Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Terminals - Little Things (1995)

Let's get to some of these requests, shall we? First up is this fantastic 1995 album from the Terminals, one of my favorite New Zealand acts; and still releasing fabulous records too! Check out 2007's 'Last Days of the Sun' if you don't believe me. Chronologically, 'Little Things' was the follow-up to 1992's 'Touch,' and both records share a kindred atmosphere: a swirling, claustrophobic maelstrom of sound led by Stephen Cogle's distinctive, warbling baritone. There's a sonic density at work in the best of the Terminals' songs; an ever-expanding wall of noise that threatens to collapse and engulf the listener in its murky cacophony. The Terminals' sound is one to get lost in, an enticing and irresistible mystery. 'Little Things' is a different beast from the 'Disconnect' EP and 'Uncoffined,' but you shouldn't let that deter you from exploring this incredible record.

Upon Last Visible Dog's request, I have removed the link to 'Little Things.' Check out their reissues of the Terminals albums and support New Zealand music! - Ariel

Last Days of the Sun
Little Things

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bird Nest Roys (1985-1987)

You wanted the Bird Nest Roys? This fantastic Auckland outfit released only one LP, one EP, and one single in their brief lifespan, and I've got them all packaged up nice and tidy for your listening convenience. Or, if you so desire, you can download the 'Whack It All Down' EP and 'Jaffa Boy' 7" separately. I figured that most visitors will either have the LP already--this is a very nice 256-320kbps rip, though, if that sways you to download it again--or nothing at all; we like options here at the Doledrums. Anyway, the Roys' sound is not unlike the majority of the Flying Nun roster, and probably a lot better than many of the bands that are also cited as second-tier; a nice bit of jangly, off-kilter kiwi pop, indeed. Enjoy! - Ariel

- Whack It All Down EP (1985)
- Jaffa Boy 7" (1986)
- Bird Nest Roys LP (1987)

I promise I've got everyone else's requests coming up too!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

DoubleHappys - Nerves (1992)

As soon as I mentioned this compilation in the Stones post, I knew that it was only a matter of time before it would make an appearance on this blog; and my weaknesses proved me correct, as usual. In case you've forgotten, the DoubleHappys arose from the ashes of my beloved Stones, and saw Wayne Elsey reuniting with former Bored Games band-mate Shayne Carter. Along with drummer John Collie--his predecessor was a despised drum machine dubbed "Herbie Fuckface"--the trio would blaze a brief but intense trail through the New Zealand music scene, bombarding audiences with their own blistering brand of trashy, snotty, and anthemically sweeping kiwi rock. The meager recorded legacy of the DoubleHappys--1984's 'Double B Side' 7" and the following year's 'Cut It Out' EP--is often overshadowed by the later achievements of Shayne Carter, but I feel that these songs offer far more than just the blueprint for the Straitjacket Fits. 'Nerves' kindly collects the entire recorded output of the DoubleHappys in addition to four live tracks that appeared on the posthumous EP "How Much Time Left, Please?" For this listener, the standout is the biting, slow-burn intensity of Wayne Elsey's "Anyone Else Would." The rest are brilliant fun as well, if only for the joy of listening to Carter and Elsey try and out-sneer each other on every track. So, do give the DoubleHappys a listen! Wayne Elsey left behind a vibrant musical legacy that was all too brief, but I hope you will enjoy these albums as much as I have. Finally, here's a very amusing but ultimately sad interview with the DoubleHappys dating shortly before Elsey's death in 1985: Hard News: One for Wayne. - Ariel

"Needles and Plastic"

Bored Games - Who Killed Colonel Mustard 12" EP (1982)

I thought that it would be nice to put this one up before the DoubleHappys compilation that I mentioned in the Stones post; I just can't help myself. Bored Games was the high school creation of Shayne Carter and Wayne Elsey, though the latter left the band to form the Stones before they recorded any material together. Interestingly, 1982's 'Who Killed Colonel Mustard' EP was very much a posthumous release, Bored Games having broken up a year prior to its recording. Luckily for us, four of the band's greatest songs were committed to musical posterity: fourteen glorious minutes of youthful, punky exuberance and raucous noisemaking from future members of the DoubleHappys, Straitjacket Fits, and the Chills. This EP features the Bored Games standard "Joe 90," a retro-trash, anthemic slice of kiwi pop heaven, but the particular thorn in my side has always been "Happy Endings," a song that is catchier than it has any right to be given its content. Just try to get that chorus out of your head. I dare you. - Ariel

