Let me first say, Happy Halloween, everyone! Second, let’s trick our treats with 1978’s blue vinyl comp, 1967 – 1970. It’s hard to believe this double LP is 37 years old already, but this late era Beatles comp is essential listening material, regardless of the holiday (also available is the early-era sibling, red vinyl version).
Monthly Archives: October 2015
Lagwagon, and the Death of an Era
Surf Classics of the Modern Persuasion
Modern Surf Classics by Swami John Reis & The Blind Shake is both a presumptuous title, and spot effin’ on. (Insert broken record comment here), anything John Reis puts out is an unquestionable classic. This incarnation of instrumental grandiose surf rock was classic in the minds of the artists, classic during this album’s recording, classic upon its release, and classic some near 9 months later. The closing hymn is my fav (Sets of Fire), but the album as a whole breeds water-loving twang-rock with plenty of energy to spare. Summer may be over (finally), but with Modern Surf Classics, the waves are always honest.
Listening to Break Out today, some 32 years after its release, is a bit of a storm-inducing time capsule, full of random action figure-playing, pop radio-listening, Beverly Hills Cop-watching memories. I was four when this album was released, but Neutron Dance and I’m So Excited received a tonnage of radio play where and when I grew up. I’m also a fan of the Beverly Hills Cop films (guilty pleasures), and the opening car chase sequence to the first film features Neutron picture-perfectly. Break Out to 1983 with The Pointer Sisters. Your Wednesday is screaming for it.
Sale is Unlawful
So, by this sticker’s disclaimer, is the Atlantic Recording Corporation storing this copy of The Honeydrippers’ 1984 album Volume One on my shelf for free? I haven’t seen any checks coming in, and furthermore, was my purchase of this album done in an illegal fashion? Am I an accomplice for trading cash for this licensed promotional record? All these questions, and many more on tomorrow’s episode of, The Prudent Groove.
One of the two hip hop acquisitions from Saturday’s Wax fair, this sealed Young MC single from 1988: I Let ’em Know backed with My Name is Young. This was a no-brainer as far as historical, LA-based labels are concerned. I’ve not seen many of the standard Delicious sleeves (featured here), instead generally seeing a plain black or white sleeve. Defunct label design aside, tonight I’m going to blast some Young MC while pretending I’m 9 years old again… should make for an interesting evening for my neighbors.
Treading thin ice here, so as not to bite the hand that feeds, or some type idiom that some deem appropriate here, but the first day of Los Angeles’ record fair dubbed, Wax The Los Angeles Record Fair, was, although wholeheartedly welcomed (obviously), a severe letdown. Yeah, well, what the shit could you have done better, you POS nobody, nothing head! Fair enough, I’d respond. Crosley Records, for one, would have no presence at said event whatsoever. As far as I’m concerned, and usability backs me up, anything sold at Urban Outfitters need not exist within the meticulous and clinically obsessed lives of record collectors, and anywhere they would frequent. I made a point to walk past that (Crosley) booth with a fierce and cool stride not seen in the great county of Los Angeles (Ventura County, well, that’s a horse of another color, altogether). $1200 priced Elvis Presley 45s baking in the Los Angeles heat, bubbling in the shadows of the (outdated) Capitol Records building, to me, does not make any lick of sense. As an aside, where the organization (WAX) and vendor shirt prices are fixed at an already outrageous $20, why, Capitol Records of Los Angeles, CA, are you charging an astronomical $27 for your damn logo on a solid color? The take away from this event was, at least for me: STEAL YOUR MUSIC! Thanks, but you’re fooling no one. If you’re not going to do it right, then please God, almighty… DON’T DO IT AT ALL!
1998 Feels Like A Lifetime Ago
The double Grammy winning album sold a whopping 680,000 + units its first week alone, and was undoubtedly that summer’s celebrated soundtrack, both personally and commercially. Abandoning the mix of hardcore and hip hop that 1992’s Check Your Head and 1994’s Ill Communication provided, Hello Nasty was straight-forward hip hop, and featured new DJ, Mix Master Mike (DJ Hurricane, the Beasties’ original DJ left prior to the making of the album).
This double, clear gold vinyl edition was released by Grand Royal Records (as opposed to the double black vinyl version released by Capitol Records), and was limited to 7500 copies. Hello Nasty was produced by the Beasties and Mario C (Mario Caldato, Jr), and is certified triple Platinum (3,000,000 copies sold) in the United States alone (roughly 3,600,000 worldwide).
Stir It Up
This particular copy of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ fifth studio album, 1973’s Catch A Fire must have endured considerable play by the original owner, as this sleeve is absolutely filthy. Record hygiene must have been completely abandoned leaving me to feel the incessant need to scrub my mitts every time I give her a spin. I wonder, to myself, obviously, what would be a proper cleaning solution to clean album covers.
