November Roundup

Item number one in the November roundup  is a complaint about how bands and labels sell their records on bandcamp. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love bandcamp. Who wouldn’t? You buy the record and you immediately get to download it. Hell, you can even listen to the entire thing before you buy it. The problem arises in the business model when you decide you actually want to buy the vinyl version of a record. More often than not it’s a pre-order with a release date that’s off in the not too distant future, but you figure it’s ok, because you get the immediate download, so waiting for the actual record to arrive in a few weeks is no sweat. Fast forward six weeks and you’re brushing your teeth in the morning and the record comes up on shuffle and you suddenly realize you never actually got the record you ordered. You give the band the benefit of the doubt and decide to wait another week. Still nothing. You contact them through their bandcamp page asking them if the record was ever sent. Usually you get a response saying the record was delayed or there was some problem with coordinating the vinyl with the sleeves or some other logistical problem. Fine, you say. You’re an understanding kind of person. At least you know that your order wasn’t forgotten or lost in the mail.

My complaint is that why didn’t the band email the good people that bought their record and are anxiously waiting to see it in their mailbox to let them know that there was delay? Especially since there’s an explicit date your bandcamp page that said the record would be sent at a specific date. How hard is it to send a mass email to the 50, 100 or 500 people that bought the record letting them know there’s been a delay? Is the band or label embarrassed? Does the band or label not know how to use BCC when sending emails? the band/lable set up a bandcamp page, uploaded the album and made a record so they must be somewhat literate with communication and the internet. Send an email to the fine folks who are giving you money to hear your music. It’s not hard.  People will like your band if you write great songs, but they’ll love you even more for your great customer service!

Now, on with the November round up.

Patsy’s Rats are a Portland band. Their Is It Alright single is pure pop to the jugular. Reminds me of Let’s Active with the boy-girl choruses and jangly nature. If you don’t like singles, this is also on the compilation of singles the band just released on Bachelor records.

Faux-Discx-SAD-1100
November saw the end of UK label Faux Discx. A sad thing. The label was run by Dan Reeves. His two bands, Soft Walls and Cold Pumas I assume are still going.  Faux Discx put out some great records.  Reeves had great taste, and records like Omi Palone, Vison Fortune, Cold Pumas and Rips regularly appeared on this blog and many others with discerning taste. The label is having a huge sale, so if you’ve been eying something now’s the time to pull the trigger.

Sad news from Seattle as the city slowly disintegrates into a shell of its former being, Posse decided add to the ash pile and call it quits.  The trio gifted to the world their final album Horse Blanket and leave the city to contemplate what life will be like when all that’s left for bands in the city are high school jazz combos. You can get a free download of the Horse Blanket from their Bandcamp, and be sure to head over to their web site to grab the accompanying comic book.

Lars Finberg got out of Seattle a long time ago. Escaped down to LA and then back to his hometown of Bakersfield. His first solo album could easily have been released under the moniker of his band the Intelligence. Since it really always was him. Now, I guess he’s hanging out with Ty Segall and entertaining fantasies of being Dean Martin. Instead of serenading PBR guzzling kids down at local hole int he wall, he’s moved up to the seedy red pleather booths of the forlorn diner at the edge of town near the freeway exit. If you are in or around Seattle, he plays the Highline on Capitol Hill this Friday, December 8th.

In keeping with the downer mood of this month’s round up. The Too Pure singles club has decided to call it a day. Not surprising, since the 7-inch single seems to be dying a slow agonizing death. I subscribed to it a couple years, but when they began to allow you to order individual singles I let my subscription lapse. This year’s batch has some gems worth hearing including Family Scraps, Bruising and Seize the Chair.

You should know about this album by Pamplona’s Melenas. Snooping the Bandcamp blog posted about them a few days ago and their excellent debut album has been on repeat for days since. Jangly goodness that answers the question, what if Look Blue Go Purple had been Spanish.

I find myself getting more excited about bands from Portland than those from Seattle these days. Probably because there are more of them to be excited about. Mo Tropper apparently is both a person and a band. His/Their new album combines psychedelia and power pop in a similar way that jellyfish did. I am also reminded of the Return of the Frog Queen by Jeremy Enigk, Cardinal, Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground and the Beach Boys. This album is in technicolor.

