Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I don’t want to be an angel (in German)

Posted: July 2, 2016 by The Social Retard in Music, Uncategorized
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Rammstein might not be a top five or ten fave band of all-time, maybe not even top 50. Four years later, though, I still consider this show a top 1o all-time show.
Rammstein - Made In Germany Tour
Rammstein at the United Center BlackstarBlackstarBlackstarBlackstarBlackstar (5/5/12)
Let me start by apologizing for the lack of pictures. I had camera issues. It is especially regretful due to the fact that this show assaulted all senses. I’ll do my best to paint a picture (with words). The stage itself was a mixture of steampunk and Joss Whedon’s Firefly. It was very, well, industrial looking – which makes sense. There was also a smaller platform in the middle of the stage where the band congregated while awaiting a walkway to lower from the ceiling. Once the walkway had fully descended, bassist Ollie Riedel (while carrying a torch) began the procession, leading each Rammstein member one by one toward the main stage, mimicking men entering battle. One carrying a Rammstein flag, another carrying an Illinois flag (didn’t know there was such a thing). With all of what would follow, this is quite apropos. Upon reaching the stage, Riedel lights a fire pit on each side. This is only the beginning of the pyrotechnics display, and a relatively tame beginning at that.

As this the “Made In Germany: 1995-2011” career retrospective tour, the setlist selections were stellar. The band launches into “Sonne,” from the amazing Mutter album. Six of the songs performed came from that record which was certainly pleasing. Each song had not only its own unique pyro, lighting, smoke, and explosive cues, but effects. No particular effect was used twice, at least not in the same place. There were moveable flame rigs, fans, and lights.

As a friend remarked, “If this was the toned down American show, what do they do in Europe?”. My guess would be actually set the band on fire. They came damn closed to doing it all night. It was obviously well choreographed and then it hit me. This isn’t just some metal concert. This is theater and these Germans suffer for their art. Frontman Till Lindemann and keyboardist Christian Lorenz carry a great deal of the load when it comes to the dramatic elements. Lorenz, for most of the night, wore a sparkly, silver sequined jumpsuit and walked on a treadmill behind the keyboards. He came down during “Mein Teil,” in a large smoking pot, playing his keyboard while sitting inside. He was greeted by a bloody butcher-looking Lindemann and a little friend – a freaking flamethrower!

Lindemann himself hardly gets off scot-free. Toward the end of “Wollte Ihr Das Bett In Flammen Sehen”, flames shot up through stage surrounding him. Sparks rain down heavy on him and he dodges several explosions and handles many large pieces of fire shooting apparatus. As if the sheer volume of the music weren’t enough, explosions went off periodically through the night. None of the senses went unscathed. Ears and eyes already stinging, you could feel the often towering infernos on your face, smelling and tasting the burning chemicals. It was glorious olfactory overload. Flaming mic stands, raining sparks, face rigs shooting flames, and finally a rocket launcher toward the end of “Du Hast,”. “Haifisch,” finished up round 1 at the main stage.

Lead guitarist Richard Kruspe manned a keyboard on the platform that the band made their entrance from. The rest of the band crossed the once again lowered bridge from the main stage in S&M gear complete with gags. They were being whipped by drummer Christoph Schneider. They all piled onto this smaller platform for raucous performances of “Bück Dich” and “Mann Gegan Mann,”. The crowd got into the pyro act a bit as the lighters came out during “Ohne Dich,”.

After a brief reprieve, Rammstein returned to the stage and roared through “Mein Herz Brennt,”. That was followed up by the red, white, and blue confetti decorated “Amerika,”. Another short break followed and then the band was back out for one more round. Lindemann emerges from below the drum kit wearing large, retractable metal angel wings that, guess what? Shoot fire and sparks! The result is a truly memorable rendition of “Engel,”.

I can honestly say that I have never seen anything quite like this and may never again. But I’m sure as heck going to try. An all-time great show. I, and the Allstate Arena, will never be the same.

Setlist:
Sonne
Wollte Ihr Das Bett In Flammen Sehen
Keine Lust
Sehnsucht
Asche Zu Asche
Feuer Frei!
Mutter
Mein Teil
Links 234
Du Hast
Haifisch
Bück Dich
Mann Gegan Mann
Ohne Dich

First Encore:
Mein Herz Brennt
Amerika

Second Encore:
Ich Will
Engel
Pussy

The unlimited potential that is Angel Olsen

Posted: July 2, 2016 by The Social Retard in Music, Uncategorized
Tags:

So, listen. I had been writing for a website on and off for five years for little to no compensation. I just received word that they are ceasing to be and I don’t wish to see all of my writings disappear. Therefore, I will be dispersing the pieces all willy nilly across WordPress. The first entry is a series of reviews I have written about indie singer-songwriter Angel Olsen.

Strange Cacti EP BlackstarBlackstarBlackstarBlackstarBlackstar (4/7/11)

Strange Cacti opens like the beginning of a dream. Local folk artist Angel Olsen‘s voice joins the harp-like finger-picking and it is haunting and arresting. It pierces the din of the reverb-heavy recording with captivating precision. Her heart is clearly on her sleeve and slipping down to the floor. With each track, we are allowed a glimpse into a world of heartbreak and honesty, confessions from a journal set to music and shared with whoever dares to hear them. Each song is stripped down to the barest essentials: a woman, her guitar, and her soul. Her voice quivers on occasion, succumbing to the emotion and showing her vulnerability. The first five songs tell the tale of a woman wronged but with the closer, “Creator, Destroyer”, at last imbues our protagonist with the strength to seek answers for why she was so easily cast aside and confess her hurt to the one responsible. Anyone that has ever been dealt betrayal at the cold hand of a loved one will find a part of themselves in this EP that maybe they aren’t so eager to revisit. Olsen has captured that uncomfortable feeling beautifully in wax and it sends shivers down the listener’s spine. Allow yourself to get lost in the moment and marvel at Olsen’s craftsmanship.

