REDUX: A Young Person’s Guide To – DEVO Live

July 10, 2013

Warner Bros. Records | US promo LP | 1980 | WBMS 115

Warner Bros. Records | US promo LP | 1980 | WBMS 115

Devo: The Warner Bros. Music Show US Promo LP [1980]

  1. Whip It
  2. Snowball
  3. It’s Not Right
  4. Girl U Want
  5. Planet Earth
  6. S.I.B. (Swelling Itching Brain)
  7. Secret Agent Man
  8. Blockhead
  9. Uncontrollable Urge
  10. Mongoloid
  11. Be Stiff
  12. Gates Of Steel
  13. Smart Parol / Mr. DNA
  14. Gut Feeling (Slap Your Mommy)
  15. Come Back Jonee

The “DEVO Live” saga began here at the point of this Warner Bros. promo only album featuring almost an hour of DEVO captured on their then current “Freedom Of Choice” tour. Like any syndicated radio program from the dawn of the 80s, this record is incredibly difficult to come by. I’ve never seen a copy and furthermore, it’s a bit groove crammed with almost an hour of program with scant minutes available for ads and station breaks. There may be as few as 500 copies of this floating around, so spuds could hardly be faulted for not having a copy in their archives. 

Warner Bros. Records | US | EP | MINI 3548

Warner Bros. Records | US | EP | MINI 3548

DEVO: Live US EP [1981]

  1. Freedom Of Choice Theme Song
  2. Whip It
  3. Girl U Want
  4. Gates Of Steel
  5. Be Stiff
  6. Planet Earth

I remember being a little floored by the appearance of this on the racks by the late spring of 1981. It rendered down the Warner Bros. show into a six cut EP largely programmed from “Freedom Of Choice” with the old rarity “Be Stiff” given its only US airing in this form [at that time]. The “Freedom Of Choice Theme Song” is an instrumental overture that opened their gigs, and was surprisingly absent from the promo LP concert for radio use. The most striking thing about this was its packaging. The record was held in a clear PCV sleeve with a cardboard insert in front with the LP art and liner notes! I had never seen anything like this walk down the pike in the US and at first glance, I mistook this for an import album. Pretty exotic for Warner Bros. but they had a left field band with a surprise hit [“Whip It,” in case you’ve forgotten] so they worked that action like the pros they were [and probably charged the packaging against the band’s royalty rate]!

Warner-Pioneer | JPN | CD | 1991 | WPCP-4172

Warner-Pioneer | JPN | CD | 1991 | WPCP-4172

DEVO: Live JPN CD [1991]

  1. Freedom Of Choice Theme Song
  2. Whip It
  3. Girl U Want
  4. Gates Of Steel
  5. Be Stiff
  6. Planet Earth

The eighties came and went without the program making the leap to digital. Leave it to the band’s Japanese label to make the first move. Warner-Pioneer issued the straight CD in 1991 with no added bells and whistles. Unless you count the traditionally amusing English transliteration of the lyrics included in most Japanese releases. This one didn’t sit on my racks either. I missed seeing this in the eyeball straining ads I was perusing in Goldmine Magazine at the time. Nor did it populate the racks at the various record shows I was attending, but had I seen it, I’m sure I would have snapped it up.

Virgin | UK | CD | 1993 | CDV 2106

Virgin | UK | CD | 1993 | CDV 2106

DEVO: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO/DEVO Live UK CD [1993]

  1. Uncontrollable Urge
  2. Satisfaction
  3. Praying Hands
  4. Space Junk
  5. Mongoloid
  6. Jocko Homo
  7. Too Much Paranoias
  8. Gut Feeling
  9. (Slap Your Mammy)
  10. Come Back Jonee
  11. Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin’)
  12. Shrivel Up
  13. Freedom Of Choice Theme Song (Live)
  14. Whip It (Live)
  15. Girl U Want (Live)
  16. Gates Of Steel (Live)
  17. Be Stiff (Live)
  18. Planet Earth (Live)
  19. Social Fools
  20. Penetration In The Centrefold
  21. Soo Bawlz

I was at a record show when I did run across this little gem. Thanks to the band’s UK label, Virgin records for putting out six of the groups releases on CD format as two-fers that were packed with bonus tracks besides! Sure, the usual “two albums/one disc” cover art was as graceless at it always was, but these issues were my digital DEVO that finally happened years after US Warner had grudgingly issued only albums number one and three on the mirrored discs. The B-side material from the UK Virgin archives was all new to my Record Cell, though I remember hearing “Soo Bawlz” on the Doctor Demento show, of all places. He had the class to have the band as guests when flogging their second album as I recall.

