Browsing Category Reissues

Manikins – From Broadway To Blazes

While Australia’s premiere punk darlings The Scientists have enjoyed some much deserved reissue treatment from Numero in the last couple of years, another of the country’s punk forefathers has remained criminally undersung. Manufactured Recordings attempts to right this with an anthology of all known tracks from Manikins. The band, like The Scientists, was built from a former member of Aussie punk germinators The Cheap Nasties. Neil Fernandes built up his own orbit of tough-edged power pop, though the band would spawn considerably less material than their more well-known compatriots.

The anthology includes their first three 7″s, which have become power pop collector’s items in their own right, stretching into high dollar brackets on the secondary market. For those with shallower pockets, it’s nice to have these tracks included here and all dusted off for digital. Fernandes’ songs hit just right in the crux of punk and garage, though they certainly get a bit more polished on later cuts. He’s ably found a foil in vocalist Robert Porritt, who gives Manikins a boyish sneer that’s prerequisite for the best power pop. All in all, this is for the diggers, the nerd set. It’s the kind of deep cut release that appeals to genre completists, but that’s not to say that the average ’70s mixtape couldn’t stand a bump from any of these gems. Any fan of Aussie punk history or power pop in general would do well to tuck into this one.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Wild Poppies – Heroine

Wellington New Zealand’s The Wild Poppies grew up out of the country’s verdant jangle-pop leagues, though they broke for greener pastures in England not long after their formation. The band’s legacy is ensconced in their sole album, Heroine, the preceding single and a follow-up EP that was aptly titled Out of Time. Their move to the UK toughened their sound and added in a bit of shoegaze to their sunnier Kiwi stylings, aided in no small measure by their housemates at the time from Swervedriver. The reissue of their album contains their entire output with a few unreleased tracks thrown in for good measure, following them through each phase of the band’s life.

As is all too often the case timing turned out to be the band’s enemy and as they wound their way out of their swan song EP, they sensed tastes changing in the UK, swinging away from their ’80s jangles and into the arms of dance culture. It’s too bad as their tougher edge showed great promise. They disbanded shortly after and the band members went on to leave music behind. Still this remained a long respected item in jangle-pop collector’s circles and it’s good to have the whole collection back on vinyl.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Stray Trolleys – Barricades and Angels

If you’ve paid any attention to the outpouring of albums tied up in Captured Tracks’ admirable reissue campaign for Cleaners From Venus, perhaps it comes as no surprise that there’s even more in the well of Martin Newell. The Cleaners’ driving force has a deeper music history than the band’s massive catalog, having spent years in Gypp and a brief period of time mounting up as The Stray Trolleys. The latter is documented here, with their sole album getting a bit of spit and polish and a nice new reissue on the label. The album came out of Newell’s previous ties and obligations (band, relationship, house) sort of dissolving and there’s a shaggy sense of ‘screw it’ in the tracks, though coated in a winking pop charm. Recorded by friend and engineer Dave Hoser to a 4-track named “The Octopus Mobile,” the tracks don’t sound at all like castaways or toss offs, rather they embrace a fuller sound and roguish sheen.

Certainly employing a higher clarity than his work with The Cleaners, Newell captures a sound that was under the thrall of ’60s jangles but headed towards their immersion into a new brand of ’80s pop. There’s always been a draw to the rawness of The Cleaners’ work, but this has a charm that lays it in a space between the quirks of Deep Freeze Mice and the horizon that begat Elvis Costello or Nick Lowe. Even for those intimidated by the dense catalog that Cleaners From Venus sport would do well to start with this one on it’s own or even as a nice introduction to Newell’s universe. Cap Tracks have had the tendency to go all in on reissue campaigns, which is admirable to be sure. This one ends up as a welcome gift from their tenacity.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Vietnam

Not to be confused with the constantly entertaining Social Registry stalwarts from the early aughts, this incarnation under the heading Vietnam reared its head in ’85 on New Zealand’s Jayrem records. The short release falls center square into the hearts of Joy Division and Cure fans. It’s got the moody makeup of the best kind of dark, yet oddly poppy post-punk (see: The Sound, The Names, The Comsat Angels) and knows its way around a smudged eyeliner hook. Pairing a set of damp, reedy vocals with the kind of pessimism that plays well with the goth table, these would have killed had they had wide distribution at the time. Alas, Jayrem was more of a localized label that filled out the needs of the NZ scene at the time, without expanding the way that, say, something like Flying Nun did.