Just last month I was reminiscing about speeding motorcycles and the Pastels because of the Neutrals’ song Motorcycle Cop. Now I’m reminiscing about motorcycle cops and the Neutrals because of Flat Worms’s song Motorbike. If you haven’t figured it out yet, things don’t change very much around here. Flat Worms’ debut which rocks out like old Wire and A-Frames records is out on Castle Face,  and features members of Thee Oh Sees, Dream Boys and the Babies.

It wouldn’t be a post if we didn’t include something about an Australian band. Vacant Smiles’ new single brings on heavy Hoodoo Gurus like vibrations. Anyone remember classics like Bittersweet, I Was a Kamikaze Pilot and Good Times? Messin’ Around fits nicely in that breadbasket of surfy goodness.

Massive Music News Update

I have been amassing a ton information that has come to the tipping point where I have to let it out.  Some of this may have been tweeted, but who remembers anything they read on Twitter? You possibly have heard half of it, but then maybe you haven’t. Here’s the mid-summer digest of the finest kiss music news.

Allo Darlin’ set to release new single

Last week Allo Darlin’ announced the release of a brand new single due in August. You can hear it and pre-order it over at their bandcamp. It’s a picture disc and contains one song about former Hefner frontman Darren Hayman and one song about the Wu Tang Clan which is a cover of another Hayman band the French. How’s that for confusing?

Art Museums Break Up

After a short but fruitful run San Francisco’s Art Museums have said their splitting up. According to their Facebook page, they just couldn’t handle it anymore. They had recently released two 7 inch singles one on Slumberland and another on Yakamashi. I don’t know about you, but I could have handled a few more records from them. So long Art Museums. See you in the funny papers.

mp3: Art Museums – Dancing With a Hole In Your Heart (from the Slumberland single)

Portland band Blouse played the Crocodile

I stopped by the Crocodile the other night to see Blouse. So far the Portland new wavers have released singles on Captured Tracks and Sub Pop with an album due this fall on CT. Their singer was totally going for the 80’s vibe with her poofy feathered hair and white pleated slacks. Their short set (25 minutes) much better than their fashion sense, playing light airy sounds accented with muscular Cure-like bass lines.


Chicago band has a Brain Idea, Sound Like the Clean, Name Their EP after CCR

I’m kind of possessed this week by the new EP from Brain Idea on Mexican Summer. It’s part Clean, part Kraut, of course the Clean always have had a Kraut element to their sound so maybe it’s all Clean. Whatever, it’s good. I just ordered their first album that came out on Permanent last year.

mp3: Brain Idea – Oh I’m Free (Earn Your Card) (Out now on Mexican Summer)

It Was Only a Matter of Time: Flexis Are Back


Castle Face the San Francisco label part-run by Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer have just unleashed a book of flexis. Bare Wires, Blasted Canyons, Thee Ohs Sees, The Fresh & Onlys and Ty Segall &  Mikal Cronin each contribute a song spread across Five 7 inch flexis discs. It comes packaged in a ringed notebook and it ain’t cheap at $30. I thought flexies were supposed to be cheap. They use to come stapled inside of magazines and sounded like crap on your turntable.  I’m assuming the quality of these is slightly better.

mp3: Bare Wires – Wanna Fight (You can order one from Midheaven. Mp3 swiped from RSTB)

Detroit Deadbeat Beat

Another band on Twitter hips me to another new cool band. Seattle’s TacocaT tweeted the other night how Detroit’s Deadbeat Beat are their new favorite band. A couple clicks later, they’re mine too.

Felt: Gone But Not Yet Forgotten

Felt have been defunct for 22 years now, but way down in the depths of the internet they never went away. A couple years ago the San Francisco band Girls interviewed Lawrence for Magicrpm and just recently the Charlatans‘ Tim Burgess was interviewed over at The Quietus about them. I didn’t know that Burgess was such a superfan. He drops a few debatable nuggets like the idea that She Lives By The Castle was written about St. Etienne‘s Sarah Cracknell. If you are a Felt superfan you probably already know about the book written by JC Brouchard called Felt : Ballad of the Fan.

