Much of my calendar year, every year, is spent sifting through record store bargain bins, estate sales, etc. and digging into the acquisitions. I win some and lose some, but I never write about it on AuxOut even though it accounts for a huge portion of my listening and discovery. In honor of the season of presents, I am celebrating some of the gifts bestowed upon me by the record gods during 2023.
Friday, December 15, 2023
The 25 Bargain Buys of Xmas: Day 15
I first heard Seattle's The Moberlys when I was 12. My dad had given me a 2xCD compilation of forty years of Northwest Rock Music for my birthday and "Sexteen" made the cut sandwiched between "Potential Suicide" by Wipers (classic) and "Night Shift" by fellow Seattle power pop outfit The Heats. Despite this early introduction, The Moberlys mostly just existed on the periphery for me, though I did encounter some of the songs on their eponymous 1979 debut along the way. (I swear I've heard "Papa Loves Mama" in a TV commercial or something but couldn't dig up any of evidence of this.) The Moberlys were one of those stories where the band had split before the record even came out. There's even a note "The Moberlys were together from May 1978 to September 1979" on the back jacket, something I don't recall seeing on any debut record. Jim Basnight, the songwriter/bandleader, would continue to make music and reform The Moberlys at various points. Musically, The Moberlys is some sort of connective tissue between the first Modern Lovers record and the first Weezer record. Lackadaisical, tongue-in-cheek slacker-punk attitude abounds, but there is a true bond to pop music of the early 60s. Some songs come across like direct homages to this style ("Give Me Peace" and "Papa Loves Mama") but the band is its best when it melds the retro-stylings with the contemporary crunch and jangle of the late 70s ("Last Night" and "Live in the Sun"). For fans of the gentler end of the late 70s punk continuum.
A playlist of tunes from each of the records I wrote about, I'll add a new song each day: