The Hyped to Death/Messthetics newsletter for April 2006

Patient fans of H2D--
We've spent nearly 6 years asking folks to sign up for a newsletter at (and we've never once sent anything out), but here at last is newsletter #1.

Once the Homosexuals thing happened all the irony IMMEDIATELY went out of the "Hyped to Death" name... But now of course we've further disgraced the name of D.I.Y. by trotting out five more conventional CDs replete with barcodes, shrinkwrap and even an advert or two (dozen).
But if you're willing to forgive us at least a few of these excesses, round three (or four) of the barcode era arrives with:

The Sounds of UK D.I.Y. 1977-80 (Messthetics #100)
As Nuggets and Pebbles were to 60's garage-bands, as Chocolate Soup for Diabetics and Rubble were to freakbeat, and as Killed by Death and Bloodstains were to indie punk, the Messthetics series documents the essential bands of the DIY and the [very] indie postpunk generation of the British Isles. "Greatest Hits" showcases a dozen examples from Johan's worldwide "top 100" and ten more that are equally great (including two never-before heard tracks by the legendary Rejects, Bruno Wizard's 1977 band before he formed the Homosexuals). With O Level (pre-Times), Reptile Ranch (pre-Weekend), Six Minute War (pre-400 Blows), Mud Hutters (pre-Spaceheads), Danny & the Dressmakers (Graham Massey pre-808 State, Bjork++) plus Puritan Guitars, Dum Dum Dum, Scrotum Poles, Anorexia, Tronics, Royston, Reacta, Instant Automatons, Exhibit A, Slight Seconds, Steve Treatment, Take It, Thin Yoghurts, Walking Floors, and the Digital Dinosaurs. Buy it at the store

There's a rather splendid write-up on Greatest Hits by Bob Stanley (St. Etienne) in the Manchester Guardian (March 31, 2006) titled "The Birth of Uncool." For further background on Messthetics and its somewhat scruffier beginnings, read Simon Reynolds [Rip It Up and Start Again] piece, "Messthetics#2"

The SHIVVERS (lost hits from Milwaukee's first family of powerpop, 1979-82) enhanced CD (Teenline #201a).  Simply put, the Shivvers may be the best female-fronted powerpop band the world will ever see. It's just that the world wasn't looking their way back in 1980. They had chops, talent, originality, looks...And if they'd been based in New York or L.A. the Shivvers would either have changed the course of music in the '80s ...or they'd have gloriously crashed and burned in a world-class blaze of hype.
But instead their entire story played out deep in the American Midwest, and the highs, the lows, the passions and the feuds, the triumphs and tragedies (the musical ones, anyway) all happened on a profoundly Midwestern scale. They knew they were good, but they'd never tell you so. They filled almost every venue they played, but never felt entitled to it. They quickly sold out of their lone 45, but never re-pressed it or made another. They got chatted up by Eric Carmen (who wanted to produce their major-label LP whenever it happened), Iggy Pop ("call me Jim"), and some guy whose dad invented Tony the Tiger, but when nothing came of any of it no one felt cheated.
This was H2D's all-time best-selling CD-R, but now it's on regular CD in full color, with new photos, expanded notes, 3 never-before-issued songs and five bonus videos. 20 tracks including 7 live (or 25 including 11 live if you add the video versions!). The Shivvers, of course, gave us the title track for the whole "Teenline" series, and naturally, if you liked their songs on #101 you'll adore this CD. --80 minutes of 100% Teenline-caliber pop! Buy it at the store

BRECK & SCOTT -Dream You Away CDR (Teenline #205)
When the Shivvers split up in 1982 Jill and Breck retired, Jim and Mike went to Boston, and Scott went to L.A. But Scott Krueger ("KREEger", btw) wandered back to Milwaukee and began a five-year weekends-only collaboration with Breck Burns on Breck's 4-track Portastudio ...that resulted in a dozen heart-breakingly perfect pop songs that no one has EVER heard --until now. Complex guitar-pop with a rare, poignant edge that only seems to come to people after they've made their run with a total pop machine (that would be the Shivvers in this case). (The other weird thing is that it only seems to happen with collaborations... Fans of the Beau Brummels' "Triangle" and "Bradley's Barn" will know the feeling I'm talking about. Other examples would include the Pete Townshend/Ronnie Lane LP, Richard & Linda Thompson, Big Star’s occasional sober, contemplative moments, or Goffin and King's group The City, or even Laura Nyro's "Gonna Take a Miracle" with LaBelle). Anyway, it's beautiful stuff.
The Breck & Scott CD also includes six songs by Breck and Scott's stellar 1980-81 powerpop band The Orbits that were formerly available on the CD-R version of the Shivvers. Get it at the store

Next out are the reorganized Messthetics series (arranged by region not alphabet), and several other projects too secret to blab about in advance...

What would YOU like to hear on H2D?

Chuck Warner / H2D