Fine Arts Showcase’s Gustaf Kjellvander Dies


Sad news from Sweden a few weeks ago, when Gustaf Kjellvander died unexpectedly in his sleep. He was only 31 years old. Kjellvander lived in Seattle until he was 15 when his family moved back to Sweden. He made some great albums as the Fine Arts Showcase. My two favorites were Radiola and his Rough Bunnies covers album Sings Rough Bunnies.

Green Pajamas Go To Green Pajama Country

Seattle’s Green Pajamas are back with album number…I lost count. No matter, this time they claim to have gone country. The first song from the record, Pass Me Another Whiskey doesn’t sound particularly country. It just sounds good.

Hausu Continue the Northwest’s Flirtation With British New Wave

Led by former Seattleite and underage organizer Ben Funkhouser and his Edwyn Collins-esque croon, Portland band Hausu‘s ringing guitars and smart sound bring to mind Collin’s former band. They also claim to be influenced by Bruce Springsteen, but what red-blooded Amercian isn’t (whether you want to be or not)?

Australian Record Label Presents Two New Records From Two Old-Timers

Lost and Lonesome has just put out two records, one by former Lucksmith Mark Monnone who is going by the moniker Monnone Alone called Pink Earrings. Not surprisingly it sounds kinda like the Lucksmiths, expect Monnnone sings.  While you’re checking that out, be sure to consider the latest from Bart and Friends. Bart Cummings of Cat’s Miaow and the Shapiros ended his long silence last year with Make You Blush is back again with a 10 inch EP called Stories With the Endings Changed.

Get Your Medical Records

Much has been written about Medical Records here in Seattle, but I’m not sure if the word has gotten out beyond Seattle and in the know circles of  “classic synth, cosmic disco, wave (cold/new), and future music” aficionados. So far, the Seattle label specializing in reissuing nearly forgotten synth records, has released eight albums by Guyer’s Connection, OGI, Der Plan, Chrisma, Deutsche Wertarbeit, and  Alexander Robotnick.  All the records are limited to around 500 copies, and come in some very pretty shades of vinyl. Many are already sold out so head on over, have a listen and see what’s left.

Geoffrey O’Connor Comes Out of the Crayon Fields

Crayon Fields frontman Geoffrey O’Connor takes a break from his band to cut loose and get icy cold and synthy. The first song is a study in cool, suave and sophisticated. Can’t wait to hear the whole album. It’s called Vanity Is Forever and is out in September.

mp3: Geoffrey O’Connor – Now and Then (from Vanity is Forever on Chapter Music)

Fests and Parties

The Capitol Hill Block Party is this weekend in Seattle. It’s three days beginning this Friday. I’m heading up on Friday for sure, and may go Saturday (the afore mentioned Hausu play Saturday) as well depending on my ability to tolerate large festivals. A festival more my size is the third annual Pizza Fest which takes place Funhouse August 4-6. The line-up is pretty sweet if you’re into garage, punk and fun. Not sure if they’re having a pizza eating contest like last year, but I’m sure you’ll be able to get a slice along with a Rainier and some ringing ears.

Servants Are Served Up Again

Captured Tracks has a pretty relentless release schedule so keeping up can be a chore. Glad to see the label doing god’s work in releasing long lost gems from years ago in addition to the many new bands they release. The Servants ran with the C-86 crowd and actually were on that now legendary cassette.  The band’s Cherry Red compilation has been long out of print, so Captured Tracks has picked up the slack and  just released a record that collects the majority of  their recorded output. It’s called Youth Club Disco.

mp3: The Servants – The Sun, A Small Star (from Youth Club Disco on Captured Tracks)

Get Your Swimsuit

Michigan’s Swimsuit have just released their debut album. Besides having my favorite cover of any record this year, it contains some pretty good songs as well. Yeah, reverb heavy surf inspired music is kinda played out, but give them a break, you can only surf on a great lake if there’s a big storm.

