Saturday, April 30, 2016

REM - Green - 1988

Just so you know, I listen to American music, too.  Just not as much.  There's a few really good ones out there that I'll eventually publish (like the four disc version of Smashing Pumpkins' "Melancholy").

This came out my junior year in high school, and was all over the radio.  It's a great album, very radio friendly, and intelligent.  Fortunately, when this came out, I wasn't too political, yet, otherwise I may have had problems with it.  As it was, I listened to this one quite a bit, even got my Dad listening to it, and that's a feat.

REM has always had a crap load of bonus material when it releases albums.  This one was no different.  Also, the quality of the bonus material on Green was exceptional.  Sometimes, the bonus material is worthless.  Not here.  What some REM fans may like about this collection is the ultra-rare Cyclone mix of Orange Crush.  Why is it so rare?  It's a fan mix and was never released, but it's a fantastic mix, so I had to include it.  Again, arrangement on this, due to the cohesiveness of the album, was to dump all the bonus material at the end.

As for the covers, I always loved the picture sleeves from the singles.  So, that's what you get!

Thanks, enjoy!

Blur - Leisure - 1991

I've heard that Damon and Graham weren't particularly proud of this first official album.  I don't know why.  I remember picking up the There's No Other Way CD single from a music store called Pickles, and being rather impressed.  It seemed that almost everything I picked up from the Food label was pretty sweet. 

Don't know if you would call this Madchester.  Is it "alternative"?  Is it Britpop or Britrock?  What would you call it?  I know that there are quite a few people from Great Britain who check out this site.  What did the British consider it when it came out?  Just Rock n Roll?  Whatever it is, it's attractive and addictive and fun to sing along with.

Obviously used the first two 7-inch single picture sleeves for the covers.  Much more fantastic than that stupid broad in the swimming cap.  Also, sort of jumbled the tracks around a bit, threw in a lot of bonus material from the deluxe set, got some great mixes, and ta-da!  A great collection and rather cohesive arrangement that makes the album itself incredible to listen to.  

Ennnn.....   joy!

I had trouble uploading these two.  Let me know if they don't work...

Friday, April 29, 2016

Wang Chung - Mosaic - 1986

I had a lot of fun the year this album came out.  I remember it was the summer between my eighth and ninth grade years in school, going from Junior High to Senior High.  I had grown into the city, Chicago, and felt very much at home with the people and my surroundings.  I'd put on my walkman tape player and get on my bike at 7:00 in the morning and ride into the city.  I remember pulling into a seedy gas station and going in to look at their comic books, picking up X-Factor Annual #1 for a buck and a quarter.  Easy money.

I liked this album because I felt it was unpretentious, it was simply pop music with great melodies, and warm vocals.  This was also prior to my segregating my music by genre, so it didn't matter if I listened to New Wave or Hard Rock or what.  I listened to what I wanted to listen to.

I listened to this one with Duran2's Notorious album, TFF's Songs From the Big Chair, Peter Gabriel's So, and the Bryan Ferry/Tangerine Dream song from Legend.  All good music.

Simply put, the album with the extras at the backend, and the picture sleeves.

Plug and play.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Shamen - The Boss Drum Singles - 1992-1993

Having fallen in love with Make It Mine and Move Any Mountain, I was ecstatic when Boss Drum came out.  The album, fresh out of the wrapper is easily and instantly accessible.  Every song is a pop hook.  Every track is sticky sweet electronic candy.  Which makes it, after several listens, a little bit too much.

I know that a lot of people made fun of these guys for this album and the album after, Axis Mutatis, for being bubble gum pop music.  Most thought they were ball-less, lacking substance and depth with no clear song writing ability shy of a clever rhyme and rap.  Maybe so. Maybe that's why they aren't around today.  Maybe that's why they sound dated, now.  And, after looking back at where they started and how they evolved, and the sound they tried to return to, we all know it wasn't all their fault.  No need to go into it, just wiki their history and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I collected as many of their releases as possible and mixes where I could find them.  There are way too many to make a single mix disc.  In fact, there are so many mixes for this one album, I was able to compile a mix disc for each single.  I know that I'm missing about 6 mixes total, not counting the album track remixes on The Face.  Some are simply impossible to find digitally, and I don't have a turntable to hook up to my computer.  But, I think there are enough here to keep you satisfied.

One idea, collect all the Beatmasters tracks on one disc and pop that in the car.  It might be fun for a while...

Decent Days And Nights - The Last Era of Great Rock and Roll....

2003 through 2005 was a really great time period for "alternative" music.  I say it like that, because it's sort of hard to classify what exactly was happening.  There was a resurgence in what I can only define as Britrock, with the likes of the Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian and Bloc Party.  But, you also had Bravery and Killers from America who sounded the same.  Your classic artists like New Order and Morrissey put out new albums for the first time in years, and your second tier groups like Oasis and Supergrass even had some new stuff that was really really good.

