contemporary act — i.e. Elephant Stone and others; however, its served with a sobering reminder of the fact that for every Susanna Hoff and The Bangles, there are countless bands, who receive some relative level of success before quickly disappearing. Should Rain Parade have been bigger? Perhaps but the re-issue is a key document of what was going on in the Paisley Underground scene. 

New Audio: Nature Sounds Re-Issues a Late and Under-Appreciated Soul Classic

The Exciters were a Queens, NY-based R&B and soul quartet that could actually trace their origins to when its founding members Brenda Reid (lead vocals), Carolyn “Carol” Johnson (vocals), Lillian Walker (vocals) and Sylvia Wilbur (voclas) formed an all-girl vocal act, The Masterettes as a sister group to another local act The Masters in 1961. As The Masterettes, Reid, Johnson, Walker and Wilbur released their first single “Follow the Leader” in early 1962; however, Wilbur left shortly after the single’s release and was replaced with Penny Carter. And with their new member The Masterettes auditioned for renowned songwriting and production duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, eventually winning a recording contract. Shortly after the contract was signed Carter left and was replaced by The Masters’ Herb Rooney, who later married Reid, and of course with the addition of Rooney, the quartet officially changed their name to The Exciters.

As The Exciters, the Queens-based R&B/soul quartet rose to national prominence with their 1962 smash hit “Tell Him,” which landed at number 4 on the US pop charts. The act continued to release well-regarded music for several years, including 1969’s Caviar and Chitlins through RCA Records, during what may be one of the most important, influential and commercially successful periods of the genre’s history. Coincidentally, some years later The Exciters’ Rooney would go on to write and produce Melvin Bliss’ Synthetic Substitution, which is arguably one of the more sampled albums in hip-hop.

Despite The Exciters’ relative success, Caviar and Chitlins had been out of print for several decades, until Brooklyn-based label Nature Sounds, a label that has released works from J. Dilla, Doom, Camp Lo and Masta Killa, recently released a vinyl re-issue, as well as the first digital release of the material ever. The re-issue’s first single is the sensual “Fight That Feelin,'” a song in which its narrator expresses that her desire for her lover has become insatiable, that her lover is much like a drug she can’t quit. And my goodness, this track should remind you of your parents soul collection and old episodes of Soul Train.

Founded by Captured Tracks’ label head and founder Mike Sniper, Omnian Music Group is a label group, whose goal is to further develop and strengthen its pre-existing imprints (Body Double Records, Fantasy Memory Records and Squirrel Thing Recordings) and partnerships (with New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records) of Captured Tracks, while seeking out innovative labels, who would benefit from the larger Omnian Music Group structure to partner with, and creating new and distinct labels. Since its formation, Omnian has also partnered with Australia’s Dot Dash Records, New York’s Sing Sing Records, and created three new labels — Sinderlyn, 2MR Records, a dance music label founded by Italians Do It Better’s Mike Simonetta and Captured Tracks’ Sniper, and Manufactured Recordings, a label that specializes in re-issues across a wide variety of genres.

Now, if you had been frequenting this site earlier this month, you might recall that Manufactured Recordings developed a well-regarded Shoegaze Archive Series that focused on under-appreciated and/or overlooked shoegaze and noise rock bands — and as part of that of that series, they would be releasing re-issues of three largely overlooked early 90s shoegazers Alison’s Halo’s 1998 release Eyedazzler, a compilation of singles that the band wrote between 1992 and 1996; KG’s Come Closer, We’re Cool, a compilation featuring early tracks, unreleased material and material from a shelved Slumberland Records effort; and lastly, Bethany Curve’s mid 1990s debut, Mee-Eaux.

Adding to their growing catalog of re-issues, Manufactured Recordings will be releasing a compilation focusing on the late 70s, New York-based New Wave/post punk act Come On featuring re-issues of 1978’s “Don’t Walk On The Kitchen Floor”/”A Kitchen In The Clouds,” 1980’s “Housewives Play Tennis”/”Howard After 6,” unreleased studio recordings and live material recorded in the late 70s.  The band, which was comprised of a rather ragtag group of artists, musicians and scenesters including George Elliott (guitar), Ralf Mann (bass), illustrator Page Wood (drums), Elena Glasberg (guitar) and Jamie Kaufman (vocals) had a unique and egalitarian stage look featuring white button down shirts and black shirts, and played what they had dubbed “nervous rock,” full of angular and jagged guitar and bass chords, rapid-fire, four on the floor drumming, dark and wryly ironic — and unsurprisingly as you’ll hear on “Don’t Walk On The Kitchen Floor,” Come On’s sound manages to closely resemble Talking Heads ’77 and More Songs About Buildings and Food-era Talking Heads.

