Rare are the days, these days, when I stumble across a Grand Royal Records release for under $2 that I don’t already have in the collection. Such was the case with GR063 and DJ Strictnine and Paranorm’s The Blow Up Factor contribution from 1999 titled, Mic Reaction. Included is the raging title track, its instrumental sibling, in addition to three other off-the-hook hip hop explosions (there were hooks? I didn’t see any hooks…). Anyway, one simply doesn’t pass up a Blow Up Factor release. If you own one, you know exactly what I’m talking about. All that’s left to complete the set is 2000’s Vol. 4 by The Prunes featuring Freestyle, the final of four in the coveted series. The label would be defunct a year later, finally closing its bankrupt doors in 2001.
What I assumed was a t-shirt depicting Boba Fett holding up a boombox (Star Wars meets Say Anything) turned out to be a Beastie Boys Helly Nasty-inspired slipmat I’d forgotten I’d ordered. Since the now defunct Grand Royal Records slipmats go for insane amounts (well over $100), I figured it smart to jump into ordering any slipmat the Beasties are associated with. I encourage you to do the same. One can’t have too many slipmats, in my humble opinion.
The animal friendly cover to 1998’s Body Movin’ by the Beastie Boys is exclusive to the UK market, and can be had for much cheaper these days than what I paid for it in Madison, WI back in 1998. Capitalize on this party favorite three track 12″. Trust me, you won’t miss your $3.
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.
Oh, the slipmat. So, I don’t fancy myself a DJ, I mean, who wants to go to a club and hear DJ PG spin the Wax Trax! Records catalog, am I right? So, why then am I obsessed with obtaining and constantly switching out my platter hats? Well, I’ll tell you, inquiring minds… if I could.
I guess, I just enjoy a change of scenery every once in a while. I mean, is that so wrong? IS THAT SO WRONG, I ASK YOU! Currently I’m rockin’ the Permanent Records slip after switching from a hefty haul of Grand Royal slips. Next, since you asked, I’m thinking of either switching back to Grand Royal, breaking out the Swami from Swami Records, or possibly going to the RFTC mummified logo. Who really knows that this point, but I’m sure you are all at the edge of your seats in eager anticipation.
If you were stranded on a remote island (that conveniently harbored electricity, speakers and a bomb-ass turntable), and you were only allowed to pick three albums with which to spin for your remaining, ocean-gazing days, what three albums would they be?
For me, the first two albums were no-brainers. Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys, and The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society by The Kinks. Choosing the proper versions, both albums are double LPs (1998’s Grand Royal reissue and 2011’s mono/stereo split), so you’re already a leg up on the island dwelling competition. The third and final album requires much more, overanalyzed thought. Do you play it safe and pick Abbey Road? What about The Beatles, also known as the White Album? Or, do you skip the 12” format altogether and grab your favorite song, which just happens to be a post-hardcore thrasher by the obscure Wisconsin band, Defacto Oppression? Certainly NOT an easy decision to make (in this overly voluptuous hypothetical), second-guessing is sure to follow after the inevitably dreadful decision is (finally) made.
Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska garnishes some thought, but would probably be far too depressing… after all, these three albums will help feed, or deter the fact that you are, after all, stranded on a remote island. Emergency & I by the Dismemberment Plan is a considerably strong candidate, but would immediately be my number four pick. Bizarre Ride II (The Pharcyde), In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up (Live) (Ministry), This is Tim Hardin (Tim Hardin… duh), and Circa: Now! (Rocket from the Crypt) are all, exceptional lily pads on this thought pond, but none of them make the distinct cut.
London Calling (The Clash), Double Nickels on the Dime (Minutemen), Singles – 45’s and Under (Squeeze), Energy (Operation Ivy), Appetite for Destruction (Guns N’ Roses), which would easily be my number five pick, Black Monk Time (The Monks), and Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (Dead Kennedys) all lay floating in the salted sea of “never to enjoy again.” Damn, this post is depressing.
And the winner goes to… The Shape of Punk to Come… the quintessential soundtrack to my evasive youth wins the number three spot, and with little hesitation, I might add. Refused’s best, and another double LP, this top three has quickly turned into the top six, and would respectfully demonstrate, and/or adequately demolish my headspace for the rest of my delusional life. To pick three out of 2,800 is certainly NOT an easy gesture… if asked again tomorrow, I’d have a completely different roster. Oh, the joy, and immediate pleasure of viable options.
I’ve been accumulating a fairly decent slipmat collection these days. The most recent addition is this deliciously clever little number from Permanent Records, a quaint little shop in Eagle Rock, and very tiny record label.