Half Way Home BlackstarBlackstarBlackstarBlackstar1/2 (8/8/12)

Coming off of her phenomenal debut EP, Strange Cacti, Angel Olsen’s first LP has some lofty expectations to live up to. The album, titled Half Way Home, is a far more diverse effort than the EP, which is to be expected when extending out to a full-length. If the record is any indication of the woman, Olsen is an old soul. At the very least, her songs are informed from an era long before her time. A track that has been circulation on the web a while is “The Waiting”, a reasonable request for some effort from the other half of the relationship, all the while realizing that could be the proverbial long wait for a train that never comes. Sometimes a lady needs to be wooed a bit and for the man “to be the one to call”. “Lonely Universe” is a poignant seven-plus minute cautionary tale of how one’s existence can be full of regret when they don’t make the first step toward going after what/who they want, to not just dream but visualize and achieve.

Another familiar track, “Always Half Strange”, keeps its original simple but effective approach with Olsen’s trademark yodel in full throat. “You Are Song” keeps things stripped down and lovely. “Miranda Rights Revisited” is a country parable with storytelling reminiscent of Johnny Cash, a tale of love versus duty and Olsen’s voice lends the conflict its proper gravitas. As a counter-point to the rest of her work thus far, “Free” is the album’s most soaring and wonderful declaration of, and belief in, love. Olsen’s strength has generally been keeping things uncomplicated in arrangement, creating the necessary intimacy needed for the listener to focus on every somber syllable. But with “Free” and its sixties pop arrangement, she actually heightens the emotional tether and reaches a goosebump-inducing fever pitch. To put a final eclectic stamp on the album, Half Way Home closes with an R&B ballad, “Tiniest Seed”, complete with Cropper-esque guitars. With this debut album, Angel Olsen cements a reputation as a skilled and soulful siren with heartstring-tugging songs.

Live at Lincoln Hall BlackstarBlackstarBlackstarBlackstarBlackstar (8/16/13)

Angel Olsen is magic. Her performances are spellbinding and her onstage banter is bewitching, if not awkward and entirely preoccupied with Twix. Having spent the last few years in Chicago, Olsen has gained popularity swiftly. This year, she scored a coveted slot at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Alas, her time in the Windy City is coming to a close as she embarks on the next stage of her rapidly ascending career.

The first stop on her current tour was essentially her farewell to the city at Lincoln Hall. As she and her band took stage, you could tell that she was amongst friends in the intimate setting of the extremely clear sounding venue. The set began with, perhaps, the best track off of her one and only LP, last year’s Half Way Home. “Free” is just one example of how she has grown as a songwriter since her absolute heartbreaker of a debut EP, Strange Cacti. Those releases, from Bathetic Records, are vastly different. The EP is extremely spartan as the performances contain nothing more than Olsen’s voice and finger-picked guitar played in what sounded like an abandoned church. The LP explored some blues aspects and had a much improved fidelity.

In addition to her charmingly uncomfortable anecdotes about Neil Young’s On the Beach and a couple in the park “devouring tacos”, she is an adept storyteller as is evidenced on “Miranda”. The concert finished up with Olsen sans backing band. Admittedly “killing time” between songs, you could tell that some people didn’t quite understand what was going on as she occasionally went into hysterics, struggling to compose herself. When she did, she gave the crowd what they wanted, “Creator, Destroyer” but had to finish with a different number because she didn’t want to go out on that note. The song itself is amazing but the tone of it being the finale would have severely undercut the overall performance.

The show consisted largely of new songs that have been recorded and due to be released on Jagjaguwar, to whom she has recently signed, as well as the A-side to her most rocking release to date, “Sleepwalker”. The earlier songs were sad and sometimes angry whereas there is an immense effulgence to the new batch. Her talent knows no limits and no genre can contain her. The one thing in common with all of her songs is that her heart stays adorned on her sleeve with a Twix hanging out of the jacket pocket. Olsen may have outgrown our fair city but she is certainly welcome back whenever she likes.

Burn Your Fire for No Witness BlackstarBlackstarBlackstarBlackstarBlackstar (1/28/14)

After writing three complementary reviews, superlatives about songstress Angel Olsen are running short. Not that they aren’t deserving but the constant gushing about how talented Olsen is probably doesn’t come across as terribly interesting. Well, sorry, but she’s done it again. With already a stunning EP and outstanding full-length to her credit, Olsen manages to outdo herself. With her first release, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, on new label Jagjaguwar, Olsen serves up her most diverse work to-date.

Familiar folk territory is where Olsen has made her bones and is still a big part of the record. But it’s the translation of her folk sensibilities to a more rock milieu that prove to be even more remarkable.”Forgiven/Forgotten” is elevated garage rock tinged with sweetness. “Stars” packs a pair of powerful crescendos where her band swells and Olsen sings in self-harmony. The first peak at the 1:12 mark is goosebump-inducing.

Not that Olsen has suddenly become a garage punk. The softer side rears its beautiful head all over the album. Tracks like the evocative “White Fire” and “Unfucktheworld” carry the acoustic torch. “Lights Out” and “Dance Slow Decades” are empirically entrancing tracks that remind favorably of Marianne Faithfull. Remember the goosebumps from earlier? They recur at the first hint of Olsen’s voice on the record’s denouement, “Windows”. A more gorgeous song simply doesn’t exist. The music puts a figurative spotlight on its creator. Her voice comes across gentle and yet powerful, a beam of luminescence that answers the track’s pressing question, “What so wrong with the light?”. Not a damned thing.

There it is, the first entry. Hope you enjoyed.

