This Telegraph, Skolars split is something of legend in my personal circle (of two). Ever since seeing Telegraph opened for Less Than Jake at my buddy’s 18th birthday (way back in 1997), I’ve been a (wherewithal) loyal Telegraph fan. I saw The Skolars here, and then their reincarnation at said 18th bday, LTJ show. I’m ecstatic to own Quit Your Band (97 Demo) and Open 24 Hours on vinyl. It’s a good day when these tracks get spun, and I encourage all quasi-ska-punk lovers to consider both The Skolars and Telegraph to justify your next swing-filled fix.
Hyper-frenzied J-ska’ers, Pot Shot released their first LP by ways of Asian Man Records wayyyyyy back in 1997. Titled Pots and Shots (clever enough), she was released once on vinyl, limited to 2000 copies worldwide, and has yet to be reissued. I had to order this puppy from Japan as domestic sales were either nonexistent or hugely overpriced. Their hit, Radio was featured on the 1998 comp, Mailorder is Fun! and as it turns out, was my first introduction to this exciting band. They’re aggressively upbeat, ferociously frenetic, and unmistakably catchy. Shove them in your ear this holiday season.
I’ve got this box, see. It was given to me when I was younger, let’s say 12 years old, by a 2nd or 3rd cousin. Me and this family member shared the same last name, ya see, and as if out of the wild blue yonder, I was asked if I’d like a hinged, wooden, square box roughly 2′ x 2′ x 2′. I said sure, thinking nothing of it, thanked my cousin, and shoved the box into a corner for about four years.
This box and I have been through a lot together. I’ve had this little schwag-attracting canvas longer than I’ve had a license, had the right to vote (oh yeah, I’ve got all my “I voted” stickers on there too!), and she’s been by my side, as if demanding newly acquired stick-ables, for my entire adult life. In a time of taking nothing for granted, I’d love for the opportunity to thank my cousin again for this overly generous gift. Anyway, so I’ve got this box, see…
Released on Asian Man Records back in 1997 as AM023 (the early pressings), Christian ska favorites, Five Iron Frenzy knocked out a three track 7” by the goofy-ass name of Miniature Golf Courses of America Present Five Iron Frenzy. I lost interest after their first album, 1996’s Upbeats and Beatdowns, but longstanding fans tell me I should have held out. Five Iron was a great alternative addition to the late 90s ska / softcore punk wave, and this little masterpiece encapsulates an era that would be scorned and beaten in this weary day and age. Better keep the sacred memories locked away in the past where they can’t be disturbed, or something like that. Happy hump day!
Ska may suck… Ska revival may not be cool, says this stupid schmuck* (smuck**), but this comp, 1988’s Skankin’ ‘Round the World – The International Ska Compilation – Vol. 1, unveils itself under a dusty cloud of pleasure-toned, reggae-influenced, Caribbean-minded melodic good-time, happy-go-skankin’ Monday evening mood-music, that’s perfect parts nostalgia, groove, and global badassery. It’s a pleasurable head-bobbing, foot-tapping comp. Check it out.
* Propagandhi’s 1993 track, Ska Sucks off their debut album, How to Clean Everything.
** Ishtar, you know, the 1987 comedic masterpiece?! One of my personal favorites.
File tonight’s venture under the heading of 10” pictures discs that haven’t been played in over 18 years. One of the most memorable live bands my teenaged self has ever had the pleasure of witnessing, the Chicago-based new, new wave ska hardcore band, The Blue Meanies, combined big band numbers with post-hardcore aggression, offered eye-opening repetitive (and loud) percussion, horns, and spitting lyrics bellowing forth from an amplified megaphone.
Pave the World, like most spot-on commentaries on the everyday unraveling of social morality (based on the motivation of greed and fatter stacks), wails like an uneasy siren of truth. The Blue Meanies were not a band to be taken lightly, and their wisdom will continue to paint the horizons of willing truth seekers generations to come.