Rhino Handmade | US \ CD | 1999 | RHM2

Rhino Handmade | US | CD | 1999 | RHM2

DEVO: Live US DLX RM [1999]

  1. Freedom Of Choice Theme Song
  2. Whip It
  3. Girl U Want
  4. Gates Of Steel
  5. Be Stiff
  6. Planet Earth
  7. Bonus Tracks
  8. Freedom Of Choice Theme Song
  9. Whip It
  10. Snowball
  11. It’s Not Right
  12. Girl U Want
  13. Planet Earth
  14. S.I.B.
  15. Secret Agent Man
  16. Blockhead
  17. Uncontrollable Urge
  18. Mongoloid
  19. Be Stiff
  20. Gates Of Steel
  21. Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
  22. Gut Feeling
  23. Come Back Jonee

devo---liverhinohandmadeCDBThe title remained in this form until in 1999, when Rhino Handmade, a label the specialized in short run, low-demand, long-tail releases gave the world the expanded CD version of this album in an edition of 3000 copies. Perversely enough, the CD began with the commercial EP program of six tracks and continued afterward with the [almost] full concert. Never mind that some songs appeared twice in the program! Most importantly, the original packaging of the US EP was replicated for maximum DEVO mojo! The clear PCV sleeve + cardboard insert lived anew. The Rhino handmade store appears to have gone the way of the dodo, but copies still exist in the world that are still affordable. One of these days, [sooner then later] I need to have one of these in the Record Cell.

– 30 –

Posted in A Young Person's Guide, Core Collection, Live Music, Records I Used To Own | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Record Review: Boomtown Rats – House On Fire

Mercury Records | UK | 12″ | 1982 | MERX 91

The Boomtown Rats: House On Fire UK 12″ [1982]

  1. House On Fire [Dub Mix]
  2. Europe Looked Ugly

I don’t quite know what happened with The Boomtown Rats. They were one of the first New Wave acts from the UK I latched on to. In ’79-’80, I bought the albums as soon as I could. I really enjoyed the last one I bought new, 1980’s “Mondo Bongo” but that year it was like the band stepped over a line in the sand. Maybe I was listening to too many synthesizers, but the notion of buying 1982’s “V Deep” album didn’t occur to me until the late 80s/early 90s when I bought the radically different US LP of the title. Nothing unusual there. Except for “The Fine Art of Surfacing,” every US Boomtown Rats LP had undergone some US label surgery – sometimes radical.

I had heard the gorgeous first single “Never In A Million Years” when the band guested on SCTV, my favorite TV show at the time [and still waaaaay up there today] but in spite of dearly loving it, I just didn’t move on The Rats. As for this second single from the album, I remember seeing the video in light airplay on MTV during the Fall of 1982 when we finally got the channel. At the time, I was nonplussed by The Boomtown Rats taking a stab at reggae, never my favorite genre. Maybe that’s why I ignored the last two album periods of the band for so long?

I can only claim “mea culpa!” Because today, I find that the commercially unsuccessful, second phase of the band [“Mondo Bongo” through “In The Long Grass”] to be a stunning example of a successful band coloring outside of their well-established outlines to mark tremendous growth. Unfortunately, to the sound of a cricket chorus. While I was indifferent to this single at the time of release, today It’s one of my absolute favorite Rats singles. One listen to the mighty Spike Edney trombone riff that begins the song will be enough for that deeply barbed hook to remain in my fizzing brain for long hours. The 12″ mix here was a dub by Dennis Bovell from the original Tony Visconti production. Needless to say, it’s got some deep and very legitimate dub chops on display!

Bovell lubricated the opening horn riff with some wet reverb but played it drier when it returned in the song later. Pete Briquette’s tarpit bass line was right in your face, this being dub reggae. Like almost anything The Rats did after 1980 and the loss of guitarist Gerry Cott, lead guitar was severely pruned back from the sound. Even the usual dominant keyboards of Johnny Fingers took a back seat to the rhythm, playing rhythmic reggae organ lines on the off beats.

The nearly six minute dub mix began with what seemed like a 7″ edit of the track. The normal 7″ mix was 4:29 but after 3:12 the music was moved into dub by Bovell. Slathered with reverb and drops and accentuated with reverse percussion effects. The music expanded into space and in the end it kept wanting to expand far beyond the six minutes allotted to it. Those horns kept punctuating the remainder of the track and I would have preferred at least 10-12 minutes of this. If you’ve got Dennis Bovell mixing your reggae track in dub, why moderate it? After hearing this song in any form just once, my brain creates its own dub mix from the components for hours afterward! In the end, it all comes back to those horns.

Technically, I have this dub mix as one of the bonus tracks on the 2005 DLX RM of “V Deep.” The real reason why Ibought this 12″ [beyond gushing over the trance-inducing A-side] was to get the non-LP B-side. One of the many B-sides left off of the alleged “deluxe remasters” the band oversaw in 2005. “Europe Looked Ugly” started off in a downbeat fashion, almost flirting with the dub sound of the A-side, but with a far more insistent beat. Almost like reggae at double time, with a schizophrenic structure featuring minor key verses and a diametrically opposed typical, upbeat Boomtown Rats chorus obtrusively bolted on.