"Happy Endings"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Stones - Complete Recordings (1982-83)

You just have to love that name, don't you? Such naughty, cheeky boys. Along with the Chills, the Verlaines, and the Sneaky Feelings, the Stones first appeared on the legendary Dunedin Double EP in 1982. To the sad deprivation of music lovers the world over, they only went on to record one more EP, 1983's 'Another Disc, Another Dollar.' Like so many Flying Nun acts, the Stones have been tragically denied any kind of retrospective, so I decided to collect the songs that appeared on these two releases for your listening pleasure! While I've read that these EPs didn't do justice to the chaotic power of the Stones live, the songs they managed to record possess a brilliantly raw, primal urgency as led by the late, great Wayne Elsey. The Stones performed their own beautifully volatile mix of down n' dirty, stompin' garage and surf-rock filtered through the lens of that most unfathomably glorious of times, post-punk Dunedin. Just fantastic kiwi minimalism and ingenuity at work here, folks. And does "Down and Around" sound like the Chills' "Dan Destiny and the Silver Dawn" to anyone else? Just me? Anyway, after you hear these songs, you'll wish the Stones had left behind a long recorded legacy too; unfortunately, the magic is all too brief. After the demise of the Stones, Wayne Elsey would go on to form the excellent but similarly short-lived DoubleHappys with Shayne Carter. Seek out the 'Nerves' compilation if you haven't! DoubleHappys would eventually evolve into the Straitjacket Fits after Elsey's tragically premature death in 1985. The Stones' faultless songs, however, will always remain; enjoy! - Ariel

I've got most of these requests coming up too! If I've forgotten anything from this list, please let me know.

The Terminals - Little Things
Bailter Space - Nelsh Bailter Space EP
Jay Clarkson - S/T EP
Fatal Jelly Space - Hole EP

Or, if there's anything else you'd like to see on this blog, do leave a comment!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Requests Time: Jean-Paul Sartre Experience - Love Songs (1988) + Able Tasmans - Store in a Cool Place (1995)

Here are some requests I've been holding out due to some health problems and slight laziness.

First up the debut LP by The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience titled "Love songs" and released in 1988 featuring a minimalistic near folky sound, well definately a much less of a distortion fest than later albums . Not the best JPSE album in my opinion but a good starting point to this influential Flying nun band. - Gozz

[Link Removed]

Next up we have another album by a fine fine fine band that really doesn't need anymore of an introduction on this blog, The Able tasman's with their final album "Store in a cool place"

Store in a cool place

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Terminals - Disconnect EP (1988)

I was going to post this with 'Uncoffined,' but I didn't have enough time on Thursday. So, without further delay, 1988's fantastic 'Disconnect' EP from the Terminals! As I mentioned previously, these songs are a bit more pop-oriented than those on 'Uncoffined.' Likewise, the songs on 'Uncoffined' are a bit more pop-oriented than the ones on its successor, 'Touch,' which tends to have a more experimental, abrasive bent. I suppose this progression may be partly due to the presence of ex-Clean member Russ Humphries on the first two releases; after his exit, Humphries was replaced by Renderers guitarist Brian Crook. The New Zealand music scene is just so delightfully incestuous, isn't it? Anyway, enjoy this fabulous slice of slightly off-kilter kiwi pop! - Ariel


RE-UP UPDATE: On an unrelated note, I was recently informed that the Liliput/Kleenex links had been taken down by Mediafire; I re-uploaded them on Megaupload for everyone's listening pleasure. I know, I know: I love Mediafire's direct downloads as much as anyone, but I have to pay for extra bandwidth and you don't. So, please help yourself to Liliput's lovely militia-punk stylings by way of Switzerland here. We do post (and even often enjoy!) music of a non-kiwi variety, you know.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Terminals - Uncoffined (1990)

