Cystem: A Severed Head (single), 1998

Cystem: A Severed Head (single), 1998

A hardstep single from a known artist (in this Universe, anyway) who wishes to remain anonymous and so asked that I omit his name and address from this review. He has nothing to be ashamed of; the track rocks, although the minimal techno style is less interesting to me than the artist’s more involved illbient and soundtrack work. Whatever, ya gets four mixes to play with and they’re all good, so get it. — Demo Universe PERSONNEL: John Sosnowski: Loops,…

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Dan Cray: How’s My Driving?, 1999

Dan Cray: How’s My Driving?, 1999

‘Jenn Cray’s chirpy recitation of Dr. Seuss’ “Oh The Places You’ll Go!” provides the conceptual road map for another Dan Cray trip into the heart of darkness. Love, and all the pain resulting, is the theme this time out, expressed in quietly shattering songs like “Happy Hour” (“You were the first lust that I trusted/You’ll be the last love I adore/You call it space/I call it war.”) and “Two TVs” (“I’ll take the couch/You’ll take the bed/It’s the ease of…

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Book Of Kills: For The Good Of The Cause, 1991

Book Of Kills: For The Good Of The Cause, 1991

“I don’t really understand Jim very well. I don’t understand why he won’t let other people hear his songs. I don’t understand why he always seemed so reluctant to pursue a life in music. I don’t understand how he could have let his gifts go to waste. But he did.” — Jordy Williams PERSONNEL: James Nipe a/k/a Jim Shelley: Everything TRACK LISTING: Side One* 1.(I’m Glad I’m Not a) Rock Star 2. No Time For Love 3. Dear Annie 4….

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Johnny Skilsaw: 3 Songs, ca 1996

Johnny Skilsaw: 3 Songs, ca 1996

PERSONNEL: Jay Wasco: Vocals, Swiss Army Bass Mark Hütchins: Backing vocals, Octopussy (a homegrown sample-trigger device made of destroyed drum hardware & vacuum hose) Nick Dicorato: Drums TRACK LISTING: Side one (only) 1. Death Of A Cynic 2. Treadmill For Two 3. I Am The Walrus “Death Of A Cynic” and the Beatles cover here were supposed to be on Skilsaw’s debut LP, Stuffed and Motorized. The album was to be released by TAG/Atlantic Records back in the fall/winter of…

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The Blue Hearts: “Be Nice” b/w “Linda Linda”, 1987

The Blue Hearts: “Be Nice” b/w “Linda Linda”, 1987

PERSONNEL: Hiroto Kohmoto: Vocals Masatoshi Mashima: Guitar Junnisuke Kawaguchi: Bass Tetsuya Kajiwara: Drums TRACK LISTING: Side A 1. Be Nice Side B 1. Linda, Linda This tape was in the swag bag from the 1987 New Music Seminar, and boy howdy, it rocks! Talk about big in Japan, these guys really were among the most acclaimed and influential punk-rock bands in the land of the rising sun. Wikipedia has all the deets. Here’s something I could never have seen in…

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The Inkpot Monkey: Private Work Tape, ca 1998

The Inkpot Monkey: Private Work Tape, ca 1998

PERSONNEL: Jack Boyd: Bass Peter Gottovi: Drums Kenyata Sullivan: Guitar, vocals, keyboards TRACK LISTING: Side One 1. 12th Grade, Wow 2. Hatsie 3. Sainted By The Sea And Sand (Version Bertha) 4. Little Fat Man 5. Maya 6. Song For My Father 7. In The War 8. Firecracker (no vocals) Side Two (“Crap, but at least it’s the songs”) 1. That’s Good Talkin’ Boy 2. My Name Is Ramona 3. Witching 4. 8 Week Button 5. Song For My Father…

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nina57: Medication here I Come Again!, 1999

nina57: Medication here I Come Again!, 1999

Solo rock from Nina, who accompanies herself with electric guitar (mostly) on this lo-fi 4-track recording. Double-tracked vocals, a common crutch for insecure vocalists, robs this tape of some intimacy, while failing to disguise Nina’s pitch problems. And yet, Medication Here I Come Again! is not without its good points. Nina’s guitar playing is not flashy but strong and sure, and her energy is infectious. Hope to hear more and better in the future! — Demo Universe, December 6, 1999…

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Zolty Cracker, Demo, 1995

Zolty Cracker, Demo, 1995

PERSONNEL: Gilles Zolty: Lead vocals, guitar Annie Wilkinson: Bass, accordion, vocals, cello Wayne Adams: Drums, percussion, harmonica, vocals TRACK LISTING: Side One (only) 1. Skeptical Pig 2. Heavy 3. L’immigrant This wild and wooly folk-punk trio from Vancouver, British Columbia, might remind you of Violent Femmes (“Skeptical Pig”). Or acoustic Led Zeppelin (“Heavy”). Or possibly fur trapping (“L’immigrant”). It’s that kind of band. After ZC, Gilles Zolty made a few solo albums, and in 2007 produced a compilation album of…

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Daniel Cartier, Milk, 1994

Daniel Cartier, Milk, 1994

PERSONNEL: Daniel Cartier: Lead & background vocals, 12-string and six-string acoustic guitars, electric guitars, lead guitar solo, bass guitars, percussion, piano & vibes Bruce Berman: Six-string acoustic guitars, electric guitar, piano, percussion, backing vocals on “Time Keeps Me Wondering” Johnny Indovina: Electric guitars & guitar effects, percussion, background vocals on “Time Keeps Me Wondering” Sean Grissom: Cello Joe McGinty: Hammond B3 organ Derek Murphy: Drums Patrick Cerria: Percussion on “Sugar If You Fall” TRACK LISTING: Side One (only) 1. Looking…

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Vicious Beatniks: Courage, 1992-1994

Vicious Beatniks: Courage, 1992-1994

PERSONNEL: Dave Portolano: Vocals, acoustic and electric guitars Brian Lindgren: Guitars, vocals Joe Kowalski: Bass Joe Anderson, Dave Diamond: Drums TRACK LISTING: Side One 1. Can You Rise (Above It All) 2. If I Had A Son 3. Joan Of Arc (Was Self-Employed) 4. We All Lie Naked Side Two 1. 25° 2. Doubt 3. Left Behind 4. Talk To The Ocean 5. Popcorn Gotta admit I am guessing on the release date of this tape, but I’m probably close,…

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