(Let’s Talk) Physical

Physical CoverThe obnoxiously soothing b-side to the Olivia Newton John cover of (Let’s Get) Physical by the Revolting Cocks is a marathon listen. Clocking in at 10:08, this monster of a patience builder is little more than an irate, mechanical loop set off to offend everyone, up to and including the most devoted RevCo fans… at a seemingly endless coil of 10, nauseating, industrial minutes…

Physical BackI’m in love with this song. It offers somewhat of a calming experience, not unlike the way Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach provides its monotonous, brilliant beauty. I’ve included the track for you (to struggle through) to enjoy, so you can get a sense of what Chicago’s industrial scene was like in 1989.

Not unlike drinking straight vinegar, or putting hot sauce on your morning toast, (Let’s Talk) Physical, and the Revolting Cocks as a whole, are certainly acquired tastes. This isn’t a song I’d spin as often as let’s say, The Kinks’ Animal Farm, but its function of knocking me out of any given dry, laborious day, at 10-minute intervals, is a rare and welcoming treat.

 

Blues on the Ceilin’

Hardin CoverThere is something distinctly haunting that unjustly fills the room when I listen to the fortuitous desperation that surrounds Tim Hardin when he sings the lyrics, “I’ll never get out of these blues alive” on the Fred Neil classic, Blues on the Ceilin’ from Tim’s 1963 recorded, 1967 released (third) album, This is Tim Hardin. For you see, he didn’t. Escape those blues, that is. Mr. Hardin, my current crutch, passed on December 29, 1980. The cause of his untimely death? The blues… in the form of diacetylmorphine.

Other monumental iconic phrases from this track are:

I’d do it all over, but I’d rather not

Love is just a dirty four-letter word to me

The bitter the blues, the better they keep

The toast was cold, the orange juice was hot

White. Boy. Blues. As prolific an oxymoron as it is, has its fair share of respectable highlights. Tim Hardin isn’t known for his blues-driven ways (and that’s painfully unfortunate), but instead, for his often covered and heart-tuggingly sweet If I Were a Carpenter.

BluesWhen I drink whiskey, alone, I subconsciously gravitate towards Tim Hardin. Like a beaming source of intellectual and soul-bearing light, Mr. Hardin asks only one favor of us while we enjoy his personal blues-documenting catalog, and the favor is that we must share in this man’s heartfelt dismay. Pain manifests itself in many forms, up to and including a soulful voice accompanying sincerity projecting from the blackened heart.

NO F-X

NO F-X CoverBack when NOFX was NO F-X, the now prolific and household-recognizable band was signed to Mystic Records. In early 1985, then again in 1986, NO F-X released their first two EPs for the label (NO F-X and So What If We’re on Mystic). Both EPs, along with a bunch of early demo tracks (1988’s The Album) made their way, without the band’s permission, to the 1989 comp, E is for Everything, then again to the exact same comp (with a different name), 1992’s Maximum Rocknroll.

NO F-X VinylThe version featured here is a reissue of a reissue of a reissue, and was promptly released in 2008. Not that any of this matters, because, like it should, the music speaks for itself. Stripped of the tongue-in-cheek humor the band is now known for, these 22 tracks are much more straightforward, dirty hardcore punk rock. Fans of the band’s later material (Ribbed, Punk in Drublic, Heavy Petty Zoo) who haven’t stumbled across this gem may hear it and not know it was NOFX (or, NO F-X).

These poorly recorded, poorly played songs have a certain charm and angry grace that inevitably gets abandoned when money and opportunity get in the way. In that regard, Maximum Rocknroll is a great collection of classic hardcore by a much younger, haven’t-yet-made-it NOFX, and is worth seeking out. I guarantee it.

Me & Julie Down by the Bowling Alley

Me First CoverEvery so often the (pitcher beer ordering) mood for late 90s pop punk versions of mid 70s radio hits rolls down the cherry wood lane of life and lands a perfect strike (phew… that came desperately close to being a run-on sentence… I miss those).  Times like this, it’s comforting (although not really) to know Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is good for a round, and some damn good classic covers.

