Sunday, December 21, 2008

Flowerhead - Ka-Bloom (Zoo, 1992)

"A Texas group that attempted to resurrect '60s psychedelia (but wound up sounding like Soundgarden), Flowerhead was a hard rockin' quartet that enjoyed a brief career during the early '90s. Consisting of members Eric Schmitz (vocals, guitar), Buz Zoller (guitar), Eric Faust (bass), and Pete Levine (drums), the band issued an independent, cassette-only release first, 1990's In the Toybox, before signing to the Zoo label and issuing two more albums -- 1992's Ka-Bloom (which the group toured behind with an opening slot on Blind Melon's spring 1993 U.S. tour) and 1995's People's Fuzz. Shortly thereafter, Flowerhead had gone the way of the buffalo." (

Anyone who has heard the Foo Fighters track "Watershed" (from the self titled debut) may be familiar with the Flowerhead name, as it includes the lyric "I wanna swim in a watershed, I wanna listen to Flowerhead'. Grohl was in fact referring to this Texas group when he penned the song's lyrics. Flowerhead went on to release a second full length for Zoo, 1995's The People's Fuzz before going on hiatus.  You can download Ka-Bloom in its entirety over at the excellent blog, Shiny Grey Monotone

Sammy - Tales of Great Neck Glory (Geffen, 1996)

Sammy was formed in the early 90s by Jesse Hartman and Luke Wood, a former member of Girls Against Boys who had contributed guitar to their Tropic of Scorpio release in 1989. The band, who frequently received comparisons to Pavement, was initially signed to Smells like Records, the label owned by Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley.  Later the band signed to DGC/Geffen records, where Luke Wood was working at the time. Geffen released the band's third and final full-length, Tales of Great Neck Glory, in 1996. 

After Sammy, Luke Wood went on to become senior vice president of A&R at Dreamworks Records and later Interscope Records, where he has signed and worked with Elliott Smith, Jimmy Eat World, Saves the Day, and AFI as well as more "forgotten treasures"-type bands such as the excellent Blinker the Star and Creeper Lagoon.  Hartman went on to form the electro-pop outfit Laptop, whom were briefly signed to Island Records. For those looking to hear Tales of Great Neck Glory, you can download it over at the fantastic blog Outdoor Miner

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Solution a.d. - Happily Ever After (Atlantic, 1996)

"Solution a.d. was formed in northeast Pennsylvania in 1991; originally known as just Solution, the band added "a.d." when another Solution was discovered. (Bassist Kevin Leggieri admitted the abbreviation doesn't stand for anything.) Live guitarist Chad Taylor, impressed by the group's performance at CBGB, offered to produce their EP, A Week There One Night, which was released in 1996. Their full-length, Happily Ever After, soon followed, and their single "Fearless" made a minor dent on alternative radio stations' play lists. Despite critical acclaim, MTV airplay and constant touring -- the band was known for its powerful live sets -- Solution a.d. failed to break into the mainstream." (

Solution a.d. were signed to Atlantic records' subsidiary label, Tag Recordings, and were one of the few bands to stay with Atlantic after Tag folded (along with Fountains of Wayne and The Lemonheads). However, the band's time with Atlantic proved to be short.  This quote from frontman Toby Costa from a 1997 article sums up the band's fate: "At first getting signed is a great, great thing. You get money up front, money is invested in you, and it's a thrill to make your first real record for a label. But it all comes down to touring and sales, and there's so much competition that if you don't have a hit right out of the box, you can fall through the cracks." 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Maypole - Product (Sony, 1997)

There ain't much about Maypole out there on the ol' world wide web. What I do know is that the band was formed by Tobi Miller, a former guitarist for The Wallflowers (you know... that band fronted by Bob Dylan's son). The band was picked up by the Sony imprint label, Work Records, who released the band's lone album, Product, in 1997. Maypole supported its release with tours opening for The Wallflowers, Our Lady Peace, and The Jayhawks. The video for the album's single, "Concrete Shoes", can be seen below.

Eventually Maypole evolved into a new band called New Low, minus Tobi Miller - though he did serve as the band's producer. Since then most of the band has continued to be active in the music world, though more on the studio side of things. Frontman Hans DeKline is now the owner and chief mastering engineer of Sound Bites Dog, where he has
mastered albums for Tim Finn, The Von Bondies, DJ
Steve Aoki, among others. Tobi Miller has served as producer/engineer for the likes of Korn, Unwritten Law, and his former bandmates The Wallflowers. Chris Frankfort (who also seems to go as Evan Frankfort) has also been behind the boards, working with Pete Yorn, Sugarcult, & Turbonegro, to name a few.
Drummer Hugh Mangum has contributed to Enemy - the project of Troy Van Leeuwen (Failure, A Perfect Circle, Queens of the Stone Age), and Miiko Watanabe has played in a number of bands including The Martinis and Sugarplum Fairies as toured with Dave Navarro, Gwen Stefani and Tracy Chapman.

Dragmules - 2a (Atlantic, 1995)

Dragmules' debut record, 2a, was named after the bar in New York City's East Village that served as the band's stomping grounds (and workplace). While the band of Texas-transplants began as a studio project, it quickly evolved into a full fledged band with the addition of new members such as Paul Garisto, a former drummer for The Psychedelic Furs and Iggy Pop to its lineup. The band was signed to Atlantic Records who released 2a in 1995. As far as the band's sound goes, one reviewer called it: "R.E.M. crossed with Social Distortion" - and i'd say that's dead on.

The band's second record, Swims with the Fishes, was rejected by Atlantic, which you can read more about here (though unfortunately the audio samples are no longer). Since the dissolution of Dragmules, Paul Garisto has gone on to drum with fellow NYC types Ryan Adams and Jesse Malin, as well as David Gahan of Depeche and countless others.