The Gilded Disc

Dark SideIt is the humble position of The Prudent Groove that all record collectors, who don’t already know this… the obvious… steer crystal clear of any and all picture discs. Sure, they welcome a glistening pyrite-like flash of abnormality, but unless you’re a gleeful youth, skipping is probably not on your day’s agenda.

Discovering a record that skips is not unlike finding a wallet on the beach containing no money. The wave of excitement is quickly drained upon this startling realization and, in this case, if a relatively hefty sum is paid for said skip-it record, its inclusion in your library rides that fine line between, “I should sell it, but wouldn’t want to burden a brother / sister collector with these woes ” and “well, I should just throw the damn thing away.” So, here it sits… unplayed… but looking as beautiful as a Saturday morning.

JackStay away from picture discs kids. They may offer a bit of visual life in the mostly black world of vinyl, but every single one is prone to skip, and could turn out offering more resentment than entertaining pleasure.

Paradise Village: Population 2

Paradise VillageLove is in the air, my friends. Last week heard the melodic vibrations from love’s rapturous heartstrings with the forging of Jason and Rachael, and today will mark the blissful beginning of Mr. and Mrs. Troy and Kelly Benjamin (Troy been jammin’ I always say). So, who better to usher in these two Caribbean companions than Al Caiola and His Islanders?

Paradise Village is not just an unincorporated island in the minds of love-seeking soul-searchers, it’s also a romantic escape, at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute, to that island of hope, the rock of love if you will, that so many strive for, but very few are able to witness firsthand. I found my island… her name is Jillian. Jason found his, and now, Troy is about to take a permanent vacation to his own exalted oasis. Congratulations to Troy and Kelly! May your love, and the grandiose beauty of your future keep you both in a village of paradise for the rest of your remaining days.

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

PeepsAs a wide-eyed and furrow-browed youngster, I was a huge fan of Swing Music. While attending the local tech college, certain courses were required that involved physical movement (you see, it was Wisconsin, and in the winter we’d have to constantly move around to keep from freezing to death), i.e. racquetball, swimming, and the newly added Swing dance class.

It was 1997, and every 18 year old worth his weight in overzealous ambitions was an enormous fan of the 1996 classic, Swingers… and I was certainly no different. I owned the soundtrack, the DVD, and of course, several quote spilled posters that littered the walls of my shared 3 bedroom apartment on Madison’s west side. I wanted to be a Swinger (in the film’s sense, not the 1970’s shag carpet sense), and my semester learning the lively and energetic basics of Swing was arguably one of my best months of post high school education, regardless if I’ve forgotten all the moves.

Swing FrontFast-forward a good 6 or 7 years to a little record shop in Ventura, CA (no need to move around there, the temperature seldom drops below 55). I became friends with the owner and I was given a quality deal on 13, 3 LP box sets celebrating the Swing era. The series is titled, quiet appropriately, The Swing Era, with each set focusing on 3 to 5 year chunks. Currently on the platter is 1930-1936 and features a lot of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Casa Loma. This, as well as every other set includes a 64-page hard cover book focusing on the intricacies throughout the era during that set’s well, set of years.

I may never again do the Lindy Hop, but with 78 sides of quality Swing spanning the genre’s entire history (13 sets of 3 LPs each x 2 sides), I’ll certainly have the material handy if the jittery bug should ever bite again.

Offer Expires December 31, 1970

Johnny Cash Poster OfferSend for the newest Johnny Cash poster! So reads this adsert from the house copy of Hello, I’m Johnny Cash. I mean, come on (read, COME OWN), people! This is a 22” x 33” mother sucking poster that is as big and bold as life! BIG… and BOLDAS LIFE! You’re wasting time! Drop whatever you’re doing right this God-given second! Feeding the baby? Well, maybe don’t drop the baby, but rather, set the baby down on the linoleum next to Thomas the Train and this month’s copy of Bon Appetite magazine, and ORDER! THIS!! MOTHER LOVING POSTER!!!