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Alright, my blog titles suck. I admit it. At least I’m posting! I’ve gone in so many directions with my music posts here on HC, but I don’t think I’ve covered the 90’s as much. Obviously, the 80’s, decade of wasteful excess, is my favorite decade overall for music, but there’s a huge fondness for the 90’s with me. It’s during that decade that I suffered, as many of us do, the pitfalls of young adulthood. Young love, broken love, undying adulation of libations, smoking more than the proverbial, audacious claims of youth gone wild and surviving it, no sleep til Brooklyn Decker, and other claims of superior existence. Back then, you could sleep a few hours a night, and reawaken rejuvenated and ready to drink shitloads of Zima and watch MTV, because hey, that Matt Pinhead guy was hosting 120 Minutes back in those days (not to mention MTV stood for Music Television and not Margarine Television). With those heady days of youth, thereby followed some shit storms. Life is inevitable in that regard. 1995 was a year of great consternation; I was working 70 hours a week and getting paid for 50 (oh, those habits continue onward), drinking, partying, eating pizza and crap every day, dressing in badly mismatched clothing, and buying records by the caseload out at Rolling Stone Records in Norridge. Sadly, those stores and that format of music is going, going, almost gone (although enjoying a long welcomed resurgence). 1995 brought me my first heartache; the ex decided to dump me for Jesus. He joined the military and found God and lost the girl. I went out drinking with our mutual friends and we ended up at Rolling Stone Records. Originally, I remember really wanting to find a copy of Live’s “Throwing Copper” on vinyl, but instead, the bright cover of Garbage’s debut album caught my eye. At this point, I hadn’t been exposed to Garbage extensively- I had seen and enjoyed their debut single “Vow”. I really sympathized with “Only Happy When It Rains”, because seriously, when dumped by the first love, who wouldn’t agree with that song? The video for “Queer” really caught my attention, because it was strange, although it wasn’t my favorite song of the lot that had been released as singles. Then- in early 1996, MTV premiered the video for “Stupid Girl”, the 4th single released off the album. This is one of those songs that no matter how late and wherever I am, it gets cranked. A song that I instantly- and still- identify with so strongly that it just made Shirley Manson even more of a goddess in my eyes. They released “Milk” last, I believe, but I didn’t love that song. Overall, as a debut album, amazing. I found a copy and brought it home in early 1996. Things were going well for me in the record trade, and here I had a new band to look forward to. The album helped me get past the heartbreak and rebuild my broken tower.

Then in October, my mom died. I had to rebuild again. So I went off the grid and tried to get myself back together. Humpty Dumpty, therapy, tons of booze, tons of writing angry poems and songs, and working way too much. 7 months after my mom died, I got myself into a relationship with someone who was verbally and physically abusive, an alcoholic, and a drug addict to boot. When grieving, things get wonky. I quit going to therapy and decided to “save” this guy from himself. For the all-encompassing redemption of love can do that, said the grieving maternal instinct (mine, not his). By far, the stupidest thing I have ever done, and I stayed put for 2 years before I finally snapped and left. In the meantime, before I got smart, I got lucky and spotted a copy of Garbage’s Version 2.0 in a record bin at Discount Records in Midlothian. I had next to no money but I didn’t care- bought the motherfucker, and all I had heard at that point was “Push It”, which is another top 5 favorite of mine. The rest didn’t disappoint either, from “Special” to “When I Grow Up”. More importantly, this album signaled another great departure for me; getting out of quicksand that likely would have killed me, to open, fresh air on neutral ground. Again, this is an album that I could blast and not once did it fail to put a smile on my face, a spring in my step, another bullet in the torture chamber. Their next album just didn’t capture me, it’s likely given another listen, I may rescind that statement, but I didn’t find much on it the first 10 times I listened to Beautiful Garbage, and besides, that post isn’t allowed because that was on the cusp of 2000, and therefore, would not be eligible for this “Vinyl of the 90’s” that I have just started.

Overall, I couldn’t make a higher recommendation than the first two albums from Garbage. Not only are they eclectic, but a band of talented producers and musicians, led by the mighty Scottish whip known as Shirley Manson, that crafted infectious and catchy melodies that burned your airwaves alive through the mid 90’s. If you fail to at least give it a chance, well, you’re missing out on some truly dynamite music.

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A couple of weeks (months, euro-span years?) ago I posted about crappy records in my collection. Truthfully, to get my friend and HC founder Dave to post on here. So, I have been pondering on where to go next with HC posts that I contribute. I really had fun writing about some of the horrid crap I found in my vinyl collection. Those were full-length albums. I haven’t, however, written about 45’s that I have in my possession. And yes, if you go to Instagram back in December/January/February, you will see a great number of pictures that I had posted of some of the weird shit I found. Well, friends, it’s MAY and I haven’t followed up with anything new, either on Instagram or elsewhere. So guess what? My new idea was to go through my 45’s and see what absolute crap I had. I’ll do just five today, but oh boy, I have enough refuse in my collection to post several more entries. Maybe another one next month, and then another in July? I may even have more for August. It matters not, as long as you write about these thankless joys that keep on giving!

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1. “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”, Aerosmith (from the Armageddon soundtrack):
I have NO fucking idea why this is in my record collection. Although, I have a theory and it involves the second idiot (His name in the book is “The Poor Man’s Scott Weiland”) I was with for several years. I think it may have been his, or in some misbegotten attempt at romance that didn’t involve Busch beer, Budweiser shorts, or fucking his best friend’s girlfriend, he may have gifted me with it. 1996-1999 are dark years in my life, first my mother’s death and then directly following it up with the worst mistake I have ever made in the “game of love”, #2 (in more ways than one). Regardless, there it was in one of my 45 crates that I moved to my friend’s house. I had just done a video post on Youtube for the still-evolving book channel connected with my blog, and it was on Joe Perry’s excellent memoir ROCKS.. I had compared his book to Steven Tyler’s book, and threw Tyler’s book- AND THIS SONG- into The I&M Canal with cement shoes. In other words, I really do NOT like this song at all. I didn’t like it in the movie, I didn’t like it on the radio, I certainly didn’t like finding it in my vinyl crate. So I’m going to throw this one into the category of “Things My Stupid Exes Gave Me”. And into a fire. A burning, smoldering garbage can on fire!

