Thursday, September 16, 2010

TVD's Obscure Alternatives

I’ve long felt that both the ‘70’s and the ‘80’s were both intensely fertile decades for music of merit. I’m not saying they were the best decades, mind you—just perhaps my favorites. (OK, maybe just half of the ‘80s.)

So, we’re delighted to offer up our new Thursday fix from the rare and obscure crates of 80’s vinyl to run in tandem with our ‘Class of the ‘70’s series that’s been appearing here for well over a year now. We’ll let our pal Gil fill you in on the specifics... —Ed.

"Each week I will review and bring to light an obscure out of print album from the 1980s that fell through the cracks and went unnoticed by the mainstream music media. I will endeavor to cover the myriad of alternative music genres that were prevalent during the decade of decadence. The genres covered will be new wave, minimal synth, power pop, electro, post punk, indie rock, goth, and synth pop.

There’s no better feeling for a vinyl collector when they find and add an elusive obscurity to their collection. My hope is that this feature gives you some interesting recommendations to ponder before you set off on the hunt...Enjoy."

THE TALK - New Language LP
The Talk was an alternative new wave foursome who hailed from the Midwest in Missoula, Montana. Yes, there seems to have been an indie music scene in the outer reaches of the Midwest.

The band was formed in the early 80’s and created two albums. Both albums were privately pressed on Seal Pup Records out of the same town, Missoula. The first album, “Not Just Hearsay” was produced in 1982 and was essentially a power pop rock affair. The second and final album, “New Language” was produced in 1984 and had a more polished new wave approach with melodic arrangements, solid percussion and even some strategic saxophone playing in some of the songs.

There is also a more prominent role for the keyboards on this second album. The lead vocalist has a great voice that sticks out from his many mainstream peers of the day. It was clear that more time and effort was put into the production on this second album, and it’s heard in the overall final eight song product. A first rate new wave album by this talented indie band who should have garnered more attention in their time.

The Talk - Fools For Fashion (Mp3)
The Talk - Out My Window (Mp3)
The Talk - Pretender (Mp3)

For more obscure and unknown titles, check out Vinyl Obscurity.

The Vinyl District Takeover | Those Darlins

Don't you wish more bands did instrumentals? I have what would amount to an entire record's worth of instrumentals I recorded at Kathy Wariner's (Jessi's mom) art studio last Christmas. Jessi's 13 year old brother Oakley plays percussion on some of it. No one wants to put it out I guess. Which is fine. People are more into that Double Rainbow sound right now anyway. In the meantime I stick tracks on mixtapes and tell people it's some lost Joe Meek recording.

The T-Bones - "Balboa Blue" | I put this song on a mix tape I made for van time during SXSW 2010. Perfect for sitting in standstill traffic, knowing you're already 30 minutes late and probably won't arrive for another 45. Sorry.

The Routers - "Lets Go" | Everybody loves this one. Cheerleaders and cretins, together as one.

Al Casey with the K-C Ettes - "Surfin Hootenanny" | Lee Hazelwood wrote this one. Al was also a member of the "Wrecking Crew" and played on tons of stuff-Pet Sounds, "These Boots are Made for Walking", etc. AWWW CMMMON.

The Turtles - "Buzz Saw" | This is off the Battle of the Bands album. Way cooler than hearing them sing Dylan. Here they pretend to be The Fabulous Dawgs, and rip out some great Fuzz and organ sounds.

The Dyna-Tones - "The Skunk Pt. 1" | Flip this guy over and you get to hear "The Skunk Pt. 2."

The Vinyl District Takeover | Jump Back Jake

Young and Wilder are a new Rock and Roll duo from Portland, OR. I had the pleasure of producing their debut EP in June at Hi/Lo studios in Memphis. This is a single of their song "Amadine" backed with "It's Wrong." Both tracks feature background vocals from Jake Vest and myself and "It's Wrong" has some sweet pedal steel courtesy of Memphis's own Rock 'n' Roll dentist, John Whittemore (Jack O. and the Tearjerkers, John Paul Keith and the 1-4-5s, Neighborhood Texture Jam).

It's always such fun to watch the way Memphis gets inside a group of musicians, filling them with intangible Rock and Roll secrets that you can't find in any other city in the world. Look out for these two. They are unstoppable.

—Jump Back Jake