Todd

Presented here is an original piece by Norwegian designer Bendik Kaltenborn. It appears inside the 2014 disco record, It’s Album Time by Terje Olsen, aka Todd Terje. In addition to the album’s cover, back jacket, and insert, Kaltenborn has produced illustrations for The New Yorker magazine, as well as a slew of other Todd Terje record releases (The Big Cover-Up and the 12″ single Spiral come to mind). Check him out. He’s certainly a name to remember.

A Closer Look at Lookout!

I never really offered the much-needed attention to Lookout! Records that I now wish I had. One of the first, let’s say, 10 labels I’d ever heard of, thanks to Operation Ivy’s 1989 Energy, I reluctantly abandoned all possible rabbit hole hunts with the childish understanding that I’d have plenty of time “tomorrow” to get myself familiar. Well, all the tomorrows are gone following the label’s closure in January of 2012. So, if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic, here is an insert featuring a collection of Lookout! Records’ 7″ releases.

Leer Ricks

Procrastination has always been one of my strong suits. Next week, that will be neither here nor there. Presented here “today” is the handwritten insert, well, the copy of a handwritten insert to Drive Like Jehu’s 1994 math rock monument, Yank Crime. Like with most releases involving Swami John Reis (Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes, Pitchfork, The Night Marchers, etc.), the lyrics to each song are painfully scrolled out in almost picture-perfect illegibility. While this gives a false sense of personal touch, it does weave together the incoherent and brilliant works of the mad genius that is Mr. Reis, and his merry band of mischief-seeking, and equally talented thugs. Yank Crime would be the 2nd of two albums that Jehu would release, and if you don’t already own it, make sure your used copy, if that’s your thing, contains this insert. If not, save the photo and print it out. You’re welcome.

Fatty Music

Fat Wreck Chords’ Fat Music Vol. IV: Life in the Fat Lane was released back in April of 1999 and contains some classic, pop-punk tracks from seminal Fat Wreck mainstays. Lagwagon’s May 16 to start it off, Road Rash by Mad Caddies, and San Dimas High School Football Rules by Indiana’s The Ataris. Presented here is a detailed insert featuring all the information one would need to get to know any and everyone one of the artists on this fun and playful compilation. Sometimes, information just simply laid out in black and white is the most effective and viable option.

Atco Blue

For pop leftovers, and overall items of quality that don’t necessarily fit “the norm,” look no further than Atco Records. Atco, and stop me if you’ve heard this, was used by Atlantic Records to shell out quality cuts by a variety of soul, blues, R&B, and jazz personalities starting as far back as 1955. Bobby Darin, Bent Fabric, John Lee Hooker, Ben E. King, and Betty Carter are just a few greats represented on this insert sleeve. As functional as it is informative, Atco inserts bring a great deal of history to a single printed sheet.

Nelson George on L.L. Cool J

The inner sleeve to L.L. Cool J’s debut album, Radio is a pitch-perfect analysis of this (then) young man’s budding talents. Presented below, in its well-respected hilarity is the entirety of Nelson George’s take on the young L.L. Cool J. Enjoy.
———-
A Minimalist Homeboy Who Knows His Beats
You can call it rap, hip hop or street, but it really is a way of hearing music – and partying hard – that expresses the experiences and attitudes of a great many inner city kids. L.L. Cool J is one of the best young talkologists around, because he speaks directly to and about his generation over large beats that recall Run-D.M.C., Trouble Fun, James Brown, and funky little bits of AC/DC and Yes. Born and raised in Queens, New York and first recorded by Rick Rubin’s and Russel Simmons’ then independent Def Jam label, L.L. Cool J made his name with “I Need A Beat.” The groove is metallic and relentless, L.L’s rhymes literate and tough (“There is no category/for this story/it will rock in any territory”), and his delivery full of youthful excitement.
Those same qualities run throughout L.L. Cool J’s debut album. “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” is a b-boy’s explanation of their love affair with portable cassette players, while “El Shabazz” is an a cappella rap as streetcorner-funny as a Richard Pryor monologue. “Rock the Bells” is a smoking hip hop-go go- rock ‘n’ roll jam, and “You’ll Rock” is almost as hot. But L.L. isn’t just hardrock. His sensitive side comes through on the rap ballads, “I Want You” and “I Can Give You More,” both of which really capture the tug of adolescent love. “I Want You” is particularly poignant as L.L. talks about his crush on an older woman who “used to be my baby sitter.” On the funny side L.L. snaps on a big boaster played all too convincingly by his manager ‘Rush” Simmons during “That’s A Lie.” This teenage music is built around beats, but not just any old beats. It is all about a beat with style, with personality, and L.L. Cool J has plenty of both.
Nelson George
author: “Fresh: Hop Hop Don’t Stop”
(Random House)

 

One from the Songbook

Record inserts are one of my favorite things to explore / discover, especially those from the 50’s and 60’s (check out the Inserts category for more). Presented here is the flip side to a custom insert to Harry Belafonte’s 1962 album, The Midnight Special. Simple. To the point. Effective. Not much else is needed for a record shirt, as far as I’m concerned.

