Friday, June 23, 2017

The Smithereens - Green Thoughts - 1988

This is another one of the albums that I remember specifically while reminiscing about Chicago in the 80s.  I got this cassette probably the last month or so that I lived there, and was my cruising tape during my last couple dates.  It was hip, progressive, catchy and rather manly.  I was so very concerned about superficial things like that, back then.  I specifically remember driving north down Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago, just past the Art Institute, right before going in between the buildings.... But, that's only a memory.  (Guffaws and slaps his knee)

To me, it has stood the test of time, sounding as sweet and thunderous today as it did back then.  To me, it is probably their best album, followed closely by their Especially For You album and their Live EP (The Seeker kicks ass).  Only A Memory, House That We Used To Live In, The World We Know and Especially For You stand out to me, and side two is a little weaker, but still really good.

After this one, they had a couple other good albums, but none that compared to this.  Their Beatles cover album and their version of Tommy are pretty good, but that's not their own material.  They are still playing strong today, and I would love to go see them live.  A twenty song set, in a club with a low ceiling, smokey, and about 200 people.  A short, two foot stage and no grandeur.  Love it.

I THINK I have all the tracks, here.  When I originally compiled this, I think I remember that there was one or two tracks that I couldn't find.  I could be wrong.  If you have any tracks that you think need to go on here, let me know, and send me the tracks!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

REM - Out Of Time - 1991

One of the most anticipated albums, the follow-up to Green, Out Of Time really introduced REM to mainstream America, and probably the world.  Of course, Green was a hit and a great intro in it's own right, but Out Of Time was the one that shot them to super-stardom.  I was in my first year in college, and giddy as a school girl when I picked this one up.  Green had been one of my favorite albums ever (still in my top 100) so my hopes for this one were huge.

All in all, it's a great album.  It's not SUPER, just great.  I could lose Radio Song and Low, and although I like Kate, I could've done without Shiny Happy People (although I'm a sucker for pop-hooks, this one was too easy and overplayed.)  My favorite tracks of the album were Near Wild Heaven and Half A World Away.  Great stuff.  Losing My Religion was a great song, not one of my favorites.  Had a great melody and very strong lyrics and the video was awesome.  But it was way overplayed and it grew tiring.  I still like it, just heard it way too many times.  (I said great in this period four times if you don't count this one...)

All the b-sides and fan club tracks but I left off the remixes.  They would've pushed the CD limit and none of them were any good anyway.  As for the cover, just a straight out duplicate of the original.  The font I used, though, looks a little screwy.  The kerning in the type is off and makes the spacing a little awkward. 

Thanks, all for your messages on Friday.  My boss knows, and he wasn't upset.  He's letting me work my final two weeks (for now) and the other sales people have already started cannibalizing my accounts.  That's fine, who cares.  I'm OUT!  Only troubling point is that I've already turned in my notice and my new job still hasn't gotten my piss-test back yet.  I KNOW that it's clean, but I always like to have everything squared before I make a move.  Always afraid of the "what if" scenario.

Lastly, I'm going to do some re-upping right now, in case you needed something.  If I miss anything, let me know.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Max Q - Self Titled - 1989

 

When this album came out, I had no idea it was Michael Hutchence.  I purchased it, anyway, because it looked cool and I was experimenting in my purchases.  This is how we discovered new music before the internet.  But, Michael's voice is unmistakable, and I knew what I had before I even read the CD liners. 

blah, de blea dee blo blo blo.... whatever.

I got a new job this week.  I have been looking for nearly two months, now, and been through 4 interviews.  I had decided to look, as my wife STILL hasn't started working, yet.  Money is EXTREMELY slim.  Fortunately, we have relatives who are generous and supportive, and have helped us make it through.  But, we can't rely on them forever.  That's not fair to them.

So, I got a new job.  It is with a much bigger company with 20 branches across the United States.  I will still be working here, smack dab in the middle of the US, but my territory will cover 2 states.  I will be on the road constantly, all the time.  They are giving me a company car, they are going to pay for my gas, food, and hotels.  I will be making nearly 25% more than what I'm making now.  It won't make up completely for my wife being out of work, but it will help, especially when she finally does start working again.  I will feel much more independent in my new position.  I will be out and about constantly, and won't be strapped to a desk.  I will feel like I'm actually accomplishing something, now.

But, there's always a catch.  I will literally be gone 3 to 4 nights a week.  I could potentially leave Monday morning for work, and not come home until Friday night.  My family dynamics are going to change so dramatically, I don't know how it's going to work out yet.  One way or another, we will make it work, I'm sure.  We can facetime, now, so I'll get on the phone with them every night.  But, there's something about actually being there for the boys and my wife. We will see.