The Terminals' classic sound, perfectly captured on their 1990 debut full-length 'Uncoffined,' invokes barren, inhospitable landscapes at odds with the natural lushness of their native New Zealand. Drummer Peter Stapleton's former band, the looser, more ramshackle Scorched Earth Policy, channeled similarly claustrophobic sounds; this album's "Lolita" is actually a reworking of an early 80's Scorched Earth track. There's a certain unsettling paranoia present throughout 'Uncoffined' that lends even the lighter tracks a sense of uneasiness. That's not to say that they couldn't write a fine pop song as well, as the crisp, garage-derived jangle of "No" proves; the EP that preceded this, 'Disconnect' offers more in this vein. The two were combined on the 'Cul de Sac' release; if you ever see that one, grab it! - Ariel



Monday, September 15, 2008

Able Tasmans - Somebody Ate My Planet (1992)

This one is for Tydalwave over at the Feelin' Kinda Froggy blog, one of my favorite online destinations for out-of-print treasures. It includes its share of New Zealand gems as well: the Chills, Bailter Space, Able Tasmans. Go forth and enjoy! - Ariel

On this green-friendly album, the New Zealand rock group apply their Beach Boys and Byrds-inspired adrenaline sound to the "save the planet" concept. A beautiful album of delicate and melodic folk rock, the Flying Nun group's second decade sees planetary concerns at the forefront of their glacial guitar pop and '60s-inspired sound. Able Tasmans work with the low-tech sound similar to the Bats and the Chills, and produce sublime pop results. Some of the edge is lost in an over-production that is very stylized and dating to this early-'90s work. Nonetheless, the songs seem to transcend such aesthetic trappings.

[Martin Walters,]

Toy Love - Cuts

Two Disc comp of everything recorded by this MUST HEAR! Extremely influential NZ band, I cannot stress enough, Truly ledgendary, Everyone has a band They wish they could travel back and Join and these Guys take the cake for me. Punk energy, oddball quirkyness and ultra melodic charm abounds. Do your ears and life a treat and prepare to fall in love with the mighty Toy love!. - Gozz

It's difficult to overstate the importance of Toy Love on the nascent New Zealand indie scene of the early 1980s, but prior to the release of the comprehensive anthology Cuts, those who weren't in Dunedin at the time during the group's under-two-years lifespan had to take it on faith; even when it was possible to find a copy of the band's sole album, a poor mix and botched mastering job that robbed it of its low end had caused the band itself to disown it. Regardless, without Toy Love, not only would there have been no Tall Dwarfs (where singer Chris Knox and guitarist Alec Bathgate next ended up) and potentially no Bats (future home of bassist Paul Kean), but it's imaginable that the impetus behind Flying Nun Records and the whole next wave of Dunedin bands, from the Clean to the Chills, would have sounded much different, had they existed at all.Disc 1 of Cuts contains the entirety of the band's released output: three singles and the aforementioned album, remastered off of a safety copy of the long-missing original tapes and completely remixed to the band's specifications. Anyone who has ever heard Toy Love before now understands what the band had been complaining about: these songs have never sounded better, with Kean's bass and Jane Walker's needly garage rock keyboards far more prominent in the mix than ever before. This gives songs like "Death Rehearsal" and the paranoid, chanted "Photographs of Naked Ladies" some much-needed heft to balance Knox's quirky, hectoring vocal style and Bathgate's trebly guitar scratch. The overall effect is very close to contemporaneous records by the Fall. Cuts' first disc also includes the band's 1979 debut single for the New Zealand office of Elektra Records, which presents the band as a more straightforward power pop outfit almost like the Kiwi answer to Shoes. The rest of the disc, recorded for the local indie Deluxe Records, proves how much better the DIY aesthetic fits this inventive, stylistically restless band. Disc two consists of 19 1979 demos, only three of which (early versions of the album's "Squeeze," "Toy Love Song" and "Frogs") ever saw release, on the groundbreaking New Zealand compilation AK79. As might be expected, this disc is far less essential: the demos for songs that made it onto the album tend to simply be shorter and less imaginatively produced, and the handful of rejects ("Unscrewed Up," "Lust," "I'm Not Bored," "1978," "15," "Wanna Die With You") didn't make it onto the album for fairly obvious reasons. Still, it's just the sort of thing one likes to see on this kind of archival release, along with the beautifully executed, info-rich 36-page booklet. Cuts is a necessary purchase not just for Tall Dwarfs fans, but for New Zealand indie archivists in general; it's the best such album since the Chills' Secret Box.

