Tuesday, December 30, 2008

MRL"s Best Music Posts '08: (Singles, E.P.'s etc.)

Yet an-other list?
Yup, those damn bloggers keep spreadin' unjustifiably unheard music around the world for almost zilch reward.

Remember those almost iron-clad caveats:
- avoid full versions of readily available releases
- offer full releases (single, e.p. or album) with artwork
- give a write-up offering at least
some context

This is an actual picture of the collection(or some portion thereof).

1. The Gas Ignore Me (UK Angry new wave, 1981) Power-Pop Action

2. V.A. Room to Move (Killed by Ireland, 1980) Punk Friction

3. V.A. Ca Plane Pour Moi (A "one song-many versions" post) Bleedin' Out

4. Grandpa Boy(a.k.a. Paul Westerberg) 7" (U.S. Introspective-rock, 1997) Willfully Obscure

5. Larry Wallis Police Car (U.K. Proto-greebo, 1977) Sons of the Dolls

6. Gaslight Anthem Acoustic Sessions (U.S. Heartland punk, 2008) Nuzz Prowllin' Wolf

7. The Clues Mini LP (U.K. ModSkaPop) Always Searching for Music

8. Innocents One Way Love (U.K. Girl-power-pop, 1980) Killed by Death

9. Cringer Time for a Little Something (U.S. Anarcho-pop-punk, 1991) Nothin' Sez Somethin'

10. V.A. World's in Shreds Volume 4 (U.S. Lo-fi-pop-punk) Punk archives

11. New Math Die Trying (UK High-fructose power-pop, 1979) Short Sharp Kick in the Teeth

12. DeCylinders Singles (Accented Netherlands power-pop, 1979-1981) Vibrator Buzz

13. John Fogerty Mid-period singles (Lodi swamp-rock) Power Pop Lovers (Link shows two singles, "Walkin' Down the Road", which is great and "You Got the Magic" which is not.)

14. Sleeper Wasted Today (U.S. Dischord-ant pop-punk,1993) Punks on Postcards

15. Pure Hell These Boots are Made for Walking(U.S. Bowery-punk, 1978) Last Days of Man on Earth

16. The Strike Take Action (Can. -U.S. Jam/Clash/SLF punk, 1994) Shotgun Solution

17. The Regents 7 Teen (Abba-punk, 1980) Nothin Better To Do

18. Mobster - 7" (U.K. Pop-ska, 1980) Ballistic Wax

19. Grant Hart 2541 (U.S. Mope-rock, 1988) The Blasting Concept

20. Cringer Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (U.S. Anarcho-syndicalist-pop-punk, 1988) Mustard Relics

21. The Pleasers - S/T (UK Beatles-rip-off, 1977) Ratboy

22. English Punk Invasion (A grab bag of singles) Bombs of Peace

Due to my own limitations, many great bloggers are not represented here - find more musical spadework in my blogroll.

Thanks to Totally Fuzzy for keeping tabs on so much of what goes up.

Just to add a great singles post, here' s Scotland's Rezillos (more here) with their slightly muddy 1978 BBC Sessions which includes a revamped "I Can't Stand My Baby".

Download Radio Session

Sunday, December 28, 2008

MRL"s Top-Twenty-Two Music Posts '08 (Full-lengths)

Why another list?
Because good bloggers spread unheard music around the world for little reward besides a few hits on the Crackmeter and stray comments. (Written as a proprietor of a blog
and a voracious consumer of the same. )
To limit the list I tried (and failed) to chose sites that:
- avoid full versions of
readily available releases
- offer full releases (single, e.p. or album) with artwork
- give a write-up offering at least
some context

1. Ammonites Demo (U.K. Two-Tone Ska, 1979) Marco on the Bass (In two parts)

2. Ruts Peel Sessions (U.K. Punky Reggae Party, 1979) Commercial Zone

3. V.A. Stiff Sounds (UK Quirk-rock, 1979) (Rocket Remnants)

4. Nils Discography (Can. Hüsker-core, 1983-1986) (Model Citizen...Zero Discipline)

5. Chumbawamba Discography* (U.K. Anarcho-punk-folk-dance) Da Terror
Contains some in-print items but for a band who once recommended people shoplift their album this should not be such a bad thing.

