8-Track Library

8TrackWhen 7-tracks aren’t near good enough, it’s time for the heavy artillery. Here is, save for a few, the “less than complete” 8-track collection. The player ate Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., so we’ve been reeling Janis Joplin, CCR, and the brothers Doobie as of late. Analogue entertainment is still prominent around these here parts, and with any collection, the end is never near.

Klean Machine

KLEANShots of vinegar, coffee brewing at 11pm, and this, Klean Machine 8-track stereo tape player cleaning “machine” at the ready. It takes only ten seconds once every ten hours of operation to insure a klean machine. Thank you, Sears! Now, my warbling 8-track stereo system can sound fresh and clean, thanks to the ¾ 8-track shaped stereo tape player cleaning machine.

It seems as though my yesteryear machines have needed some love as of late… lucky for me, love can be purchased at Sears circa: 1978.

(Personal tip: the Klean Machine stereo tape player cleaning machine doesn’t actually clean the stereo tape player listening machine… buyer beware.)

Prices Do Not Include Federal, State or Local Taxes

Ceiling PricesBack, wayyyyyyyyyy back in the day when records were housed in nothing more than paper sleeves (the high cost of colored board be damned!), companies, such as the 1929 founded Decca Records here, saw a blank paper sheath as an advertising opportunity to sell more of their product. Makes sense, right? I mean, why not utilize every square millimeter of space to keep the bellies full? No, it wasn’t the act of garnishing repeated consumers that struck me as aloof, but instead the terms in which Decca described their catalog.

Absent, and apparently a lavish afterthought, were the artist names for each of the 20 different recorded sound categories. Instead, the customer was given a series of genres (complete with color-coded label), with which to make their money-offering decision. Have a look at the wealth of universal genres offered by Decca Records, and tell me you aren’t breaking windows and stealing cars out of sheer excitement for Series 8500.

About Time for Smoke

About TimeOwning a hard copy of an album more than twice is usually an indication of some pretty stellar grooves, but my (excuse) rationale behind owning three copies of Pennywise’s 1995 effort, About Time, is purely for nostalgic purposes. Dubbed to tape more than a few times, About Time was one of the 8 or so cassettes sliding around the pickup (a 1989 Ford Ranger) for much of my Junior year of high school. I distinctly remember driving to and from work, and to the occasional bonfire, blasting Perfect People while hollering along to the lyrics (usually at full roar, and much to the dismay of my frequent, punk-deaf passengers).

Southern California pop-punk at its finest, About Time recently (as of a few months ago, I believe) saw a limited run (500 copies) on smoke colored vinyl. Seeing frisky releases such as this that incorporate the album cover into the vinyl color get me excited for upcoming reissues that will undoubtedly acquire my money (the smoke colored record ties in nicely to the timebomb on the cover, don’t you think?). For nostalgia’s sake, owning an album more than twice makes perfect sense to me.

A Split in the Swivel, A Warp in the Whirl

Pay no attention to the crack at 11 o'clock.

Pay no attention to the crack at 11 o’clock.

Cracked grooves break my heart… especially Oscar nominated cuts from the 1940s. The 1940 film, Second Chorus, featured both this shellac track, Love of My Life, as well as a clarinet-yielding Artie Shaw, masterfully (I assume) portraying himself up on the big, flickering dream-screen. Never saw it, but with a score and on-screen performance provided by Mr. Shaw himself, this little entertainment blip just spun onto my radar.

Chalk this oversight up to adrenaline, heat, or simple fatigue, all of which were raging through my withered carcass at the initial moment of this record’s discovery. Unplayable, but never-the-less pretty to look at, I’m thumbing my creative button to figure out what the hell to do with this glaring example of deplorable sadness. She’ll rest, having had her last 78rpm go around until I can figure out a decent and respectable way to upcycle her.

Dead records are never easy to stomach.

It’s Raining 78s!

Tandy MacKenzieA heavy haul of 78s was had at a local thrift store over the weekend. Nabbed a few Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and this single sided early Columbia Records release. More than anything, I slapped down the $3 for this stunning label graphic than the actual track it accompanied. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of Tandy MacKenzie, and due to the fact that I had to enter this release into discogs.com, not many modern collectors have heard much from him either. I was excited by the gold foiled 1915 printed in the band, but further internet digging dates this release closer to 1920. Either way, $3 for thrift store 78s, or thrift store 78s in playable condition at all, is worth a little PG excitement as this may very well be the oldest disc in my collection.

With Time, Comes Maintenance

MotorSo, the hi-fi is on the fritz. Well, that’s nothing a trip to the local hardware store, and the local pharmacy can’t fix (or so I’m hoping). How something is programmed to revolve at precisely 33.33 rpms is beside me in the first place, but one thing (has been) is painfully clear… the living room turntable needs fixing.

Today’s laborious result = still needs a bit of work, but at least this 1966 motor is as crystal as Palmolive dish soap.

Kill All the White Man

LongestLineNOFX, the pop-punk outfit you love to hate, or love to love (as was the case throughout the sprouting years of my 20s), has been pushing their nimble-tongued, middle class anarchy since 1983, and it’s sometimes easy to forget that one of their paramount members, the illustrious Aaron Abeyta, didn’t appear, gloriously manifested as El Hefe, until 1992 with the EP (featured here), The Longest Line.

WhiteLineProviding guitar, vocals and yes, trumpet on the fan-favorite Kill all the White Man, El Hefe was the last “new” member to join the crew, a brigade that’s still selling out shows some 31 years later. If you can stomach rock-n-roll with a bratty attitude (brattatude?), punk of any sort, or are generally game for tongue-in-cheek wit, then NOFX may be just the bastards you didn’t know you were looking for.

Thinking is Overrated

Broken“If I can keep myself from thinking for the rest of my life, maybe I’ll survive this fall.” – Jeffrey Lewis

Jeffrey Lewis, the famed comic book artist and occasional singer / songwriter delivers an exceptionally agonizing diddy filled with a deceivingly optimistic tone, catchy refrain, and the sliver-sharp wit that requires, no, DEMANDS repeated listens. Titled Broken Broken Broken Heart, Jeffrey Lewis and his backing band, The Junkyard, spawn a candy-coated razorblade of nervous sensitivity, discretely masked inside an anti-folk pop song, and it’s nothing short of blissful ear bourbon.

JLewisWe aren’t meant to sympathize with Mr. Lewis, or whatever character he is when speaking in the first person. His over-analytical observations of (failed) relationship-causing pain are muted and all but ignored after evidence is revealed as to the cause of his (much deserved) heartache: being cruel and curious.

I’m stuck in a Jeffrey Lewis rutt as of late, and it seems as though a few times a day I need to squeeze in a quick listen, usually to the three or four key tracks off this album (2009’s ‘Em Are I). Jeffrey’s is a story of success by self-deprecation. Mix that with hooky guitars and soul-baring honesty, and you’ve got the ingredients for an emotional cocktail you’re not soon to forget.