1998 Feels Like A Lifetime Ago

HelloThe double Grammy winning album sold a whopping 680,000 + units its first week alone, and was undoubtedly that summer’s celebrated soundtrack, both personally and commercially. Abandoning the mix of hardcore and hip hop that 1992’s Check Your Head and 1994’s Ill Communication provided, Hello Nasty was straight-forward hip hop, and featured new DJ, Mix Master Mike (DJ Hurricane, the Beasties’ original DJ left prior to the making of the album).

NastyThis double, clear gold vinyl edition was released by Grand Royal Records (as opposed to the double black vinyl version released by Capitol Records), and was limited to 7500 copies. Hello Nasty was produced by the Beasties and Mario C (Mario Caldato, Jr), and is certified triple Platinum (3,000,000 copies sold) in the United States alone (roughly 3,600,000 worldwide).

More Rush

Rushmore_LabelFinally, the birth of my lifelong Kinks obsession gets a proper vinyl release. As with so many other groundbreaking introductions to inspirational and root-forming suggestions, this film, Wes Anderson’s 1998 released Rushmore, was a lifelong suggestion, introduced to me by a friend we’ll call MM. We’d seen The Royal Tenenbaums in the theater together, and shared a wall where Rushmore’s official movie poster hung prominently. Rushmore, the soundtrack, much (Rush) more than the film, garnishes so much historical weight, it’s at some times difficult to acknowledge that this day, a day in which the soundtrack to Rushmore on vinyl, is finally a reality.

File under: Too Good to Be True.

Excitement!

Black_ShapeThis 2015 Hot Topic exclusive has gotten me a little more excited than I probably should be. For one, The Shape of Punk to Come is by far one of the best albums ever to invade my ears. It’s heavy, melodic, technically insane (the percussion), and it killed the band (2015’s forthcoming Freedom aside). I owned the original since its 1998 release, and have since acquired a double blue, double red, double clear, and now single disc translucent purple version. What I think gets me riled up more than (almost) any of my other versions (clear vinyl will always be the treasured version of any version of any album) is that at first glance, this puppy looks like a straight black record. For a split second upon emerging this gem, I thought it was a mistake and panicked, but after closer inspection, the darkness, as it turns out, is eclipsed by a deep, moody, purple cloud. I love records that look like nothing but are secretly hiding their inner beauty, which, if you think about it, mirrors the album perfectly. Yeah, a little over excited for this one. Purple

MMM Circa: 1998 (Part 1 of 3)

MikeFor reasons that are still unknown, MMM’s Anti-Theft Device takes me back to a, well, let’s say, rosy-utopia, filled with pizza delivery, copious amounts of unquestionable activity, and musical-self-discovery. A personal Renaissance, that has yet to be fully examined and filtered, save for all in attendance… and NOT without good reason.

Mix Master Mike, the, then, newly-crowned Disc Jockey of the famed, and lavish Beastie Boys, released his first, major label release, the same year he debuted as the B-Boy’s newly sworn-in DJ with their less-than-stellar, Hello Nasty. Clearly a creative shift forward (for those who thought so), this newly developed mesh isolated some fans, while slurping up many, previously unassociated catchers-on. Blame has not been cast, as bad as this may look.

So, intro aside, such that it is, I offer my lubricated ramblings while listening to the first 1/3 of Mix Master Mike’s 1998 release, Anti-Theft Device. Please note: formality just clocked out for the evening.

Mike BackPart 1 (of 3): Get That Sauce Pie There in 30 Minutes or Less!

Ill Shit through Radiation (Ultra Into aside), kicks off this sample-tree-picking mix of (then) pop culture favorites, coupling, pairing, and otherwise fornicating its way through various space-themed, Austin Powers-conscious one-liner-laced, one-man-hip-hop extravaganza… to put it lightly.

“No coupon, no deal!” – Delivery driver PG

It’s no question that the Beastie Boys gravitated towards this schizophrenic style of old-meets-new, sample-heavy hip-hop. Get in… get out… make ‘moist, punch the card.

Money Mark endorsed, wholesome mother disapproved, the first 1/3 of Anti-Theft Device is a Fresh Fruit for Rotting Hip-Hop Vegetables… again, circa: 1998… that’s 16 years ago, kids… take wisdom with a grain of salt… and a shot of bourbon.

