Monday, December 31, 2018

NYE With Big Country

New Year's Eve means one thing for me... watching my all-time favorite concert. After a decade of turning the calendar year on these pages, you must know by now it's Big Country at Barrowland, Dec. 31. 1983. This year, I have even less going on than usual, so I should have time to make it a double feature. I have already pulled out the massive 'Big Country at the BBC' box set off the shelf. Disc four is a DVD that includes the last night of a four-day stint at the Edinburgh Playhouse, circa Dec. 31, 1984.

It's hard to believe only one year has passed since the Barrowland show. The band feels much more sophisticated. Nicer haircuts, clothes (no flannel!) and a fancier venue all play a part, but the songs sound more polished too. UK No. 1 album 'Steeltown' had been out since October, but the well-known songs of 'The Crossing' still dominate the short set.

The Barrowland show means much more to me. It was aired on MTV over here at the height of my fandom, and I remember the 35-year-old event like it was yesterday. The Edinburgh Playhouse show has its place, however, and I can't wait to usher in 1985 tonight. Happy New Year to you all. Stay alive!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

One That Got Away

It happens at the end of every year. We painstakingly assemble our lists of favorite albums only to discover a day, week or month later an album that should have been there. For me, this year, it's 'Oh Boy' from Massage. The Swede told me about this one back in July, and I took to it then but abruptly forgot about it. I was reminded of it again when he had it on his list of best albums about a week ago. A day later I saw Massage on Howard's singles rundown at IndiePopSavedMyLife. To rub it in even more, the day after that I heard the band on two different podcasts featuring the year's best. Thanks for the nudge, everybody. I'm now obsessed with 'Oh Boy.'

Massage is based in Los Angeles, and they remind me a bit of another band from there I also just missed on my albums countdown in 2013. Dream Boys are three Americans and one Scotsman that met in La-La-Land for one glorious self-titled long player I bought in late December that year just as I was assembling my year-end lists. I knew immediately this was the best album I had heard in 2013. Alas, it was too late. If I were to do a best of the decade, and as we approach 2019 I envision this being on the horizon, I imagine the album would be in my top 10. They have been described as filtering the spirit of Postcard Records through the haze of the Paisley Underground. Five years on, I can't believe this album hasn't caught the attention of more listeners that worship at the altar of 'C86.' Maybe it's the name. Dream Boys sounds like a Broadway musical, doesn't it?

To the best of my knowledge, Dream Boys have never had another album. Maybe they're finished. If so, they are one of the best flickers of brilliance I have on the shelf.

Born Yesterday

Monday, December 24, 2018

Celebrate Yule With Jesus of Cool

Naughty? Nice? No judgments here. For what it's worth, you've all made my list. Thanks to all who stopped by the blog in 2018. Almost all of my holiday albums are what could best be described as classics. Spector, the Beach Boys and '60s R&B and soul get most of the turntable time in December, but a couple of contemporary albums have become regular listens this decade.

I have highlighted 'Tinsel and Lights' from Tracey Thorn ad nauseam, but I don't think I have given enough love to these two from Nick Lowe. 'Quality Street,' released in 2013, is a mix of originals and covers and a real charmer. It's understated warmth makes it perfect for sipping hot chocolate in front of the tree long after the kids have hit the sack. I hear "Christmas at the Airport" on satellite radio and in the shops, and it's well on its way to being a holiday mainstay. This year, I have taken to Lowe's inspired take on "Silent Night." Horns, organ and an upbeat rhythm really wake up this tired carol.

Silent Night

By the time 'The Quality Holiday Revue Live' was released in 2015, Yep Roc labelmates Los Straitjackets had become Lowe's regular backing band, and he's still playing with them to this day. Their song "Tokyo Bay" made my list of favorite songs for 2018, and we have been promised a long player in 2019. The album is divided between songs from 'Quality Street' and classics from the Lowe canon. Don't pass up on seeing these guys. Dick Dale would be proud of this rendition...

Christmas at the Airport (Live)

See, you were on my list. My best to you and your families, and I hope Santa is good to you Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

A Festive 50: Favorite Songs of 2018

As my pal Drew penned just last week, here's "the most indulgent post in a year of indulgent posts." That's the last list. I promise.

50. Paul McCartney - Come on to Me
49. Flying Fish Cove - Sleight of Hand
48. The Suncharms - Red Dust
47. Gwenno - Eus Keus?
46. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - An Air Conditioned Man
45. David Bowie - Let's Dance (Demo)
44. The School - Animal Farm
43. The Breeders - Nervous Mary
42. Elvis Costello and the Imposters - Under Lime
41. David Byrne - Everybody's Coming to My House
40. Eureka California - Mkultra
39. The Orielles - Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)
38. The Catherines - Good Golly Goo
37. Juliana Hatfield - Xanadu
36. Drinks - Corner Shops
35. Stephen's Shore - Change
34. The Proclaimers - Angry Cyclist
33. The Ocean Blue - Therein Lies The Problem With My Life
32. Watoo Watoo - Modern Express
31. The Monochrome Set - I Feel Fine (Really)
30. Sharesprings - Something Soon
29. Blues Lawyer - Unstable
28. Math and Physics Club - Threadbare
27. Comet Gain - If Not Tomorrow
26. Nick Lowe - Tokyo Bay
25. Pete Astor - One for the Ghost
24. Wallflower - I Wish Spring Would Last Forever
23. The Chills - Snow Bound
22. Tracyanne & Danny - Alabama
21. Molly Burch - To the Boys
20. The Limiñanas (featuring Peter Hook) - The Gift
19. Okama Flannel Boy - Carolina St.
18. The Treasures of Mexico - Super Cute
17. La Luz - Cicada
16. Gruff Rhys - Frontier Man
15. Pylon Reenactment Society - Messenger
14. Rays - Yesterday's Faces
13. Alpaca Sports - I'll Do Anything You Want
12. The Goon Sax - Make Time 4 Love
11. Charles Bradley - I Feel a Change
10. Tracey Thorn - Queen
9. Boyracer - Walls Come Tumbling Down
8. Anna Burch - 2 Cool 2 Care
7. The Hit Parade - Happy World
6. Smokescreens - Waiting for the Summer
5. The Perfect English Weather - Rockin' to the Beat
4. The Catenary Wires - Was That Love?
3. Shannon Shaw - Cryin' My Eyes Out
2. The Beths - You Wouldn't Like Me
1. Jetstream Pony - Self-Destruct Reality

