Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jason Falkner - Softcore

Over the last month, I have been listening a lot to the new Jason Falkner CD "All Quite on the Noise Floor". I think its one of his best in years. It really shows you the great work that Jason is capable of.

A great effort like this brings out the completest fan in me and I recently discovered a few Jason tracks from soundtrack of the movie "The Informers" that I didn't know existed. With these tracks, Jason returns to that 80s Gary Numan synth sound he explored with TV Eyes (his 2006 project with Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Brian Reitzell). If you haven't heard the TV Eyes album, head over to King Size Mong's blog and check it out straight away.

I've collected a companion collection of Falkner tracks either with Manning and Reitzell or in the 80's synth pop style of TV Eyes. Included are four early demo tracks by TV Eyes from when the group was going to be known as "Softcore". These are different versions/mixes of four of the tracks that eventually ended up on the TV Eyes CD. Special thanks to King Size Mong for making me aware of the hard to find TV Eyes "Softcore EP" they also released.

Below is a track listing of the collection. Enjoy and please let me know if you have something I have missed in this vein.

  1. Search for Tomorrow (From "Logan's Sanctuary" by Falkner, Manning Jr., Reitzell)
  2. Won't Last Forever (From "Softcore EP" by TV Eyes)
  3. Only You (From "The Informers" Soundtrack by Falkner, Meldal-Johnsen, Palmer, Stanley)
  4. Fade Away (From "Softcore Demos" by TV Eyes)
  5. Touch and Go (From "Substitution Mass Confusion" Cars Tribute by Falkner)
  6. Assimilation Process (From "Softcore EP" by TV Eyes)
  7. Stop Me (From "Softcore EP" by TV Eyes)
  8. Playground Love (Air live with vocals by Jason)
  9. She's a Study (From "Softcore Demos" by TV Eyes)
  10. On the Subway (From "Lost in Translation Soundtrack" by Manning Jr., Reitzell)
  11. Another Night (From "The Informers" Soundtrack by Falkner, Meldal-Johnsen, Stanley)
  12. Shibuya (From "Lost in Translation" Soundtrack by Manning Jr., Reitzell)
  13. The Party's Over (From "Softcore Demos" by TV Eyes)
  14. Mission Submission (From "Softcore Demos" by TV Eyes)
  15. Gone For Good (From "The Informers" Soundtrack by Falkner, Meldal-Johnsen, Stanley)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stamey Holsapple - On The Radio

I loved the "Now and Then" CD by Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple, released earlier in 2009 - one of the best releases of the year in my opinion. If you were lucky enough to see them live, you saw them play a number of covers that didn't make it on the official release. They regularly played the Everly Brothers classic "Lord of the Manor"and the Chris Bell/Big Star song "I Am the Cosmos" in addition to hauling out some older DB's classics.

What follows is a collection of tracks from their Mountain Stage concert and an in studio acoustic performance from WFMU. Nice sounding recordings from some of my personal favorites.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fountains of Wayne - New Acoustic Tracks

I really like the two new songs that Fountains of Wayne performed at their recent Mountain Stage Acoustic Concert, "The Summer Place" and"Cemetery Guns". I also think that the song entitled "Cold Comfort Flowers" is a great tune as well. it looks like the new Fountains of Wayne project is going to be another great effort by the boys from New Jersey. Until the new CD is out, enjoy these acoustic tracks. They sound great!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mitch Easter - More Rare Tracks

Below is a second volume of Mitch Easter rare tracks . I'm very happy to say that these were gathered from (or suggested by) comments about the previous Mitch Easter Rare Track compilation posted in July. I had lots of suggestions about tracks I had missed.

A number of readers posted their own compilations and now that some of these links are dead I have compiled them together. This group of tracks are primarily studio tracks and are the first of three posts. I'll post the other two compilations of live tracks in weeks to come.

For me this is really the point of this blog. Thanks to everyone for their contribution. I really appreciate it!

