130-Mile Drive for Jehu

Screen shot 2014-08-19 at 7.58.32 PMTonight’s installment was all set and scheduled for Still Bill, the 2nd studio album by the rug-tappin’ soul-funk master, Bill Withers… that was, until I found out that Drive Like Jehu was reuniting for a free, outdoor show in their hometown of San Diego after a 19-year hiatus. Needless to say, I’m beside myself with childlike excitement (to put it mildly). San Diego road trip in little over a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Remembering the Classics

BeethovenDon’t forget to appreciate the classics… set aside the hip-hoppery of N.E.R.D., Dre, the Fat Boys, and Lords of the Underground… extinguish the fiery rags of Rocket from the Crypt, Todd Terge, and MOTOR… cast away the modern indecency of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Richard Pryor, and Lard… and carve out some well deserved time to remember the classics. For me, it gets no better than Beethoven… or Brahms… or Wagner… or Stravinsky… or Prokofiev… or ONYX… or Bartók. Remember the classics, and allow all other seeping improprieties to pass you by, if only for the length of four, alleviating movements.

Don’t Miss the Train

Train in Vain18 tracks weren’t enough for the illustrious London Calling, the third studio album by the legendary misfits of genre-bending punks, The Clash. Unofficially hidden, or rather lopped on after the appropriate concluder Revolution Rock, the third and final single stemming forth from this prodigious album, Train in Vain (not unlike a retaliatory missile, or the first bullet fired during a revolutionary riot), was originally written and recorded as a giveaway track for the publication NME (or New Musical Express… I just found out), and was to be released as a flexi-disc single through the magazine… something that, for whatever reason, never came to be.

Certainly not news to the astute a-Clash-ionado, this little nugget of info explains why London Calling ends perfectly (with Revolution Rock), then spits out an unscheduled, and unwanted encore with Train in Vain. This is certainly not to say TiV is a song of lesser listening value, rather its inclusion on London Calling, or its position therein rustles the feathers of album perfection. Since London Calling is the closest thing to a perfect album as is (save maybe for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, This is Tim Hardin, The Shape of Punk to Come, Paul’s Boutique, Circa: Now!, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, or Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde) it really doesn’t matter.

Some Gilded Treasures Should Remain Buried

Black n RedContained below is lost debris found amongst the sea of filth that is my PG work folder. I have no idea as to its context, nor what groovy slab inspired such nonsensical ramblings, but when you’re in a hurry, anything seems plausible. (If you need a music suggestion for today, check out Rocket from the Crypt’s Hot Charity, or Tool’s Ænima. I’ve been stuck under an angry cloud as of late, and it seems my trusty umbrella has abandoned my side.)

There is something to be said about someone who can go from Beethoven’s 8th Symphony, to Thunderheist’s Jerk It 12”, to Harry Nilsson’s Pandemonium Shadow Show, to Rudimentary Peni’s Cacophony without the shimmering blink of an eye. What that something is, may be lost on the likes of me, but sometimes the logic breaks down in an extremely logical way. Get what I’m throwing down? No? Neither do I. If that’s the case, then you and I should be friends, or at least pen pals (suggested by someone who has never owned a pen).

Dig what you dig, and don’t listen to anyone who thinks they know what they’re talking about because, realistically, nobody really does. Take me for example. I enjoy annoying my neighbors, so much so that I create “neighbor annoy” playlists for my mid-day weekend adventures. Are they annoyed as I feel they SHOULD be, probably not. But does it make me happy none-the-less? You bet your ass!

Ambition Has its Flaws Volume 6

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It’s ANGRY CHRISTMAS here at the Prudent Groove, and to help us with our holiday jeering will be the following:

Rocket from the Crypt – Boychucker

The Dismemberment Plan – I Love a Magician

Oxford Collapse – Molasses

The Murder City Devils – Ready for More

Hot Snakes – Salton City

Defacto Oppression – It’s Not That Simple

Andrew Jackson Jihad – People II: The Reckoning

Stiff Little Fingers – Here We Are Nowhere

Chronic Sick – Mucho Macho

Slayer – Angel of Death

Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus

HB, BJNothing says Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus like the appropriately titled rock n’ roll comp, Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus. Released in 1993 on Sympathy for the Record Industry, a Washington-based, one-man-operated punk and garage rock label, HB, BJ captures that glorified sleaziness found within the smoke-filled, brawl-inducing dive bars scattered across this giant, rotating rock, but you know, with that perfect amount of stocking stuffed sincerity.