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2. <strong>”And We Danced”, The Hooters:
Again, no idea why I own this. I do remember my mom liking this song, so there’s a chance it may have been one of hers, but hers all had her name on them. Blasphemy, writing on these labels; but she did it. LOL. And now that I no longer have her here, seeing that handwriting (especially on all of my Duran and Pet Shop Boys 45’s) brings back fond memories. Little things, friends. Anyway, this song annoyed me when I was a kid and it played at EVERY single dance. And if you grew up in the 80’s, you know what I’m talking about. Elementary schools had a dance every other week, it seemed. And because you were attending that school, you had to go. No matter how awkward or geeky you were in elementary school, you had to go. With or without someone as your “date”. My elementary school didn’t care if you were solitaire or the school whore. This damn song- every single dance had it, along with “Last Dance” by Donna Summer and every single graduation had “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang. Now, I won’t bitch about Kool because they’re one of my favorite bands, and I won’t really bitch about Donna Summer because she was fabulous, but The Hooters? Oh, I can bitch about the Hooters. I have, thanks to Jeffro Radio, actually heard some other songs by The Hooters that I LIKE, but that song…well, I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now, and I don’t think I will ever like it. So why, pray tell, do I OWN the 45? There has to be some temporary insanity plea I can cop to, in regardless to owning this. I mean, look at the sleeve with the rugged hunks that were The Hooters on it. Is that a keytar??? Can a geekier bunch be found? By the way, consider Ms. Geek and her best friend Misti in 1985: (I’m on the right, Misti on the left):
THEHUB - WIN_20150503_184015
Would YOU have taken that awkward girl on the right to the class dance? I forgive you, friends, for your honesty. Anyway, this songs SUCKS. Read the lyrics. Do it.
http://www.metrolyrics.com/and-we-danced-lyrics-hooters.html.
I’ll kept running into the Macklemore song with the same name. THOSE lyrics are priceless. And I like them more.. this, well, I still don’t know why it’s here. I know I’m going to try to give it away. Maybe I’ll wrap it up and give it to someone that I detest. Yeah, that’s not a bad idea. Anyway, it does blow, and it needs to go.

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3. Undercover of the Night, The Rolling Stones:
I can’t think of any reason for owning this, besides the fact that I am a Rolling Stones fan. There was one point when I was young and I saved up my allowance to buy any and all vinyl that were by favorite artists. I LOVE the Stones almost as much as I love The Beatles and the Doors, so maybe I justified it by buying the 45 for this? I’m pretty sure that changed when Misti and I saw the video for this song on “Night Tracks”. I can remember the conversation went like this: “What the hell is going on here?” “No idea. Wait, maybe it’ll get better”. 2 minutes later… “Still no idea what this crap is, Georgette”. “Me, either, Misti. That’s some time in our lives we’ll never get back”. I mean, I love Keith Richards as much as the next person, but there is no real good riff in this song. There’s no good…anything. No idea why I own it, but I’m ashamed to say this is the same Rolling Stones who brought me numerous songs that rocked. This just sucks!
The video, in case you need indigestion….

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4. Strut, Sheena Easton:
I’m not a huge fan of Sheena Easton, although I do like quite a few of her songs. She didn’t make a huge impact on me the way Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benatar, and Madonna did. She was in the secondary female singers that rocked the 80’s Brigade. And I HATED this song. Still not a fan of it, although I can tolerate it now. I used to run screaming at the television whenever the video came on MV50 or Night Tracks; such was my dislike. There was no strong hook to the song, nor a catchy chorus. (Chaka Khan and Teena Marie she wasn’t). I have NO idea why I own this crap, but you can bet I’m going to try to sell it to Half Price Books next time I go in. EEK. Even the video… I would rather eat a bottle of ketchup (and you KNOW I hate ketchup) than ever have to watch that again.

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5. Bad Medicine, Bon Jovi:
Well, contrary to what most people who know me believe, I actually do NOT hate Bon Jovi. I own some of their vinyl and their CD’s. I think most of my intense dislike boils down to certain songs being played on heavy rotation to the point of puke intoxication. This was a 45 that I think I got for my birthday from Zappa, except it was definitely on the gag gift spectrum. I still own it, because I’m one of those people who can’t get rid of gifts (not to the point that I’m a hoarder, but.. just can’t do it) from people. The song is cheesy and awful, and the video? Well, judge for yourself. I am NOT happy that I still have this piece of crap, but since I don’t believe in throwing out gifts given to you by people, I’m stuck with it. It doesn’t mean I have to like it, or listen to it! So instead, I’ll designate it as one of the five not jive 45’s I own. Oh, and that video? Consider yourself warned (the only saving grace is Mr. Sam Kinison).

So..until your next dance into the vinyl moonlight..

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I think it’s hilarious…Dave just said he had a great idea for a blog post on here. It was NOT the same idea I had, so I hope he takes a cue from mine and tries to find an artist who would fit in this category. His idea is far better (so I’ll likely try to find something along that line), but this one idea has been knocking around in my head for a few days now, so why NOT actually post some new blogs on the HC? I should, Dave should, should anyone else? The answer would be yes! Join us at the Hive Collective. You must. You must.

So anyway, the newest thoughts on this blog are that there need to be new areas to dive into the vinyl. Not just favorites, but some that are not (the last two posts). Dive a little deeper into the artist, the music, the mania surrounding the music, and those who are collectors of that vinyl. I easily have multiple artists where I own more than 10 records of their catalog (Duran Duran, INXS, Boy George, MJ,Wham!/George Michael, Elton, Billy, Prince), so why not find some more of the bad as well as the good? Fair is fair, and not every artist has great music all the time. Dave was just talking about artists with albums today at work, but I’m saying no more because it directly relates to his next blog post here. So my idea is this- I’m going to pick one artist at random, and list the best and worst 5 records I have from that artist in my personal record collection. Another thing- the vinyl profiled doesn’t need to be one size- if it’s a 33″, a 45″, anything goes here at Hannibal Collector!