The other catch is that I will have less time to do things I like to do, like, well, THIS.  With a 9 to 5 it's so easy to come home and work on this for an hour or two.  But, on the road I won't have access to my computer. And on the weekends when I'm at home, the last thing my wife and I will want is for me to be sitting on the computer for hours playing catch up on the blog while my little boy stands in the front yard with his ball and mitt waiting for Dad to come out and play....  That scenario isn't going to happen.

SO, just as I come back, I'm already shifting my scheduling on this.  What it will be, I have no idea.  I may have NO schedule, just where and when I have time.  Who knows.  For now, it will stay the same.

Right now, though, I haven't yet told my boss at my current job that I'm turning in my two weeks.  I don't know how he'll react.  He may be happy for me, he may let me stay my full two weeks.  Or, he may get fucking pissed and tell me to leave right there.  I can't read the guy, and I'm usually pretty good at reading people.  So, that scares me a little.  Inside, I want to walk in and tell him to go fuck himself three ways from Sunday, twice.  Then piss all over his desk and walk out.  The rational mind tells me to stay positive and let him know that a great opportunity has presented itself and thank you for the training and experience he gave me.  The child in me is frightened and afraid I might burst into tears.  So, I'm a bundle of emotions about ALL of this right now.  It's really hard just to keep my head straight....

I think I'll go watch Suicide Squad blow up some bad guys.....

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pet Shop Boys - Additional Listening - 2017

It would appear that I will have to reschedule any further PSB versions I have planned and re-organize and re-track the new releases as they come out....


Regardless, I'm thrilled to see this happening!!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

EMF - Cha Cha Cha - 1995

 
When EMF's first album came out, this is what I thought of them.  I didn't care much for Stigma at all, and I was hesitant to get this one, especially as it was an import disc and cost me 22.00.  They had the single for Perfect Day at the record store, so I tried it first, and really enjoyed it.  So, I bought the album....

This is actually a really good album.  Individually, all of the songs are well written.  The band had matured some, and seemed well aware that they weren't going to be the "Next Big Thing", like the band from my last post.  It actually seems to have some substance.  As a whole, the album tends to drag, though, as there aren't any real "singles" other than the first track of the album.  But, listening to it in bits and pieces works well, allowing you to focus on the few tracks you are listening to, rather than them all blending together in one long chunk.

The b-sides are all here, but I only put one mix on there, as it's the only one worth a crap. 

And, is EMF the brother band of Jesus Jones?  I tend to think so, as I discovered them both about the same time and they are very similar in most respects.  Stevo answered it correctly, though, but he hasn't given me his choice, yet.  Grebo Guru came damn close, as I had forgotten about NAD.  Anyway, Stevo - you need to tell me what collection you want me to make soon, or I'll have to skip to the next person (and I sure as hell don't want to do anything with Spaceman 3 - Sorry Anon.....)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

True Colors + Duran2 Liberty

So....

So, Netflix has added the movie Trolls to their selections.  Of course, my 5 year old wanted to watch it last night, and my wife obliged.  What a DUMB ASS MOVIE.  I fell asleep about half way through.  I just couldn't stand it. 

But, suddenly, I was awoken by one of my favorite 80s songs, and it took my breath away....


My god, it's freeking Justin Timberlake of all people.  I can't stand that dude.  But, this cover version is outstanding.  It goes to show how powerful the original version was.  It wasn't just written solidly, it was written perfectly.  Perfection.  The melodies and lyrics are legendary, to say the least. 

I love this version of True Colors, despite the fact it was sung by Justin Timberlake.  Just don't watch that fucking Trolls movie.  It is beyond a waste of time.

Another note, I am working on more Duran material, and I have discovered something I never knew existed.  I need your help.

According to this Duran Wikia entry, there are two songs from the Liberty sessions that I know nothing about.  I've never heard of them before now, and I can't find them for the the life of me.  I almost wonder if this entry is full of crap, but who can tell?  One is called Juice, and the other is called Hymn For the Preacher.

Has anyone, anywhere heard of these before, and do you have them?  I know that Liberty is their worst album ever, but I still have to have every track, regardless.

Any help at all would be greatly appreciated!!!!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Jesus Jones - Already - 1997

 
I'm going out of town tomorrow, so I thought I'd do tomorrow's post today, just to get it out of the way.

I look at Jesus Jones now, and I really do feel sorry for them.  Mike Edwards is truly a talented songwriter - truly.  He has passion and creativity and he loves what he's doing.  Sad thing about it, is that the entertainment industry is fickle, and in the case of the nineties, it was shifting dramatically all over the place.  JJ was in the right place at the right time and they were on top of the world.  I read several interviews back in the day in Details magazine and Rolling Stone about these guys and they made Mike out like he was a god or something.  He had to feel like he was on top and nothing was going to stop him.