Welcome to 1984. Are you ready for the third world war?! So go the lyrics spewed forth by Jello (Wahoo) Biafra in 1981’s We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now (not featured on the album in which this insert was showcased). The Crass-like art featured within the multi-page booklet from 1982’s Plastic Surgery Disasters by Bay-area social norm killers, Dead Kennedys, acts as a sort of a pictorial accompaniment to this amazing, yet sobering album. Pulling little to no stops, Mr. Biafra and team eject a string of disturbingly accurate observations on every day life back in Cold War 1982. Oh, how strikingly little things have changed some 33 years later. Anyway, enjoy the art!
Post No. 1000 – Early Inspiration
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about which record, song, or band related article of clothing could be worthy of the 1000th post milestone. I’d thought about an elaborate photo shoot involving mannequins, mood lighting, and every colored vinyl record I own, but quickly abandoned that scheme due to time and budget. So instead, I’m reaching back… WAY back to my elementary school years to one my most prized possessions, 1984’s The Music Book.
My grade school had a music house, an old, free-standing building acquired by the administration which was converted into a large singing and instrument-practicing box. From kindergarten through 6th grade, I’d shuffle across the street with my coworkers (classmates) and we’d put on our color-coded name tags and learn about the wondrous world of music. In the early years, before poorly attempting my hand (and lungs) at the alto sax, we’d sing various songs from the purple bible known as The Music Book. Rife with colorful illustrations and catchy, young crowd-pleasing songs, The Music Book sat in a long row on the North wall of the music house, and each grubby little troublemaker would grab one before taking his or her assigned seats. Our teacher, the lovely and talented Mrs. Fenske, would take roll call, then requests for which song the class wanted to sing first. At the Court of King Carraticus, It’s All Right to Cry, and The Lollipop Tree were all crowd favorites, and often sung every day.
Now, I’m not sure if it was youthful innocence, the comic-like illustrations, or the music itself, but for a bunch of us, The Music Book meant so much more than just another text book. It represented a blameless and simple era of our lives inspired by the art of noise, and served as an open door to a lifelong appreciation for the medium. Because I’m a sentimental sap, I hold this book very dear to my heart. It is a symbol of purity, of animated gaiety, and I look back at that time with fervent admiration. For my love of music, I have Mrs. Fenske and The Music Book to thank.
For Love of Vinyl
NINJAs in Irvine
I ran across a stack of concert tickets last week while digging for non-music related fall decorations (such a thing should not exist in my humble opinion), and I thought that this would be a nice change of pace from the standard peak, pull, and photograph post. Cleverly dubbed the NINJA Tour (combining NIN and Jane’s Addiction… see what they did there?), 5/20/09 would mark the first time I’d ever see Jane’s Addiction perform, and as I’d been listening to them since early Jr. High, I jumped at the opportunity (by driving to the venue) to see this historically prominent act. I all but completely ignored NIN, but Jane’s were nothing short of astonishing, and with no hint of anticipatory letdown. Jane Says… you listen.
It’s a few weeks early, but let’s flashback to Halloween of 2008. The Shrine Expo Hall, good friends, and Simian Mobile Disco. Justice’s DJ set left us a bit unfulfilled, but Perry Ferrell (and the 7 people that showed up) gave the night an interesting, yet unforgettable twist. Hard Fest, kids… circa: 2008.
Arthur, the Soundtrack?!
To follow up the commercially unsuccessful, yet strikingly ultramodern, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, the greatest British Invasion act of all time met 1969 with Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). Arthur was originally slated as a soundtrack to a Granada Television play (thanks Wikipedia), which was later scrapped and never produced. Arthur reaches back to the band’s more rock-centric roots, and for a moment, abandoned the hazy-day, uncomplicated soundscapes of Village Green (or something to that effect). Arthur is a perfect bridge from the open-air concept album and the corporate, backdealing-rant that is Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One. This particular copy is a 2 LP, mono / stereo remastered European release from 2012. They released a remastered version of Village Green in 2011, but have yet to release Lola with such prominent and uncompromising quality. One day, perhaps…
Lead Into Vinyl
Lead Into Gold, wait for it… on gold vinyl! Finally, an official vinyl release of Lead Into Gold’s (Paul Barker) Low and Slow 12″! Previously only existing as a test pressing (roughly only five copies), this gold vinyl release of the now 24 year old record is limited to 500 copies and is sold directly through the label, Wax Trax! Records. Sure, $16 is a bit much to pay for four tracks, but new Lead Into Gold certainly warrants excessive spending.