Haven’t listened to it yet, but the latest addition to the virus of a collection is the 1992 split from Rocket from the Crypt and Dead Bolt titled, Smells Like Grease for Peace. One more record to check off the RFTC checklist, and one more that wasn’t gobbled up by the strict and deviant void that is the United States Postal Service. Still waiting on my Time Hardin and Rocket 45s, you rat-bastards!
When one witnesses this 1992 seal of quality from the 1992 KMFDM album, Money, one knows one is witnessing one’s best possible selection one can possibly make. One need not continue looking once one discovers ol’ Moonface logo guy, here. One looks, one sees, and one gets that deep down warm and industrial fuzzy feeling one tends to get, when one knows, and respects, that Wax Trax! Records sound.
There can be only one, and this is it.
NOFX, the pop-punk outfit you love to hate, or love to love (as was the case throughout the sprouting years of my 20s), has been pushing their nimble-tongued, middle class anarchy since 1983, and it’s sometimes easy to forget that one of their paramount members, the illustrious Aaron Abeyta, didn’t appear, gloriously manifested as El Hefe, until 1992 with the EP (featured here), The Longest Line.
Providing guitar, vocals and yes, trumpet on the fan-favorite Kill all the White Man, El Hefe was the last “new” member to join the crew, a brigade that’s still selling out shows some 31 years later. If you can stomach rock-n-roll with a bratty attitude (brattatude?), punk of any sort, or are generally game for tongue-in-cheek wit, then NOFX may be just the bastards you didn’t know you were looking for.
The brothers three, AKA the Beastie Boys, followed up their 1989 (critically hailed, and historically beloved) flop, Paul’s Boutique by moving from NYC to northeast Los Angeles where they would record their instrumentally diverse, and genre-shredding third album, Check Your Head. Gratitude, one of the albums’ five singles, features the crew goofin’ under the Atwater Village sign, which has now become an immediate nerd-tour destination spot for yours truly.
Two quick things and then I’ll be out of your hair. 1) Having been introduced to the b-boys back in Wisconsin, I had no Earthly idea to think of visiting the Atwater Village sign once I finally got my ass to LA. On a side note, I currently live only 13 from it, a stark contrast from the 2008 miles from where I first heard this song. 2) Gratitude is an essential buy if only for the unreleased joker, Honky Rink. I won’t go into details, but it involves a facetious announcement for white-only skaters at a local ice rink. Check your head, and this out.
Since we haven’t done one of these in a while, in fact we’ve only done it one other time, Simply Samples is back with a Super Session of Bizarre proportions. Fan of hip hop? How about Pharcyde’s 1992 debut, Bizarre Ride II? Okay, then what about the 1968 super classic, Super Session by Bloomfield, Kooper and Stills? Notice any striking similarities between BKS’s cover of Donovan’s Season of the Witch and the Pharcyde’s Ya Mama? No?! Well, then have a listen.
Here is the opening to Season. Take particular notice to Al Kooper’s organic organ.
Now, here is that same bit sampled by the Pharcyde in their hilariously crass, Ya Mama. This is the instrumental version for clearer, albeit not near as funny, comparison.
And there you have it. A match made in music heaven spanning two completely different genres over the course of 24 years. Below are the full versions of both songs for your Sunday listening pleasure. If you don’t own either Super Session or Bizarre Ride II, I strongly urge you to seek them out immediately. Once you get that burnin’ yearnin’, there’s not turnin’ back, jack!
Season of the Witch by Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Steve Stills:
Ya Mama by The Pharcyde:
Luscious Jackson’s debut EP, In Search of Manny, launched the semi-mainstream career of this quirk-tastic, all-ladies, don’t-dare-call-them-cutesy band. It also saw the first official release from Grand Royal Records, the short-lived record label helmed by the infamous Beastie Boys, so, yeah, it’s a historical music marker.
In Search of Manny, or GR001, its catalog title, sees a mellow mixture of light-hearted groovy-beats bouncing under a quasi-Hip-Hop, MC-style vocal delivery. It’s lazy-day, relax-music perfect for soaking in the warm rays from the summer sun, or turning your living room into post-apocalyptic turmoil because you can’t find your car keys. Calm, or frenzied, In Search of Manny tickles your groove button regardless of your disposition.
I hate that Luscious Jackson is known as “the band with the original drummer from the Beastie Boys.” Yes, this is true. Yes, the Beastie Boys originally had a Beastie Girl (Kate Schellenbach), but labeling LJ as “just that band” downplays their ability to jam! And these luscious ladies jam your pants off!
The first three tracks, Let Yourself Get Down, Life of Leisure and Daughters of the Kaos were all written and recorded in 1991, while the four tracks on side 2 were completed in 1992. This isn’t significant but for the question is raises: why weren’t these first three tracks released as a single prior to In Search of Manny? They certainly could have been. I mean, Daughters of the Kaos sounds like Beck’s Loser, with its slight western-driving catchiness, but you know, written 2 years earlier. Lucky for everyone involved, fate would intervene and marry this collection of feel-good tunes square on Grand Royal’s eponymous debut.
It all had to start somewhere, but unfortunately, it ended way too early. Both Luscious Jackson and Grand Royal are now defunct, but there exists an underground group of groove-hoods that seek out these stunning releases, and in doing so, keep this sensational music alive.
I don’t know who the hell Jackson is, but these ladies are luscious. Check ‘em out.
Officially titled ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ, Ministry’s 1992 release is often referred to by its alternate banner: Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs. Industrial Metal’s junky grandfathers, Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker (Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan, their respected aliases as music producers), close out their undeniable stint of groundbreaking Industrial Metal with this, the third major release by the Jourgensen/Barker brigade. Ministry had been releasing New Wave BS since 1983, but it’s unlistenable. They REALLY didn’t start until Barker joined in 1988. “We call it, the departure point.” – Bruce McCulloch
Starting with 1988’s The Land of Rape and Honey, and continuing with 1989’s The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste, 1990’s In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up (their live, and best in my opinion), and finally with 1992’s ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ, Ministry single handedly created the iconic Industrial Metal sound. Pretty boy Trent Reznor and his vastly inferior NIИ be damned! About the only ups Mr. Reznor had was that he could control his heroin habit, thus granting him more commercial success. (I still can’t take Nine Inch Nails seriously, but I will admit their viral campaign for Year Zero was pretty amazing.)
ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ starts with the Grammy nominated N.W.O. (losing out to pretty boy’s Wish), followed by Just One Fix (the 12” cover to this single features the William S. Burroughs painting, Last Chance Junction and Curse on Drug Hysterics, btw).
Track 3 is the second in the TV series. A collection of various samples from obscure television shows set to a bed of Industrial thorns. TV III, the non-album track on 1995’s The Fall single is arguably my favorite Ministry song, but that’s a post for another time.
Track 4 features samples from the hit 80’s cartoon, G.I. Joe, and is titled, Hero. Jesus Built My Hotrod follows, then comes arguably the only skippable track on the album, track 6’s Scarecrow. This unfortunate cloud is quickly lifted and all but forgotten by the title track, Psalm 69… clearly the climax of the album.
Corrosion and Grace round out the album, offering well deserved breathers after an intense, Industrial workout.
ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ, or Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs is by far not Ministry’s best, but it does neatly sum up an unparalleled 5-year adventure, unimagined by anyone before, and untouched by anyone since.