BackFeatured on this, borderline anti-Christmas rager are The New Bomb Turks, Rocket from the Crypt, Jackknife, The Humpers, Shitbirds, The Devil Dogs a many more! Act now and receive a free… or, wait… I’m not actually selling this album, but if you’re in the market for quality garage rock with a pinch of Christmas cheer, Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus is just the right amount of straight bourbon guzzling, tree decorating, sibling-shoving mess of holiday overindulgence.

Ambition Has its Flaws Volume 3

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Well, it’s late, but k’mon, man! These things take time! Enjoy the beginnings of the festive holiday with works from Dean Martin, Country Mike (the Beastie Boys), R2-D2 & C-3PO, Joe Pesci, The Kinks, The Smothers Brothers, Rocket from the Crypt, the Capitol Studio Orchestra, The Dismemberment Plan, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Make your ears bleed red will these irreverent boughs of holly, courtesy of The Prudent Groove.

Ambition Has its Flaws Volume 2

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Note to self… do NOT spend the morning drinking mimosas and yelling at the television for your 4th string quarterback to complete a pass longer than 6 yards if you’ve got 3+ hours of audio editing to produce. In this week’s coupon-cutting installment, we enjoy the talents of Butter 08, James Booker, Thomas Bangalter, Minutemen, Laibach, Jim & Ingrid Croce, Holy F*ck and Rocket from the Crypt. It’s late, and I’m tired, but here it is… another example of how willing I am to waste my precious time. Enjoy!

The Joy of Overindulgence

SwamiOh, 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.

MummyIt’s Friday… enjoy this evening’s festivities, and don’t forget to stop and admire the change of scenery now and again.

Post #250: Three Albums, One Island

Paul'sIf 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.

Village GreenBruce 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.

RefusedAnd 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.

Saturday, April 21, 2001

RFTC at The MetroThe day: Saturday, April 21st, 2001. The venue: Chicago’s Metro. The event: International Noise Conspiracy opening up for Rocket from the Crypt.

It had been two, LONG years since I’d last seen Rocket from the Crypt in concert. I had been living in Milwaukee for little over a year at this point, and in that time, when San Diego’s finest came within driving distance (essentially any venue in any state bordering Wisconsin), you dropped whatever you were doing and you got your ass to the show.

This was the third time I’d seen Rocket from the Crypt, and before even fueling up the car to head some 90+ miles into Illinois territory, I had already made up my mind that, amid the enormous amount of live acts I’d seen up to that point, no other experience had topped the raw and ecstatic vigor of Rocket from the Crypt. I’ve seen a plethora of shows since that cloudy spring day, and my assessment has since proved to be 100% accurate.

Being an avid Refused fan and never having the esteemed opportunity to see them perform live, my youthful self was barely able to contain the restless fever of seeing Refused’s frontman, Dennis Lyxzén and his new, post-Refused band, The (International) Noise Conspiracy. To see a fraction of Refused open up for the greatest live act I had, and would ever see, was enough to blow the feeble mind of my 21-year-old self.

RFTC StubI escaped the evening intact, but only barely. It would be exactly 3 months (July 21, 2001) until I saw Rocket from the Crypt again, and I had to close the Hollywood Video where I worked an hour and a half early in order to do so, but that’s a story for another time.

Permanent Records Says: Stay Cheesy

Permanent RecordsI’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.

Pitchfork – Saturn Outhouse – Clear Vinyl

Pitchfork CoverPlease excuse the lateness of today’s post. It was for a legitimate, and vinyl related cause, I assure you. Here’s the skinny: So yesterday, on our way back from our 6th year at Comic-Con (in San Diego), my vinyl collecting doppelganger and I hit up Lou’s Records in Encinitas, CA. We’d read a few reviews and decided to check it out. We were less than impressed with the selection, as it was really kind of picked through. Apparently Lou’s is a famous little joint. My doppelganger informed me that Pearl Jam used to play there, but I didn’t pay it much mind, since I don’t care for PJ and/or much that comes from this guy’s face. So, after only about five minutes, and upon quick realization that all the grooves we were looking for could not be found, we decided to bounce. On our swift escape, something caught my eye. It was… a clear vinyl version of Pitchfork’s first EP, Saturn Outhouse. Limited to only 100 copies on clear vinyl, this little 7” also happens to be hand numbered. This copy reads: 6/100.

