Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bjork - Post - 1995

I remember when this album came out I was living in a highrise apartment complex across the street from my state capitol building.  My wife and I were engaged, and preparing for our wedding, and I was a manager at a newly introduced restaurant chain that wasn't fast food, but wasn't full service either.  When it came out, I ran down to Best Buy and got it for my wife, handing it over to her without even listening to it.  I didn't get it back until we were married a year later.

I did get to listen to it, though.  She had it in her car all the time, and I even suggested listening to it, if she ever didn't already.  The two of us really liked her music, my wife a little more than me.  I really didn't care that much for this album in particular, but it grew on me over time as my wife and I listened to it over time.  I actually prefer the b-sides and remixes to the album better than the album itself.

The best songs on the album (in order of their appearance on my sleeve above) are Hyper-ballad, It's Oh So Quiet, Enjoy, I Miss You, Karvel, Charlene and Visur.  There are some incredible remixes of Hyper-Ballad, Enjoy, Possibly Maybe and I Miss You, but those will have to wait until I decide to do the remix disc.

The worst song on this album, and possibly the worst single she's ever released (IMHO) is Army Of Me.  I hate that fucking song.  It's irritating and grates on my last nerve.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Blur - Modern Life Is Rubbish & Popscene - 1993

At the time, I thought that Blur's Leisure was an awesome album.  I loved the Madchester-esque sound and the Indie-pop Psychedelia that the band performed and exuded.  So, when Modern Life Is Rubbish came out, I was expecting a continuation of that same style and theme.

Boy was I wrong.

When MLIR came out, I immediately disliked it, and didn't pick up another Blur album again until The Great Escape (and that, only because they were competing with Oasis, and I wanted to make the comparison myself.) After the Great Escape, I did buy their self-title, and then 13.  ONLY THEN did I go back and listen to MLIR and Parklife.  That is when I realized I had missed some great stuff.

I think the reason why I didn't care for the sound of MLIR at the time is because it sounded so different.  But, looking back now, I realize that they were developing their own style separate from Madchester, simply to survive.  The other Mad-Bands didn't grow or mature, so they died when the craze died.  Blur developed a style all their own and wrote some incredible songs on MLIR.  This album also started the awesome cover art for their singles, as well.  All of the single sleeves were unique and art of their own.  I loved them all.

I threw on the Popscene EP as it truly bridged the sound between Leisure and MLIR.  None of the material on Popscene fits on either album, so it's best to keep it on it's own.

I'm pretty sure I got all of the demos, b-sides and outtakes from MLIR.  And I didn't include any remixes.  If there are any good remixes from this era, I would love to have them, but I don't...  Anyhow, I feel that my version definitely cleans up the Deluxe version that they released years ago.  It seemed very muddled and unorganized, and made it difficult to listen to in one setting.  This pulls it into a more unified presentation, and easily makes a great album even greater.  The train covers were a lot of fun to make, too...





Monday, August 29, 2016

The Dream Academy - Self-Titled Debut - 1985

When it comes to the Dream Academy's self-titled debut, there's only one thing I can say - Ferris Bueller.  If it weren't for the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, I probably would've never purchased this album, and only ever cared or heard of them through the one song entitled Life In A Northern Town.  That one movie and it's terrific soundtrack introduced me to the Dream Academy, and for that I am eternally grateful.

 I remember my sophomore year in High School in Chicago I was part of a special class of "gifted" kids.  We had to score high on the IQ and EQ charts, maintain good grades and be relatively well-mannered to be in the class.  You'd be surprised at the extreme diversity of kids that were included.  I remember Richie Vargas, a hispanic skate punk who was big into the likes of Minor Threat and the Descendents.  Then there was Jason Hinkle, another skate punk who introduced me to Samhain, the Misfits and Danzig.  Then there was Anne who was all about the Psychedelic Furs, and Kevin Arias who introduced me to Steve Vai and Joe Satriani.  Conversely, Tim Mickus introduced me to Robotech and anime in general, but his idea of good music was alien to me.  Who listens to crappy classical music like Chopin anyway?!  It's weird when I think back to my friends in my past and remember them based on the music they listened to....


BUT I DIGRESS...

In this class, we used to take field trips all the time, travelling all over Chicago doing snooty, educated, upper bourgeois sorta things.  That year reminded me so much of the movie Ferris Bueller, as we went to several of the places in the movie throughout the year.  We went to the Chicago Stock Exchange, a Cubs game, and we ate at the Berghoff Restaurant (I know that wasn't in FBDO, but it reminded me of their fine dining scene).  BUT, obviously, the most significant place we went, in relation to the movie and to the Dream Academy, was the Chicago Art Museum.  I stood on the walkway looking out the blue stained glass window, just like they did.  I looked at Seurat's "Sunday on La Grande Jatte" just like Cameron.  And all of this to the sounds of the Dream Academy's cover of "Please Please Please".  

Again, I have a hole in my chest where the city of Chicago used to be, and when I hear tunes that remind me of living there, I get nostalgic and a little sad.  This entire album reminds me of that great city (along with about 10 other albums) and when I get morose, I pull this one out (sometimes) and give it a listen.  It tends to make things a little better. 


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Chemical Brothers - Morning Lemon - the DYOH B-sides - 1998

In 1997 the Chemical Brothers knocked it out of the park with Dig Your Own Hole.  I had already purchased Exit Planet Dust and was really thrilled by it, but DYOH was where they went "mainstream" and helped bring the Electronica genre to the forefront along with Orbital, Prodigy, Underworld, Aphex Twin, Moby, Orb, Fluke and others.

The Chemical Brothers were a shade different than the rest, as they relied heavily on samples from early funk and soul albums amongst other genres.  Yes, there is still a lot of keyboards/synths, but they were wrapped around these incredibly unique samples.

By 1998 all of the singles had been released, and I had a nice disc of b-sides to fit snugly between DYOH and Surrender.  The cover is a photo I pulled off the net when I googled "beach sunrise" and then plugged through a host of PS filters and photo adjustments.  Once I completely overexposed the photo, I knew I had something worthy of a Brothers disc.  I like this cover a lot...