6. Semantics Powerbill (U.S. Slick-power-pop, 1993) Puppy Strangler

7. Gary Myrick and the Figures S/T (U.S. A.O.R. New Wave, 1980) Scott's Music Blog

8. V.A. 4 Bands Who Cold Change the World (U.S. Whoa-0h H.C. , 1986) Down Underground)

9. Seventeen A Flashing Blur of Stripped-Down Excitement (U.K. Mod-punk, 1979) Control Total

10. Red Rockers Condition Red (U.S. Clash-Punk, 1981) Sons of the Dolls

11. Numbers Add Up (Can. Power-la-la-pop, 1979) (ISKP)

12. V.A. Canuck Punk (What it says, 1977-1981) (Last Days of Man on Earth)
(Not really a comp but it plays like one)

13. Rattlers Rattled (U.S. Garagey-Ramones-pop, 1985) (Powerpopoverdose)

14. Break-Up Society James at 35 (U.S. Retro-power-pop-punk, 2004) Powerpop Overdose
(Two from one site is usually verboten but both of theses posts represented singular accomplishments in ferreting out and exposing musical obscurica.)

15. Headboys S/T (U.K. Pointy-headed new wave, 1979) Vinyl Goldmine

16. Stiv Bators The Lord and the New Creatures (U.S. Evil-pop, 1983) Power Pop Criminals

17. Billy Bragg Live '84 (U.K. One-man-Clash, 1984) Sir Charlie Palmer

18. Real Kids Outta Place/All Kinda Jerks (U.S. Power-Glam, 1977) Ratboy69

19. The Rumour Purity of Essence (U.K. New Wave of British Pub Rock [NWOBPR], 1980) Twilight Zone

20.Parasite Compost (U.S. Ultra-prolific pop-punk, 2000) Hangover Heart Attack

21. Purple Hearts Head on Collision Time (U.K. Parka-punk, 1985) Born in the Basement

22. Attila International Sandwich (US World-core, 1981) Feelin' Kinda Froggy
(This is a "Trouser Press" album", by which I mean an album long only read about until this post revealed it to be a weird and intermittently fascinating curio.)

Due to my own limitations, many great bloggers are not represented here - find more musical spadework in my blogroll.

Next: E.P.'s and Singles

Friday, December 26, 2008

MRML's Under-Appreciated Albums that Rocked '08

(Image courtesy of Chapter One)

To continue adding to the saturated market of best of lists, I'll add yet another dose of subjectivity, with this caveat:
- I chose albums which show drive, grit and passion and yet, rarely grace best-of-the-year lists
(Living in the past makes such a post an arduous task, but with ever more delicate, woozy indie-ness dominating year-end lists someone must highlight albums that kick ass.)

1. Ergs - Hindsight
For their swansong, the Ergs laid out their 7" history in inverse chronological order. Pop-punk is usually determinedly simple but there's a prickly, challenging side to these Jersey boys who throw out Miles Davis, Steely Dan and Black Flag in-jokes, while covering The Beatles, the Apers, Vince Gauraldi and Nirvana. Sadly, it's thirty-three track epitaph as the band is calling it quits. (Live)

Listen: It's Like I Say, Y'know


2. 241ers - Murderers
Folk-punk that is by turns The Jam and by turns the Dubliners. That might come across as Dropkick Murphys'-ish but instead by adding the political fury of early 80's hardcore and the mad acoustic strumming of the early 60's folk bands this New York band creates their own bracing noise. (Live)

Listen: Little Town of Bethlehem


3. Sloppy Seconds - Endless Bummer
As with their last album*, too many songs (i.e. throwaways like “Achy Breaky Skull", which grafts Ice Cube level misogyny to a Billy Ray Cyrus allusion) are not up to this Indianapolis band's junk culture standard. While the surfeit of songs hurts the flow a bit, it's still great to hear what is only their fourth album in twenty years. Ace Hardware's Chuck Berry-isms rock but it's B.A's lyrics, which at their best (and only then), exemplify pop-punk's mix of clever and stupid in ever-shifting proportions. Check out "Shut up and Pour Me a Drink" to hear this dichotomy at full blast.
(*Video for "Fifteen Minutes or it's Free")

Listen: Shut up And Pour Me a Drink


4. Lenny + the Piss-Poor Boys - S/T
Can you handle hurtin' tunes about jukeboxes, whiskey and the wrong side of the tracks which also name-drop Motorhead and the Ramones? Yes, of course you can. (Live)