All in all, this is a nice little set that kept my ears full of exciting new sounds, and my pocketbook empty for a while.  This time period, which I usually call the 2004 Era, was what I commonly think of as the last great era of rock music.  There is a brief glimmer of creativity in 2009, but other than that, most new material that I've heard since 2004 on just doesn't cut it.

Goodbye open mind, hello close-minded old man ears...

Art of Noise - The Best of? - 1989

Not much to say about this one, other than the fact that I've said many times that I don't like "Greatest Hits" albums.  This is an example.  I redid this one front to back, top to bottom.  I have 3 different versions, just to incorporate the material that needs to be there.  This is the shortest of the 3.  This version has the edited single cuts, plus b-sides, which gives a definite flavor of their entire catalog on a single disc.

There.  That's all I had to say!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I'm getting old........

You know you're getting old when you scroll through the new releases of the week (and month) and you don't recognize a single artist on the list.  Not a single one.  What the hell....

To those in the same boat, I raise a glass to you....

Pet Shop Boys - Very Relentless - 1993

Before Very, I had dismissed PSB to a remnant of the 80s.  I had lumped them in with Johnny Hates Jazz and Wang Chung and Glass Tiger.  Dated, dull and beyond their lifetime.  So, of course, when you hear of a new album, you wonder first "What are they thinking?!" Followed quickly by a question of whether they are beating a dead horse or not.

Alternative music was now mainstream.  Grunge was playing on every radio.  Why did anyone think a couple of guys noodling on a synth would be of any interest?  As I've said in previous posts, I was growing very tired of the Grunge and Techno thing, and looking for new stuff to listen to.  We had a record store in town called Twisters that had developed this little program called "Buy It & Try It"  You buy the album and try it, and if you didn't like it, you could bring it back and exchange it for something else.  It was only on a few select albums, usually in their second or third week of release.  One day, I was in there and they had Very on the program.  So, I got the cassette to TRY IT.

It really is a great album, from beginning to end.  They seemed to reinvent themselves a bit, as the songs just weren't the same formula as the previous albums.  The dull, forlorn look and sound were gone, and there seems to be this life and energy that infects every track.  Every single is great, and even the album tracks are worthy of long term attention.

The singles are chock full of b-sides and remixes.  Some are good, some are not.  The mixes are done by the best mixers of the time, including one of my favorite mixing teams, the Beatmasters.

Several months after getting the cassette, I found this floppy vinyl-cased set of discs called Very Relentless.  Okay, some more material, b-sides, mixes whatever...  right?  No.  Relentless has the feel of a completely different album.  It's colder, more electronic, less moody.  My only thought is that they had so many tracks during their Very sessions that were good, and the ones on Relentless just didn't sound right on the main album, or didn't mix as well with them, or mixed better with the ones they chose for Relentless...  I don't know.  Maybe I should look it up on Wiki to see if there's ever been an explanation as to why.

When they remastered this set years ago with additional materiel, I was pissed that they left off a bunch of b-sides and all but one Relentless track.  What the hell?!  Yeah, they had a couple more unreleased tracks that I am eternally grateful for, but the set still left a little to be desired.  This set is the best one out there.

Great discs, wonderful set, and I haven't even really touched the remixes.  Maybe another disc later on?  I don't know, we'll see.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Prodigy - Experience - 1992

Well, here we go.

I've often thought this album was like pancakes.  They start out fantastic, but by the time you get done, your fucking sick of them.

A nostalgic, dated piece of early techno, this was my first experience with Prodigy as I heard Everybody In the Place on XL Chapter 3.  Holy cow!  This Techno music was good!

I still like some of that early stuff, especially his album, in measured doses.  You can never listen to the entire thing all the way through, though.  Good thing about Prodigy, fortunately, is they got better with each progressive album.  I think they are still relevant to electronic music today.

Cool thing is, I think I have all of the b-sides, which in some cases were better than the album tracks.  I obviously didn't include any mixes.  I may make a disc of those, I may not.  We'll see.

Good luck on this one.

Prodigy - Experience - 1992 - Part One
Prodigy - Experience - 1992 - Part Two

Dave Gahan - Paper Monsters - 2003

After Exciter, I pretty much gave up on Depeche Mode.  They sounded tired and trying way too hard.  It just wasn't working anymore.  So, when I saw this album along with Gore's second solo album, I thought they had decided the same thing.  Needless to say, they've had three more albums since then, of which only one was even halfway good.

