New Wave has always been a savory and integral source of audio protein. As a child of the 80s, the synth-lead, bass-droning enormity of some of my New Wave Favs (Bangles’, Walk Like an Egyptian, Animotion’s Obsession, and Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) to name only a few) still offer a wealth of fascinating childhood memories that seem not to go away with sequential spins; for this, I am ecstatically appreciative.
So, leave it to ol’ K-Tel to put together a 1982 comp (featuring none of the above mentioned personal favs), with a cover that’s two-parts Take on Me, and one part opening credits to Saved By the Bell. Overall this comp is a fairly decent representation of New Wave up to 1982. Personally, Squeeze should at least have had Cool for Cats on here, if not their more excitable, Slap and Tickle, but they didn’t ask me to contribute to this compilation… no sir they did not. I’m not entirely sure what I could have offered at the ripe age of three, but personal preferences aside, The Beat by K-Tel is a welcoming trip down (I Want) Candy Cane Lane, even if the sum of its parts comes a bit short of the high water mark.
Somber moods cloud the stagnant winter air at the PG office this brisk January evening. Cannibalism within the otherwise serene fresh water aquarium has taken the life of our amphibious friend, the Frog. So, please, take 3:05 and lament with me, Paul and Art over the violent, yet inevitable passing of our office pet. RIP Frog. Your pain is now over. May you enjoy your justly deserved, and bittersweet sounds of silence.
As a collector, I have several piles of records neatly sitting around my office (AKA the Den, the Lounge, FitB Studios, etc.). There’s a pile “to be digitized,” another “to be photographed and inserted into Discogs,” another, ever revolving pile of “newly acquired and yet to spin before it goes into the collection,” and finally, the dreaded “getting rid of” pile. Eventually, everything that stays ends up in the big pile on the wall, also known as my record library, but before any pressed disc finds its welcomed home, it must first 1) be spun at least once, 2) be catalogued into Discogs and 3) be considered for digitizing. I’m strongly considering adding a 4th phase tentatively titled, “cleaning.”
So today’s number, The Top Ten Barbershop Quartets of 1967 (At the 29th International Quartet Contest of S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A) had been neglected and left for dead amongst other soulless, breakable frisbees in the “getting rid of” pile. Now, I’m a nut for these obscure gems, but one thing I hate more than just about anything (aside from close-minded buffoons) is a record that skips. This detestable sliver in the side of paradisiacal beauty enrages me (much more so that it probably should), to the point where I never want to look at said disrupting maker of trouble for as long I live. Makes sense, considering additional copies of most albums can be acquired, but The Top Ten Barbershop Quartets of 1967 (At the 29th International Quartet Contest of S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A) had been catching my eye as of late, and I (reluctantly) decided to reintroduce it back into the folds, attempting to ignore it’s glaring, skip goiter. The reason, not because of its kickass-ery, but instead, The Top Ten Barbershop Quartets of 1967 (At the 29th International Quartet Contest of S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A) had been used on a short back in my film school days. As a self-inflicting maker of rules, anything that gets photographed or mentioned here on the Prudent Groove automatically stays. So, without further adieu, we welcome The Top Ten Barbershop Quartets of 1967 (At the 29th International Quartet Contest of S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A) back to the family. That short has long been lost and has since receded into Memory Lake, but this album, like few before, has officially switched piles.
In 2014, it’s incessantly difficult not to dabble one’s feet in the digital music pool. Analog may forever be King, but digital is Queen Convenient. With x tracks spanning y days, the finicky, stubborn, snail-like jalopy that is iTunes may finally see its last days here at the PG offices. So, the question I pose to you is, what digital platform do you all prefer? I’m looking for something that can handle a large (and ever growing) library and so far, I’ve been exceptionally disappointed with my various trials. Thank you in advance for your contribution to this rather mundane issue.
Back when Grand Royal Records went under, its remaining assets were acquired (by means of online auction) and distributed via the short-lived GR2.com site (it’s still up, but the store closed its virtual doors a few years back). It was at GR2.com that I began ingesting a good third of the Grand Royal catalog at insanely cheap prices. Since I’m a never-happy-completist-nut, any and everything released by Grand Royal, roughly 90+ records, were placed into an Excel doc, created and printed out by me, with some now years old chicken scratch as a quickly obtainable Need It vs. Got It list. Maybe my OCD began in my younger days when I tried desperately to obtain all 792 cards in the 1990 Topps baseball card set, but really, who knows.
That brings us to the Josephine Wiggs Experience. Released in 1996, Bon Bon Lifestyle was the only record of any speed released by the band, and as you can painfully see (or not), this copy is still sealed. If asked what I’m waiting for, I wouldn’t be able to offer a believable retort, the stupidity in which is magnified considering I don’t even know what this band sounds like. Someday I’ll unveil her virgin grooves, but until then, she stands alongside Janis and Journey, eager and patiently awaiting her debut spin.
