Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hello My Name is Mix (vol. 7)

It's been almost two years since the last installment of these titular rarities. As a compilation its raison d'etre should be entirely self-explanatory, but what's not quite so obvious is the quality of the songs. I place the same restrictions on these mixes as on everything else (meaning that if I don't like the song it doesn't get posted), so just know there's gold in the gimmick.

I Stayed In The Shower To Avoid Doing Some Useful Shit

1. The M0vement Karl Marx
2. Lemur1a Christine Perfect
3. The Successfu1 Fai1ures Sam Houston
4. Ch1xdiggit Gerry Cheevers
5. The Orwe11s Black Francis
6. The D0gs Winston Smith
7. Chuck Pr0phet Alex Nieto
8. Art Brut Emily Kane
9. A1ex Lahey Wes Anderson
10. The 7 & 6 Bruce Foxton
11. Robbers 0n High Street Amanda Green
12. Rozwe11 Kid Michael Keaton
13. The Zat0peks Sophie Scholl
14. The Pack AD Thomas Hardy
15. Lydia Love1ess Steve Earle
16. Tim East0n Elmore James
17. Why? George Washington
18. Love1y Bad Things Thora Birch
19. G1enn Morrow's Cry For He1p Keira Knightly
20. Buttercup Henry B. Gonzalez
21. R0byn Hitchcock Virginia Woolf
22. Leer0y Stagger Joe Strummer & Joey Ramone

Monday, January 1, 2018

Best of 2017

Well, here we go again. Another year toasted. Another attempt to organize art into a list and rank the unrankable. If it helps any, I'll be the first to admit that the exact order of my top 10 - 20 albums are often capable of shuffling spots depending on my mood during any given day. I imagine that comes as no shock to anyone.

Overall, I'd say it was a pretty good year. I've certainly found a lot of music - and a lot of bands - that I'm sure I'll be playing for the rest of my days. If you find something you like, I encourage you to invest in the album. In the meantime, you just know I'll be kicking myself for a pile of worthy omissions (which I'll attempt to collect on the upcoming Orphans mix).

The Un-Herd Music Top 50 of 2017

 1. Chuck Berry Chuck

You may suspect I'm gifting the #1 spot to Mr. Berry solely on the grounds of his importance to every single note on every single mix I've ever made in my life. And you may be right. And I don't care.





2. Needles//Pins Good Night Tomorrow

The band continues their expected trajectory, which combines the ragged hooks of the Replacements with the sonic wallop of a car crash, but with a truly impressive growth in songwriting.





3. The Crazy Squeeze Savior of the Streets

In the band bio they rightly reference 70s pub rock, but these guys remember the tough and melodic Ducks Deluxe brand over the ersatz Band-isms of Brinsley Schwartz. That's the way I prefer to remember it too.




 4. The Regrettes Feel Your Feelings Fool

Astonishingly, front woman Lydia Night was 16 years old when this album was recorded, but that didn't stop her from copping (and refining) moves from relatively ancient precursors like 90s riot grrls and 60s girl groups. The future is female.




5. The Stanleys The Stanleys

The inescapable descriptor is power pop, but these guys deliver an advanced thesis in muscular hook-craft that most comparable bands barely understand, let alone strive for.





6. Daniel Romano Modern Pressure

After releasing a number of straight retro-country albums, Romano reached back into his own punky roots and unleashed something that sounds like the Basement Tapes beamed in from a galaxy where Hank Williams played power pop.



 
 7. Spoon Hot Thoughts

At this point Spoon is flying far above the Un-Herd purview, but it's difficult to ignore the quality of Britt Daniel's songwriting, not to mention the breath-taking invention of the band's arrangements. Great band just keeps getting greater.




8. Biters The Future Ain't What It Used To Be

70s glam stomp meets 80s glam rawk meets modern punk attitude - this could go wrong in so many ways but is constantly redeemed by leader Tuk's gift for melody, as well as his apparently honest respect for his antecedents.




 9. Black Joe Lewis Backlash

I don't know what this guy needs to do to get more respect and/or attention out there, but I hope he keeps the pedal to the metal and continues in this skronkin' sax 'n' molten R&B mode. This shit's the real deal.




10. QTY QTY

The kind of album that could only come out of NYC. Droll vocals drenched in charisma and elliptical guitar lines make comparisons to Lou Reed and the Strokes (and all points in between) inevitable, yet there's a melancholy cool that is entirely the band's own.