Nasty Instrumentals

Nasty InstrumentalsA hearty thanks to Bri, Meggles and the kids for this amazing instrumental album! 1998’s double Grammy award winner, and the fifth b-boy studio album, Hello Nasty, was greeted with a (not-so-on-the-level) stripped down, almost naked, vocal-less version released some five years later. A perfect way in which to listen to a classic album in a completely new way, Hello Nasty: Instrumentals, and bootlegs altogether, make for perfect gifts, don’t you think?

Thanks again, B, M, K & B!

“Guaranteed Every Time”

GR_PromoFun promo letters inside promo EPs are fun! (Especially when they’re only $1.98!) Have a read. I personally recommend all five of these releases (including the Great Five Lakes 12” keeping this little sheet of paper safe for over 16 years). Many thanks to Stephanie for the late 90’s love.

3x MC + 1x DJ

Front16hr work days call for lazy posts… and right now the lot of you are thinking, “Man, this guy must work 16hr days ALL THE TIME!” To that I say, “Well aren’t you just a little slice of something.” By now the majority of you know my adolescent obsession with the Beastie Boys, and if you don’t know this little tidbit of useless information, I have an adolescent obsession with the Beastie Boys.

BAck1998 was a bittersweet year for the B-Boy fan, a year that brought with it borderline anxiety-ridden anticipation, and (the almost inevitable) heartbreaking disappointment. We received a Grammy for Best Alternative Performance with Hello Nasty, if you’re into such materialistic badges of mundane stature, but with it we had to suffer through, well, Hello Nasty. My echoing opposition of this album has dwindled as I’ve aged, but my early disliking to it certainly didn’t prevented me from owning it (a necessary) three times (1x CD, 1x yellow vinyl, 1x black), in addition to all the singles that accompanied it (Intergalactic, Body Movin’, The Negotiation Limerick File, and Remote Control / Three MC’s and One DJ). Don’t ask “why” of people who obsess. You certainly do not want to see how the sausage is made. Moving along, Three MC’s and One DJ showcased the awe-inspiring talents of the band’s newly acquired DJ, Mix Master Mike. I dug / dig the new DJ (you can’t knock his skills), but I’ve always preferred the traditional cuts of DJ Hurricane, the band’s mainstay DJ since their Licensed to Ill days.

Anyway, this video is 3 parts goofy, 1 part technically fascinating, and all parts good time. When we’re tired, and lazy, the Beastie Boys always seem like the logical excuse. Enjoy!

 

Love American Style

Love“Anything you can pat your foot to is good music.” – Louis Armstrong

Love American Style, the 1998 reissue of the 1989 accompaniment to the legendary Paul’s Boutique record is not only the 64th release from Grand Royal Records (Guaranteed Every Time), but also one that was released on black, white, and of course this, red vinyl. Produced by both The Dust Brothers and the Beastie Boys, Love American Style includes the Hey Ladies singles in its entirety (b-side Shake Your Rump), while including Dust Brothers jams, 33% God and Dis Yourself in ’89 (Just Do It). Fans of Paul’s Boutique and the Beastie Boys alike will instantly recognize 33% God and Dis Yourself in ’89 (Just Do It) as rehashed instrumentals of the record’s a-side, which stand as monumental achievements of pre-Beastie Boys, all-Dust Brothers party-jams. Are the b-side’s two tracks worth seeking out this four-track 12”? You tell me.

A Recipe to Die for!

RecipeDirected by Nathanial Hörnblowér (MCA aka Adam Yauch’s behind the camera alias), the Body Movin’ video, a farcical exploration into the fascinating, yet nonsensical action-adventure-thriller, was the 2nd single off the band’s 1998 Hello Nasty album, as well as the follow up to the widely received radio smash, Intergalactic. The B-Boys have long been known for their outrageous music videos (1989’s Hey Ladies comes to mind), but in my opinion, nothing tops the grandiose scale of a ninja Ad-Rock sword fighting with a monocle sporting, P-Jam wearing MCA for a diabolical fondue recipe. Anyway, it’s worthy of a watch, so here goes… happy Wednesday!

RIP MCA

Let the Music Speak for Itself. Case Closed.

