She’s Over It

ItWritten by Ad-Rock and producer Rick “Def Jam” Rubin, the 1985 soundtrack (or “sound track” as it’s listed on the cover) to the smash-bang-hit, She’s On It, is little more than an elaborate, mediocre, wave two Beastie Boys offering. There’s a reason She’s On It never appeared on a proper album, and that’s because it’s shit. I love the Boys Beastie, but I’m sorry. This song is terrible… and the video is even worse. But… this razor-edged opinion in no way prevents me from seeking out this release to round out the collection. 1985 Beastie Boys was a very sad, but ultimately necessary phenomenon… one that would be all but eclipsed with the dawn of a new era (wave three), ushered forth by the impeccable Paul’s Boutique. It’s okay to question your heroes… RIP MCA.


JBack in 1985, and well before Mama Said Knock You Out, Ladies Love Cool James, aka LL Cool J released his full-length debut on Def Jam Records titled simply, Radio. The man was still in high school at the time, kids! Which when you listen to this raw, early hip-hop classic, is kind of overwhelming to fathom, to say the least. Produced by Mr. Def Jam, Rick Rubin, Radio helped launch the lucrative career of James Todd Smith (also LL Cool J) which, among many other things, helped to secure a recurring (title) role on NCIS: Los Angeles. Why the hell didn’t I rap in High School?! I could have had a cop show by now! (Thinks to himself) Oh yeah, J had talent! Nurture the young, kids!

These Wings Are Broken, Mister

MisterSo… I’m going to expose myself in admitting that I have no recollection of obtaining this album. Mr. Mister’s Welcome to the Real World, an RCA Records 1985 release, contains both No. 1 singles Broken Wings and Kyrie. Wikipedia tells us that bassist and lead singer Richard Page turned down replacement roles in both Toto and Chicago to stay with Mr. Mister, so, you know, that’s something. This, the band’s second album, proved to be their most successful, and is a perfect glimpse of mid-80’s power-pop. (Electro-madness!) Happy Sunday, kids!

Best Always, Michael McDonald

McDForged from a life-changing experience by some burned-up Doobies fan, this pristine copy of Michael McDonald’s 1985 album, No Lookin’ Back, rested perfectly, like a low hanging piece of musical fruit, amongst the drab and questionable murk at a Goodwill in the San Fernando Valley. Sandwiched between Art Garfunkel’s Angel Clare and Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass’ What Now My Love (neither of which resemble drab or questionable murk) sat this relic gem, and in less than 10 minutes, and for only $0.95, it was mine.
BestAlwaysWhy someone would part with such a profound and enlightened treasure is beyond me, but she now rests, calmly, within my analog graveyard. Someone had a hell-of-a day when this album was signed, and I thank them for their careless oversight.

TV’s Greatest Hits

TVThank you, Television’s Greatest Hits, for lodging, without invitation, the Mr. Ed theme, firmly into my skull for the better part of an already stress-sweated day (And no one can talk to a horse of course, that is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed). What seemed like a grandiose achievement at the time of purchase, 65 TV themes have proved, a $6.48 fine of unshakable, maniacally repetitious, headache (to put it lightly).

Mr. Ed, The Jetsons, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gilligan’s Island… to name only a few (four of 65), do their wide-eyed part in depicting two records worth of yesteryear’s unforgettable little diddies.

Do I regret my purchase? Hell no! Do I wish I never spun these pristine, black, circular discs, abso-fuggin-lutely.

Aren’t You Glad that You’re Not One?!

MSMSo, we’re going a bit old school here with Miami Sound Machine’s Primitive Love, and let me say, this 10-track-jam is two-parts nostalgia, and one-part “where did the functional direction of music go?” Time is a mystery best explored sans bourbon… and allow me to speak with a margin of experience.

In 1985, I was six. Now, I’m 35, and there is little in means of audible time machine exploration than coveted music… and Conga, this 1985 hit, is certainly no exception.

Do that MSM (Miami Sound Machine) thing, and never look back… for this subtle suggestion, you are welcome.

Was Lou Rawls a Fan of Lasagna?

The slight discoloration in the top right is Goo Gone, not lasagna grease.

The slight discoloration in the top right is Goo Gone, not lasagna grease.

Q: What do lasagna-eating cats, the annual, festive day in which children of all ages celebrate and remember the dead, and soul legend Lou Rawls have in common? A: The 1985 animated television special, and Primetime Emmy winner, Garfield’s Halloween Adventure. I grew up on this 30-minute opus, and watching it on, or around Halloween has become a yearly tradition. It’s hard to believe this special is almost 30 years old, but anyway, the connection lives within the iconic voice of Mr. Rawls.