As an avid Tim Hardin fan, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this collection of field-tending utterances (of creative genius) fashioned a JC version of the song (arguably, Tim Hardin’s most famous), If I Were A Carpenter. Death makes legends of mediocre men. Such is not the case with regards to both Hardin and/or Cash. 1969, the year of this album’s release, I imagine, was a tempting and paranoid time. I never saw 1969… I never breathed the tree-hugging stench of the summer of love, but I am, however ill fashioned, and comfortably basking in this year’s creative brilliance, for lack of a better term.

It’s currently 11:02 in the PM and the whiskey has already dressed itself in the warming linens of my fingers’ skin, so, just about anything read (written) from this point forward need not be taken without a grain (or two) of seasoned salt. Hardin vs. Cash… both are dead, yet, both remain amicably fruitful in the receptive throats of those thirsty for heartfelt tones.

All detours lead to Hardin… – The Prudent Groove

Legendary Logos: Studio City Records

Studio City RecordsFrom the bowels of obscurity, I introduce, Studio City Records. Based out of Minneapolis, SCR is a bit of a mystery throughout the interwebs, but fashions one of the most interesting logos I’ve ever seen (next to the original Grand Royal Records logo, of course). With a 45 label centered in front of, what I assume to be, the Minneapolis skyline, this elongated branding tool caught my eye while photographing and inserting my Ernie Coopman & His Jolly Brewers LP into discogs. My copy of EC&HJB is one of only 6 other entries under the Studio City Records guise, whose friends include such (to me) unknown bands as the Canadian Bel-Tones, The Vaqueros, The Pagans, Maurice Turner, The Bondsmen and The Stompers. Somewhere, probably in a lavish shack outside the Twin Cities, there lives someone with the scoop on Studio City Records. Until this “keeper of secrets” graces the internet with their wealth of knowledge, Studio City Records, and this amazing logo, will continue to mystify the masses.

Shep Lives!

Bahn Frei BlueJean Shepherd is neither a shepherd, nor a woman. If you know who that is, I have absolutely no doubt that you are already an enormous fan. The mischievous New York radio personality, whose eloquent tenure spanned from 1948 to 1977, was nothing short of an eggheaded genius, a word I VERY rarely use (well, I seldom use eggheaded either for that matter). His brilliant storytelling and enthusiastic delivery has, very poorly put, never been equaled and, I’m certain, never will. Also an established writer (who, if anyone, has never heard of A Christmas Story?!), Shep, as his fans knew him, shared his magnetic rants over every conceivable medium, and will forever be identified as radio’s most overlooked legend.Shep

Like with any show, there is a theme song. Shep, for reasons not entirely clear, chose Arthur Fiedler’s version of the Bahn Frei Polka to kick-off his shows. Like the start of a marathon horse race, the Bahn Frei Polka launches from the gate with a galloping wallop of fury and anxious anticipation that, to this day, gives me goosebumps and an enormous smile every time I hear it.

Bahn Frei RedPlease, I beg of you… if you have iTunes and an internet connection, treat yourself to one of life’s most cherished treasures, and subscribe to the (free) podcasts, The Brass Figlagee and Mass Backwards. With nearly 1400 recorded shows (you read that right), the prosperous servitude of this man’s objective vision should be shared and analyzed by any and every fan of the childhood laugh. Long live Jean Shepherd!

Introducing Simply Samples

Simply SamplesIn my continuous efforts to keep from boring myself to death by scouring the internet for new and lavish ways to describe awesome, or amazing, or simply, I really dig this album, man, and I like, think you would too, I’ve decided to start a new category tentatively titled, Simply Samples. Simply Samples will NOT satisfy your mid-afternoon appetite while on your weekend trip to the local Piggly Wiggly (or Trader Joe’s if you live in LA… they’re grocery stores), instead, it will act as a strong, bold line connecting two seemingly unrelated dots. For example (and I should really think about starting a new paragraph soon), my SO (significant other) and I were watching Silence of the Lambs last night when a very familiar phrase flew out of our living room stereo. It was spoken by Senator Ruth Martin, the mother of Buffalo Bill’s current victim in the film, while pleading for her daughter’s life at a television news conference. The words, you have the power struck my head like a blow from Sugar Ray Robinson (RIP Richard Pryor), and I had to pause the movie (my SO LOVES it when I do that) to figure out where I’d heard that exact phrase a thousand times before (is a THOUSAND enough?). Surprise, surprise, the Revolting Cocks sampled that phrase on their 1993 album, Linger Ficken’ Good in their opening track Gila Copter. Sporting a playful smile, I took a moment to quickly scan over all the samples from songs I’d ever heard whose sources I actually knew, and Simply Samples was born.

