The Embarrassment, Blister Pop (My Pal God): The Embarrassment were not as storied as The Feelies, and they certainly never approached the Talking Heads' popularity. But they almost belong on that same level of greatness. Here's where I'm supposed to say what a shame it is that more people don't know about them. Well, they were from Wichita, poor things. But their fans (and perhaps the band itself) have yet to come up with one cohesive anthology. These muddy live tapes, culled from three dozen shows, only add to the confusion. Except on the 1:17 bundle of nerves "Song for Val," all the peculiar angles in their sound (particularly Bill Goffrier's guitar, which spoke to you like someone whose mind was working faster than their lips) get rounded out by the club din. Eight of the 19 tracks are covers, way too much considering none of them are up to the band's affectionate take on "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough." In short, in this collection they sound like a justly unstoried garage band. So start (slowly) with Bar/None's messy two-CD comp Heyday from 1995. If you get that life-affirming twist on the guitar-bass-drums verities from it, proceed here. — Kevin John

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