Monday, December 17, 2018

Favorite Albums of 2018

Another stellar year for the long player has me trying to whittle down about 35 candidates into a tight top 20. Here are a few worth mentioning that will just miss the cut. Missing on a technicality, the Just Joans had a new album released in America in January, but most of you in the UK got your hands on it over there in December. With the Breeders and Gruff Rhys on the 2018 calendar, both of those seemed like a shoo-in, but I find myself a little underwhelmed. They will, however, find a spot on the best songs list. The same also goes for Anna Burch, Eleanor Friedberger, Tracey Thorn, Soft Science, Drinks, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, the Orielles and the Limiñanas. Good albums with some great songs, but as I assemble this list today, not quite top albums material. Can you imagine the disappointment they must be feeling right now? Some old fat guy from Seattle thinks we aren't quite up to snuff...

20. (tie) Sharesprings - Paraparlor
More evidence the world is getting smaller. A quick but unforgettable 20 minutes of dreampop straight outta Indonesia.

20. (tie) The Treasures of Mexico - Everything Sparks Joy
Mark Matthews and Bob Collins from the Dentists are still cutting their teeth on easily digestible pop. Sorry about that.

19. Blues Lawyer - Guess Work
This Oakland band likes Flying Nun and isn't afraid to show it. Respect.

18. Juliana Hatfield - Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John
Even though I saw Blake Babies many times, it might surprise you this was bought at least as much for the songs of Newton-John. If I wasn't such a wuss, I would place this one much higher.

17. Molly Burch - First Flower
That voice you fell in love with last year is even better on this Austin-based singer-songwriter's follow up to her stunning debut. She has more on her mind than just romance too.

16. Various Artists - 3x4
Paisley Underground legends the Bangles, the Three O’Clock, the Dream Syndicate and Rain Parade cover each other's songs. The liner notes may be even better than the music!

15. Pete Astor - One for the Ghost
If the man behind the Loft, Weather Prophets and Ellis Island Sound has an album out, chances are he will have a place on this countdown. My hero.

14. Watoo Watoo - Modern Express
Word on the streets of Bordeaux is this will be the last album for Pascale and Michael. Fans of Stereolab-inspired music mourn.

13. The Monochrome Set - Maisieworld
Amazing to consider 40 years into their career this decade might be their must fruitful. Can't wait to see them in 2019.

12. Math and Physics Club - Lived Here Before
The death of lead guitarist James Werle makes this one difficult to listen to right now. With the passage of time, I suspect this one will be looked on as one of the band's best.

11. Various Artists - Four Band Comp
New and previously unreleased tracks by Sarah stars Even as We Speak, Boyracer, Secret Shine and Action Painting!

10. Smokescreens - Used to Yesterday
La-La-Land band is known for its love of Kiwi pop, but on this second album there are new influences added to the repertoire that make them an even nicer fit on the Slumberland roster.

9. Wallflower - Ever After
Japanese jangle-pop vets return to give the sound of vintage Pains of Being Pure at Heart a run for its money.

8. The Beths - Future Me Hates Me
The guitar-driven songs of this New Zealand outfit have more hooks than you'll find on a fisherman's floppy hat. There's still plenty of room on this bandwagon.

7. Tracyanne & Danny - Tracyanne & Danny
With so much time, tragedy and sadness since Camera Obscura's 'Desire Lines,' it did feel like we might not hear from Tracyanne Campbell again. We all feel relief and root for her with new confidant Danny Coughlan.

6. The Goon Sax - We're Not Talking
Riley Jones' increased contribution has much to do with the Brisbane trio avoiding the inevitable sophomore slump.

5. Alpaca Sports - From Paris With Love
The songs of Swedes Andreas and Amanda seem light as air, but heartbreak, loneliness and desperation are not far away. In other words, perfect pop.

4. Various Artists - Daytrip Records Presents: This Is My Street
Indie-pop favorites, including the School, the Catenary Wires, the Just Joans and Cosines, are recruited by a small Welsh label to cover songs by the Kinks. A dream come true!

3. The Perfect English Weather - Don't You Wanna Feel the Rain?
I have to hand it to the Pickles Clan. To have me anticipating releases by their personal side project with the same enthusiasm as a new Popguns album is no mean feat, and the themes of this album really hit home to this "maturing" music fan.

2. The Chills - Snow Bound
After getting his feet wet again a few years ago with welcome comeback album 'Silver Bullets,' Martin Phillipps feels fully back this time. Best effort since 'Submarine Bells.'

1. Shannon Shaw - Shannon in Nashville
She leaves the Clams at home for a solo venture with the help of Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and a band that backed Elvis, Roy and Dusty. The result is a little Lesley Gore and a lot Shangri-Las.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Favorite Reissues of 2018

Well, I did it again. It was another year where I spent more resources on new reissues than new releases, although I did keep it closer than usual. What can I say? I'm an old guy holding on to the past with arthritic fingers. I have a feeling my favorite reissue of 2018 is one I don't even have yet. Fingers crossed 'The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society' box set will be under the tree on Christmas morning. As Casey Kasem used to say, now on with the countdown.

20. Various Artists - Record Store Day singles
Not for the brave of heart, but I shivered in the cold for the first time in years to pick up 7" reissues of Frank Wilson's "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)," Nico's "I'm Not Sayin'" and Chris Bell's "I Am the Cosmos." Not sure I would do it again, but I am happy to have them.

19. Stereolab - 'Switched On (Volumes 1-3)'
For die-hard fans, not much sizzle here, but I was one volume short. 'Switched On' (1992), 'Refried Ectoplasm' (1995) and 'Aluminum Tunes' (1998) are remastered and come in a clam-shell box. Also available on clear vinyl.

18. Bettye Lavette - 'The 1972 Muscle Shoals Sessions'
Bettye and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Enough said. How in the world did this one sit on the shelf for decades? Run Out Groove brings this to us on vinyl for the first time with two bonus tracks.

17. The County Fathers - 'Lightheaded'
Cloudberry Records has a stellar reputation for unearthing gems like these. You may know Mark Radcliffe as a BBC radio presenter, but he was once in an indie-pop band based in Manchester. This set includes the coveted three-track "Lightheaded" 12" that came out in 1988, plus a bunch of extras.

