Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Boyfriends - Boyfriend

A. Boyfriend

B. Give A Little, Take A Little

Boyfriend b/w Give A Little, Take A Little
Pinnacle (INT 113.712), 1983

This is what I love about power pop. Fun, hook-filled, catchy tunes that get stuck in your head. "Boyfriend" exemplifies everything great about the genre. Unfortunately, I cannot find ANY information as to who this band was, where they were from, how long they were around, or what else they may have done.

To my knowledge, there are atleast two other power pop bands who called themselves The Boyfriends. There's the well-known US band who formed in the wake of the Poppees, and a UK group who put out a few mediocre singles on United Artists. From what I can gather from a couple "new wave" discographies, this particular Boyfriends released a single in late 1982 on the UK-based Plastic Records, presumably their own label. It appears that the two songs were licensed and released in Germany on the Pinnacle label shortly after that with a different picture sleeve (see above).

The B-Side is a less enthused ballad, but there is perfection in the song "Boyfriend" that brings to mind classics such as The Know's "I Like Girls" and others of that caliber. The band obviously had competent musicians and the song structure and harmonies were top notch. The people in this band had to have gone on to do something else of merit, or possibly even before this since the single came out pretty late compared to other similar records. So who were they?! Anyone know anything?

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Colors - Rave It Up EP

A1. Jealousy

A2. Growing Up American

B1. Have You Seen Her?

B2. West End

B3. Rave It Up

Rave It Up EP
Infinite (001), 1980

The Colors were formed in 1979 by Paul Sass on guitar and Tommy Cookman on lead vocals. Robert Vickers joined the group on bass almost immediately after arriving in NY from Australia. After some sloppy rehearsals with their original drummer, Ed East took over on skin duties.

Paul and Robert were the band's songwriters and derived a formula of melody-driven two minute pop songs. Taking notes from the Ramones, the band played short and fast sets. The main difference being their emphasis on appearance and wearing colorful attire. Robert and Tommy would find cloth samples in dumpsters in Soho and make ties from them to match their outfits.

The band quickly earned their stripes, impressing CBGB owner Hilly Kristal so much that he signed on as their manager and booked them regularly. One of the owners of Infinite Records on Mercer Street, where Tommy worked, liked them so much that he decided to start a record label and put out the band's "Rave It Up" EP. Clem Burke of Blondie saw the band's potential as well and agreed to produce the record. In fact, in preparation for recording, Ed left the band and Clem filled in on drums. Clem also brought in a friend of his, Charly Pip, to play second guitar. On top of doing excellent back-ups, Charly assisted in making the band tighter and fuller than ever.

It is believed that 3,000 copies of the single were pressed on five different colors of vinyl. A portion were sold in Manhattan record stores while the rest went to a Long Island distributor. Three videos were made off the EP, but only "Jealousy" and "Growing Up American" were ever edited and sent to broadcast. The band received some college airplay, mentions in teen magazines, and appeared on the Uncle Floyd show. They mainly played New York and Jersey, but did venture to Philly, Boston, Baltimore, DC, and even once flew out to play Chicago. With Clem's other obligations, he usually wasn't able to play road shows, so they enlisted the help of The Elf who did his best to fill those awfully large shoes.

The band recorded a full length album, but began to dissolve by the time of it's completion. As the energy was slipping, Paul left the band and Robert was losing interest. Infinite was supposed to release the album but disappeared. The owner of the Dirt Club agreed to put it out, but by the time it surfaced in 1983 it was too late. Robert was in London playing with fellow Aussie mates the Go-Betweens and Tommy ended up moving to Buenos Aires.

Rave-Up Records out of Italy has issued an LP called "Teenage Furniture" which collects the bands full length and EP tracks.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just Boys - Hook, Line And Sink Her

A. Hook, Line And Sink Her

B. Thanks A Lot

Hook, Line And Sink Her b/w Thanks A Lot
Counterfeit (CR-511), 1977

Bobby Woodrich and Terry Carolan started playing together in 1975 in a glam/pop/rock band called Fairytale. Before that, Terry played with Gary Heslin in an influential melodic rock band called Amnesia. By mid-1976 the three of them got together to form Just Boys.

Disco and country rock were running rampant in central Florida at the time. Those who weren't accepting of those styles started their own scene. Just Boys were at the core of this new movement of bands who were playing original music in the Tampa Bay area. Although they were tagged as "punk," they felt they were more of a melodic rock band with certain pop sensitivities.

Having limited avenues in which to play, they approached the owner of a small tavern whose clientele consisted of two old fishermen. The place had a small stage, so they asked if they could put together shows in exchange for the door money. With the assistance of friend Gary Littleton, who placed ads in the college paper and ran a series of outrageous posters for the newly coined Maniac Lounge, they were packing the place in no time. Local newspapers started writing articles about how Punk Has Invaded Tampa and Just Boys were given a front page story in a weekend entertainment magazine.

In 1977, Terry and Gary Littleton formed Counterfeit Records in order to put out a Just Boys single. The initial run of 1000 copies sold fast and warranted a second press of 2000 more. They had their sites set on getting a record deal and actually came pretty close. After sending records out and receiving rejection letters from Polygram, CBS, Warner, and other majors, Arista came back with a positive response. They wanted to hear a "breakthrough track." So the band, which by then had replaced Heslin on drums with Ral Spera, promptly recorded more songs.

The next logical step for them was to move to LA and find management that could secure them the record deal. In the midst of trying to get out to the West Coast to deliver the new material, their A&R rep was repositioned and her replacement unfortunately had no interest in the band.

They persevered a short while longer in LA until Bobby moved back to Florida. After trying to find a suitable replacement, things went from bad to worse and they eventually called it quits. Unsure of what to do next, Terry moved to Houston to try things out with a band called the Pinups, before starting his next project, True Hearts.