Now, a lot of people consider them to be one-hit wonders - which has always bewildered me as they had a hell of a lot more than one hit.  I watch some videos of them playing on Youtube, like this one---

and there they are, stuck on this little micro-stage, playing to a handful of people.  Mind you, they could do something about their stage presence (that keyboardist is a dork), but they are having fun, could have been huge, and I get the feeling that there is a lot of remorse of what might have been.  

Maybe I'm wrong.

Already was a breath of fresh air to me, at the time, as we were in the middle of the psuedo-grunge American "Alt Rock" scene, and then the Electronica thing before it exploded into a zillion different sub-genres.  Here we find a new, unassuming Jesus Jones album.  Powerful, soulful and solid, the album really stood out to me as something ELSE.  Not the same old crap that I heard every day on the radio (and in some cases my CD player.)  It had potential and maturity and direction.  It had everything needed to be an album to put them over the top.  Except, it didn't have the publicity and marketing, it didn't have the support of the industry, and the hardcore fans like myself couldn't make a difference no matter how hard we tried.  I think there was two of us in my town.  Hell, the album wasn't even officially released in the states.

They've already (no pun intended) released a deluxe version of Already with 3 or 4 discs of material.  Some live stuff, alternate takes, demos of the existing tracks and whatnot.  I just pulled the album, the b-sides and the demos of songs that weren't on the album.  Now, you have at least one version, if not the official version, of every track recorded during those sessions.  All of them are good, no matter if it's a b-side, demo or album track.

I'll be gone this weekend, but my next scheduled post wasn't going to be until Tuesday anyway.  I'll be back then, with a post from their "brother" band from the early 90s who was also called a one-hit wonder.  I'll make a deluxe edition of the album of your choice if you can be the first person to correctly name the "brother band" I'm talking about before I post it on Tuesday.  

See you then....

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Revenge - Gun World Porn - 1991-92

When this baby came out, I was still riding high on One True Passion and Electronic's first release.  Getting this in my hot sweaty hands, I was excited beyond belief.  And, I was not disappointed.  Whereas One True Passion seemed like a harder version of New Order, this one took a totally different approach that was a real ripper.  It paced a little quicker, pounded a little harder, and was a definite improvement on melody.  I thought so highly of it, I included it in my radio hour during college with State Of Shock.  Solid solid shit.

Rumor has it, and I can find no evidence to support this, but some say these tracks were all recorded during the OTP sessions.  Is this true?

I've read reviews online trashing this EP as junk (as well as OTP) and I don't understand.  Why can supposed music pros not see the value and quality of Revenge?  Were they expecting a New Order rip-off?  Was it too masculine for them?  I could sort of see the too sexist slant, though.  Regardless, Hooky does deserve some kudos for this one as it is definitely crafted very well.  From the cover to the lyrics, to the melodies, to the execution, to the voicemail.  It has it all.

Mind you, some of the remixes from this album suck, so be prepared.  There is some great material here, but not every mix is a winner.

This EP, along with OTP, should be considered NO canon.  I most certainly think it is.  State Of Shock's interlude with Hooky's solo and the keys and the horns scream early NO, you can't see it any other way.

Anyway, I love it.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Depeche Mode - A Broken Frame - 1982

 
Depeche Mode - A Broken Frame - 1982

I got this album at the behest of a girl named Crystal in my English class my junior year.  I had just moved from Chicago and still having trouble adjusting to my new environment, when this hot girl who sat in front of me would turn around and talk, and we talked music and she said this was her favorite DM album.  Music For the Masses was still in my top 5 goto albums, and I had the People are People compilation, and a couple 12-inch singles, but at that time, that was about all the DM I had.  So, I went down and bought it.  Boy, was I disappointed. 

There's nothing wrong with the album.  It's got it's own style and mood and pacing.  The songwriting is fairly solid, and the execution is pretty tight.  I like the album, in it's own way.  I was just used to MftM and then I go back in time and listen to this.  Something of a letdown. I know that Martin had just started writing the music himself, so he was still learning.  Good for him.  It's surprising that he started like this, though, and then gave us MftM and Violator within 8 years.  Incredible.

It took me some time to get used to it.  Within a year, I had it memorized and singing along with Dave.  Monument is by far my favorite song, for some reason.  (Gusgus's version of it is killer)  The rest of the tracks, quite honestly, all tie for second.  There aren't any that I like more or less than the others.

When they released their deluxe versions, again, as with all the rest, I was pissed with what they gave us.  THIS is how it should have been.

Thanks, yet again, to Dreamtime.....