BUT, as good as DYOH was, I still strongly preferred Surrender.  But, that's another post from June 24th of this year....

Kasabian - Processed Beats - the B-Sides - 2004

Finally back for the week, but there will be another break next weekend, so we have to pack a lot in while we can!

Kasabian was one of the groups that was part of the 2004 Indie Britrock Insurgence.  2004-2006 so a slew of new bands from the British Isles that were fantastic.  I had an affinity for Kasabian as they sounded so much different than the rest.  They were great.  My favorite track was LSF, but there were many songs that played often in my stereo.

Here, I've included all of the b-sides from the first album, along with my favorite mixes to make a special little companion disc to the album.  I may later make a remix disc to include the rest of the mixes for a complete set.

If you have limited space for your CD collection, or it has grown too massive, it is awesome to be able to consolidate tracks into sets like this and put them into a slimline jewel case.  You can take what was once 3 inches of shelf space and reduce it down to less than an inch.  Great stuff.....

Anyway...  on to the next.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Madness - Mad Not Mad - 1985

Last of the four awesome posts in a row, here's a little Madness to start your weekend.

Not much to say today, other than I'm posting early because I'm headed back out of town this weekend to work on my rental property for the new tenants.

Madness have always been a favorite of mine ever since I saw them as a kid on the Young Ones.  This one doesn't have a whole lot of hits, but their sound had started to change and I found it unique to the others.  I have all the b-sides, so you should enjoy.  I also have the full-length version of Dracstein Castle.  What a funny funny piece of shit!

Anyway, enjoy, and I'll be back Sunday night!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Depeche Mode - Construction Time Again - 1983


Here's post 3 of 4 awesome posts in a row...  Depeche Mode's Construction Time Again...

My senior year in High School and I was in love with Music For the Masses, and Violator hadn't been released yet.  I remember getting this album on cassette from the used section in at the music store.  At that time I was infatuated with a girl named Crystal, and she loved this album, so therefore I had to love the album too.  I never told her I had a crush on her, as she was in a different social class than I was, and already had a boyfriend.  But, we were friends and shared a love of Depeche Mode.

I'm honestly not that in love with the album.  I hate Pipeline and Work Hard, and the rest of the album is alright.  Of course, with Get the Balance and Everything Counts, though, you are dealing with two of DM's BEST songs ever.  In fact, I would put Everything Counts in their top ten songs, and Get the Balance in the top twenty.

As the tracks are concerned, you can see I've added Get the Balance even though it wasn't an album track.  It came out the same year, and fits in perfectly with the album's sound.  The remix disc has several fan mixes that fit my strict criteria, as well as a perfect Dreamtime Mix.

The cover of the album is actually a desktop wallpaper from a DM fan named ID Alizes from Devian Tart (devientart.com) It is beautiful and works perfectly as an album cover.  I've been waiting to use this one specifically.  He's got a bunch, so you may want to go to deviant art and check him out.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Cure - Japanese Whispers - Extended Edition - 1983

As the second of four awesome posts in a row, I've chosen my own version of Japanese Whispers by the Cure.

There's nothing worse than getting a "album" and finding out that it's only 28 minutes long, it's a collection of previously released singles, and not all of the materiel from those singles was included.  I mean, this is BARELY an EP in it's original form.  There were no new tracks, not all of the b-sides were included, and none of the remixes were included.

Well, I fixed that.  NOW, you have all the singles, all the b-sides, all the remixes, a previously unreleased song, and even a remix by Dreamtime.  I've more than doubled the amount of materiel on the disc!  NOW it's an album/compilation worth having.

I find this time in Robert's life to be the most innovative time of his career.  He pulled away from his Punk/Gothic sound, and truly became Post Punk.  This is about the time when the make-up started showing up as well.  He broke the formulas of song-writing that he'd previously been using and started writing music that was not only all over the spectrum, but also pushed the experimental boundaries of what was considered "masculine" music.  He wrote music that was true to himself and no other.  And no better way than by himself, as that was what most of this album was.  I think at most the band was a three-piece.

Every song on here is a classic Cure track.  I like all of them except for Speak My Language and Lovecats.  Yeah, I said it.  I don't care for Lovecats.  Is that wrong?  Dreamtime's mix of The Walk is superb, as always.  The flexi-pop of LaMent is terrific, and I really can't tell the difference between the Lovecats remix and the original mix.  Maybe I'm missing something....

Have fun with this one, and I'll see you tomorrow with another great album...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Order - Technique - the Definitive Edition - 1989


And now, the first of four posts leading into this weekend when I will be out of town.  Over the next four days, I will give you some primo albums for your permanent library.  No true Post Punk fan would be without them!!!

I consider this album, along with Cure's Disintegration, to be the last two great Post Punk albums of the 80s.  Probably the last two great Post Punk albums, PERIOD.

For some reason, I was fully aware of when Technique was going to come out.  I remember getting the cassette at the record store after school the day it came out.  I had a friend named Ed, and he and I drove around in sub-zero January temperatures in my car listening to this one.  From the very first note, I knew it was a classic.  This album represented the final half of my junior year in High School, and it also was the first major album release for me after my move from Chicago to the Midwest.

I've heard a lot of discussion of how the first half of the album is traditional Post Punk, and then how the second half drifts into proto-House music, and I can get that.  I do prefer the first half, as it's sound was more of a soul-caress for me, while the second half was more dancey and not really the mood I preferred at the time.  Saying that, I still consider the entire album to be a masterpiece beyond compare.  With the single remixes added, it even makes the second half more cohesive with the overall picture.

I liked the b-sides with the exception of Best In Marsh, which I just don't get.  That one track stands out like a greasy turd amongst the rest of the songs.  It was a pure throwaway phone-it-in track, but I still included it.  I'm pretty sure I got all of the mixes on here, might have missed one or two, but I don't think so.  I even got the wonderful Chronovisor mix of Run 2 on there as well.  What a great mix!