11. Low Cut Connie Dirty Pictures (Part 1)
12. Bash & Pop Anything Could Happen
13. Suzes Fragile Development
14. The Rich Hands Take Care
15. Sheer Mag Need To Feel Your Love
16. White Reaper The World's Best American Band
17. The Rubs Impossible Dream
18. Colman Gota Fear the Summer
19. The Jesus and Mary Chain Damage + Joy
20. The Pilgrims No Focus

21. The Lowest of the Low Do The Right Now
22. The Singles Sweet Tooth
23. First Base Not That Bad
24. Dude York Sincerely
25. Plasticsoul Therapy
26. Gregg Stewart Gregg Stewart
27. New Swears And The Magic Of Horses
28. Ted Leo The Hanged Man
29. Wyldlife Out On Your Block
30. Aimee Mann Mental Illness

31. Indonesian Junk Stars in the Night
32. JD McPherson Undivided Heart + Soul
33. The Successful Failures Ichor of Nettle
34. Hanni El Khatib Savage Times
35. Sweet Spirit St. Mojo
36. The Church Man Woman Life Death Infinity
37. Shinyribs I Got Your Medicine
38. Eyelids or
39. Chuck Prophet Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins

40. Two Cow Garage Brand New Flag
41. The Hooten Hallers The Hooten Hallers
42. Robyn Ludwick This Tall To Ride
43. Rancid Trouble Maker
44. Shilpa Ray Door Girl
45. Tim Heidecker Too Dumb For Suicide; The Trump Songs
46. The Rallies Serve
47. Pugwash Silverlake
48. Dirty Fences Goodbye Love
49. Willie Nile Positively Bob: Nile Sings Dylan
50. Sharon Jones Soul of a Woman

Honorable Mentions, Reissues, & Late 2016 Releases:

The Replacements For Sale; Live At Maxwell's, 1986
Teenage Head Fun Comes Fast
Sam Cash & the Romantic Dogs  Tongue-in-Cheek Vows
The Dollyrots Whiplash Splash
Samantha Fish Chills & Fever
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires Youth Detention
Hayley Thompson-King Psychotic Melancholia
The Pink Tiles #1 Fan
Alex Lahey Love You Like a Brother
The Red Button Now It's All This

Draw That Chalky Line All Around The Corpse of Truth

1. Needles//Pins Pressure Points
2. The Crazy Squeeze Ooh Baby I Love You
3. Suzes Pleasure Doing Business With You
4. The Rubs Why Won't You Wait
5. Black Joe Lewis Prison
6. Sheer Mag Rank and File
7. QTY Rodeo
8. White Reaper Another Day
9. The Regrettes Hey Now
10. Biters Callin' You Home
11. Rich Hands So What
12. Bash & Pop Unfuck You
13. Plasticsoul King of Hash
14. The Lowest of the Low Saint Spurious
15. Colman Gota Call It Quits
16. Low Cut Connie Angela
17. The Jesus and Mary Chain All Things Pass
18. The Singles Sweet Tooth
19. First Base Crybaby
20. The Stanleys Amy
21. The Pilgrims Dinky Betts
22. Daniel Romano When I Learned Your Name
23. Dude York Black Jack
24. New Swears Dance with the Devil
25. Chuck Berry Lady B. Goode




Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Un-Herd Christmess 2017

As unlikely as it may seem, the world made it through another year... and it's Chrimbus already!

So as we all gather 'round the Chrimbus bush, waiting with bated breath for the appearance of Winter Man laden with prezzies, we can play this compilation and sing along with the heartfelt - and heartwarming - ditties of the crassly commercialized yuletide season. Or not - it's possible to just listen instead.

Enjoy the holidays, everybody - and see you in 2018!

We'll Put Things Right Some Other Time 

1. Cheap Tr1ck I Wish It Could Be Xmas Every Day
2. Thee Attacks Let The Snow Fall
3. Bad Re1igion White Xmas
4. The Do11yrots All I Want For Xmas Is You
5. REM Merry Xmas Everybody
6. Cuckoo1and Silver Bells
7. Dude Y0rk Break Up Holiday
8. Jukebox Her0es Xmas in the City (Ain't Too Pretty)
9. Ho11y Go1ight1y Xmas Tree On Fire
10. The L0ng Ryders Xmas in New Zealand
11. TV Sm1th Xmas Bloody Xmas
12. Backstreet Gir1s Xmas Boogie
13. The M1sfits You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
14. The C0nnection Merry Xmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)
15. P1xies Winterlong
16. Steve Ear1e Xmas in Washington
17. The Metr0 Jets Jingle Jangle Xmas
18. The Cute Lepers The Cute Lepers Xmas Song
19. The Pris5teens Xmas is a Time for Giving
20. V1ce Squad Santa Claws is Comin' to Town
21. Ash Can Schoo1 Xmas List Boogie
22. C0urtney Barnett Boxing Day Blues
23. James Ha11 True North
24. The M1nus 5 I Still Believe in New Year's Eve
25. Scott Mi11er Get Along, Everybody