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Lightning Seeds - Sense - 1992

Although this is probably either my first or second favorite Lightning Seeds album, I've always hated this cover art.  It's hard for me to even discuss this album without first pointing out my distaste of this amateurish, high-school quality, lack of proper layout cover.  Even the fonts suck.  I quite honestly made artwork of this caliber in junior high school.  It's obviously air-brushed with a traditional, old-school style with an actual brush.  You can tell by the splattering and the masking and crummy looking clouds.  The layout is abominable, with a single focal point exactly in the center of the cover, and a boring arial-black sans serif font for SENSE.  It's not even that creative.  I seriously SERIOUSLY made better work than this in junior high, about 13 or 14 years old.  Absolute junk.

NOW, I got that out of my system.

This is definitely a brilliant follow-up to Cloudcuckooland with a host of fantastic pop hooks and flares, and classic lyrics and melodies.  His whiny voice that sort of annoyed me on the first album, seems right at home on this one.  This was in my top 5 albums from 1992, right up there with Shamen's Boss Drum, Cure's Wish, and the Other Two.  Even though I was knee-deep in Techno at that time, I still had plenty of listening for other bands, and this album outlived Techno by far.

Even though the singles filled the front of the album, I always thought the back half was the better of the "two sides".  There was a feeling of cohesiveness and a common thread that pulled them together.  I would list my favorite tracks from them, but looking at the last five, I really can't decide.  Maybe Marooned is the best?  Not sure.  I can't imagine listening to one of the tracks without listening to all of them. 

I added the 4 b-sides after the album tracks, and listening to them, they are as good as the album proper, and a unfortunate thing that they weren't originally on the album.  Maybe Lucifer Sam is a little different, but as a whole, the b-sides are nearly indistinguishable from the rest of the album.  The remixes aren't really that good, but I have to add them to this set to make it complete and fill the disk.  Plus, you all might like them more than me.

Anyway, great Broudie material as always. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Johnny Hates Jazz - Turn Back the Clock - 1988

 
Johnny Hates Jazz - Turn Back the Clock - 1988

Yeah, I know, I teased Angstytimelord about this a little before I left.  Try as I might, I am a closet-fan of this album.  Around the time that I was big into Wang Chung and Duran's Big Thing and Sting and A-ha and GM's Faith album, I did have this one, too.  This wasn't my sister's album, this was me hiding in the closet with my Post Punk bands put away and I'm listening to this on my headphones.  At the time, I found it sheik to be a Post Punk/Punk who listened to NO and DM and Cure, and proud of it.  These other bands I kept on the back burner in a low profile, but didn't deny them.  JHJ, though, I completely denied, but secretly listened to them on an unmarked cassette.  What a coward.

I have often heard people lump these guys in the same category as Glass Tiger.  I firmly disagree.  Although their styles might be similar, JHJ is/was light years ahead in songwriting ability.  It's surprising to me, though, that I found the album tracks to be more of my favorites than the singles were.  As a whole, the entire album meshes well, sounds great, and is an EASY listen from beginning to end.

I didn't know and didn't research any of their mixes or b-sides until it came time for me to do this disc.  I had to hunt them down and rip them from Youtube, so the sound quality isn't 100%.  It's still good, though, and listen-able.  The mixes were tricky to identify, though, as some of them are labelled differently on the official singles, even though they are the same, and then there was even more variation in the labelling once they got on Youtube.  There are a lot of "New Mix" "Remix" "New Version" for the same mix across the board.  I originally had almost two discs worth of mixes, and narrowed it down to less than one.

It's good to be back, but I still have a variety of other projects that I'm working on, so I will try to stay on target.  I have finished posts ready through mid-July, so I still have a buffer in place.  I just want to work on my other stuff, too.  I'll see you tomorrow, though, with another "Welcome Back" post....


Erasure - Light At the End Of the World - 2007


To me, personally, I felt that after Chorus, and more so after I Say I Say I Say, Erasure began a steady decline into mediocrity.  Each album continued to get more and more progressively bland, and I was less apt to listen to them enough to even recognize melodies or lyrics.  So, after the incredibly dull Union Street, and then suddenly Andy's releasing solo stuff, I figured "Well, I guess Erasure's done..."

2007 rolls around, and I see this incredible cover that takes me back to Wild days.  Holy cow!  In 2007 around that time, I had started getting bored with the Brit Rock stuff from the previous 4-5 years, and I was in desperate need of something new.  This album fit perfectly in that slot.

It's a great album, probably my favorite in the new millenium.  All of the songs seem happy, bouncy, and full of Vince being inventive and innovative.  Of course, Andy's voice is as good as always.  The melodies he created aren't as creative as previous, but they still have that definitive pop standard that makes it easy to remember the words and melody, so you can sing along.

I have the b-sides and a couple non-album tracks, along with 2 discs of remixes under the Stormchaser cover.  This one brings fond memories for me.....  Haven't listened to the new album yet (I'm downloading it now) but I hope it's a good one, too!





Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow.....

Don't expect a grand entrance to a dramatic and spectacular return.  It will just be business as usual....