The lyrics were an incredibly dark use of a haggard prostitute metaphor to represent Europe. Bob Geldof talks of a tired Europe hitching up her skirt and opening her legs while  even the buildings around her were too tired to stand. Meanwhile the repulsive imagery kept coming with Geldof singing of the train that “slid by on its tracks like a steel slug on slime.” Ouch. This was one sour track. It sounded like the band themselves looked on the cover of their last album, “In the Long Grass.” Bitter and worn out. When the shock cold ending happened after a quick 2:38, it almost came as a relief to the brutality of it all.

I have many other Boomtown Rats 12″ singles from their late period, but with many songs missing from the six DLX RM albums on CD, I need to get down to brass tacks and quantify just what I need to still buy before I can attempt a Boomtown Rats BSOG of rarities; the perfect supplement to the highly flawed reissued CDs of a dozen years ago. Watch this space.

– 30 –

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Record Shopping Road Trip: Charlotte May ’17 [part 2]

Out with the old location…

[…continued from previous post]

LUNCHBOX RECORDS

When I had last set foot in Lunchbox Records, it had been a taxing experience. It was my second time in the store and the scant amount of product of interest, compared to the first time, had dropped off precipitously. Worse, the conditions in the store actively worked to dissuade my purchase. To wit:

  • difficult parking
  • poor lighting
  • inadequate/no air conditioning
  • inadequate space/stock under tables

All pretty much deal killers when you’ve spent as much time in record stores as I have. This time my wife suggested that I go there since she had scouted it out and had already found something I knew that I wanted. Boy, was I glad I gave Lunchbox one more chance!

…In with the new ©2016 Andy Smith

I was surprised when we did not go to exactly the same location as the last two times. Lunchbox had moved out of the hectic downtown area they had been in and now were in a kinder location on the same road in a huge stand-alone store space. With a large parking lot. Bold graphics announced the store. When we entered it was a completely different proposition. Compare interior shots of the then and now.

BEFORE: Lighting courtesy of the front window

AFTER: Supreme browsability

The experience was completely transformed for the better. I could almost call it The Repo Effect®. Here was a store that was now well organized and extremely browsable. With excellent lighting, comfortable air conditioning and a large, spacious floor it invited me to spend between 60-75 minutes carefully examining all of the stock. Let’s take a look at that stock, while we’re at it.

Was this your first JPN release, too?

When browsing the “D” section, I always look to see what Dylan Dylan records are there. I joke, of course, because Duran Duran and Bob Dylan are always close binmates with the likelihood of deep stock available for either act in theory. Duran have covered Dylan [horribly] but as far as I know, Mr. Zimmerman has not returned the favor. Someone had dumped a rather large Duran Duran collection in the store. Most of the usual records, but some that were less typical. I always appreciate seeing “Nite Romantics,” but truth be told, that one is surprisingly common around these parts. I see 1-2 a year in my travels, which suggests a lot of copies out there. How many other Japanese pressings does one commonly come across?

This is an elegant release, unquestionably

Well, the “Tiger Tiger” Japanese EP was there as well, but it’s as common as dirt compared to the later period Japanese EPs like “Strange Behaviour.” This was the Japan-only “Notorious” era remix/B-side collection that the Japanese market got on a regular basis. The sharp Frank Olinsky design pops nicely, but the record does even better; this was an etched rim EP with artwork apart from the music tracks on each side. I had never seen one of these outside of my home. I was wondering if I had sold mine off in my Great Duran Purge® but I just checked. I still have it.

Makes the JPN version looks as common as dirt

What I no longer had was the Italian picture disc version of “Strange Behaviour!” If the Japanese version of this was a rare sighting, then the Italian edition [there are no other ‘Strange Behaviour” EPs] pegs the Rare-O-Meter® in the red. I am simply not used to seeing these discs out in the wilds. I sold mine off since a) it was not Japanese, b) there was no content on it not elsewhere and c) I could get decent coin for it. Much more than the going rate in this store. All of the Duran releases here were $10.00 or less. What was shocking was that though I did not re-buy any of these, I did end up buying two Duran Duran 12″ers that I had never gotten back in the day when it was an active collection of mine. These are the first DD singles I’ve bought in almost 20 years. What were they? Glad you asked.

One of the “Electric Barbarella” US promo 12″ers had a mix not on the CD5 I have of this single, which was the only copy of “Electric Barbarella” I ever had, surprisingly. But by 1996 my collecting had pretty much stopped cold; these singles dated from the next year. I also bought the UK 12″ [I had never even known of this back in the day] of “Out Of My Mind,” the theme song for the ill-starred movie “The Saint” and the only Duran Duran release on Virgin Records. This had some dub mixes not on the two CDs I had of this title. For $3.00 each, how could I say no?

                         

The Ultravox bootlegs are in the Record Cell. They were the only boots of this band that I ever saw in my years of collecting. The “Systems” disc on left was a hot Swedish radio show of the Foxx band on their “Ha! Ha! Ha!” tour. The “Terminals” boot on the right was an Italian “Rage In Eden” show of poor quality. I had not ever seen a UK pressing of “Pinky Blue” by Altered Images [complete with hype sticker!] since the time of its release. I saw it as an import months ahead of the domestic release in Record City but waited as I knew the US Epic pressing would eventually follow at lower cost.