NovaMuteI’m infrequently one to pimp, verbatim, the concise and thought-out, profit-based, self-reflecting statements from record labels that tickle my fancy. With two parts respect, and three parts laziness, I present the NovaMute creed, in its entirety, without any half-assed PG interruption (found scrolled within the insert to the double LP, NovaMute Kompilation):

Rewind 1993, birthdate Novamute, Mute’s original dysfunctional sibling. A label torn kicking and screaming from the belly of Mute records, a label to satisfy the parent company’s love of the electronic pulse, a label to take things further into the dark heart of the sampler and synth. Fond of laughing in the face of expectations, NovaMute has never been an easy child. Always preferring the unexpected, the label has set a standard documenting the often highly idiosyncratic output of many of Europe’s finest electronic renegades. Never one to tame the extremes of their roster, their artists have benefited from the open-mindedness of the label’s philosophy. The result ? A salvo of critically loved and sometimes blindly misunderstood records that have often shaken electronic music’s foundations. Five years is a long time in music, but one thing has remained constant, NovaMute’s ability to keep on pushing the envelope and redefine the way we look at dance music in the 1990’s. The strongest evidence? Their roster includes Speedy J, Luke Slater, Plastikman, Joey Baltram and Darren Price. Let the music speak for itself. Case closed.

Demonstration – Not For Sale

No ShelterRemember when Best Buy (the slowly dying, North American electronics conglomerate) gave away 7” records? I have more than a few “promotional giveaways” from my short-lived DVD and CD collecting days of the late 90s and early 2000s, a few of them acquired by the big, yellow and blue super-store (an Intergalactic “jukebox only” 45 by the Beastie Boys, and a white vinyl copy of Another Brick in the Wall (Part II) Live by Pink Floyd).

Red ShelterNow, my memory could very well be rewriting history here, but I distinctly remember buying RATM’s The Battle of Los Angeles (on CD), and getting with it this transparent red No Shelter 7”. I remember thinking how odd and out of place it was for Best Buy to even have records, let alone be giving them away, a sensation all but lost just recently upon the realization that certain Best Buys now carry severely overpriced vinyl reissues. I should be happy that the vinyl-collecting community is large enough for Best Buy to take notice, I suppose, and even though my Best Buy shopping days are almost completely exclusive to gifted gift cards, it’s comforting to remember a distinctive era in music collecting history (regardless of how individual and / or particular to me).

It’s Hard to Be Smart When You’re Young

MSDDrunk, angry and musically talented muggs who eat steel and drink gasoline should always be given a record contract. If indisputable evidence is indeed required, take a look at Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts, the 1998 release on Sub Pop by Seattle’s best, The Murder City Devils. Featuring the lumbering truck driver blues of every red-blooded fornicator who ever shoved a quarter into a vibrating jukebox, and back when bullying said jukebox actually meant something, MSD’s Ready for More was seldom, however overtly, and incorrectly overlooked.

BackLeft dormant and dingy amongst the filth and cold of my former Milwaukee winter days, The Murder City Devils seldom tend to resurface when things get a bit too heavy to bear. So, imagine my delight when I unconsciously find myself in the throes of another MSD bender, where the reigning cries of “I’m subtle, subtle like a T-Rex” knock the framed photos off my neatly painted walls. I shouldn’t necessarily be surprised, but every once and a while I’m caught off guard.

The Murder City Devils would have gotten a much more respectable write-up, had I not been served so much soul-cleansing rye. Perhaps next time, respect will prevail, but then again, that may be the whisky talking.

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

Oh, the Summer of 1998

IntergalacticMy fondness for the summer of 1998 stands unmatched (as far as late 90s summers are concerned). I’d spent the bulk of my high school years blasting Beastie beats (much to my parents’ dismay), and that summer’s theme song, Intergalactic, would prove to be the first Beastie Boys single in nearly four years (a streak of lifetimes when you’re between the ages of 15 and 19).

I distinctly remember listening to the radio (an extremely rare thing at the time, and a practice exclusively unheard of today), waiting to hit play + record on my cassette player in the hopes of capturing this new, legendary song. The single was released in mid-May, but in Madison, Wisconsin, if you weren’t present when ANY Beasties single was displayed, your chances of obtaining one were next to nil. This was 1998, before the internet as we now know it, and a full year before Napster. Back then, if you wanted music, you had to hunt, and often times, you came home empty handed.

It’s sad to admit, but I’ve all but disowned Intergalactic now, along with its album, Hello Nasty. However, I’ll never forget the perpetual excitement that stuck to my early adulthood (not unlike Midwestern humidity), and this cover, above all others, transforms a weary man in his mid 30s back into a wide-eyed, overly vocal, and optimistic young man. Oh, the summer of 1998.

Black Market Indy

Black Market IndyI had a cat for eight years. His name was Indiana Jones. He’s gone now… damn little screen pusher was always trying to get outside. Anywho, every once in a while I’ll throw on a record and stumble across one of his hairs. If you look closely at the pic, what looks like a deep scratch near the top is actually a black, white and gray Indy hair. Presumably, the last time I listened to this, or any “Indy album” was between the years, 1998 and 2006, or as I refer to them as, The Indy Years. Kind of like The Wonder Years, but you know, with cats.