Lou's RecordsSo, like the intelligent and forward thinking chap that I am, I passed it up. I left it there, got back into the car, and headed back to Los Angeles. Late last night, an itch started, and it wouldn’t let up no matter how much I attempted to ignore it. I began searching for any info on this clear vinyl release on the inter-webs, but couldn’t find much of anything on it. The black vinyl version can be found just about anywhere, including amongst the 45s in my collection, but I’d never heard of this version, and since it was the first ANYTHING released by Rocket from the Crypt mastermind, John Reis, I’d felt I’d made a HUGE mistake by not picking it up.

Lou 2Fast-forward to this morning. After reading a thoughtful post about this clear vinyl release, I started to feel bad for this guy. He’d been hunting all over for this particular record, up to and including contacting the band, and he ended up finding one for a hefty $250. I thought, hmmm. It took this poor guy 18 years to track this record down… and I know where I can get one for a cool $25. So I called Lou’s to make sure they still had it, hopped in my rocket ship and drove an hour and a half to Encinitas. I just got back (traffic was a bastard on the northbound 405), so, yeah. Today’s post is late. But look at what I have!!!

1995: The State of Art is On Fire

ArtRock ‘N’ Roll gets kicked in the teeth with this fire-themed gauntlet of raging energy. Led by Speedo’s spitting vocals and Petey X’s stabbing bass work, the glorious Rocket from the Crypt, over just six songs, show everyone within shouting distance why they’re helmed as the best Rock ‘N’ Roll group ever to walk the Earth. The State of Art is On Fire, and Rocket from the Crypt lit the match.

The State of Art is on Fire was the first in a trilogy from RFTC (Rocket from the Crypt) in 1995, followed by August’s Hot Charity and October’s Scream, Dracula, Scream!. This particular release is, well, a bit peculiar since side A plays at 33rpms and side B plays at 45rpms. It should also be noted that this EP was the first to feature JC 2000, the band’s trumpeter, and also included a lyrics sheet, which was rarely included in releases by this band.

InsertThe hair-raising back-to-back shots from Rid or Ride and Human Torch are arguably the best one-two punch by any band on any album ever. I know this statement is subjective, but you’re wrong if you think otherwise.  Like a violent flame, this album starts to burn your ears, your neighbor’s dog’s ears, your feet, the pear on your kitchen table, your memories of Senior Prom, and the blood flowing through your veins, and it doesn’t let up until the needle breaks on the final groove.  The State of Art is on Fire is an experience. One that is not quickly, or let’s face it, EVER forgotten.

RecordOnly 300 copies exist of this blue marbled staple of Rock ‘N’ Roll awesomeness. Currently none are for sale of either this or the pink marbled version, but the black version can be had for only $8 at Discogs.

Art has been burning now for 18 years. Sit back and enjoy the flames.

1989: Saturn Outhouse

Pitchfork Cover, LoverBefore breaking Lou Brock’s coveted career Major League stolen base record of 938, a very young Rickey Henderson had to steal his first base. Before The Beatles could release the immeasurable Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, they had to play backup to Tony Sheridan. All legacies have a beginning, and before the Hot Snakes, the Obits, Drive Like Jehu, the Sultans, The Night Marchers and the crème de la crème, Rocket from the Crypt, before modern day rock ‘n’ roll emerged from the heavens and established itself as “the majestic sound from the Gods,” there was Pitchfork.

Rick Froberg, meet John Reis. Get through your handshakes and your pleasant introductions quickly, because over the next 25 years you’ve got four singles, one EP and seven albums to write, record, produce and release under the heading of three different bands: Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes. Get busy boys… the world is waiting.

Insert-siesThe first recorded ANYTHING by both Froberg and Reis (their musical rookie card), Saturn Outhouse contains the same melodic, in your face, sky-high level of energy found in Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, and like those bands, sees Froberg on vocals and Reis on lead guitar. It’s evident, as seen from Reis’ more recent work, how much he is influenced by mid-60’s obscure garage rock, but Saturn Outhouse sounds more like an Ian MacKaye-headed Fugazi than anything released by the Seeds.

To the causal listener, Pitchfork can easily, and understandably, be confused for Drive Like Jehu, and vise versa. The two bands have striking similarities (scratching vocals by Froberg, piercing guitar by Reis, melodic, drawn-out landscapes), but the difference lies in the level of maturity exuded by both Froberg and Reis between Pitchfork’s demise (1990) and the birth of Drive Like Jehu (later in 1990).  I haven’t matured that much in 33 years, and these guys crossed that mark in their early twenties! Quiet simply put, Froberg and Reis were adolescents, yes, but they were also music legends in the making.

