Friday, June 10, 2011

Paisley Underground Series, #13: The Stems- At First Sight Violets Are Blue (1987) Remastered Edition (Bonus Disc) MP3 & FLAC -Thank You Cudawaver!-

"Well I'm feeling like a weed in the garden of love. I'm looking like an aphid on a rosebud."

While precious little has been written about the history and influence of the various music scenes devoted to psychedelic revivalism that bloomed in the U.S. during the early eighties (The Paisley Underground being the closest thing to an exception here), even less has been written about the concurrent Australian neo-psych movement that was just as rich with talented (re)interpreters of the psychedelic tradition. Bands such as The Lime Spiders, The Hoodoo Gurus, Celibate Rifles, Died Pretty, The Church, and The Stems comprised a diverse scene ranging from Nuggets-style garage-pych to Byrds-inspired Jangle. While Dom Mariani's The Stems began firmly (and brilliantly) in the Garage-Rock end of this spectrum, by the time of the release of their first full-length, At First Sight Violets Are Blue, in 1987, the band had become (equally brilliant) purveyors of seventies-style Power-Pop. While the production is a bit on the tinny side, there is no denying that Mariani and Richard Lane are adept at writing hook-filled, Rickenbacker-drenched Jangle-Pop. There is no better example of this than "At First Sight," with its compressed guitar sound, jangly arpeggios, and sugar-sweet vocals, it is just as reminiscent of The dB's as it is of The Byrds. While much of At First Sight Violets Are Blue proceeds in a similarly gorgeous melodic vein, there are a few throwbacks to The Stems' earlier Garage-Rock days; for example, "Mr. Misery," which follows on its Bo Diddly-esque intro with an electric organ-driven burner that trots out one irresistible hook after another. On the strength of their first album, The Stems went from cult indie band to the top of the Australian charts seemingly overnight, a development that sadly led to the band's demise just as quickly. Nevertheless, The Stem's debut album stands as one of the sweetest slices of neo-pysche Power-Pop you're likely to find.

At First Sight Violets Are Blue (2003 Remastered Deluxe Edition)

Disc I: At First Sight Violets Are Blue (2003 Remaster)
 1. At First Sight  (4:02)
 2. Sad Girl  (3:20)
 3. Rosebud  (3:38)
 4. Man with the Golden Heart  (4:04)
 5. Running Around  (3:30)
 6. For Always  (3:06)
 7. You Can't Turn the Clock Back  (3:15)
 8. Move Me  (3:26)
 9. Mr. Misery  (3:37)
10. Can't Forget That Girl  (3:23)
11. Never Be Friends  (2:54)
12. The Otherside  (3:12)

Disc II: Bonus Disc
 1. Sad Girl (Single Version)  (3:35)
 2. Grooviest Girl in Town (B-Side)  (4:39)
 3. My Beach (B-Side)  (3:26)
 4. Can't Forget That Girl (Original Demo)  (3:18)
-Live: Old Melbourne Hotel, Perth, April, 18, 1986-
 5. Rosebud (4:03)
 6. Make You Mine (6:28)
 7. Mr. Misery  (3:21)
 8. Under Your Mushroom  (2:44)
 9. She's a Monster  (3:42)
10. Love Will Grow  (3:19)
11. The Otherside  (3:02)
12. Does It Turn You On  (4:36)
13. All You Want Me For  (2:24)
14. Stepping Stone  (3:02)


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this addition to the Paisley Underground series. It looks very interesting! Kurt

  2. Ooh, thanks! I been waiting for you to post it since I saw the video.

  3. Thanks, I really like this series!

  4. Kurt, I'll be mixing in some other Australian posts into the series from time to time. Next week, I'm planning on some Lime Spiders

  5. Dave, it's a great album, and the live set on the bonus disc is great too

  6. Andy D, thank you! I love doing this series; it was my original inspiration for starting the blog. Next Paisley post very soon!

  7. This band is just great. Thanks for the post. There are other Australian/New Zealand bands that I need to check out like the Lime Spiders.

  8. scurfie, I will be posting the elusive Lime Spiders debut, "The Cave Comes Alive" in lovely FLAC next week. I just ordered a copy. Very hard to find

  9. Thanks voixautre. A great record from a great band with a bonus disc that really worths. But the Stems were a garage/power pop band and had nothing in common with the paisley wave.

  10. frankroo, the Paisley series is not intended to only focus on Paisley bands. It's more of a journey through the various neo-psyche/garage movements of the eighties and early nineties, with a particular focus on the Paisley scene. I've been clear about this intention from the very beginning and my reviews reflect this. No where in The Stems review do I give the slightest indication that they were part of the Paisley scene. In fact, what I did discuss is how the Australian scene is vastly underrated and thus deserves more credit. Also, many of the Paisley bands were garage and/or power-pop. Game Theory (my latest Paisley post) is a perfect example of the latter. The Stems would have fit perfectly into the Paisley scene had they been comprised of a bunch of yanks. Good to hear from you (Lime Spiders coming soon)

  11. I just *Obtained*, after asking nicely, a nice FLAC rip of The Stems 2007 CD "Heads Up" from the delightful Ratboy 69 blog.
    > <
    I've also *Acquired* all The Stems 7" singles and EP, plus all their compilation CD's (Buds, Killer Weed, Mushroom Soup, Terminal Cool-Anthology, The Great Rosebud Hoax and one live show called Weed Out-Live At The Old Melbourne) in lossy 192 mp3's

    If anyone's interested, I'm sure we can work out a way to share :-)

  12. Andie James, I've already got most of this in FLAC. Check out bedlam's blog in my blog list for FLACS

  13. :p I may have made a slight error in my grammar, or maybe the use of brackets. I have been to Rising Above Bedlam, and shared in the FLAC glory of The Australian Underground. Ratboy 69 also posted Buds in FLAC earlier this month. The main point of the comment was to let folks know that "Heads Up" is now available in FLAC.

  14. i bought this album on vynil in italy twenty four years ago. still worth a listen and a dance! thanks for the post...

  15. Unfortunately both lossless links result in "the file you are trying to access is temporarily unavailable" for the last several weeks. Are the links bad, or have the uploads been deleted? :(

  16. Anon., I just checked and both links are working fine

  17. Greetings:
    A little late in The Game I'm sure but is there any chance of a re-up on this.

  18. hello, please reup this files PLEAAAAAAASE


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