                          

The vinyl was salted with plenty of the ’80-’85 action that I thrive on. Seriously! This was a great selection of 12″ singles, all priced to move. I got things that were on my want list! I got things that were put on the want list the previous week! In short, it was a great shopping experience. Between the comfort and ease of browsing, and the plentiful releases of interest [which let me state are no longer thick on the ground]  this was shaping up to be a game-changer of a visit. Third time lucky and all. I got the “D’ya Like Scratchin'” EP by Malcolm McLaren for a pittance. A pair of Kid Creole + The Coconuts UK 12″ers. The holy DEVO “Peek-A-Boo” 12″ which, believe it or not, has never been in the Record Cell prior!

                          

I saw the sealed Cold Cave 12″ and it was from the earlier [2010] period of the band than I have currently. I saw that the remixer was Arthur Baker, and the thought of this New Order MK II band being mixed by Baker himself was musical catnip for my ears. I had to have it. I also had to have the 12″ of Adam Ant’s brilliant “Viva Le Rock” 12″ single. I had been thinking about this single lately but had not yet added it to my want list. One record I had done that with was The Boomtown Rats “House On Fire.” Just the week prior. I was researching rare tracks and recalled that I was missing the B-side to this killer single.

                           

I went to the CDs and found more goodness to buy. Certainly there was the Franz Ferdinand third album I needed to hear. The band are playing in town this Friday and I have tickets. I was thrilled to see Lou Reed’s “The Blue Mask.” When Lou died, I was aware of pivotal albums from his canon that were sadly lacking and I really wanted to hear “Street Hassle” and this one the most. I quickly found “Street Hassle” but this one took a while longer to find. I recently found out that Scott Walker had recorded another soundtrack album, for the film “The Childhood Of A Leader.” They had the new 4AD release here… on CD …as a used promo!

I looked, and it was there!

I can’t tell you how common it is these dark times, to see albums that I want badly to buy in record stores… but only on LP format! There are albums from the last five years that I only see on vinyl, so I still don’t own them! When Neneh Cherry teamed up [five years ago already… it feels like yesterday] with Swedish free jazzers The Thing to record “The Cherry Thing,” I had only ever seen the LP of this in my local hipster joint.

“No CDs for you, granddad!”

I thought, “this just might be the sort of place to have that album on CD” and it was. Used. Score! Last week I was also thinking “maybe it was time to get a Joy Division greatest hits disc?” I looked at “Substance” but my wife found the eerily similar “The Best Of Joy Division” so I am finally ready to try to re-approach Joy Division.

Here’s the full monty purchased there:

LUNCHBOX LIST

  1. Joy Division: The Best Of Joy Division – Rhino Records ‎– R2 474236 – US – CD – Lunchbox Records/$6.00
  2. Franz Ferdinand: Tonight – Epic ‎– 88697372552 – US – CD – Lunchbox Records/$4.00
  3. Bob Dylan: Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits – Columbia ‎– CK 65975 – US – CD – Lunchbox Records/$1.00
  4. The Magnetic Fields: Holiday – Merge Records ‎– MRG151CD – US – CD – Lunchbox Records/$5.00
  5. Neneh Cherry + The Thing: The Cherry Thing – Smalltown Supersound ‎– STS229CD – NORWAY – CD – Lunchbox Records/$5
  6. Lou Reed: The Blue Mask – RCA ‎– 07863 54221-2  – US – CD – Lunchbox Records/$5.00
  7. Scott Walker: The Childhood Of A Leader OST – 4AD ‎– CAD3620CD – UK – CD – Lunchbox Records/$5.00
  8. Malcolm McLaren: D’ya Like Scratchin’ – Island Records ‎– 90124-1-B – US – EP – Lunchbox records/$3.00
  9. Kid Creole + The Coconuts: I’m A Wonderful Thing – Ze Records ‎– 12WIP 6756 – UK – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$2.50
  10. Kid Creole + The Coconuts: The Lifeboat Party – Island Records ‎– 12IS 142 – UK – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$2.50
  11. DEVO: Peek-A-Boo – Warner Bros. Records ‎– 0-29906 – US – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$4.00
  12. Cold Cave: Life Magazine – Matador ‎– OLE -941-1 – US – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$3.00
  13. Adam Ant: Viva Le Rock [Remix!] – CBS ‎– 49-05261 – US – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$2.00
  14. The Boomtown Rats: House On Fire – Mercury ‎– MERX 91 – UK – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$3.00
  15. Duran Duran: Out Of My Mind – Virgin ‎– VST 1639 – UK – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$3.00
  16. Duran Duran: Electric Barbarella – Capitol Records ‎– SPRO 7087 6 12097 1 6 – USP – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$3.00

We left Charlotte nearly a hundred dollars lighter, but had 24 excellent additions to the Record Cell to show for it. I was happy to spend more than $17 at Repo Record for a change, but I was really impressed by the profound changes wrought at Lunchbox. They had moved the store a year earlier and I complimented the clerk [possibly the owner] on the vastly improved browsability of the store and the nearly $60 worth of records and discs certainly evidenced it. Charlotte’s record buying scene just got twice as good; maybe moreso. When in town, make room for both stores.

