Well, I can’t for the life of me recall this Less Than Jake show at the Barrymore back in November of 1998. I can’t tell you who opened, who I went with, or if was any good, but for $10, you just sort of go to these things when Wisconsin winters loom and you’re underage.
If you can get past the nearly unavoidable reflection of the photographer, you’ll notice that you’re looking at two versions of Duck and Cover by Solvang’s reggae-ska-punks, Mad Caddies. The first release, you’ll want to look to the record on your left, is the standard black vinyl release, the first pressing, from way back in 1998. Until 2011, this was the only version available for pure, listening pleasure. That’s where the record on the right comes in. Limited to a slim 199 pressings, this splatter green vinyl is the second of only two pressings of this essential album, and today, fetches from a cool $70, to a whopping $189.99 on Discogs. My advice, check Fat Wreck Chords early, and often.
Though not until October, it’s notable to mention that Refused’s undisputed masterpiece, The Shape of Punk to Come, turns 20 this year. Sit on that one for a beat. While you’re at it, check out Decibel’s coverage of the album in their September, 2010 issue (No. 071). If this doesn’t make you feel old, you’re probably already in the ground.
Minneapolis’ Dillinger Four recorded and released their debut masterpiece back in 1998. Titled Midwestern Songs of the Americas, this 13-track attack received a limited rerelease on, notice the quotes, “Doublewhiskeycokenoice” colored vinyl. Limited to only 300 copies, this subtle touch makes an already feverish listen all the more enjoyable, if you’re into that sort of thing. Great mood music for any mood, so long as that mood is on the spectrum of anger.
1998 was a seminal year for collecting records (every collector says the same thing for whatever year they found to be their most prolific). These fragile little discs could still be had for cheap ($8.99 cash), the masses were in the dark that records were still being pressed, and some damn good hip hop littered the dingy, underpicked crates. Take for example this EP by Queens’ The Beatnuts titled, Remix EP: The Spot. Though all tracks were produced by The ‘Nuts, it’s a fresh take on classic ‘Nut tracks, housed in a hilarious and detail-hidden cover. It’s worth checking out at any price.
Upon its 1998 release, I grew to hold some nasty resentment towards my (then) favorite band’s Hello Nasty release (their fifth). For me, 1992’s Check Your Head and 1994’s Ill Communication were the perfect, bratty blend of aggressive punk and conscious hip hop that defined an era (my high school years). That era ended in 1998 with Nasty. She was released in the summer, and by the fall I’d already moved on to the likes of Crass and Anal Cunt (thank you Ear Wax Records in Madison, WI). I’d kept up with the boys Beastie through the end of their career (2011’s Hot Sauce Committee Part Two), but they’d certainly fallen from the pedestal I’d made for them. Now listening to the 4x LP box set from 2009, and I must admit that my stupid, younger self may have been a bit too harsh on Hello Nasty. It’s certainly one of my least favorite of their albums, but it certainly makes for an enjoyable spin.
Back before their unscheduled hiatus, Los Angeles’ Cypress Hill unleashed a one-two punch with 1998’s Tequila Sunrise and Dr. Greenthumb, resurrected here. The latter was a personal favorite on and around the time of this 12″ release, but the former is / was just as good. Here’s hoping you had a 120 proof day… Lord knows we needed it!
Fat Wreck Chords’ subsidiary, Honest Don’s Records, was a heavy-spun favorite back in my early college days. Diesel Boy’s Strap on Seven Inch (a 7″, naturally) was my first introduction to the snotty Santa Rosa band, and I’ve been (nostalgically) hooked ever since. Venus Envy is the band’s second studio album, and just arrived on my doorstep. If you know a Don, keep him honest. If you don’t, have your way over here.
The secret ingredient inside the 2014 LP boxset by experimental-thrash-geniuses, Fantomas titled, Wunderkammer, contains the all-inclusive Mike Patton demo of the band’s first album… on cassette. She was digitized today, and let me be the first to tell you, it was no easy feat. Interweaving rhythmic bursts make for a significantly difficult editing session, but we were able to hammer out something of adequate sustenance. The results were well, well worth the frustration.
This 1998 UK release on Elemental Records by the sultans of sleaze, San Diego surfers Rocket from the Crypt, is the latest checked mark on the slowly shrinking list of remaining Rocket records. This journey to acquire their discography will likely take me another decade to achieve, but the full result will have been well worth the wait… or so I’m telling myself each and every day I search for my missing, spinnable links.
The animal friendly cover to 1998’s Body Movin’ by the Beastie Boys is exclusive to the UK market, and can be had for much cheaper these days than what I paid for it in Madison, WI back in 1998. Capitalize on this party favorite three track 12″. Trust me, you won’t miss your $3.
This Telegraph, Skolars split is something of legend in my personal circle (of two). Ever since seeing Telegraph opened for Less Than Jake at my buddy’s 18th birthday (way back in 1997), I’ve been a (wherewithal) loyal Telegraph fan. I saw The Skolars here, and then their reincarnation at said 18th bday, LTJ show. I’m ecstatic to own Quit Your Band (97 Demo) and Open 24 Hours on vinyl. It’s a good day when these tracks get spun, and I encourage all quasi-ska-punk lovers to consider both The Skolars and Telegraph to justify your next swing-filled fix.
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).