But, after listening to this one two or three times, I think he did a pretty good job.  Songs that you can sing along with, they keep you listening, none of them would get skipped.  You could definitely tell that Gore wasn't writing any of the tracks, they were of their own sound, despite having Gahan's vocals.  The only tracks that really stood out for me were I Need You and Bitter Apple.  But, for you completists, here you go...

I've put all of the b-sides on, intermingled with the album tracks toward the middle of the album.  I've also included Reload, which was a guest vocal by Gahan on a JunkieXL song that came out at the same time.  The Junkie XL track kicks more ass than the rest of the album, unfortunately. 

Never liked the cover as that stupid Paper Monsters logo looked like shit.  Simply used some Corbin photos from the same sessions, and changed up the font.  Looks good.

Dave Gahan - Paper Monsters - 2003

Monday, April 25, 2016

Cure - Mixed Up - 1990

The height of my Cure love came about the time of Never Enough and Mixed Up.  We just had the spectacular Disintegration with a host of b-sides and remixes, so a new song and a promise of a remix album, and I was taken.

Bad thing is, half of Mixed Up wasn't new.  I had the singles from Disintegration, so all of those mixes, I considered old.  I had the new Never Enough single, and that mix was on there too. Wha?  Come on, now.  I was promised a disc of new mixes!  New to who?  Not your diehard Cure fan.

So, I bought the singles they released, and the album with some new material on it.  And, I looked, and low and behold, there was quite a bit of new stuff there!  Throw Harold & Joe in there, right down the middle, and Rubyait's Hello, I Love You, and technically, there was enough material to actually consider a new album.

I didn't actually consider it finished until I got the Psychedelic Mix of Hello I Love You, and it made it complete.

Enjoy.  This is what Mixed Up SHOULD'VE BEEN IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Duran Duran - All You Need Is Now - 2009

After the nightmare that was Red Carpet Massacre, I was somewhat afraid of what the boys were going to come up with on this album.  I cringed and winced when I heard the opening notes of AYNIN, wondering what the hell they were thinking with that wailing siren noise, and Simon shouting.  I figured they screwed the pooch again, and we'd have another bomb and fizzle and I just didn't know if I could take it any more.

But, the melody drifted into the chorus, and I took note.  I listened to a few more tracks, and nodded my head.  Yeah, I think this will do.

After collecting all the bonus tracks, b-sides, unreleased and whatnot, we have a full 80 minutes of new materiel, counting the Ronson track that Simon sings on.  You have a stud named Dominic Brown playing guitar like Andy never could.  You have some true 80s sounding tunes that really bring back the times when I was young.  Yeah, some of the songs are crap, but that's why we have the skip button.  But, for the most part, we have some real gems.  This is the best Duran album in 20 years....  and I'm actually sort of sad to say that.

I mixed the track listing all over the place, front to back.  I feel it's a very cohesive arrangement, and closing with Boys and Record Collection is really tight.   I used the variety of pics available to make a different front cover with the same typeface.  Also, so many cool graphics available, I had to actually make an inside cover.  So, once you print the cover, turn the paper over and reload it, and add the other graphic for the inside.  Line it up, I can't guarantee it will if your printer is shit.

Anyway, enjoy the last great Duran album.  Doubt we'll get any more...

New Order - Brotherhood - 1986

Not really one of my favorite albums of NO, better than PC&L, but not as good as the rest of the 80s albums.  But, lightyears better than any of the 90s or 00s material.  I was never a fan of BLT until I heard the Stephen Hague mix, and State of the Nation was a little different...  Listen to me bitch about it, but still I post it!

Positive sides - It's become apparent by this album that NO has defined and polished the sound that they would be known for in the 80s.  Very commercial, almost radio, the album had some very crafty tracks that impressed enough to now consider this group elder statesmen for the long term.  NO wasn't going anywhere but up.  I think it was this album, as well, that made the USA sit up and take notice...

I love the covers of the album and the singles, I truly do.  I've always been a fan of texture, and these guys hit it out of the park on this one.  Especially on the Shellshock single.  Very clever, very colorful, and when you thumbed through your 12" discs, you always had to pause at these to take a look.

I've generally posted albums or mix discs individually and separately so far, but I had to do both together on this one.  Some people are only familiar with the 12" mixes of some of the tracks, so I wanted to get it all in on this one. 

I hope you enjoy.

New Order - Brotherhood - 1986

Information Society - Hack - 1990

I really thought this group was a lot of fun in the beginning.  Their first two albums exuded this happy energy that was really enjoyable.  Plus, in a time when "New Wave Synth" was on it's way out, they were still able to be successful and make an impact.

I liked their first album better, but this had a concept proto-album feel that was borderline pre-industrial.  Not quite, but a feeling.  Of course the singles on the album had those traditional InSoc pop hooks, and the bits weren't horrible.