Sunday, December 10, 2017

Faves of 2017 (vol. 3)

Well durn, it took a lot longer than usual, but here's the final installment of UHM Faves for this year. Of course, that doesn't include the inevitable Orphans mix that'll show up sometime early in the new year, which will compile all the great stuff I somehow missed in 2017. Nor does it include the upcoming Best Of 2017, which will join the yearly summation of my favorite albums (many of which are represented on this very mix). And there's probably still a Xmas compilation to post before the year is over.

I guess what I'm trying to say is sorry for taking so long. And, as usual, let me know what's missing! 

Discount Bins of Broken Things

1. Stag The Bedazzler
2. The Crazy Squeeze Twisted Little Secrets
3. The R1ch Hands Fast and Loose
4. First Base Sandra
5. Twin Temp1e Girl Trouble
6. QTY Dress/Undress
7. The Stan1eys What Are We Gonna Do
8. Terra Lightf00t Stars Over Dakota
9. Kitty, Daizy & Lewis Just One Kiss
10. Sweet Sp1rit Pretty Baby
11. Justine & the Unc1ean I'm In Love With You, Jackass
12. The Cheep Cassettes Hieroglyphics in Lipstick
13. JD McPhers0n Crying's Just a Thing That You Do
14. The High-tai1s So Long
15. A1ex Lahey I Love You Like a Brother
16. Ind0nesian Junk I'll Run Away
17. The Pink Ti1es Rocky Road
18. Shi1pa Ray Shi1pa Ray's Got a Heart Full of Dirt
19. Fuzzy V0x I Fell In Love With the World
20. Bu11et Proof Lovers One Last Night
21. D1rty Fences Never Over
22. The Dah1manns Conny Converse
23. Ha1ey Thompson-King No Room For Jesus
24. Watts All Done With Rock & Roll
25. Backstreet Gir1s Back Again

Sunday, November 12, 2017

10 Years of UHM

It's been 10 years to the month since I first created this blog, so allow me a quick fling with some self-reflection (and self-indulgence).

A lot has changed since I started. Streaming services (like Spotify) have made this blog almost pointless. Why bother going through the extra step of downloading when streaming a playlist is so easy and immediate? Of course, the fact a lot of what you'll find on UHM isn't available on sites like Spotify is a mitigating factor - but there's no doubt that our constantly evolving technology will eventually terminate this blog. That's okay - and no big loss, I'm sure - but I do wonder and worry about the future of the underdog music that I love. I'm not convinced the ease of the streaming sites will be a positive development in the financial viability of any band, let alone ones that get championed here.

And look, I know that the very concept of a shared mix involves a level of piracy. You may remember, back in the cassette days, there used to be a music industry campaign based around the claim that "Home Taping Is Killing Music." But I've never bought into that. In fact, in my own experience the very notion had been proven as bullshit. I've witnessed at least a couple of occasions when I made a mix for someone and they subsequently went out and bought an album by every band on the mix. Usually the end result isn't quite so sweeping - but at least a few bands on every mix will find a new member in their fan club. And that's my argument for what I do here - and, as evidenced by the corrupted spellings of the tracklists, also an acknowledgement that what I do is not condoned by the labels (even if it's mostly condoned by the bands themselves).

So that's where it all is. And for now I'll continue my sporadic uploads. And I'll probably never stop making mixes, even if they're only for me, because I'll forever hold the belief that people would love all these songs if only they could hear them. I believe UHM should exist like the old corner record store - no advertising and precious little traffic, but I have faith that all the people out there who need to find it will find it.

And I thank each and every one of you who have already found it. Let's all keep fighting the good fight.