Pitchfork Back, JackContaining the tracks, Thin Ice, Goat and Sinking, this little necessity of music history can be had for a surprisingly cheap amount. Starting at only $6.54 over at Discogs, this gem can, and should, be sought after by any, and every fan of the majestic, modern day rock ‘n’ roll sound.

When In Rome (Do The Jerk!)

Do the Jerk!

In the wake of my esteemed excitement for tonight’s The Night Marchers show, I’ve decided to showcase one of the grooviest looking records in my collection, Rocket from the Crypt’s 1998 UK single, When In Rome (Do The Jerk!).

Speedo (John Reis), who helped form Rocket from the Crypt and acted as lead vocalist and guitarist, recently formed The Night Marchers (and was previously a principle member of Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes). So for those of you know didn’t know, now see the connection.

This picture disc shaped like the (Rocket from the Crypt) RFTC logo (as you can plainly see) consists of three tracks: When In Rome (Do The Jerk!), Tarzan and Tiger Feet Tonite and was the first single released from their 1998 album, RFTC.

RFTC, and its first single, When In Rome (Do The Jerk!) saw the band at odds with themselves as well as with their (then) label Interscope Records. Record sales were less than expected, which led to the band’s departure from Interscope in 1999. Longtime mainstay RFTC drummer, Atom left the band shortly thereafter to become a tour roadie (drum tech) for Weezer, before joining The Offspring, Angels & Airwaves and touring with Social Distortion and Alkaline Trio. Atom had been with Rocket from the Crypt on their previous five albums (all but their 1991 debut, Paint As A Fragrance).

When In Rome (Do The Jerk!) acts as a sort of tombstone-like visual representation of the high-water era of this incredible band; an era that many would argue to be their most prolific period.

This is an absolute must for any RFTC fan simply for its eye-catching shape and instantly recognizable RFTC appeal. It goes for a reasonable sum on discogs and comes HIGHLY recommended by The Prudent Groove.

Do the Jerk! Back

Atomic Love

Atomic Records StickersThe affection I have towards my addiction (of collecting records) is not unlike a relationship. A relationship filled with ecstasy and hopeless bleak despair.  Looking back at my nearly 20-year relationship (fugg I’m old!), certain milestones come to mind that mark my progression/devolution. Like for instance, my first record store.

One never forgets their first time.

It was, and is still called Mad City Music Exchange and was, and is still located on Willy St. (Williamson St.) a few blocks from the State Capitol in Madison, WI. It was here where I began to build my (nearing completion) Beastie Boys discography, where I obtained my Big Rig 7” (Jesse from Op Ivy’s band after Op Ivy), and whose owner agreed to be interviewed by a High School Senior version of me for a fictitious record store I was to own and operate for a Marketing project. I’ll never forget his response after I gleefully informed him that I too wanted to own and operate an independent record store. His reply, “Why would you want to do a thing like that?”

As with many relationships, things just don’t work out. There is the whole “growing apart” thing, the “I dig your store but not your prices, so, you know, let’s just be friends” thing, and the “common necessity for relocation” thing. (THAT’S IT! THOSE ARE THE ONLY THINGS THAT DOOM A RELATIONSHIP! I kid.) So when opportunity (and my parents) moved me to Milwaukee, I was in desperate need of finding a new lover; a pusher for my audio starved addiction.

Enter Atomic Records.

Atomic Records was then, what Hollywood’s legendary Amoeba Music is now. If you’ve been to Amoeba in Hollywood, you get an idea of what I’m talking (writing) about. Atomic was my one-stop-shop for just about everything! Sleeves, Rocket from the Crypt stickers, tickets to BS 2000 shows, rare UK Zines, Christmas gifts for my father (who also collects records), my Har Mar Superstar picture disc, t-shirts, and sometimes live acoustic shows by nearby Chicago bands.

I’d stop in at Atomic 3-4 times a week while attending UW Milwaukee. There was something romantic about that shop in the dark winter months. With warm, inviting lights and the childlike anticipation of finding a coveted gem, Atomic almost acted like a temporary dose of sanity while helping me to forget about the death that is winter in Wisconsin. It was a safe haven, if only at 30-minute increments.

After leaving Milwaukee and moving to the much more mentally sustainable environment of Southern California, I found other record shop relationships and all but forgot about my brief, but prodigious admiration towards Atomic Records.

She’s gone now; closed her doors in 2009, and with it a chapter of my life that is just as important as the current chapter I’m attempting to write with The Prudent Groove.

Atomic may not have been my first, but she was arguably the best and, one I will certainly never forget.

RIP Atomic Records.