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?!