Most of you probably have all of these already, and that's fine.  But, now you have some nifty new covers and a awesome arrangement to boot.  For those who don't have this, what the hell are you thinking?!


Monday, August 22, 2016

Wang Chung - To Live & Die In LA - 1985

Obviously, Wang Chung was more successful once New Wave started to die down.  I love how they took New Romantic sensebilities and crafted them into mainstream Pop Rock that was radio friendly.  They took something bland and gave it an attractive edge.  Couple this with their extensive musical background and education, and it's probably why they got the shot to do this soundtrack.

As a whole, the album isn't that bad.  It's a "pleasant" listen that is executed well, with a couple memorable melodies intertwined.  I remember when this movie came out, and being just a kid, it never really interested me to go see it.  I was more into the Goonies, and Ghost Busters and James Bond of the time.  You know, Spies Like Us.  But, the song was played on the radio a lot, and this is how I was first introduced to the band.

Too young to know any better, all I had was the 45rpm single of the song until I picked up the Soundtrack on CD in the late 90s.  Glad I did.

I added Fire In the Twilight, another soundtrack song, as it came out at the same time, and doesn't really fit anywhere else.  It sounds alright here.  Also added the mixes, of course.

I couldn't find the right font to match the Wang Chung logo, so I used the next best one similar.  It's not quite the same, but close enough.  Also, used the original movie poster for the cover, to dress it up a bit.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Cocteau Twins - Four-Calendar Cafe - 1993

After the glorious Heaven Or Las Vegas, a lot of us CT fans were eagerly anticipating Four-Calendar Cafe, hoping for a continuation of the marvelous sound from the previous album.  Although a wonderful album, FCC was nowhere near being as good as HOLV.  Heaven Or Las Vegas was the Twins at their all-time high.  After that, it was Robin Guthrie getting high all the time.  His problem definitely showed in his work, as it suffered a lot.  It was all Elizabeth could do to keep the integrity of their sound intact.

There were quite a few good songs on this album, though.  Obviously, my favorite was Bluebeard, a pure pophook wonder.  For me, it harkens to Karen Carpenter in melody and performance.  A very special song.

This album has a special place in my heart, as it came out the same time my wife and I started dating.  When I listen to it, it reminds me of the days that we first shared with each other.  Her and I have a couple albums like this, in fact, but this one pulls specific memories that I love.  I remember listening to it one time when she was driving me to class at the University in the winter time.  Freezing outside, but her love kept me warm inside.

I've included the two tracks from the Snow single, along with the b-sides from the singles and the acoustic Bluebeard track (yuck).  I changed up the color of the cover to give it some more contrast, and make it look a little less muddled.  Of all the CT cover designs that they released, this one is my least favorite.

Adam Ant - Vive Le Rock - 1985

All through my youth, I was always a fan of Adam Ant, even when he was solo (because that's where my earliest memories start) but more when he was with the Ants.  I think that when he split the band, he freed himself to be more creative and take an even greater leadership role.  Even when he spun away from his Punk/New Wave roots and ventured into 80s pop, he was still a spectacular musician. 

One of the aspects that I admired about Ant, was his ability to exude hetero sensuality and eroticism while NOT being some typical masculine testosterone tough guy, but more of a pretty boy.  He showed that even those guys with skinny arms and lace scarves could be just as attractive to the opposite sex as a long-haired headbanger.

Vive Le Rock finds Ant moving more into the Pop Rock territory, with a couple big hits that I remember well.  I had these two songs in a mix tape I made from taping the radio.  I always loved those tapes, even with the beginning and ends of the songs all jacked up with a song segue or the DJ jumping in and shooting his mouth off.  These two singles I remember being that way specifically, but that was how I listened to them for years.  I remember the end of Apollo 9, the DJ said "Traffic on the Dan (Ryan Expressway (a highway in Chicago))" before I cut the tape off.  Now when I listen to the song, right at the end of the song I say "Traffic on the Dan" right where it was when I was a kid.

B-sides, demos and mixes galore on this one.  A great little spin.  I changed the color of the type on the front to blue, as I felt it suited the cover better.  The cover was too red before.  The blue provides a nice contrast with the brown, red, orange and yellow of the photo.

Turn it up.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Simple Minds - Up On the Catwalk - Sparkle In the Rain Mixes - 1983

When I was younger, it took me a while to listen to, appreciate and learn more about the Simple Minds.  Being a somewhat typical child of the 80s (maybe), I was eternally hooked on Once Upon A Time and Don't You Forget About Me.  I couldn't bring myself to bother with anything else they did.  Money was limited, and we didn't have the internet, so in order to listen to a band's older material like SM, you had to buy it.  Well, part-time McDonalds work didn't pay that much.  So, I stuck with what I had.

Years later, as the internet exploded and music became a nearly free commodity, I started listening to a lot more bands that I hadn't previously, like SM. 

With an affinity for Once Upon A Time, I was naturally drawn to the sound of Sparkle In the Rain.  A beautiful album that I feel is what brought the band to the attention of the mainstream music market.  My absolute favorite was Up On the Catwalk.  The keyboard measures in the chorus are my favorite part.  I sometimes have to bust out my air keyboard and play along.

This mix disc collects most if not all of the official commercial releases of remixes.  It also collects most of the Dreamtime mixes from the album, too.  The Dreamtime mixes, IMO, are really lightyears better than the official mixes.  He used parts of all the versions of the tracks and made some really great extended versions.  Another great road-trip disc.

Ian McCulloch - Candleland - 1989


I was saddened when Ian left the Bunnymen, but glad that he was going to try his own thing.  Unfortunately, the next Bunnymen release was pretty lousy, as the vocalist wasn't near as talented as Ian.  On the same token, Ian's solo work was good, but a little dry, a tad blah. His singles were great, as were the mixes, but as a whole the album needed something more.

One of my favorite parts was Elizabeth Frazier's guest vocals on Candleland.  Although I prefer her singing by herself, she sounded great singing her duet with Ian.  A great track. 