So, after deep thought, I decided that I really wanted to dive into R.E.M.’s catalog today. This is brought on by a moody Sunday at the casa, where I wrote multiple bitchy blog posts that got deleted the moment I woke up this morning and realized my bitch (female) nature had taken ahold of me yesterday. The only thing that made me feel a thousand percent better yesterday afternoon was R.E.M. In particular, one album. Whenever I listen to New Adventures In Hi-Fi, something happens to me. I get inspired. It picks me up, it lets me down, it throws me into a spin-cycle of emotions. When my mom got sick and up until and again after her death, this was the one album that kept me going through. I’m not sure why, likely because it’s such a roller coaster album all the way through (my opinion), and that fit perfectly with the waterslide that were my emotions at that painful time. It STILL manages to mess my shit up, and yet I will stand by and say I think it’s in my top 3 REM albums. And we know how many albums REM had in their career….then I began flashing back to other REM albums, and I went hunting for some vinyl. Then I turned on the record player and spun some Stipe (oh boy, THAT sounds wrong!), and felt better. Then I found some other R.E.M. that had me shaking my head going “Why do I own this?” (shades of the other blog posts previously on the HC). So, from that- comes this:

G’s Top 5 R.E.M. Vinyl:

1. NEW ADVENTURES IN HI-FI: For exactly the reasons listed in the paragraph above, and for the emotional tumult I am currently sliding around in. Thanks to the Lords of Athens for keeping me up in arms! Favorite Stipe lyric: From “Bittersweet Me“: “I’d sooner shoot my leg off than get caught in this”- perfectly described the 2nd relationship! Favorite songs: All, except for one lone wolf: E-Bow The Letter, with Patti Smith. I don’t have a personal bone to pick with Patti Smith. In fact, I do enjoy some of her work. HOWEVER, this song just drones on and on and on. It isn’t my favorite, but over time, I have adjusted. A song like “Leave”? Incredible, and still one of my all-time favorites. Overall, I love this album top to bottom. 220px-R_E_M__-_New_Adventures_in_Hi-Fi

2. MONSTER: Well, this beauty came out in 1994. The year of Biceps For Jesus. A lot of crazy going down. We had lost our generation’s voice, Kurt Cobain. Seattle was in full grunge mode. Hair metal was quietly dying in a pool of melting Aqua Net at a honky tonk in Allentown, PA. And this loud, crackling guitar riff on MTV at 2am in the morning on a Thursday night in Oak Park, IL, changed my opinion of R.E.M. forever. I had always counted on them as a band that delivered albums that brought out the deep, reflective sides of all corners of this parallelogram known as life. It was always a smooth, mellow ride. This song? “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” sounded like NOTHING I had ever heard out of R.E.M. before. The video? Equally hypnotic. You had to know that Peter Buck could roll like a motherfucker with that guitar, and I think this was his first chance to let loose all the way through. I can NEVER listen to this album enough..even now. Not a crappy song on it, and it reminds me of a far happier time in my life, and really, there can’t be enough of those albums that do it for you. R_E_M__-_Monster

3. OUT OF TIME-Another stellar album. This one doesn’t have a bad song on it, either! My personal favorite is “Texarkana”. Not sure why, it just had me from the second I heard it, and I thought nothing of playing it again and again, to the point that Jenny Z. begged me never to hear it again. I plead guilty. This one brought worldwide acclaim in 1991 (year of my high school graduation. Good grief!) with a catchy little ditty called “Losing My Religion”. The boys, unwilling pop stars who just wanted to make music, found themselves all over MTV’s hourly rotation and everywhere else. 1991? I was having the time of my life. Good memories, and a great soundtrack to it with Out of Time.220px-R_E_M__-_Out_of_Time

4. REVEAL– This, their twelfth album, was released in 2001. That year, in G’s world, involved her beloved Crown Books folding into Biblepalooza Books, and falling head over heels in love with a weenie tot. Yes, a human being, but I’ll call him a weenie tot (an upgrade from what I usually call him). So there was some horror (at the impending doom of innumerable neverending Paula Deen cookbooks at work) and there was optimism (at the impending doom of #3, which was up and down and all around on my tracks for the better part of ten years). The album was played a ridiculous amount, and it never failed to lift my spirits. Even now? I can still spin that vinyl and I’m singing and dancing along like a fool. Just a good album, start to finish. And the video for “Imitation of Life” is pretty entertaining, all these years later. R_E_M__-_Reveal

5. ACCELERATE: Album #14 came out in March, 2008. I don’t remember much except that #3 was on its last run down my tracks, and I was OBSESSED with playing Duran Duran’s Red Carpet Massacre, which came out in November, 2007. However, one listen to Supernatural Superserious, the first single, on WXRT, and I had to have the album. Right away, there was some energy here, which was a vast improvement from the bucket of piss album before (Around The Sun) this one. “Man Sized Wreath”, “Living Well is the Best Revenge“, and “Hollow Man” are all favorites, but really, a great album top to bottom. A great album cover design, and Jacknife Lee brought out something in them that I hadn’t heard in sonic form since “Monster“. A pleasant surprise. 220px-R_E_M__-_Accelerate

G’s Bottom Of The Heap R.E.M. Vinyl:

1. Around The Sun:: I have no earthly idea what was going on with Stipe & Co in 2003/2004 when they were making this drivel. It could NOT have been good. I got this on vinyl as a gift from Weenie Tot. I think it was found at a dive record store somewhere, but it was nicely adorned with the $2.00 sticker still on it. First I was pissed because the motherfucker couldn’t even take the sticker off, then I was pissed because once I opened it and played it, I felt like the $2.00 he wasted on it could’ve gone toward a bottle of something or a pack of smokes. I can’t even identify a single song on it that I enjoyed. I remembered hearing “Leaving New York” and thinking that I wished the clones that were playing R.E.M. would get vaporized in a field of magnolias, back into the awesome trio they usually were. There’s nothing to save this one. The band does NOT play any songs off of it, and Peter Buck has freely admitted that it’s unlistenable and that the band were clearly not happy with the material, and it showed. Give the boys points for honesty. So, friends, if you see this album in a record bin, RUN! 220px-R_E_M__-_Around_the_Sun