In light of both Talking Heads’ massive influence and popularity, Come On’s sound may not seem all that revolutionary, nor does it help that the band was only together for an incredibly short period of time; but what the band’s output does manage to do is to create a fuller, more interesting picture of what was going on in the Downtown scene o the late 70s while reminding the listener that although bands and artists like Talking Heads, Ramones, New York Dolls, Television, Patti SmithBlondie and a lengthy list of others who rose to be iconic, there were countless near misses.

 

 

 

 

 

Founded by Captured Tracks‘ label head and founder Mike Sniper, Omnian Music Group is a label group, whose goal is to further develop and strengthen its pre-existing imprints (Body Double Records, Fantasy Memory Records and Squirrel Thing Recordings) and partnerships (with New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records) of Captured Tracks, while seeking out innovative labels, who would benefit from the larger Omnian Music Group structure to partner with, and creating new and distinct labels. Since its formation, Omnian has also partnered with Australia’s Dot Dash Records, New York’s Sing Sing Records, and created three new labels — Sinderlyn, 2MR Records, a dance music label founded by Italians Do It Better‘s Mike Simonetta and Captured Tracks’ Sniper, and Manufactured Recordings, a label that specializes in re-issues across a wide variety of genres.

Manufactured Recordings has developed a Shoegaze Archive Series, a re-issue series that focuses on under-appreciated and/or overlooked shoegaze and noise rock bands. On May 19, 2017 the re-issue arm of Omnian Music Group will be releasing re-issues of three largely overlooked shoegazer rock bands of the 90s — Alison’s Halo’s 1998 release Eyedazzler, a compilation of singles that the band wrote between 1992 and 1996; KG’s Come Closer, We’re Cool, a compilation featuring early tracks, unreleased material and material from a shelved Slumberland Records effort; and lastly, Bethany Curve’s mid 1990s debut, Mee-Eaux.

Originally formed by the husband and wife duo Catherine Cooper (vocals, guitar) and Adam Cooper (guitar) along with Lynn Anderson (bass), the Tempe, AZ-based shoegazer trio Alison’s Halo derived their name from the name that had given their drum machine — Alison. As The Big Takeover‘s Jack Rabid noted “Alison’s Halo trafficked in spectacular, effects-laden, ethereal guitar majesties, but were distinguished by Catherine’s lovely vocals as their six-string melanges.” And as a result, the band found themselves opening for internationally known acts including Ultra Vivid Scene, Curve, The Verve, The Boo Radleys, Bailter Space, and Stereophonics, and played at several music festivals including SXSW and CMJ. As a trio, the band recorded two demo cassettes Slug and Halo, but before the recording sessions for their debut single “Dozen,” the band recruited Thomas Lanser (drums), expanding the band to a quartet; however, before the release of 1998’s debut effort, Eyedazzler 1992-1996, a compilation of singles written and recorded between 1992 and 1996 the band went through several lineup changes. After the band’s breakup in the late 90s, the members of the band went on to other creative pursuits — for several years the duo of Catherine Cooper and Adam Cooper spent several years writing and recording Burt Bacharach-inspired pop under a number of names, and Adam Cooper has also released a solo album of ambient music. In 2009, the Coopers resurrected Alison’s Halo and released several digital compilations of old material through their website, including three live albums and the The Jetpacks for Julian demos EP, and “Dozen,” the band’s debut single was included in 2016’s Still in a Dream: A Story of Shoegaze 1988-1995 box set compilation. They also released a digital 7 inch “Some Heaven”/”The Hardest Part” from the Eyedazzler demos.

Naturally, it shouldn’t be surprising that “Dozen” is the first single off the Eyedazzler re-issue and the single should immediately bring memories of 120 Minutes-era MTV as the rousingly anthemic yet dreamy song features Catherine Cooper’s ethereal vocals floating over shimmering power chords and a propulsive rhythm section consisting of thundering drumming and a gently throbbing bass line. Interestingly, while clearly sounding of its time, being reminiscent of A Storm in Heaven and A Northern Soul-era The Verve and My Bloody Valentine, the band’s sound also nods at contemporaries like Overlake and others.

 

Deriving their name from street sign, near the cliffs of Monterrey Bay, the Santa Cruz, CA-based space rock/shogeazer trio Bethany Curve — comprised of Richard Millang (vocals, guitar), Nathan Guevara (guitar) and David Mac Wha (drums) — are part of a second, somewhat more American-leaning wave of shoegaze and noise rock, forming in 1994, around the same time time that a number of the British shoegazer pioneers including Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Lush and others had split up. The band has developed a reputation for crating dark, moody space rock-leaning shoegaze full of shimmering guitar chords led through tons of delay pedal and throbbing, tweeter and woofer rocking bass — or as they’ve dubbed their approach “Atmosphere | Arrangement | Sound | Layering | Noise,” which they’ve used on the band’s four full-length releases, 1994’s Mee-Eaux, 1996’s Skies Crossed a Sky, 1998’s Gold and 2001’s You Brought Us Here and their 2013 EP Flaxen. Along with that, the band released a cover of Cocteau Twins‘ “Ivo,” which appeared on Dewdrop Records’ 2002 compilation Half Gifts: A Tribute To The Cocteau Twins. And much like Alison’s Halo’s “Dozen,” “Mey Voy,” Mee-Eaux‘s final track was also featured on 2016’s Still In A Dream: A Story Of Shoegaze 1988-1995 box set compilation.

