Don’t Don’t Do It

Don't Don't Do ItWith nothin’ to gain except killin’ your brain… It’s a Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five kind of morning, so it seems, and since for some unexplained reason I’ve yet to put my finger on, I find myself locked inside an 80s time warp of celebratory explosions (or something like that), so we may as well shift up the genres, am I right?

Early 80s (quintessential) hip hop masters Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five are at their finest on this 7 track comp unleashed upon the baguette and pastry eating, wine drinking citizens of the picturesque and heavenly land known as France (seriously, the French, as a whole, are by far the nicest people I’ve ever met in my entire life… no joke). So, that was just an over-glorified way of saying this 12” was released in France, bee-tee-dubs.

Anyway, in attempting to figure out the message (The Message… ha! You see, The Message was the track that launched GF&TFF into mainstream consciousness… I thought it was funny) found within White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It), I’ve concluded that, although it’s credited as an anti-drug song, Melle Mel and crew do a considerable job of promoting the illegal substance’s pros just as much, if not more, as they depress its many flaws. Don’t don’t do it is, obviously, a double negative, so it’s the official position of The Prudent Groove that you don’t don’t don’t do drugs… although, I imagine you’d be reaching for anything you can get your hands on after reading this self-indulgent drivel. But seriously, whatever you put into your body is clearly up to you (and I’ll be the last to judge), just make sure you save room for a little Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five every once and a while. It’s good for your head, and it won’t make you paranoid.

Lightning Man

Lightning ManNitzer Ebb’s Lightning Man was one of three singles to emerge from their third album, 1990’s Showtime. Originating in Essex, Nitzer Ebb is pure, unadulterated EBM (electronic body music) also known as industrial dance. My sincere apology if you already knew that.

Released on merciless Mute Records (definitely a label with which to go back and explore if quality electro is your thing), this 2-track 12” is a good example of the band’s refined maturity that spanned the three short years since their debut album, That Total Age. Lightning Man, and especially the b-side, Who We Are harbor deep, imposing, and often deliberately sluggish layers of sexy EBM that, sans vocals, would work perfect as film score. As is, it makes for a fantastic, yet unfortunately short listen.

It’s a RevCo World

RevCo CoverThere is a distinct level of sophistication found throughout the three tracks on Revolting Cocks’ debut 12” No Devotion that is only hinted at on Ministry releases from the same label (Wax Trax! Records) in the same year (1985). There is something much more nefarious and menacing here than say, Everyday (Is Halloween), or even Over the Shoulder (both Ministry releases, and both released in 1985). The Nature of Love (again, Ministry… you can see where my head has been lately) comes close, but is lacking that fiendish push into classic industrial / EBM territory. Perhaps No Devotion, with its three tracks clocking in at 22 minutes, benefits largely due to the fact that RevCo, at this time, was a bit of a Wax Trax! Records supergroup. Consisting of Front 242 head, Richard 23 and Luc Van Acker (surprisingly, Alain Jourgensen is isolated as Producer and not an official Cock), this preliminary incarnation of the ever-evolving band would only release one other record as a three piece, their first full length, 1986’s Big Sexy Land. After that, Richard 23 left, and Ministry mainstays Bill Rieflin, Paul Barker and Chris Connelly became official Cocks. The band would change again in 1993, then yet again in 2006, but that’s a topic for another time.

RevCo BackEvery once in a blue moon I’ll get trapped amongst the early Wax Trax! Records releases, which usually leaves me with a raging headache and the smell of whiskey on my breath, but every time I’m more than happy to welcome the comfort of anger and disgust that inevitably comes along with some of the pinnacle releases of the industrial movement.

You’ve Got to Work for Love, Fools!

Work for Love CoverI’ve set the new-wave-turned-dangerously-industrial wheels in motion, so why stop now? I can picture you penning an extensive list of (possibly legitimate) reasons exactly why to stop, but I’ll ignore that. I assure you, this won’t turn into the Ministry-all-you-can-eat-buffet hour. It’s just that I’m currently locked inside this early-Ministry shmorgishborg and I’m enjoying these hidden new wave masterworks as though it were my first time. You can imagine my excitement… or, you can’t… but NOW you can.