Operation Ivy’s Hectic E.P. was a bit of a golden idol to track down. Thankfully, I didn’t have to run from a giant rock-ball, nor did I lose my greedy counterpart to a lightbeam-triggered spike wall in the process. Like most of the “need to have, gotta’ save up for” treasures in my archeological collection, I unearthed this 1988 7″ from the bowels of the illustrious eBay. eBay that as it may, I’ve never seen this, the original version of this fireball of a band debut, in any record store in all my collecting days. The winning bidder: my ears.
I’ve heard convincing arguments coming from both sides of the strong divide that is “purchasing records online vs. purchasing records at record stores.” On one hand, as a record collector, it’s our sworn duty, albeit unspoken, to support our local brick and mortars so that they may continue to flourish for future record collecting generations. On the other hand, should I really pay $10 for a G+ re-issue of Harry Nilsson’s Nilsson Schmilsson when I can get the same version in the same condition online for $1.50? Should the “support tax” really be 6.6x the price of the record in question? I suppose we all walk this “do the right thing vs. gimme a deal” line, so in the attempts of easing my conscience, some 10 years later, I finally find myself at peace with my online purchase of Op Ivy’s first record, and yes… I handed over a 10 spot for said Nilsson re-issue. So, my conscience is clear… for now.
Short lived but monumentally influential, Operation Ivy delivers furious fits of melodic rage with six piercing tracks in under 11 minutes, and includes the personal cornerstones, Hoboken, Junkie’s Runnin’ Dry and Sleep Long. Yet another soundtrack to my high school years, Op Ivy is one of those bands that, not unlike a fine wine or salted cheese, has gotten better with age, and the Hectic E.P. is the perfect start to this brief, yet unmistakably essential band.
I feel as though I need to explain myself a bit. When coming up with topics here at The Prudent Groove, I need a touch of inspiration. Since I have over 2600 albums to choose from, the number of options gets to be daunting and ultimately discouraging. In other words, I need to be moved in order to write about something. So last night I’m at the grocery store, right? I see a sale on individually wrapped cheese sticks, 3 for $0.99. Decent price, ok, cool. Instantly, the hamster inside my head begins to churn, “Well, each stick is roughly $0.33 1/3 cents… Cheese… 33 1/3 RPMs… I SHOULD WRITE ABOUT LESS THAN JAKE’S CHEESE RECORD!” And with that thought, this post was born.
Leave it to Florida natives, Less Than Jake to dairy-ify an 80’s classic like Twisted Sister’s, We’re Not Gonna Take It. Limited to 1000 copies, this glorified 2 track 7” is aged to perfection and is now a ripe 15 years old (having been released in 1998). I purchased this copy at one of the many Less Than Jake performances I attended in Milwaukee. I think Kemuri was the opening band, but I don’t’ remember. What I DO remember is catching hell from my buddy, Neal for not picking up a LTJ Cheese record for him… I still feel bad about that to this day. (Religious guilt.)
The music is straightforward Ska-Punk-Pop that LTJ is known for. Rage, then break for horns… Rage, then break for horns… End. It sounded better when I was 19.
Side A: Cheese
Side B: We’re Not Gonna Take It
It’s interesting how certain bands spawn specific memories, be it however mundane or insignificant. For me, Twisted Sister has always been linked to the Hollywood Video in Milwaukee where I used to work. On one of my shifts, Mark Metcalf (The Maestro on Seinfeld) came in to rent a video and even though I had to look up his name, I distinctly recognized him as the pissed off, music hating father from the We’re Not Gonna Take It video. I think that song, this record, and video renting in general will always be intertwined within the vast, vacant openness that is my brain. What does that have to do with Less Than Jake? Absolutely nothing, and I’m fine with that.
“We’re not gonna take it!” You’re not gonna’ take it?! Really? You’re not gonna’ take cheese?!!! Who wouldn’t take cheese? Are you lactose? This breaks a Wisconsin boy’s heart!
Notice the two types on the insert.