This month, Circuit Breaker Records is proud to continue reissuing more great records from the late, great Train in Vain. First up is 1990’s Black Light Discipline, a record which captures the band continuing to refine the sound established on their first two LPs: shades of Husker Du, Soul Asylum, and other 80s college rock legends mixed with their own unique approach to songwriting. Our A-side for this month’s single, “Story Full of Lies,” nicely represents this sound, with some nice harmony vocals from drummer/multi-instrumentalist Scott Peebles thrown in to boot.
Our B Side, “Sorry,” comes from 1994’s Good Enough for You, and to our ears this is the kind of lost classic we would stay up on weekends trying to catch the video for on 120 Minutes. Sadly, Train in Vain never hit it that big, but you’ll scratch your head wondering why not listening to some of the finest moments on this record (“String You Along,” “All We Need of Hell,” “I”).
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Simply put, when I was a kid in high school Train in Vain was the best band in the world, at least in the limited world in Southeast Texas that me and my buddies inhabited. Their shows were legendary, their recordings fiery and reminiscent of bands I had loved since 4th grade, and they lived in my hometown. When some of the members randomly came to a talent show our band was playing at and they came up to talk to us afterwards, that was a true highlight of childhood.
This month, we are proud to reissue the first two Train in Vain records, Psycho Railroad and The Johnny Pain Letters, for our Circuit Breaker Record Club subscribers. Our A-side, from the former, is one of our personal favorites here at CBR HQ (see our cover on the Diamond Fields of Meade), “8 Miles Out of Town.” Inspired by a true (and quite ugly) story from that neck of the woods we used to call home, this track captures TNV at its glorious, anthemic best. “Empty,” from the band’s sophomore release, is our B-side, though I’d argue it bests most bands A-sides in terms of minor-chord melodic sensibility (don’t discount the wah wah solo either!)
Even though Train in Vain is no more, they live on here at Circuit Breaker Records. May our run be extended one day as well!
Maybe you thought we had something to say about Pluto. Or the unfortunate Virgin Galactic mishap. But this month we’ve got space travel on the brain mostly because of the newest reissue being made available to our loyal Circuit Breaker Record Club supporters: Hallelujah Boy’s sophomore record, Demonstration.
A concept record about an astronaut who finds himself stranded in space, Demonstration finds HB ripping right out of the gate with the propulsive single, “Round Trip,” our A-side for this month’s single. For a B-side, we’ve chosen a quieter number, “Sent Away,” featuring some of the finest 80s Casio keyboard sounds HB ever put on record. Make sure you stick around past the minute or so intro!
While you may normally think of spring as the season where life begins again anew, perhaps any season will do. Summer is here, and for many that means SCHOOL’S OUT FOREVER or something like that. It also means that Circuit Breaker Record Club members (like you?) are in for a real treat as we’ve just reissued the very first Hallelujah Boy record, first released in 1998. 18 years ago saw the beginning of this long-standing recording project, in a dimly-lit basement in Charlottesville, Virginia, and this self-titled record exhibits the usual exuberance of debut records as well as the influence of HB’s lo-fi heroes such as Chris Knox and Bob Pollard.
To celebrate this reissue, we have a few tunes here from the record. Speaking of Mr. Pollard, “Eyes vs. Smiles,” this month’s A-side, is pretty much a tribute to him and the alien lanes/bee 1000 records playing constantly in the car at that time. B-side “Hearts Deciding” is a Casio keyboard-driven, drony love song, its sweetness tempered only slightly by the deficiencies in recording quality
Also, thinking about the beginning of this project has inspired Hallelujah Boy to begin recording and releasing some new music! While plans are already underway for a joint Witchcatcher/Hallelujah Boy record later this year, to kick off the summer Hallelujah Boy will also be heading into his new home studio to record a series of newly-written singles. Stay tuned for more info on these and other new recordings set for release later this year!
May has come and gone (ok, it’s going..). We hope everyone in the US enjoyed National Burger Month and that our friends in the UK are enjoying National Pet Month. Weird to celebrate both simultaneously wethinks, especially for people who keep cows for pets. There’s no such domestication or husbandry here at CBR HQ. Instead we’re featuring two songs from our favorite Infinite Transmissions Projectrecord, the wonderful “Second Hand Rubbish“. Released simultaneously with “Deflate the Stars” in 2005, this record finds the record_by_mail_and_somtimes_in_person crew at the height of their collective powers.
On the A Side, we’ve got “I’m Gone” a tune that introduces the theme of “sales”, short for “yard sales”. Capturing the exuberance of a caffeine-fueled morning spent combing the neighborhood for other people’s trash that one might treasure, the lead track from the albums appropriately asks “how can you say that the joke’s on you”. The song sets the tone for the record with reverb drenched pianos, dirty guitars and of course the trusty drum machine.
Pared with “I’m Gone” is this month’s B Side, “The Wrong Track”. The album closer, this bookend tune celebrates the art of making mistakes. A slow build of a tune with a trash heap of tracks, the careful listener will enjoy picking out the layered lines and lyrical interplay.
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