2. UP- I used to defend this album because it had one or two really good songs on it. However, I have come to realize over the years that it’s just not that good. I wouldn’t call it absolute shite (see above) because there are at least three songs on it that don’t suck, but overall, a very disappointing release from the boys. For the record, the songs I enjoy are “Diminished“, “Lotus“, and “At My Most Beautiful“, which goes to show that despite an album worth of weird filler and downtrodden electronic beats and drum machines (first album without Bill Berry), that the band can still produce some quality. The cover design blows, the album sounds muted and then completely mono in parts, and there is no discernible thread throughout. I’m going to blame Nigel Goodrich for this, because he engineered the album. Goodrich? Bush’s record producer. Say no more.
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3. Automatic For The People– I’m going to take major shit for this one. It’s not that I don’t love parts of it, but as a whole, it doesn’t move mountains for me. It barely moves an anthill, actually. I will likely get nasty postal mail from Mr. Rich Snyder, because I know he loves this album. I did, too, the 100 million times I heard it in 1992/1993/eternity. The problem was, it just didn’t resonate much with me. I can listen to it now and see more value in it; yet, it’s largely ignored in my collection. I will see it and keep flipping through. It’s not personal, or maybe it is, but a lot of it is just there. Or maybe I just felt as an album it was played so much that it was overplayed for me for life. What did I like? “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite”(a song many of my friends mock, but I love it because it’s different and it’s FUN!), “Everybody Hurts“(a song I still love, but if I hear it start, I do groan aloud), and “Man On The Moon”. Overall, though? I can do without. R_E_M__-_Automatic_for_the_People

4. Dead Letter Office– I picked this up at Beautiful Day Records in Lagrange, which I had spoken of often on this blog. A good number of my vinyl came from that little slice of heaven. This was when I was going through my major R.E.M. discovery stage. Anything that I saw with their name on it I got… including this. I was excited because it was ‘rarities, B-sides, demos”, and I liked hearing rare stuff from a band that I held in high regard. The cover did little for my libido, but R.E.M. covers usually dont’, anyway. I listened to it once, I listened to it twice, and I put it away, with no effect on me whatsoever. Years went by, I moved several times when Love came a callin’ and then Love went a fallin’, and whenever I unpacked it, I had to listen to it again. Like granite on a marble countertop orgy, nothing. Nothing. At. All. Yesterday, I put it on again. And again, Nothing. At. All. Avoid. At. All. Costs. 220px-R_E_M__-_Dead_Letter_Office

5. Document- This one is known primarily for being Stipe’s political album on the misrepresentation of what was going on with the political shenanigans of one Ronald Reagan. Your big hit was “The One I Love“, a song that got them some major notice, but really the only standalone track on this album. I love Stipe’s lyrics and I love R.E.M., but I connect more with the emotive side of the band, rather than the political side of the band. Listened to it again to be fair, but was bored after Side 1 and turned it off. Even age can’t bring wisdom to my liking this album. R_E_M__-_Document

So, overall, I love, love, love more than despise the R.E.M. in my vinyl collection. And I have all their albums on vinyl. I don’t own any 45’s by them, because I believe they are one of those bands that are solid start to finish on multiple albums, so I didn’t waste a lot of time buying their singles on 45, simply because I wanted the entire album. Great band, great albums, only a few dim spots in their night sky, and you really can’t argue with that, can you?

Turds hiding in my Fruit Loops: Cluttering my collection

Posted: March 20, 2015 by The Social Retard in Uncategorized

Thank you, G, for the idea for posting about the terrible anomalies in one’s record collection. Thankfully, strictly where vinyl is concerned, I didn’t start collecting until I was 18. Even then, my collection consisted of a Def Leppard 7″ and the Rolling Stones’ Let it Bleed LP. Both have since been lost in a flood. It wasn’t until my friend and I started an online record store over eight years ago that my collection began in earnest. So, being as my tastes were (more or less) fully developed, I don’t have much that I’m ashamed of. That being said, here are a few questionable pieces.

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Def Leppard – Make Love Like a Man b/w Miss You in a Heartbeat, bought 12/20/10 for $3. Over four years ago, but I can’t really defend this. No matter where you fall on Def Leppard as a band, one thing is certain. This song is just fucking terrible. I wrote a lengthy piece about just how terrible a while back. My only rationale for buying it has to be that I was collecting Lep b-sides, trying to get as much of their catalog as possible. “Miss You in a Heartbeat” is just not a good enough song to justify owning the awfulness that is “Make Love Like a Man”.

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Europe – The Final Countdown b/w On Broken Wings, bought in 2009 as part of a 3 7″ for a dollar special. Why do I have this? Beside the sale that also netted me Run DMC’s rendition of “Ghostbusters” and Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” (which could also be on here but won’t be because…Rocky III, that’s why! Also, this fucking guy.

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The Firm – The Firm, bought 2010 for $5. Wow, was this someone else? That I paid actual money for this is unbelievable. That I paid more than a penny is unthinkable. Five dollars!?! That is unfathomable. But it happened and I have no excuse. Here’s the thing. I don’t own any Led Zeppelin records. None. Why? Because I have heard every song to death that I don’t need to own any. Their etched in my brain so deeply that when Alzheimer’s has robbed me of the recognition of all I hold dear, I will still remember the lyrics to “D’yer Mak’er”. All of this is why I have zero idea as to what could have possessed me to hand over cash for a different Jimmy Page band with Paul Rodgers singing. Hadn’t I heard Coverdale/Page? Fuck me.

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Elf – Trying to Burn the Sun, bought 6/10/10 for $5. See that label in the corner? This is how buyer’s remorse begins. Ronnie James Dio might be the greatest singer in the history of heavy metal. His contributions to Black Sabbath and Rainbow are astounding. Even his namesake band, Dio, had some gems. Elf is what Dio was doing before Rainbow. Still a great singer but singing generic blues rock. This one hurts.

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Digital Underground – The Humpty Dance, bought 7/6/10 for unknown price. You know what? I don’t need to explain this one at all.