For Manufactured Recordings reissue of Mee-Eaux, the first single is the slow-burning, brooding and cosmic instrumental “Out of the Curve” which features a dreamy and shimmering guitar melody paired with propulsive drumming and droning vocals — and while being atmospheric and ethereal, the song possesses a forceful, enveloping character.

 

Initially started as a bedroom-based solo recording project of the Mulhouse, France-born, Strasbourg, France-based multi-instrumentalist Remy Bux in 1988, the project involved Bux’s early experimentation with a two-track recorder, a rigged synthesizer and a great deal of ingenuity. Eventually purchasing a four-track recorder, Bux took writing and recording much more seriously. And after a 1991 relocation to Strasbourg, where he studied musicology, Bux recorded the KG debut 7 inch featuring a full band at Downtown Studio in 1993. The same lineup followed that up with a 1996 single co-released by Lo-Fi Records and Orgasm Records — and their Manufactured Recordings re-issue, Come Closer, We’re Cool is a compilation of their early singles, and tracks from a shelved Slumberland Records full-length effort. Interestingly their output has been compared to Isn’t Anything-era My Bloody Valentine and Psychocandy-era The Jesus and Mary Chain but with the immediacy and minimalism of punk, and as you’ll hear on “Love Me Forever,” an anthemic track that features a quiet, loud, quiet structure in which strummed acoustic guitar is paired with blistering power chords. And while clearly nodding at The Jesus and Mary Chain, the song also reminds me of early Blur.

New Audio: Sub Pop Records and Soundgarden Release Second Single Off Remixed and Expanded Re-Issue of Their Debut Album

Currently comprised of founding members Chris Cornell (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Kim Thayil (lead guitar), along with Matt Cameron (drums), who joined in 1986 and Ben Shepherd (bass), who joined in 1990, the Seattle, WA-based grunge/alt-rock quartet Soundgarden can trace its origins back to the formation and eventual breakup of an early 80s Seattle-based band The Shemps, which featured Cornell on drums and vocals, along with original bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Strangely enough, over the years what seems to have been forgotten is that the members of Soundgarden had started their recording career with Sub Pop Records; in fact, the renowned alt rock/indie label released the band’s first two EPs 1987’s Screaming Life and 1988’s Fopp, two efforts, which the label re-issued a couple of years ago through both vinyl and digital formats, marking the first time in about 25 years that the EPs were pressed onto vinyl — and the first time they were released digitally. Interestingly enough, Sub Pop Records helped distributed Soundgarden’s 1988 full-length debut, Ultramega OK.

And although they had some creative differences with the album’s producer Drew Canulette and the band’s overall dissatisfaction with the final mixes, their full-length effort was a commercial success as it garnered both a 1990 Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance and attention from larger labels — including A&M Records, who quickly signed the band. At the time, the band had intended to spend some time remixing the album for subsequent pressings of the album; but those plans wound up falling by the wayside, as the band went on to write and record their sophomore effort, and major-label debut, Louder Than Love.

Last year, the members of the band acquired the original multi-track tapes from the Ultramega OK sessions and they enlisted the assistance of renowned producer, engineer, long-time friend and frequent, old-time collaborator Jack Endino, who has famously worked with Nirvana, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Skin Yard, The Black Clouds and others to create a new mix of the album that would tie up what the band felt were persistent loose ends — while fixing the album’s overall sound. Interestingly, the band found six early version of album singles that eventually wound up on Ultramega OK and reportedly those early versions, which would eventually become staples of their live sets at the time, capture the band’s sound and songwriting in a much rawer, less polished form — and much closer to the sound on the Screaming Life EP.

Almost 30 years after Ultramega OK’s original release, Sub Pop Records will be releasing the remixed and expanded re-issue of the album, as a long-awaited “correction.” Naturally, for die-hard fans and completists, the re-mixed material will capture the band’s sound as they fully intended it, while the re-discovered early material will serve as a window into the development of the band’s songwriting approach and overall sound. Now, as you may remember, I wrote about the re-issue’s first single “Beyond The Wheel” and the re-mixed version possessed a crisper, cleaner sound, which helped to display Kim Thayill’s incredible guitar work and the interplay between Matt Cameron’s Bonham-like thundering drumming and Cornell’s Robert Plant-like wailing. The re-mixed and expanded Ultramega OK’s second single “Flower” much like its preceding single displays a cleaner, crisper sound, which gives the song the muscular insistence that the band became known for while interestingly enough, the song has moments that nod at Badmotorfinger and Superunknown.

