I WAS going to speak to The Charleston City All Stars and their 1955 release from Grand Award Records (Enoch Light) titled, The Roaring 20’s Vol. 2, but it dawned on me that Mondo is offering up a double LP to John Carpenter’s legendary classic, the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to Big Trouble in Little China tomorrow at noon CST. My alarm(s) are already set, so I recommend you find your way over to Mondo tomorrow and nab this essential classic (that is, of course, after I’ve nabbed mine).
This 1958 demonstration record is something of stereophonic lore. Capitalizing on the space age pop theme of the time, RCA Victor took it upon themselves to showcase, complete with narration, the dramatic differences between the older, far-less superior monophonic, single-channel sound recording (this, of course, depends on who you ask), and the brand-spanking-new stereophonic technology. Sounds in Space is a wildly fun journey through these vastly-differing recording techniques, and if you’re a fan of classic, space age pop covers, this record is a no-brainer.
Discovered this 1965 Arthur Lyman record over the weekend, and the Lyman library continues to grow. Titled Call of the Midnight Sun, this Pacific-jazz 12-track’er contains Black Orchid by Cal Tjader, 500 Miles, written by Hedy West and made famous by The Journeymen and Peter, Paul and Mary, and of course, Hello, Dolly, written by Jerry Herman. Like with all Arthur Lyman records, Call of the Midnight Sun comes highly recommended.
Move over, Pebbles, because there’s another 1987 monster taking over our ear holes. No girlfriends here, just lots of pouring sugar and biting love. Def Leppard, one of my first favorite bands, jack-hammered the planet with their best-selling album, Hysteria. Selling over 25 million copies, Hysteria was acquired by just about every breathing soul in the late 80s, myself obviously included, and though she shows a few signs of her age, she is the gold standard to represent the year 1987. Spin, enjoy, repeat.
So… going to the record store with the wife is ALWAYS an entertaining, yet mysterious experience. Case in point, the recent acquisition of Pebbles’ 1987 debut, Pebbles. To be fair, she did ask if I felt this record could join the collection (which, of course, she didn’t need to do), and before I knew what it was, I of course said yes. A partner that indulges the absolute, nonsensical practice of collecting records is always, and in every case, a keeper. What I didn’t know was, that I knew Pebbles, just not as Pebbles. Girlfriend, and Mercedes Boy were, without question, staples of my 8-year-old year, being the pop-radio nut that I was, but no longer am. So let’s just say, in conclusion, a hearty “thank you” to my wife, and her nostalgia for the 80’s, which perfectly matches mine. Some things just sort of work out, you know?
Ryuichi Sakamoto’s 1987 album, Neo Geo is a synth-pop whirlwind of epic proportions. For those of you part-time fans of easy-listening synth, Iggy Pop makes an appearance on side A’s Risky. This is definitely just a once-in-a-while spin, but certainly worth checking out if and when the mood strikes. As an aside, the gaming system of the same name wouldn’t be released until 1990, so one wonders if Sakamoto’s album had any influence in some way.
It only took them 25 damn years, but the debut album by Barenaked Ladies now has a much-deserved plot of real estate on the library wall. Gordon, which was released in compact disc and cassette form way back in 1992, finally received its first vinyl pressing late last year. I’m a bit surprised that there weren’t any color variants for this monumental release, but the fact that it exists on vinyl at all is something worth celebrating, and deserving of my $17. It’s just a bit of a bummer that they didn’t use the original cover.
Hats off to David Newman and the entire Hollywood Bowl Orchestra for an unforgettable and Jawsome performance at the Hollywood Bowl last night. Witnessing a live orchestra play this quintessential score (which also happens to be Academy Award-winning, mind you) in accompaniment to the film, with 17,000+ of my Angelino neighbors, was definitely an experience I’ll never forget. Hollywood Bowl people of power, PLEASE DO THIS EVERY YEAR!
Cocktails and Todd Terje, Marie. It was a liquid-cool groovy kind of evening here around the homestead. The illustrious Mr. Terje spinning, accompanied by the crescendo of ice cubs tumbling into pint glasses. It’s Album Time is without hesitation, or any semblance of reservation, an absolute must-have.
This classic, $4 comp was an absolute staple during my “pizza delivery days” back in the early 2000s. Released by Fat Wreck Chords, Physical Fatness – Fat Music Vol. III was released in November of 1997, and became an annoying, can’t-put-down album of (somewhat) pop-punk greatest hits. Good Riddance, Snuff, Goober Patrol, Hi-Standard, and of course, Propagandhi, Me First, NOFX, and Lagwagon are all present, and aside from 1996’s Survival of the Fattest (Fat Music Vol. II), this is (arguably) the best comp Fat ever put out.
1985’s Vive Le Rock was Adam Ant’s last album before the English star (and 80’s sex icon) turned his focus to acting (stage, television, and the silver screen). New Wave pop rock lovers wouldn’t get the opportunity to spin another Ant record until 1990’s Manners & Physique, but if you’ve got a hunger for the flamboyant flash of Stuart Leslie Goddard, Vive can be had for under a Lincoln.
If my (faded) memory serves me right, and it very well (likely) may not, I didn’t get around to Porno for Pyros’ debut album until after diving head-first into their sophomore masterpiece, Good God’s Urge. Porno for Pyros (the album, not the band) is much more primal and resentful than their second album, so its absorption, in comparison to the more intimate and ethereal GGU, took a bit more time. I will say, that this album certainly does hold up (some 25 years later, or quarter of a century, if you REALLY want to feel old), and in any form, is quite deserving of a lifelong place in any collection.
Did a bit of a greatest hits over the weekend, spinning several personal classics, including Cattle Grind off Revolting Cock’s 1988 classic live album, Live! You Goddamned Son of a Bitch. This 10-track double LP is certainly not for the faint of heart, but is well worth the listen for those with an experimental disposition, and a general willingness to enjoy the art of noise.
Hats off to Tomato, the London-based art collective, for not only the otherworldly cover design to Underworld’s dubnobasswithmyheadman, but also the four-sided insert sleeves. dubnobasswithmyheadman is certainly a work of art, judging by the progressive house music alone, but the overall experience is exemplified by this gorgeous artwork. dubnobasswithmyheadman is, without question, an absolute must-have.
Think Southern Rock bluesiness of Brothers and Sisters (The Allman Brothers Band) coupled with that classic masterpiece of imaginative longing for a Southern-American lifestyle not experienced (Muswell Hillbillies by The Kinks), and you sort of get the gist of Stampede by The Doobie Brothers. The Doobies have (seemingly) always showcased the more up-beat, driving side of classic rock (like many, many others), while maintaining a funk not expected from a handful of country-based good ol’ boys. Stampede is undeniable Doobies… heartfelt lyrics, unquestionable harmonies, stellar electric guitar, and it also happens to be the band’s last album with Tom Johnston on lead vocals. He would later be replaced by Michael McDonald on 1976’s Takin’ It to the Streets. However you break it down, Stampede is a worthy spin.