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I could apologize for the picture above, but I’m frightened and giggling like a fool. Another thing I don’t pretend to understand- why own and buy vinyl when you don’t have a record player? But that’s not why I’m here.
I also will try to post more on here; not sure what the founder of this great blog is up to these days. I mean, he’s my friend and I work with him, but he doesn’t appear on here too often. Which is a damn shame, because he’s got great opinions on vinyl.
I have to explain better. I got a NEW record player for my birthday from my friend, “House of Style Brother” Dylan. The other one came to an unfortunate end. I wept. Because I really loved that old stereo system with the double cassette and 5 CD-disc player model. Yep, it still had a double cassette player. The thing was smoking when I went to turn it on one day, and then it just Stopped. Dead. In. My. Tracks. Sorry, I’m referencing a Duran Duran B-side. Anyway, he got me a small carry along model that I can pack up and bring with me. Believe me, I’ve thought about bringing it to the store! Anyhow, I also thought it a cool idea to take pictures of random 45’s and vinyl that I found when I was bringing out the vinyl to play on the nifty record player, and post them on Instagram. And my followers had a lot of cool things to stay. Jurkones even offered to buy my Eddy Grant “Electric Avenue” 45 from me. (Sorry, dude, I can’t part with it.) I also was quite appalled to find a number of vinyl that I own that made my stomach churn like the fiery kiln of Martha Stewart’s Pottery Barn. Spring cleaning is in full force here at Casa de Coan, and I found even more revolting records. So here’s a top 10 of the worst vinyl I found so far- don’t worry, friends, I have another 28 crates to go through, and 14 in John M’s basement in Mundelein, from when I moved here in 2011. Here’s the rundown of the first 10 vinyl records/45’s that I found that made me shriek out loud. PS- These are in no order of suck, either. They’re all equally appalling.

1. All Out of Love- Air Supply.- The only explanation I have for this is that it HAD to be my mom’s 45 and got mixed in the move. Her 45’s and vinyl always had “Karen” written on them, in case anyone would ever have thought my 7 year old self would wish to sway and croon along with one of the higher charting duos in 70’s and 80’s music. Uh, no. I just don’t get it. I know, she tried real hard to get me and my brother into Air Supply. I remember we both liked the Bee-Gees, any of the soul she played, and Carl Douglas’ “Kung Fu Fighting”, which was my brother’s favorite of all songs, if I recall. She also tried with the Captain and Tennille (which I was telling Dave about the other day because the Captain and Tennille popped up in his trivia round. I think?), to no avail. I remember liking Heart, the Monkees, ALL disco except that swinehoond KC, Three Dog Night, and Billy and Elton- even then! I never got Air Supply. I used to hear the beginning of that cheesy mid-tempo trying to up-tempo start, and I would beg to take a nap. Then, as now, I’m not fond of naps. I would BEG TO TAKE A NAP. My mom wouldn’t play records if one of us wanted to take a nap. I learned quickly how to side-step that landmine. Of course, she figured it out and played it MORE. I love my mama, rest her soul, but I will never love the Air Supply. So, Air Supply and I will never dance the tango of love. If I ever have to hear it again, I fear I may set a Packers flag on fire. Take it to the bank.

2. Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone- Glass Tiger– Oh, Glass Tiger, I think you may have overstayed your welcome in my vinyl closet when I heard that song “Someday“. Not a fan of that, not a fan of this, not a fan of their first album. I’m not sure why I found this in my vinyl collection, unless it was a gift from my grandma, who liked to buy vinyl for us, or a friend. Or a misguided choice from my mom. There were a lot of bands/singers we disagreed about with her, as well as many that we agree upon. All records were played in our house. Respect for all those who owned records/45’s. I honestly do not remember buying this ever, because I didn’t care for Glass Tiger. If I wanted music like this, I preferred Level 42. Seriously. Glass Tiger seemed like lukewarm version of cream soda. And you all know what I think of cream soda.

3. Theme from Moonlighting- Al Jarreau– I do, unfortunately, know why I own this. I always had an affinity for ABC television shows. Moonlighting was one of my favorites. And not just because it was funny or I coveted Cybil Shepherd’s over hair sprayed helmet head. No, people, I had a crush on Bruce Willis. Beth F and I used to have entire conversations at BAM about our shared crush over Bruce Willis. With, or without hair. Yes, people, Bruce Willis once had hair. And a cheesy show. Which I adored. In true fashion, the young fangirl (before being a fangirl was even a thing) bought anything and everything associated with Moonlighting or Bruce Willis. Including the official soundtrack album, on cassette. And this 45, which I found at K-Mart and my mom got for me (she also watched Moonlighting). I tried, kids, really, I did. I put it on the new record player. It is not in good shape, from years of playing it (or 2 seasons, which is all the show lasted, if I’m remembering right). I made it about 20 seconds and my skin was crawling. Bye, bye, Al Jarreau. It’s a damn good thing that not all of our childhood favorites make it to the adult list. Yikes!

4. Bad Medicine- Bon Jovi-— I do not like Bon Jovi. Rather, I like a few songs- Livin’ On A Prayer and Wanted (Dead or Alive). This has to be one where any liking I had of Jon Bon Jovi went south. Although, as I have noted in other posts, the minute he went from being the rocker in the ripped jeans, fringe jacket, and tri-colored mullet rocker hair to getting it chopped off, highlighted, and dressing in gold lame (on that pretentious box set, like he was Elvis!) suits, along with the shorn locks went what little vestiges of talent may have been there. “Your love is like bad medicine, bad medicine is what I need”. Apparently, I need this shit ass 45 as well. Don’t worry, you don’t have to dispose of it, I already did it. Yuck. No idea why I owned this or where it came from, but I should have a cleansing done over my vinyl collection to remove the Bon Jovi Ju Ju.

5. The Lady In Red- Chris DeBurgh= Someone picked this song in the much-heralded 80’s March Madness bracket at the store last March… (Andrew? Was it you?) and I loudly scarfed and make farting noises when that was revealed. Imagine my horrified yelp when I found it in one of my vinyl crates. I did not like the song in the 80’s and I do not like it now. In the true spirit of age bringing wisdom and all that crap, I put it on the new player and listened. And cringed. And talked back to the crooning sap on the record. Ugh. No thanks. I can think of nicer romantic songs from the 80’s, if I were to ever engage in such a discussion with friends of mine equally obsessed by that decade. This one is for the shit pile.