I’ve never been a DJ, but have always gotten a devilish kick out of clothing my turntables. Forever and a day ago, I posted about my newly acquired Grand Royal slipmat lot, and right now, under my More Charlie Barnet album (currently spinning on the platter), is a slipmat with the mummified RFTC logo from their “last show” in San Diego back in 2005 (they’ve, obviously, gotten back together since then, so the “last show” novelty has all but worn off… but the slipmat is killer!).
I passed up a Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde slipmat the other day. Clearly NOT a necessity, I’m contemplating going back to pick it up. A steady stream of rotating slipmats makes the grooves happy, I find. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself these days.
10 inches of Hip-Hop infused, fits of 1994 aggression! That’s what they’re givin’ you, kid! So sip your juice, spin your licorice disc, and leave your poor mother alone! Also, if you ever decide to grow a mullet, you will be disowned!
Any album containing the rapid fire fury of Mullet Head is worth owning, and this UK 10″ is no different.
At Home With the Groovebox is the musical equivalent of fizz popping from atop a tall glass of freshly poured soda (or pop if you’re from the Midwest). With its unexpected musical nuances snapping and bursting to create a refreshing, fluid wave of electronic sound, this album does an exceptional job of oozing that happy-fun-time-gonna-cheer-you-up style of music. It’s playful, but in a good way.
Revolving around the Roland MC-505, At Home With the Groovebox brings together a slew of big name artists to create individual musical landscapes as diverse and eclectic as the artists themselves. This album could very well be an advertisement for the Roland MC-505, as it is the common thread weaving throughout each head-bobbing song… it’s also featured on the cover. Go ahead, take a look. Those kids are so excited… isn’t that cute?! Ok, moving on.
Starting off the first record in this talent-filled, double LP collection of diverse artists is the famed Jean Jacques Perrey. Remember The In Sound from Way Out!? Mr. Perrey was 71 when this album came out, and the man still ushers in the electronic grooviness with his track titled, The Groovy Leprechauns. Another familiar face emerges at the start of record two, Jean Jacques Perrey’s teammate, the then 78-year-old Gershon Kingsley with his track, Popcorn. It’s nice to see the old, more experienced kids play well with the younger kids and vice versa.
Featured on this 16-track compilation are the following sundry mix of artists (starting at the top): Jean Jacques Perrey, Buffalo Daughter, John McEntire, Air, Pavement, Money Mark, Beck, Sean Lennon, Gershon Kingsley, Sonic Youth, Bis, Cibo Matto, Donnie “Prince” Billy, and Dick Hyman (I guess you’d expect to catch The Groove rhymin’!). I could have just directed you to the picture on the left, but it’s fun to be redundant sometimes… sometimes.
If you have ears that work, I suggest you treat yourself to the good things in life, and get At Home With the Groovebox. A sonic wave of grooviness awaits you.
Editor’s note: This is the 100th post of The Prudent Groove and it mirrors the 100th consecutive day of me getting up too damn early to prudently write about my collection of grooves. Thanks for reading. I’m going back to bed now.
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.
Sean 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.
Now 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.)
Not many people enjoy BS 2000, which is interesting considering this album has only ever been release on vinyl. To say the music is unconventional would be an understatement. To say the music is unlistenable, distasteful, or simply, not music, would be like judging a book by its opening sentence. BS 2000 is most certainly an acquired taste, and once the walls of ignorance are torn down, the appetite for more becomes primal.
With its 23 tracks, this debut side project from Beastie Boy, Adam Horovitz, and teammate, AWOL Amery Smith, is a brilliant collection of looping Electronic Breakbeats, pitch and time-altered samples, and various other momentary flashes of abstract genius. In Brian Newman’s well written, but point-missing review of this album on allmusic.com (he gave it only 2 out of 5 stars), he explains, “Listening to BS 2000’s self-titled debut album is almost the equivalent of watching a Federico Fellini film or reading a William S. Burrows passage.” This is a fairly accurate assessment of the music, and certainly a proficient crew to roll with.
Absolutely unsuitable for the masses, BS 2000’s music cuts and runs at the same moment you’ve finished tuning your ears in order to ingest the wall of head bobbing, groovy noise. The album is only 33 minutes long, so when you take into account the number of songs, you get a pretty good idea of how short these all-but-throwaway beats are.
This is a must listen for any fan of the Beastie Boys, and anyone who enjoys experimental, abstract sounds. There is definitely a clear rhythmic beat to each and every track on this album, so don’t misunderstand me and think this is a boiling pot of erupting noise. Listening to it as I type, and having not given it a spin in a while, I’d almost forgotten how damn good these hodge-podge beats are. If you’re in the market for this album, but can’t find it, email me and I’ll hook you up.
Nobody beats BS 2000.
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.