This new dot-connecting category may not be of interest to the lot of you, but those of you who are into programmed beats and / or concept albums with samples to obscure films or television shows, Simply Samples may be that white, yippy dog in the bottom of the well you’ve been looking for. That’s a Silence of the Lambs reference… have a nice day.

Here is the track. The sample comes in at 1:16 if you’re interested.

I Remember Buddy

BuddyYeah, I remember Buddy! That Birkenstock-wearing, Top 40 Radio-listening, part time tree-hugging philanthropist. It’s nearly impossible to forget him, given his gaudy, rhinestone eye patch he considers, “a necessary fashion accessory, regardless of my 20/20 vision.” Yeah, Buddy’s ideals are more based on the weekly grocery circulars than anything he learned in Philosophy V01 up at Ventura College.

Jerry BackI remember Buddy, and so does Jerry Vale. My memory of this tip-stealing, hot sauce drinking, re-gifter isn’t near as sentimental as they appear to be for Mr. Vale. Unlike Mr. Vale and his sugar-sweet, golden-throated praise in Buddy’s memory (why he would do such a malignant thing is far beyond the grasp of my comprehension), my memories of Buddy, the vagrant oil stains littering the driveway of my past, those memories need to take a permanent vacation and never get a striking urge to write home. I’ll never forget you Buddy, although I would do just about everything in my conceivable power if given the opportunity.

An Open Letter to the Deceased Tim Hardin (Prematurely, and Hastily Written)

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Dear Mr. Hardin AKA my current crutch,

Why? Thank you, sincerely, and from the bottom of my soul, but why? Did you know… did you see… that death was easier than the inevitable? Was it easier to give in, than to exploit and disrupt? Love, being only a four-letter word, seemed easily disregarded, be it, perhaps, for only in three minute intervals.

Mr. Hardin, certain voices cannot be silenced, and certain feelings cannot be ignored. I carry as much sorrow as I do gratitude, and your voice, provided with fevered esteem, will carry on where your will could not. Seemingly out of nowhere, the soundtrack to the bulk of my existence, my self-indulgent, unconscious darkness, is produced by you. You did what was needed. Your demise is not in question… certainly, for, who am I to judge? Instead, the painted roadmaps that lead to your inevitable doom, and ethereal glory, is what, above all else, I can’t figure out… be it my ignorance, or your selfish neglect.

Tim, for what you’ve provided, and, what I imagine, will continue to provide via your essentials, AKA record albums (the Record Album?), for that body of work, a body I assume you were never able to see from afar, I am extremely grateful… to put it mildly.

The words, “Tim Hardin” will never be far from thought, and I will do all that I can to suggest, to convince, to sway, to push, to assure, and to drop the needle for any and everyone I feel necessitates your comforting tone.

Mr. Tim Hardin, I was only one year, six months and two days when you passed, but until the day in which I leave this mottled agony, I will not forget your soulful message. This adolescent gesture is but a scuff on the shoe of creative genius, but please rest assured, your music will forever have a home so long as these lungs are able to draw in the dank, desperate air.

Sincerely,

The Prudent Groove

Isn’t It A Pretty Scene?!

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 9.52.57 PMIt had been suggested that I write a commemorative string of meaningful and explicit words to commemorate the bonding unification between two of my favorite individuals (whom I’ve been socially forced into articulating with).

It had also been suggested (many times… and mostly by yours truly) that this pair, not unlike Lennon & McCartney, Simon & Garfunkel, Hall & Oates, Difford & Tilbrook, and essentially, primarily, inherently, and FINALLY, She & Him (she being Rachael, and him being Jason… obviously… GAH), were perpetually destined to straddle the horseback of life’s mischievous quarrels side, by loving side.

Sometimes, and it’s a rather rare affair, love’s destined future rears its ambiguous head, and sometimes, the testing seeds of exaltation present themselves in ways that (still) stand as glistening examples of how immaculate and pure the binding of two (never again) strangers can secure.

Congratulations to Rachael and Jason Hardwick… it was about damn time!