Disc 1
Disc 2

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stephen - Radar of Small Dogs (1993)

"I'm a sucker for sweet little melody things. You hear them and forget about life for a few seconds" - David Kilgour

Isn't that just the most perfect encapsulation of David Kilgour's aesthetic? Introducing the long-awaited Stephen, a side-project of David's that seems to have been largely and quite unfairly forgotten by time. So forgotten, in fact, that I haven't been able to find the cover art to 'Radar of Small Dogs' anywhere! The image above is taken from 1988's 'Dumb' EP, included here along with six unreleased songs and two live recordings. All very enjoyable listening, indeed. Lovely sparkling, jangly guitars, trademark Kilgour melodies; just a gorgeous realization of classic kiwi pop minimalism. If you like this and haven't checked out David Kilgour's solo albums yet, get 'Here Come the Cars' and 'Frozen Orange' here.

- Ariel

From Flying Nun:

David Kilgour's idea of pop music was encapsulated in Dumb, the name he gave this band's 1988 Flying Nun EP. There was no self-demeaning intent; it's just that David subscribes fully to the Brian Wilson school of songwriting and believes that "dumb" is the essence of pop's appeal. It's not like Stephen were just the Ramones or anything, though. For a band that lasted just a couple of years as a haywire pop outfit on the periphery of the Dunedin scene, only making it up to Auckland in 1988 to record that QEII-funded EP, they did manage to add a little spice and a lot of spirit to the pop brew in their short time.

Stephen played a barreling kind of fast and loud pop music, noisy and rough around the edges. Their jet-propelled energy--David's songs and his big white guitar, with former Goblin Mix bassist Alf Danielson and drummer Geoff Hoani pounding out a rhythm that usually sounded like it was flailing itself right around the song--made this band a joy to behold. After Stephen Kilroy joined on second guitar, gigs in places like the tiny Empire got louder and better. The group fell apart partway through recording an album at Stephen Kilroy's Fish Street studio - David rejoining The Clean and eventually recording his solo LP, Here Come the Cars, while Alf and Stephen went on to form Chug.

The Radar of Small Dogs CD marks the reappearance of the entire Stephen Dumb EP, plus six tracks from the group's lengthy album recording sessions and a couple of live numbers recorded in Christchurch. The story is best told in the sound of the group on disc, all ringing guitars and growling bottom end, and in David Kilgour's wonderfully understated liner notes ("By now the band is generally seen as an excuse for lots of male bonding... I guess there is no direction apart from wanting to record good music and have some fun.")

[Link Removed]

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tall Dwarfs - The Short and Sick of It (1992)

'The Short and Sick of It' combines the Tall Dwarfs' first full-length, 1985's 'That's the Short and Long of It,' and the 1986 'Throw a Sickie' EP for your listening pleasure. So, whoever requested the debut, this is your lucky day! That is, if you actually remember requesting it in the first place; it has been a few weeks. Why was it called 'That's the Short and Long of It,' you ask? Well, one side of the 12" LP featured 10 songs that played at 33rpm, and the other side featured 2 songs (one a surprisingly successful 6-minute, "Wall of Dwarfs" reworking of "Nothing's Going to Happen") that played at 45rpm. Short and long. Get it? Anyway, if you've ever heard a Tall Dwarfs release, you know what to expect. And check out Alec Bathgate's wonderful solo album, Gold Lamé, while you're here; it deserves more listeners.

[Link Removed]
On the subject of requests...

No, I haven't forgotten them; some of these albums just take a little hunting to find. I believe that as of right now, these are all pending requests. If I've forgotten anything--or if you would like to add something to the list--please let me know in the comments section.