I have included a few of the remixes from this album, there were quite a few, but they weren't really that hot.  I hate to be the judge and jury on it, but I only included the ones I really liked.  I guess I could still make a remix disc later on...

Information Society - Hack - 1990

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cocteau Twins - Milk & Kisses - 1996

Last post of the day, I bring you my SECOND favorite album by the Cocteau Twins.  Heaven or Las Vegas is my favorite.  This one is Milk and Kisses.  It's sad that it ended up being their last, as I feel it was their most cohesive in years, especially after the drama surrounding Four-colour Cafe.  The two singles were perfect pop hooks, and the rest of the album meshed beautifully.  Even the b-sides worked!

I prefer the remaster cover to the actual cover.  And, I don't know if there is an a-side/b-side, so I placed all the b-sides at the end of the disc.

It's a really warm album.  I was just listening to it right before I started writing this, and they are perfect!

Cocteau Twins - Milk & Kisses - 1996

Peter Schilling - Error In the System - 1983

The second 45rpm single I ever purchased was Peter Schilling's Major Tom.  English on side A, German on side B.  I was 11 years old in 6th grade.  Played that with Break My Stride and Oh, Mickey.

So, is the is Power Pop or New Wave?  I feel it's a little of both, sliding in there with other German acts like Nena and Falco.  It's definitely held the test of time, even though Major Tom has slid into that "nostalgic" slot.  The Noah Plan is probably my favorite, although every song is strong.

I've got the English version, the German version, and the extended remix of Major Tom.  Everyone should like, if not to simply bulk up your new wave library.


Tears For Fears - Elemental - 1993

In 1993, I was so FREEKING SICK of "alternative" and "techno" and everything sounding the same.  Back then, with no internet or youtube or jamendo or amazon, most of you will remember that unless you knew exactly what you were getting, or you had heard it on the radio, purchasing new music was a game of Russian Roulette, luck of the draw.  I'm sure many of you were burned more than once, as I was, by purchasing an album that ended up being a real piece of shit back then.

Duran Duran's new album had just come out, as well as U2's Achtung Baby.  Old groups, new sounds.  So, when I saw the new TFF album amid this massive glut of psuedo-grunge wannabe shit discs, I had to get it.  I remember my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, was with me, and we hadn't been together for very long.  So, her and I "discovered" this album together.

Maybe it sounded alternative, maybe it didn't.  Who's to say what alternative music was supposed to sound like?  All I knew was that there was a definite maturing of sound coming from Roland, and I was duly impressed.  His voice has NEVER ceased to amaze me.  Powerful, melodic, compassionate and strong.

The Cold single had a better cover than the album, so I switched that out.  Also, the A-Side/B-Side on the CD blended to well, sounded perfect.  So, despite the fact that Goodnight Song is obviously a "last song of the album", I had to plug in the b-sides at the end.

Speaking of Goodnight Song, it wraps WAY TOO SOON.  They should've/could've continued jamming for 8-10 more minutes, with a slow fade.  That would've sounded so much better, so much more appropriate...

Tears For Fears - Elemental - 1993

Friday, April 22, 2016

Depeche Mode - Mixes From Violator - 1990

My Senior year in High School, I am President of our Business Club, and we are headed off to our regional convention.  I had just purchased this nice fat-ass Fisher Boom Box with a CD Player.  It was so sweet.  And the very first CD I purchased, was Violator. 
We got on that bus, I popped in my DM and turned it up.  Everyone loved it.  -  They loved it up until the sixth or seventh time I played it and then they had to tell me to shut it off.  Too bad for them. 
We stayed in a hotel with students from all over the midwest.  Thousands of high school kids in a hotel with minimal parental supervision.  At night, after the events of the day and the lame dance sponsered by the teachers, some of us - a lot of us - went off and did our own thing.  I still remember that girl from Southeast HS, who was the President of HER school's Business Club...
Long story short, and probably needless to say, but I did great things to DM's Violator.  Great things...

This is in response to Aid00 posting Violator on his site.  Nice little disc to round it out...

Depeche Mode - Mixes From Violator

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince & the Revolution - Around the World In A Day - 1985

Prince & the Revolution's remixes from Around the World In A Day.  I was in a rush to get this out to honor one of the greatest musical artists of modern time, so the cover is a little weak.  Regardless....

What can be said, but...

Rest in Peace, my friend.

Prince & the Revolution - Around the World In A Day - 1985

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Moev - Yeah, Whatever - 1988

So, after the Puppy, I'm throwing on a little more proto-industrial/synthwave/Darkwave/Gothic from a nice little band named MOEV.  I like most of their stuff, rather Post Punkish, unobtrusive and somewhat forgettable.  But, still, very well written and impressive.  It's solid and quality, just not groundbreaking or bold.

