Swallow the Bird – s/t LP (1987, Scorpio)

Since I can’t find any background info on this rather miscellaneous quartet, this will be a short-ish write-up.  This appears to be Swallow the Bird’s lone album, issued by Scorpio Records, the label that pressed all of their LPs on red, transparent vinyl.  Swallow lead mouthpiece and axe-slinger, Wayne Radly’s vocal parlance loosely resembles that of World Party’s Karl Wallinger, and to a lesser degree Robyn Hitchcock, but the similarities sorta stop there.  In fact, the vibe is considerably more humble here, and Swallow’s quasi-narratives and bar-stool observations (Time to put money in the meter of life, per “Army of Time”) are appreciated, if not outright relished in bite-sized increments.  A rather economical quartet, these gents understood how to properly mold slightly off-center keepers like “New Shoes” and “Your Neighbor Makes Me Sick” without over or under-doing anything.  If any of you have any pertinent deets on StB, by all means chime in. 

01. My Rockin’ Horse Has Died
02. Alaskan Headquarters
03. Swallow the Bird
04. Army of Time
05. New Shoes
06. Dictionary Lover
07. Your Neighbor Makes Me Sick
08. New Suburbia
09. Migraine
10. Hourly or Salary
11. Lightning Won’t Help
12. Eastern Death Mark


Articles Origin: Swallow the Bird – s/t LP (1987, Scorpio)


Stained Veil – Livin on Leavin (1986, Smash)

How many of you kept tabs on Greek post-punk/goth bands in the ’80s?  Yeah, me either.  Stained Veil were one of those very contingents, and they were a better late than never discovery for me.  Their’s was a not-so-maudlin approach to the darkwave thing, sometimes bearing more in common with early New Model Army and The Wipers (the latter of whom they were known to cover live) than Bauhaus, Joy Division, etc…  A bit deficient in the melody department, they compensated with a textured and methodical modus operandi, that oozed a mildly sinister and subterranean mystique.  I believe the Livin on Leavin album was the only wax that was issued during their existence, and as good as this record’s piercing guitar leads and overcast demeanor was, their subsequent recordings were doubly satisfying.  To be exact, those later tracks were released posthumously a few years ago under the title of Endless Hours, and are available from iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp.  Highly recommended, even if Livin on Leavin doesn’t blow you away.

01. Change of Time
02. Reasons to be Alone
03. Dorian
04. Livin on Leavin
05. Without Them All
06. Lost
07. It’s All the Same


Articles Origin: Stained Veil – Livin on Leavin (1986, Smash)

V/A – Lost in the Haze Vol. 21

My apologies for not posting more this week.  Hopefully this will help make up for that.  I’m following up on two previous installments in the Lost in the Haze series, a hand-curated array of compilation CD-Rs, courtesy of the now defunct Not Lame Records label and distro.  For the unacquainted, Not Lame flew the power pop flag high circa the 1990s-’00s, with an emphasis on CDs sold strictly through mailorder.  The CEO would frequently incentivize purchases by tossing in a handmade and self-curated cd-r compilation of impossibly rare songs that never made their way into the digital era proper.  God knows how many volumes existed in the Lost in the Haze series alone (at least 21, obviously).  Accompanied only by a tray card track list with no other pertinent details about the music presented, these compilations were stuffed into paper cd envelopes, and would tend to accumulate in various piles in my house.  With a veritable absence of artwork they went out of sight and out of mind for years until I was able to organize them until a few years back

The focus of Lost in the Haze was centered on overlooked and arcane also-rans (with the occasional rarity from a superstar) from the ’70s to the early ’80s. Volume 21 delivers no shortage of stunners: Susan (a male fronted band), New Hearts (who I think are actually a band named the Speedies) and Tattoo who featured none other than ex-Raspberry Wally Bryson.  I wish I had more time to provide a synopsis of the ten bands making the cut here, but hopefully you’ll walk away with a discovery or two.  The tracklist is to your above left.


Articles Origin: V/A – Lost in the Haze Vol. 21

Band of Outsiders – Acts of Faith (1987, Sourmash)

New York’s Band of Outsiders, must have truly lived up to their outsider quotient, as there is nil info or remembrances to be had on them, at least in cyberspace.  The cult band in question, had ties to yet another NYC cult act, Certain General.   The overlap between them will likely mean nothing to a good 99% of you, but if you want a more detailed timeline of their somewhat complicated confluence, Trouser Press lays it all out for you.

The Outsiders evoke the tenor and tonality of a group far more storied than they apparently actually were.  Still, that didn’t stop them from swabbing elements from contemporaries like the Feelies, Dream Syndicate, Let’s Active (occasionally) even stretching a little further back to the Soft Boys and the Velvets.  Their approach was more traditional than advanced, lending itself to a wholly earnest aptitude, which must have really flown in the face of flash and superficiality of their chosen era. Per Trouser Press:

Band of Outsiders relied not so much on hooks or abandon as an ensnaring ambience.

Acts of Faith, partially consisting of material from earlier EP releases, is a pleasurable if not a tad meandering listen.  I found most of the highlights residing on side two, including a John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band cover, “Remember,” and the even brighter and livelier “Clean Saint,” which loosely suggests an affinity for John Wicks and the Records.  The album caps off with the wailin’ “Weeping Willow,” a bratty, organ-laced, garage rock rave-up.

01. Conviction
02. I Wish I Was Your kid
03. Somewhere East
04. Conversation
05. Longer Than Always
06. Remember
07. Killing Time
08. In a Minute
09. Fire in the Wall
10. Clean Saint
11. Weeping Willow


Articles Origin: Band of Outsiders – Acts of Faith (1987, Sourmash)

Mexican Pets – Nobody’s Working Title ep (1994, Blunt)

This gem of a band/record breezed by my eyes not too long ago when I spotted some of their recordings on one of my file-sharing platforms of choice.  At the time I had no idea who Mexican Pets were, but the name must’ve caught my attention because before I knew it was downloading a folder of supposed “early demos,” quite randomly at that.  Smart move on my part.  As it would soon become evident to me the Pets were a bygone Irish inde-rock outfit who to my sheer good luck wielded a penchant for meaningful songwriting couched in a distortion-savvy, albeit tuneful construct.  To this set of ears, similarities to one of their contemporaries in the opposite hemisphere, namely Australia’s Glide, made for an enticingly pleasant surprise, though MP’s likeness to the aforementioned was in all probability a sheer coincidence.  All of this aside, the songs on that demo spoke for themselves, drenched in bittersweet, melancholic sentiments, intermingled with melodic but fuzz-addled guitar swells (a la Swervedriver and early Dinosaur Jr.), all cloaked in a raw, mid-fidelity context that allowed the Pet’s warm, analog hues to come bristling to life so genuinely.

The Pets’ recordings never made it stateside, and the band folded by the late ’90s, having only one proper album to their credit, HumbuckerNobody’s Working Title is actually a consolidation of two earlier EPs, and those songs wound up on yet another future compilation.  A decent overview of their career can be accessed on Wikipedia, and hopefully there will be more to come regarding them in the not-too-distant future on these pages.

01. Stigmata Errata
02. Subside
03. Magnet Force
04. How to Have More Fun
05. Bruise
06. Merry Hell


Articles Origin: Mexican Pets – Nobody’s Working Title ep (1994, Blunt)