Listen: Cambridgeport Saloon


(Note: actually a 7" cover and not the album in question)
4. Gordon Gano’s Army - S/T
Indie-rock tainted English pop-punk akin to the Zatopeks. Check out Russ Rock with it 's sad chorus of, "We won't be here tomorrow, we're only here today - we'll fade away". (Live)

Listen: Russ Rock


7. TV SmithIn the Arms of My Enemies
Englishman TV Smith's song writing exists in a terminal present - all of his songs could have been written at any point in his career. This is far from a fault and, in fact, proves his genius. Arrangements vary from punk to new wave to folk to full on rock n' roll but they're always played full force - gritty vocals, strong words, charged guitars and - let us make this the official word of MRML - anthemic, anthemic, anthemic (spell check claims its not even a word!).

Listen: Weak Glue (Clone Town video)


6. Cute Lepers - Can't Stand Modern Music
Retro-minded, perhaps but this Seattle crew have their mind stuck in that sweet spot of 1979 - the Buzzcocks, the Rezillos, The Boys and the Circles - which makes for punk-mod-power-pop-new-wave joy.

Listen: Terminal Boredom (Video)


8. Ezra Furman and the Harpoons - Inside the Human Body
The "Dylan Was a Punk album" of 2008 and also the band who really deserve the name, "Gordon Gano's Army". (Perhaps, with all this attention, the Violent Femmes' frontman's cultural re-birth is at hand.)

Listen: Take off Your Sunglasses (Video)

9.Steve Barton and the Oblivion Click - Gallery
Heartrendingly catchy power-pop from this resurrected former leader of the mid 80's San Francisco also-rans Translator.
Listen: Cartoon Safe (Video)


10. Kung Fu Monkeys - Christmas for Breakfast
Another single collection detailing a pop-punk band's erratic evolution, except this time it's all sunshine, lollops and la-la-la's as the Kung Fu Monkey (the New York twee-punk band not the Tijuana ska-punk one) prove why they are "America's Favorite Band". (Live)

Listen: America's Favorite Band

There, now you can ring in the New Year to the tune of 2008.

The MRML Top-Twenty-Two (2008)

(Thanks to Charles Schultz and WMFU's Beware of the Blog for the image)

To add to the saturated market of best of list's, I'll add one more dose of subjectivity, with the following caveat:
- I chose, smart, catchy and driving songs
from 2008, or thereabouts*, scrupulously avoiding songs that could be be described as, delicate, hushed or ethereal.