For some reason I tend to like the Single Sleeves of most bands more than the actual album sleeve, wonder why?  Anyway, I used the single sleeve, and mixed the album just as released, except I added the remixes.


Moev - Yeah, Whatever - 1988

Skinny Puppy - Remission - 1984

Caberet Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Wire, SPK, Chris & Cosey, Severed Heads...  None of these Industrial acts can hold a candle to Skinny Puppy, in my honest opinion.  Yes, I may be biased, as my first exposure to Industrial music was through Skinny Puppy.  But if you look back in time at their progress and impact on the music industry, there was definite power and influence in the work they did.  Nivek Ogre's stage performances always pleased, as well as shocked and stunned.  Their style of music impacted directly the Alternative Industrial scene in the United States all  through the nineties.

I didn't do anything special with this album.  The cover is a barebones direct translation, nothing interesting other than a change of color.  The tracks are the same 11 tracks as the original CD issue, which is different than the vinyl release, but who cares.

The album is strong.  Smothered Hope, Ice Breaker and Sleeping Beast stand out and grab you.  And when it's all done, you'll be able to feel your soul pull the covers tighter, and roll over to sleep...

Skinny Puppy - Remission - 1984

Monday, April 18, 2016

Jesus Jones - Doubt B-Sides and Remixes - 1991

I got Jesus Jones, EMF and Blur's first album all at roughly the same time, and that was my initial exposure to what I thought was Madchester.  Inspiral Carpets, Happy Mondays, Charlatans, Stone Roses, the Farm, so forth and so on, didn't come until later for me.  

Doubt is an outstanding album.  I have no problems sitting and listening to it from beginning to end, uninterrupted, and have the time of my life.  In fact, as I was deciding which album to select for today, I played IBYT with my 4-year-old son and him and I danced and laughed around the living room.

But, and there's always a but, and I usually hate what follows.....

But, the remixes and b-sides of Doubt?  Well, they just aren't up to par with the rest of the album.  There's a few good tunes in there, like Damn Good At This, and some of the mixes are great, like DNA's mix of Welcome Back Victoria.  But, for the most part, I have to say "meh".

Why post it?  Jesus Jones is still the bomb, and a disc like this is usually a hard-on for most completists.  I will say, there are 4 remixes missing.  I left them off because I couldn't stand them.  Sorry to make that judgement call, I did it for your own good.

You might like it, you might not.  If you do, your welcome.  If you don't, then piss off.  See you tomorrow.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark - The Complete Singles Collection

One of my top 5 80s bands, OMD helped define who I am and how I viewed women, and what I thought about the world, and how to express myself.  Their "Greatest Hits" album (although I hate GH albums) was a soundtrack to my sophomore and junior years in High School. The song "Dreaming" was a swan song of sorts to Chicago when I moved to the midwest.  Breaks my heart just thinking about it!!!!

This collection is every track from every single up to Dreaming.  There are some mixes of Dreaming that are missing, but I didn't have enough material to fill a seventh disc. Remember this is a completist's dream, not something to sit and listen to, well, maybe.  It can be hard to listen to 4 different mixes of the same song back to back.

Some highlights include the Martin Hannett mixes of Electricity and Almost, the Georgia 10-Inch Mix, the Long version of Telegraph, the extended remix of Never Turn Away and  the Special American Mix of So In Love.

Enjoy, and make OMD a part of your balanced breakfast...


Hollow Men - Cresta - 1990

I've often heard this album referred to as "the greatest britrock album never heard", and I can totally get it.  When it was released, it got absolutely no coverage, no airplay and no support.  I heard "Don't Slow Down" once on the radio sandwiched between Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend" and the Railway Children's "It's Heaven" and that was it.  Goes to show how little it was played, as I can remember the ONE time I heard it and the songs before and after.

It's hard to classify this one, really.  It could be post punk, it could be jangle pop, it could be a tad madchester.  It's all of them, and a little of none of them.  The first five songs really bring it out and keep you listening.  Regardless of what the rest of the album sounds like, you'll know this is a keeper just on the strength of the opener.  But, although the last half of the album does slow down and weaken, it still holds its own.  Best song on the album is Beautiful Sun, and that's third from last.

The last three tracks are the b-sides.  Nothing really of note, just there for completion's sake.  The five mixes are pretty good, and nice to have so you can make your own mix tapes.

The original cover of the album really, really sucks.  It's dull, uncreative and boring.  You don't even feel compelled to look at it (maybe that's why no one picked up the album).  SO, I completely remade the cover.  I took a stock pic off the internet, and now you have a tasty little cover to look at while you listen.

But the album.  Listen to the album.  That's the one.

Hollow Men - Cresta - 1990

Revenge - One True Passion - 1990

SO, this here is the original front exterior cover.  My wife never did like this cover, I wonder why?  I stuck with the cover because despite my feelings and her feelings over it, it best expresses the music that lay within.