This, their first full-length released on Fat Wreck Chords back in 1997, features pop punk-ified versions of John Denver, Kenny Loggins, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond and some other hit-making individuals of considerable musical talent. Covers, not unlike Social Security, are the third rail of musical politics. On one hand, paying homage to a classic can be somewhat of a respectful gesture, but on the other hand, these lazy, talentless bastards could just be riding the coattails of other, more innovative artists. Lucky for all involved with today’s post, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is comprised of a lucrative series of already established bands, so the results are smooth and well produced.

Me First VinylAllow me to introduce you to the band:

Vocals: Spike Slawson (of the Swingin’ Utters)

Lead Guitar: Chris Shiflett (of No Use for a Name and Foo Fighters… in that order, the order of importance)

Rhythm Guitar: Joey Cape (of Lagwagon)

Bass: Fat Mike (of NOFX fame, also the owner and operator of Fat Wreck Chords)

Drums: Dave Raun (of Lagwagon)

A pop-punk all-star band if ever there was one, Me First is deserving of a listen from fans of that 70s drawl, and bay area pop-punk. Now, set up those bumpers and let’s go bowling (courtesy of The Prudent Groove Lanes Across America Bowling League*).

*Does not exist

Scooby Dooby-Doo, Y’all

Scooby Doo CoverThe year was 1994, and oh what an awkward and transformable year it was. Allow me to paint a 20-year-old picture using swift, roomy strokes if I may. In those days, I occupied the basement of my parents’ suburban homestead. I shared my first quasi-studio apartment with a blow-up mattress for a bed, ripped out Snowboard Magazine pages taped to plastic sheets covering the rows and rows of canary yellow insulation, a loud and obnoxious hot water heater that would wake me up in the middle of the night in a dead panic, and of course, my adorable mother popping down every half hour to painstakingly adhere to the family laundry. My “bedroom” throughout the duration of my high school days was a labyrinth of new and exciting music, and at the time, few syncopated sounds were more otherworldly (for a suburban white kid living in the rural Midwest) than Los Angeles’ own, Cypress Hill.

As a gullible and easily impressionable youth, anything that wasn’t early 90s country radio (or the overly played and equally obnoxious doobs of the grunge scene) grabbed my conformed and sheltered ear. Jane’s Addiction, Onyx, Beastie Boys, Operation Ivy, Ministry, Vacuum Scam, and The Pharcyde all became rhythmically projected voices, representing the outside world; a world I knew nothing about, but that which promised gilded and painful excitement.

Scooby Doo BackCypress Hill’s first two albums are critically flawless. Fans of Tim McGraw and those still clinging to Pearl Jam may have a different (and mortally incorrect) opinion. On the We Ain’ Goin’ Out Like That single, which is really more of an EP, there featured a song that was released exclusively to this release. This song, the opus of my youth, and a song my friends and I still quote on a weekly bases, is Scooby Doo. No mysteries are solved during the three minutes and 39 seconds of this epic story, and nobody utters the icon phrase “jinkies” (at least in English). Instead, Scooby Doo is a bass-heavy, skull-vibrating anthem covering themes of street confrontations and the ultimate and fatal error of crossing that forbidden line in the sand. It was, at the time, a force so strong, we’d play it on as many different stereos as we could to see whose rig had the biggest bass. Lancer Dancer is the legendary champ on all counts of said experiment (his mobile speaker system would knock you up side the head and inject a subtle, but piercing ringing sensation, both pleasing and a bit sobering).

Scooby Doo, if only for me, and a modest core group of friends, is 1000 times more legendary than Stairway to Heaven, and will forever live as the biggest, most atrocious bass-tastic song I’ve ever had the distinct pleasure of experiencing.Doo

You’d aroun’ da way, mang… I know where chu at!