6. Games- New Kids On The Block-– Well, I wonder if this is Shannon’s (my sister) old 45. SHE was obsessed with them the way I was with Duran. I did like NKOTB, but I actually liked their last album the best. “Tonight” and “Step By Step” are pretty solid for a group that was getting ready to disband. “Games” is a song that is best described as tepid crap trying to be rap. Boston style. Annoying, clichéd, lame. Like drinking a cup of tea peppered with pure cane sugar and manure. No thanks.

7. One Night In Bangkok- Murray Head-– Remember this gem from the Broadway musical “Chess”? No? That’s ok, I never meant to bring back bad memories from the Golden Decade. This little Broadway musical and concept album had roots in that the dudes in ABBA were behind it, along with Tim Rice, later known largely for “The Lion King”. Now that you have that useless information, why do I own this 45? I must have had it years before I met Heidi, my best friend. She’s STILL obsessed with that song. I never quite got it and never quite got it. I think my brother and I used to make fun of the title because, naturally, we turned it into something dirty. So, I guess that’s good for memories, eh? But really, I do not like this and would definitely throw a M-80 at the motherfucker singing in the video (swarmy bastage).

8. Strut- Sheena Easton– Now remember, I am not a huge fan of Sheena Easton. I like some of her songs and I love the song with Prince, but this is song sucks. Hated it then, hate it now. I have matured a bit. I used to sing “Slut” instead of “Strut”. I. Just. Hate. It.

9. Total Eclipse Of The Heart- Bonnie Tyler- Well, you had to know at some point this was going to make an appearance. My dislike of this started way before Biceps For Jesus adopted it as his anthem and further killed any potential inkling of like. The video? Even in a decade known for excess, this one was WAY over the top in the ludicrous tent. I don’t remember whom did what, but there are several fabulous parodies of it on Youtube. Check them out, so much better than the song. I think this one may have been a 45 my mom coveted but somehow it ended up mixed in with my stuff. Not a fan, kids. Not a fan.

10. Kokomo- Beach Boys-– I know I’m going to get shit for this one. From one of the worst Tom Cruise movies every made, the bile-inducing COCKTAIL, this is a low point for the Beach Boys. I know a ton of people who love to crank this song at parties and I hear it a lot in the summertime, at the beaches, at the horse stables, you get the idea. I love the Beach Boys, and I’m sure that Richie and I will have a spirited discussion about my dissing of this. I just don’t like it. I don’t think the boys would have done it if they hadn’t been…well…brainwashed. I’m blaming Tom Cruise and his Merry Brand of Scientologists for the Beach Boys doing this. Ugh.

Would you fucking believe that as I was writing this post, “All Out Of Love” came on the radio? Yeah, of course. Talk about the universe (or the great beyond) sending a mixed message. So… I hope you enjoyed some of the revolting records in my collection.

News Of The World: Queen (Albums I Grew Up With)

Posted: August 17, 2014 by generationgbooks in Uncategorized

 

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Not too long ago, there was the long-fought about, long-drawn out, 80’s bracket at the bookstore. This was something we did as March Madness was unfurling- our own form of it, I suppose. Anyway, there was some suppressed outrage at my voting over a Queen song (I honestly do not recall which one. I’m sure the boys will remind me) in favor of another song. I love Queen. I grew up with them. My mom was a huge fan, and had the 8-tracks to prove it. My dad had that shitty Dodge Aspen that he drove around for a couple of years, until, like a typical Dodge, it laid a giant turd. That Aspen had an 8-track player in it, believe it or not (this was early 80’s, when 8-tracks were losing credibility fast). This was one of the few 8-tracks that was always in there. I’m pretty sure my dad wishes he could have gouged his eyes out, so often was this album played in that car. It only brings joyous memories, and good vibes. And it is a fantastic album, to boot.

My mom owned this album on vinyl as well. Unfortunately, it was one of many albums that were in crates in that leaky closet in the Willow Springs cottage where we grew up. That leak kept getting worse and worse, and one day, upon discovering that some of her albums were ruined, my mom just threw all of them out. All of her vinyl. The ones that were left went with us to the other house, and were disposed of when we moved and my brother got rid of what was left. (I think it was my brother, there were a lot of us moving that house, so maybe it wasn’t). Regardless, her copy of this was long warped, due to that leak. I remember how upset she was, but not so much because she just ran out to the car, got the 8-track, and popped it into the player in the house. I liked the vinyl. My brother loved the cover because of the robot on it. I thought there were scary dudes on the cover, until I got old enough to recognize that it was the members of Queen. Still, a pretty great cover for an album released in 1977, year of disco and Roxy Music’s almost nude model album covers.

Obviously, you have the double barrel leadoff of “We Are The Champions” and “We Will Rock You”. Once you amble past that one-two punch, you have stand alone cuts “Get Down, Make Love” (a favorite even before the lyrics meant anything and before NIN’s excellent cover of it), “Spread Your Wings” (another favorite of mine), “It’s Late”, and “All Dead, All Dead”. As a whole, track to track, it’s solid. I was too young to form legitimate favorites until I was older, but I can play it all the way through, and enjoy the whole thing. There aren’t a lot of albums in my lifetime that I can make that claim about. How did I finally get my hands on my own vinyl copy of it? I was with Jen down at the Virgin Mobile store downtown (same place that I found the rare Culture Club box set), and they had it in a clearance bin. I remember saying “Are they mad?” before grabbing it and putting it in a killer midget clutch so no one else got it. Jen grimaced, as she’s not a huge Queen fan, and went trolling for Gary Numan albums. I got it for $4.00 and it’s brand new. I love the cover and the gatefold design is pretty sweet. Definitely an album that stands the test of time. So much that I realized I don’t own it on CD, so I had to order one online. Pretty sure that’s going to the bookstore. You’re welcome, coworkers.