– 30 –

Posted in Record Shopping Road Trip | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Record Shopping Road Trip: Charlotte May ’17 [part 1]

Another trip to Repo Records… this time with some cash!

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed a re-run last Thursday and nothing posted on Friday. Well, Thursday was slammed [no lunch break], trying to get all of my work handed off before Friday, since I was taking Friday off and attending a workshop in Charlotte with my wife. I always enjoy a trip to Charlotte. It’s a short enough drive. There is always dining at Luna’s Living Kitchen. And of course, there is some good record shopping in the City.

REPO RECORD

My esteem for Repo Record knows no bounds. Having discovered the store in the summer of ’15, I’ve been there twice before, but both trips were hastily arranged and cash was not plentiful. I think both times I’d been there, I had about $20 in my pocket to spend. I resolved the next time to prevent this from happening again. That was not a problem on Friday.With our seminar over by lunch, we had the rest of the day to do anything we wanted to in Charlotte. After dining at Luna’s, it was off to Repo, for some quality crate digging.

Here’s a variation you don’t see every day

There were boxes of fresh 7″ singles, and when browsing through them, I saw and noted things like the Dutch “Towers Of London” 7″ by XTC. I can’t say I’ve ever seen that out in the wilds before! I have a fair, but inconclusive XTC collection, and the days of buying this sort of the thing for the different PS is long behind me… unless the artist is a lot higher up on the Monk’s totem pole of New Wave. XTC are high up… but not that high.

The 1878 re-issue is still nothing to sneeze at…

Then I chanced upon a record that I have never seen before in a store. The 1978 reissue of “Satisfaction,” by The Residents. The release on yellow vinyl is usually priced anywhere from $7-150 out in the wild, making this copy desirable for the Residents collector, but I’m not getting on that train. Every home should have at least a few Residents releases, but I can’t obsess over them even as I admire them and their achievements. I leave that to others. Meanwhile, my wife was

My wife was perusing the CDs and I had good luck here before, so I joined her. I had been on a Prince jag at the time of my last visit, and Repo had sold me a new CD of “1999” for the dirt cheap price of $6.00 at just the point where I had gotten my first Prince on CD ever [the awesome “Ultimate Prince” 2xCD] and was hungry for more. I looked again and saw CDs of album titles that were now scarce in the bins: “Around The World In A Day” and “Batman.” New for $8.00. I was going to buy them, since I never see too many Prince CDs any more, but the news of the SDLX RM of “Purple Rain” coming out next month, stuffed with everything I’d want on CD and more stayed my hand. There was all the possibility that after “Purple Rain” got the nod that these titles would also get the DLX treatment. Instead, I did the next best thing: bought all of the Prince CD singles that were there, used!

A pittance for these, and they had a bevy of remixes and the all-important Prince B-sides. I have not seen Prince CD singles in many years. Meanwhile, my wife was having success sating a thirst of her own. Lately, she’s been in a Dire Straits phase and she found the all-important “Communique” as well as the ubiquitous “Brothers In Arms.”

I never even knew about this puppy!

After that, my wife wanted to shop elsewhere so she took off for a while, leaving me stranded in the store… drat! With at least an hour ahead of me, I turned my attention to the Wall of Rock® and tried to scan it as quickly as possible. The careful and exceedingly granular alphabetizing here makes this entirely possible. Popular bands I don’t like have their own sections, mercifully skipped. I was not seeing anything that I was looking for but I did run into things like this record [left] that I had no clues about previously! Have you ever seen a copy of “Wireless Wonders,” a 6-track POPS EP with most, but not all of “The Golden Age Of Wireless” served up on it? The cover art has a small sticker with the actual album art and Thomas Dolby’s name on it affixed to the front. This was a highly graded copy for your $25, so I could admire from afar only. This was one of their online sales as well, so if you want to take the plunge, then have at it.

Hallelujah! The most wanted Rezormaid EP for me!

I next perused the 7″ singles but was not getting anything back from my probings, so I moved to the DJ vinyl section. I had gotten some nice things here before and this time was different only in that I immediately found the #1 most wanted Razormaid title only recently added to my want list a week or three ago! The almighty “Edit Dump” EP that was thick with core collection bands I buy everything from! What was on it?

  • Vicious Pink: Ccccan’t You See?
  • Heaven 17: Sunset Now
  • Visage: Love Glove
  • Figures On A Beach: Breathless

And then I found one disc of Razormaid A-2, the one with Anne Clarke on it. The poly sleeve said “Heaven,” the awesome John Foxx-produced track was on it so I bit. I just now thought that “wait… don’t I have the UK 12” of that single… complete with Joseph Watt [Razormaid] remix?” Well, it’s true. Luck for me that the Anne Clarke song on the Razormaid A-2 was actually “Red Sands,” another Foxx-produced track that I did not have elsewhere! Wait, it gets better. On the other side of the clear vinyl EP were two tracks by Data, whom I am now collecting for remastering! The EP featured Razormaid mixes of “Over 21” and “Living Inside Me!” I can only imagine what a 12:29 version [it’s 2:55 on the LP] of the sumptuous “Over 21” will be like! The latter track was from the second Data album, which I still need. Here’s what I ended up getting here.