Another great thing about this album is that at the time it offered a definite British alternative to Madchester.  It was hard to find a British band or performer at that time who wasn't trying to emulate the Madchester sound.  Ian, like Morrissey, stuck with the style that he did best, and it paid off.

Like Bona Drag, Technique, Violator, and Disintegration, Candleland was part of the final closing of 80s Post Punk, one of my favorite eras in modern music.  All of the artists who made those final albums of the 80s continued on after well into the future and all the way to today, but it has never been the same since.  What a glorious time.

There were too many b-sides and non-album tracks to put them on one disc, but not enough for two.  So, I made an expanded Candleland album, and a Faith & Healing EP to accompany.  Let me know if I've missed anything.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Pete Shelley - Homosapien - 1981

It's 85F and raining right now, 6:34 on a Friday evening.  I'm not too horribly thrilled about tonight's post. Well, honestly, I'm not horribly thrilled about anything right now.  It's the end of the work week and I should be going out and having a good time tonight, but all I feel like doing is sleeping.  I'm exhausted.

Regardless, the first time I heard the song Homosapien, the Simple Minds were singing it on their cover album in the oughts.  I liked it a lot, and did my due diligence to learn who originally did it.  And, so I found Pete Shelley from the Buzzcocks for the first time.

I knew of the Buzzcocks and had two Singles albums by them, and I thought they were pretty good.  I do think that Shelley by himself, though, really expanded, matured and grew his sound and style to something more than Punk and more than New Wave.

All in all, it's a pretty good album with some great tracks.  Here's the album, the mixes and the b-sides. 

Now, I'm off to the recliner and the remote control and the TV.  I'm done with today....

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thompson Twins - Here's To Future Days - 1985

My favorite, and probably the best of the Thompson Twins albums, Here's To Future Days came out in 1985.  This was the last of the great New Romantic albums.  As we shifted into the late 80s, the sound began to change as we saw Rap, Hair Metal, Synth-Pop/Rock, Post Punk and proto-House began to dominate the music scene.  The Twins reached the peak of their popularity with this album, and then it was a slow slide downhill after.

I think my favorite video from this album was the Revolution video.  From what I can remember, it was a pseudo-live performance, and was shot from the floor up.  They were bouncing all over the stage windmilling their guitars and screaming out the song and they were bigger than life.  Yeah, it was a good video.  Trying to find any of the official videos from this album is near impossible.  I haven't seen the Revolution video for 25 or 30 years.  It would be great to see it again.

As with Into the Gap and Out of the Gap, This album had a ton of mixes.  Again, more than I could count.  I know I didn't get all of them, as there were some that seemed redundant and I didn't have enough to fill an entire additional disc.  As it is, there are two solid discs of great mixes and versions.  They also had a bunch of good single sleeves, as well.  I was lucky to find such a great scan of a magazine article that had the trio and logo in front of a yellow screen.  It's a perfect cover.

Now, I liked Close To the Bone, but that album signaled their inevitable slide into obscurity.  So sad.  By the time Big Trash and Queer came out, they were irrelevant and had to re-invent themselves into Babble.  When I hear the name Thompson Twins, though, this is the album that instantly comes to mind.

Enjoy the mixes.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Clash - Self-Titled - 1977

So, I have no anecdotal story to go along with this post.  I bought both versions of the album when they reissued them on CD.  It always bugged me that you had to buy two different albums to get all of the songs.  It would be okay if each album had different songs, but they shared a lot, more than enough to make me feel a little cheated when I bought them.

But, it is a classic "album", no matter which version you had.  I put all the tracks on one disc, and added some extras to make it special.  Please forgive me for changing the colors on the album, as I wanted mine to be different than the regular releases.  It still looks good.

There you have it!  Short post tonight.  I have to make some covers, so...



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

AIR - 10,000 Hz Legend - 2001

AIR, an acronym for Amour Imagination RĂªve (Love Imagination Dream) is two men from France who got together in 1995.  I didn't hear of them until well after they had released Moon Safari, an album that I really liked.  I went and saw the movie Virgin Suicides specifically because of their soundtrack.  I thought they were great, a nice jazzy, laidback band with a retro feel.

Then, 10000 Hz Legend.

This album is probably the only "experimental" album that I've listened to and liked.  From first note to last chord, this album is downright weird.  But, you can't help but love it.  The imagination behind it is incredible.  It sounds like an old album trying to be futuristic, or a futuristic album trying to be old.  I can't decide which.

The best tracks are Electronic Performers, How Does It Make You Feel?, Radio #1, People In the City and Don't Be Light.  I put the b-sides on here, but no mixes, as the mixers couldn't capture the vision that the band had, and it normalized the tracks and made them bland and shitty.

The albums since this one have been good, but this one was the best.  Nothing can compare to it.  It's a journey through a twisted robotic brain on acid. 

I got this album shortly after my first son was born.  I was working at this hellhole steak house with a regional manager that was Satan incarnate.  If anyone knows Brandon Heinsen, let him know he's a fucking douchebag.  This album helped me escape the horror that was my life at the time, as I was also suffering from severe depression at the time.  It was almost like the album was how I was feeling.  It was a time that I never want to go back to, but this album was one of the few from that moment in my life that I can still listen to (Can't hack Cure's Bloodflowers anymore.)  I have to thank my wife for sticking by me at that time.  I really put her through a lot of stress.  She's a gem...

ANYWAY.

Download and listen.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway - 1974


To quote John Cleese....  "And now for something completely different!"

When I purchased Peter Gabriel's So album back in 86 or 87, I became obsessive of anything and everything that PG ever did.  Once I discovered that he was in Genesis, I was told that this would be the album to get.

Being a 16 year old boy, I popped my tape player on and put my headphones on and sat back on my bed with the latest issue of X-Factor (original X-Men).  I listened to the first song, then the second, and by the third, I pulled my headphones off and stared at them with a frown.  What the fuck was this?  This oldies sounding shit?  What the hell?  I thought I had made a big mistake.  I had purchased it with my first check from my first job at McDonalds, and I felt I had wasted my money.  I was sad and mad and ready to throw the double-cassette set in the garbage.  But, I didn't, and I put the tapes in my collection and moved on.

