One of the two hip hop acquisitions from Saturday’s Wax fair, this sealed Young MC single from 1988: I Let ’em Know backed with My Name is Young. This was a no-brainer as far as historical, LA-based labels are concerned. I’ve not seen many of the standard Delicious sleeves (featured here), instead generally seeing a plain black or white sleeve. Defunct label design aside, tonight I’m going to blast some Young MC while pretending I’m 9 years old again… should make for an interesting evening for my neighbors.
Me and My Bean Bag, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Me and My Garbanzo Bean, shatters the primitive expectations (read: demands) from loyal fans of the Me and My Series. Marginally abandoning the space-country vibe of the series debut, the eponymous Me and My Asteroid Mistress, Me and My Bean Bag focuses more on the eclectic sounds of a Kitchen Aid mixer crossed with the unsettling sounds of lively power lines (aka: the rhythm section), which make up the bulk of this grounded album.
Questionable rumors are already spreading about the upcoming release in the series, a concept album loosely based on cement mixing called, Me and My Last Shoes.
If you enjoy Me and My Bean Bag, you’ll be thrilled by other outstanding releases from this groundbreaking series:
Me and My Asteroid Mistress (MaM001)
Me and My Expanding Waistline (MaM002)
Me and My Misinterpretation of the Word, Churlish (MaM003)
Me and My Garbanzo Bean (MaM004)
Me and My Bean Bag (MaM005)
Ska may suck… Ska revival may not be cool, says this stupid schmuck* (smuck**), but this comp, 1988’s Skankin’ ‘Round the World – The International Ska Compilation – Vol. 1, unveils itself under a dusty cloud of pleasure-toned, reggae-influenced, Caribbean-minded melodic good-time, happy-go-skankin’ Monday evening mood-music, that’s perfect parts nostalgia, groove, and global badassery. It’s a pleasurable head-bobbing, foot-tapping comp. Check it out.
* Propagandhi’s 1993 track, Ska Sucks off their debut album, How to Clean Everything.
** Ishtar, you know, the 1987 comedic masterpiece?! One of my personal favorites.
1988 was a good year for Ministry, and the quote, unquote, twelve-inch, maxi-single (of only two songs), Stigmata, highlighted the aggressive enthusiasm of its umbrella, The Land of Rape and Honey, and still serves as one of the best Ministry songs to date, some 26 years later. Yeah, that’s right… Stigmata is 26 years old, and Al Jourgensen, believe it or not, is still alive. Image that shit.
Anyway, a classic, with any given redefinition.
You know that when you’ve started measuring out your cocktails, there’s an issue onboard the gravy train. 1988’s glam metal pop sluts from Pennyslvania made a shit-ton of parents unhappy with their questionably abhorrent cover for Open Up and Say… Ahh!, their second, and most successful makeup-laden album.
Competing against Def Leppard’s Hysteria (a personal fav), Bon Jovi’s New Jersey (another adolescent treasure), and Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (arguably the best album every released), it’s no wonder Poison’s Open Up… achieved only the no. 2 spot on the Billboard 200. Striving for that no. 1 spot, the band re-released OUaS…A! with a slightly less eye-catching, much more (parent friendly) subdued cover, but were never able to break into that coveted no. 1 spot; Unfortunate, but understandable given the timeless competition.
This slow-building, structure-oscillating, melodically obtrusive Metallica classic features, for the first time on a full-length release, Jason Newsted on bass. Mr. Newsted would record four studio albums before leaving in 2001. He was the 2nd of three bassists for the band, winning the auditioned spot after the untimely death of original Metallica bassist, Cliff Burton. Current bassist, Robert Trujillo’s audition and ultimate acceptance into the band is featured in the (surprisingly good) documentary, Some Kind of Monster. Even for non-Metallica fans, this doc is a worthy watch.
Worth noting, the back sleeve lists the trt at 6:25, while the label lists it at 5:89. (89 seconds over 5 minutes yields 6:29, so I’m stumped on this one.)
