Le moins cher Sgt. Pepper costume vous verrez aujourd’hui

Sgt. PepperEver wondered what it would be like to walk in the mighty boots of Sgt. Pepper? Well, you can’t, so stop dreaming for the impossible, and come back down to reality because presented here is (not at all) the next best thing.

Tucked deep inside my rather dilapidated copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is this lovely little “costume themed” Sgt. Pepper insert. Some assembly is needed, but with minimal work (scissors are required), you can amaze and confuse your family and friends by dressing up as the honorable Sgt. Pepper.

This cut-out kit includes:

1. Moustache (No Sgt. Pepper impersonator would be caught dead without one.)

2. Picture Card (To pass off as a valid and law-abiding photo identification card, presumably when questioned by authorities, or children with worried looks in their eyes.)

3. Stripes (To keep your Sergeant arms warm.)

4. Badges (Nothing says you’re serious about your appointed duties like a badge with a picture of yourself posted proudly upon your heroic chest.)

5. Stand Up (No Sergeant, ESPECIALLY Sgt. Pepper, would be caught parading around without a psychedelic, four-piece band. Here is a picture of that band.)

Halloween is several months away, but you can practice your army-commanding stature with this lovely, and surprisingly accurate, cut-out costume. (Mind-altering drugs and sitar sold separately.)

If I Had No Loot

No Loot Cover1993 was an interesting year. I was 14, and back then, New Jack Swing was alive and violently flowing from the radio waves like a raging river of hip hop and dance-pop fusion, but you know, with tight-rolled Z Cavaricci’s and LA Gear footwear.

Shifting away from spoon-fed radio, for me, was a slow burn.  We only had two radio stations that played anything other than Western or Country, and the closest record store was something like 40 miles away. A bit too far for me and my trusty BMX, as it turned out.

No Loot BackIf I Had No Loot was a recent purchase, a $1 thrift store find actually, and serves as one of those “throwback” records that I’ll frequent when the thoughts of my younger years slowly begin to seep through the thin layer of 2013 reality. Other bands that fit this category include Animotion, Tone-Lōc, Paula Abdul, R.E.M., Prince, Jane’s Addiction, Faith No More and Pet Shop Boys (I was a confused kid).

For all its amazing shortcomings, If I Had No Loot still manages to stand its ground, and is as catchy and enjoyable as when I heard it for the first time screaming from Z-104 (104 FM) out of Madison, WI. People say music is timeless. I say, music is a time casket, emerging from yesteryear like a Pepe jean, Hypercolor shirt wearing zombie.

This Protective Envelope

Capitol Protective EnvelopeThis protective envelope is a hoss! ­With its abrasion fighting, scratch deterrent capabilities, this protective envelope guards your record’s grooves like a well trained, and slightly hungry, Navy SEAL.

Dust, frosting, coffee, weapons of mass destruction… you name it, this protective envelope will not only terminate any potential harm set to attack your cherished records, it will publicly humiliate the enemy with a shaming and mocking tone.

This protective envelope doesn’t offer these prestigious promises for free. Prepare to treat this protective envelope as if it painfully, yet lovingly, emerged from your womb. Give this protective envelope the proper love, sympathy and attention it requires. Because, let’s face it… can we really put a price on our records’ safety and well-being? No. The answer is no, we cannot.

This protective envelope thanks you for your time and asks that you please wash your damn hands before thinking of laying a finger on your precious records.

Music for Reading (Uncomfortably on the Floor)

Music for ReadingGrab your favorite E. A. Poe, H. S. Thompson, J. Shepherd or T. S. Eliot, and set your hi-fi to a warm and welcoming volume, because The Melachrino Strings wonderfully, and eagerly present, Music for Reading.

Gone are the ornery days of reading in unbearable silence. Like the welcome whisper of a cooling breeze on a warm, summer day, Music for Reading offers a cordial mood for any, and every worded adventure of the printed form. Like the soundtrack to a tightly bound roadmap of imagination, Music for Reading is your obedient counterpart through the vast universe of the black and white page.

BackOther records in the “Moods In Music” series include Music for Dining, Music for Relaxation, Music for Mowing the Lawn, Music for Angrily Signing the Divorce Papers, Music for Plotting the Overthrow of the Government, Music for Stubbing Your Toe, Music for Social Anxiety and Music for Writing About Music.

The next time you find yourself sprawled out in an uncomfortable position on the floor with a book and 30 minutes to kill, consider Music for Reading.  You’ll wonder how you ever reluctantly picked up a book without it.