16. Various Artists - 'Basement Beehive: The Girl Group Underground'
I'm such a sucker for this sound. Don't expect the Shirelles. Believe me, Numero Group dug deep for these obscure gems. Skip the vinyl and double your pleasure with the 56-track double CD.

15. The Mayfields - 'Compact & Bijou'
They shared bills with the right bands (Pooh Sticks), recorded for the right labels (Ambition, Bus Stop) and showed up in the right fanzines (Sarah 4), but I never owned anything by the Mayfields until Firestation put this one together. Perfect late '80s indie pop.

14. David Bowie - 'Loving the Alien (1983-1988)'
I "showed off" my extensive '80s Bowie collection a couple of years ago. So, you may be wondering why I would shell out big bucks for this 11-disc set. Even with all of those singles, there was just too much here I didn't have, including a 2018 rethinking of 'Never Let Me Down,' live shows and a handful of other songs. Probably a needless extravagance, but it's so well put together I have no regrets.

13. Joe Strummer - '001'
On the day this one came out, my list of music wants was as long as my arm. This resulted in me going the cheap route for the basic double-disc edition. Some have argued this is for the uninitiated, and they may have a point, but I found there was quite a bit here I didn't have as my post-Clash collection of Strummer is a bit patchy.

12. Wire - 'Pink Flag', 'Chairs Missing', '154' Special Editions
The 80-page 7"-sized hardcover books contain the remastered original album and a disc or discs of singles, B-sides and demos. The texts, interviews and photos in the books make these just about the most beautiful artifacts in my music room.

11. Various Artists - 'C89'
Like the previous three editions presented by Cherry Red, I immediately bought this celebration of indie pop like it was a Pavlovian response. I do think the quality of the songs ticked down a bit (starting with 'C88,' actually), and it feels like a good place to stop... unless the label would like to go back to 'C81' and work from there. I would be up for that!

10. Yung Wu - 'Shore Leave'
Like a long lost Feelies album but with percussionist Dave Weckerman taking the lead. Every member from the 'Good Earth' era had a hand in it. I completely missed this one when it was released in 1987. 'Shore Leave' was my most listened to reissue in 2018.

9. Various Artists - 'The Sound of Leamington Spa' 'Vol. 8' and 'Vol. 9'
Firestation's signature series appeared to have ended in 2013, but then label founder Uwe Weigmann dropped a bombshell on these very pages last year. I don't know how he finds these obscure indie-pop bands from yesteryear, but I'm sure glad he does.

8. Various Artists - Optic Sevens Series
Has anyone noticed the 7" subscription series seems to be making a comeback? (See Slumberland and WIAIWYA labels for a couple of other stellar examples.) Optic Nerve is in the midst of releasing 12 classic indie-pop singles in 12 months. So far I have had Apple Boutique's "Love Resistance," the Siddeleys' "What Went Wrong This Time?" and East Village's "Cubans in the Bluefields" in my mailbox. The presentation of these reproductions has been jaw dropping. They have come with posters, postcards, pins and all kinds of extras, and in this day of declining vinyl quality, I have been floored by the sound of these artifacts.

7. Bow Wow Wow - 'Your Box Set Pet (The Complete Recordings 1980–1984)'
If you already had all of these remixes in your vinyl collection, I tip my cap. This remastered three-disc set is beautifully put together in a clam-shell box with well-done liner notes.

6. The Pale Fountains - 'Something on My Mind'
The '82 Crépuscule/Operation Twilight maxi single is here, as well as a handful of interesting studio tracks from Crépuscule compilations and other unreleased curiosities. This clear-vinyl edition includes an entire CD of live material from the same period. In a nutshell, this is everything you'll need before the band moved to Virgin.

5. Martin Newell - 'The Greatest Living Englishman'
I once wrote the name Newell should be included with the likes of English icons Hitchcock, Davies, McCartney and Partridge. Twenty-five years after its release, Captured Tracks celebrates this classic by restoring the original tracklist as envisioned by Newell and producer Andy Partridge, as well as including 10 pages of liner notes penned by the artist.

4. The Monochrome Set - 'Eligible Bachelors (Expanded Edition)'
Arguably the band's best album is blown up to three CDs and includes the 'Fin' live album and singles (not just from this time period), B-sides, rarities and BBC sessions from 1979-1981. If you don't have much from this band, start here.

3. The Wolfhounds - 'Hands in the Till: The Complete John Peel Sessions'
The name says it all. Three energy-packed sessions from the 'C86' vets recorded between March 1986 and January 1988 and put out by Slumberland.

2. Various Artists - Sarah Records Reissues
Even As We Speak - 'Feral Pop Frenzy',
Action Painting! - 'Trial Cuts (1989-1995)',
Boyracer - 'Fling Yr Bonnet Over The Windmill'
Back in the spring, Emotional Response Records mined the vaults of Sarah Records and released these albums (plus one more we will get to on the new releases list) as a bundle to fund a trip to Indietracks for Even As We Speak. You can purchase them all separately now, and I suggest you do. 'Fling Yr Bonnet Over The Windmill' is Boyracer's three singles on Sarah. 'Feral Pop Frenzy' is Even As We Speak's classic 1993 album in its entirety. 'Trial Cuts' is Action Painting's four singles (three for Sarah and one for Damaged Goods) plus unreleased material.

1. Candy Opera - '45 Revolutions Per Minute' and 'Rarities'
Apologies to Andy Pawlak, but I'm going to need a do over on that list of Firestation's best releases I put together last year. No. 1 with a bullet is '45 Revolutions Per Minute.' There's a little of Pawlak's sound in this Liverpool band, and you might hear early Aztec Camera and maybe some Prefab Sprout too. This Liverpool band is the very definition of shoulda been, and it warms the cockles that 30-plus years later these "lads" are receiving nothing but accolades from all who hear them.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Putting a Polka-Dot Bow on This Series

It's a story we read all the time. From smash in 1985 to split in 1986, Strawberry Switchblade's time came and went in the blink of an eye. There were clearly thoughts of a second LP, and you only need to look as far as the band's appearance on John Peel's show in the spring of '85 as evidence. "Sixty Cowboys" was a new song, and "Cut With the Cake Knife," we would later learn, was already in line as Strawberry Switchblade's next single. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Rose McDowall took some of those last songs and recorded several others between 1986 and 1988. If you followed McDowall's career in the late '80s, you may also know she was performing with a new band of Creation alums that included, among others, Lawrence of Felt fame and the rhythm section of the Weather Prophets... a real time machine moment if there ever was one. If you caught them, I would love to hear about it.