A Child’s Garden of Grass – A Prelegalization Comedy

CoverListed under the “comedy” umbrella with a born-on date of 1971, A Child’s Garden of Grass was acquired for little over $1 at a rather respectable San Diego record shop some six or so months ago. Stacked among the likes of tattered Lawrence Welk LPs and unplayed Henry Mancini albums, this collection of 13 unfocused (if a focus on being unfocused can be considered unfocused) ramblings attempt to persuade the listener that indeed, they are ingesting something worthy of a laugh. I, however, didn’t find it all that humorous.

BackI’m certainly not one of those “can’t be bothered with what you think is funny if I don’t find that tone of humor comedic” types. Anything and everything is fair game in the revolving world of comedy as far as I’m concerned. It’s just that, this album apparently requires a bit of, um, pre-gaming for the jokes to make their perfect 10 landings. I know some people who would lose their gourds over this album… perhaps it’ll make a perfect gift, or at the very least, a decent surface for rolling Zig-Zags.

How to Make Your Husband A Sultan

SultanTreat yourself to the quiet desperation of Özel Türkbas’ How to Make Your Husband A Sultan and majestically transform the stale, white bread dullness of your “after hours” marriage into an international world brimming with tantalizing temptation, rhythmic finger cymbals, and salty body gyrations sure to set the neighborhood hens in full cackle. Because, after all, isn’t your husband worthy of Sultan status? Mr. Jones has Sultan status, and aren’t you trying desperately to keep up with the Joneses?

Sultan BackSomeone may have said somewhere (if only in my mind), “For man is not capable of achieving Sultan status by his own means. It takes the alluring hips of his half-dressed wife awkwardly contorting herself into a chiropractor’s appointment to allow the man to reach true Sultan stature.” Wives, be submissive to your husbands, and allow Özel Türkbas’ to show you the way.

Complete with a seven page How to Make Your Husband A Sultan Belly Dance Instruction Booklet, the ease and eventual rewards of metamorphasizing yourself into a seductive, Sultan-pleasing siren is conveniently broken down into easy, step-by-step (not the cheesy 90s sitcom starring Patrick Duffy) illustrations that are easy to understand, and painful to emulate.Instructions

Your husband deserves the best. He deserves the social rank of a certified Sultan, and with Özel Türkbas’ How to Make Your Husband A Sultan, you can turn his nonsensical dream into a reality.

Something About the Way You Taste, Makes Me Want to Clear My Throat

Are We Not MenIs it fair to call yourself a fan if you base your devotion (see what I did there?) solely on a band’s debut album? This was the painfully embarrassing question I asked myself into a rearview mirror while meandering through 405 construction last night. Since as long as I can recall, I’d always been a Devo fan, but I’d only ever owned their first album, 1978’s Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

I was forced to ask myself, Q: Is it possible that this record is so prolific, so repeatedly nurturing of its innovative ingenuity, that any given listener (me) could throw caution to the wind (or the rest of this band’s mighty catalog), and view Devo exclusively as a 1978 widely misunderstood practical joke? A: Yes… you’re damn well right it’s possible.

We Are DevoRecorded in Germany and produced by none other than Brian Eno, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! is a head-pounding collection of 11 adult themed nursery rhymes ripe with uneasy repetition and punk-like snarls. Devo unearthed that perfect blend of proficient musicianship with the overwhelming desire to annoy any suspecting dropper of eaves to the point of nausea, and makes the term “nerd” seem unforgettably horrifying.

Smarts, attitude, and the means to welcome wave after wave of social backlash is certainly enough to make me a lifelong Devo fan, and it’s the perfect combination for creating a timeless and memorable album.

Did You Know?

DJ001Did you know that Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz of Beastie Boys fame wrote L.L. Cool J’s first single, I Need A Beat? Did you know that it was released in 1984, a full two years before the obnoxiously dominating full-length debut Licensed to Ill? Did you know that L.L. Cool was only 16 when he recorded this single?

