Fancey – Schmancey (2007, What Are)

Sorry I’ve been slack of late.  I should have more needle-drops to post in the non-too-distant future. Here’s one I wrote up for a publication about ten years ago.

As if it wasn’t enough to man the coveted guitarist position in what is arguably the world’s preeminent indie-rock combo, the Vancouver based New Pornographers, Todd Fancey stretches his schedule for a band in his own rite and namesake.  Although NP reign supreme in terms of the hipster quotient, Fancey are more overtly pop than his full-time outfit could ever hope to be. In fact, Todd has coined his concoction as “super pop,” and with immense, sublime wonders such as “Heaven’s Way,” Downtown II,” and “Lost in Twilight,“ Schmancey is a veritable saccharine avalanche.  Absorbing it’s 14 selections in one sitting might be tantamount to an overdose, but aficionados of The Pearlfishers, Heavy Blinkers, and Zumpano (a defunct Vancouver band with ties to New Pornographers) will be more than up to the challenge. 

01. Witches Night
02. Lost in Twilight
03. Call
04. Gulf Breeze
05. Bitter Life
06. Blue Star
07. Fader
08. Karma’s Out to Get Me
09. Whoa
10. Feels Like Dawn 
11. Heaven’s Way
12. Downtown II
13. Let the Breeze In
14. Cross ‘o Gold

Articles Origin: Fancey – Schmancey (2007, What Are)

Rain Parade – Maxwells, Hoboken, NJ 12/2/83

The folks attending this early December gig at Hoboken’s legendary Maxwells got an early Christmas present with a visit from one of L.A.’s rising stars.  From the notes of the original taper, the Rain Parade had some competition with an inordinately chatty audience.  Nonetheless, the paisley vibe was discernible, with a huge oriental rug occupying half of the standing room (or in this case, sitting room with a good bit of the audience seated on the tapestry).  Standards such as “What She’s Done to Your Mind,” ‘Saturday’s Asylum” and a run through Syd Barrett’s “It’s No Good trying” are present and accounted for.   A fascinating memento for Rain Parade aficionados of what was apparently a very unique gig.  A special thanks to whomever digitized this set and supplied sleeve art.

Also, explore RP’s compilation of demos, Demolition here.

01. Any Other Way
02. No Easy Way Down
03. No Good Trying
04. Kaleidoscope
05. I Look Around
06. What She’s Done To Your Mind
07. Look At Merri
08. Saturday’s Asylum
09. Talking In My Sleep
10. It’s Gonna Work Out
11. All My Friends
12. This Can’t Be Today
13. Carolyn’s Song
14. 1 Hr ½ Ago

MP3 (320 kbps)  or  FLAC

Articles Origin: Rain Parade – Maxwells, Hoboken, NJ 12/2/83

The Scruffs 7″ (1980, Sounds Interesting)

In 1977 this Memphis quartet “broke the ice” with Wanna Meet the Scruffs?, a colossally lauded proto-power pop album that unfortunately a relative few could partake in the invitation of.  Chalk that up to limited availability I suppose.  Furthermore, given it’s esteemed reputation, it’s been said that the fortunate few who owned the record dare not relinquish their copy under any circumstance.  When it was finally brought into the digital age in 1997, the band revealed a treasure trove of unreleased recordings pre/post-dating Wanna Meet…  Potentially, a lot of Scruffs fans back in the day may have missed the single I’m presenting here, as it seems nothing of theirs was nearly as publicized as that glorious debut.

Despite their locale and numerous connections, The Scruffs didn’t gravitate to Big Star so much as the Raspberries.  That influence isn’t as pervasive on recordings subsequent to Wanna Meet, but by the time of this 1980 7″ the band wasn’t quite MTV caliber either…but they were oh so close.  “When Donna Romances” is a nugget of power pop bullion for the ages, still subscribing to the precious moxie of that first album.  The flip, “Rock n’ Roll Heads” plays it faster and looser – literally, possessing a tell tale Ramones-y rhythm, curtailed just shy of the punk threshold.  You can check out some additional Scruffs recordings, including some that are relatively recent here.

A. When Donna Romances
B. Rock n’ Roll Heads 

Articles Origin: The Scruffs 7" (1980, Sounds Interesting)

One Plus Two – The Ivy Room ep (1985, LSR/Homestead)

If it seems unimaginative of me to follow up my One Plus Two post from last week with yet another ep by the same folks in less than a week, I’m guilty as charged.  In fact, on the heels of the Watercolor Haircut, I fielded a request for the band’s follow-up The Ivy Room.  Am still picking up on that strummy, Athens, GA vibe, and this record just might be the finest out of the three of them.  Pretty much everything on Ivy jibes with me, however I found side two to be the spunkier side of the coin.  Shut your eyes, pretend it’s left-of-the-dial time in 1985, and light a stick of patchouli for yourself.

01. Other Days
02. September Night
03. Mystery to Me
04. Secret Question
05. Promise
06. Windows

Articles Origin: One Plus Two – The Ivy Room ep (1985, LSR/Homestead)

One Plus Two – Watercolor Haircut ep (1984, New Math)

I first/last wrote about One Plus Two almost a decade ago, so I suppose that makes me overdue.  Information on this quartet was scant at best back then and ditto now.  The equation in question were a co-ed indie pop foursome, potentially hailing from North Carolina, and from the sounds of it, it wouldn’t surprise me if Mitch Easter was occupying their orbit (though he isn’t credited here).  The edgy record sleeve and oblique title lend themselves to a band with some mystique to enlighten us with, though in the case of One Plus Two their angle of attack was comparatively plaintive.  Strum.  Jangle.  Hooks.  Collegiate sensibilities.  Etc.  Chances are you’ve encountered a record of this stripe before, but for what it’s worth it’s done properly and satisfies in spades. .

01. Look Away
02. Much More
03. Over You
04. Pictures

Articles Origin: One Plus Two – Watercolor Haircut ep (1984, New Math)