Work for Love BackReleased in 1983 (or 1982, depending on your source), Work for Love was one of three singles from early-Ministry’s debut album, With Sympathy (the others being I Wanted to Tell Her and Revenge). I’m in love with the cover art almost as much as I am with the mind numbing catchiness of the song. This single houses three, that’s right three versions of the track, Extended, Short and Dub, and believe it or not, you really don’t have to work very hard to fall in love with this 30-year-old gem (I’m sorry).

Editor’s note: I’ve been in a digitizing mood lately, so if there is anything you guys want that I may have on vinyl, email me and I’ll rip it for you. For some self-loathing reason, I thoroughly enjoy the process.

Cold Life

Cold Life LabelIt’s the first rather cold day here in LA (if that isn’t the oxymoron to end all oxymorons), and it feels amazing. So, what may seem as a bit of a stretch for some (I’ll ask those to remain silent), today’s choice for the daily platter-player is the appropriate Cold Life EP by early-Ministry. I specify early-Ministry because the contents of the first seven or so years of the bands output sounds NOTHING like the music we’ve all grown to love and admire.

Cold Live CoverThose expecting the obsessive rage and severe crunch of Ministry circa: 1988-1996 (and beyond for that matter) will be extremely shocked (and instantly irate) upon first listen, and will demand a throw down claiming this new wave, funk noise is not Ministry at all. Well, my fellow tender meatheads, you’d lose that battle. Like a spitting, swinging light in the damp and musty basement of industrial music history, signs of classic Ministry illuminate in stabby bursts throughout these four, groove-happy tracks. They may be suffocated by early 80s synth-pop, but believe me… they’re there.

A must for the diehard Ministry fan, or the casual fan of the progressive lineage of industrial music as a whole, Cold Life, upon further spins, is not near as bad as it first seems, and after the cloud of fury subsides, it’s actually an extremely enjoyable listen.Wax Trax! Records Logo (1985)

The One and Only Nicola Paone

Paone CoverProduced by Creed Taylor for ABC-Paramount Records, Down at Paone’s Place features the restaurateur and entertaining crooner, Nicola Paone playfully performing Italian-inspired, upbeat folk tunes for a vivacious atmosphere of classic, early 60s music in the vein of the popular, Volare. Paone’s voice is slick, smooth, and at times laugh-out-loud silly. His execution is considerably impressive knowing he turned down several singing gigs in order to maintain his restaurant at 207 East 34th St. in New York City, which was in full operation until its inevitable closing in 2008.

Paone BackIf you’re craving a little spice with your Tortellini Al Bosco, look no further than Down at Paone’s Place. I’ve personally never had the pleasure of a Nicola Paone specialty dish, but enjoying this prized album with homemade Lemon Butter Linguini is the next best thing. Mangia bene, vivi felice!

Quality Records for Family Enjoyment

ABC-Paramount RecordsABC-Paramount Records: Full color fidelity on a two-tone sleeve. Established in 1955 under the variation, Am-Par Record Corporation (the music collateral of American Broadcasting Company, which was then titled American Broadcasting-Paramount Theaters… the more you know), ABC-Paramount Records was home to some of the most prominent voices (I almost went with paramount) the late 50s and early 60s had to offer. With Fats Domino and Ray Charles leading the pack, other lesser-known artists (just because they’re less known doesn’t make them less than) like Mario Escudero, Sabicas, the Les Djinns Singers and Roy Smeck were given a platform with which to proclaim their love for the gift of music.

1961 saw the label branching out (far out, man) into the audacious world of Jazz with their subsidiary label, Impulse (featured in the photo above). Home to the likes of Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Duke Ellington, the Milt Jackson Quartet and John Coltrane, Impulse was managed by none other than CTI Records himself, Creed Taylor.

The label was eventually sold to MCA Records in 1979, and the relatively short-lived ABC-Paramount Records was discontinued shortly thereafter. As an aside, MCA Records was absorbed and rebranded as Universal Music Group in 1995, and has become the nation’s largest music corporation. The rest, as they say, is big fish eating little fish history (fishtory?).

