Here is something you don’t see every day: a mini CD by The Cult packaged in something similar to a checkbook cover. A mini CD should not be confused with the MiniDisc. This little guy will play in most older CD players, but I’m scared to stick into the side of this iMac without an adapter. And I haven’t seen one of those adapter rings in years.
I don’t know if we paid for this, I hope not, but it’s on Beggar’s Banquet which probably means we bought it for the record store we had at the time. I was long over The Cult when this came out in 1989, but the cool package must have convinced to keep it. That’s not working now though. I think this is only the second time the disc has been out of the cover, and some of the ink stuck to the plastic.
There are three songs: “Fire Woman,” the big hit from the Sonic Temple record; “Automatic Blues,” a fun riff rocker that’s awfully similar to Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” (I was toggling between the two and Mary didn’t realize they were different); “Messin’ up the Blues,” an acoustic blues shout out to every American roots rock musician you can think of. That last one is painfully long and cheesy even by The Cult standards.
Acquired: 1989 – At a record I owned with my brother
Here’s another record that’s really “for fans only.” I only have it because I was running a record store with my brother when it came out. I’m a big fan of Jane’s Addiction and even I don’t want to keep The Shocking E.P. As you can see from the cover it’s a “limited edition” and I’ll tell you why. The only thing “shocking” is Perry Farrell’s larger than life face on the cover. There’s another pic on the back of the whole band, you know, for fans. The only non-album cut is “Had a Dad – Live!” and it’s pretty forgettable. “Mountain Song” and certainly “Jane Says” are rock classics, but all of us fans already have those tracks. This is an import from Englandia.
In Step is the last album to come out from these boys before Stevie died in a helicopter crash. It’s also his first album after he had sobered up. The album definitely has a more upbeat vibe than the earlier records. But positivity and the blues don’t really go together. In Step seems to be missing the grit of the first three records, but if that’s the price of being sober please stop killing yourself. All that said, I do like the whole record. Surprisingly, my favorite song is the nine minute jazz instrumental “Riviera Paradise” that closes the album. It’s blissfully smooth and low-key, not what you expect from Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.
There’s no way I will be fair to this band and record; I apologize for that. For those about to not rock… I salute you. And speaking of not rocking, Lee Gomes at The Wall Street Journal wrote a great article about how the iPod and MP3s are killing the sound of music. The hills are alive with crappy-sounding over-compressed music tweaked to sound better for the “lowest common denominator”, iPods.
With that rant out of the way, let us now whine about 10,000 Maniacs. I don’t know what it is about them. It may be Natalie Merchant’s voice, and probably the overall tone of their music. I’ve always found them annoying, and Blind Man’s Zoo is no exception. Mary got a couple of their records way back and now even she doesn’t want to hear them anymore. Not hatin’, I just can’t take it.
If I have any attachment to this record, New Order’s Technique, it’s that I got it when my brother and I had a record store in Norfolk, VA. And that’s about it because this is not an album I played a lot. I’m not a huge New Order fan, but I love some of their stuff. Technique is a little bland and maybe too pop for me. My favorite song by far is the last one, “Dream attack.” And the lower case “a” is how they spell it.
The second pic is from the liner. The back of the jacket is the usual NO minimalism with just a bar code in the center.
Acquired: 1989 – Bought it at our store RIP Records in Norfolk, VA
Moss Side Story is a film score by Barry Adamson for a three act murder mystery that doesn’t exist. Most people that have this album seem to really love it. I really love most of it, but I have to tell you that the opening cut “On The Wrong Side Of Relaxation” really gets on my nerves. Which, based on the title, seems appropriate. I played Moss Side a number of times over the last week and most of the time I put the needle down on the right side of that song. He has also done music for real movies as well as performing on many albums with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.
Zvuki Mu? Ever heard of them? They are a modern art band from Russia that started in the 1980s. This is their debut album and it was produced by Mister art rock himself, Brian Eno. This album is very eclectic with everything from strange pulsing dirges punctuated by sporadic drum and vocal outbursts to accessible but nerdy art disco. Yes, it is that good. The lyrics are in Russian. I’ve read descriptions of singer Pyotr Mamonov’s lyrics as “absurdist”, but how would I know?
My two main memories associated with Zvuki Mu are that my brother and I played it a lot at our record store. We got it as a promo from our Warner Bros rep. She also got us into a live show with Zvuki Mu at the 9:30 Club in D.C. We got to meet Mamonov and the other guys, and in hindsight they did seem somewhat absurdist. In their proper business suits they reminded me more of the Dadaists seen in old photos than the average rock band. Mary thinks we also went to dinner with them, but I think that was another band. Ah, the perks of owning a record store.
Acquired: 1989 – At a record store I owned with my brother, RIP Records
I have three records by The Leaving Trains and Transportational D. Vices is the newest. Somehow it got to the front of the line, but it terms of favorites it is at the back. Still, it’s a very listenable record, most of the time sounding like they have one foot in the garage, one in a combat boot, and another somewhere in space. It’s three-legged rock that manages to sound familiar and unique. One of my favorites on this one is “Store”, a high speed, rocked out number about going to “the store.” I guess singer Falling James really needed some milk or cigs or something because he sounds like he’s in a hurry to go.
The Wedding Present -- Ukrainian John Peel Sessions
Artist: The Wedding Present
Title: Ukrainian John Peel Sessions
Format: Vinyl 10 in.
Rating (1-10): 8
Acquired: 1989 – Got it at our store RIP Records in Norfolk, VA.
The Wedding Present is a British rock band and this is not a typical record for them. This is their version of Ukrainian folk music. There are couple titles on the record sleeve and Ukrainian John Peel Sessions is not one of them. On the front is Ð£ÐºÑ€Ð°Ñ—Ð½Ñ?ÑŒÐºÑ– Ð’Ð¸Ñ?Ñ‚ÑƒÐ¿Ð¸ Ð² Ð†Ð²Ð°Ð½Ð° ÐŸÑ–Ð»Ð° and on the spine UkraÃ¯nski Vistupi v Johna Peela. This is record is an oddball size, 10 inch, and it comes in a handsome package with a nice booklet. I must admit that it’s a lot better than I remember. Or, maybe my taste in music is better than it was.
Etched in the vinyl margins:
That Side — “Should I worship at the feet…
This Side — …of this God like ferret?” (Traditional)
It’s two-fer Tuesday! I don’t know why, but I love this album cover. There’s just something about it. When I first got Put@’s Fever I thought Mano Negra sounded like a more punk, more Latin (even though they’re French) version of the awesome French band Les Negresses Vertes. It still sounds like that to me. It’s French and energetic, with a lot brass. What else do you need to know?
(Note: I later edited the titles using the @ symbol because the correct spelling of “Put@s” was attracting a lot of the wrong kind of traffic.)
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