REPO LIST

  1. Dire Straits: Communique – Warner Bros. Records ‎– W2 3330 – US – CD – Repo Record/$5.00
  2. Dire Straits: Brothers In Arms – Warner Bros. Records ‎– 9 25264-2  – US – CD – Repo Record/$5.00
  3. Southern Culture On The Skids: Countrypolitan Favorites – Yep Roc Records ‎– YEP 2124 – US – CD – Repo Record/$5.00
  4. Prince: New Power Generation – Paisley Park ‎– 9 21783-2 – US – CD5 – Repo Record/$6.00
  5. Prince + The New Power Generation: 7 – Paisley Park ‎– 9 40574-2 – US – CD5 – Repo Record/$4.00
  6. Prince + The New Power Generation: My Name Is Prince – US CD5 – Repo Record/$4.00
  7. Razormaid: Chapter A-2 [disc 1 only] – Razormaid Records ‎– RM-A2 – US – LP [yellow] – Repo Record/$6.00
  8. Razormaid: Edit Dump – Razormaid Records ‎– RM-002 – USP – EP – Repo Record/$6.00

After checking out and turning back to the 7″ material for another round, my wife arrived and we were going to return home, or so I thought. Instead, she had been scouting around and asked me if I wanted to go to Lunchbox Records next. I replied that I was not too concerned with shopping at Lunchbox, since the last time I was there I could hardly wait to leave the dark, hot, grimy pit. She said that she had been there while looking at consignment shops and had seen a Franz Ferdinand CD that I did not have, so I figured, well, why not? After all, she had already found something I’d want. It would be a shame to ignore her good research.

Next: …Big Changes Afoot

Posted in Record Shopping Road Trip | Tagged , | 9 Comments

REDUX: Want List: B Movie – The Age Of Illusion

July 9, 2013

No Emb Blanc | GER | CD | 2013 | NEB 015

No Emb Blanc | GER | CD | 2013 | NEB 015

B-Movie: The Age Of Illusion GER CD [2013]

  1. Age Of Illusion
  2. Other People’s Lives
  3. Perfect Storm
  4. She’s A Car Crash
  5. Zeitgeist
  6. The Dreamers
  7. Razor’s Edge
  8. Echoes
  9. To The Ends Of The Earth
  10. Dark Lines

Holy frijoles! I was out of commission for a patch and yet, the world kept turning. I was recently at my Discogs.com home page and my feed revealed new material by the ever so admirable B-Movie. German label No Emb Blanc are issuing 2013 music this summer and there’s no shortage of activity on the long-dormant B-Movie front! The new long player is their second one ever, following 1985’s “Forever Running.” The band just drifted apart following their lack of influence in the UK charts and I have projects by members Rick Holliday and Paul Statham in the Record Cell, but vocalist Steve Hovington was completely off of my radar for the last 28 years. No longer though! As if this album weren’t enough, there is also an EP of non-LP material also released.

No Emb Blanc | GER | CD5 | 2013 | NOB 013

No Emb Blanc | GER | CD5 | 2013 | NOB 013

B-Movie: Distant Skies GER CD5 [2013]

  1. So Far Away
  2. Fugitives
  3. My Old Friend Loneliness
  4. Careful Of Dreams

What’s that you say, not enough activity for your B-Movie starved ears? Well, then fret no more because lead vocalist Steve Hovington also has a solo album out on iTunes dating back a few weeks! But how did this eruption of B-Movie occur out of the blue? Apparently, Steve Hovington saw a John Foxx concert a decade ago, and mused that perhaps B-movie could be reactivated, so as to give it another shot. . By 2013, Hovington and guitarist Paul Statham had managed to enlist synth player Rick Holliday and drummer Graham Boffey for pure B-Movie DNA to come kicking and screaming into the 21st century. So this is uncut B-movie. No filler. How does it sound?

Answer: It sounds pretty damn sweet! The band are still mining their Foxx/Vox inspired seam of ore significantly well. In fact, has Steve Hovington ever sounded better? I think not. I’d go so far to suggest that this material smokes their 1985 album, and builds on the promise of their early work on Dead Good Records in spades. Hovington felt that their single album was a tad overproduced, though in the 1985 zeitgeist they were far ahead of most of the competition, who were busy releasing their worst music ever. But this work manages to capture the zest of their Dead Good/Some Bizzare era with improved production values albeit stopping short of the sheen that Stephen Stewart-Short applied to “Forever Running.” There’s no shortage of texture here. This is al dente music! Let’s hear more, shall we?