A Nutritiously Balanced Vinyl Breakfast

GB IIBeginning around 1962, the flexi disc, or phonosheet, has been a low cost, low quality audio option for anything from Beatles Christmas “thank you’s” to fan club members, to a message from Biz Markie wedged inside issue #2 of Grand Royal Magazine that I need to dig out of the closet, to information on The New Ghostbusters Movie Mystery Sweepstakes found on specially marked cereal boxes back in 1989.

Only slightly thicker than a piece of paper, the flexi disc was a reasonable medium for offering audio, be it songs or clues on how to meet a REAL Ghostbuster, from unconventional sources. I imagine few of you to equate a box of breakfast with a vinyl record, but who knows. I’ve been surprised before. Once… he turns 9 this October. I joke.

This particular flexi disc boasts a chance for a very lucky participant to become an honorary member of the Ghostbuster’s team. (Really, it was just a cheap ploy to get people into theaters to see Ghostbusters 2.) All the groggy-eyed, little elementary school twerp needed to do was answer the following questions on a 3×5 card (apparently any other sized card would result in immediate disqualification from the mystery sweepstakes) and mail the answers along with their name, age and address, including zip code, and telephone number to the following address:

The New Ghostbusters Movie Mystery Sweepstakes

PO Box 4029

Beverly Hills, CA 90213-4029

Question 1: Name the woman who works in the art museum, who is Peter Venkman’s girlfriend.

Question 2: At what holiday does the big bust happen at the end of the movie?

Question 3: What US monument do the Ghostbusters work from to save the city?

Cheap ploy or not, I miss the days when I could stroll into a Piggly Wiggly and walk out with a record. For those of you dying to hear (what sounds like) the voice actor of Egon Spengler from The Real Ghostbusters cartoon show, a video of the record can be found here.

Sin City Has Never Been More Vanilla

DirtyOne by Dirty Vegas isn’t near as dirty as you would like to think. Boasting as hard-hitting, blood-spilling, sweat-soaked, body-beats for the proverbial “good time seeking” fornicator, instead comes across as the equivalent of a firm handshake from your sister.

Certainly not to say the grooves are not spin-worthy. This is lighthearted, feel-good, dance-happy, PG music suitable for Jr. High dances where the only objective is to make eye-contact lasting longer than a brief glance, and/or the elusive holding of the hands. Adults are forged from the adolescent ashes of those hopelessly hopeful who think Vegas has ever been this clean.

Editor’s note: I’m not gonna’ lie. I’m getting monumentally bored over here. Today’s post was another fleeting attempt at trying something new… and failing miserably. Sin City Has Never Been More Vanilla was randomly generated from the seemingly pointless “Random Item” button offered by Discogs. For those of you who don’t Discogs, the “Random Item” feature displays a random item from within your collection. So, there you have it. I clearly should have stayed in bed.

When Time Stands Still

Beatles ClockWhen time stands still, all the Strawberry Alarm Clocks will be set to snooze. Your weekend getaway plans of getting drunk on girlie drinks while sitting poolside in the middle of the desert will seem that much further away.  Depending on when Father Time decided to take his much-needed break, you could relive a wonderful moment, like say, in the embrace of a loved one, or on the flipside, you could be stuck watching a desperate and unnerving rerun of Airwolf.

When time stands still, rent is free, no one dies, and the fruit on the kitchen table doesn’t go bad. When time stands still, it’s time to replace the battery.

Freewheelin’ on a Tuesday

TuesdayEvery once in a while on a gloomy Tuesday in Southern California, the mood for pop punk/emo strikes. It’s not often, but when those emotionally overcast skies offer no inspiration, it’s nice to know Tuesday is there to offer their slow-rolling brand of catchy, youthful memory inspiring groove music.

Perhaps known best for being the band Dan Andriano from Alkaline Trio played in before joining Alkaline Trio, Tuesday existed for little over a year and produced only one EP, Early Summer and one full length, Freewheelin’.

Releasing their entire catalog in 1997, Tuesday showcases the upbeat and darker side of Midwestern life, and shouldn’t be incorrectly lumped in with 2000-era, “cutting yourself for attention” Emo. Emo in the mid/late 90s held a completely different connotation than it does today. We called Fugazi Emo, if that gives you any idea of how deformed and self-righteous the term has become.

Tuesday is here but one day a week. Embrace the negatives of this world once in a while. You’ll gain a much more clear perspective on how great your life really is… that, or you’ll jumpstart that downward spiral you’ve been trying to avoid for nearly 15 years. Either way, Tuesday is there when you need them.