Originally found on page 750A of the December 1969 issue of National Geographic, this Sounds of the Space Age from Sputnik to Lunar Landing was a recently acquired gem that was quite cheaply excavated (for a whopping $0.45) at a mega-thrift shop in the valley… you know the one, the giant-sized dumping ground of other people’s filth currently occupying the old Circuit City building? There it is. Of course you remember. How could you not? (I’m going absolutely nowhere with this, so I’ll stop the blood flow now.)
This nifty little flexi-disc features historical broadcast snippets surrounding the now light-years away, Space Race, and is narrated by Col. Frank Borman, USAF Astronaut. No fuddy-duddy shenanigans going on with this little marker of historical significance.
I could string together some extraterrestrial hoopla about why the record looks the way it does in the above picture, but the truth is, it’s been overcast all day here and I was forced to use my camera’s flash. That, and I rather dig the rings-of-Saturn-like groove highlights. Sometimes accidents yield unexpected results, and sometimes laziness eclipses the whole lot and one is forced to make do with what one’s got.
Thrift store hunting in The Valley yields some hip-swaying, luau-attending, hand-watching results. Who knew, am I right?! Recently acquired was this copy of Hukilau Hulas Vol. 2 (featured here, the back cover). “Keep your eyes on the hands” is more than a hula skirt-wearing, seductive suggestion for those looking for a quick lei (sigh), but instead, a graphic designer’s dream job featuring 16 (slightly) varied action-based hula illustrations.
But what about the music, you ask? Well, I have no Earthly idea! I just acquired this LP and haven’t had time to spin her grooves. A full report (from Interzone) shouldn’t be too far off.
So, as you’ve (painfully) noticed, I’ve been rather lethargic and lazy as of late. It may have something to do with the thrill of 365 now being a skipping glimmer from the “less than” side A of the Groove, but all things considered… yeah, I owe you a decent post sooner rather than later.
“The Groove would be the end of me if it weren’t for the three free rounds of drinks at the end of every year.” Thanks, Mr. Hardwick.
Too many factors play into this half-assed, quick-release, interception of a post focusing on Isro Tomita’s 1976 adaptation of Gustav Holst’s The Planets. So, I recently acquired a handy, compact, portable turntable (with external, bombastic speakers) from the loving wings of my thoughtful and supportive parents. The details and photo-proof of this most recent player (and my 6th, functional turntable… I live in a two bedroom apt, people!) will soon be chasing the setting sun (meaning, there is a post yet to follow), so my abbreviated attempts at “getting in and getting out” of yet another responsible-laden post will here again commence post-haste! So, I’m spinning this record on my portable player, see…
… and Tomita’s The Planets barely near scared the living sh!t out of me! I’m forever a lover of ambient, wall-of-soundscape, ethereal electro, and when the focus is something as deep-rooted as Holst’s The Planets, one assumes safety will eclipse the ever-impending danger… or so I would stupidly think. Mid-2nd-side, sh!t got real (and I paused my friendly, online game of Madden 2012 for the PS3), and stared at my newly acquired portable player in sheer, revolting, mannequin-induscing pain. My educated guess would point my accusing finger toward Saturn, track V… but no one can really say for absolute certainty why my otherwise controllable paranoia began to spike a red-lined fever, forcibly, and emotionally, removing me from my daily routine (if ever there was a track that conjured up the remorseful, uneasy, “put me out of my mystery” feeling of core-stirring horror, paralleling that of Gaspar Noé’s Irréversible, Tomita’s Saturn is without question, that track). One thing was for absolute, and unquestionable certain… Tomita is a salacious wizard, whose talents live far below the clouds of obscurity, and whose albums I’ll (very) soon be acquiring.
Perhaps I offer too much attention to something as trivial as a record insert… perhaps I should just slap myself in the face for questioning this practical, record-saving, overly simplistic, introverted device (folded piece of paper) that offers a blank canvas for throwaway designs of yesteryear. Somebody designed this insert. Furthermore, someone paid someone to design it, and somebody probably rejected 24 previous versions before signing off on this teal, squared off lasso of reoccurring R’s (they kind of look like a series of interconnected R’s, right, or is that just me?).
Protect your records in style, and appreciate the nameless, faceless artisan who ingested a plain sleeve, and turned it into subtle, seldom seen art.
Since we haven’t done one of these in a while, in fact we’ve only done it one other time, Simply Samples is back with a Super Session of Bizarre proportions. Fan of hip hop? How about Pharcyde’s 1992 debut, Bizarre Ride II? Okay, then what about the 1968 super classic, Super Session by Bloomfield, Kooper and Stills? Notice any striking similarities between BKS’s cover of Donovan’s Season of the Witch and the Pharcyde’s Ya Mama? No?! Well, then have a listen.
