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SPARE SNARE (Buy CDs by this artist)
Disco Dancing (Japan. Chute/100 Guitar Mania) 1995
Live at Home (UK Chute) 1995
Spare Snare (Prospective) 1995
Smile, It's Sugar EP (UK Deceptive) 1996
Westfield Lane (Wabana) 1996
Animals and Me (UK Chute) 1998
Live Your Early Stuff (UK Ché) 1999

Sometimes, Jan Burnett of Dundee, Scotland is Spare Snare all by himself. Sometimes, he records (and plays live) with multi-instrumentalists Alan Cormack, Paul Esposito and Barry James Gibson. The band's discography includes a flurry of singles, flexi-discs and variant editions, but it's all worthwhile and ultra-hooky. The home-recorded songs have a uniquely sour drone-pop mood matched by nothing else, and the full-band material is solid indie-rock of the Pavement school.

Disco Dancing compiles both sides of the first three Spare Snare singles (including two very different versions of "Thorns"), adding a noisy instrumental and a second, home-recorded take on the bitter, funny "Skateboard Punk Rocker." "As a Matter of Fact," the first single, is especially great: a twisted, out-of-tune guitar whine with Burnett tunefully spitting "I know you're lying/Because that's what I've heard."

The misleadingly titled ten-track Live at Home, recorded as a quartet, includes new, mostly rocked-up takes on all the songs from Disco Dancing (two more versions of "Thorns" — well, it is the group's best song). There's also the new "Wired for Sound," "My Better Half" (on CD only), a splendid heartbreak song called "Bugs" and, depending on which edition you get, a slow or fast version of "Call the Birds." Spare Snare is the American equivalent of Live at Home, with some more noise and tune fragments tossed in as a bonus.

[Douglas Wolk]