People may not have the best reviews for this album, but I really really liked it.  I see things like "tedious" and "inconsequential" and "mediocre".  I find it far from that.  I understand that it IS the darker side of New Order, and leaned heavier on the gothic/industrial edge, but I think that was of more relevance at the time than Electronic or the Other Two.

The synth is heavy.  Yes, Hooky's bass gets lost.  The song titles are weird and the melodies are thin.  But, I feel a lot of the energy and depth that you find in those early New Order albums.  He focuses it like a freeking laser and pulls out what I think could be considered the last great New Order album.

Therefore, the cover truly reflects the feel of the music within.  It is sensual, dark, powerful, and NOT gentle.  Don't expect it to be.

Revenge released the one album, and two EPs, along with 2 singles in a variety of formats.  The material to pull from was voluminous as it is, but then they released One True Passion 2.0 with more material.  What sucks, is 2.0 didn't even include the tracks from the original album as it was.  So, you still have to have 1.0 to get it all.  They also claimed that the material from the second EP, which was released 2 years later, was supposed to be from the same batch of sessions.  No way.  They don't even sound the same.  So, I've pulled those out all together.

So, in my version of OTP, I included track one from the very first EP, and then the entire original CD release of the album as "Disc One"  Disc Two has all of the B-sides and unreleased tracks from the same sessions.  I could've plugged some remixes in there, but I have enough that I want to plan a later disc of just mixes.  Sorry!

Anyway, turn it up loud, loud as you can handle it, and ENJOY.

Revenge - One True Passion - 1990

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Killing Joke - Night Time - 1985

By FAR one of the most under-rated albums of the 80s.  Killing Joke simply kicks ass.  Not much more to say than that.

I always hated the original album cover.  It didn't fit the sound of the album, and that's a big deal to me.  The album art should compliment the music on the inside.  Therefore, I pulled the Eighties single picture sleeve for the artwork.  Much better.

Then, I plugged the b-sides and the mixes after the album tracks.

Man this album kicks ass. 

Killing Joke - Night Time - 1985

Psychedelic Furs - Mirror Moves - 1984

This is by far my favorite Furs album.  Every song on it is quintessential Furs.  It is pure Post Punk.  It is the Butler brothers writing at their best.

In my previous Post Punk compilation, Ghost In You is right up front, there.  Every note drips melancholy, yet pulls out an absolutely pure pop hook.

Here Come Cowboys, again has a perfect pop hook, but it sounds a little too radio friendly.  Still a great tune.

Following we have the two biggest hits of the album, and probably two of the Furs most memorable, with the exception of that one Pink song. Heaven and Heartbeat are always on the top of my list when shuffling my favorite 80s tracks.

The rest of the album tracks are great, and I wrapped the disc with the mixes of the singles.

Any Post Punk collection would HAVE to include this album, hands down.

Psychedelic Furs - Mirror Moves - 1984

Madchester - The Best and the Worst of British Rock & Roll

It's best that when describing Madchester, I let someone else do it.  At the time, I was exiting High School and entering College in the mid-western United States.  I was still young, and as far away from the "Happening Scenes" as you can imagine.  With no internet or effective informational network to help with what was happening NOW, all I could do was watch MTV, listen to the radio, talk with the Record Store employees and shuffle through a handful of music magazines that described what HAD happened, rather than what was happening.

The music that I was exposed to at the time did help a lot, but it was a distorted view of reality by the time it got to me.  This mix tape compilation of some of my favorite "Madchester songs" does include that, but there is obviously some materiel in there that a Brit who grew up with Madchester would decry as NOT.  So, for you British folk reading this, what you see is what the hip kids of the time in middle America perceived as "Madchester".

I've made a comprehensive collection of the best of Madchester Music that came out to over seven discs of materiel.  Needless to say, it gets incredibly dull, incredibly fast.  Madchester sound created a lot of diverse musical genres that still exist today.  Without Madchester (and Post Punk for that matter,) I'd venture to say we wouldn't have Techno/Electronica, Indie Britpop, Britrock in it's current form, and modern Psychedelia.

Madchester gave us some WONDERFUL bands and FANTASTIC songs.  I have more than half a dozen Madchester bands in my top 100 bands of all time.  Songs from the era are used constantly now in commercials and promo pieces, and the bands of the era are now enjoying popular reunions that I love hearing about and seeing.

I feel that the only drags on the entire Madchester scene is primarily the drug culture that evolved, which in turn has created an entire dependent class that has destroyed not just the users lives, but also the lives of the children involuntarily bound by it.  Also, I feel that the music was and is as formulaic and dated as the likes of Disco Music from the 70s.  I like the music, but only for limited amounts at a time, and I think that's more for nostalgia than anything.