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Roger the BunnyWas it those Commie Liberals, or maybe the offensive line for the Green Bay Packers? Maybe it was the elusive idle Indiana Jones went searching for and was ultimately forced to hand over. Perhaps it was a not-so-anonymous committee consisting of former Burger King drive-thru attendants and vintage wallpaper designers. But who would have wanted to frame the poor animated bunny? Was it the face of Mahatma Gandhi in a pool of oil beneath a leaky engine? Or maybe it was a Norton Anti-Antivirus, designed to infiltrate and disrupt all Robert Zemeckis films. For that matter, it could have been the scheming and manipulating team of Marty McFly and Jennifer Parker, although, if that were the case, I bet Doc was the mastermind behind the operation.

Richard RabbitHas anybody checked the whereabouts of the Chicken Lady on the night in question? People say John Bonham died, but at times like this, one really should verify the facts.

What possible motive did he, or she, or they, or IT possess? My guess… he wasn’t framed at all. Roger Rabbit is guilty! Thank God for Forensic Files, am I right?

Take A Trip Across the World (and Back) with Alfred Hause & His Orchestra

FolksongsEasy listening waltz romps manifesting themselves as interplanetary folk ditties. Solemnly executed by Alfred Hause & His Orchestra, this 1970 cultural roller coaster politely invites you, the listener on a destination vacation through the sunny shores of Mexico, over to the Mediterranean-basking banks of Italy, behind the looming German wall, down to the open, festive, ambience of Spain, all the way across the Atlantic and halfway across the Pacific to paradisiacal Hawaii, before making a pit stop (to flip the record) all the way back to the island of Ireland. If jet lag isn’t your thing, consider a shot and a nap before continuing on with the equally delightful side 2.

Folksongs BackAll rested up and ready for another go? Fantastic. After your three day nap, you find yourself amongst the natural wonders of Argentina (Argentine Republic), before hopping over to the densely populated, yet culturally explosive streets of Japan, up to the chilly, crisp air of Russia, back to Germany (to retrieve a pair of socks you accidentally left behind… you know the socks, the ones you got as a gift from Aunt Silvia that you simply can’t live without), then over to the ignorant-minded throes of Southern United States, before reaching your final, and justly deserved, destination of Scotland.

Closing out a multicultural trip that you’ll undoubtedly remember for the rest of your days with the classic, Auld Lang Syne, you look back at your wondrous journey with exhausted fervor, and a lifetime of memories and useless knowledge with which to entertain (or annoy) your friends and family.

Les Paul Now!

Les Paul Now!If you’re in the mood for sweet-low, (<— comma… please notice the comma…) quality instrumental guitar music with a hint of blues and a touch of country twang, look no further than Wisconsin native Les Paul.

The Now part is a bit arbitrary, but the Les Paul part is pure, unmistakable 6-string joy. Two things I learned from (very, very briefly) researching this album are 1) Les Paul came out of retirement to record this album for London Records and 2) by this time, Les and Mary Ford had officially split.

Les Paul CustomReleased in 1968, Les Paul Now!, with its voluptuous purity, must have seemed somewhat out of step with the majority of pop music being produced in the closing years of the waning, hip-tastic 60s. Lucky for appreciators of prudent ear candy everywhere, virtue knows not how to tell time.

The O.C. 45

O.C. 45 SleeveThis record is a thermoplastic material. Do not expose to excessive temperature. So reads this vintage 45 sleeve from Capitol Records. I personally don’t own an O.C. 45, but that will undoubtedly change sometime in the near future. For those of you not in the know, don’t worry if you aren’t, because I just discovered this for myself some short moments ago, the O stands for optional and the C stands for center. I do, obviously, possess several generic adapters (many of them classic Spiders), but something tells me that the O.C. 45 is, quite simply put, the Rolls Royce of 45 adapters. Except that, it isn’t. Here’s why.

