Guilty pleasures are certainly fine… on occasion, and in moderation. Such is the case with Alkaline Trio’s 2000 comp, Alkaline Trio (read: soundtrack to my early 20’s). Pressed on a variety of colors, this version (orange marbled) was part of the first, vinyl pressing (back in 2008), and was limited to 500 copies. Last night got a little crazy, and this here guy was sitting on the platter when I woke up this morning. Moderation, kids.
The 33 1/3 book series by Bloomsbury Publishing is a perfect collection of nerd-focused musical insight into the historical happenings of the development and recording of some of the most essential albums ever released (depending on whom you ask, of course… judge me not by this collection, you will). With 90 books currently published, and many more in the works (including upcoming releases that will warrant almost certain purchasing by yours truly… Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables; Freedom of Choice), my (current) collection of a measly 17 (or 5.29%) books from the series is, I feel, a decent start, and acts as a non-audio musical oasis of printed, historic pleasure.
I’ve finished The Village Green Preservation Society, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Led Zeppelin IV, Paul’s Boutique (working on my third time through… it’s that good), Use Your Illusion I and II, and Double Nickels on the Dime, and am currently in the wee pages of Let it Be. (Check out the 90 titles here.)
If you’re in the mood for a quick, compact, in-depth analysis of some of the more quintessential albums of modern day rock (generally), look no further than 33 1/3. They’re cheap, and they look majestic all lined up on a bookshelf, or so I tell my significant other.
Would you buy this album for $1.84 + CA state tax? Look at it! It’s got mold or something all over the sleeve. The hell?! On one hand, The Kinks Greatest Hits! is a bit of a farce to begin with, what with it not containing ANYTHING from The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One OR Muswell Hillbillies, but it does possess a b side that rivals any five track early Kinks comp I’ve ever heard… but it’s moldy, or whatever… but it’s The Kinks!… but look at it!… its got A Well Respected Man on it, and it’s only $1.84…
Would you buy this album for $1.84 + CA State tax? Well, you can’t. I already did.
Basically, you’d send Columbia Records $3 ($19.53 by today’s inflation-soaked, nightmare-inducing terms) and over the course of one year, you’d receive 10 special, “7-inch or 33 1/3 sampler records containing unreleased or just-released songs by new people and groups.” After receiving these records, it was your duty as an A&R Advisor to inform Columbia Records which songs tickled your fancy, and which were better suited for the vinyl graveyard, also known as St. Vincent De Paul.
A fairly elaborate concept to comprehend today, given that the same back and forth info-swap between record labels and faithful listeners is now done via the cloud and email, this little piece of music history shows that just because it’s pressed doesn’t mean it’s good, and that just because it’s backed by a label, doesn’t mean they know what the hell they’re doing.
There’s hope for us yet.
As the alarm jingles you into the consciousness of another daft, tedious and overly hyped day filled with false promises of hope and certainty, you desperately plead with the unknown for a few lasting moments of peace and comfort. You don’t get them. You know your atrocious cries will go unheard, just as they always have. There is something to be said for consistency, even if it’s a bleeding string of expletives.
The strong amongst us will unplug that screaming alarm, give it a sunken, lasting stare filled with decades full of animosity and confusion, then proceed to slay the mighty beast of disruption by smashing it repeatedly against the fish tank before victoriously returning to bed. Those of use who are left… the weak… adapt.
To adapt, we must admit that we don’t fit. We must come to terms that, one way or another, we are that lonely cluster of shredded wheat that fell to the floor and has gone unnoticed for close to six days… a lifetime, as it seems. To adapt is to surrender your instincts, to follow the dangling carrot of quantity by abandoning the carrot cake of quality. But in doing so, we are granted the gilded gift of repetition, and with it, the chance to put off obsoleteness for one more day.
Can you tell I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning?
Having to check, TWICE, that the beginning of this album was indeed on 33 1/3 (instead of on 45rpm, duh), I’m willingly forced to adjust my expectations so that they’re broad enough to ingest the enormity of this electronic Grand Canyon (other alternatives could be, the Pacific Ocean and/or Nic Cage’s forehead).
Labeled as Space Age Pop, Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley cut and paste an album containing, what they imagined the music of their future (our past) had to offer. HOLY FUGG, DID THEY MISS THE MARK! But, as you continue to listen to this borderline children’s album (because it’s so unbelievably and unquestionably playful), the creative objective takes backseat to the subconscious joy that The In Sound offers to the willing cerebral cortex via the fordable musical river known as the human ear canal (canals if listening in stereo).
It would be soulfully wrong to do a write-up of this album and NOT comment on the Beastie Boys (RIP MCA). Grand Royal’s 1994 release by the Beastie Boys, similarly titled, The In Sound from Way Out! offers no similarities with regard to the grooves, but whose cover and title were based off of this 1966 classic. It was actually the Beastie Boys’ cover that I initially saw, and I had no earthly idea that it was an homage until I saw my Perry-Kingley’s In Sound in a small record shop off Clark Street in Chicago. It sometimes takes one a bit of time to dig back through the pages of music history to find historic references to modern pop culture (well, as modern as 1994 at least).
Now, back to the album at hand (and in ear… sorry about that). It’s really a shame that no one has ever invented a form of dance that could accompany this kind of audio bliss. It would have to combine the Chicken with Square or Ballroom Dancing, but, you know, served with like 12 pots of coffee. Sure, there have been a few advancements in humanity over the past 46 years, but there has also been some MUCH needed social growth that has fallen way too short. The Way Out Dance tops that list.
I don’t mean to discredit the technical achievement that Perrey-Kingsley display on this album, and I furthermore don’t want you to see this as an unlistenable album. For the adventurous listener seeking something uplifting, cheerful, very dated and somewhat historical (if you’re a Beastie Boys fan), or someone just wanting to hear what 1966’s version of the “future” was, The In Sound from Way Out! definitely deserves at least one spin.
Having said that, I can’t imagine hearing any of these tracks reverberating off the walls at any of the clubs here in Los Angeles (not that I have any idea what kind of music is played at these clubs), or softly emitting from the stereo at your next casual dinner party.
What I’m saying is that you need to be in the mood to listen to this album. Some people, I imagine, never feel that mood strike. And that’s fine. Others are amazed when they discover a 28-year-old connection between their favorite band and an album they never knew existed, purchase said album, then are extremely disappointed when they giddily give it a spin. I fault high expectations. But I don’t fault the music. I’ve grown to appreciate it. Perhaps, you will too.
End of side 2
Lovingly edited by Jillian Kenney. Reluctantly edited by Jason Hardwick.