Los Angeles-based Celtic punks Flogging Molly entered the entertainment bubble with their debut studio album Swagger back in 2000. The album would be critically acclaimed for their folk / punk / oi mix, and would represent a prolific start to a 17+ year career, up to and including 2017’s Life is Good. Late nights are prime hours to spin Flogging Molly, be it Swagger or otherwise. Just make sure you have enough whiskey on hand.
It’s a Punk and Disorderly kind of morning (he writes while listening to Gershwin). Variety is the spice of life, or something like that. Actually, this version is Punk and Disorderly volume 2, Further Charges. Already own vol. 3, and just put vol. 1 up on the ol’ Discogs Wantlist (does Wantlist get caps? It does here). Enjoy your spinning Saturday, kids. Take note of the sax-shirt-wearing Virgin Records shopper. Classic.
Endless Summer is a compilation album of Beach Boys classics from 62-65, released in 1974. It sold over 3 million copies. I own two. One, a double LP and two, this 8-track cartridge. I don’t use the word cartridge enough. Moving on… the LP version comes with a poster. The 8-track however does not. Endless Summer would spend a crazy 155 weeks on the Billboard album chart, and would become the band’s 2nd chart-topping album. It has an anniversary coming up. June 24th, for whatever that’s worth. But since we here in Los Angeles are suffocating under a blanket of fog (ol’ June Gloom), let’s look to another source of light for our summer entertainment. Even if The Beach Boys aren’t your bag, Endless Summer is certainly a must-have, in any format.
Play it Again Sam Records, now [PIAS] Recordings, the Belgian-based experimental / alt-rock label released Dog Star Man, a 12″ single from England’s Meat Beat Manifesto. It was the distribution by Wax Trax! Records that caught my eye (along with the industrial-friendly cover art), and although she’s a quick 4-track 12″, she does wet the electro-industrial-experimental whistle and leave the adventurous listener wanting much, much more. 1990 was a great year for industrial music… arguably the genre’s most prolific.
I have, unfortunately, been dialing back the record spinning lately (camping trip excluded). But, this hasn’t prevented me from acquiring more and more “essential” records. I’m getting to a point to where they’re all “essential” records. A good problem to have, all things considered. If your job isn’t too demanding, and the kids can stomach ANOTHER Me First and the Gimme Gimmes record, take some time and enjoy a spin this evening. Your future self will thank you.
The (questionably) uncool, always entertaining Oxford Collapse (RIP) unleashed another indie rock classic with (late) 2006’s Remember the Night Parties. Is it cool to sing about National Parks (Please Visit Your National Parks), female practicers of law (Lady Lawyers), or black treacle (Molasses)? I don’t care one way or the other, because Remember the Night Parties is, from start to finish, an essential album. Top 50 all-time, I’d have to say, which is saying something, and nothing at the same time.
Oh, to be back in 1985, for even an afternoon, when Mike + The Mechanics’ debut dropped. Former Genesis co-founder and bassist Mike Rutherford (THE Mike in this brief tale) formed the band in Dover, England shortly before this album’s release. They (the band) would go on to record 9, radio-friendly pop albums, including 2017’s Let Me Fly. If you don’t remember the sound, but recognize the name, all you need, is a miracle.
I’ve attempted this post from many different angles over the past few days, and I’m conceding. Tricops! provides a very difficult sound to define. Why the need to define is a topic in and of itself, something we’ll reserve for another time. All I can say about Out of Africa, the band’s debut album on Alternative Tentacles Records, is that it’s genre-mashing in the best sense of the term. If you enjoy high-speed journeys through aggressively dangerous terrain, and can stomach the 6+ minute tracks, strap on your bike helmet and check out Out of Africa. It’s an expedition best enjoyed cautiously.
Let’s face it, ELO’s fifth studio album is a crusher. Containing two of the band’s most successful singles, Evil Woman and Strange Magic, 1975’s Face the Music often gets overshadowed by the two albums that would follow, 1976’s A New World Record and 1977’s Out of the Blue (both selling tens of millions of copies worldwide). If you’re feeling a bit adventurous but don’t want to stray too far away from home, give Face the Music a spin. You can never go wrong with the Electric Light Orchestra as far as I’m concerned.
MGM Records, circa: 1968 was the “now” label, or so it thought. With the likes of Eric Burdon & the Animals, Roy Orbison, Herman’s Hermits, Sam the Sham, and Every Mothers’ Son, very few would argue that boasting claim. Throw in the father-son combo of Hank Williams & Jr., and you’ve got yourself “The Sounds of Now” er, then. Fancy design layout, too.
Side note: I’ve reached out to Vagrant Records to see if there are any plans to release vinyl versions of Rocket’s R.I.P. and All Systems Go! III. We’ll see how it plays out.
So, it appears that Vagrant Records is doing a 20th anniversary vinyl rerelease series, and its two Rocket from the Crypt records are showcased. Both 2001’s Group Sounds (one of their best), and 2002’s Live from Camp X-Ray (not a live album, and neither 20 years old) are featured. The record to the left isn’t part of that series (I only just ordered the lot this morning), but instead was sold at both the band’s 2013 European reunion tour, and on 2013’s North American Record Store Day. Here is the Vagrant link if you fancy a look.
Machine Head, or Caput Machina in Latin, was recorded, wait, let me go get the record… “was written and recorded in Montreux, Switzerland, between 6th and 21st December 1971.” Though Smoke on the Water (side 2, track 1) is ranked 434 of 500 on Rolling Stone magazine’s coveted The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, it would never chart higher than 2 (Canadian RPM Top Singles), and wouldn’t even chart in its native land (UK Singles (Official Charts Company) until 1977 (thank you Smoke on the Water wiki page). It just goes to show you, that charts are shit, and one must only follow one’s instincts.
Double your desire for Exotica with these (slightly) varying album covers from Denny Martin’s 1957 classic, Exotica (you remember… the album that spawned the genre, and subcategory to Space of Pop?! No?! Well, get with it, man!). Spectra Sonic Sound is not just a Nation of Ulysses track (as it turns out), and was apparently “the ultimate in High Fidelity” in the mid-to-late 1950s, or at least had legal rights to such a claim. With the same catalog number, I couldn’t tell you which version (left or right) came first, though I will say I find it hard to believe that one would consciously move away from the multi-color Spectra-Sonic-Sound logo on the bottom of the right version. Essential. Listening. Material.