Slim’s Got His Eye On You

The Wandering EyeIt isn’t the warm, southern drawl of ‘Slim’ Boyd as he tackles 10 of Hank Williams’ finest that demands immediate and time-sucking attention. Slim’s 25mph approach on this tribute album doesn’t wander into any slippery or explosive territory, but the album cover certainly suggests otherwise.

Possessing no shame, remorse, or any qualities that make an upstart gentleman, ‘Slim” Boyd goes for broke… if only in his mind. You’re going to need to, um, read between the “lines” here. Take a look at the cover again. What EXACTLY is hound dog Slim looking at? Slim at His Finest

SmirkIf you’re on the fence, or think my observations are overreaching, I humbly suggest you take a stroll over to the smirk on good ol’ Slim’s face.

Hank Williams is dead. Yes, but his music will forever live on through the wandering, able-minded, and easily distracted ‘Slim’ Boyd.

Game: What’s the Difference?

When I was a youngster, I absolutely loved those “can you spot the difference?” games in the back of magazines that presented two, almost identical pictures side by side, where in which the object was to find the subtle differences between the two pictures. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered, almost by accident, that several of the doubles in my collection were different issues, and therefore had very subtle differences. I thought to myself, hmm, why not create a “can you spot the difference?’ game for the readers of The Prudent Groove?

Presented below are five pictures, each picture containing two albums. Can you spot the difference between them? Answers to each are located in the comments… DON’T CHEAT!Alpert

Galactic Funk

Ill

Cypress Hill

CCR

The Mushroom Cloud of Similarities AKA The Land of Trait and Honey

The Land of Trait and Honey1988, with all its impotence and social frustrations, was a pretty damn outstanding year for music. Today we’re going to focus on (albeit very briefly because, let’s face it, I’ve got things to do) two outstanding works of Industrial fusion helmed from the prolific production due that was once known as Luxa Pan Productions. Very quickly, for those of you who have been living in a K-Mart dressing room for the past 25 years, Luxa Pan (Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan, respectively) were the monikers of Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker. Sorry to be redundant for those to whom this fact is obvious… moving on.

In 1988, Ministry (Jourgensen/Luxa, Barker/Pan & crew) released the consciously alarming The Land of Rape and Honey. Also released in 1988 was Trait by Pailhead. Luxa Pan Productions was/is known for their excessive side projects, and their teaming with Minor Threat/Fugazi frontman, Ian MacKaye to form Pailhead is one of these bountiful side gigs.

Ok, so, FINALLY getting to the meat and potatoes of this damned post. Take a look at the pic of both covers at the top. Both albums were released the same year (1988), and both featured masterminds Jourgensen and Barker. Do the covers seem a bit similar to you? Something like a mushroom cloud, right? “Yes?” You reply with a vague tone. Ok, now take a look at the pic below.

The Land of Trait and Honey_InvertedBy converting to grayscale and inverting the colors to The Land of Rape and Honey, you can clearly see the stark similarity between these two covers. I’m racking my brain on what this could mean. Did the boys just dig an ambiguous mushroom cloud image, enough to reproduce it on two different album covers by two “different” bands? Maybe. Did their excessive drug use drain them of their creative juices leaving them to repurpose an old idea? I don’t think so.

Here’s my thought. 1988 opened the door for a tsunami-sized wave of creative output by the Luxa Pan team (focusing solely on albums released between 1988 and 1993), and this mushroom cloud was a symbol for an explosion of releases that would define the career of both Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker.

Ministry - LPAllow me to briefly break it down: Three albums by Revolting Cocks (You Goddamned Son of a Bitch, Beers, Steers, and Queers, and Linger Fickin’ Good), three albums by LARD (LARD, The Last Temptation of Reid, and Pure Chewing Satisfaction), a release by PTP, two released by 1000 Homo DJs (Apathy, and Supernaut) three by Lead into Gold (Idiot, Age of Reason, and Chicks & Speed: Futurism), four albums by Ministry (The Land of Rape and Honey, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, In Case You didn’t Feel Like Showing Up, and Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs) and finally, two releases by Pailhead (I Will Refuse and Trait). So, if my overly simplified calculations are correct (and they probably aren’t), in the span of only six years, Luxa Pan Productions produced a total of 18 albums. The mind boggles in its feeble attempt to process this information.