Def JamDid you know that I Need A Beat was the debut record for the now prolific Def Jam Recordings, and is the owner of the coveted DJ001 catalog moniker? Did you know that this single, as well as L.L. Cool J’s 1985 full-length debut, Radio was produced by Rick Rubin? Did you know that Def Jam headquarters began and was run out of Rick Rubin’s NYU dorm room?

Well, now you do.

It’s Hard to Be Smart When You’re Young

MSDDrunk, angry and musically talented muggs who eat steel and drink gasoline should always be given a record contract. If indisputable evidence is indeed required, take a look at Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts, the 1998 release on Sub Pop by Seattle’s best, The Murder City Devils. Featuring the lumbering truck driver blues of every red-blooded fornicator who ever shoved a quarter into a vibrating jukebox, and back when bullying said jukebox actually meant something, MSD’s Ready for More was seldom, however overtly, and incorrectly overlooked.

BackLeft dormant and dingy amongst the filth and cold of my former Milwaukee winter days, The Murder City Devils seldom tend to resurface when things get a bit too heavy to bear. So, imagine my delight when I unconsciously find myself in the throes of another MSD bender, where the reigning cries of “I’m subtle, subtle like a T-Rex” knock the framed photos off my neatly painted walls. I shouldn’t necessarily be surprised, but every once and a while I’m caught off guard.

The Murder City Devils would have gotten a much more respectable write-up, had I not been served so much soul-cleansing rye. Perhaps next time, respect will prevail, but then again, that may be the whisky talking.

I’m in This Prison You Built for You

HecticOperation Ivy’s Hectic E.P. was a bit of a golden idol to track down. Thankfully, I didn’t have to run from a giant rock-ball, nor did I lose my greedy counterpart to a lightbeam-triggered spike wall in the process. Like most of the “need to have, gotta’ save up for” treasures in my archeological collection, I unearthed this 1988 7″ from the bowels of the illustrious eBay. eBay that as it may, I’ve never seen this, the original version of this fireball of a band debut, in any record store in all my collecting days. The winning bidder: my ears.

Hectic BackI’ve heard convincing arguments coming from both sides of the strong divide that is “purchasing records online vs. purchasing records at record stores.” On one hand, as a record collector, it’s our sworn duty, albeit unspoken, to support our local brick and mortars so that they may continue to flourish for future record collecting generations. On the other hand, should I really pay $10 for a G+ re-issue of Harry Nilsson’s Nilsson Schmilsson when I can get the same version in the same condition online for $1.50? Should the “support tax” really be 6.6x the price of the record in question? I suppose we all walk this “do the right thing vs. gimme a deal” line, so in the attempts of easing my conscience, some 10 years later, I finally find myself at peace with my online purchase of Op Ivy’s first record, and yes… I handed over a 10 spot for said Nilsson re-issue. So, my conscience is clear… for now.

LabelShort lived but monumentally influential, Operation Ivy delivers furious fits of melodic rage with six piercing tracks in under 11 minutes, and includes the personal cornerstones, Hoboken, Junkie’s Runnin’ Dry and Sleep Long. Yet another soundtrack to my high school years, Op Ivy is one of those bands that, not unlike a fine wine or salted cheese, has gotten better with age, and the Hectic E.P. is the perfect start to this brief, yet unmistakably essential band.

101 Bands Playing 30 Second Songs

FatIn June of 1999, Fat Wreck Chords released the optimistically ambitious Short Music for Short People, a novelty album featuring 101 bands spanning the punk rock spectrum in 30 second bursts. With grandfathers like Black Flag, Descendents, Circle Jerks, Misfits and Youth Brigade, to Fat mainstays Lagwagon, NOFX, Wizo and Strung Out, to fellow Epitaph Records mates Bad Religion, Pennywise, The Offspring and The Bouncing Souls, Short Music for Short People, as enjoyable as it is (and it really is), becomes exceptionally laborious when attempting to search for 1/101 of this record’s contents for just a 30 second reward. Lucky for me, I had a brief moment of clarity as a 19-year-old twit and picked up the compact disc version as well. That’s all gone as we wake up each day amongst the digital rays from our digital sun and pull up our digital socks and drive our digital stick-shift vehicles to our digital jobs to earn our digital wages and continue to get looked over for those digital promotions, but that’s neither here nor there.

