Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Quick - Mondo Deco (1976)

One of the great unrealized talents of the mid 70's new wave/punk movement was The Quick. Brandishing a sound that stood somewhere between Cheap Trick, Sparks and The Dickies, the band only managed to crank out one solitary album before vanishing into nowhere land. This impressive debut showed loads of potential, but as fate would have it, The Quick were destined to be a mere blip on the radar. Danny Wilde, the frontman with a boyish vocal affectation, went on to later form Great Buildings and The Rembrandts. Guitarist and primary writer, Stephen Hufsteter, made a living playing in numerous west coast bands, writing for other artists and also as a member of The Dickies and the Cruzados for a short time. Later he would resurface in Shrine, a female fronted alt-rock band.

Never released on CD, this is "Mondo Deco". Download and hear what all the fuss is about.

256kbps @ http://www.megaupload.com/?d=LGZYJGIK

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mentors - Get Up and Die (1982)

The Mentors debut was an EP known as "Get Up and Die", which Mystic Records released in 1982. The four track record created a wave of publicity for the band and it wasn't long before they were packing clubs all along the west coast. The material here is some of the band's strongest, as the rape rock gimmick was still new and fresh.

In addition to the four tracks originally found on the EP, I've added the elusive "Police Hotel" track from the 1984 compilation, "The Sound of Hollywood". The version of this recording has never been featured on any other release. Rounding out the tracklist, I've added eight rare demo recordings done by the band in 1981. There are several featured that have never been released on any Mentors album.

Though I'm not an ardent hardcore Mentors fan, I've always enjoyed some of their more clever moments on record. The band's discography have never been given proper treatment and perhaps it's that reason alone that I include some of their more elusive work here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

No Mercy - Widespread Bloodshed (1987)

Cali thrashers, No Mercy, have a somewhat confusing history. Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) stepped into the band in 1987 to record their one and only full-length, but within a year half the band had jumped ship. With Muir and Mike Clark remaining, No Mercy was dissolved and Clark was brought into the Suicidal Tendencies fold. A couple of years later, ST would re-record numerous cuts from this album for their "Controlled By Hatred" EP. Many years later, the band reformed as No Mercy Fool and contributed a handful of tracks for a few compilations on Muir's Suicidal Records label. Apparently, now the band is preparing a new album. This is one of Muir's many side-projects, though there's no doubting their uncanny similarity to ST.

Since their debut has never been reissued, it only made sense to include it here for your discriminating tastes. I actually dig this album and I recommend ST fans download and listen too.

Convict - Go Ahead...Make My Day (1984)

Fans of Canadian thrash outfit, Piledriver, should find this album interesting. Piledriver's legendary debut, "Metal Inquisition", was released in the US with an alternate tracklisting from it's Canadian counterpart. The songs "Sex With Satan" and "Sodomize the Dead" were omitted and replaced with "Twister" and "Devil's Lust". Those two tracks were actually culled from the same sessions that yielded this album by Convict. In fact, Convict were never a band...but then again, neither were Piledriver. In truth, both "bands" were merely studio fabrications featuring various session men employed by Canadian metal label, Cobra Records. According to Gord Kirchin (the vocalist on both albums), the label were simply trying to cash in on the thrash craze, which was in its infancy in 1984.

Though none of the tracks have quite the punch of the Piledriver album, there are a small handful of tracks that would've fit nicely alongside the tracks on "Metal Inquisition". All in all, it's a poor effort but Kirchin's snarl does lend credibility to a few of the cuts here. The album slipped into obscurity upon its release and has since never been reissued. Ripped from clean vinyl, this album is at least worth a listen for inquiring minds. Download it!

Holocross - Holocross (1988)

Pennsylvania's Holocross was another New Renaissance Records thrash unit that came and went pretty quickly in the late 80's. Originally known as Iron Cross, the band changed their name upon signing their new record deal and promptly released their self-titled debut in 1988. Not much is known about the band, but their brand of hyperspeed metal was potent and visceral. With a vocalist who could wail like Rob Halford or growl like Tom Araya, there was certainly alot of promise, but poor promotion and distribution sealed their fate. Within a few years, a follow up album ("Hypercaust") was shelved and the band fizzled.

Though New Renaissance has slowly been reissuing their back catalog on CD, this album has yet to be included in their campaign. In the interim, you can dig this high quality vinyl rip.

Mentors - Rock Bible (1990)

Ahhh, the infamous Mentors. Not enough can be said to accurately describe the sleaze factor this band from the northwest could muster up on record. For a band full of hooded, poorly dressed slobs singing about venereal diseases and rape, it's quite amazing that they thrived in the 80's. Considering the decade was primarily about pretty boys and teased hair, the Mentors were the antithesis to it all. The band were marginally talented and wrote some of the sloppiest odes to deviant behavior ever recorded, but somehow it worked...at times. Other times it was sorely incoherent (surely brought on by El Duce's alcoholism) and barely discernable.