SMALL Spindles LogoThanks to Capitol6000.com for harboring the only information about this long defunct adapter anywhere online. I encourage you to read the article at Capitol6000.com, but here is the gist of it: To provide the listener/purchaser/record collecting nut with viable options for pure, listening satisfaction, Capitol Records invented a record that could easily play on either small spindles (78rpm and 33 1/3rpm), or by (aggressively) punching out the optional center, the record could be played on larger spindles (45rpm). This seems like a clever and convenient way to circumvent the clouded format war of the late 40s and early 50s (a war that still rages on to this day), but my question is this. Was the punched out adapter able to be punched back in?

LARGE Spindles LogoSay your wife wanted to enjoy some Les Baxter with her bothersome friends at the bi-monthly block party cookout, but you’ve already punched out the optional center. After (reluctantly) searching the entire house looking for the damn thing, do you return to the Better Homes and Gardens party a hero, or will you go down in history as the only guy on the block who couldn’t give the ladies Les Baxter when they needed it? Thankfully, the Frank A. Jansen and Snap-It adapters were slowly moving their way into record collections across the gluttonous US of A by this time, so any possibility of further social awkwardness could easily be avoided.

Beasties O.C. 45Used to house my transparent blue vinyl copy of the Sabotage/Sure Shot split by the Beastie Boys, this pristine little vintage record sweater is a perfect fit for my mid 90s rock/hip-hop obsession.

Let’s Begin Now

Not Cleared for BroadcastDistributed in the height of Star Wars sequel anticipation, this 1979 release of a children’s Read-Along book and record set hosts one of my first vivid memories of playing a record. Thanks to my first, pocket-sized (for very large pockets) turntable, I was able to enjoy an insanely abridged version of my favorite story… a story I had been convinced was the greatest ever told.

Original Motion PictureWhen listening to this little memory-harboring 7″ (with all its pop-filled, skip-tastic glory), I can still picture myself reenacting the drama-soaked adventures with my 3¾” Star Wars action figures and thinking, being a kid is the greatest thing on this, or any galaxy, regardless of placement in time and/or location. (A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… was easily replaced with Just a moment ago in a playroom very, very near…)

The ol’ girl has certainly seen better days, but I wouldn’t trade her for all seats on the Imperial Senate.

Shut ‘Em Down

ONYXSo, the (US) government is shutdown for the first time since 1996. Well, isn’t that fantastic? Since the country can’t even agree to disagree, it’s about damn time to unleash the pit bulls of pain… Shut ‘Em Down, Onyx… Shut ‘Em Down.

Released in the dwindling years of the 20th century, Shut ‘Em Down was the third album by the Queens based gangsta rap quartet turned trio (RIP Big DS), and their final for Def Jam Records. Shut ‘Em Down features the first big label appearance by 50 Cent (which is about all our government is worth at the moment). I’m not a fan of 50 Cent, but his debut with Onyx is worth noting.

I’m partial to Bacdafucup myself (Onyx’s first and most prolific album), but on a day when someone desperately needs to hit the reset button on the nation, Shut ‘Em Down will certainly suffice.Mad Face '98

Post #250: Three Albums, One Island

Paul'sIf you were stranded on a remote island (that conveniently harbored electricity, speakers and a bomb-ass turntable), and you were only allowed to pick three albums with which to spin for your remaining, ocean-gazing days, what three albums would they be?

For me, the first two albums were no-brainers. Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys, and The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society by The Kinks. Choosing the proper versions, both albums are double LPs (1998’s Grand Royal reissue and 2011’s mono/stereo split), so you’re already a leg up on the island dwelling competition. The third and final album requires much more, overanalyzed thought. Do you play it safe and pick Abbey Road? What about The Beatles, also known as the White Album? Or, do you skip the 12” format altogether and grab your favorite song, which just happens to be a post-hardcore thrasher by the obscure Wisconsin band, Defacto Oppression? Certainly NOT an easy decision to make (in this overly voluptuous hypothetical), second-guessing is sure to follow after the inevitably dreadful decision is (finally) made.