Tiny Microphone Finally Gets a Non-Cassette Release. Still Wait For Vinyl

You may remember Tiny Microphone from a few years ago when we did the One Last Kiss redo.  Tiny Microphone is Kristine Capua (also of Very Truly Yours). Tiny Microphone are like twee-shoegaze and I mean that in the best way. Up until now you could only get her Home album on cassette from Italian label Best Kept Secret, but now Japanese label Happy Prince has released it on CD. Expect a vinyl version to come along in another three years…

Bare Wires Blitz

Bare Wires at the Comet, Seattle | 17 August 2010


In his book The 10 Rules of Rock and Roll, Robert Forster lists 10 truths of rock. Rule number ten states that the three-piece band is the purest form of rock and roll expression. Oakland, California’s Bare Wires evidently know this.  The guitar, bass and drums equaled more than the sum of it’s parts last night, filling  the place with sonics that most bands would need a second or third guitar to accomplish .  The drums cracked and the bass rumbled while Lead Wire Mathew Melton’s guitar blasted out of a six foot tall amp and created a breeze in the otherwise stuffy Comet Tavern.

The new album Seeking Love hints at glam rock, but live Bare Wires are pure unadulterated 70’s glam from their haircuts, to their silky women’s blouses, to the power chords being dispensed and the poses rendered. Melton and his band look like they just got off the boat from 1974.  Melton’s look with his moppy curls and mustache treads a very fine line of cool rock god and creepy guy.  The band blasted through most of Seeking Love as well as a couple new songs (apparently they’ve got another album nearly ready to go) and seemed to get caught up in the energy of their own songs. Melton literally threw his guitar aside for another after breaking a string, and bassist Fletcher Johnson somehow lost his shoe midway through the set.  The small (It was a Monday and they just played the Funhouse last month) but enthusiastic were got caught up in that same energy, but I couldn’t help but think how much better this show would have been if wild beer swilling moshing crowd of last month’s Ty Segal gig would have shown up for Bare Wires.  All in good time, because after the garage overload of the last few years, I’m definitely ready for 70’s glam revival and bands looking to Sweet, Slade, Mott the Hoople and Cheap Trick, and Bare Wires are poised to be leading the pack.

mp3: Bare Wires – Romantic Heat (from Seeking Love on Castle Face)

This was the second gig of a lengthy tour that will take the Bare Wires to the East Coast and back. Here are the dates.
Aug 18 – The Aquarium, Fargo, ND
Aug 19 – Triple Rock, Minneapolis, MN
Aug 20 – The Vault w Real Numbers, Ramma Lamma, Milwaukee, WI
Aug 20 – Cactus Club w/ A Frames, Headache City, Milwaukee, WI
Aug 21 – Crown Tap Room w Real Numbers, Chicago, IL
Aug 22 – Landlocked Music, Bloomington, IN
Aug 23 – Black Sparrow w/ The Boy Toys, Lafayette, IN
Aug 24 – The Lager House, Detroit, MI
Aug 25 – Case University w/ Tyvek, Cleveland, OH
Aug 26 – Now Thats Class, Cleveland, OH
Aug 27 – Monster Island Basement, Brooklyn, NY
Aug 28 – Bruar Falls, Brooklyn, NY
Aug 29 – M Room, Philladelphia, PA
Aug 30 – Velvet Lounge w/ Mabye Baby, Washington, DC
Aug 31 – The Station, Carrboro, NC
Sep 1 – Little Kings, Athens, GA
Sep 2 – Star Bar, Atlanta, GA
Sep 3 – Glen Danzig’s House, Nashville, TN
Sep 4 – Murphy’s w/ River City Tanlines + The HUMMS, Memphis, TN
Sep 6 – Ole Tavern, Jackson, MS
Sep 7 – Saturn Bar, New Orleans, LA
Sep 8 – Notsuoh, Houston, TX
Sep 9 – Beerland, Austin, TX
Sep 10 – Beerland, Austin, TX
Sep 14 – RIPS, Phoenix, AZ
Sep 15 – Bar Pink, San Diego, CA
Sep 17 – The Smell, Los Angeles, California
Sep 18 – The Juke Joint, Anaheim, CA