UPDATE: We have now acquired all of the albums listed below. See, that didn't take too long. Look out for them soon!

- Ariel

Able Tasmans - Store in a Cool Place
Able Tasmans - Somebody Ate My Planet
The Bats - 4 Songs EP
Jean-Paul Sartre Experience - Love Songs
Stephen - Radar of Small Dogs

On an unrelated note, if you downloaded the Verlaines' Juvenilia from this blog, you probably noticed that the final track, "C.D. Jimmy Jazz and Me," was not the original b-side to "Death and the Maiden" but the 'Bird Dog' version. Alright, you probably didn't notice. Well, I finally found the original version, which you can download here if you feel so inclined: C.D. Jimmy Jazz and Me. I uploaded a complete copy of 'Juvenilia' as well, so I can remove that annoying disclaimer. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dolly Mixture - Demonstration Tapes (1983)

"Dolly Mixture was like the Shangri-La's minus the gum-cracking Queens accent. Or the Go-Go's if they had any class. Or the Raincoats without the weirdness and electric violins." - Lois Maffeo

One of the most aptly named bands ever? Alright, I've never even had Dolly Mixture candy, but I have heard Dolly Mixture the band, and these girls performed a glorious blend of infectious pop hooks, classic girl-group harmonies, and an utterly charming sense of joie de vivre; and not without their share of punky sass, either. To these ears, Dolly Mixture wrote the most catchy, concise three-minute pop songs of the punk era this side of the Undertones. 'Demonstration Tapes' collects their entire recorded output from 1979 to 1983, sans singles unfortunately, but you still get 27 songs and 73 minutes of pure pop bliss. "He's So Frisky," "How Come You're Such a Hit With the Boys, Jane?" "Side Street Walker," "Angel Treads;" I could go on, but that would cut into valuable listening time! Though remarkably influential--just listen to Talulah Gosh or the Shop Assistants, to name two--Dolly Mixture's relative lack of success is one of the cruelest jokes in music history; if you've never had the pleasure of the Dolly's company, pick this one up immediately. - Ariel

More information here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mumps - Fatal Charm (1994)

The Mumps are a pet favorite of mine that seem to have been unfairly swept under the carpet of pop history; this is despite their CBGB’s pedigree and two posthumous collections, mind you. ‘Fatal Charm’ was the first of these, released in 1994, and it contains their entire recorded output from the 70's. As terminally clever as it is catchy, the Mumps’ special blend of glam, bubblegum, and punk is simply a joy to listen to, and tremendous fun to boot. Early Sparks is a good reference point. Add a touch of flamboyance and a healthy dose of retro-kitsch-- before the B-52’s mined similar territory to great success--and you’ve got the Mumps, charismatically led by the dearly departed Lance Loud of “An American Family” fame. And need I mention the songwriting genius of Kristian Hoffman? The second reissue, 2005’s ‘How I Saved the World,’ adds a bonus disc of live video to the mix; if you enjoy these songs, buy it! In an alternate universe, “Crocodile Tears” and “Anyone but You” are recognized as pop classics; they already are in my world, anyway. I’ve reproduced the ‘Fatal Charm’ liner notes below; I think the final paragraph is a particularly poignant summation of the Mumps’ appeal. Enjoy! - Ariel

More information here.

Too pop for punk, too "old school" for the New Wave. Mumps were a 70's era New York rock band, out of time. Everything about us was contradictory or cockeyed in a fashion era in which motorcycle jackets, mohawk hairdos, torn clothing and lots and lots of chains were the order of the day, we were the band most often seen in jackets, dress shirts and ties. Our high vaunting musical ambitions were matched with low ranking musical expertise, we had a lead singer who could sweat better than he could stay in key, and besides the fact that three of us were gay in a hetero-heavy field which only acknowledged homosexuality as being a passing marketing ploy in David Bowie's career. The only thing shared between us all was our weird combination of superiority and insecurity.

Included on this compilation you'll hear just about everything Mumps ever recorded both our singles, a smattering of early rehearsal tapes, demos, an alternate version, and even one number "Stupid" which was recorded for a compilation record of New York bands that never got released and which now sounds, to me at least, to be among the best things we ever committed to tape.