Here is the opening to Season. Take particular notice to Al Kooper’s organic organ.
Now, here is that same bit sampled by the Pharcyde in their hilariously crass, Ya Mama. This is the instrumental version for clearer, albeit not near as funny, comparison.
And there you have it. A match made in music heaven spanning two completely different genres over the course of 24 years. Below are the full versions of both songs for your Sunday listening pleasure. If you don’t own either Super Session or Bizarre Ride II, I strongly urge you to seek them out immediately. Once you get that burnin’ yearnin’, there’s not turnin’ back, jack!
Season of the Witch by Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Steve Stills:
Finally haven woken from last night’s debaucherous slumber, I stumbled into consciousness to discover that the evening sun had already set, drowning itself in the salt-laden Pacific. Lucky for all involved (me and my morning bourbon), I’d previously saved a delectable Capitol Records insert some time ago, and my worried woes of missing the prominent opportunity to snap that perfect sun-kissed photo lay as insignificantly dormant as a piece of driftwood washing up upon the Santa Monica shoreline. AKA, I REALLY didn’t want to write today.
For just $1 (circa 196?) you can inform the “gentlemen” (sorry ladies of yesteryear, your day had apparently not yet come) that you’d generously prefer an introductory membership to the prestigious Teen Set, exclusively offered by Capitol Records. Yes, The Beatles are present and accounted for, and yes, The Lettermen are lingering there too, but the real steal is the “official Teen Set membership card.” Justified bragging rights for any and all who join, the Teen Set on Capitol seems like the logical, and most important post-pubescent decision any of us has ever been forced to make. Tickle your fancy with The Four Preps, The Goodtime Singers, or even The History of Drag Racing, and maybe, just maybe, your remaining teenage years will be void of awkward embarrassment… though, chances are, that inevitable boat of fictitious folly has already set sail.
365 days ago The Prudent Groove set out on her (lethargic, nonsensical, unfocused) maiden voyage in the attempt to offer little more than a self-improving, daily exploration into the cold, solemn depths of my record collection. That was her initial objective. What she inevitably turned into was a time-sucking, ulcer-feeding, stress-fueled fireball licking the backs of my heels as I embarked on a full, creative sprint every day for the past year. Fireballs may be good motivators, but they’re still giant balls of death. Thankfully, I was able to stay one prudent stride ahead of what seemed like inevitable, groovy doom.
Seriously though, thank you for allowing me to waste your time. I’ve had an exceptionally rewarding year, and I appreciate every last set of eyeballs. I’ve met some incredible listening companions (all of whom are much smarter, and more musically knowledgeable than I), and I look forward to another fruitful year of sensational ear candy.
There are a dozen or so essential acts that invariably get handed down from parent to child throughout an 18 or so year upbringing. (It was 17 and some change years for me, although my folks would argue it’s been 34 going on 35 years… and they wouldn’t be completely inaccurate.) Certain essentials fit this bill: The Beatles, The Stones, Electric Light Orchestra, Led Zeppelin, The Boss, Ludwig Van, John Cougar’s Jack & Diane, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gimme Three Steps, Steve Miller Band’s Jet Airliner (AKA Jed & Lina), and of course, George Thorogood & the Destroyers’ One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.
Only once in my life have I approached a gleaming, beer-stained bar to order this unique combination of lubricating cocktails, and it just so happened to be in my hometown amongst like-Thorogood-loving friends, so the event did not go overlooked. Tis a time of esteemed celebration, for tomorrow, the Prudent Groove turns one. Do your head a favor, and spoil yourself with one bourbon, one scotch and one beer. The first round is on us.
Thanks to all the folks who instill the essentials into their kids. To those about to rock, the Groove salutes you!
In 1988, Laibach, Slovenian grandfathers of avant-garde industrial, released Let It Be, a cover of the famous Beatles album of the same name. Apart from the deviant departure in genres, Laibach’s Let It Be bypasses Maggie Mae and the title track to the album, but offers a strikingly charming and elegant version of Across the Universe amongst its polluted sea of military-inspired, industrial-themed, Cold War anthems.
This cover album is worthy of a listen, if just for the sheer cat-killing curiosity factor. Laibach is a bitter pill to swallow, especially for fans of top 40 radio, but gentility and fascination certainly make their glowing presence known throughout this 11-track cover album. Diehard Beatles fans may see this as a chronically sick joke, and I imagine, above all else, that was without question Laibach’s main objective during the production of this legendary album. If you don’t like the harpsichord, steer clear of this, and every other Laibach album, but if you’ve got an ear for prideful adventure, seek out this version of Let It Be. There will undoubtedly be a strong divide separating your time before Laibach, and your time after them. Good luck, and I’ll see you on the other side.