GarfieldDuring the special’s opener, This is the Night (Trick or Treat), and again on the sing-along classic, Scaredy Cat, Garfield’s cool, sleek voice is provided by Lou Rawls, and therefore solidifies the unexpected pairings of great soul music, and mischievous, lazy, cartoon cats. On Halloween, Garfield = Lou Rawls, aka Lou-Halloween-Field.

The Power of Love

POL StickerHow can love power be measured? If it’s possible, I’m sure Southern California Edison is devising a way in which to charge more for that (overpriced) service. Can this power be weighed? It can certainly be measured (1.21 gigawatts = 1,210,000,000 watts, btw). Is there a love power converter? Would Sears have it, or maybe Hardware Hank?

Little is understood about this specific amount of energy used per unit time, but one thing is scientifically understood; the power of love is a curious thing, however the hell it’s measured.

(This 12” single contains the exclusive, extended dance remix by John “Jellybean” Benitez, for those so included to care.)

The Blackouts During a Blackout

BlackoutsWhen the first one hit, I found myself amongst a cloud of darkness, and a kitchen full of dirty dishes. When the second one hit, I (literally) ran to the office for my portable, and this 1985 release (Wax Trax! Records cat. no. WAX006), Lost Soul’s Club by the Blackouts. I’ve lived in Southern California for over 10 years and have never experienced a blackout, so, quick on my feet, I wasn’t about to miss an opportunity (however brief), to enjoy the Blackouts during an actual blackout. Lucky for me (less so for my SO), this one lasted three hours.

I’m still working on an actual, respect-given write-up about my portable turntable setup (battery operated Numark PT-01 and iBN24 iHome rechargeable speaker, gifted by my thoughtful, music-loving parents), but I will say this: the ability to listen to records literally anywhere and at literally any time is a luxury I’m rapidly becoming accustomed to.Power Outage

Love Junky

PalmerRobert Palmer… may he rest in peace over the towering mountains of his 80s pop achievements… Robert Palmer… the Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter… Robert Palmer, yes THAT Robert Palmer… was a junky. His addiction wasn’t the cause of his death in a Paris hotel on September 26, 2003, but it certainly didn’t help. Mr. Palmer’s muse, like so many others before and since, to this day, remains the single most contributing factor to diseased hearts of every man, woman and child who has ever tasted its sweet, alluring nectar. Mr. Palmer’s addiction, was love.

Palmer InsertAs we raise our coffee mugs in respect to this fallen prince, this legend of mid 80s pop radio, we must remember not to blame the man or his addiction. We’ve been given a great gift as the result of this musician’s love dependency, and we must never forget the severity and brutal consequences of this damning addiction.

Editor’s note: So, this post was going to be a long list of possible other addictions Robert Palmer could have suffered from (addicted to argyle socks, addicted to malted milk balls, etc.), but something happened and I couldn’t find a break to work it in. I’m kind of bummed now. Oh well… don’t worry about me. I’m sure you have your own things going on…

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.

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)

Casual Dinner Party

BoingoTonight, my SO and I are hosting a quaint little dinner/game get-together with a few close friends (we’re trying to play matchmakers between two amazing couples who’ve never met). My girl is making quinoa bowls, if anyone is interested. So, in that uplifting spirit, Dead Man’s Party seemed deliciously appropriate.

Oingo Boingo, AKA that 80s band that Danny Elfman was in, is still one of those outfits that I’ve never “really” known. One could say, with a degree of certainty (a bachelor’s in certainty) that I am a casual Oingo Boingo listener. I certainly enjoy what I’ve heard, but (as of yet) not enough to call myself an Oingo Boingo aficionado.

On a side note, if you’ve never played the game Cards Against Humanity, I adamantly suggest it. Happy Sunday!

Belligerent Solidarity

242-frontI’m a sucker for minimalist propaganda cover art. It doesn’t hurt when the music is dismal, dark, and rhythmically unrelenting.

The sample of, “al-Gadaffi” from a proud-sounding public speaker starts off Funkahdafi, and continues to appear (mimicking the technique of a sample scratch from a DJ) throughout the funk-infused, foot-tapping, synth-happy, unforgettable example of ear-joy that mark Front 242 as the undisputed staple of EBM (Electric Body Music). It is my humble opinion that they have yet to, and never will, become eclipsed from atop their genre-defining throne.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Front 242 lately, if you haven’t noticed.

242-backThe highlight to this EP is an ambiguous remix to Commando, ambiguous because the sleeve doesn’t indicate who remixed it and is simply titled, Commando (Remix), or Kommando (Remix) on the back sleeve. This 9+ minute track rides a hard, minimalist groove under waves of distant, and distorted fits of vocal aggression: a perfect combination of belligerent solidarity.

Although 1985’s Politics of Pressure by Front 242 is only three tracks, it comes highly recommended, as does EVERYTHING from Belgium’s finest, the illustrious Front 242.