Men at Work debuted in 1981 with Business as Usual. With the help of two, knockout singles (Who Can it Be Now? and Down Under), it’s (fairly) easy to see how BaU spent 15 weeks at the No. 1 spot on the US Billboard 200. One of the (if not the) most successful Australian-released pop albums, Business as Usual would serve as the band’s high water mark, and would be one of only three studio albums released (1983’s Cargo, and 1985’s Two Hearts). If in the mood, she still holds up, some 37 years later.
As a follow-up to “yesterday’s” post, Wildflower is the second (of two) albums by sample-maniacs The Avalanches. Receiving its worldwide birth in July of 2016, singles from the album include Frank Sinatra, Colours, and Subways. This isn’t your mother’s electro hip-hop, but if you’ve had any eyes, ears, fingers, or tongues outside of standard radio garbage for the past (nearly) two decades, you’re already well aware of this group’s global influence, and can easily understand how essential this good-time Charlie band has been.
Oh, the subtle luxury of the limited colored vinyl reissue. This time around it’s the “legendary” debut album by Australia’s The Avalanches. Since I Left You was originally released, mainly in Australia, back in 2000 (with copies going for well over the $350 mark), so the frugal side of me held out for this 2017 translucent blue double LP reissue. Hype sticker on the front quotes Pitchfork as saying, “Quite possibly the best sample record ever made” and though I’m partial to Paul’s Boutique, they may not be wrong.
I had not heard INXS in nearly 15 years, and to completely sidestep the accidental death of frontman Michael Hutchence, it must be stated that I’ve always held a deep-rooted respect for this Australian pop-rock band. It’s not due to the success of their 1987 album Kick, although the four singles contained within (New Sensation, Devil Inside, Need You Tonight and Never Tear Us Apart) certainly help their cause, but instead, an unlikely (IN) X (S)-factor prominently featured on the cover that immediately, and forever gripped my attention.
I was seven at the time Kick made its way to the record shelves at the local K-Mart, and as a curb surfin’ knee-scratcher, I was enmeshed with the skateboarding world. So when a major label release (all I knew at the time) featured a professional deck on the cover (Vision’s 1986 Psycho Stick), it was something of a gravity-pulling, counterculture-wise nod to those “in the know.” A lifelong respect was forged that day, and although I was a Powell-Peralta kid myself, the inclusion of such a specific detail certainly did not go overlooked on my part.
As I drink coffee from my Rob Roskopp Face mug (an awesomely outrageous gift, thangs, mang!), I look at this album cover and smile. Sure, 1/3 of that smile derives from the tunes, but 2/3 comes from that unforgettable childhood moment of joyful realization. Now, it’s time to FINALLY master that kickflip! Hey Bob…