Saturday, March 3, 2012

Get Sugarplastic's '7x7x7' Series on CD

I'm a big fan of Los Angeles' power-pop scene of the early to mid '90s. Wondermints and this band, the Sugarplastic, usually fight it out for the top spot in any imaginary countdown I have in my head. The Sugarplastic are often dismissed as a second-rate XTC, but this is an unfair accusation. There is no doubt, however, XTC was a huge influence on their first album, 'Radio Jejune.' Colin Moulding is even called out in the lyrics of one song. I will admit this one record, released in 1995, is a bit derivative, but I love it anyway.

As with many young bands, after their first effort the trio began to find their own sound. Unfortunately, the Sugarplastic have been far from prolific. There have only been three other proper studio albums since the one that pigeonholed them 17 years ago. I think the lack of productivity has led to the XTC label sticking. With all of that time between albums, not that many listeners stuck around to hear the later stuff. That's unfortunate.

The Sugarplastic's latest releases have been on TallBoy Records, but you have to go back to 2005 for the last one. One of the coolest things the band did with the label was the '7x7x7' subscription series that began in 2003. There were seven 7" singles in all, each individually numbered by subscriber (I was No. 63 of 300), and released every three months. So, like everything else Sugarplastic, you had to show some patience. By the conclusion in 2005, I had 14 sides of great music on beautifully colored vinyl. Seven songs were penned by Ben Eshbach. The other seven were by Kiara Gellar. The covers were works of art worth displaying, too.

My heart sank a bit when TallBoy ultimately decided to release them all on one CD, but the label did give subscribers a courtesy copy, along with a bonus disc of unreleased Sugarplastic songs. There were also stickers, buttons and other little gifts. I'm actually happy the disc is available now because that means you can get it... and at a cost of only $6 in America and $8 elsewhere. Get it here. These are my series favorites from each songwriter.

The Sugarplastic - Here Comes Mr. Right (mp3) Side 10 (Eshbach)
The Sugarplastic - Hey Mr. Lockjaw (mp3) Side 5 (Gellar)

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