Fat BackAs hilarious as it is catchy, and as arduous as it is enduring, Short Music for Short People is an aggressive achievement worthy of any open-minded listener. Also, you can learn how to make a bomb out of household objects on track 45, courtesy of The Offspring. Don’t try this at home, kids.

“Let’s Get Those Missiles Ready to Destroy the Universe!” – John Flansburgh

She Was AAside from bouncing around inside my head all morning, the visually vibrant storytelling of 1988’s For Science by the Johns (Flansburgh & Linnell of They Might Be Giants) serves up catchy ridiculousness and uproarious nonsense as it forces a beaming smile with a genuine and creative quickness that few other late 80s alternative acts could match.

The song clocks in at only 1:19, but manages to setup an entire, otherworldly environment in which a Newscaster announces discovery of a Venus spacecraft. Like they do, a member of the military, in this case Lt. Anne Moore, calls for volunteers to meet with the intergalactic creatures, and does it with a smoking hot selling point: Have no fear. Have no fear. You will be killed right away. After this, a Male Lead offers his body, and his heart to the Girl from Venus for, you guessed it, science. This gentlemanly gesture seems to have worked since Lt. Moore proclaims: He’s so brave. He’s so brave. He’ll be her love slave forever. And with that, all is once again right with the universe.For Science Lyrics

For Science appears on the 12” Maxi-Single, (She Was A) Hotel Detective released by Bar None Records so yeah, it has that going for it.

… And Now, Mr. Serling

TZoneIn honor of the Twilight Zone marathon my SO and I are currently feeding to our 2014 heads (along with sushi grade salmon and tuna), I offer an instrumental suggestion that lies between the pit of man’s fears, and the summit of his knowledge… but you know, conducted by Jerry Goldsmith for the 1983 classic, Twilight Zone The Movie.

Its unfortunate Mr. Serling, one of my all-time favorite writers, wasn’t alive for the making of this film. I can’t help but feel his involvement would have helped yield a much more substantial big screen result, mirroring that of the stunning television series. Rest in piece, Mr. Serling, and thank you for creating one of the more creative and thought provoking shows ever produced

… Getting Ready to Sing Auld Lang Sine Out of Tune

The PlanAs we struggle to gasp for the last remaining breaths of 2013, few certainties remain that remind us just how far the sailing ship of man has yet to trek. 1) People will continue to ignore their wailing car alarms at 4am, 2) that strengthening divide between wonder and disdain will persistently drift further apart and 3) if you don’t believe The Ice of Boston by The Dismemberment Plan to be the quintessential New Year’s Eve song, then you are the poster child for our collective lack of progress.

The Ice of Boston perfectly captures that self-reflecting social collapse that pits us squarely in the face of our central, unabashed core. There is no escaping this chamber of truth, and though the bulk of us spend a series of lifetimes attempting to ignore and dismiss our gut reactions, we seldom ever completely dissolve our issues by year’s end, and go along in celebrating another 365 steps closer to death. Sometimes it’s healthy to abandon hope with the ringing in of a new year, and sometimes our mental metamorphosis can create lucrative opportunities we may not have otherwise perceived.

The Plan never released The Ice of Boston on vinyl, which is indeed an unfortunate reality. The single off their 1997 album, The Dismemberment Plan is Terrified, The Ice of Boston EP (on compact disc) remains the sole release by the band on Interscope Records, and is without question a necessity amongst any serious music collector.

If you haven’t heard the track, make it numero uno on your 2014 list of overly-ambitious resolutions. You can find it easily enough on youtube or download it on iTunes for only $0.99. Whether you’re from the east coast of Sri Lanka or North America, the ice of wherever can, and usually will be dark and slippery.

Here’s to another goddamn new year!