In 1988, I know jack about Delicious Vinyl records… but like any radio-worshiping Midwesterner, I knew every syllable to the song Wild Thing by Tone–Lōc. Produced by the legendary Matt Dike and Michael Ross (Michael Ross is the genie he’s giving us our wishes), and, not surprisingly, engineered by b-boy Mario C., this little 12” time warp is a who’s-who of Beastie Boys crossovers.
Including the aforementioned Matt Dike and Mario C. (you can’t front on that!), the illustrious credits continue with EZ Mike and King Gizmo (AKA the Dust Brothers, producers of the Beasties’ Paul’s Boutique), and none other than Wild Thing video director, and lady b-boy (Mike D’s wife), Tamra Davis.
I knew that when I discovered this album, being labeled as DV 1002, for only $4 at a small and dusty Long Beach record shop that a bit of my childhood would be reinstated. What I didn’t know, was how much of my young adult-era obsession was intimately intertwined.
Please, baby-baby, please!
In 1988, Laibach, Slovenian grandfathers of avant-garde industrial, released Let It Be, a cover of the famous Beatles album of the same name. Apart from the deviant departure in genres, Laibach’s Let It Be bypasses Maggie Mae and the title track to the album, but offers a strikingly charming and elegant version of Across the Universe amongst its polluted sea of military-inspired, industrial-themed, Cold War anthems.
This cover album is worthy of a listen, if just for the sheer cat-killing curiosity factor. Laibach is a bitter pill to swallow, especially for fans of top 40 radio, but gentility and fascination certainly make their glowing presence known throughout this 11-track cover album. Diehard Beatles fans may see this as a chronically sick joke, and I imagine, above all else, that was without question Laibach’s main objective during the production of this legendary album. If you don’t like the harpsichord, steer clear of this, and every other Laibach album, but if you’ve got an ear for prideful adventure, seek out this version of Let It Be. There will undoubtedly be a strong divide separating your time before Laibach, and your time after them. Good luck, and I’ll see you on the other side.
Operation 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.
I’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.
Short 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.
Aside 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 appears on the 12” Maxi-Single, (She Was A) Hotel Detective released by Bar None Records so yeah, it has that going for it.
Like so many kids I grew up with, Yello was first introduced via the 1986 John Hughes classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s difficult, at least for me, to imagine Ferris gallivanting around scenic Chicago without the “chicka-chicka” pounding from Yello’s Oh Yeah. 1988’s release, Flag finds Dieter Meier and Boris Blank adopting their heavily produced, dance-tronic, belly-rubbin’, baby-making electro structure from their previous five albums (only two of which I have). So, nothing new, but still quality ear juice.
It’s difficult to shove Yello into one category. Many of you will say categories are for suckers and fans of Greatest Hits albums anyway, but when describing any band to someone who has never heard of them, it’s handy to be at least somewhat accurate with the broad, descriptive brush strokes. Here’s how I would describe them (probably incorrectly): If industrial and early 80s synth-pop had an illegitimate baby-child that grew up loving heavy percussion and smoked way too many cigarettes, but whose knowledge is endless and spans international waters, this magnificent beast would give out the best candy on Halloween and would go by the handle of Yello. Yeah, that’s close enough. Personally, I prefer 1983’s You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess, but any Yello is good Yello as far as I’m concerned.
Was 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.
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?
1988, with all its impotence and social frustrations, was a pretty damn outstanding year for music. Today we’re going to focus on (albeit very briefly because, let’s face it, I’ve got things to do) two outstanding works of Industrial fusion helmed from the prolific production due that was once known as Luxa Pan Productions. Very quickly, for those of you who have been living in a K-Mart dressing room for the past 25 years, Luxa Pan (Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan, respectively) were the monikers of Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker. Sorry to be redundant for those to whom this fact is obvious… moving on.
In 1988, Ministry (Jourgensen/Luxa, Barker/Pan & crew) released the consciously alarming The Land of Rape and Honey. Also released in 1988 was Trait by Pailhead. Luxa Pan Productions was/is known for their excessive side projects, and their teaming with Minor Threat/Fugazi frontman, Ian MacKaye to form Pailhead is one of these bountiful side gigs.