So was my first exposure to Progressive Rock.

Later on, I pulled it out, probably a month or so later, and tried it again.  I made it through the first tape,  but couldn't put in the second.  The third time I tried, I listened to the entire double-cassette from beginning to end, and then again, and I haven't turned back since.

This album is utterly fantastic.  What makes it fantastic isn't so much the melodies or instrumental performance, but the lyrics.  This album is a story about a man named Rael.  What happens in the story is near impossible to try and describe here, but I can tell you that it is intriguing, creative and surreal.  There's a host of characters that include the likes of the Carpet Crawlers, the Lamia, the Slippermen, Lilywhite Lillith, Brother John and, of course, the Lamb.  There's a factory that packages people up, a parade down broadway that includes cyanide wands, a race down some rapids, flys being smashed, a chamber with 32 doors, and a host of other concepts that are mindblowing.

"They say she comes on a pale horse, but I'm sure I hear a train.  Oh boy!  I don't even feel no pain! I guess I must be driving myself insane... Damn It All."

One time I got ripped and listened to the album and I swore I was going to write a Vertigo comic book about Rael.

When people talk about story albums, they tend to talk about Tommy or The Wall.  Very rarely do people mention The Lamb.  That's unfortunate, because I myself find it to be more interesting than either of those other two.  Music-wise, yes, The Wall is better, but I feel that The Lamb is way better than Tommy.

PG pulls off a stellar creative performance, as does the rest of the band.  Phil does a great job on vocals, as he does, on several of the songs and his percussion is traditional Collins.  He's great.   Rutherford and Banks are good too, I would assume, as I've never followed them individually.  Together, the team does a wonderful job.

SO...

This is probably the first album that I've posted that dramatically breaks from the 200+ albums that I've posted so far.  If you like what I've posted, and if I've introduced you to groups you haven't tried before, then have some faith here.  It's a good album, you'll like it if you keep an open mind about music as a whole.
If you have issues with it, just wait until Mainstream Pop Week, the first week in September, and Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Week the first week in October.  That ought to loosen your testicles a bit.

Remember - Open Mind.  Broaden your library.  Diversify your tastes.  Try something different.




Sunday, August 14, 2016

Monaco - Music For Pleasure - 1997

It was a cold and blistery winter night when I first heard WDYWFM? play on my radio in the car.  I had just gotten off work and it was 11 or 12 at night, and the temperature was about 4 degrees.  I huddled in my driver's seat waiting for the car to warm, and looking out at 12 inches of plowed snow and ice in the parking lot in front of me.  The sky was jet black, and 3 or 4 light poles were lighting the empty lot full of lines and tracks created by the snow plows.  I had the radio on, and they announced Monaco, and the title, and it started playing.  At the time, the internet was still in it's infancy, and I had no idea who Monaco was.  But, they sounded just like NO, and this guy singing, sounded a hell of a lot like Barney.

I consider Monaco a classic for Hook.  Revenge was good, but it was rough and hard, and raw.  Monaco had a more classic refined sound that seemed to me to be a mature NO.  It blended the sound of Britrock of that time with the best of what NO was.  It abandoned the crap that was Republic and returned them to Technique, while pulling it forward to the modern sound of 1997.  This was no rehash, it was new and it was fantastic.  THIS album should have been Republic.  Republic was just a tired Electronic album that needed Neil Tennant singing instead of Sumner.

The follow up to this album didn't come out for another three years or so, and it wasn't anything spectacular, but it was good.  If Monaco had continued, I feel I would have a greater respect for Hook now.  I don't care for what he's doing with the Light, Monaco was the route he should have followed.

I was tempted to use the naked guy for the cover, but settled on this, it looks pretty good.  I've got all the b-sides and non-album tracks, and I think I have all of the mixes, but I'm not sure.  It is a great companion to Music For Pleasure, and a sound of Hooky I will never forget.

Bad Lieutenant - Never Cry Another Tear - 2014

I always get a funny feeling in my heart whenever I see my heroes age.  I know that the glories that they once had are a thing of the past, and they are slowly sliding down that hill to eventual retirement.  As I watch DM, Erasure, Cure, PSB and New Order get older, and I feel myself creak and groan and hold my hip and rub the back of my neck, I know that I'm getting older too.

I watch Youtube and the TV and I see these young punks up there jumping around and holding their microphones upside down acting like they're the shit, and I laugh mockingly to myself.  Look at them, they don't know what it means to be cool.  But, I catch myself and I realize that I'm probably thinking the same way my Dad did when I was jamming out to New Order and the like.  HE grew up with the Beatles and the Stones and the Doors.  Now THOSE guys were cool, he probably thought.  And they were, for their time, just as New Order and DM were cool for their time.

Not that they aren't cool.  I still think they're cool.  They really are.  And the music they write is still great, too.  They are Elder Statesmen of the Post Punk genre and era.  But, the youth of today will never understand.  They won't understand what it was like to live in the 80s, see Reagan and Thatcher on TV, watch the astronaut plant the MTV flag on the moon, wear fluorescent laces in their Chuck Taylor high tops and be considered cool, shave lines in their sideburns, and fall in love with an 80s girl with the sprayed wall of hair that stood up 6 inches off her forehead. 

I still watch the Young Ones on DVD and get a kick out of Vivian and Rik.  I still pull out my Dark Knight Returns and V For Vendetta issues and reread them.  I still wear my Chuck Taylors and my checkerboard Vans. And I still, and always will listen to New Order.

Bad Lieutenant has already put this album out, but I didn't like the cover.  I changed that up, and added Barney's AOL acoustic session, to capture all the music he was releasing at that time.  Although he is aging on the outside, his voice and his lyric are timeless and crystal.  He has a way with constructing his music that is uniquely his own, and no one will ever be able to duplicate it.  They may get close to sounding like him, but they will never be the same.

This album isn't a great album, but it is well worth the listen and a must for completists, for those longing to hear something new from Barney and crew.  And, it's way better than PH and the Light.