Back in the day, it may have been 1995, while occupying my parent’s basement in rustic Wisconsin, I ordered some things off the then, lucrative and flourishing Grand Royal website. When I received “item I have since forgotten” (it may have been a Luscious Jackson 12”), it was accompanied by a Grand Royal Records catalog. Now, I LOVE catalogues! Strange to say, but it’s true (I still have a number of JC Penney’s Christmas catalogues from the mid 80’s). Anyway, in said catalog was a picture, almost majestic now that I think of it, of the Grand Royal slipmat. Living in rural Wisconsin, and not having a record store within 60 miles, it boggles my feeble mind why I didn’t order a slipmat right then and there. I guess I’d always figured that “I’ll get around to it later.” Well, fast-forward 17 years and I was still without a GR slipmat, and by this time, they were NOT easily accessible. Going for over $100 each on eBay and other outrageous sites, I’d all but abandoned my decade long dream (yeah, I dream big!) of one day owning a Grand Royal slipmat.
Short story long, I contacted the guys over at Beastiemania inquiring about the now defunct Grand Royal Records (seeing where I can get my hands on out of print releases for cheap, etc.). After some fan based chit-chat over a few months, I received an email from one of the founders of Beastiemania stating that he was attempting to sell the majority of his collection and wondered if I’d be interested. In his collection, the four Grand Royal slipmats you see in the above picture. Knowing what they had been going for, I asked what he wanted for all the slipmats he had. His asking price: $10 each! Needless to say, my 1995 self was, well, beside himself (myself?). Since then I’ve accumulated a groovy little collection of slipmats (RIP RFTC, Swami Records, Amoeba Music, etc.) but never seem to deviate from the Grand Royal rotation.
It’s mundane, I know, but it makes me happy. A wise man once said, “Find the things in life that make you happy and do them.” For me, I can finally check Grand Royal slipmat off my NEED WANT list.
So, Donovan… Hurdy Gurdy Man, Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch, Mellow Yellow, etc. THAT Donovan… You know the one… anyway so Donovan had a kid, right? Well, he had four kids, but one, KEY kid with American girlfriend, Enid Stulberger who they named Ione Skye Leitch, later to become known across American film screens as Ione Skye (remember Say Anything… ?). Ok, so, Ione Skye is Donovan’s daughter, with me so far? So, little Ione grew up, as kids do, and she became involved with Red Hot Chili Peppers’ front man, Anthony Kiedis shortly before… wait for it, marrying Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) of Beastie Boys fame. Ok, that makes sense. Beautiful jet-setting daughter of legendary songwriter gets involved with late 80’s bad boys… understandable… moving on. In 1992 (think Check Your Head) Ione marries Ad-Rock. That same year the Beastie Boys launch their own record label, Grand Royal Records. Pay attention because this is going to get crazy. In 1994 Grand Royal signed Ben Lee (of Noise Addict notoriety). Ben had four releases on Grand Royal, Noise Addict with three.
(Recap: Ione = Donovan’s daughter and Ad-Rock’s wife. Ben Lee = signed to Beastie Boys’ label, Grand Royal.)
Cut to 2008… Grand Royal is defunct (seemingly bankrupt), Ione Skye and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock, KEEP UP!) are divorced and Ben Lee is set to wed Ione Skye… LESS THAN A YEAR LATER THEY HAVE A CHILD!
(Updated recap: Donovan + chick = Ione Skye. Ione Skye + Adam Horovitz marry. Adam Horovitz + Beastie Boys create Grand Royal Records. Grand Royal Records sign Ben Lee. Ione Skye + Adam Horovitz split. Ione Skye + Ben Lee marry, have child.)
This little bit of useless knowledge may be worthless to the layperson (eff them), but I swear, I about lost my $hit when I found this out. I can see Grand Royal reunions being a bit awkward these days, if in fact there ARE Grand Royal reunions. I imagine it to be one of those, “if a tree falls in the woods” type of things. If an Adam and an Ione and a Ben are in the same room together, do they talk to each other?
This post has caused the elevator in my brain hotel to break down. It’s just as well.
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.
Before the Berlin Wall fell, before Cookie Puss and Professor Booty. Before Return of the Jedi. Before Lost, Seinfeld, Moonlighting and Breaking Bad. Before the Challenger exploded. Before Full Metal Jacket, the Hubble Telescope, and Mullet Heads. Before The Clash broke up. Before I’d survived my first Wisconsin winter. Before the World Wide Web, Flash and MP3s. Before Mad Cow, Def Jam and Netty’s Girl. Before the Dust Brothers and the Chemical Brothers. Before Cheers closed. Before Jimmy James, Country Mike and the Nervous Assistant. Before Nintendo, Powerpoint and CD-ROM. Before Johnny Ryall, Brass Monkey, BS 2000, the Tibetan Freedom Concert, Grand Royal, and the prequels. Before Ad-Rock…
There was Polly Wog Stew.
Released on November 20th, 1982 on NYC’s Rat Cage Records. Listen here.