Much like the original Star Wars trilogy (the prequels be DAMNED!), the Indiana Jones trilogy (Crystal Skull be DOUBLE-DAMNED!!), possesses an obvious best, a least best, and a favorite. The painfully obvious best being Raiders, with the least best (in my opinion) being Last Crusade, leaves Doom as my all-time favorite Indy flick.
Om Namah Shivaya!
I was recently told, “All boys prefer Temple of Doom to Raiders.” I haven’t yet heard back from every Indy watching boy-child, so this claim has yet been verified. Whether you’re an idle-stealing Indy lover, a mining-car-roller-coaster-riding Indy, or father-son Indy, this 1984 Read-Along Adventure offers just the right amount of the infamous swashbuckling archeologist, in just the right amount of adventure-seeking time.
I had not heard INXS in nearly 15 years, and to completely sidestep the accidental death of frontman Michael Hutchence, it must be stated that I’ve always held a deep-rooted respect for this Australian pop-rock band. It’s not due to the success of their 1987 album Kick, although the four singles contained within (New Sensation, Devil Inside, Need You Tonight and Never Tear Us Apart) certainly help their cause, but instead, an unlikely (IN) X (S)-factor prominently featured on the cover that immediately, and forever gripped my attention.
I was seven at the time Kick made its way to the record shelves at the local K-Mart, and as a curb surfin’ knee-scratcher, I was enmeshed with the skateboarding world. So when a major label release (all I knew at the time) featured a professional deck on the cover (Vision’s 1986 Psycho Stick), it was something of a gravity-pulling, counterculture-wise nod to those “in the know.” A lifelong respect was forged that day, and although I was a Powell-Peralta kid myself, the inclusion of such a specific detail certainly did not go overlooked on my part.
As I drink coffee from my Rob Roskopp Face mug (an awesomely outrageous gift, thangs, mang!), I look at this album cover and smile. Sure, 1/3 of that smile derives from the tunes, but 2/3 comes from that unforgettable childhood moment of joyful realization. Now, it’s time to FINALLY master that kickflip! Hey Bob…
So as to dismiss my feelings of guilt and laziness, and to sustain any modicum of respectability I probably no longer possess, today’s suggested listen comes from Jim & Ingrid Croce. Spin, Spin, Spin is a depressingly sweet number featuring the short lived husband and wife duo lamenting the painful distraction of drugs, and the underlying consequences that inevitably tag along. Especially heartbreaking is hearing Mr. Croce sing:
But where are you spinnin’
When will you know
That life is for livin’
That it isn’t a show
Dead at age 30, Mr. Croce left so much astounding work unfinished. This haunting song lives as a fruitful example of how timeless this artist’s songwriting ability has become, and cries for the deserving respect that fuels the thoughts of wonderful things that may have been. RIP Mr. Croce.
Contained below is lost debris found amongst the sea of filth that is my PG work folder. I have no idea as to its context, nor what groovy slab inspired such nonsensical ramblings, but when you’re in a hurry, anything seems plausible. (If you need a music suggestion for today, check out Rocket from the Crypt’s Hot Charity, or Tool’s Ænima. I’ve been stuck under an angry cloud as of late, and it seems my trusty umbrella has abandoned my side.)
There is something to be said about someone who can go from Beethoven’s 8th Symphony, to Thunderheist’s Jerk It 12”, to Harry Nilsson’s Pandemonium Shadow Show, to Rudimentary Peni’s Cacophony without the shimmering blink of an eye. What that something is, may be lost on the likes of me, but sometimes the logic breaks down in an extremely logical way. Get what I’m throwing down? No? Neither do I. If that’s the case, then you and I should be friends, or at least pen pals (suggested by someone who has never owned a pen).
Dig what you dig, and don’t listen to anyone who thinks they know what they’re talking about because, realistically, nobody really does. Take me for example. I enjoy annoying my neighbors, so much so that I create “neighbor annoy” playlists for my mid-day weekend adventures. Are they annoyed as I feel they SHOULD be, probably not. But does it make me happy none-the-less? You bet your ass!
Static can be a bitch… a real, conniving, backstabbing, drop you off on the side of the road with nothing more than a toothbrush and an empty matchbook, leaving you to fend for yourself against the screaming locals of Ventura County, bitch. You catch what I’m saying. We’ve all been there. So do yourself and your future, Detroit-raised children a favor and invest in plastic, resealable bags for all your records! Realistic Anti-Static Record Protectors aren’t just for the “good” records (AKA your Tammy Wynette discography). Every groovy slab is worthy of protection, and with modern day technology, that dream has become Realistic.
What do I keep in my Realistic Anti-Static Record Protector? German Sing-Along with Will Glahe, of course! Does that question even need to be asked? Beware of static, kids! Protection… because if our parents had used it, none of us would be here.