  1. Away From Here* (The Enemy) Did I ever tell you about that customer at the music store, back in the 90's who told me how he bought Black Crowes' albums, "To keep up with what's happening in music " and how I sneered at him? and yet who's here now claiming that retro-Jam worshipers like the Enemy represent some type of modernity. Damn me to hell. (Local Boy by The Rifles is more retro-Jam but it dates back to 2006.)
  2. Don't a Hear a Single (The Major Labels). Everything good about power-pop, from the kitsch-obsessed lyrics, to the layered vocals to those the busy arrangements full of verses, choruses, pre-choruses, bridges and whoknowswhatelse.
  3. Gimme More (The Peacocks) Sometimes a shot of psychobilly is what you need.
  4. Out of Ideas (Copyrights) In a disappointing year for pop-punk the Copyrights' sole lapse was not surpassing their previous album. That said, all of Learn the Hard Way - especially this song with it's "We're gonna roll with a punch-drunk love song" refrain - rips.
  5. Cupidity (Dopeamines) The Great White Hope of pop-punk ("We peaked with our demo") didn't quite deliver a full-length classic, though some raging pop songs did ensue.
  6. Bad Kids (Black Lips) An album's worth of this? Maybe not. But by its lonesome this is a novelty song with enough garage-rocking heft to have staying power. (Not be confused with I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You by the Black Kids which is actually a pretty fair retro-80's tune).
  7. Ladies of Cambridge (Vampire Weekend) "Overrated" is a weak word – it defines the quality of a work strictly based on a perceived level of popularity or esteem, both of which are, strictly speaking, beyond the artist's control. I added this b-side from the "Mansard Roof" single not only for the bringing the ska to the lethargic genre of indie-rock but because, unlike say, "A-Punk", fewer people will have rated it.
  8. What the Fuck (Carbon/Silicon) I think therefore I backtrack; yes, The Last Post is far better than The Clash Mk II's Cut the Crap - that being said, I know which album I will have played more times by the time I die from Mp3 poisoning.
  9. Boots of Chinese Plastic (Pretenders) Chrissy does Dylan.
  10. Who's Gonna Build Your Wall? (Tom Russell) Even if you think the designation "protest song of the year" isn't worth a pinch of shit this tex-folk broadside should not be missed.
  11. Add Me (Chumbawamba) Most people remember "Tubthumping", but I remember "Picture of Starving Children Sell Records" and this track, a savage but hummable attack on Generation Text. (Plus it's got the nastiest punch line of the year.)
  12. You’re Getting’ Married*(The Replacements) A gritty old ballad, newly revealed - like a lost Dylan masterpiece.
  13. Most of the Time*(Bob Dylan) In the hyperbole race critics have fought over Dylan these last few years, few hit the mark quite like, "Dylan throws away more masterpieces than most artists ever record". So, while Tell-Tale Signs is essential for Dylan appreciators and fanatics for the insight it gives us into his post 80's revival (and it keeps the vastly underrated Under the Red Sky in the narrative) perhaps two full CD's would be of less interest to casual listeners. Speaking of Dylan obscurities, check out Wagon Wheel, a re-write of a Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid outtake by Old Crow Medicine Show.
  14. I Dreamed I saw Billy Bragg (Yuri Gordon and the Goods) Billy gets added to a dream list that includes Joe Hill, St. Augustine and Phil Ochs but here, rather than being a ballad, it's done in double time.
  15. '59 sound (Gaslight Anthem) The single from what is certainly a contender for Album of the Year, if just for its anthemic choruses and the deliberately dated references - Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis and Mary-Lou - that comprise the lyrics. Unfortunately, I compile an "Underappreciated albums" list, a category into which the album does not fall.
  16. Three Sevens Clash (The Alarm) As mentioned in the Songs about Strumming post, this may be the best song the Alarm (who already have a passel of them) ever wrote.
  17. On the Clock (Methadones) A catchy, 1 minute and fifty-nine second "Goddamn Job" song from veteran Dan Schaefer which fuses Screeching Weasel punk with Bram Tchaikovsky pop.
  18. Never Miss a beat (Kaiser Chiefs). This band gets slagged for being a singles band - the CCR of whatever Britpop's being called at this second ("Indie landfill"?). Wake up Britain, the time has long since come time to bury the brothers Gallagher.
  19. I Wanna be the One (Yum-Yums) Pop-punk Beach Boys songs, with "Wanna-Wanna's" and "Whooo-ooohs" fill an ungluttable market.
  20. Children of the Lord (Slim Cessna) Gospel-punk anyone?
  21. Texas Cops (Tim Barry) Avail, after a stunning and original debut, got stuck in a conservative-holding pattern (Fat Wreck-Chords in a a nutshell) but lead singer Tim Barry escaped that trap by adopting a hard-travellin' folk-punk persoane.
  22. Furr (Blitzen Trapper)- To these ears, this sounds like 90's Canadian jangle-rockers, the Skydiggers covering John Wesley Harding era Dylan. And that's mighty good, even if they're sorta indie-rock. After all, to avoid all Pitchfuck kinda bands would merely be reverse snobbery.

Comments and counter-offers are strongly encouraged.

P.S. Hope you didn't miss "McLaughlan Groove"Andrew W.K.'s greatest contrition to humankind

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Killed By Volume: Five

The Moondogs (Gerry McCandless - guitar/vocals, Jackie Hamilton - bass/vocals, Austin Barrett - drums) were a late 70's Irish band signed to Good Vibrations Records, so you can expect retro-fitted pop songs played with punk bobble. On their MySpace they narrow down their influences to the Ramones, the Beatles and the Bay City Rollers, which encapsualtes their sound nicely. More history is available but the least you should know is that the Moondogs had their own TV show, Moondog Matinee, which kinda crossed the Monkees with Friday Night Videos (of course that's the view of the uninitiated) . As with their fellow Undertone-wanna-be's, Protex, there is no available collection of these singles, though the band has reformed and recorded some excellent new material.

"She's 19" and "Ya Don't Do Ya", from their debut single of 1979 are punk-pop-glam concoctions of a high order.

1980's follow-up single, "Who's Gonna Tell Mary" b/w "Overcaring Parents" are even catchier odes to the boys' yearning for those Teenage Kicks.

1981's "Talking in the Canteen" has more layered vocals and jungle drumming to recommend it on top of those great songs.