  1. Gimme Gimme Good Lovin (From "Right to Chews" Bubblegum Compilation - Dean Suggested)
  2. Sudden Crown Drop (1999 Alternate Version - Posted by Anon)
  3. Kizza Me (From "Not The Singers But The Songs" A Tribute To Alex Chilton - Posted by Anon)
  4. Chalk Outline (Unreleased Songs From Mountain Stage - Posted by Anon)
  5. Nature (Unreleased Songs From Mountain Stage - Posted by Anon)
  6. Jane (Dead End) (Unreleased Songs From Mountain Stage - Posted by Anon)
  7. Decline and Fall (Sneakers Remix)
  8. Invisible Hills (Unreleased Bonus Track by Let's Active)
  9. Sweepstakes Winner (Alternate Version - Bonus Track by Let's Active)
  10. Horizon (Alternate Version - Bonus Track by Let's Active)
  11. Bad Machinery (Alternate Version - Bonus Track by Let's Active)
  12. A Room With A View (Alternate Version - From Mondo Montage by Let's Active, Fantom clarified)
  13. Prying Eyes (From Shake to Date, Correctly labeled this time - Requested by Jim, Fantom clarified)
  14. Law Averages (From Shake to Date - Requested by Jim, Fantom clarified)
  15. Dirty Reasons (Posted by Fantom)
  16. We Do What If (Posted by Fantom)
  17. Premonition (Posted by Fantom)
  18. I'm Sorry (Posted by Fantom)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mike Viola - Kenmore Square

For completist Candy Butchers fans, here is the Kenmore Square album by Mike Viola and Snap. This album, originally released in 1990, is quite good. Catchy songs that sound very much like later Candy Butchers tracks. "One More Word" for instance, foreshadows "The Killing Floor" from "Falling into Place", released nine years later.

To my ears, this album has more to do with later Candy Butcher albums like "Falling into Place" or "Play With Your Head" than the more acoustic self titled "Candy Butchers" album released on Blue Thumb or the "Live At La Bonbonniere" EP. Anyway, its Mike Viola and that means its great. Well worth a listen.

Sorry about the low quality tracks. I got these years ago and I forget where I got them....also please let me know if anyone has any more Mike Viola or Candy Butcher rarities.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Mitch Easter - Rare Tracks

I've been listening to my treasured Let's Active records of late and marveling at how good those three albums were. Mitch Easter channeled influences such as Big Star and Television into a unique psychedelic stew, all flavored by the Athens Georgia, North Carolina sound from the early 1980s. All three Let's Active efforts are great and well worth picking up.

I really liked Mitch's comeback effort "Dynamico" from a couple of years ago and I saw him touring with Don Dixon and wife Shalani. Very nice show. I was all set for new high output period. However so far, only the one record. Mitch has produced far more music than he has put out under his own name.

To stretch his catalog a bit, I put together a compilation of Mitch songs from tribute records, a couple of songs that he authored and sang from Shalani records and a few songs that Mitch sang lead on from the Sneakers projects with Chris Stamey. There also a couple of Let's Active B-sides and some brief appearances by Mitch and Don Dixon on TV.

I've got to admit that this compilation will be enjoyed most by really serious fans (though everyone SHOULD hear Mitch's version of the Monkees classic Vallerie - at least once).

Let me know if you have anything I'm missing here.

Friday, July 3, 2009

KC Bowman - Preoccupied Piper

There are a lot of people who haven't yet encountered KC Bowman. Little known outside of di-hard pop circles, he has been writing and performing power pop songs in the style of XTC (with a bit of Apples in Stereo thrown in) for the last ten years. Great power pop tunes representing a somewhat skewed outlook on life (also think They Might Be Giants).

Bowman was one of the original driving forces behind the California band Lawsuit . Since Lawsuit broke up in the mid 90s, He has presided over a loose configuration of like minded artists known as The Preoccupied Pipers. The ever changing roster of the Preoccupied Pipers take turns writing and singing and have released a string of great albums. I strongly recommend checking them out. There is great stuff on every Pipers release.

KC's solo album Fresher Tin Villages was released in 1998. In my opinion, it is an absolute classic - and KC has kindly made it available for download here. Don't miss this one!

To accompany Fresher Tin Villages, I've assembled a sampler of Preoccupied Pipers tracks with KC singing lead. This is great stuff, not to be missed. If you haven't heard him before, you are going to want entree into KC Bowman's world.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jason Falkner - Web Sessions

Its frustrating being a Jason Falkner fan. You wait for years for an official release and then end up having to buy an expensive import version of the album. Don't get me wrong. I am really looking forward to the new version of "This Time" when the American release of I'm OK You're OK" finally comes out.... but we could really use some NEW work from Jason. His web site says he is done with yet another album of tracks. I wonder how long it will be to his new material sees the light of day? It would be great if we had a method to pay Jason to release new tracks directly to his fans.

As a stop gap, I've been listening to two web sessions. A great sounding set of studio tracks from and some live material from If you haven't been to these websites, you are missing some great Jason videos. I recommend checking them out. Lots of fun.