Whether these covers were foreshadowing the brilliant work of two insanely talented musicians, or it was simply an overanalyzed coincidence, 1988 ignited a bonfire under Luxa Pan Productions, the flames of which are still burning strong to this day.Pailhead - LP

Adapt

Adapters

As the alarm jingles you into the consciousness of another daft, tedious and overly hyped day filled with false promises of hope and certainty, you desperately plead with the unknown for a few lasting moments of peace and comfort. You don’t get them. You know your atrocious cries will go unheard, just as they always have. There is something to be said for consistency, even if it’s a bleeding string of expletives.

The strong amongst us will unplug that screaming alarm, give it a sunken, lasting stare filled with decades full of animosity and confusion, then proceed to slay the mighty beast of disruption by smashing it repeatedly against the fish tank before victoriously returning to bed. Those of use who are left… the weak… adapt.

To adapt, we must admit that we don’t fit. We must come to terms that, one way or another, we are that lonely cluster of shredded wheat that fell to the floor and has gone unnoticed for close to six days… a lifetime, as it seems. To adapt is to surrender your instincts, to follow the dangling carrot of quantity by abandoning the carrot cake of quality. But in doing so, we are granted the gilded gift of repetition, and with it, the chance to put off obsoleteness for one more day.

Can you tell I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning?

For Students of Speech and Interpretation

Speech CoverI woke up at 4:11 this morning with a death-like worry. I was afraid I’d neglected to return the Speech in Action record to the Aggeler High library. So, half-dazed and fully panicked, I threw on the lights and checked the “educational section” of my library. Through tears and a palpitating heart, I discovered that yes; it was due, but thankfully, not until 3pm today.

Speech in Action is exactly what it sounds like: Examples of people speaking with different inflections pertaining to their different points of motivation. John Callaway, the narrator, gives a brief description to each of the 10 types of speech and interpretation, after which an example of each is performed by some of topnotch vocal chords 1965 has ever heard (Roy Neal and Charlton Heston to name a few).

Speech BackFor many of us, casual conversation at the office (usually about Nutella or the social need for foot deodorant) is something that comes naturally, and rarely requires much preparation. This is “speech to inform.” I would have had no Earthly idea that my early morning rants on what constitutes a “good” cup of coffee were actually mundane, yet surprisingly engaging “speeches to inform” had it not been for these beacons of educational, and applicable grooves. I never thought I’d say this, but thank you, Mr. Heston.

CardIf you’re stuck giving a speech at your next VFW luncheon, or you foresee an upcoming monologue directed towards your girlfriend’s father in the last-ditch attempts to persuade him that his daughter need not stay in that night, try Speech in Action. You’ll gain confidence, stature, and Godlike wisdom. Check it out. That is, if I actually remember to return it.

Stereophonic & Monaural Audiotester

Audiotester HeadIn my attempted efforts to find something ornery and contemptuous about Audiotex’s Stereo and Monophonic Audiotester, I discovered that this rather expensive audio testing tool ($38.69 today, or the ridiculous price of the new Daft Punk album) is a visual work of late 1950s design/graphic art.

Inception was big in the late 50s, early 60s. Hard at work in his audio laboratory, the technician on the cover is skillfully testing his own copy of Audiotex’s Stereo and Monophonic Audiotester. Do tests need testing? Anyway, I absolutely adore the layout of this album. The white/red/saturated blue cover (that was obviously pieced together like a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald holding a rifle on the cover of Life magazine), and the tuning fork and sound wave influenced Audiotex logo are just a few marvels found within this front sleeve.

Audiotester TailThe back to this riveting test record is just as visually absorbing. Breaking down the necessary tests for both stereophonic and monaural phonographs with overly simplified, 1959 phonographics (I just made that up), the bullet-pointed basics offered from this record are presented in an easy to understand, and visually engaging layout. From the turntable rumble test (stereo) to the tone arm resonance test (mono), this audiophile worthy test record is essential for even the novice record collector.

As you can see, I’m a sucker for nostalgia that I had absolutely no part of. For me, the red/black/white color palette is always a favorite, and it’s always a treat to discover phonographic-heavy, and time-capsule-like records.

High Fidelity Recording Ultra-Phonic Sound Sleeve

Tops InsertTOPS Records, and their “High Fidelity Recording Ultra-Phonic Sound” don’t want your records to get cold, so they conveniently offer “this specially designed protective envelope.”

Without your knowing, the sleeveless records in your prolific collection have been coming down with the vinyl flu (it’s been going around). Thankfully, sobby noses and sleepless nights are a thing of the past with this futuristic record protector by TOPS Records.

Tops LogoYour records give you so much unconditional joy… give back. Keep them warm. Make sure each and every licorice disc is kept safe and secure with its own protective envelope from TOPS Records. TOPS Records… clothes for music.