The songs from this era would finally see the light of day in 2004 and be reissued again in 2015. For fans like myself, 'Cut With the Cake Knife' was like a gift from the gods. Some of the songs are not a world away from the sounds of Strawberry Switchblade, but you can hear McDowall going in a different direction in others. She did just that after these sessions. Here is a particular favorite of mine. "Tibet" is a sad lament about a friend leaving masked by some pretty sounds and melodies. You must know by now I'm a sucker for that combination.


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Thank You, Pete

We lost one of our heroes this week. I say "our" because I can't imagine there are any visitors out there who didn't spend many a night in their formative years listening to 'Singles Going Steady' by Buzzcocks. I have said it many times on these pages, but once more won't hurt: I have never owned a better band compilation... period. You'll agree those first three albums were pretty special too.

I have spent the wee hours of this Friday night/Saturday morning listening to my favorite songs from Buzzcocks and the solo career of Pete Shelley. I didn't, however, go to the golden age. This will be inexplicable to all, I imagine, but my favorite long player from beginning to end is the virtually unknown comeback album 'Trade Test Transmissions' from 1993. I was working at a record store when it came out, and I just couldn't get those songs out of my head. I played it in the shop every day for weeks. I had just graduated from college and was completely confused about the future. Looking back, I think this album was the soundtrack to my final efforts at staying the kid that grew up listening to 'Singles Going Steady' over and over again. That rebellious spirit was desperately trying to hang on in the nooks and crannies of my soul, but time was running out.

In remembrance of the recently departed Shelley, here is a little mix of songs a bit off the beaten path of the most well-known albums. Thanks for everything, Pete. You will continue to live on in our hearts and on our stereos.

Howard Devoto on vocals in '77, but that's Pete on guitar. From the EP "Spiral Scratch."

Everybody's Happy Nowadays
Live at the Hammersmith Odeon in March of '79. The entire show can be found on the album 'Entertaining Friends.'

Clocking in at more than nine minutes, here is the Elongated Dancepartydubmix found on the flip side of the 12", circa 1981.

Telephone Operator
A minor hit from his 1983 solo album 'XL1. Like 'Homosapien, it was produced by Martin Rushent.

I know what you're thinking, but I can't recommend 'Trade Test Transmissions' enough.

Totally From the Heart
It took three years to follow 'Trade Test Transmissions,' but it was worth the wait.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Short Stack of Strawberry Switchblade B-Sides

I sense the natives getting restless. I'll put a polka-dot ribbon on this obsession with all things Jill and Rose this weekend. I promise. The synth-heavy songs "Since Yesterday" and, to a lesser extent, "Let Her Go" are the hits from the duo's self-titled long player, and the B-sides from these singles are of quality stock. The cover of "Sunday Morning," as well as "By the Sea," come from the 12" of "Since Yesterday" and have that early lo-fi vibe like you would find during the band's "Trees and Flowers" era. These were produced by indie legend David Balfe. My copy came with a gorgeous poster of the gals that's still in pristine condition. I seem to recall not hanging it because I was worried my dad would freak out. Seems pretty tame now.

Sunday Morning
By the Sea

The two songs on the flip side of the "Let Her Go" 12" are from a Janice Long session first broadcast on BBC Radio 1 in October 1984. Nary a duff note on these gems. Speaking of radio sessions, that brings me to my plea. If there is anyone out there who can hook me up with Strawberry Switchblade's sessions for John Peel or David Jensen from Oct. 1982, I would be most grateful. I have wanted those for about as long as I can remember.

Beautiful End
Michael Who Walks By Night

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Too Hot, Too Cold, Just Right (Not in That Order)

In the blog's infancy, I used to do a series called Fables of the Deconstruction. It was basically a listen to an early version or demo of a song put up against the final released version found on a single or album. So often, too many cooks in the kitchen would mean the unpolished bedroom recording was the superior take. That's more or less the way I feel about today's pick from Strawberry Switchblade. There are a few versions of "Go Away" to compare and contrast, but the beautiful 1983 B-side to "Trees and Flowers" is the definitive version for me. By the time the song became a deep cut on the band's debut album, it's almost unrecognizable. The time period, however, is not. As with the previous post, the 1982 demo is from the band's days as a quartet, and the feel is decidedly post punk... and awfully good too.

Go Away (1982 demo)
Go Away (1983 B-side)
Go Away (1985 album version)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Polka Dots and Moonbeams

I finally caught 'Teenage Superstars,' the brilliant follow-up to 'Big Gold Dream,' and even though there was no music to go along with the in-depth interviews on Glasgow's indie scene of the '80s and '90s, I found the documentary at least as interesting as the look at labels Fast Product and Postcard Records in its predecessor. Watching Rose McDowall's input lit a fire under me, and I have spent the past couple of days ripping all of my vinyl from Strawberry Switchblade.

It would be easy to stick to the really early material to make it seem like I only liked the cool stuff that had more in common with the Velvet Underground than the drivel the pop charts were churning in the early '80s, but that wouldn't be honest. I bought into the hits too. We will, however, start with one of the more accepted songs... according to the music intelligentsia. "Trees and Flowers" was the band's first A-side and Jill Bryson's admission she suffers from agoraphobia:

Can't you see
I get so frightened
No-one else seems frightened
Only me, only me

There are some pretty impressive names associated with this single on both sides of the glass, including Bill Drummond, David Balfe, Will Sargeant and Roddy Frame, but Kate St. John and her oboe is the real standout among some other interesting instrumentation, including the French horn. Do yourself a favor and follow the "Just Music" B-side with St. John's work on the the Dream Academy's instrumental version of "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want." These two songs back to back are pure bliss. As for the 1982 demo, this was when they were a female four piece, and their sound has more of a post-punk feel. As for the extended mix, you know my weakness for 12" singles. I have read in places the band had little or nothing to do with the extended versions that appeared on the 1985 Japanese release called 'The 12" Album.' This is the best of the lot.

For you trivia lovers, "Trees and Flowers" featured at No. 47 on John Peel's 1983 Festive 50.

