The (questionably) uncool, always entertaining Oxford Collapse (RIP) unleashed another indie rock classic with (late) 2006’s Remember the Night Parties. Is it cool to sing about National Parks (Please Visit Your National Parks), female practicers of law (Lady Lawyers), or black treacle (Molasses)? I don’t care one way or the other, because Remember the Night Parties is, from start to finish, an essential album. Top 50 all-time, I’d have to say, which is saying something, and nothing at the same time.
Oh, to be back in 1985, for even an afternoon, when Mike + The Mechanics’ debut dropped. Former Genesis co-founder and bassist Mike Rutherford (THE Mike in this brief tale) formed the band in Dover, England shortly before this album’s release. They (the band) would go on to record 9, radio-friendly pop albums, including 2017’s Let Me Fly. If you don’t remember the sound, but recognize the name, all you need, is a miracle.
I’ve attempted this post from many different angles over the past few days, and I’m conceding. Tricops! provides a very difficult sound to define. Why the need to define is a topic in and of itself, something we’ll reserve for another time. All I can say about Out of Africa, the band’s debut album on Alternative Tentacles Records, is that it’s genre-mashing in the best sense of the term. If you enjoy high-speed journeys through aggressively dangerous terrain, and can stomach the 6+ minute tracks, strap on your bike helmet and check out Out of Africa. It’s an expedition best enjoyed cautiously.
Let’s face it, ELO’s fifth studio album is a crusher. Containing two of the band’s most successful singles, Evil Woman and Strange Magic, 1975’s Face the Music often gets overshadowed by the two albums that would follow, 1976’s A New World Record and 1977’s Out of the Blue (both selling tens of millions of copies worldwide). If you’re feeling a bit adventurous but don’t want to stray too far away from home, give Face the Music a spin. You can never go wrong with the Electric Light Orchestra as far as I’m concerned.
MGM Records, circa: 1968 was the “now” label, or so it thought. With the likes of Eric Burdon & the Animals, Roy Orbison, Herman’s Hermits, Sam the Sham, and Every Mothers’ Son, very few would argue that boasting claim. Throw in the father-son combo of Hank Williams & Jr., and you’ve got yourself “The Sounds of Now” er, then. Fancy design layout, too.
Side note: I’ve reached out to Vagrant Records to see if there are any plans to release vinyl versions of Rocket’s R.I.P. and All Systems Go! III. We’ll see how it plays out.
So, it appears that Vagrant Records is doing a 20th anniversary vinyl rerelease series, and its two Rocket from the Crypt records are showcased. Both 2001’s Group Sounds (one of their best), and 2002’s Live from Camp X-Ray (not a live album, and neither 20 years old) are featured. The record to the left isn’t part of that series (I only just ordered the lot this morning), but instead was sold at both the band’s 2013 European reunion tour, and on 2013’s North American Record Store Day. Here is the Vagrant link if you fancy a look.
Machine Head, or Caput Machina in Latin, was recorded, wait, let me go get the record… “was written and recorded in Montreux, Switzerland, between 6th and 21st December 1971.” Though Smoke on the Water (side 2, track 1) is ranked 434 of 500 on Rolling Stone magazine’s coveted The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, it would never chart higher than 2 (Canadian RPM Top Singles), and wouldn’t even chart in its native land (UK Singles (Official Charts Company) until 1977 (thank you Smoke on the Water wiki page). It just goes to show you, that charts are shit, and one must only follow one’s instincts.
Double your desire for Exotica with these (slightly) varying album covers from Denny Martin’s 1957 classic, Exotica (you remember… the album that spawned the genre, and subcategory to Space of Pop?! No?! Well, get with it, man!). Spectra Sonic Sound is not just a Nation of Ulysses track (as it turns out), and was apparently “the ultimate in High Fidelity” in the mid-to-late 1950s, or at least had legal rights to such a claim. With the same catalog number, I couldn’t tell you which version (left or right) came first, though I will say I find it hard to believe that one would consciously move away from the multi-color Spectra-Sonic-Sound logo on the bottom of the right version. Essential. Listening. Material.
1991’s Ribbed by (then) Los Angeles clowns NOFX received the red vinyl reissue treatment back in 2010. Crazy to think that was 7 years ago, already. Every few years Epitaph Records reissues small color variant batches of its classic albums, so it was only a matter of time before we saw another Ribbed variant. Also released in 2010 is a blue vinyl version, and the crème de la crème dropped in 2014 (clear vinyl). Still on the lookout for that one.
Man, ever since finding The Honeycombs’ US debut for $1 at my local b&m, I’ve been obsessed with Have I the Right?. So when I found out that there existed a French, split 7″ with my favorite band (The Kinks), I knew it was only a matter of time. Yesterday, the (relatively) brief hunt subsided, and we’re now the proud owners of this gorgeous split EP. Down side, I’m now on the hunt for other mid-60s French 7″ releases.
One of our four (4) Energy records, this red vinyl reissue was released back in April of 2012 (along with the clear vinyl version previously touched upon) and is limited to only 500 pressings. I remember ordering the red vinyl version from Epitaph Records (along with the red vinyl version of the 12″ Hectic), then later finding out that there was a Hot Topic clear vinyl version out in the wild. Took me some time to track that puppy down, but red came first. You can’t have enough Energy, am I right?!
Oh, man. I can say, with an honest tongue, that the Dead Kennedys were my favorite band for about six months one year back in the early 2000’s. This copy was purchased at a little book store in Madison, WI (I believe it was Frugal Muse) while on my way back to the pizza shop on a delivery. One takes luxuries now and again, and for only $10 which, at the time was high, but seems like tip money now. I think my move to California and my new found love for James Booker knocked me out of my DK cloud, but their first two albums are still in my top 20 of all time (1980’s Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables and this, 1982’s Plastic Surgery Disasters). Cheers.
I’ll admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the wistful exuberance quietly erupting from Tennis’ fourth studio album, 2017’s Yours Conditionally. She was a polite dinner guest the other night while I enjoyed a lovely tuna quinoa dish with Mrs. Prudent Groove. Yours Conditionally was a Vinyl Me, Please release, Vol. 51 to be exact, and is housed in a VMP variant cover with exclusive pink and blue colored vinyl. She was released back in early March, but we’d only just gotten around to spinning it. Tennis… welcome to the collection.
Chas Chas for Dancing… as opposed to Cha Chas for Spelunking. From the series that brought you After Hours Middle East by Sonny Lester & His Orchestra, Murder, Inc. by Irving Joseph, and Bossa Nova + Soul by Marian McPartland comes Cha Chas for Dancing by Hugo Montenegro. Series 2000 is an eclectic set, but one worth the hunt and spin. Keep an eye or two out when thrift store digging.