But, it harkens back to Jack Black's (and Neil Young's) infamous line from High Fidelity...  Is it better to burn out than fade away?  When it comes to NO, I say let them fade away, as long as they're giving me something new to listen to that will make me feel like a kid again.

Thanks, Barney!  I love your work!!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Pause

I have a rental property in another state, and my tenants gave me their 30-day notice.  Now, I have to drive up there and do a walk-through to see what I need to do and what they need to do before I can rent it out again.

Blame it on my tenants.

I'm sorry guys, but I will be back tomorrow night, and post late....

Friday, August 12, 2016

Shamen - En-Tact V.0 - 1991

As an obsessive compulsive, being a Shamen fan can be difficult.  Mostly because there are so many different versions and mixes of their songs.  But, with En-Tact, my problem was compounded by the fact that there were a bunch of non-album tracks as well.  Good thing is, I was able to make En-Tact V.0. 

I wanted to try and capture some of the sound that they had from their first few albums, that got lost when En-Tact came out.  I pulled all of the earliest versions of the singles from En-Tact that I could find. Plus, we have a host of non-album tracks that obviously sound pre-Tact.  A definite Indie-electro sorta sound.

Purple Haze is an interesting cover, In the Bag and Something Wonderful are great, and the rest of the non-album tracks are pretty good as well.  Omega Amigo mix is an awesome rendition, as is Ben Chapman's Lightspan. 

Definitely a glimpse of a group on the verge of exploding onto the British music scene, this one makes a great transition from the pre-Tact albums to the post-Tact.  A nice little set to wrap it all up.

Skinny Puppy - VIVIsect VI - 1988

Skinny Puppy's VIVIsect VI was the very first Industrial album I ever purchased.  I remember walking into Twister's Records in  East Park Mall next to the food court, and the blond-headed punk running the counter was playing it.  I was fascinated by it.  I had never heard music like it before, and it was GREAT.  It reflected the mood I had then, having moved from Chicago to a state buried in the middle of the US.  It was angry, dark, and a little scary.

It's surprising to listen to, when the two opening tracks actually sound like they have pop hooks in them,  they were actually catchy sounding.  They opened the album strong, and followed it with Harsh Stone White, an incredible ballad.  They sample Evil Dead II in Who's Laughing Now? and the second single, Testure follows it with another somewhat radio friendly sound.  I even heard it on the college station in town, so it couldn't be that bad.  State Aid and Fritter are my two favorite tracks on "Side 2", though.  State Aid is a constant slamming barrage of rhythm and screaming, while Fritter is a horror movie soundtrack.  Tasty.

I have all the b-sides here, they're pretty abstract, but still interesting.  I added the mix of Dogshit, entitled Censor, but I was unable to fit any of the Testure mixes, which makes me a little disappointed.  I may add a disc later of SP mixes from several albums, because they're all in that shape.

The cover's the same, cuz it's beautiful.  Another Gilmore classic!  I do like the cover of Testure, too, so maybe if I make that remix disc, I'll use that one.  Anyway....

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Heart Throbs - Cleopatra Grip - 1991


I bought the Heart Throbs at the same time I bought Pixies' Bossanova.  It took me a while to get on board, as I was hooked on Bossanova at the time over Cleopatra Grip.  But, as time went by, I found them to be a classic Post Punk band that fell somewhere in between Lush and REM.  Don't know why I felt that. 

I didn't have access to any of the singles at the time, it took me about 8 years to finally get all of them (pre-internet), but by then, they had released 2 more albums and an EP, and then broke up.  It was still fun to piece together all the tracks from that specific session, and listen to them as one.  I still pull this one out every once in a while, along with their second album Jubilee Twist (which I will post at a later date).  Their EP after that was meh, a rehash of the previous two albums, and their 3rd album, Vertical Smile (what sort of innuendo is that?!) was really terrible.  They had lost their magic.

The covers of the first two albums and singles were done by ME Company, the same outfit behind the Shamen, Sugarcubes and Bjork covers, to name a few.  Beautiful covers and wonderful typography.  I had fun enhancing their logo for the covers, but I left the album graphic alone.  Pretty pretty.

I added an extra track to the Remix album at the last minute.  It's called Arcadia Toss and it's a medley of two of the album tracks, and then remixed.  I don't like it at all.  I don't like the mix or even the remix.  The tracks are two separate songs, in my view.  BUT, I plugged it in the zip in case you want it, even though I didn't put it on the Remix Sleeve.  You can do what you want with it.

LASTLY, I have to put out a huge apology on this one.  Half the tracks are in WMA format, and my converter won't convert them to Mp3.  So, unfortunately, you're stuck with half Mp3 and half WMA.  Once you burn the disc, it won't make a difference.  For those of you who are anal about that sort of thing, all I can do is say I'm sorry!!!!!!!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Duran Duran Appreciation Day

Hope you all had a wonderful Duran Duran Appreciation Day.  Lol.  Don't get me wrong, I totally love the band.  I've been a fan of theirs since 1983, and have religiously purchased every release that they have.  I just think it's hilarious that we need a day to appreciate a band.  What IS that?!

Plus, I must say that they've really disappointed me with this last album.  They continue to try and "re-invent" themselves when the original formula is what worked.  And, even if they have changed in musical style, it really needs to reflect their age.  They're trying too hard to be hip for this generation, and I think it's a joke.  I mean, who in their right minds lets Mylie Cyrus guest vocal on their album?!  As if they weren't having enough problems with their credibility.

Again, I love the band, but today I feel more cynical about them than appreciative.  Maybe THEY should have a Duran Duran FAN Appreciation Day.  Yes, I may be getting too old, but they forget that they're getting too old, too...

Again, hope your D2 Day was a special one...

Happy Mondays - Pills Thrills & Bellyaches - 1991


I was never a huge fan of the Mondays, I always preferred the Carpets and the Charlatans and the Stone Roses.  But, for some reason, I really liked this album and it brings back fond memories of good times.  The mixes are hot, and I love their cover of Tokoloshe Man.  While the Madchester scene was booming, this band was always near the top.  Just like their song 24 Hour Party People, this band seemed like the band that was always out having a good time and raising hell all night long.  Well, that's how I remember them.