Trees and Flowers (1982 demo)
Trees and Flowers (1983 single)
Trees and Flowers (Just Music) (1983 B-side)
Trees and Flowers (extended mix)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Got Me By the Short Hairs

As we are wrapping up a wonderful four-day holiday weekend, I'm filled with dread at the thought of the 6:00 alarm bell tomorrow. Waking up this morning to 'My Long-Haired Life,' the 1996 album from Marti Jones,' however, was a mellow contrast to the start of this day. I saw Jones at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., on this tour, and even 22 years later I remember her putting on a good show as the opener for Marshall Crenshaw. Her husband, the legendary Don Dixon, was on guitar. I think Jones' best albums are the ones that mix her originals with inspired covers. You'll find songs by Nick Lowe, Aimee Mann and Otis Redding on 'My Long-Haired Life,' but this one from Squeeze sounded the best this morning as I was stretched out in my own bed.

Black Coffee in Bed

Jones is also quite an accomplished painter, and this is her work on the cover above. It depicts a big change in her life when she cut her own locks and became a new mother. Here's my favorite of the Dixon/Jones compositions.

It's Not What I Want

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Just What You Always Wanted

I was checking out some clips of Soft Cell's "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" 40th anniversary farewell show from September and was tickled to see Mari Wilson performing a duet of "Last Chance" with Marc Almond. I haven't followed Wilson's career with the same passion of uber fan Post-Punk Monk, but I do adore her early work, particularly during the Compact Organization era. Here's the extended mix of her smash (well, not here in America, but you folks across the Atlantic will know it), as well as one of my favorite B-sides. Please excuse the scratchiness of my 12", but this is among the first dozen or so pieces of vinyl from my collection. As for the B-side of the 1980 single "Love Man," I'm opting for a cleaner sound from the highly recommended 2016 double-disc comp of female indie pioneers titled 'Sharon Signs to Cherry Red.'

Mari Wilson - Just What I Always Wanted (12")
Mari Wilson With the Imaginations - If That's What You Want

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Tuesday's Not-So-Long Song

Here's a nod and a wink to my blogging pals and their inspiring series of long songs each Monday. I have a whole room chock full of three-minute pop songs but not nearly enough long tunes to play along... that is, unless I start pulling out my '80s 12" singles. That would certainly put a damper on what is already the most depressing day of the week. Here's one you know quite well in its seven-minute form. It won't surprise you to know this version didn't make it on Joe Strummer's '001' compilation that came out earlier this year. I opted for the relatively inexpensive two-CD set of that one, and I will probably end up regretting that choice. What can I say? My list of record wants is a mile long.

For you Strummer completists out there, it might interest you to know the U.S. version of this 12" came with a dub and instrumental version of "Love Kills" that doesn't seem to be on the UK version. Not sure how it happened, but this silly Yank somehow ended up with the UK version.

Love Kills (Extended Mix)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Dusted Off and Visible Again

I found myself in one of those YouTube rabbit holes the other night, and a wonderful and relatively recent clip of Pauline Murray performing "Dream Sequence" unplugged popped up. That immediately took me to the shelves to pull out 'Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls.'

This came out a couple of years before my time, but I understand it was a hit in the UK, reaching No. 25 on the album chart in 1980. I, however, was an ocean away, and I bought it later in the decade without ever hearing a note or even knowing the name Pauline Murray. Her previous group, the punk band Penetration, had not been on my radar either. What attracted me to it was the cover. Remember when we used to see an album in the bins and take a risk like that? I miss that mystery, but at the vinyl prices these days, I'm not going to complain too much about Soundcloud and the like. Uh-oh, here comes a tangent. Focus, Brian, focus.

There was a Factory look to the image and, sure enough, the cover was credited to two giants, photographer/designer Trevor Key and graphic designer Peter Saville. It didn't hurt to see Martin Hannet's name on there as producer and band member too. As you can see, Vini Reilly was part of the Invisible Girls as well, but I had not discovered the charms of the Durutti Column just yet.

All these years later, I enjoyed listening to the album this week more than I thought I would, but "Dream Sequence" remains a level above the rest. I don't know if I completely buy into this description from Melody Maker, but I do wish I had said it. They called it "an exciting new area of electronic pop where Motown meets the modern world." Rolls off the tongue.

Dream Sequence

Saturday, October 27, 2018


Earlier this week, I went to my son's middle-school band concert. To some of you I imagine this sounds like a fate worse than death, but it's different when you have someone to root for from the uncomfortable bleachers of the gym. Obviously, my son was the best one. Ha! For Halloween, they played three movements from 'Darklands Legends,' and there is a part when one of the percussionists really gets to go to town on the tubular bells. Man, do I love bells. I have always wanted to take vibraphone lessons. Why haven't I just done it? Inertia, I guess.

Anyway, as this kid is wailing on the bells, a couple of pop songs popped into my mind. Here's one of them. Perhaps they are best known for backing Captain Sensible on a couple of smash hits, but Dolly Mixture was a female trio I knew from their short time on Paul Weller's Respond label. In fact, the "Been-Teen" single was the very first release. This is RESP 4, released in 1982, and I hope you like your bells. This makes the fourth Respond act featured here in the last couple of years. A Craze, Tracie and the Questions were the others. Can Vaughan Toulouse be far away?

Everything and More

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Born to Be Together

In the late '80s, producer, writer and girl-group aficionado Alan Betrock had a dream come true. He got studio time at Record Plant Studios in New York with the legendary Ronnie Spector. Betrock showed Spector several songs she might want to record, and the singer really took to the work of Marshall Crenshaw. Betrock and Crenshaw went way back. The former had even produced the latter's first single, "Something's Gonna Happen," in 1982. Her backing band would be Crenshaw on guitar, Graham Maby of Joe Jackson Band fame on bass and, just like the early days of Marshall's career, Crenshaw's brother Robert on drums. The nouveau girl group the Pussywillows provided backing vocals.

Due to the assets of the Record Plant being seized in a bankruptcy, these songs sat on a shelf until the turn of the century. Ronnie and her husband/manager finally gained control of the tapes and put them out themselves in 2003. By then, sadly, Betrock had died of cancer at age 49, breaking the hearts of Crenshaw and the other participants. Crenshaw loves these versions of some of his best-known songs, calling them in one interview "by far the best covers of my songs that anybody has ever done." In another interview he said, "I think they're just beautiful. I was really into everything on the Philles label, so it was exciting to cross paths with her." This really was a match made in heaven. Here are a couple that originally came from Crenshaw's second album and my personal favorite, 'Field Day.'