Village GreenBruce Springsteen’s Nebraska garnishes some thought, but would probably be far too depressing… after all, these three albums will help feed, or deter the fact that you are, after all, stranded on a remote island. Emergency & I by the Dismemberment Plan is a considerably strong candidate, but would immediately be my number four pick. Bizarre Ride II (The Pharcyde), In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up (Live) (Ministry), This is Tim Hardin (Tim Hardin… duh), and Circa: Now! (Rocket from the Crypt) are all, exceptional lily pads on this thought pond, but none of them make the distinct cut.

London Calling (The Clash), Double Nickels on the Dime (Minutemen), Singles – 45’s and Under (Squeeze), Energy (Operation Ivy), Appetite for Destruction (Guns N’ Roses), which would easily be my number five pick, Black Monk Time (The Monks), and Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (Dead Kennedys) all lay floating in the salted sea of “never to enjoy again.” Damn, this post is depressing.

RefusedAnd the winner goes to… The Shape of Punk to Come… the quintessential soundtrack to my evasive youth wins the number three spot, and with little hesitation, I might add. Refused’s best, and another double LP, this top three has quickly turned into the top six, and would respectfully demonstrate, and/or adequately demolish my headspace for the rest of my delusional life. To pick three out of 2,800 is certainly NOT an easy gesture… if asked again tomorrow, I’d have a completely different roster. Oh, the joy, and immediate pleasure of viable options.

Even Space Stations Are Having a Hard Time

Deltron2Dan the Automator, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Kid Koala, Money Mark Nishita, Prince Paul, Damon Albarn, Sean Lennon, Mr. Lif, Peanut Butter Wolf… the list goes on (and on… the credits contain 19 entries, up to and including the G4 computer used to compose these ravishing beats).

All that bass is gonna’ break my ears.

Deltron 3030 exists within a futuristic and corporately antiseptic environment it created for itself. To overly simplify the enormity of this album, the phrase “smart hip-hop” could accurately be used. To overly complicate an already overly complicated concept album, the following phrase seems accurate; “think Dr. Octagon without the perversion, set 1030 years into the future, and triple the IQ.” This album is as hysterical as it is awe-inspiring, as forward thinking as it is historic, and a perfect album for people who don’t necessarily like hip-hop.

Heathens will breed heathens.

Deltron 3030 broke into the new millennium with their 21-track debut of the same name on October 17th, 2000. Fact. They have a much-anticipated follow-up due out on Tuesday titled, Event 2. Fact. With a 13 year gap between albums, this coming Tuesday should go down in astrological history. Opinion.

Saturday Mornings With Richard Pryor

RichA day that goes by without a Richard Pryor quote is both a sad, and extremely rare day. Literally every time someone mentions a year from the 20th century, my tuned Pryears : ) perk up, and I do everything within my power to stop from breaking into the classic Sugar Ray Robinson routine. “Nineteen what?!” One of the best gifts I’ve truly ever given myself was the countless hours of listening to Richard Pryor. Because, in doing so, I’m now able to conjure up Rich’s voice in my head, seemingly at will. It’s an overwhelmingly comfortable feeling to have Richard Pryor with you every moment of every day. One of life’s little gifts, I guess.

The following is a list of everyday objects and well, whatevers that will forever be linked to the funniest man to ever walk the Earth (sorry, Jason Hardwick): fish sandwiches; dice; change for $1; craps; pet monkeys; walking in the woods; snakes; winos; 11 o’clock; blackjack; polar bears; (I’m literally crying I’m laughing so hard just thinking of these comedic bits) Mongo Santamaría; turtle soup; license plates; a cool breeze; and anything deep (to name a few).

I’m strongly considering dedicating Saturday mornings to Richard Pryor, much to the dismay of my girlfriend and our uptight neighbors. If you’re unfamiliar with the crowned prince of comedy, start with Craps (After Hours). Keep an open mind and the kids out of earshot. You’ll thank me.

The Presidents Speak

WashingtonWhat’s better than an Extended Play 33 1/3 rpm Hi-Fidelity Record on George Washington? An Extended Play 33 1/3 rpm Hi-Fidelity Record on George Washington narrated by Art Baker, that’s what! And what’s more, a Collector’s Edition Presidential Commemorative Medallion… specially minted coin replica of one of America’s legendary leaders! It’s raining awe over here at The Prudent Groove, and I’ll be damned if I’m going for my umbrella.