The Stripper and Other Fun Songs for the Family

StripperNothing speaks more about wholesome, politically indifferent, red-blooded American family values quite like strippers. Grab the kids, pop some corn, and don’t forget to break that 10-spot for a stack of singles, because honey, we’ve got one-hell-of-a show a-brewin’!

David Rose and His (magnificent) Orchestra play, rather seductively, 12 of the most luring, enticing, sweaty, and questionably hygienic, hussy music ever performed this side of the Clark County line, AND, they do it for the whole family. The youngins will be excited because they’ll think milk is on the way, the Grade Schoolers will look on with that awkward, puzzled, and “the real world is a farce! Make it stop!” look, the teenagers will stare at the floor the entire time as not to, um… raise any suspicions, and the folks will gleefully sip on their overpriced drinks and gaze upon the sea of soon to be emotionally scarred children and think to themselves, “should we get a dog?”

The Stripper's BacksideDavid Rose and His Orchestra Play The Stripper and Other Fun Songs for the Family is not only a very long and tedious title to write, it’s also perfect for those late nights with your significant other when the fire is glowing, and you collectively conclude that raising a child in this world is not only a disgusting idea, it’s patriotic, and that birth control really is the work of the devil (don’t we all have nights like that?).

Also, doesn’t David Rose look an awful lot like Victor Laszlo?

Photo on right courtesy of Warner Bros. DVD, VLC player and shift+command+4.

Photo on right courtesy of Warner Bros. DVD, VLC player and shift+command+4.

Cookin’ Up Hits

Cookin' Up HitsIt’s a bright, balmy Saturday, so step away from your illuminated screen and get outside and enjoy the exhaust-laden air!

If you happen to find yourself in a less than ideal climate, or the mystics and wonders of the outdoors don’t appeal to your ornate senses, may I suggest a little culinary calisthenics?

Liz Anderson, with all her digestible wisdom, offers up 12 hysterically ardent recipes full of tears, sorrow, heartache, cumin, and remorse. Liz’s whimsical approach and articulated wordplay border on the line of congenial, 60s Country and youthful Singer-songwriter music, but you know, with a lace apron. A slide guitar is sprinkled in for that down-home flavor, which helps to give this mouthwatering entrée of emotional ear food an elevated, ethereal intonation. Think Patsy Cline, drunk, in the kitchen, insufficiently attempting to restrain herself from dumping a bag of flour onto the floor and calling it a day.Warming Up

Sometimes the mind gets hungry for heartache-y, overly sensitive, and beautifully sung mood music. Chef Anderson certainly knows her way around agony’s kitchen, and Cookin’ Up Hits is a perfect recipe for any, less than optimal dinner occasion.

Wax Trax! Records Insert from 1986

Wax Trax 1986 InsertFeatured today is one of the four (possibly five) different, albeit only to the trained eye, Wax Trax! Records inserts in my collection. It emerged from the deepest, and most sobering crevasses known to man (Luc Van Acker’s Heart and Soul, aka WAX018).

Listing the catalogue at only 18 albums (only 17 that were available at the time), this insert can be carbon dated to the fruitful, yet sardonically demonizing, year of 1986. In 1986, one could rest comfortably knowing they could, at any time, order the Al Jourgensen produced (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pailhead, Acid Horse, 1000 Homo DJs, Lard, PTP, Special Affect) Blackouts 12”, Lost Soul’s Club for only $5. (Which, in today’s world would only yield you a pint of half & half or a smug retort.) Found amongst the seminal releases from the grandfathers of the label are four different Wax Trax! Records t-shirts, many with varying sizes and colors. Those are $7, or about the value of two stamps today.

Wax Trax 1986 Insert BackThis is the 2nd Wax Trax! Records insert post from The Groove, and unless there is one hidden amongst my Ferrante & Teicher albums, this insert from 1986 is my oldest.

That is all. Have a good Friday.

The Obits are Coming

ObitsRemove your shoes and press your slacks, because the Obits are coming. Mow the lawn, water the dog, lift those weights and stretch those marks, because the Obits are coming. Swallow those pills, eat red meat and feed your Id, because the Obits are coming.

Get your beauty rest. Ignore the lavish temptation for gluttonous entertainment. It will only thicken your senses. Keep your eyes to the ground and your ears pealed, because the day will soon be upon us. Not you, me, the guy trying to score at the 7-Eleven; not the struggling schoolteacher, the web designer’s fiancé, or even your grandmother’s cat will escape unscathed.

The Obits are coming… and I blame you.