Now from beyond the grave, Mumps are back. What's our worth in this day and age? Coming from a point in time, before MTV, that is as good as prehistoric, there is of course the archeological factor. (....Jurassic Punk?) Then there is also the timeless factor. Allowing myself only a moment on the soap box, our music spoke to the true misfit class of American teenager. Not the poetic James Dean type dream outcast, but the real, nerdy, nobody wants ‘em, Forgotten Teens. You know the type. Too square to be down with the homeboys too idiotic to be up with the intellectuals, too insecure to be the center of attention and too impatient to just sit at home and wait until they get to be 21. Mumps music, and this of course was based on the tunes and lyrics mostly of Kristian Hoffman, spoke to the disenfranchised, kids who wanted to fit in any place but fit in no place instead. These Mumps miscreants came to our shows, loved my sweating and sour notes, were bewitched by Kristian Hoffman's pouting piano presence, thought Toby Duprey was the hottest guitarist ever, Paul Rutner was the toughest drummer around and Kevin Kiely was what the Venus De Mila would have been had she been a teenaged runaway male in the 2Oth century who played bass. The record of course is, as far as I'm concerned, first of all is for the former members of Mumps, something to show for the seven years spent in hard labor on the chain gang of rock and roll. But secondly this record is for the dorky youth. For kids who are dumb, unpopular, and considering a lifetime fraught with serious adjustment problems...Mumps the word.

- Lance Loud '94

Friday, September 5, 2008

Alec Bathgate - Gold Lamé (1996)

By now I suppose I've been outed as a complete and utter kiwi-phile, so enjoy this thoroughly enjoyable and charming little record from that other member of the Tall Dwarfs. Hint: the one whose initials aren't C.K. 'Gold Lamé' is a veritable goldmine of '60s pop hooks, complete with gorgeous melodies aplenty and a joyful dose of quirkiness; all recorded in glorious Flying Nun fashion on a four-track in Bathgate's garage. If you've enjoyed--or in the unfortunate chance that you haven't, please indulge yourself--previously posted albums by the aforementioned Tall Dwarfs or Chris Knox, do pick this one up. - Ariel

It can't be easy for Alec Bathgate. As the "other" Tall Dwarf he always seems to stand in the shadows of the more extroverted Chris Knox. It would be simple enough to dismiss Bathgate as the Jim Messina to Knox's Kenny Loggins (or, more charitably Bruce Foxton to Knox's Paul Weller). And yet, those judgements wouldn't be fair. Perhaps, an XTC analogy might better do the trick in this case-if Knox is the Tall Dwarfs' Andy Partridge, the more low-key Bathgate is certainly their Colin Moulding. As the Tall Dwarfs' primary guitarist, Bathgate has always made major contributions to Tall Dwarfs lps. And that's to say nothing of his songwriting talents-"Pictures on the Floor" from Louis Likes His Daily Dip, "Mr. Brocoili" from Weeville, and 3EPS' "Bee to Honey" are but three of the many jangling gems he's brought to the table. When Knox began his solo career in 1989, the Tall Dwarfs went on the back burner for a couple years, and it wasn't until 1996 that Bathgate followed suit with a solo album of his own. Gold Lamé not-too-surprisingly sounds a lot like a Tall Dwarfs record, with shiny strummed tunes augmented with Casio keyboard, quirky looped beats, piano, xylophone, and the works. Firmly entrenched in the sounds of the '60s, Gold Lamé draws inspiration from the usual suspects-the Beach Boys, the Kinks, and, of course, the Beatles (Bathgate's George Harrison to Knox's John Lennon?? Oh forget it....)