Formed in the early 90s and featuring Dermot Lambert (vocals, guitar), Robbie Sexton (keys), Brian McLoughlin (bass) and Barry Campbell (drums), Blink is a Dublin, Ireland-based rock quartet who have released three albums to date, 1994’s A Map of the Universe, 1998’s The End is Nigh and 2004’s Deep Inside the Sound of Sadness. And as the story goes with their inclusion on a New York-based trade festival CD in the early 90s, the Irish quartet quickly received international attention as EMI Records had signed the band for their 1994 debut; but before that the band had achieved quite a bit of attention back home in Ireland — their first two singles “Going to Nepal” and “Happy Day” reached the Irish Top 20, and their third single “It’s Not My Fault” debuted at number 8.
With the Irish quartet’s sophomore effort, the band broke through Stateside as The End Is Night was named Billboardfive-star album of the month and was named Billboard‘s album of the week before going on to quickly sell 90,000 copies, which allowed them to open for a number of well-known acts of the era including Mercury Rev, Moby, Lloyd Cole, The Cardigans, Mark Geary and Blink-182 (who ironically enough, the members of Blink sued for copyright infringement when Blink-182 was originally known as Blink; so talk about an awkward tour, huh?). And the band’s most recent album was nominated for Best Irish Album during 2005’s Meteor Music Awards.

It’s been a while since the band has released anything although the band’s frontman Dermot Lambert released a critically applauded solo effort back in 2013; however, March 3, 2017 will mark the re-issue of the band’s debut effort A Map of the Universe and the beginning of the a series of re-issues of their back catalog. And to mark the release, the band recently released “Happy Christmas 22 (I Still Miss You)” as a standalone single for the first time ever — although the single was released on A Map of the Universe. While being fitting for the season, the song is a rousingly anthemic track, which also appropriately sound of its era; in other words, it manages to be reminiscent of Brit Pop superstars RIDE, Oasis and others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently based in New Orleans, Kate Fagan is a ska, punk and new wave musician, who first emerged to local and regional attention as the founding member and frontwoman of Chicago-based ska act Heavy Manners, an act that once opened for the The Clash and The English Beat; but interestingly enough before that Fagan released a cult-favorited New Wave single “I Don’t Wanna Be Too Cool” through local imprint Disturbing Records that was immediately embraced by local club DJs, radio stations and taste-making record stores like Chicago’s Wax Trax, where it became the best-selling release by a local artist ever.  The B-side single “Waiting for the Crisis” also received attention for its politically charged, Reagan-era lyrics, which manage to still resonate today.

 

As the story goes, Fagan wrote the title track after moving from New York to Chicago in the late 70s. “I pretty much came to visit Chicago and fell in love with the scene and never left,” Fagan recalled in press notes. “At the time I’d been working at New York magazine and was getting dismayed watching the CBGB scene give way to the whole Studio 54/velvet rope thing. So I spontaneously moved to Chicago, which was much more inclusive and everyone wasn’t standing around peering at each other from behind their shades. But eventually I saw that same kind of divisive hipster culture start to creep in. ‘Too Cool’ was my reaction to that.” Along with “Too Cool,” Fagan wrote many of her earliest songs as a solo artist and with Heavy Manners in an intuitive fashion, recording them at Chicago’s Acme Studios, where she’d meet the fellow artists with whom she’d form Disturbing Records.

Although the “Too Cool” single was a cult favorite back in the early 80s, sadly it was thought to be long lost, as the second printing of the album was lost in a house fire that destroyed almost everything Fagan had owned at the time — that is until Manufactured Recordings stumbled upon the original single, along with two unreleased bonus tracks that Fagan recorded with members of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and Scarlet Architect. Interestingly, when you listen to the four tracks off the re-issued 7 inch, the songs manage to sound both of its time and incredibly contemporary — in some way you can imagine acts like Colleen Green, Courtney Barnett, Karen O. and several others citing Fagan as an influence, as Fagan’s lyrics possess a wry irony at at their core, as you’ll hear on the aforementioned “Too Cool,” a song that’s reminiscent of both The B52s and Go-Gos. “Waiting for the Crisis” sounds as though it were influenced by Sandinista! and Combat Rock-era The Clash. However, “Master of Passion” and “Come Over” are the most dance floor-friendly, New Order-like songs of the re-issue, featuring shimmering undulating synths, propulsive drum programming paired with Fagan’s sultry and coquettish delivery.

Of course, each track reveals a songwriter, who had an uncanny knack at writing an infectiously catchy hook that you could imagine kids bouncing up and down to in a sweaty club — and does so with a cool, swaggering self-assuredness.