Here it is folks, night eight. Have I saved the best for last? That’s entirely your determination my friends. There’s one thing I can say for sure. Wilfully Obscure hasn’t been deficient on compilations over the years, much less ones related to the genres specified in the blog header.
I’d say the granddaddy of all various artists series might involve Hyped to Death’s Teen Line dynasty, which I’ve already posted five installments of. That alphabetically curated saga pruned the finest and most visceral moments from an array of primo ’70s and ’80s vinyl sides from the halcyon era of American power pop, but who was keeping watch of the fort on the other side of the pond and beyond?
That’s roughly were Powerpearls comes in. The emphasis on this series was predominantly on UK and European exports, even stretching down to Oceania on occasion. On top of that, not only is power pop represented, but equal portions punk and mod to boot.
Unlike the Teen Line comps which had a traceable source of origination, Pearls was the work of a compiler who was comparatively unknown, giving these collections more of a “bootleg” reputation.
Between the first two volumes of Powerpearls 36 acts are accorded their moment in the sun, even the most recognizable of which (TV21, Tweed, The Jags, and The Shivers) have nothing approaching mainstream notoriety. Then again, that precisely the point, and these long-players put a premium on quality exposing us to shoulda been hits by the likes of Excel, The Various Artists (as in the band), The Blades, Tours, Strangeways – not to mention a spins outside of England including three minute miracles by such enterprising Yanks as the Verterbats, Atlantics and The Go, plus we get an early rarity from none other than the Fastbacks, circa ’81. Canada is represented by The Bureaucrats, a New Zealand export dubbed the Techtones chime in with half of an ace 1980 single, and Oz gets in on the act with the spunky Leftovers. You’ll even find a few non-English speaking contenders on Vol. 2.
One thing to bear in mind before you dig into everything. These are vinyl records, that were presumably, in most cases, sourced from the original singles. There are a handful of glitches amidst these grooves that I couldn’t do squat about. They’re pretty much kept to a minimum though, and as compensation the music is pretty sublime on more than one occasion. The back cover of each record provides brief biographical on the bands, and I kept the pics full size so you can (hopefully) read them. Cheers.
Powerpearls Vol. 1
01. Really 3rds – Everyday, Everyway
02. Straight Up – One Out, All Out
03. Bureaucrats – Feel the Pain
04. Tours – Language School
05. The Gents – Modern Time
06. The Atlantics – One Last Night
07. Jimmy Edwards – Nora’s Diary
08. Techtones – That Girl
09. Famous Players – Who’s Kissing You
10. Tweed – Fashion
11. The Distractions – It Doesn’t Bother Me
12. TV21 – Playing With Fire
13. The News – The Kids Are Dancing
14. Fastbacks – It’s Your Birthday
15. The Rousers – Susan’s Day
16. The Squares – No Fear
17. Small World – Liberty
18. Local Heroes – Blast the Pop!
Powerpearls Vol. 2
01. The Moderns – Got to Have Pop
02. Shivers – Teen Line
03. The Vertebrats – Diamonds in the Rough
04. The Go – Don’t Take Her Away
05. The Blades – Ghost of a Chance
06. Kolla Kestaa – Kirjoituksia Kellarista
07. The Names – Too Cool to Dance
08. Strangeways – Show Her You Care
09. The Jags – Dumb Blonde
10. Vogue – Pill Girl
11. Toys – Breakdown
12. Protex – Just Want Your Attention
13. Excel – Rock Show
14. Leftovers – Killing Time
15. Various Artists – The Original Mixed Up Kid
16. Telegrama – Chica del Metro
17. Ratsia – Ole hyvä nyt
18. Longport Buzz – Fun
Articles Origin: V/A – Powerpearls Vols 1 & 2