Their final single (also from 1981) "Impostor" b/w "Baby Snatcher" was produced by Ray Davies, which didn't make the band sound any more like the Kinks. However, thanks to the trade-off vocals and Barrett's big beats it does sound like the band was jonesing to work with 70's bubblegum god Mike Chapman.

Download Singles (1979-1981)

Supposedly the band didn't even know their lone album, the Todd Rundgren produced That's What Friends are For (1981), was actually released until someone showed them a German pressing years later. The album does sound unfinished, not like demos, but like an abandoned ambitious project, comparable to the Ramones dalliance with their own celebrity producer on End of the Century. There's another great pop single on here, (say, "Schoolgirl Crush" b/w "I Wanna be a Popstar") but without a vision beyond punked-up bubble-pop the band hit the wall that was the thin-and spacey-sounding 1980's. So, for a long time, they laid low awaiting a more fitting time to return.

Download That's What Friends are For

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Killed By Volume: Four

I've raved before about Protex's bubblepunk, with it's delicious echoes of fellow countrymen the Undertones and their battles in the perfect-power-pop-punk single war with the Buzzcocks. (The Buzzcocks won of course but Protex's valour has been ignored - they don't even have a legitimate re-issue to their name.)

Protex's who were comprised of Aidan Murtagh(guitar & vocals) David McMaster (guitar & vocals), Paul Maxwell (bass & vocals) and Owen McFadden (drums) put out their first e.p., Don't Ring Me Up on Good Vibrations Records in1978. The e.p. is a touch rougher in production and playing then what was to come but these three pop songs are only slightly less glorious for the unprocessed sound.

Download Don't Ring Me Up

On their second single, back in '79, Protex piled on more three-part vocal arrangements and more choppy riffs and, for the A-side, added a taut staccato chorus. They even one-upped The Who's blithe rebellion by claiming, " I don't want to be alive/When I'm twenty-five". "Popularity" is another pop-punk behemoth, which would be a very good band's A-side but Protex aimed only for greatness.

Download I Can't Cope

(Protex - I Can't Cope)

Protex's third single (4:22 in total!) from 1979 is yet another pop blitzkrieg. The A-side, "I Can Only Dream" is very Buzzcocks-esque but is still a rush of great joy. The remnants of the glam-rock era show up the B-side, "Heartache", which is Protex's mid-tempo love song sorta like the Clash's "Train in Vain."

Download I Can Only Dream

On Protex's fourth single (1980) they packed every pop trick in their repertoire - layered vocals, quick tempos, melodic riffs plus an attitude that is at once yearning and angry - onto the A-Side (see here) leaving them utterly spent. They had so little left in them that for the B-side, usually reserved for yet another aspiring classic, all they had to offer was a passable cover of T Rex's "Jeepster", which serves to remind the listener that Mark Bolan's original really was just that.

Download A Place in Your Heart

Protex's discography has been bootlegged twice. The first boot is Listening In, which contains, "all 9 tracks released on singles, plus the exclusive track from the Made In Britain sampler, plus four John Peel BBC Radio session tracks from January 1979". The next boot, All We Wanna Do is Rock n' Roll "collects all 9 tracks released on singles, plus the exclusive tracks from the Made In Britain and In Session compilation albums, plus a Kid Jensen BBC Radio session from 1979, plus 2 live tracks from the Protex Hurrah film". While the above quotes from Irishrock.org imply there are two different BBC sessions (Kid Jensen and John Peel) a close listen suggest the tracks are identical. Either way, you'll need both albums to have the complete discography.

Download Listening In

Download All We Wanna Do is Rock n' Roll

(Here's Protex performing "Don't Ring Me Up" live in NYC on St. Patrick's Day, 1980.)

Thanks to irishrock.org for the images

Monday, December 8, 2008

Killed By Volume: Three

Photo courtesy of the Mod-Punk Archives

Amongst the tiny cadre of people who care, opinions on the Invaders are divided. The pseudonymous Alan Fleagle (the infamous Shake Some Action compiler) calls their first single a "classic" (it's the first song on the first volume of the series). Then the Trouser Press said, "Take pomp-rock, shorten its sights (unpump the pomp a bit), inject a bit of youth, alternate male and female vocals and what have you got? The Invaders, who still manage to have all the snap and appeal of week-old pastry." More recently someone (...err...that was me, yesterday) labeled them "quirky not-quite-new-wave and not-quite-Deaf-School pop".

