Monday, March 22, 2004

I had an idea over the weekend for a theme for this week...I'll see how well it works out. The basic concept is that there are some records/tapes/CDs that aren't bootlegs but are still pretty elusive even for a reasonably well-informed fan of a band (by elusive I mean that you might not even know to look for them). The ones I'm thinking of either don't show up in Allmusic at all, or if they do, they'd be easy to miss unless you're paying pretty close attention. I'm not including singles or compilation appearances, and I'm not including artists slumming it under assumed names (i.e. no Kim Carnes as a Sugar Bear or anything like that). I don't think that I'll be featuring anything that's going to rattle your conception of reality, but some of these might be nice surprises.

Air Miami was the band that Mark Robinson formed after Unrest. They're not exactly obscure, but they're not as well-known as Unrest, which is a shame because the Air Miami album Me Me Me is very of a piece (in terms of sound and quality) with the Unrest albums that immediately preceded it. In typical Mark Robinson fashion, they left a trail of worthwhile non-album tracks to keep the collectors busy. Their terrific Airplane Rider single is listed in Allmusic, but unless you spend a fair amount of time perusing Air Miami's cryptically arranged liner notes, you might not notice the existence of the two cassettes of fairly well-produced demos (called 14 Songs and 16 Songs respectively) pictured on the last page of Me Me Me's booklet. Some of these songs turned up on the album, some turned up on singles, some turned up on later releases by other Mark Robinson bands, and some appear only on the tapes. Apparently the cassettes were given away to Mark's friends, but if they're "real" enough to include on the discography page of a CD booklet, they're real enough to include here. Here are two tracks from 16 Songs: Adidas My Ass and the demo version of Airplane Rider.

Quibbles with Pitchfork Department

One of the CDs reviewed today over at Pitchfork is the Matinée Records tribute to The Smiths. This is a small thing, but it irks me: at one point, the reviewer makes reference to the Lucksmiths as being "the only band on this collection whose own material is at all noteworthy." OK, "noteworthy" is obviously an arguable point, but it seems to me that the Would Be Goods have enough of a history and a large enough/influential enough cult following that the reviewer is either ignorant or mistaken to write them off. Read about them here, here, here, here, and here, and here's a fun track about a cute French actress that appeared on a CD EP of theirs from a few years ago.

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