So today, I raise two glasses. The first, a whiskey neat to pay homage to the late, great Joe Strummer. The second, a tiny glass of milk to my old friend, Indiana Jones.

Thanks for the memories, guys.

Let’s Talk About Maturity

LTAFSave for the compilation, Let’s Talk About Leftovers, 1998’s Let’s Talk About Feelings was the last studio album by the Goleta, CA pop-punk rockers… the illustrious Lagwagon… that demanded my immediate, consistent, dumbfounded, and adolescent attention. I believe, shortly after the release of this album, the wings of my music evolution stretched into the dark, disheveled world of industrial music, so needless to say, Let’s Talk About Feelings left a lasting impression.

To fly over the specifics of this album, allow me to ramble off a few key (irrelevant) facts. Let’s Talk About Feelings was released, as I stated, in 1998 by Fat Wreck Chords. It was offered on compact disc and via wax by means of a 10”. Lagwagon released a box set of their major albums back in 2011, and Let’s Talk About Feelings was finally given a proper 12” format. Ok… back to the lamenting.

LTAF 10Let’s Talk About Feelings was one of those albums that never left the car. You know those albums, those discs of the compact nature. This particular disc postulated my attention for what seemed like SEVERAL years (I was 19 then, so a day felt like a week, and a week felt like, well, two weeks). Let’s Talk About Feelings, or LTAF, marked something of an uncomfortable maturity from the band that, at the time, I was both not prepared for, and unwilling to accept. Again, I was 19… daft, irrelevant, thick, and extremely pissed off.

LTAF PinkWith only 25 minutes dispersed throughout 12 emotionally weighing tracks, LTAF feeds that driving need for fast-paced, melodically moving, and hook-tastic pop-punk, that, for me, acted as a perfect half-hour soundtrack to the inevitable, adolescent-abandoning struggles of my late teen years. Let’s Talk About Feelings is a difficult album… not by what it presents, but by the nostalgia it unearths. My experience with this album is certainly only isolated to me, my actions, and the immediate concerns of a 19 year old pizza delivery driver facing the woes of the budding responsibility that erupts from the inevitable mountain of mastered maturity.

Let’s Talk About Feelings… I just did.

Editor’s note: This post was by request, and marks the first of (hopefully only a few more… just kidding) many friendly, reader-based requests to come. Do you have a specific request? Email me or drop me a line in the comments. I can’t promise you’ll enjoy what you read, but your requests certainly will not go overlooked.

1998: Into the Sun

CoverOnce upon a time…

There was a fella named John. John was a talented chap, one who was capable of writing beautiful songs about love, aggression, politics and imagination. One day, John went to an art exhibit and met a like-minded and, I hesitate to say, equally talented woman, named Yoko. Yoko made John smile, and shortly thereafter, they fell in love.

Like lovers do, John and Yoko expressed their love through celebration, which brought to them, and the World, a baby boy. They named him Sean, and the love that was once two, became three. Sean would grow up to write beautiful songs just like his father, John. Unfortunately, John would never hear Sean’s wonderful music, because a very bad man shot lead into John’s body. Sean, his mother Yoko, and the World were deeply saddened by the loss of John, but nobody has ever, nor will they ever forget him.

The End

Into the Sun LabelSean Lennon’s professional career launched with the release of his 1998 debut album, Into the Sun. With its 13 tracks of despondent fluidity, the beautifully imagined Into the Sun shows that the apple (records) doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Into the Sun was released while Sean was touring with his then girlfriend, Yuka Honda and her band, the eclectic Cibo Matto. Yuka makes appearances throughout Into the Sun, and Sean is quoted as claiming Yuka to be his inspiration for the album.

Into the Sun BackNow a classic staple in the Grand Royal catalogue, Into the Sun makes for the perfect soundtrack to a seemingly endless array of activities.  When listening to this album, it’s difficult to ignore the weighted guilt that attaches itself to the privilege of listening to something Sean’s father never had the opportunity to enjoy. My guess… John would be glowing with pride from the emotionally talented works of his bright, shining son.

(I probably don’t need nine copies of this album, but really, you never know. I acquired them for very cheap off the temporary site created by the guys who purchased the short-lived Grand Royal Records after it went bankrupt. Like Grand Royal itself, that site is gravely missed.)9 Times