Maybe some of you will like this little mix, maybe not.  It's fun for the summer, which is on it's way.  Put it on, and see if anyone can remember half of them....

Madchester Mix

Police - Ghost In the Machine - 1981

An album I wouldn't normally have considered for a while, here, Ghost In the Machine was requested and I am happy to oblige.

I have no interesting back story to Ghost In the Machine, as it was one of those albums I purchased later in life to finish filling my Police back catalog.

As for the music -

They only released 3 b-sides that were not on the album, surprisingly enough.  They had no official remixes, and I have yet to find a fan remix that is worth a shit.

The interesting thing about Ghost, though, is the demos.  Ghost actually has a full album plus extra of demo material.  Rumor has it, Sting had recorded the entire album, plus five or six extra songs, as a demo.  He played all the instruments and sang all the vocals and taped it.  He then handed the tape to the other two guys and said "Here's our album, do you think you guys can play this?"  The result was the Ghost album, and 5or 6 of the demos never saw the light of day.

Now, I have the demos.  The extra songs aren't bad, but the recording quality is worthlessly bad.  You might listen to them to simply have heard them, studying them as an anomaly.  Maybe, as a collector, you are into that piss-poor muffled crap demo recording quality.  Not me.  Sorry.

When it comes to demo material, in situations like this, and in all future instances, I will only include demos in my album track listing if the production quality is equal to the commercially released album tracks, or if it's not noticeable.

As for the album cover, I've never liked the original, as it was boring, and I always loved the "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" picture sleeve.  That picture sleeve is in my top 100 picture sleeves of all time.  So, I mix it up a bit, and maybe it works, maybe it doesn't, but it's a cool cover and unique on my CD shelf...

Police - Ghost In the Machine - 1981

U2 - Unforgettable Fire - 1984

The first U2 album I ever purchased, I got because of the song Pride and watching the video of it on MTV.  As a young teen, I sorta liked the first four tracks, but then I got bored.  It was because I hadn't yet learned how to listen to music.

The Joshua Tree came out, and I instantly fell in love with it, along with everyone else, so I had to go back and buy their back catalog and listen to all of it again.  It took a while, but I eventually learned the beauty and power of The Unforgettable Fire.

Again, dividing side A from side B, I plugged all b-sides and unreleased tracks in the middle.  With the volume of additional tracks, it starts to wear out right before the original album starts back up with Fourth of July.  If you can make it to that, you'll be able to finish the album.  Sometimes, packing all the tracks together on the original album works, sometimes it's better if you just add them as their own "album".  I probably should have done that in this case....

U2 - The Unforgettable Fire - 1984

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Essence - A Monument of Trust - 1987

So, when you first play this album, one thing will immediately run through your mind...

"Hey, I think Jason accidentally uploaded a Cure album by mistake."

And then you'll listen and say....

"Hey, which Cure album IS this?!  I've never heard it before!"

And then you'll read this post and learn that it's an album by a group called The Essence, a band led by Hans Diener from the Netherlands, and he looks nothing like Fat Bob.

In fact, if you want, you could pretend that you never read this post, and decide that you've just uncovered a long lost Cure album that was never released before.  And it JUST MIGHT WORK.

If you like the Cure, then enjoy.  It's a doozy.

The Essence - A Monument of Trust - 1987

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Daniel Amos - Doppelganger - 1982

I went through a phase in the eighties where I listened to a lot of Christian Rock.  It was mainly because my parents had been told at church by other parents from other parents that Rock & Roll was going to send us all to hell.  And the only thing we could do now was to listen to Christian Rock.  I still think it was a marketing gimic.

Regardless, there were some great tunes that came out of it all.  One of the 4 or 5 Christian bands I will still listen to, Daniel Amos was introduced to me by a childhood friend that came to visit one summer in Chicago.  I got this one, and also Volume III - Vox Humana.  These two albums still get pulled out every other month, to this day, for a spin.  Funny, quirky, new wavy, but POWERFUL.  And, not in an overbearing preachy sorta way.  It's hard to put a finger on it.  It's REAL in a SURREAL way.

The album starts sounding really good about "Do Big Boys Cry", and by the time you get to "Little Crosses", you're ripping it up.  The best song?  There isn't one.  I'd say the middle 7.  It's one big story, it's not like you can just listen to one or two tracks, and you sure as hell can't put it on shuffle.  It's like Floyd, Beatles, the Buggles and Billy Graham all mixed up into one.  Don't believe me?  You tell me what it sounds like, then.

Loooooong out of print.  There are no b-sides.  There are no demos.  Only one cover that I know of.  Were there even any singles?  Don't know.  Doesn't need em.

If you like power pop/new wave/early 80s pop, you will like this album.  Let me know what you think.