For His Love
Whenever You're on My Mind

Monday, October 22, 2018

I'll Meet You By the Third Pyramid

My plan was to have more posts of Lush covers last week, but I got caught up in a perfect storm of children's homework. We aren't talkin' a few math problems either. When did kids start getting all of these massive projects, anyway? I certainly don't remember having this much to do when I was 12. I got this song stuck in my head on Sunday as we created a travel brochure through a period of history.

The B-52's - Mesopotamia

First and foremost, Fred sings a lesson for us all: "I ain't no student of ancient culture. Before I talk I should read a book." Listen, I know this EP is considered a misstep by most. After the self-titled debut and 'Wild Planet,' one critic had the witty line the B-52's were trying to take the "p" out of "party," but I remind you there was more than enough blame to go around for this hiccup, from the band's manager to the label bosses to a certain highly respected artist who maybe shouldn't have taken on producer duties when he was more interested in working on his solo project. All of that aside, I must admit I quite like this song, and it was fun to dig out and play for an apt pupil in the LTL household today. That's what I call getting a good education.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Covered By Lush (Part 4)

Lush's "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" may not be tops on my list of favorite covers, but the album it appeared on is a firm favorite. In 1990, Midnight Music released 'Alvin Lives (In Leeds),' a loud protest of the Community Charge, also known as the poll tax, in Great Britain. Bands from Midnight's stable of stars, such as the Popguns, Corn Dollies, Robyn Hitchcock and the Wedding Present were joined by other indie legends like Close Lobsters, 14 Iced Bears and the Siddeleys for a compilation of '70s pop covers. All profits went to the Can't Pay, Won't Pay Resource Unit, a group dedicated to fighting the poll tax.

Lush opened the album with an interesting choice that had reached the top of the UK charts in 1971 by Scottish band Middle of the Road. Yes, I suppose we could discuss the song's theme of child abandonment ("Woke up this morning and my momma was gone"), an odd one for a sugary pop song, but we have enough going on in the world right now without adding this to the pile. These pages are all about putting on the blinders.

If you're an American with an encyclopedic knowledge of '70s soft rock, this Middle of the Road business is probably a head scratcher. You'll agree this song was a hit in 1971, but not by a bunch of Scots. Well, your mind is still sharp, my friend. I'm sure Miki and Emma chose this song after hearing the version by Middle of the Road, but on the other side of the Atlantic Trinidadian brother-and-sister duo (and English residents) Mac and Katie Kissoon took it to No. 20 on the Billboard charts. I don't have the version by Middle of the Road, we will have to settle for a YouTube clip, but I do have the one made famous over here. As for Lush's take, it's a faithful version with a sound that wouldn't have been out of a place as a deep (key word is deep) cut on 'Scar.'

Mac and Katie Kissoon - Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep
Lush - Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Covered By Lush (Part 3)

The idea for this short series was inspired by today's song. The other day our pal the Swede commented on the post about the Paley Brothers, saying, "I'm not sure why I didn't follow up on these guys as I was a big fan of early Dwight Twilley, who wasn't a million miles away, musically speaking." His words made me think of "I'm on Fire" by Dwight Twilley Band, and I also mentioned the Flamin' Groovies and the Rubinoos in that same post. I knew I had all three of those bands on a fantastic Rhino compilation that came out 20 years ago called 'Poptopia! Power Pop Classics of the '70s.' I listened to all 18 songs on the disc, and as I played the 1979 classic "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," I had a faint recollection of a girl singing this one but couldn't for the life of me remember who it was. I was stumped until just before bed as I brushed my teeth. I should brush dozens of times a day as that seems to be when I do my best thinking.

In 1996, Lush compiled all of the 'Lovelife-'era B-sides on a Canada and Japan only release called 'Topolino.' This version was the flip side of the bad-ass 'Ladykillers' single. That hit was worlds away from Lush's dreamy sound of the early days, but I loved it anyway. As for this cover, it doesn't always work when boyfriend becomes girlfriend and vice versa -- for some reason Tracey Ullman singing Madness' "My Girl" as "My Guy" comes to mind -- but I bought in to this one. Hearing it makes me wonder how Miki and Emma discovered this cult classic straight outta Berkeley. Sure glad they found it.

The Rubinoos - I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
Lush - I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Covered By Lush (Part 2)

That short reunion of Elvis Costello & the Attractions in the mid-'90s was most welcome. My fandom was at a fever pitch during those years. This was around the time all of Costello's back catalog was being reissued for the first time. Then there was the new material. I snapped up 'Brutal Youth,' 'All This Useless Beauty' and all of the corresponding singles. Most importantly, I caught the Attractions on each of the tours and in contrasting venues. On the first tour, I saw them in Japan in the back of a big beautiful modern theater. The audience sat like statues and clapped politely in the appropriate places. Surreal is the word for it. In support of 'All This Useless Beauty,' I saw the band at a proper general-admission stand wherever ballroom in D.C., and I was smashed up at the stage right smack in front of Bruce Thomas. That's more my speed.

As for Lush, the band's fourth and final studio album, 'Lovelife,' came out at nearly the same time as 'All This Useless Beauty.' Even though I was once a huge fan, I sort of lost my way with Lush after 'Spooky,' and I didn't buy the new album until about five months after it came out. I ended up seeing Lush in late summer of '96, just as Costello was about to release the single "You Bowed Down" on CD with four other songs. The most interesting of the bunch was this faithful cover by Lush. Costello told Billboard magazine in October of that year, "They actually recorded quite a pretty version of it, which was a nice surprise to me because they did things with the vocal harmony that I wasn't expecting." He went on in a congratulatory manner, voicing his pleasure at seeing Lush conquer America, and they really did. It all came to end for Lush with the death of drummer Chris Acland before Costello's nice words in Billboard even made it to print. Well, that is until the 2016 reunion.

