Happy Head, Shoddy Memory

Another one of those records filed so deeply away into collection that I didn’t know I owned. There are more records in this category than I’m willing to admit. The Mighty Lemon Drops and their 1986 debut, Happy Head, must have been an early (verrrrrry early) thrift store find… that or from the $1 bin at Amoeba… before their prices skyrocket. Anyway, Happy Head is very 1986 indie-rock. It’s melodic, structurally sound, and certainly worthy of a spin… I just need to remember I own it.

Bos & Deans

Oh, man. The BoDeans. I distinctly remember hearing them blasting from top 40 radio in the mid 80s, likely from the portable Walkman I’d borrow from my father on bicycle trips across town. Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams (featured here) is the band’s debut album, and although not their most successful, is considered by many critics to be their greatest achievement. I fall somewhere in the middle, taking a fancy to 1987’s Outside Looking In, but they’re both solid pieces of 80s pop.

Volume II

v2Over the weekend I paid $8 for this SST Records comp, The Blasting Concept Volume II, which, adjusted for inflation is only $0.30 more than the original $3.49 suggested retail price, or in this case, the special list price. So, that’s something. Also, as a proud owner of The Blasting Concept Volume I, I can’t wait to spin this Minutemen, Saccharine Trust, Black Flag, Husker Du, Meat Puppets, comp as soon as the day job allows. This minimalist cover is hilarious, when compared to the mildly disturbing Raymond Pettibon cover for Volume 1. I’ll just leave it at that.

License to Chill

IllThis recent tape obsession seems not to be going away, especially since a fully functional Walkman entered the home. At the very least, cassettes offer an interesting perspective on album art, if and when done well, like with 1986’s License to Ill. Check Your Head uses the same landscape layout, as I’m sure several other legendary albums I’ve yet to acquire also incorporate. Heavy static and bass-y hum offer a nostalgic glimpse into the media of yesteryear, and we’re slowly grabbing up the essentials.

So What…

So_WhatRecord on the right, the 1986 black vinyl (vs yellow or blue… le sigh) Super Seven Records release, So What if We’re on Mystic! EP. The record on the left, one of the 126 Inches of NOFX box set from 2012 of the same name. The original was one of the first records sought after in my early collecting days. You see, Bob Turkee, the dick that he may be, was my favorite song for a good year or so, and I needed to own a copy of its origin. NOFX, or No F-X as it were, have come a long way, but they’ve (arguably) never exceeded their crowning achievement, Bob Turkee.

The Blind Leading the Naked

VFemmesFor their third album, Milwaukee natives Violent Femmes veered toward a more pop-influenced and mainstream radio-focused offering with their 1986 release, The Blind Leading the Naked. The first of their albums produced by someone other than Mark Van Hecke, TBLTN featured the production skills of Talking Heads’ keyboardist, and fellow Milwaukee native, Jerry Harrison. Featuring the mild hit Children of the Revolution, and the fan(tastic) fav, Old Mother Reagan, TBLTN was the first album by the band to chart on Billboard, followed by 1989’s 3, 1991’s Why Do Birds Sing?, and 1994’s New Times. Nothing beats 1983’s self titled debut in my opinion, but decent Violent Femmes is better than no Violent Femmes at all.

Insert Your Insert Obsession Here

SST_InsertInsert hunting is often times an all or nothing affair. After a while you begin to notice consistencies that are more exceptions than they are rules. I mean, there can’t be “rules” when second hand record shopping, so I guess that wasn’t really worth mentioning. Anyway, it seems that more and more these days, the unknown hidden art printed and housed within the album sleeve is pulling towards my decision to fork over $3 for a used record than the actual music itself. It wasn’t always this way, but when one’s eyes get a taste for these mysterious little gems, one begins to understand why, now doesn’t one? (Yes, that was a Benson reference from Soap, and no, I am in no way ashamed.)

The lovely SO gifted me this stunning SST insert for my xx birthday. I’m the first consumer to excavate this four-page order form booklet from within the bowels of a sealed Beyond Barbecue album by Lawndale. This album’s release, and the albums featured within date this specimen in the 1986 – 1986 range. Whatever you dig, get into it, kids. Happy Friday!

Ferris Bueller, You’re My Hero

BuellerYou know, when a bootleg soundtrack to one of your favorite films majestically shows up on the wall of a Philadelphia record shop you happen to stumble into (mainly because of all the good craft beer… stumbling, that is), you know it’s going to be an “interesting” day. Said day happened, with great joy, until yours truly discovered a blue vinyl version of the same bootleg… $30 down the pipes, but the music is still stellar.

RIP John Hughes.

Please, Mr. Postman

LawndalePlease, Mr. Postman, don’t drop, throw, toss, pitch, hurl, thrust, flip, heave, fire, or fling any of my precious records upon delivery. My copy of Lawndale’s 1986 debut LP, Beyond Barbecue, was a birthday gift (my loving SO), and now it’s little more than unplayable garbage and a sour subject. Government-infused laziness should not, nor ever, equal subpar workmanship.