Daniel Amos - Doppelganger - 1982

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Depeche Mode - Some Great Reward - 1984

In 1984 I had no idea who Depeche Mode was.  Not a clue.  I was too busy listening to Duran Duran, Michael Jackson and Footloose to know who Depeche Mode was.  But, in 1984, Depeche Mode released Some Great Reward, a delicate balance of Post Punk and Synth Pop that did spawn at least one single that I remember from the time, People Are People.  I didn't hear this album until 1989.

I have often tried to rank these early Depeche Mode albums to see which ones were better than others.  But, it's hard.  Hell, in the nineties and into the new millennium it's easy to rank, as most of them were crap.  Starting with the luke warm psuedo industrial Songs of Faith & Devotion, the albums went down hill from there.  But, each of the eighties albums were different.  They each have their own cohesive sound that differentiates them from each other.  Compare a track from Some Great Reward to a track from Black Celebration to a track from Music for the Masses.  They all sound uniquely different.  Therefore, it makes them impossible to grade against each other.  They each have their own pluses and minuses.

I absolutely LOVE the picture sleeve for Master & Servant.  The balance of color and the chain and the hearts.  Even the typography.  It all pulled together to make a perfect cover.

I dropped the b-sides between the two "sides" and finished the album with the better of the mixes.  And, it all looks like something that could've/should've been officially released.

As for the demo/unreleased tracks, I know that there is an Alan Wilder demo tape out there with 4 tracks on it.  I used to have a bootleg with two of the tracks on it, and I've heard the other two, but all four of the songs lack the type of structure and recording quality that the rest of the album has.  To include ANY of them as part of the album would seem odd and out of place.  If you really want to hear them, go look them up on Youtube.

Duran Duran - The Wedding Album - 1993

Now, I've already posted one Duran2 album, but I didn't say too much about THEM.

Duran2 was the first group that I fell in love with.  From the time I first really listened to New Moon On Monday, to the time I listened to Girls on Film and Planet Earth from a group of girls boom box on the beach of Lake Michigan.  To listening patiently to the radio, as the DJ counted down the official first playing of Wild Boys on Z95 in Chicago.  To my buddy in Chicago who taped Rio for me.  Through Arcadia and Powerstation and on through the 80s.  (I'm reserving a discussion about 1988 for my Big Thing post).

After Burning the Ground, and the HOOOORRRRIIIBBBLLLEEEEE Liberty, I thought my boys were done.  The tides had shifted, music had evolved, and the New Romantic Synth-pop boys had finally burned it down.  Little did I know how wrong I was.  They would revive themselves for a time, only to burn themselves down again.

1993 and I was working at Taco John's and learning how to smoke a cigarette while making burritos.  The radio in the background playing constantly to the new "Alternative" radio station called 104.1 the Planet.  They announce a new song by Duran Duran, and my ears popped up.  What is this?  New Duran2?  Do my ears deceive me?  I thought they were done?  But here they were...

Ordinary World, huh?  Not bad, first time around.  Impressive, not the Duran2 I was familiar with, but let's see what they can do...

Over the next 12 months with a new album, videos, 5 singles, a handful of b-sides and another handful of remixes.  Then, the bootlegs started popping up.  CD burners were just beginning to come into use, and now we have 5 or 6 shows, that sounded great, simply because they were live and raw.  Demo tracks and stem mixes start appearing, 6 different versions of OW and just as many of CU.  Fantastic.

I fell in love with the boys again, then.  I tried hard to stay with them, even through Thank you and Medazzland.  But lost them again with Pop Trash (even though I went to see that show in St Louis).

It was back on again with Astronaut, off again with Red Carpet, back on again with AYNIN, and now, back off again with Paper Gods.  These boys just can't seem to keep their shit straight.

BUT, back on the Wedding Album, we see them reinvented with almost an hour and a half of classic Duran2 tunes.  They have that classic Simon appeal, and John's bass.  But, the rest is different. Great material, and a definite point to remember in their long, troubled and rocky career.

As always, I divided Side A from Side B and plunked all the b-sides and the one demo track right down the middle.  Hopefully you've heard of Matter Of Fact.  It's a goodie and rounds out this collection perfectly.

Duran Duran - The Wedding Album - 1993

Echobelly - Lustra - 1997

As early nineties Britrock was swallowed by Electonica and Industrial of the end of the decade, Echobelly released what I feel is their best album.  Sonya Madan, their lead vocalist had a classic style that she fashioned after Morrissey.  And she fit it to a tee.  The album opens with a stunning anthem, and is propelled through a stunning variety of ballads and simple pop numbers.  Not much more to say, I planted all the b-sides at the end of the album for your pleasure.  A great album to pull out every once in a while.... Enjoy.

Echobelly - Lustra - 1997