Elvis Costello & the Attractions - All This Useless Beauty
Lush - All This Useless Beauty

Monday, October 15, 2018

Covered By Lush (Part 1)

Life tells me to make these quickies all week. Going all in with Miki and Emma and the songs they have covered. Their choices make me love Lush all the more. If I have the original, I'll include it. Let's start with one that's impossible to dislike. Wire's "Outdoor Miner" is a B-side from the "For Love" 10" and 12", Lush's third single or EP from the 'Spooky' era. Some early fans didn't like the LP because it seemed like producer Robin Guthrie had usurped Lush's sound and made them another Cocteau Twins. Bah, I say! Love this period. Anyway, "Outdoor Miner" was not produced by Guthrie. Apologies for the scratchy original from my aging 7", but I wanted to hear this version instead of the one on 'Chairs Missing' today. Another Lush cover tomorrow.

Wire - Outdoor Miner (7")
Lush - Outdoor Miner (B-side)

Friday, October 12, 2018

Forecast Calls For the Perfect English Weather

Indie-pop fans rejoice! One of the most anticipated releases of the year is almost here, but beware. This walk-up single may be a laid-back little taste of what's to come, but "Rockin' To The Beat," a song about "picturing a parent watching their adolescent child dancing at the edge of a summer festival crowd" is going to work you into a lather for the long player. Just a while longer, friends. 'Don't You Wanna Feel the Rain?' by the Perfect English Weather will be out next month via Matinée Recordings.

If you're a regular around here, you surely know by now the Perfect English Weather are the husband-and-wife team of Wendy and Simon Pickles from the Popguns. In what felt like nothing short of a miracle, the Popguns came back to us after nearly two decades away with 'Pop Fiction.' This was no lazy nostalgia trip either. The album rivaled the band's best work and was far and away my favorite album of 2014. Since then, fans of the Pickles have been treated to an embarrassment of riches with the Perfect English Weather, an outlet for the duo to turn down the volume a bit and channel some of their dreamier sounds while continuing to produce the indie rock of the Popguns in equal measure. I can't recommend TPEW's debut enough. Upon release in 2016, I called 'Isobar Blues' "a perfect storm of ballad and boom, and all part of a warm front that drenches you with a downpour of pop hooks." The electro-acoustic pop of 2017 EP "English Weather" was even better. No foolin'.

You can grab the single "Rockin' To The Beat" at the Matinée shop and at Bandcamp. Stop back at these places in November for album pre-order information. I, for one, can't wait.

Oct. 13 Update: Simon says look for the album to drop Nov. 9.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

No, Not Those Paleys

From the Pale Fountains and offshoots Dislocation Dance we go to Paleys of a completely different stripe. I thought about including the Paley Brothers in that post on the golden years of Sire Records, but they didn't quite fit next to the likes of Richard Hell, Ramones and Talking Heads... although you may know this duo from performing a cover of "Come On Let's Go" with the Ramones (sans an ill Joey) on the 'Rock and Roll High School' soundtrack.

It's a funny, but Andy and Jonathan Paley were the real oddballs to come out of the CBGB contingent. They looked and dressed like teen idols and sounded like something you might have heard on your AM dial in 1976. Yet, there they were, playing with members of the Patti Smith Group and hanging out with David Johansen one minute, only to be opening for poster boy Shaun Cassidy the next. Bottom line is they knew how to play a lighter brand of power pop like pros. No, there would never be any hits, but if you like the sounds of the Flamin' Groovies or the Rubinoos with a dash of harmonies inspired by the Beach Boys, you just may dig the Paley Brothers. Here are a couple of my favorites you can find on what turned out to be the band's only LP.

Stick With Me Baby
Come Out and Play

These boys were before my time. In case you were wondering, my in was when Andy worked with Brian Wilson on his first solo album back in 1988. To get the full story on how that happened, I suggest you pick up that memoir Seymour Stein released earlier this year I keep going on and on about. It's quite a tale. One more aside. Tonight, as I was ripping the vinyl for this post, I couldn't help but notice Mrs. LTL picked up the album cover and asked me all kinds of questions about the two lads. Hmm, interesting. That never happens.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

A Little Deeper Dig With Dislocation Dance

That last post may have given the impression the sounds of Dislocation Dance had that early-'80s sound to which not everyone out there is enamored. Well, here's one of my favorites from a slightly earlier time. The single "Rosemary" is the bridge between the band's post-punk days and the slick sophisti-pop era that was to come. I would love to tell you this one caught fire and raced up the indie charts, but it only appeared there for a week in the summer of '82, peaking at a lukewarm No. 46. If you're wondering about the conspicuous absence of Kathryn Way's pipes, she left the band briefly and came back just about the time the single was released. There is a funny clip of the band performing this song for French television where Way is miming Andy Diagram's trumpet part on the saxophone as she dances around with nothing better to do. What a cutie! You can find it in the regular places.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Tooting Andy Diagram's Horn

As many of you regulars know, I have a thing for the trumpet in my indie pop. After that post on the Pale Fountains last week, I started thinking about how many times Paleys' blower Andy Diagram has shown up in my record collection. He was in James for a while in the late '80s and early '90s, but I think I know his work more from his time in Manchester band Dislocation Dance.

In the early days of the Pale Fountains, the band played with Dislocation Dance on a bill, and Michael Head got on with Diagram so well that he asked him to join the Paleys immediately. So he played with both of them. Dislocation Dance started out with a bit more of a post-punk sound when they formed in 1980 and recorded on cult label New Hormones. By the time Dislocation Dance signed with Rough Trade in late '82 or early '83, as many others seemed to do at that time, the band went decidedly sophisti-pop. Diagram wasn't just rounding out their sound either. There are songs on 1984 album 'Midnight Shift' for instance, such as "Bottle of Red Wine" and the title track, where the trumpet is in the forefront like a classic jazz recording. Diagram is using all kinds of effects and technical wizardry on this album, and I never heard a trumpet sound like this!

There were quite a few straight-up pop songs in the discography too, and to these ears, they sounded like they should have been hits, like "Violette," "Rosemary" and this single from 1983. It's a nice bit of jangle with some keyboard and trumpet from the aforementioned Mr. Diagram. Of it's time, sure, but still a pretty sound to these ears. Speaking of pretty, perhaps Kathryn Way might have had a little something to do with me liking Dislocation Dance. I hope we are still allowed to say such things.