Melodic Repetition, Melodic Repetition

SMD CoverHave you ever wanted to live inside an 80s, cutting edge tech film? Well, you can’t. Sorry to break the bad news, but k’mon… let’s hitch a ride back to reality, shall we? Don’t worry, I’ll cover your bus fare. Simian Mobile Disco’s 2008 EP, Clock is something straight out of War Games, or any other Mathew Broderick movie loosely involving 1980s DOS-based operating systems. Melodic repetitions unfolding in waves of hip-gyrating force throughout four catch-tastic dance favorites… what more could you ask for? No, really, what do you want? I’m serious, because I certainly have no idea what you people listen to.

SMD BackI was fortunate enough to catch SMD here in LA a few years back at a HARD fest. There were a lot of people, but the music was loud, so everybody went home a winner. This is more a confession to myself, but I don’t know why I stopped listening to electro. I’ve never been a dancer, but have always enjoyed hard-hitting, and filthy dirty programmed beats. SMD flirts with the dirty side of electro, but falls short when considering them next to MOTOR and / or Boys Noize. Clock however, is certainly worth a listen, especially on a Monday morning a day before the end of the year.

The Packers’ Glory Years

Go Pack GoInstead of the usual, unconcerned and disinterested audio essay, or, installment from the Ambition Has its Flaws Series, I’m going to make an executive decision and decide NOT to (waste) spend my celebratory time on picking, converting, writing, recording, editing, exporting, and posting an audio Groove installment so that I can, instead, focus more on this whiskey in my hand, a Green Back Packers division clinching win, and most importantly, a Chicago Bears loss.

Whether you’re a fan of the only team in professional sports history to be owned by the people instead of a money hungry conglomerate of greedy disillusionment (AKA every other owner of every other team… EVER), you would be remised to ignore the (albeit regional) impact of a Bears loss, and a Packers win to 1) clinch the division, and 2) send one team packing, and the other team to the playoffs. Sports, the eminent distraction from reality it is, can act as a universal language spanning several generations as well as serve as that underlining ice-breaking thread amongst seemingly uninvolved strangers.

Packer BackerThis album may highlight a Packers’ season from over 45 years ago, but the spirit of every Packers win owns a special plot of real estate in every heart of every Green Bay fan, and today’s win… AGAINST THE BEARS… is that perfect example of just how sweet the taste of victory can seem.

We may lose to the 49’ers next week, but one thing is damn well certain… the Chicago Bears’ season has come to an abrupt conclusion by the willing and capable hands of the Green Bay Packers. Suck it, Chicago!

Survival of the Fattest

FatCertain albums carry unintentional weight heavy enough to destroy the basic foundation of a listener’s musical experience.  Survival of the Fattest, the 2nd of the Fat Wreck Chords comps serves as one (of maybe a handful) of these crucial albums. Timing is everything… be it love, a career, no lines at your local record shop on Record Store Day, and what is deemed important say, in 1996 (when this album was released), wouldn’t necessarily wear the same badge of importance as it does in 2013.

Fat BackYou see, I was a budding teen when I acquired this album (of the compact disc persuasion at the 1996 Vans Warped Tour in Milwaukee), and its function as a concrete door-opening battering ram unleashed a lifetime of new and exciting music both directly and indirectly involving the 14 bands contained within it. My love affair with NOFX, albeit cooled to a slight simmer these days, was solidified with this album. The same goes for Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Lagwagon, Propagandhi, Good Riddance and a personal favorite, Strung out… essentially the soundtrack to my late teen years. From there, I would go on to collect any and everything NOFX-related (I’m still searching for 1994’s Don’t Call Me White 7”, although I’m not sure I’d really listen to it much these days), every Lagwagon album and 7″, and any colored vinyl reissue of early, classic Fat albums (mainly Propagandhi, Lagwagon and Good Riddance). I can either blame Survival of the Fattest, for this neverending quest of obtaining the “perfect” collection, or I can thank it for opening my eyes. I haven’t necessarily made up my mind yet.