The reissue culls the existing and previously released studio recordings along with a couple of unreleased cuts that round out the picture but pale a bit in comparison with the heavier hitters on the LP. The details are scant on what happened to the band post release of the original, but it’s a nice piece of Kiwi-pop history and a decent addition to any post-punk playlists that might need a bit of an outlier to liven things up. The reissue comes courtesy of the diggers over at Spain’s B.F.E. records, who for their part, are always scrounging the fringes of the ’70s and ’80s for oddities. The only real problem is that the release sounds a bit like a needle drop in terms of quality, but beggars can’t always be choosers. Perhaps the original tapes were long gone. The music remains though, and it’s a worthwhile dig to be sure.





Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Harmonium –
Si on Avait Besoin d’une Cinquième Saison

In deference to most overlooked acts from the past, Harmonium doesn’t even have the sob story of poor distribution and in fighting to topple them from their horse. In fact, if you’re from Canada the band may even be a household name. Elsewhere though, its not necessarily on your parents’ shelf, due in large part to the Quebecois band’s delivery in their native French. The band had three very worthwhile albums to their name, the most intriguing of which is their sophomore LP, Si on Avait Besoin D’une Cinquième Saison, translating to “If We Needed A Fifth Season.” The album wraps a suite of songs around the transition of the seasons and adds a fifth, epic closer for their imaginary “fifth” season.

The band began as a small guitar trio and hit early on with their song “Por Un Instant” in Canada. They migrate towards a much more progressive sound on this second LP, adding in swells of strings and stretching the lengths of songs to ambitious lengths over the course of the album’s five tracks. They’d go on to record a follow-up which fully embraced the prog aesthetic, growing into a true rock band and finally adding in drums. The absence of drums makes this one all the more interesting, though. It’s steeped in acoustic guitar, mellotron and flute; a true pastoral prog album if there ever was one.

After their third album, L’Heptad, with even core member Michel Normandeau bowing out during its recording, they decided that they’d said all they needed to say and went their separate ways, with minimal animosity. They even played on each others’ solo albums in the coming years. This one though, stands as a gorgeous bit of soft psych and prog for those who want to indulge in the hazy Canadian sunshine. Sadly its not been reissued on vinyl proper, but its pretty easy to find a second hand copy, so maybe its for the best. There are, however CD and digital versions that capture the band’s romp through the mellow meadow.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Monopol – Monopol

Original copies of Monopol’s sole album will set you back a piece, but thankfully Medical is here to get you in on the cheap. The German band’s 1982 LP was steeped in a collision of Krautrock propulsion and synth textures that speak to a love of Kraftwerk, Cluster and Klaus Schulze, cementing a crystallization of German progressive influences gone pop. They also dig into the same mechanical menagerie of sounds that popped up in Lunapark and The Units, echoing their robotik fun park vibes, tough it’s less likely that those seeped into Monopol’s sound so much as came up concurrently from the same wellsprings. The band was purely a studio concoction, never playing live gigs, save for a few television performances around the album’s release, but they used the studio to its fullest extent as a laboratory for synth.

As is all too common, this would end up being the band’s only outing due to a rift and breakup shortly after its release. While the members didn’t go on to contribute to other musical projects, they stayed on in the music industry in other capacities. The record is a playgound of textures and remains a pretty admirable showcase for the state of electronic music at the time of its release. The band seemed to have a collection of every synth available, pushing them to work to their capacity. It winds up more than just a historical oddity though, as the songs have a beating heart that will capture the imagination of Krautrock fans and early dance music enthusiasts alike. Medical has gussied up the reissue in a nice package and pressed down to 180. Not too shabby.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Telescopes – The Telescopes

Straddling a few blurred lines between shoegaze and Britpop, The Telescopes’ second and, arguably, definitive record finds some distinct subtleties in both genres. Their debut went in heavy for the distortion obsessed brand of shoegaze that beget Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and their disciples on down. They certainly had all the hallmarks, from a debut split single with fellow noise sculptors Loop, to the blurred and obscured cover art on their debut. However, they broke with the sound leading into their second album, starting with a string of EPs that saw them signed on to Alan McGee’s growing powerhouse at Creation. Following the “Celeste” EP, which found their sound balancing between the spacey acoustic shuffle of Spacemen 3 and the yearning plateaus of Ride, they issued their Eponymous LP, which sold them into the hearts of shoegaze collector’s wholesale.