Attention Collectors:

You will want the handsome plaque, specially designed to display the entire collection of Presidential Commemorative Medallions. Ask your dealer!

Don’t tell me what I want, 1966 Kaysons International LTD.! I am fully capably of deciding for myself. I don’t need you telling me, okay? Okay.

(Man, I could really use a nice, specially designed plaque with which to display my Commemorative Presidential Medallions… damn you, 1966 Kaysons International LTD.!)

Moscow Mules at 3am

3am RantFueled by a Moscow Mule at three in the morning (the first I’ve ever made for myself), I sit, alone, ripe with intensity at the notion of plugging away at today’s fiendish post. Unfortunately, I have no geological compass with which to guide my lamenting rants. My scorned conscious maligns itself at continuously writing about writing about music, instead of actually writing about music… the byproduct of never taking myself too seriously.

Why music? Furthermore, why the tedious and lethargic interactivity of a flippable media disc? And why does it provide so much relentless satisfaction? Are we slaves to our pleasures? Would we care to acknowledge the answer we know to be true? I’m not immune to the truth. I just choose to keep it at bay in the back of my mind next to my burgeoning narcissism, and that video of me singing Pour Some Sugar on Me as a nonsensical child.

Perhaps, personalized discovery is to blame… or to credit. A sea of emotions built, and then repeatedly cast upon the wall with each gratifying listen. Music is above all other things, the greatest distracter of deafening silence. Because, once the silence takes hold, you’re stuck with the worst conversation you can possibly imagine… the conversation with yourself.

I listen to music in order to mute my internal monologue. My unconscious self, much like my conscious self, is a raging idiot, and I’ll do just about anything in my power to shut it the hell up… I don’t see harm in fanning this enduring process, do you?

Having Nothing to Do With Anything, These are My Thoughts While Listening to Sports by Huey Lewis and the News

News CoverI wonder if Huey got paid for his cameo in Back to the Future, or if his role as the disapproving high school teacher was compensation for the two Huey Lewis and the News tracks featured on the soundtrack. I remember wanting to be a ninja when this album was big. I believe I WAS a ninja for Halloween one year… I should have gone as Huey instead.

I’m not sure why I own two copies of this album. My father introduced me to Huey Lewis and the News, albeit inadvertently. He had Sports on cassette and would play it in his Datsun. I had a small toy Datsun around this time. I used to pretend it was my father’s car speeding through makeshift highways and back alleys… all while listening to Sports, of course.

News BackI wonder who the modern day Huey Lewis is. I have a new respect for the News now that I know they were Elvis Costello’s backing band for his debut, My Aim is True. Does anybody remember the sketch comedy show on HBO, Not Necessarily the News? I distinctly remember the video for Stuck With You, but since that track doesn’t make an appearance on Sports, I’ll bypass further ramblings of this thought.

I wonder what drug Huey was referring to that makes him feel three feet thick. I wonder what the street value of that drug was then, compared to what it is now. Going back to Back to the Future, I wonder how successful the movie would have been had the DeLorean been replaced by say, a 1985 Chrysler Lebaron.

Sports, for me at least, is the soundtrack to a half-decade of childhood memories. I can’t imagine growing up without it.

Four Old Seven Inches On A Twelve Inch

12Dischord Records did a remarkable thing for fans of early, D.C. based hardcore. Back in July of 2007, the label, owned by Minor Threat frontman and drummer, Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson, reissued four, LONG out of print 7” EPs as the 12” comp, Four Old Seven Inches On A Twelve Inch.

When you consider how much these original records sell for (brace yourself, because this is crazy: Teen Idles – Minor Disturbance E.P. – $750, S.O.A. – No Policy E.P. – $450, Government Issue – Legless Bull E.P. – $208.35, and Youth Brigade – Possible E.P. – $538.40), fans of the genre, like myself, may not otherwise have heard these historic rants had a compilation such as this not been released. Totaling $1946.75 for the originals, the $12 price of the comp still doesn’t seem so bad.