Well, Thomas the imposter, he lived a lie, but it mattered not ‘cos that was his way.

From 1978, by a “supergroup” of sorts. 


Articles Origin: Well, Thomas the imposter, he lived a lie, but it mattered not ‘cos that was his way.


Loomis – How Much is Too Much (1999, Sun, Sea, Sky)

This one is a tad belated.  Make that eight years belated.  Then again, demand for Loomis has been limited as best, even when they were active in the mid/late ’90s.  I’m following up on an entry I did for them in 2009 for the first and only proper album, You’re No Tiger, Meow, Meow, Meow which dates back to 1996.  Back in the day, those who took notice of these Madison, WI gents were treated to the quartet’s sobering, but muscular brand of thoughtful indie rock, that really did bring the rock on most occasions.  Well, in addition to that seemingly “lone” LP was this exhaustive 34 song compendium of singles and mostly unreleased material, damn near three albums worth to be exact.  The brief sleeve notes fail to provide recording dates, but it’s safe to say that some of their earliest recordings are situated at the beginning of disk two.  Loomis apparently began life as pop-punk aficionados, and during this phase of their tenure, they came up with raw, Husker Du and Doughboys informed assaults like “Boxspring,” “Spoke” and “Beige.”

In my earlier piece on Loomis, I observed sonic similarities to their Chapel Hill, NC contemporaries Small 23.  That same observations applies to much of the remainder of How Much…, but these guys tinged the brunt of their handiwork with bittersweet inflections, stopping far shy of gloomy or maudlin.  It’s a formula that worked well to their advantage on the relatively subdued “Twinkle Toes” and “Liberace.”  Regardless of what mode the band chose to revel in, the real beauty of How Much is Too Much, is the sheer quantity and quality of material offered.  Before you make room for this on your hard drive, you can sample all of it on Bandcamp (who for some reason aren’t offering HMITM as a download).  If you’re brand new to these guys, do check out the aforementioned You’re No Tiger… LP as well.

Disk 1
01. pillow
02. liberace
03. beige
04. two inches deep
05. down
06. elo
07. lunch tuck
08. paper mache
09. she moves like a lazy susan
10. home/a piece of resistence
11. secret asian man
12. when i move
13. win!
14. hookers
15. twinkle toes
16. butterbean
17. i’m a reader

Disk 2
01. girl of your choice
02. spoke
03. wait inside
04. chop suey
05. names and words
06. boxspring
07. rototiller
08. chunks
09. twerp
10. clerk
11. ballad of a handgun
12. untitled number one  
13. train
14. iriwn am
15. hi-tech swimpsuit
16. i don’t speak porpoise
17. untitled number two


Articles Origin: Loomis – How Much is Too Much (1999, Sun, Sea, Sky)

The Pterodactyls – We’ve Done it Now ep (1987, Meltdown)

I feel like a bit of a scavenger when I usurp a piece of music from, say, a file sharing platform, and share it without being in possession of a physical copy myself.  Then again, I’m usually getting it for free, and passing it along to you likewise, so maybe I’m just…blathering.  The Pterodactyls ep is a case in point, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank whomever went to the trouble of digitizing this utterly scarce record.  The tiny label responsible for it, Meltdown, was based in Palmerston North, on the northern island of New Zealand.

This clangy, post-punk quartet tracked their entire ep in one day in 1987 in Auckland.  It sounds like some degree of local cross-pollination was at hand here, and it wouldn’t be unwise to suspect the Pterodactyls may have been keen on the Bats and Tall Dwarfs, not to mention some other winged creatures on the Flying Nun roster.  It would have been really interesting to see where these lads might have taken things on subsequent releases, but I think this was their sole outing.  Brief as their catalog was, you’d be wise to console yourself with the poignantly melodic “Germs,” We’ve Done It Now’s should-have-been greatest hit. 

BTW, Meltdown Records was home to a couple of other bands whose records (or at the very least, MP3s) I’m anxious to get a hold of.  If anyone can tip me off to such long lost Kiwis as Three Leaning Men and the Remarkables, by all means get in touch!  You’ll be rewarded handsomely for your efforts.

01. Cockroaches
02. Ode
03. Germs
04. Gravel Pit
05. Born Again


Articles Origin: The Pterodactyls – We’ve Done it Now ep (1987, Meltdown)

A Witness – Sacred Cow Heart (1986, Twilight/Ron Johnson)

1986 was a doubly good year to be a fan of The Fall – but even die hard acolytes may have been out of the loop.  That year, not only did the band release Bend Sinister, but an unrelated cabal of Fall protegees from Manchester, A Witness, dropped an LP of their own, specifically this one.  Mere footnotes to Mark E. Smith and Co., A Witness nonetheless bore an uncanny resemblance to their inspiration antecedents – right down to the vocals and oblique lyrical motifs in fact.  Sacred Cow Heart (released in the UK as I Am John’s Pancreas) is a challenging, but thankfully not altogether off-putting piece of avant rock.  Beefheart-ian monikerd, post-punk salvos like “Smelt Like a Pedestrian” and “Nodding Dog Moustache” weren’t exactly grist for the pop radio mill, but the latter for example, boasts a near-irresistible groove and swagger.  And the Fall had precious little in their teaming oeuvre that satisfied as instantly as Witness’ “Raw Patch” and “Red Snake.”  Even a couple of failed experiments on Sacred Cow don’t diminish it’s overall effectiveness, though like the Fall,  A Witness’ prevailing tenor won’t be for everyone.

01. Smelt Like a Pedestrian
02. Red Snake
03. Dipping Bird
04. Sharpened Stick
05. The Loudhailer Song
06. Faglane Morris Wind
07. Nodding Dog Moustache
08. Raw Patch
09. Legs Be Sturdy
10. Hard Days Love


Articles Origin: A Witness – Sacred Cow Heart (1986, Twilight/Ron Johnson)

Blue Peter – Up to You ep (1982, Ready)

Not to be confused with the cartoon of the same name, Blue Peter were a Toronto pop/wave export who in the ’80s made waves in their home country, albeit registering mere ripples in the States.   Up to You was one of their later releases, but not a bad place to start if you’re getting your feet wet.  The EP is bookended by it’s title track, and a variation thereof for the finale.  I really dislike flaunty, trumpet-laced dance rock, which “Up to You” is sadly steeped in, but the four songs ensconced in between, range anywhere from good to excellent.  One of their signature titles, “Chinese Graffiti” brandishes an irresistible power-pop hook.  Unpredictably, “Graffiti” segues into the comparatively dark and “Guilty Secret,” an edgy number reminiscent of the Comsat Angels.  And “The World Stops Here” illustrates that Blue Peter’s reach should have extended far beyond Canada, and I’m sure for awhile it probably looked like that scenario could have transpired.

As goes heavy ringwear on the jacket, so goes the fidelity of the record, and this one is no exception.  I did my level best to tamp down some of the surface noise, but plenty of crackle is evident.  If it’s an unblemished listen you desire you can check out Blue Peter aplenty over at their Soundcloud hovel. 

01. Up to You
02. Chinese Graffiti
03. Guilty Secret
04. Around You
05. The World Stops Here
06. Up to U


Articles Origin: Blue Peter – Up to You ep (1982, Ready)