The record would, sadly, also prove to be their undoing. Shortly after they recorded and released it, the band also contributed to a tribute compilation dedicated to The Who and that would be the last recording they’d issue, citing creative differences, with members going their separate ways. The band would resurface years later mostly under the direction of singer/guitarist Stephen Lawrie, with some original members popping in and out, though mostly he’d gather a new group of players each time the name was resurrected. In as much, this remains the last true Telescopes album and an essential piece of psych, shoegaze and British rock in general. The first American issues to pop up on Bomp in the early ’00s used an alternate cover workup, that traded in the joyously messy, and to be honest tellingly ’90s, cover artwork for a more austere setup. Thankfully this new issue on Radiation rights those wrongs and brings back the original art alongside the stellar sound. If this one isn’t in your collection, the time is now.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Cromwell – At The Gallop

Ireland’s heavy rock scene has always been predominantly dominated by Thin Lizzy. The band broke out to such success that they’ve all but defined the country’s output during the ’70s. That’s not to say that the rest of the country suffered in silence while they rose to prominence. Lesser known entities like Taste broke way for other homegrown heroes, but unless you’ve been hanging in collector’s circles, Cromwell may well have flown outside of your frame of view until now. The record was self-released in 1975 and, while packed with some decent cuts, never really broke out to the kind of larger audience the band deserved.

The bulk of the record is packed with a polished brand of rock that swings with just the touch of twang and a gritty swagger that (rightly so) has earned some comparisons to Flamingo-era Flaming Groovies. They’ve got that same, Stones-indebted sneer, that never blossoms into a stadium-sized sound but still hooks the small club crowds into a feeling of rock n’ roll salvation. Despite finding themselves miles from a ranch of any sort, they’ve got a way of rolling in the wide open skies that seems like they may have had a copy of Let It Bleed on rotation for a fair amount of time during the recording of these songs. The new issue adds three bonus cuts which rise far above cutting room floor outtake quality. Always seems like there can’t be a wealth of rarities left out there, but On The Gallop, while not housing a soaring single, stands as an example of classic album rock.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

José Mauro – Obnoxius

José Mauro’s masterpiece Obnoxius is a deep cut of Brazilian psych and melancholia that’s long been sought out in collector’s circles. Bolstered by mystery and an imposed mythic status due to the artist’s untimely death and/or disappearance shortly after the recording, the album itself was shelved until years after it was recorded. The record has loose ties to some of the other top tier Brazilian songwriters (Marcos Valle, Caetano Veloso, João Gilberto) but one listen through the singularly lush Obnoxius reveals the artist had his own way of capturing the heartstung glow of sadness that transcended those influences. The record is swimming in orchestration, subtly saturated voices and just a twinge of psychedelia.

Mauro emerged as one of the voices of dissent in Brazil during the military leadership of the ’60s, and his protest songs no doubt drew the ear of the government, adding another layer of mystery to his story. Unlike many of his peers, Mauro chose to stay in Brazil rather than emigrate during the time of artistic oppression in his country, and details remain scant as to whether a car crash did him in or he met more sinister ends. However tragic his personal details, this album stands as a promise of what might have been and what he left behind. Far-Out have put the long lost masterpiece back into circulation for those who don’t have the means to stumble onto a pricey original.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Kleenex/LiLiPUT – First Songs

There have been few punk bands whose catalog remains in as much demand for reissue as Swiss group Kleenex (later: LiLiPUT). The originals go for high marks on the secondary market and the box set that Mississippi put out back in 2011 is long gone. Kill Rock Stars packs up the first two discs of the box in a nice set that’s undoubtedly going to sprint off of shelves as quickly as people hear about it. There’s always a new generation of kids just learning about Kleenex/LiLiPUT and it seems that each one is no less rapt than the last. The band was formed by Marlene Marder after a poor experience as part of a predominantly male punk band. After leaving she connected with friends Lislot Hafner, Regula Sing, and Klaudia Schifferle to form their own band that owed less to the sound of punk but plenty to the spirit of it. They adopted the form’s stripped down style but injected a bit of bite and bounce to their two minute pop songs. The results pair better with the post-punk generation, finding common ground with Wire, The Raincoats, The Slits or The Au Pairs.

The band’s confusing name swap comes from the the group achieving just enough fame in their time to attract the attention of Kimberly-Clark, manufacturer of the Kleenex brand, who shut them down and threatened to sue. The band shifted to the name LiLiPUT in reference to the Gulliver’s Travels setting. Following the name change the band signed to Rough Trade, where they issued their two coveted albums. This collection, however, focuses on the earlier singles that saw them through 1980’s Eisiger Wind which appeared on Off Course Records. The collection wraps up some of the band’s most vital tracks, bouncing with life and bursting at the seams. They have a way of cracking a smile on the most dour listeners. Its cacophonous, boisterous and essential. The group disbanded in 1983 and, sadly, Marder passed away earlier this year. This set is a great start to getting the band’s works back into regular rotation, though. Hoping that this sparks Rough Trade to put their two albums back into reissue as well, since I (and probably most people) haven’t got $70-$100 lying around for originals.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

1 Comment