Show Me
Show Me (12")

Friday, September 28, 2018

Here's to the Single

Stu at Emotional Response lamented recently that people just don't buy 7" singles. With that, he discounted several of his label's 45s with hopes of clearing inventory. Check out this sale! I have to admit I was surprised to hear about this format's lack of popularity. I love me a good single and assumed anything on vinyl was selling like, well, vinyl, and there are a slew of new sevens that have my full attention.

Comet Gain return from a long three-plus year layoff with this one out next week on the always dependable Tapete label out of Hamburg. These snippets from both sides of the 7" tell us the band has gone back to a little bouncier sound than the one we heard on the excellent 'Paperback Ghosts.' (Thanks for recommending that one back in 2014, Drew!)

I'm tardy with this one, but Optic Nerve Recordings has put together an exciting sevens subscription series sure to excite every indie-pop fan that appreciates the golden age of the genre. You get 12 reissued singles in all, and the bands include the likes of the Siddeleys, the Pooh Sticks, East Village, McCarthy, the Servants and many more. Here is the complete release schedule. The series has already kicked off and was already more or less sold out, but I corresponded with Ian at the label earlier this week, and he told me there were a couple of cancellations so you might still be able to get in on this one if you really hurry.

London label WIAIWIA continues to release quality 7" singles year after year, and so far in 2018 they've released memorable 45s from the Catenary Wires, the Orchids and more. Up next are singles from my hero Pete Astor on Oct. 7, followed by new ones in November from Saint Etienne and a split from Gedge bands the Wedding Present and Cinerama covering the Clash and ABBA, respectively. Astor is already guaranteed a spot on my list of the best albums of 2018 with 'One for the Ghost.' Could he make my songs list as well? I can't wait for the "Peter Cook"/"Petrol and Ash" single to arrive in the post next week.

Apologies to downloads, CDs and the like, but the 7" is still my preferred way to listen to a single.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A Little Less Jangle Today

Gutted. James Werle from Math and Physics Club has passed away. I don't know what to say, really, except he will be greatly missed. Jimmy from Matinée Recordings shot this footage of the band at Seattle record shop Sonic Boom in the summer of 2016, and I was standing right beside him, swaying and smiling all of the way. This is how I will remember James, playing my favorite song, "Jimmy Had a Polaroid." Rest easy, James. You will not be forgotten.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

News Flash From Firestation

Remember in 2013 when the seventh volume came out as part of Firestation Records' 'Still Mad at Me?' 15th anniversary box and you assumed there would never be another 'Sound of Leamington Spa' compilation? Well, the best purveyor of '80s and early '90s indie pop has blessed us with not one but two editions in 2018 with the news of a volume 9 set to be released Oct. 20. Looks like Uwe Weigmann has dug deep again. How does he do it? Like volume 8, you will have your choice of double-gatefold vinyl or CD, and as before, the vinyl will have one bonus track. Here is the tracklist. Preorders start Oct. 5. If this is series is your thing, you know not to dawdle.

The Sound of Leamington Spa: Volume 9
1. Flex - You Lose
2. The Persuaders - You Turn Me On
3. Chinese Gangster Element - Joey
4. Fragile - Time To Be Together
5. Moloko - Never Know What You've Got
6. Spish - Honesty
7. The Fontaines - I Want Everything
8. Public Address - James Dean
9. Queue Dance - Crumbling Town
10. Circus x 3 - Man Like You
11. This Certain Kind - Unfortunate
12. Daniel Takes A Train - Wonderland (Original)
13. Cajun Moon - In The Waves
14. A Game Of Soldiers - Big Bad Money World
15. Three Boys And A Girl - I'll Be Standing There
16. Ice Factory - Jerusalem
17. The Dancing Bears - The Lonliest Sound
18. Future World Moves - Wednesday
19. Work - That Certain Feeling
20. Ten Million Quentins - He's Not Smiling

And from the archives, here is a quick Q&A I did with Mr. Weigmann when he revealed his plan to resurrect 'The Sound of Leamington Spa.'

One more bit of news on the Firestation front. Of all the lost bands the label has unearthed in recent years, perhaps my favorite has been Candy Opera. If you're fortunate enough to see them perform at Firestation's big birthday bash in Berlin on Oct. 20, you will have first dibs on 'Rarities,' 11 more tracks of demos and unreleased recordings from Liverpool's unsung heroes. Any leftover copies on the extremely limited release, if there are any, will be up for grabs to the rest of us poor schlubs a week later. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Not at All a Pale Imitation

If you're a regular reader, then you know I keep two physical lists of music wants. One is chock full of new releases and somewhat easily attainable records. That list is fluid and expands and constricts as regularly as I breathe. In fact, I got to cross off the Goon Sax and Alpaca Sports earlier this week at nearly the same time I added the Chills and Molly Burch. The other list is static and chock full of the rare and/or expensive records I almost never find. One such record is the single "(There's Always) Something on My Mind" from the Pale Fountains. I have been obsessed with either the original 7" of "Just a Girl" with "(There's Always) Something on My Mind" on the flip side via Operation Twilight or the three-song 12" with said song on the A-side that came out on Belgian label Les Disques Du Crépuscule, both from 1982. Through the years, I have been able to track down these songs on compilations, but there is nothing like the real thing, is there?

By now you must be guessing I finally caught my white whale. Well, not quite, but I have come close. In 2013, Les Disques Du Crépuscule released a glorious reissue with the original '82 album cover and all three songs on a 12", and there were many extras as well. Included was unreleased second single "Longshot For Your Love" plus two songs recorded for the Crépuscule compilation albums 'Ghosts of Christmas Past' and 'Moving Soundtracks.' That's just the A-side. Side two had six live tracks recorded in October 1982 on the Crépuscule package tour that saw the Paleys on the bill with the likes of 23 Skidoo and Cabaret Voltaire. There was also a bonus CD included with complete performances from Brussels on Oct. 5 and and Leuven on Oct. 6, 1982, respectively.

That's a plethora of early Paleys, but I missed out as it quickly went out of print. Finally, in June of this year, Crépuscule pressed 500 more copies on gorgeous clear vinyl, a reissue of a reissue, you might say, and I bagged it. This one will certainly be vying for best reissue honors on these pages come December. Here is a little taste from those two shows on the bonus disc. Looks like there are still copies to be had here. Don't miss Michael Head and the Pale Fountains before the fortune and fame of the Virgin years!

Just a Girl (Live)
(There's Always) Something on My Mind (Live)