(A few side notes: 1) This album holds so much adolescent importance that I bought a second, sealed copy just in case my first copy scratches or up and walks away. 2) This was also the album my buddy and I were listening to when we totaled his father’s 1988 Monte Carlo SS. Oh, how impressionable young minds can be.)

Just the Good Ol’ Boys

Hazzard FrontThere seems to have always been trouble a’brewin’ in Hazzard County. Uncle Jesse must have been puttin’ something wacky in that moonshine of his because there appears to be a lot more trouble in Hazzard than in any other county south of the Mason Dixon. Lucky for the good ol’ folks of Hazzard (and TV Land circa: 1981), two modern day Robin Hoods by the names of Bo and Luke Duke were always in the right place at the right time to thwart potential evildoers. Granted, more times than not, it was the Duke boys causin’ all the ruckus, but when picking the lesser of two evils, it helps to have a badass muscle car to tip the odds. With corrupt politicians, wayward cops, and the occasional out of town bandit, the down-home citizens of Hazzard would find themselves in quite the sticky predicament if it weren’t for Bo, Luke, Daisy and Uncle Jesse. Moonshine may be outlawed in Hazzard County, but sometimes it takes an outlaw to set the law straight.

Hazzard BackThe Dukes of Hazzard was my very first “favorite” television show (fitting, considering it’s basically a show about bootlegging moonshine). For me, the classics Fraggle Rock and HBO’s Braingames would follow in the 1969 Dodge Challenger sized Hazzard wake. Classic country, classic cars (often crashing and running into things… no wonder I used to draw muscle cars with smashed front ends as a kid… again, fitting if you know me), and the good ol’ “don’t let the bad guys get away with it” motif. What’s not to love, I ask you?!

Featured on this time capsule of a comp is Johnny Cash, The Hazzard County Boys, the vocal talents of Bo, Luke, and Daisy Duke (John Schneider, Tom Wopat, and Catherine Bach), and of course, Rosco Purvis Coltrane (played by the unforgettable James Best). For fans of the show, owning this album is a no-brainer. For casual Hazzard watchers, pour yourselves a mason jar full of your favorite brown or clear liquor, and leave the rest up to the Dukes of Hazzard County.

It’s Beat Time, it’s Hot Time, it’s Monk Time!

Black TimeNow that the holidays are over (New Years isn’t so much a holiday as yet another excuse to party in excess), we can return to normal ramblings geared towards “real” music. You’ve gotta’ love the holidays, but man did I overdo it this year on the holiday ear candy.

I’ll try to get through this as quickly as possible, as I can’t help but assume you are still enjoying awkward family time. For the past four or so years, December has come to mean a few things: 1) the smog is down, 2) due to the mass number of LA transplants, there is a yearly exodus which leaves the streets clean and clear for the rest of us, and 3) for whatever reason, it’s Monk Time.

Black Time BackWhat is this Monk Time, you ask? Well, Curious Carl (not to be confused with Cowboy Curtis), Monk Time is that very special time of year when the inner monster craves the Earth-shattering sound of the original anti-Beatles. This sheer, rabid dog approach to 1965’s rock n’ roll was light-years ahead of its time, and although they only released one album (in Germany in 1966), these Five Upstart Americans (soldiers as they were) broke the mold with their inventive brand of cathartic, yet surprisingly melodic music. The Monks could be considered garage rock, if that garage were engulfed in flames and moments away from collapsing on itself threatening the lives of everyone within a three-house radius. If you’ve heard of the Monks, this is certainly not news, but if you haven’t, watch the documentary Transatlantic Feedback, and bug your local record store until they acquire for you a copy of Black Monk Time. Certain bands demand attention for their historic significance, and the Monks certainly fit that bill. I’m still in the market for my (obviously) reissue of Black Monk Time (originals go for over $600), but for now I’ll settle for the repackaged and almost identical 2011 release, Black Time.

Although the holidays may be over (and thank God for that… I did it to myself, I really shouldn’t complain… but I will), its rightful owners, the Monks, can once again reclaim December.The Monks Logo