It's unfortunate that this band, along with the majority of the Madchester bands, were unable to mature their sound and grow out of what they started.  They seemed to stagnate and release the same stale shit over and over.  Or maybe it was the fickle music industry that killed them off.  (I say all this without any real insight into the industry, just some ignorant patsy on the outside looking in.)

It was on this album (or a single from this album) that I first discovered Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osbourne.  Their mixes always blew my mind, and seemed light years ahead of everyone else.  I then found them on Shamen's En-Tact and the rest was an afterthought.  The two are revolutionary and legendary.  Some real good shit.

Anyway, I messed with the colors on the cover, just to differentiate between my versions and the actual version.  I don't know if it looks good or not.  Maybe I'm just used to the yellow cover.  Too much material for one disc, so we get a lovely 2-disc set.  As far as the arrangement of the remixes, I had a tough time deciding.  I hope they sound alright. 

PS - I know that today is Duran Duran Appreciation Day, and I am not posting a D2 album.  I have my blog albums lined up about a month deep, and I didn't realize what today was until after I had posted Rio.  I should have saved Rio for today.  Maybe I'll double post and put that shitty Liberty album up.  What a joke...


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Farm - Spartacus - 1991

When the glut of Madchester bands came out in the late 80s and early 90s, I always felt that the Farm was one of the few bands that stood out among the rest.  Their early work helped to push them to the top, and this album is probably the culmination of their endeavors.  Their next couple albums before they finally called it quits were really quite terrible.  Too bad.

These guys aren't in my "top bands" list, but they are necessary to grasp the breadth of the Madchester movement.  To not at least mention them would be wrong.  So I offer this one up as another hole to plug in your collection, if you don't already have it.

Nothing more to say here, other than the mixes are great, and the cover of Stepping Stone is a lot of fun.

I'll see you tomorrow with the Happy Mondays...

Monday, August 8, 2016

Pixies - Bossanova - 1990

So, shortly after I graduated from High School, I am listening to Cocteau Twins and totally loving them.  They are GREAT.  I see that they are on a label called 4AD.  I wonder what other bands are on the 4AD label, so I start looking around.  I see this group with a cool cover called the Pixies, and they are on the 4AD label.  Well, they must be like the Cocteau Twins....

Wrong.

It came as something of a shock when I first played this cassette.  But, by the time I upgraded my collection to CDs, this was one of the first CDs I purchased.  It's an instant classic with spectacular songs galore, one after another.  I mean, I'm sitting here looking at the track list trying to pick my favorites to tell you about, and it's nigh impossible.  It's easier to take songs off, and that's only because I don't remember them right off hand.  I will say Rock Music, Dig For Fire, Hangwire, but that's only scratching the surface of this album (no pun intended).

I love this album, I think it's better than Doolittle and Trompe La Monde, and much better than ALL of Frank Black's solo stuff.  (Side note - I put it as good as Breeders' Last Splash, but that's another post)  I haven't bothered to listen to their first three albums, so I can't really compare it to them.  I outgrew the Pixies, unfortunately, before I got the chance :(   I guess I could always go back now, but I don't really have an interest in it....

Their cover for this album has always been gorgeous, so I left it the same, and added the single sleeves for the back.  The b-sides were only previously available on the singles and on the b-side disk.  Havalina is such a perfect ending to the album, I couldn't put the b-sides there, so I dropped them between Side A and Side B.

This one's a real fukkin' rocker, so turn up your stereo LOUD and get your air guitar out....


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lightning Seeds - Cloudcuckooland - 1990

My first experience with Ian Broudie was with this album during my Senior year in High School.  One of my buddies had purchased this album because of All I Want on the radio.  But, once he listened to it, he didn't like it, so he offered to sell it to me for $1.00.  I was building my collection of music, so anything new I could find was great, and I figured I didn't have anything to lose for a dollar.  It was a cassette, and he had busted the case, but I bought it anyway.

The album is full of Broudie magic and fun to listen to.  The first seven songs are all great, and the rest of the album is pretty good.  The b-sides are nice, and even the mixes aren't bad.  The cover of Hang On To A Dream is even better than The Nice's version (but not as good as Tim Hardin's).

One thing that always bugged me, is that Broudie COULD be a good looking guy.  BUT, he wears those goofy glasses with that hairdo and his big nose.  Mind you, I have a big nose, but I do things to keep it from being the detractor of my face.  He seems to highlight his.  I know that he may be making a statement about how he doesn't care about what people think of his looks, and that's fine.  More power to him.  But, that doesn't make it any easier to look at him.  Call me a hater, but I think he needs a personal makeover...

It doesn't make him any less talented, though, and that's the key.

The Jam - The Gift - 1982

Back in 2003 or 2004, I got hooked on Collectors Choice Music, an online music store that sells re-issues from almost every era and genre of music.  They pull some really obscure stuff out that is impossible to find on CD, and in perfect digital quality.  This is where I found the CD releases of The Vapors, Peter Schilling, and The Jam.  They released the first two Jam albums on one CD as a twofer set.  I knew who The Jam was, but I had previously lumped them all into the punk music of that era, and I felt that if you had heard one, you had heard them all.  Boy, was I wrong.

Of course, I found the albums to be awesome, and all of the songs were perfect little pophook ditties.  After that, I had to build my Jam collection.

This is their last album, and it's one of my favorites.  They were still punk, but there were strong Post Punk overtones, and Weller's R&B interests were starting to peek out in brief instances.  The b-sides, demos and alternate versions were all great, too.  A wonderful group, I think they got overshadowed by the Clash.  I think they are definitely better than the Clash, but that's simply my opinion.  Your thoughts?


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Paul Oakenfold - DJ Boxes - March & September 2014



Well, it worked once, so we'll try it again.  easy out for me, I guess.  Just have to make the fancy covers for them.  The September 2014 was the first cover I made when I started doing the Oakenfold boxes.  I titled it after one of the songs on the disc, and realized that it made it harder to tell which months I had and which I didn't.  So, after that one disc, I made sure to title the rest of the boxes as their date.