Ok, so, FINALLY getting to the meat and potatoes of this damned post. Take a look at the pic of both covers at the top. Both albums were released the same year (1988), and both featured masterminds Jourgensen and Barker. Do the covers seem a bit similar to you? Something like a mushroom cloud, right? “Yes?” You reply with a vague tone. Ok, now take a look at the pic below.
By converting to grayscale and inverting the colors to The Land of Rape and Honey, you can clearly see the stark similarity between these two covers. I’m racking my brain on what this could mean. Did the boys just dig an ambiguous mushroom cloud image, enough to reproduce it on two different album covers by two “different” bands? Maybe. Did their excessive drug use drain them of their creative juices leaving them to repurpose an old idea? I don’t think so.
Here’s my thought. 1988 opened the door for a tsunami-sized wave of creative output by the Luxa Pan team (focusing solely on albums released between 1988 and 1993), and this mushroom cloud was a symbol for an explosion of releases that would define the career of both Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker.
Allow me to briefly break it down: Three albums by Revolting Cocks (You Goddamned Son of a Bitch, Beers, Steers, and Queers, and Linger Fickin’ Good), three albums by LARD (LARD, The Last Temptation of Reid, and Pure Chewing Satisfaction), a release by PTP, two released by 1000 Homo DJs (Apathy, and Supernaut) three by Lead into Gold (Idiot, Age of Reason, and Chicks & Speed: Futurism), four albums by Ministry (The Land of Rape and Honey, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, In Case You didn’t Feel Like Showing Up, and Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs) and finally, two releases by Pailhead (I Will Refuse and Trait). So, if my overly simplified calculations are correct (and they probably aren’t), in the span of only six years, Luxa Pan Productions produced a total of 18 albums. The mind boggles in its feeble attempt to process this information.
Whether these covers were foreshadowing the brilliant work of two insanely talented musicians, or it was simply an overanalyzed coincidence, 1988 ignited a bonfire under Luxa Pan Productions, the flames of which are still burning strong to this day.
Today’s post was inspired by a fascinating chap with whom I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday, while standing in line for Record Store Day. Not unlike said gentleman in line, Stand, by R.E.M., sticks to the inner lining of your skull like Velcro. It’s easily removable (simply pull the Velcro apart… how can you not know how Velcro works?), but seldom ever forgotten. (Once you master the intricate workings of Velcro, you kind of don’t forget the process. I’m sure I’m sorry that Velcro is such a foreign concept to you.)
R.E.M. was huge in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Not so much Elvis Presley or say, a cat on the moon huge, but EVERYBODY knew R.E.M., and EVERYBODY knew this song. Stand isn’t so much of an order as it is a self-reflective suggestion. Stand in the place where you live. Ok, I’m doing that. Now what? Now face north. All right, and… done. Think about direction, wonder why you haven’t before. Direction, huh? Well let’s see… is forward a direction? I can’t seem to find it on my compass, here. I think I may need a new compass. Perhaps I’d better sit back down.
R.E.M.’s tenure spanned (“ed” because they no longer exist) from 1980 to 2011. During that time they’ve gone through oodles of changes, the biggest being the loss of Michael Stipe’s hair. R.E.M. saw an abundance of time on the radio and bounced back and forth between the Top 10 hits walls. Stand would be their second to break through the coveted barrier of paint and drywall, and as a result, would permanently set up shop as “one of those songs that everybody has heard.”
I really, really dig R.E.M., but they’re mood music. I can’t just, say, throw on an R.E.M. album and go about my day. I need to be in that subtle, R.E.M. mood. You know the mood, somewhere between hopelessness and melancholia? You know that, but you don’t know Velcro… I give up. Listen to this song. It’ll help you take stock in your decisions in life.
As an aside, Wikipedia claims that Stand was released in January of 1989, and therefore would NOT be eligible for a post on 1988. The back sleeve indicates, twice, the year to be 1988. So, either there are some disgruntled people over at Wikipedia, or my R.E.M. Stand sleeve is a conniving liar. Why don’t YOU stand, Stand? My legs are getting tired and this line is long. Anybody out there know where I can find some VHS tapes?