Gleaming Spires - Party Ep (1984) & Welcoming A New Ice Age (1985)

The Final two releases from Gleaming Spires, the Party Ep from 1984 on The Vodka Label (Posh Boy's attempt at separating their punk releases) and the final LP Welcoming A New Ice Age from 1985 on Tabb Records.

From Allmusic (Michael Sutton):

The Gleaming Spires didn't want it released as a single or even included on an album, but "Are You Ready for the Sex Girls?" turned out to be the new wave band's only hit. Originally meant as a modest B-side, "Are You Ready for the Sex Girls?" had novelty appeal; the track was eventually used on the Revenge of the Nerds soundtrack in 1984 and in strip clubs. The Gleaming Spires formed in Los Angeles, CA, in 1981 by Bob Haag (vocals, guitar), Leslie Bohem (bass), and David Kendrick (drums). Members shifted back and forth between the Gleaming Spires and Bates Motel. The Gleaming Spires released their first album, Songs of the Spires, in 1981. The Spires developed a cult following in L.A.; however, other than "Are You Ready for the Sex Girls?," the group didn't find much airplay. Haag, Bohem, and Kendrick also became Sparks' new rhythm section that year, playing on the LP Whomp That Sucker, a record that revitalized Sparks' rock & roll edge. The Spires continued to record albums such as Life Out on the Lawn in 1982 and Walk on Well Lighted Streets in 1983. In 1986, Kendrick joined Devo. Bohem became a screenwriter and director. The nearly forgotten "Are You Ready for the Sex Girls?" was dusted off for Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80's, Vol. 3 in 1994. Haag joined Speed Limit in the '90s, releasing Going in 1999.
The Band:
Party EP-
Les "Misery Is My Middle Name" Bohem
David "Chronic Party Lad" Kendrick
Bob "Happy Boy" Haag
Jimbo "Gumbo" Goodwin
Welcoming A New Ice Age-
Les Bohem - Lead Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Synthesizers
David Kendrick - Drums, Percussion
Bob Haag - Guitars, Background Vocals
Jimbo Goodwin - Keyboards
Greg Penny - Synthesizers, Guitars, Background Vocals
with "The Horns Of Desire"
Bobby Moore - Sax
Dana Wylie - Trumpets
and "The Passionettes"-
Background Vocals- Katia Empkowicz Penny
Patty Foley
Beau Wesley
The Happy Boy
The Party God
Fanny Penny
Jonathan Gold - Cello
Campbell Naismith - Bagpipes
Produced By Greg Penny

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Cryptics - Darker Side Of You 7" (1992)

Fronted by long-time Arizona legend Bruce Connole (Billy Clone & The Same, Jetzons, Strand, Suicide Kings, Revenants), this is the first record to come from the Epiphany label, late record store owner (Zia Records) and Arizona music scene God - Brad Singer. Veering into the hard rock/metal arena, the record and a full length cassette came out just as the band was breaking up.

From The New Times June 10th 1992 by Dave McElfresh and Robert Baird:

Kill Me(Spot Records)
"Darker Side of You"(45 single, Epiphany)
The debate over whether Bruce Connole's new direction--more Sabbath, less strumming--was worth it has become moot. Connole's band, the Cryptics, has broken up and Connole has left the Valley again for L.A. Just as the band was splintering, a full-length cassette and a brand-new single were seeing the light of day. The single is also the first disc to come from Epiphany, the new local label launched by Zia Record Exchange owner Brad Singer. Given time, Epiphany has the potential to become a major force in taking local music to a national level. There is no doubting Connole's talent. The guy can play guitar. Beyond that, he isn't a bad singer or songwriter, either. And he's got the necessary attitude and poise to lead a band.
But it's equally true that focus was never Bruce Connole's strong suit. Were the Cryptics a juiced-up alternative band in metallic clothing, or a metal band aware of how trendy and bankable alternative is these days?
If these posthumous vinyl products are any indication, the answer lies somewhere in between. The band had lots of muscle--power rather than finesse was its object. When the group played this stuff live, volume was the main concern. On these recordings, Connole's dominating guitar is heavy throughout, and the voice-of-doom vocals by Jason Huff and Connole are straight outta the Ozzie handbook of advanced scream-talking. This bludgeon-you-to-death theory is also applied to the band's lyrics. The song titles say it all--"Kill Me," "Blood on the Floor" and "I Don't Care."
Many fans of the Strand and other past Connole projects felt since the beginning that the Cryptics were a waste of Connole's talent--just something he had to get out of his system. He's been in a lot of different bands, playing a lot of different kinds of music over the years. However, most of his projects, like the Cryptics, went down when he lost interest. Many remain convinced that the Cryptics' proto-metal sound was a bizarre detour into what Connole describes in "Darker Side of You," the "A" side of the Epiphany single. On the other side of the coin, genuine metal fans and players felt he was merely aping that genre's moves and that, because of his name, the band was able to unfairly overshadow real dues-paying metal-hard rock groups.
Either way, Connole was at the center of yet another storm. And for inciting that much controversy in this music scene, he deserves respect. Musically, the Cryptics were a proficient hard rock-metal band at best. Knowing Connole's restless talents, though, who knows what the group would have become had he hung in longer? Judging from this tape and single, the Cryptics might have been a contender.