Most of this material was released on "I'm OK You're OK" and the groupee tracks sound much better than the live crackle tracks. Have any other rare tracks from Jason? Please let me know.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Jason Falkner and XTC fans meet... Barry O'Brien and Slumberjet

This little known Irish band is a terrific find for lovers of Jason Falkner, Pugwash and XTC. For the last several years Barry O'Brien has made guest appearances with Pugwash. He is a kindred spirit producing top flight Power Pop. In 2004, Barry released a four song EP entitled "Spark" that name-checked Pugwash, XTC, Jason Falkner and Elliot Smith. Every track is a winner on that EP, shining with great playing and great hooks. These tracks were released pretty widely and are freely available on Garageband and Stumble. I've collected them here for convenience

When I recently checked Myspace to see what Barry had been up to, I found his new band Slumberjet and two new tracks and they are excellent! To my ears the track "The Letter" sounds like a lost track from a Jason Falkner album. Try it out and let me know if you agree. I've looked long and hard, but there are the only six finished tracks available from this band as yet. I added a couple of low quality acoustic recordings I found to round out the collection.

According to their Myspace site, Slumberjet has finished recording their new CD. I can't wait to hear the rest of the album.

Do not miss this great new band!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Posies - Every Bitter Drop

For a band that has broken up more than a few times, the Posies have had a remarkably consistent and high quality output. I think that all of their albums feature creative melodies and great playing. The solo records from both Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow are also well worth picking up.

Its been a while since the latest Posies release and of course it would be great to hear a new effort. Until then, here is a compilation of b-sides and tribute tracks . Its the first of a couple compilations that I'll post. I think this collection works pretty well in the order here. Be warned - it is heavy on cover songs. Auer and Stringfellow bring a lot in interpreting the work of others.
Many of these tracks were included in the long out of print Not Lame box set "At Least At Last" though I don't think all of them were included in that package.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Jon Brion Collection

Jon Brion has released precious little considering his influence in the Power Pop world. After his work with the Grays in 1994 it took seven years for his solo tour-de-force "Meaningless" to finally see the light of day. The rumors of that album preceded its actual release by several years. Individual tracks kept leaking out slowly on the Internet.

When it finally was officially released, Meaningless was indeed a masterpiece. A hand crafted set of originals and covers that showed how Jon's work been a critical part of the Gray's sound. In them, you also clearly heard his influence on the sound of Aimee Mann's first few solo

Of course, Jon's career since that time has focused on high profile producing jobs (Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright, Kanye West...) as well as his extremely successful career in scoring films. In those films he has tantalized Power Pop fans by seeding a few great Jon Brion vocal tracks among the instrumental pieces. Great for faithful collectors, but frustrating for everyone else waiting for his next solo album.

As a stop gap, I've collected all of the vocal tracks so far from Jon's soundtrack efforts here along with a track each from a Queen Tribute album and a Hollies Tribute album. Please let me know if you know of something that I am missing. To pad out the collection, I've also included a solo performance that Jon did for KCRW.

This is great stuff and I think the collection hangs together well. For true Jon Brion collectors, there is very little new here. For the Power Pop fan new to Jon Brion's work, try these tunes and let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey - Here and Now

In the 80s, the dB's were one of the best and most influential power pop groups on the scene. They released a round of classic CDs and then faded from view. They have made several attempts since then to rekindle the flame, each sputtering out after a few months.

Exciting news. Former dB's co-leaders Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey are preparing a new album Here and Now and are performing a few dates in anticipation of its release.

Though I don't have much in the way of rare Stamey Holsapple material together, I did unearth a couple of rare compilations for each of them.

Chris Stamey - Alaska is a compilation of rare singles and an EP released during 1992 and 1993. I pulled these down from the Jeff Giles's classic Jefftoblog blog. As far as I can determine, these files are no longer available. Great stuff that I had not heard before. Highly recommended for Stamey lovers. Thanks Jeff!

After the dB's broke in the early 90s, Peter Holsapple joined the New Orleans based jangle rock super group, the Continental Drifters. Though Peter's then wife Susan Cowsill usually sang lead for the Drifters, Peter sang at least two or three songs on each of their three albums.

Peter Holsapple - Continental Drifter is a collection of the Continental Drifter songs that Peter sang lead on (with one ringer pulled from his solo album). Some great material here. I think "Too Little Too Late" is up there with the best of the later dB's material.
1982 Repercussion
1984 Like This
1991 Mavericks (Holsapple and Stamey)
1993 Ride the Wild Tom Tom
1994 Paris Avenue