Order Steve Miller Schwag

Oh, Steve Miller. Tucked inside my 1977 copy of Book of Dreams was this pristine insert order form. From posters, to a concert / tour book, to a variety of shirts, and finally to a grab-bag fan club kit, Jokers and Jet Airliners alike could spend their hard-earned, late 70s cash on solid Steve Miller schwag, and for seemingly modest prices. One can never have too much Steve Miller schwag as far as I’m concerned, and the fine people at Capitol Records felt the same way.

Souls

I remember visiting California in late 1999 from Wisconsin, and heading down to Huntington Beach for seafood and discovering a little hole-in-the-wall record shop adjacent to the staple restaurant. Ducking in while we waited for a table, I was floored to discover the rainbow of plush, punk records, cheap, and ripe for the picking. We didn’t have near enough time to dig through everything, but I was able to procure the first album by The Bouncing Souls, The Good, The Bad, and The Argyle. The picture presented here is the non-lyric side of that 1994 album’s insert.

I Happen to Have the Lyric Sheet at Home

Have you ever wanted to know the lyrics to Minor Threat’s 1984 compilation, Minor Threat? I mean, let’s be honest here. Of course you have. So, allow me to present this 2008 reissue of the original lyric sheet-insert-type-deal. In the bit of research I’ve done on this release, there appears to be several different versions of the cover, some of the early versions fetching a hefty sum. This version was purchased used up in Ventura some 8-or-so years back, not that that matters, but the point is, really, that Minor Threat’s compilation, Minor Threat, is an absolute must-own. Carry on.

De-De-De-Decca!

Man, gone are the days when “Organ” is a marketable category. Circa: 196x?, this “new world of sound” insert shines a stark spotlight into a bit more of the inconspicuous corners of the Decca Records catalog. With bold sections like “Piano” and “Instrumentalists,” it’s fairly evident that Decca wanted to showcase their vast and eclectic tastes, while still adhering to some of their main staples like “Country and Western” and “Folk.” Another day, another insert. Sadly, we’re beginning to run out…

World

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.

Midnight in 1962

This beautifully designed, mid-century insert (from 1962) accompanied Harry Belafonte’s The Midnight Special album, and could be used (with $2) to redeem The Midnight Special Songbook. This special offer provided fans and purchasers of this album with information on where to send their $2 (Belafonte Enterprises, Inc.), and boasts about the amazing advantages of owning this great songbook: “Now you can sing… play… dance to these songs at parties, at informal gatherings, in the privacy of your own home.” So what’s stopping you? Put down that Two Buck Chuck (which is now no longer two bucks) and take advantage of this exclusive offer!

No One Lives Exception to This Passing Grief

Though I’ve been in (clenched) possession of this amazing Lagwagon box set for 6 years (Putting Music in its Place… the 10 LP box set… you remember…), I hadn’t, until today, noticed this stellar insert for the double Hoss LP. The photo is of high enough quality for you to zoom in and have a laugh to the bottom left corner’s brief history of the album. The center band photo was used in 1994’s Fat Wreck Chords comp, Survival of the Fattest (I remember it from my high school days), but to my knowledge, the photos on either side are exclusive to this release. Anyway, I found this particular story to be quite humorous.

Stop / Yield

Lots to, let’s say, digest in this collage insert from Lard’s 1997 masterwork, Pure Chewing Satisfaction. Keep in mind, this is just one page (out of 30) that accompanied this album. It would take someone close to a year to read the entire booklet (purely estimating here), which is about par for Jello Biafra-related releases (Plastic Surgery Disasters, and I Blow Minds for A Living come to mind).

Roulé

Finally scored Thomas Bangalter’s Trax On Da Rocks Vol. 2 for a sweet, low price, and inside was this flyer for Roulé Records. I’m missing the Roy Davis Jr. record, and not included on this essential checklist is Together, a collaboration between Bangalter and Davis Jr., and Outrage, an three track 12″, and the last from Bangalter on his French label. If you can find them in the states, pick up every single one of these righteous house records. You won’t be sorry.