The Band:

Bruce Connole - Vocals, Guitar

Jason Huff - Vocals, Guitar

Mark Cady - Bass

Rick Trobman - Drums

Produced by Steve McDonald

Executive Producer - Brad Singer

Recorded by Dave Nichols

Living Head Studio

both songs written by Connole/Huff

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Los Illegals - Internal Exile (1983)

3 classic cuts on this Mick Ronson produced disc by "Latino Punk" band Los Illegals, which blend political guitar punk with Devo-esque synths. "El Lay", "Secret Society" and "Maybe" stand the test of time. Label squabbles kept their follow up from being released and with the exception of a collaboration with Concrete Blonde, the band never escaped obscurity. Released on A&M Records.

The Band:

Willie Herron - Lead Vocal, Synthesizer, Piano and Saxophones
Jesus Velo - Bass Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer, Background Vocals
Bill Reyes - Drum Kit, Timbales, Congas, Percussion, Casts and Background Vocals
Antonio Valdez - Rhythm and Melody Guitars and Background Vocals
Manuel Valdez - Lead and Acoustic Guitars, Background Vocals

Mick Ronson also provided guitars, synthesizer and vocals

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Ron Walker - Blue Diamond Man (1990) [Cassette]

Ron Walker, a high school classmate and friend, put out this self-released cassette to rave reviews in 1990. Walker, an extremely talented and charismatic musician, handles most of the instruments on the 6 songs. Quality isn't perfect as it's a cassette transfer but it's well worth a listen.
Walker later went on to form The Stumbles, an extremely popular Arizona act.

Here is a review from the local New Times (Serene Dominic):


Published: February 19, 1992

RON WALKER Blue Diamond Man
(local tape)

"Solid" and "shiny" are the words here.
Glendale rocker Ron Walker likes to do things his way. On Blue Diamond Man, he sings everything and takes all the writing credits-save for the tape's single ballad, the sad but pleasant "Echoes of Laughter." Walker also takes the lion's share of the string and keyboard work here and lets no one sit behind the drum kit but himself. His one-man-band approach is rock-sturdy. From the Beatlesque, shake-it-up-baby "Stay Out of the Rain," to the Romantics-flavored, drum-heavy fun of "U Don't Know," Walker has permitted these musical influences to be no more than just that.

On the funkified-and most lyrically polished-song "Don't Take My Advice," Walker's fine, rangy voice shows its brightness and versatility. Overall, Blue Diamond Man is a steady-at times downright flashy-howdy-do by a musician who should be around for a spell.

The "Band"
Ron Walker - Lead Vocals, Background Vocals, Guitars,Bass, Keys and Drums
Kerry Jackson - Background Vocals,Guitars,Bass, Keys
Darryl Walker - Background Vocals

All songs written by Ron Walker except Echoes Of Laughter by Ron and Darryl Walker
Produced by Kerry Jackson and Ron Walker

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Horizontal Brian - Vertical (1983)

One of my favorite LP's that most people missed. I re-discovered this in the past year and find it's upbeat songs as fresh today as they were back then.

From Trouser Press:

This nifty British quartet plays lyrically observant melodic rock, much in the same vein as Stackridge did in oldentide. Bassist Tony Phillips sings his own songs in an engaging, unprepossessing voice, humorously satirizing the shortcomings of parenthood ("Playing with the Babies"), colonial obsession ("Everybody Wants to Be American"), death ("Buried in Your Best Suit") and more. Although not as sharp as the words, the music is dandy.

[Ira Robbins]

Released on Gold Mountain Records in 1983, Graham Gouldman of 10cc mixed the record.

The Band:
John Butters - Drums, Vocals
Tony Phillips - Bass, Lead Vocals
Brian Rudd - Keyboards, Vocals
Ian Peppercorn - Guitar, Vocals

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Practicing First Aid Video:

Fanatiks - Here There Be Tigers (1985)

Tucson, Arizona based Fanatiks released this 6 song ep in 1985, the title a nod to Ray Bradbury. Rob Paulus, now an award winning architect, was the driving force behind this New Wave outfit. Merle Harmon of Arizona based Street Pajama provided some background vocals.

The Band:

Rob Paulus - Vocals, Guitar, Violin
Steve Merski - Keyboards
Dave Nahan - Vocals, Bass
Miguel Monroy - Drums

Engineered by Roger H. King
Mixed and Produced by Roger and Karl
Executive Producer R. Karl Mehl
Rhythm Program Homero Ceron
Voice on European Summer - Sarah Newby
Background vocals - Merle Harmon

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Noel & The Red Wedge - Peer Pressure (1982)

New Wave/Dance-Pop featuring Noel (who put out a quasi-disco record in 1979 "Dancing Is Dangerous" written and produced by The Mael Brothers (Sparks)) and legendary keyboardist/producer Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Elvis Costello, The Bangles, Los lobos and many more), Thom Mooney who was also in Nazz, Veyler Hildebrand who played with John Hiatt and Ricky Phillips who was in The Babys, Styx, Bad English and Coverdale-Page. Released in 1982 on Scotti Brothers Records.

The Band:
Noel - Vocals, Background vocals
John Aseley Otten - Guitar, Background Vocals
Thom Mooney - Drums
Veyler Hildebrand - Bass
Kurt Kearnes - Guitar
Ricky Phillips - Bass, Background Vocals
Frankie Bonali - Drums
Mitchell Froom - Keyboards

Produced by Ron Kramer and Mitchell Froom

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