Nonetheless, the band did manage to crank out a couple of somewhat consistent albums on Metal Blade Records in the mid-80's. By 1990, the band were without a label and releasing albums on their own imprint, Mentor Records. The first of these recordings, "Rock Bible", was a thinly underproduced affair that saw the sound morphing into free-form psychedelic metal, as opposed to the clearly hard rock leanings of their earlier material. The lyrical gags weren't as clever and the mix left alot to be desired. Despite these setbacks, the album has the honor of being the sleaziest collection of songs in the band's entire repertoire. See "Hilljack Heaven" and "My Daughter Is a Strawberry" for examples of such.

This cassette-only release has still never seen the CD upgrade treatment, despite the fact that bootleggers have been trying to pass off CD's of this album for years. Transferred from a clean tape and tweaked for maximum enjoyment, here it is..."Rock Bible".

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

TT Quick - TT Quick (1984)

New Jersey's TT Quick broke thru the metal underground in 1984, upon the release of their self-titled EP. Demonstrating arresting chops, vocal prowess and solid writing, the band were quick to land a major label deal with Island Records just two years later. In that time, drummer Glen Evans bailed ship and joined Nuclear Assault. Though its unlikely the lineup shift had much to do with the band's writing, subsequent albums just never seemed to meet the promise of that first EP. This album is AMAZING and I highly recommend any old-schoolers to download, play it loud and tell all of your friends. This is an album that deserves to be heard.

Sterling Cooke Force - Full Force (1984)

Since I've been on a roll with obscure hard rock acts, no list of true obscurities would be complete without Pennsylvania's Sterling Cooke Force. Signed briefly to the UK's Ebony Records, their debut "Full Force" was released in 1984. As fate would have it, lablemates Grim Reaper were already making waves in the industry and the small staff at Ebony focused all of their attention on moving them to the next level. Consequently, this meant "Full Force" received very little promotion and airplay. Within a year or so, the band was already without a label and struggling to make a dent in the American scene. An indie released follow up album did little to improve the situation and the band ceased to exist by the late 80's.

Years later, Sterling Cooke (Koch) would embark on a solo career, recording and releasing his own instrumental records. He also became a born-again christian and his newfound faith would permeate his work from that point onward. Though the album is nothing to get terribly excited about, it is a tightly performed exercise in bluesy hard rock that touches on Jimi Hendrix in places. I urge hard rock fans to download and come to your own conclusions.

V.V.S.I. - No Ace At Hand (1986)

If Tuff Luck could be considered obscure, then this short-lived Pasadena hard rock unit is so unknown that their existence is almost mythical. There's practically no biographical information available regarding this band, but I believe the lineup included a future member of House of Lords and Freak of Nature. Though this band is nothing extraordinary, the elusiveness of this LP has stirred up a fair amount of cult interest. Released on New Renaissance Records in 1986, here it is. Download and you be the judge.

Tuff Luck - Tuff Luck (1986)

This Florida based hard rock act came and went almost entirely unnoticed in 1986, save for their hardcore following at home. Aside from this, the band were met with general apathy thanks to New Renaissance Records who neither had the budget or manpower to properly promote any of their stable acts. As a result, this self-titled debut is quite difficult to find. New Renaissance never pressed more than a few thousand albums per artist and a good portion of those fell into the hands of grass roots radio jocks (like myself at the time) in the hopes of elevating them into stardom. Well, it didn't happen, but there's plenty to love on this album. The band cobbled together a followup many years later, but it bombed too. It's even more difficult to find. In any case, download & dig in. This quality rip is worth a listen!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Halfnelson - Demos (1968)

Before they were Sparks, the Mael brothers and their musical collective were known as Halfnelson. In 1968, Halfnelson entered the studio on a shoestring budget and recorded 12 tracks for the purpose of shopping a demo to labels. Of those 12 songs, only one track was ever used for an official album. Sporting the characteristic Sparks sound mixed with a Syd Barrett influence, this demo sounds crisp and inventive. Check this out and hear Sparks at ground zero. You'll love it.

The Boyzz - Too Wild To Tame (1978)

The Boyzz, a midwestern bluesy hard rock outfit, were virtually anonymous at the time of their debut release in 1978. Almost 20yrs later and the same could be said. However, in the midwest, the band flourished and sold out shows on a regular basis. After the failure of their one and only album, the band took a short sabbatical and reinvented themselves under the new name, The B'zz. That didn't seem to make much of a difference either. However, in the new millennium there's been a resurgence of the band's popularity in their home turf and a new augmented lineup currently tours the region with reasonable success.

So were they all that bad? Absolutely not. Though there's nothing incredible about them, they do have a certain charm. Since their debut has never been reissued, I've made it available here for your downloading pleasure. Listen and enjoy!