Mickeranno, 1985

The internet can be a strange, beautiful place. I came across a copy of Mickeranno's only, self-titled album on a blog I don't remember and is probably now defunct anyways. I downloaded the record and listened to it in short order (shocking, in this day and age). The music was like a the Durutti Column's stately guitar work crossed with the Young Marble Giants' muted, lo-fi charm. Those are lofty comparisons for a post-punk band, but Mickeranno earned them. There's something ineffable abut the restraint on display. It's not that they're virtuosos refusing to shred, but the measured performance on every track seethes with repressed energy and emotion. By the fifth listen (on repeat) I was looking for a vinyl copy.

This is where the internet let me down. Many of the sites I go to didn't even know the record or band existed. In of all the web, I found only two copies, both hailing from Italy (at steep prices). Due to the cost, I waited until this record had burnt a hole in my brain. Eventually, I forked over for it. In my warped brain, Mickeranno remains entirely worth it. Hell, if I had the means, I'd reissue this LP.

Utakata No Hibi

Mariah, 1983

I'm proud of my contrarian streak, most the time. If I see too many people queuing up to praise some 'unearthed gem of post-punk obscurity', like Mariah's Utakata No Hibi, it will adversely affect my first listen. I'll be too busy looking for that grain of salt—the catch—to enjoy it for what it might be. Sometimes, the real catch is that I just need to get over myself. Zeitgeist can be real. There are moments on Utakata No Hibi that sound positively modern. It has something to do with it's crispness: most post-punk, even though they'd use keyboards, usually sounded scruffy and lo-fi. Mariah marries bright, new wave rhythms to exotica-tinged eastern melodies to form a staccato pop that's still easy listening.