I always liked B-Movie from first listen. I picked up an issue of Flexipop to get the Soft Cell flexidisc on it back in 1981. I’d read about Soft Cell and was curious. Stevo managed to wrangle B-Movie into the B-side slot, and their tune “Remembrance Days” was even better than Soft Cell in my opinion. It had that crackle of early Ultravox; who were clearly a [good] influence on the band, sonically, but they managed to eke out their own voice from the shadow of Foxx and company.

My big question at this point is where to buy this music? iTunes US currently has an extended version of “Echoes” from the album as a single track, but the info I see on the B-Movie site as well as the band’s German label site is conflicting. Discogs says the album is out, while the label says September of this year. The label site itself, lacks a store so there’s no buying from the source. The official B-Movie website only offers t-shirts. It’s best to keep your eyes peeled and fight the good fight. This music slots exceptionally well in with the rejuvenated Visage project that has dominated my listening thus far this summer, and I look forward to buying a spinning, silvery thing that makes these noises.

– 30 –

Posted in Want List | Tagged , | 4 Comments

I Miss Singles

NOTE: this photo is NOT of the author…

I call myself the Post-Punk Monk. Mainly due to my interest in the dramatic explosion of creativity in music during the ’78-’83 period. It’s primarily for this reason that I spend more time gazing in the rear view mirror of music for the last 25 years. But there is another reason why I tend to dwell in the past. As one with the collector’s sickness, the options to feed that particular obsession was infinitely more plentiful in days of yore. Growing up in the seventies and becoming expert on music collecting in the 80s, there were many venues available to stoke the fires of music fandom, from a collecting point of view.

No singles from THIS record!

B-SIDES

With the Punk/Post-Punk/New Wave movement, there was a shift back to the emphasis on a great single after many years with The Album as the primary music carrier of cultural value. Albums as deep artistic statements were typical of the 70s Rock Hegemony® [as seen at left]. Singles were derided and scoffed at. Led Zeppelin refused to allow singles to be taken from their albums [in the UK, anyway]. Naturally, when the time came to put this pomposity all to a grinding halt, the lowly single was seen as a viable thing once more. Singles could be non-LP tracks, that added further value for the buyer’s money. Better still, extra tracks could find their way out of the studio to reach the fan’s ears. The glory of the non-LP B-side exploded in the late 70s as a return to pop values and that made record collecting much more interesting for me.

12″ REMIXES

After buying an album, I could collect the singles from the album and get new songs by my favorite artists. The emergence of the 12″ single format in the late 70s, now added extended 12″ versions of songs that were longer than radio airplay would allow for. When the machine was humming along steadily, I found myself buying albums and if I was particularly enamored of the artist in question, I also had singles to also buy. 7″ singles and 12″ singles. Sometimes with different tracks. Then, when ZTT threw down the gauntlet, the idea of multiple 12″ remixes began to spread. All of this meant that an album worth of material could conceivably generate another album’s worth of material not specifically on the original album. Sometimes more.

PROMO SINGLES

Catnip for the hard core music collector were the various promo singles that labels would release in various territories. Sometimes with the elusive POPS [promo-only picture sleeve]. club and radio DJs were regaled with rare tracks, live cuts, unique edits and mixes of everything under the sun. These records could be hard to find, due to their relative low numbers, but that offered extra challenge to collectors like myself who broke out the issue of Goldmine Magazine every fortnight and tried to scoop all of the other collectors gunning for that one single you saw in 3 point type on a blurry newsprint set sale ad.

FOREIGN TERRITORY SINGLES

One interesting about promos. A band’s label in their home territory could have a promo single with certain tracks, and one of their foreign labels could have another promo with completely different tracks. Rabid fans could need both! Then there’s the rabbit hole of foreign picture sleeves. I usually try to only buy records that have music on them that I need, but in more fiscally comfortable times, I was known to buy records that offered me nothing that I didn’t already have, with the exception of a unique cover design. Decadent, I know! Don’t get me started on Japanese sleeves. They were often radically different covers; usually band shots where there were no images of the group in their home territory.

CD SINGLES

By the mid 80s, CD singles began to proliferate. the three main formats [7″, 12″ CD single] all needed to be fed. Sometimes there was enough material generated to make purchasing all three viable. At others, one could buy just one format, and get all that was out there. All the better when that was the CD single. Then in the 90s, there were multiple CD singles that could happen. All of it offered collecting possibility. This ended abruptly with file sharing.


File sharing dramatically impacted the music industry which immediately began convulsively contracting to a fraction of its former size. The biggest casualty, from my perspective, was the loss of singles as a value added proposition. These days, a favorite artist can put out an album, and I may buy it. And that could be it. In the last decade while singles have all but dried up as physical artifacts, the alternative, from the industry point of view, was to offer multiple versions of albums with different tracks. It used to be that one could buy an album and spend often far less on a single to get some new tracks or mixes. Even so, at the end of an album campaign, I might have spent $18 on an import CD and $75 on all of the import CD singles to get the associated tracks and mixes.