You may also notice that the September cover has the same graphic as one of my Peter Gabriel compilations that I posted previously.  I love that graphic.  Also, I love the eyeball graphic on the March disc.  I still don't know how they did that pic....

Anyway, I love Oakenfold's selections.  He definitely has an ear for good music....


Friday, August 5, 2016

Sundays - Blind - 1992

Some of us have been lucky enough to find that one person that means the world to us.  That person that you couldn't bear to be without.  What sucks, is sometimes we hurt them unintentionally, and they hurt us as well.  I sometimes wish that didn't happen.  What I do know, is that when it does happen, it gives us the time to explore our relationship and find out what we really need and want down inside and express it.  It also allows us, if we are willing, to do what it takes to help the other get what they need. 

When is the last time you asked your partner in life if there was anything that you could do for them?  And asked them that without having to be asked, or without something going wrong in your relationship to require it?  Ask them, out of love and fun, every morning for several weeks, and then just do it.  Watch what happens to your relationship...

Today's album only had one extra track to add.  That's okay.  Take the time to listen to this one with a significant other in your life.  Hold them close, and never let go.

See you tomorrow...

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Joy Division - Warsaw - 1977-78-80

Short post tonight, as I don't have anything special to say about this fantastic album.  All I can say, is that I didn't add any extra tracks and I simply updated the cover.  Why?  Because the original cover is a DUMB.ASS.COVER.  It wasn't befitting of the release.  Mine is.

So, if you want the album, great!  I have it right down below, here.  But, this post is all about the cover.

So have at ya....

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I Blame Coco - The Constant - 2010

Following in her father's footsteps, Eliot Sumner went into music and formed her own "band" called I Blame Coco.  And, like her father, she's proven to be a very talented songwriter and performer.  When you listen to her sing, you can hear Sting in her voice and in her melodies.  It's almost uncanny how similar they are.  Her voice is a low alto, and is rich and expressive.  Her melodies are addictive.  The first five songs on her album The Constant are a quick listen, but are incredibly written and tend to get stuck in your head for hours.

I first heard her when I was sampling a bunch of tabs of suggestions on Youtube.  I find a group that I like on Youtube, and then start sifting through the suggestions on the sidebar, trying to find something worthy of collecting.  I found her without knowing who she was, and fell in love with her music by the third video.  Once I found out who she was, I knew why she was so good.

So, the first disc is the album and some remixes.  The second disc Quicker was actually one of her singles.  I collected all the extra tracks I could find, b-sides, mixes, outtakes, guest appearances - and put them on one disc.  It's not as good as the actual album, but it's still quite impressive.

And, to my wife who will read this...

Yes, I know that she is very pretty.  But, I don't like her music because she's pretty.  I like it because it's GOOD MUSIC.  It sounds good, it's written well, and those are things that are hard to come by now-a-days.  Plus, she's like half my age.  So, please don't get bent out of shape when you see that I've posted this.  I love you and I think that YOU are beautiful, and that's that....

Love you, darling!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Depeche Mode - Sounds of the Universe - 2009


I think that the last good album DM released was Ultra.  In this new millennium, they just haven't been able to pull a good one out, telling me that they've outlived their usefulness and ideas.  Honestly, it's a sad thing when VNV Nation and De-Vision sound more like Depeche Mode than Depeche Mode does.

This album, though, was an interesting listen, with equally interesting b-sides to boot.  It showed maturity and growth, and was an album written to represent the ages of the men performing them.  I found it almost sad, remembering the days when I was young and going ape-shit over any new material that they released, and knowing that as I grow older, so do all of my idols and rock gods. 

On that note, it behooves me to say that if a group wants to remain relevant, distinguished and at least respected, they need to write music that represents their ages.  Let your sound mature as you do.  Some examples...

Performers whose music has matured and represents them accordingly -
U2
Sting
Peter Gabriel
A-ha
Tears For Fears
Erasure
Pet Shop Boys

Performers whose music has not matured, and does NOT represent the artists' age -
Duran Duran
Cure
New Order
Depeche Mode

What's funny (not in a hahaha way) is that the four groups I put in the stagnant non-growth immature category are my top four groups as it is.  In fact, 1, 2, 3, 4 in order, just like that.

But, I digress.

I think that this is DM's last good album.  It should have been their swan song.  It's unfortunate that it wasn't.  They've tortured us with one more stale, agonizingly dull album.  As it is, maybe they aren't done yet.  There's always hope for one more...

The entire album, the b-sides, and Gahan's guest vocal on Nostalgia.  Probably my favorite non-DM song by Gahan.  Maybe I'll do the remixes later, not sure, none of them were very good anyway...



Monday, August 1, 2016

Men Without Hats - Rhythm Of Youth - 1982

Probably the 4th or 5th 45-rpm record I purchased.  I can't remember exactly, now, as I had Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me and Toni Basil's Mickey in there, somewhere, too.  The Safety Dance has long been one of my all-time favorites of the era.  I remember exactly the first time I heard it.  It wasn't on the radio or MTV, but two of the popular girls - Tricia Young and Lauri Olmstead - were singing it out on the playground while we were at recess in 5th or 6th grade elementary.  I was fascinated.  It wasn't long after that and I saw the video on MTV, and heard it then on the radio, and I knew I had to get it.

I didn't really get into the album until after I had graduated from High School and began exploring music in general.  I used to go to used record stores constantly, looking for new stuff to buy.  That's when I got this album.  Obviously, it's a great album with a lot of great singles. 

I know that a lot of 80s compilation albums use the extended mix of the song, as well as radio stations playing their 80s hour shows.  I personally prefer the single version, that starts right into the song full-bore.  Just like on the video.  I also think the best song on the album, and a key track for any 80s mixes I might make, is I Got the Message.  Best song.

Had fun with the cover.  Half tempted to get a tattoo of their circle strike logo.  Wouldn't that be cool?