Hidden beneath a thin shield of formed plastic is Luscious Jackson’s 1994 single, Deep Shag. Released on Grand Royal Records (GR 011), this 4-track 12″ contains three remixes of the single, and the previously unreleased track, Daddy. I own not one, but two sealed copies of this record. Why? I couldn’t for the life of me tell you, especially when they fetch for only $0.98 on Discogs. May have to finally set one of these free today.
This Atari Teenage Riot double LP comp titled, Burn, Berlin, Burn! was my first introduction into the bat-shit-crazy world of breakbeat hardcore. It’s a fever-inducing, riotous collage of sound eager to invoke internal bleeding, and is perfect noise candy for Monday afternoons. Had it not been for Grand Royal, I likely would have never exposed myself to this brand of ear violence, but as it stands, great pleasure can derive from a certain amount of pain.
It’s sad, but just over 15 years ago, BS 2000 dropped their 2nd, and last LP, Simply Mortified. Grand Royal Records would, months later, cease to exist, and receptive ears of the world would never again hear the bubblegum grunge of BS 2000. One can only imagine what they’d sound like today, given the almost two decades of maturity (or utter lack there of), but there’s something peaceful about this short-lived outing that demands incessant spins on random Tuesday evenings. Nobody beats BS 2000, kids.
The 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).
This 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).
This sealed copy of Ec8or’s 1997 comp has been on my “to digitize and enjoy on the company iPod” for the past 4-6 years. It’s now 2015, and I’ve still not broken the musical seal. Did I set her aside as a reminder for a weekend project? Nope… and back into the cavernous stack she goes. Perhaps in another 4-6 years, I’ll think of her again, and maybe this time, her seal will be broken.
Lo(unge)-Fi keyboard extraordinaire Mark Ramos Nishita, aka Money Mark released his debut, Mark’s Keyboard Repair on UK staple Mo’ Wax Records back in 1995. Mr. Money is, of course, best known for his artificial ivory works with the Beastie Boys from 1992’s Check Your Head through the band’s final offering with 2011’s Hot Sauce Committee Part 2. Releasing seven full-length studio albums throughout his solo career, Mark’s music follows the lackadaisical-lazy-groove style of Luscious Jackson, Buffalo Daughter, and other lesser-known Grand Royal virtuosos.
The photo above is an artsy little number featured on the insert record jacket to Mark’s Keyboard Repair. The more you know…
Few things capture the 90’s indie scene quite like the combination of words, Luscious and Jackson. The all-girl trip hop quartet landed a colorful full-length with their 1994 release, Natural Ingredients. Nothing abrasive or threatening, NI makes for a perfect soundtrack to long drives during the sun-sweltering summer with the volume up and the windows down. It’s positive groove music for kids looking for quality schtick without all the bullshit. Shirt-clinging humidity, a soft, cooling breeze, and this frosty blue record are the Natural Ingredients for an exceptionally luscious evening.
Star Wars references in sub-indy hip hop back in the late 90s were kind of a fanboy treat, and are almost immediately featured on this record’s b-side, Settle the Score. The third in a four-part series titled, The Blow Up Factor, Mr. Lif offers 3x versions of Farmland, the a-side, the previously mentioned Settle the Score, and a track I don’t remember ever hearing, You Don’t Knowstrumental. Released in 1999 on Grand Royal Records, this little 4-track is worth more to the diehards than to avid collectors of the medium, but for only $1.49 on discogs, this pressing is a steal!
In the process of sheathing my collection with 3 mil polyethylene jimmy hats (started with A, currently at L), I’ve discovered a few hidden, sealed treasures I’d somehow forgotten about. I count five virgin records living between A and L, among them is this 1996 maxi 12” from Grand Royal’s Luscious Jackson.
Naked Eye, the band’s most commercially successful song, was the only offering from the band to enter the Billboard Hot 100, and the first to penetrate these ears. Word around the barrio is that LJ reunited and were collaborating on new music, a certain and promising upswing from this severely underrated band.
As far as I know, this Buddy insert from 2000 (Grand Royal Records… surprise, surprise), is a faux sticker. The scissor, dotted line divider is a pretty good indicator of the three separated parts, but I’m pretty sure it’s printed on paper. The keyboard BS 2000 logo is beyond stellar, while the playful percussion jobber raises more questions than answers. Nevertheless, this insert is a classic snapshot of the goofy, anything goes ear candy ushered forth by Grand Royal Records circa: 2000.
Prudent Groove suggestion: Save this image out at high quality, and print on sticker paper. Instant stickers of the BS nature.
Need a quick, jittery-eyed pick-me-up, but don’t have the time for full-length endeavor? Wet your whistle on this 4-track EP from BS 2000 titled, Buddy. I mean, who will refuse a Buddy, am I right? Narcissistic-nay-sayers… that’s who. Anyway, Buddy is a four-track abbreviation of the full-length release titled, Simply Mortified, the band’s and (unfortunately) the label’s last.
Simple mortification is completely up to the willing ear, so take this subtle suggestion with a grain of salt, a shot of brown liquor, and an uncomfortably loud stereo.
Thank you in advance for allowing me to present this respectful homage (read: blatant ripoff) by the lovely (yet, unfortunately bankrupt) folks at Grand Royal Records, of Ronco Teleproducts, Inc.’s 1974 “as seen on TV” comp, Get It On! (If you look closely, you can see my father playing guitar above a couple adventure-types maneuvering a raging river in a tippy canoe.)
I’ve got to admit, as a collector of all things Grand Royal, I had no idea of this Ronco release, cover design or otherwise, until about a week ago. I’d ordered Super Hits online some time ago and had always admired its depiction of 70’s glowing sunshine, but, and I’m a bit bashful to admit, I had no idea it wasn’t anything shy of 100% original. I’m happy to report, that both comps are outstanding, in their own rights, of course. One has Also Sprach Zarathustra by Deodato, and the other has Mullet Head by the Beastie Boys, so really, what’s not to fall in love with?
The gift of Bis (apparently) comes from seemingly every avenue of social media. The story goes like this… I’d acquired a sealed LP of Bis’ 1997 debut, The New Transistor Heroes, from the now defunct Grand Royal Records, and for reasons I’m not at liberty to discuss, I never opened it. Fast forward to a few days ago when I’m trolling Instagram and someone whom I follow posts a recent record purchase of a used copy of said Bis album, and expressed how happy they were about the bonus 7” within.
Cut to me dropping my phone onto the floor and rushing to the “B” section of the library, where I carefully knife open the 17-year-old virgin record and discover the sly 7”.
A good day for discovering a record I’d already owned.
DJ Hurricane… The Hurra… sportin’ a Shaq jersey… circa ’95… what’s NOT to love? The longtime disc jockey for the Beastie Boys… branching out, lingering past the point of comfortability, knifing the vocal chord of his (then) creative mainstay, in lucrative, amiable fashion. Wise men need not step to The Hurra.
Released on Grand Royal, surprise, surprise, the Comin’ Off single (encompassing a total of 9 tracks), allows the sheltered talents of this functionally entertaining DJ to step into the darkened spotlight of the ever-looming B-Boy sun, and allows for personal, creative, hip-hop repression to manifest itself into a advantageous 9-track single-EP, with NBA-minded art-a-plenty.
The Hurra, certainly not favored amongst the masses, as far as hip-hop history goes, needs to be recognized as a menacing stone that need not be overturned.