[Michael Jourdan,]


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Television Personalities - Mummy Your Not Watching Me (1981)

As a more inconsistent affair than its predecessor, I can't endorse this album as fully as 'And Don't the Kids Just Love It.' That's not to say that 'Mummy...' isn't recommendable, however, or that there aren't worthy songs present amidst the weaker tracks. In comparison to the largely ramshackle, barebones aesthetic of 'And Don't the Kids Just Love It,' however, I feel its neo-psychedelic textures often detract from, rather than benefit, the often great songs. This album also signals a shift in ambiance from its predecessor, towards a darker, more deranged mood, though I would be loathe to refer to 'And Don't the Kids...' as "twee," which this reviewer insists on doing; while wistful at times, it was hardly free of gloominess. All in all, "If I Could Write Poetry" and "Painting By Numbers" are top-notch tracks, and if you even remotely enjoy the previous album, I don't see why you should pass this one up. - Ariel

The second full-length Television Personalities release (and the first product of Daniel Treacy's Whaam! label, later renamed Dreamworld after George Michael's manager offered them a pot of money to change the name) adds a full-time bass player to the original trio and sets the Wayback Machine ahead about 18 months from the debut's Swinging Carnaby Street sound. The darker, more psychedelic Mummy Your Not Watching Me is considerably less twee than And Don't the Kids Just Love It, covering Treacy's increasingly self-effacing lyrics in a wash of keyboards and phased guitars. There are a few songs that still show the influence of the earlier Television Personalities sound, including the wistful "Magnificent Dreams" and a remake of the single "Painting By Numbers," originally released under the name the Gifted Children, but the key track is the lengthy "David Hockney's Diaries," an acid rock drone that introduces an entirely different texture into the band's sound that Treacy would explore further on the next several albums. This is a transitional album that has tended to be shortchanged by both reviewers and fans, but there's much to recommend here.

[Stewart Mason,]


Television Personalities - ...And Don't the Kids Just Love It (1980)

For those few unfortunate enough to be uninitiated, here is the legendary debut full-length from the Television Personalities, Dan Treacy's inspired pastiche of 60's Carnaby Street pop sensibilities filtered through the grimy lens of post-punk Britain. Gloriously under-recorded and infused with a palpable sense of joie de vivre—but offset by moments of aching vulnerability—‘...And Don't the Kids Just Love It' is at once an expressive portrait of its time and an earnest homage to a passed age, and equally effective at both. I've always found this tension at the heart of the album—the stylistic posturing combined with an entirely modern, unselfconscious delivery—to be one of its most fascinating aspects, and listening to it the aural equivalent of peeking at someone else’s diary. This is an album chock-full of introspective pop songcraft at its finest. I don't know how many of you actually read these italicized ramblings, so in the merciful interest of those who do, let's wrap this up, shall we? The album's capper, "Look Back in Anger," is an all-time favorite of mine, and if you've managed to avoid the Television Personalities until now—and shame on you for that—do yourself a favor. Look out for this album's follow-up, 'Mummy Your Not Watching Me', to be posted soon. - Ariel

The first full album by Television Personalities, recorded after a four-year series of often brilliant D.I.Y. singles recorded under a variety of names, including the O-Level and the Teenage Filmstars, is probably the purest expression of Daniel Treacy's sweet-and-sour worldview. The songs, performed by Treacy, Ed Ball, and Mark Sheppard, predict both the C-86 aesthetic of simple songs played with a minimum of elaboration but a maximum of enthusiasm and earnestness and the later lo-fi aesthetic. The echoey, hissy production makes the songs sound as if the band were playing at the bottom of an empty swimming pool, recorded by a single microphone located two houses away, yet somehow that adds to the homemade charm of the record. Treacy's vocals are tremulous and shy, and his lyrics run from the playful "Jackanory Stories" to several rather dark songs that foreshadow the depressive cast of many of his later albums. "Diary of a Young Man," which consists of several spoken diary entries over a haunting, moody twang-guitar melody, is downright scary in its aura of helplessness and inertia. The mood is lightened a bit by some of the peppier songs, like the smashing "World of Pauline Lewis" and the "David Watts" rewrite "Geoffrey Ingram," and the re-recorded version of the earlier single "I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives," complete with deliberately intrusive prerecorded bird sounds, is one of the most charming things Television Personalities ever did. This album must have sounded hopelessly amateurish and cheaply ramshackle at the time of its 1981 release, but in retrospect, it's clearly a remarkably influential album that holds up extremely well.

[Stewart Mason,]