Drinks N’ Roses

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Do you know what I hate? Whiskey. Yeah. I hate whiskey. It’s not the lovingly-bitter pinch it leaves on your exasperated tongue, it’s not the superhuman strength it willingly, and fervently gives you, it’s not the subtle suggestions it, well, suggests, that leave you STRONGLY considering running for a seat on the United States House of Representatives… instead, it’s the overwhelming velocity in its seemingly subtle proposals that provoke me to nudge the dials on my home stereo from, oh, I don’t know, say a neighborhood pleasing, tolerable volume, to a RAGING, cacophony of disruptive and uncongenial banter of my emotional choosing (namely, Guns N’ Roses, Refused, Guns N’ Roses, and ok, well mainly Guns N’ Roses).

There are specified channels of unquestionable vitality that never consider stepping down from atop their immortal foundation, and 1987 G N’ R is absurdly no exception.

Editor’s note: I extend my intense apology for the choice of photos for the following X posts. You see, I’ll be out of the office for the next X days and, well, I’ve forgotten to take pictures of the proper albums prior to my last minute post writing (you know, with the proper daylight and all). Something tells me, however, not a soul will notice, or venture to care, and therefore this Editor’s note will have served as a monumental waste of both your, and my time. Carry on.

Freak Out!

ChicLadies and gentlemen, it’s officially time to freak out. Why you ask? Is it because we’re well into our 2nd week of this adolescent government shutdown? No. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that one of your best friends is getting married in a few days and, like you, he’s an underdeveloped and severely frightened child living in an adult’s body? No, well, yes, but no. Maybe it’s the fact that in exactly 100 days, The Prudent Groove turns 1 year old? Possibly, but I think it’s something much more offbeat and divergent than that. Why can’t we all just freak out for freak out’s sake? I mean, it’s good for the beat-loving soul to freak once and a while, right? Yes. Well, all right then.

Sons of Senators’ Sons of Senators’ Sons of Senators’ Sons

Blow Minds CoverWe could all use a little Jello in our diets. Be it the “from concentrate” blend found in the Dead Kennedys, or the 100%, all-natural, organic pickings from Jello Biafra’s spoken word albums, this political-protein based truth-nutrition is part of a healthy, balanced diet, and it’ll help you shed those conservative love handles with little-to-no effort.

This anti-war, pro-lower & middle/working class, pro-education, pro-environment, pro-urban renewal, anti-mainstream media, anti-racism, promotional works of undivided freedom will be written off by some as terrorist propaganda, but that certainly doesn’t make it wrong, or worse, truthful. An exceptionally dense piece of work, this double LP is Jello’s third spoken word album, and requires repeat listens in order to absorb the steady waves of detailed and cited research that, for reasons that are all too obvious, make him a threat to a system set-up to keep the poor, the mute, and fearful at bay.

Blow Minds BackThis should be required listening material for 6th graders across the nation. Black and white are not the only colors in this uniform spectrum we are all a part of, and what’s frustrating, is that so many will blindly say that black and white aren’t really colors at all. Distraction, the oldest and most powerful guise in maintaining power the world has ever known.

College Songs Everybody Knows

Jumpin Jan GarberHave you ever felt nostalgic for barely recognizable frat-rants from 16 prestigious universities you never attended? Okay, then allow me to sweeten the deal. Let’s say these 16 cult chants were conducted by Jan Garber and his orchestra, pressed and released on Decca Records, and dates back to 1962! You feel that sharp pain in your lower back, don’t you? That’s the juicy jolt of nostalgia attacking your music muscles like an incurable virus. No need to worry, because the poison is also the cure (as you can plainly see from the over-stimulated Ohioan on the cover).

College Songs BackWhether you flunked out of Georgia Tech, slept through USC, or braved the brutal winters at the University of Wisconsin (or, if you’re like me, NONE of the above), then these sing-along classics are just the Hail Mary pass of desperation and competitive charge you never really knew you needed. Why not call up your old sorority brethren, break out the ol’ hi-fi, and bask in the lurid glow of memory’s rose-colored blaze? You can never go back to where you’ve never been, but thanks to Jan Garber and his Orchestra, faded memories of someone else’s past are just 33 1/3 revolutions per minute away.

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!