The Ballad of UnHerd Music

1. Michae1 Monroe Ballad of the Lower East Side
2. Arke11s Ballad of Hugo Chavez
3. The Phant0ms Ballad of Overend Watts
4. Dada Ballad of Earl Grey and Chamomile
5. XTC Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead
6. The Tomorrows Ballad of a Lesser Man
7. Luke D0ucet Ballad of Ian Curtis
8. The New P0rnographers Ballad of a Comeback Kid
9. Nikki Sudden Ballad of Johnny and Mariane
10. Ted Le0 + the Pharmacists Ballad of the Sin Eater
11. Cheap Tr1ck Ballad of TV Violence
12. Ike Rei11y Ballad of Jack and Haley
13. Pernice Br0s. Ballad of Bjorn Borg
14. A1oud Ballad of Emily Jane
15. The S0 So Glos Ballad of a So So Glo (King's County II)
16. Mu11 Historica1 Society Ballad of Ivor Punch
17. Evan Dand0 Ballad of El Goodo (Big Star cover)
18. S1im Dun1ap Ballad of the Opening Band
19. E11iot Smith Ballad of Big Nothing
20. Jerry Jerry & the Sons of Rhythm 0rchestra Ballad of John Card & the Booze Rookie
21. The Loud Fami1y Ballad of How You Can All Shut The Hell Up


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Power Pop Primer

This is one of those mixes I've been meaning to put together forever but never mustered the energy for it. I guess most of the entries just seem so obvious and well-known that it feels like a pointless exercise, especially given this blog's goal of exposing the underexposed (plus it runs the risk of appearing condescending to the seemingly encyclopedic music knowledge of this blog's visitors). But then again, exactly how popular are these songs? Answer: not as popular as they deserve to be! So that puts 'em all right in my wheelhouse. If I need justification, there it is.

So I stuck to the verities of power pop (imho); music released between 1970 and 1980. I didn't go hunting for proto-power pop (although feel free to harangue me about missing the early Who or Beatles or John Fred or whoever), and didn't want to sink into absolute obscurity (again, feel free to point out that it's inexcusable for me to have left off the Toms or 20/20 or whoever). If it alleviates your annoyance, I did leave off some of my own faves too (where's the mofuggin' Artful Dodger anyway?). There will be later volumes, however - so suggestions are as welcome as criticism.

She Hates The Same Things That I Hate

1. The Nerve5 Hangin' On The Telephone
2. The Cryer5 Shake It Up (Ain't It Time)
3. The F1amin' Groovies Shake Some Action
4. B1g Star September Gurls
5. The Heat5 Nights With You
6. The Jag5 Back of My Hand
7. Pag1iaro Lovin' You Ain't Easy
8. Cheap Tr1ck Oh Candy
9. The J00k Aggravation Place
10. Dwight Twi11ey Band I'm On Fire
11. The Fabu1ous Pood1es Work Shy
12. Badf1nger No Matter What
13. The Rec0rds Starry Eyes
14. The Raspberrie5 Cry
15. The P1imsou1s Now
16. Nick L0we So It Goes
17. The M0ve California Man
18. Sy1vain Sy1vain & the Crimina1s Teenage News
19. T0m R0binson Band 2-4-6-8 Motorway
20. Eddie & the H0t Rods Do Anything You Wanna Do
21. Phi1 Seym0ur Baby It's You
22. B0b Segarini Laurel Ann
23. Menta1 As Anything The Nips Are Getting Bigger
24. The Undert0nes Teenage Kicks

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Faves of 2017 (vol. 2)

It's been a long time coming, but the new UHM faves mix is finally ready to rock dad's pants off at your next family gathering.

This one's chock full of stuff from albums that will undoubtedly be featured in my Best of the Year list. It's been great to hear some of this blog's all-time favorites return with maybe the best music of their careers (so far). But there have been some disappointments too. I try to stick with only the positive here, however, so my thoughts on long-awaited releases by Jim Jones and J. Roddy Wa1ston - as well as longer-awaited releases by the Dream Syndicate and the F1amin' Groovies - will have to be saved for elsewhere.

Fuckitfuckitfuckitfuckit

1. Sunshine & the Ra1n Come On Baby
2. The Real Sick1es Everywhere You Go
3. Shear Mag Just Can't Get Enough
4. Need1es//Pins Violet
5. Ho11erado I Got You
6. Biter5 Gypsy Rose
7. The P0pguns We Don't Go Around There Anymore
8. D0wntown Boys A Wall
9. Sam Cash & the R0mantic Dogs Carmen
10. Waxxahatchee Never Been Wrong
11. C0tton Mather Hijinks Dad
12. Successfu1 Fai1ures Misguiding Light
13. L0w Cut Connie Revolution Rock n Roll
14. Gregg Stewert R is for Rock Star
15. Fi1thy Friends Come Back Shelley
16. The Preature5 Lip Balm
17. Duncan Re1d & the Big Heads Bombs Away
18. Cyanide Pi11s Government
19. The Strype5 Get It Over Quickly
20. Boogie Patro1 Foolish Mind
21. New Swear5 Comfortably Hungover
22. Ted Le0 Can't Go Back
23. Danie1 Romano Pride of Queens
24. T0gether Pangea Alison