The Invaders - Best Thing I Ever Did

Now it's up to you to asses the lasting value of this bunch. Here are their four single from 1979-80 (the last two lack picture sleeves - because sometime life is sleeveless) all bundled together. Look out for "The Best Thing I Ever Did" which is a great song but perhaps as a title for a very first single it merely tempted fate.

Download Invaders Singles

For their sole album, 1980's Test Card the Invaders recycled some single tracks and added their final originals.

Download Test Card

P.S. The Invader are, alas, not related to any of the cultural phenomenon that bear their name including the kitschy-cool 70's comic book about American superheroes (Human Torch, Captain America, Sub-Mariner) fighting WWII in Britain.

Nor the New Zealand novelty rocker, "She's a Mod" by Ray Columbus and the Invaders

Though perhaps their name was partially inspired by the ultra-cool 60's TV show, The Invaders.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Killed By Volume: Two

Made in Britain was a various artists compilation from 1980 that Polydor Records released only in the United States, a fact made clear in the crude, leering panoply of cartoon stereotypes that adorn the cover and the Masterpiece Theatre-ish spoken introductions each band is given.

The packaging aside, this is an excellent little four-way-split of an LP. Excel ended their career with this quartet of songs, which includes a re-recorded "Rock Show" from their 1st single, plus "Summerof '42" from their Lost Album and two more glam-pop rockers, "I Want To Meet You" and "Tonight in the Park". West Yorkshire's The Invaders offer four tracks from their (coming soon!) album to show off show their quirky not-quite-new-wave and not-quite-Deaf-School brand of pop. Sheffield's Comsat Angles represent the droning atmospherics of post-punk for those who enjoy such things. Finally, Belfast's Protex (soon!) cherry pick the highlights of their exuberant singles, including their bubblepunk classic, "A Place in Your Heart" which sounds like the Buzzcocks shitkicking the Bay City Rollers and is, quite possibly, the greatest "unknown" song of this amazing era.

(Here's Protex with "A Place in Your Heart")

Download Made in Britain

Thanks to Dereck Von for the cover scan.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Killed By Volume: One

The pleasure and the pain of this entire music blogging concept is the sheer volume of archival sites that map out the entire 77-81 era, painstakingly mapping out all it's one-shots, jag-offs and dead-ends.

As many readers may already know the prime sites to peruse for such vinyl obscurica are ISKP, ASM, Punk Friction, Killed By Death, Short Sharp Kick in the Teeth (to name the most focused ones) who put up double-sided obscurities almost every day. (45 Revolutions and Worthless Trash provide wonderfully obsessive histories but be warned of the tease factor: they usually only post one side of the single). The sheer volume of obscurity threatens to overwhelm me, yet I click download again again and again - Rapidshare, SendSpace, Zshare, Boxnet, Megaupload, Sharebee - aaarrrggghhhh!

My musicoholism grows more wretched and debilitating by the second!

While I cannot compete with the excellent sites already mentioned, I will post some of my own findings just to crank the volume up to 11.

Yorkshire's Excel (discography) with Stephen Smith (bass, lead vocal) Stephen Gawtry (drums), Allan Walsh (guitar) and Richard Taylor (guitar, keyboards) began with the D.I.Y. four-track EP titled "If It Rains" in 1979. Herein you'll find some muddily-produced madness - including the power-pop almost-classic "Rock Show" plus the Dolls-ish "One of the Boys"and the pub-rockin' throwback "Rolling Home".

Download If It Rains

Excel returned to the bins in 1980 with a major label (Polydor) budget upgrade for their final single. Lead-off track "What Went Wrong" combines a mod beat, power-pop vocals, a bit of pub-rock piano and some almost NWOBHM lead guitar. B-side "Junita" shuffles a similar stylistic deck.

Download What Went Wrong

Between singles, Excel recorded a demo, referred to as The Lost Album, some tracks of which best their officially released work. "Bad News" is ripping pop track, "Glossy Sgt Major" is roughed-up glam rock, "Another Silly Day" is bubblegum but with more of that almost NWOBHM guitar work and "Dream My Life Away" sounds like it's being built to compete with Fleetwood Mac. The genre-hopping herein is further proof that punk was not so much a cultural Year Zero, as the rawest elements of thirty years of pop being cobbled-together as an attack upon the greater, stagnated culture.

Download The Lost Album

Thanks to Bored Teenagers, the Mod Punk Archives for the images.