At least collecting singles offered much visual interest as well as music to hear. Now, the idea might be to have a version of an album for this retailer with these exclusive tracks, while offering an alternative package for another retailer. Since single sales are dramatically lower than in the past, the notion of propping up album sales by having multiple versions of an album for a collector to buy was one way to put the squeeze on fans. And that was last decade. Now, all of these multiple album packages may be DL only with no physical copies for sale. Worse, the versions with the tracks that I might want, might be restricted to certain territories; preventing my legal purchase.

It’s bad enough that I have to listen to music on download; it’s insult to injury to hold it away at arm’s length because of where I live. In 2014, I bought the deluxe edition of Simple Minds’ “Big Music” album. The DLX package had more songs on a second disc and a DVD. Not too shabby! The extra material had some real gems and the price was modestly higher than the “regular” album. One could look at this as the B-sides on disc 2 that were no longer available on singles since physical singles were dead in the water. A second album of bonus tracks is convenient if not as interesting as 3-4 individual singles, each with different packaging, but it’s good enough for me. But what about remixes? Simple Minds got Johnson Somerset to make remixes of four of the songs from their new album. These long [Johnson Somerset favors an expansive, widescreen remix style of 8-10 minutes per track] remixes formed a DL EP that is selling in territories other than America. A Simple Minds collector like myself, has no way to legally buy these tracks. A promo CD-R of a scant number of copies [good luck in finding/affording a copy] did leave the nest but CD-Rs are a very fragile medium. An hour in a hot car can render one unplayable. I can easily imagine spending a small fortune on one only to have it arrive in an unplayable condition.

While the present has been a hellish landscape of no singles to buy from my favorite acts, this is not always the case. There have been a few bright spots. When OMD reunited in 2009, they have released several singles from their two album thus far. There were 7″ and 12″ vinyl and CD singles, though not one of each single. Better still, the last CD single of each run from the two albums featured all of the B-sides that may have been on vinyl only. This certainly helped, thought there was also a welter of remixes for some singles that were DL only with some tracks impossible to legally obtain in my territory.

The best case scenario thus far was when Visage reformulated and released six singles from their “Hearts +Knives” album. A full five of these were CD singles, meaning that almost every remix and every B-side were out there on CD. Even so, they had some vinyl/DL only remixes for my favorite of their singles. But I can’t be churlish about Visage. they showed how even late in the game and band could work that single action like it was still 1983. What I’d give for some more of that.

– 30 –

Posted in Record Collecting | Tagged | 14 Comments

Record Review: Duran Duran – My Own Way

EMI | UK | 7″ | 1981 | EMI 5254

Duran Duran: My Own Way UK 7″ [1981]

  1. My Own Way [7″ version]
  2. Like An Angel

I was an early convert to the church of Double Duran [R.I.P. J.J.Jackson]. My friend chasinvictoria initially sent me a tape letter in 1981 that contained an edited recording [missing the long disco intro buildup] of the “Planet Earth” night version available on their US debut album and I was quickly won over. I bought said album almost immediately, and by 1981, was already savvy to the glory of import singles. When I saw a new single on the local import 7″ bins, I pounced on it. It was “My Own Way,” a new song not from their debut album. That was pretty quick!

When I played the record, I was not quite prepared for the overbearing disco string section that kicked the number off. When I heard the full “Planet Earth” 12″ mix after buying the album, I could smell the disco on its breath with its Chic-inspired bass solo right in my face, but even though it was almost too soon after the Disco Wars to be diving into that particular bucket again, I felt the gestalt of the track was well balanced enough between rock and disco with the middleman being the synthesizers of Nick Rhodes uniting the two opposing genres of music.

By comparison, “My Own Way” was hitting the disco bottle hard with one of my least favorite disco tropes; the gratuitous string section. While even in 1981, I could point to disco material that was undeniably classic, said material generally didn’t sport a string section. Moreover, I personally felt that string sections were redolent of the lazy disco material that did so much to give the genre a bad name. Even before I had enough of disco, there was a huge M.O.R. contingent of the genre that did nothing for me. I associated it with disco novelty material like “A Fifth Of Beethoven” or indeed any other bolting on of a disco rhythm section on a timeworn musical chestnut and sold to the indiscriminate rubes clamoring for more. String sections were de riguer for musical monstrosities like Andy Williams releasing a disco tune or… Ethel Merman. < Insert chord of doom here> That Duran Duran were leaning this hard on this particular musical crutch on just their fourth single really took the wind out of my sails.

Duran Duran were so 1981!

The strings, obtrusively scored by Richard Myhill, were the dominant factor of the track. When I looked up Myhill’s profile I found two mid-70s EMI disco albums, and about 30 library music discs. It figures! Every player on this track is subordinate to the strings, though Andy Taylor’s rhythm guitar almost gets a notice here. His solo on the outro had to fight the strings tooth and nail, but at least he got close to a draw.

The single’s B-side fared a little better in that at least it didn’t have a disco string section being shoved down my throat. “Like An Angel” was still a M.O.R. ballad, though. I couldn’t help shake the feeling that vocalist Simon Lebon was hedging his bets in case this whole “New Romantic” thing happened to blow over. It was slice of Duran Duran at their most mainstream yet. It helped that the song was at least pretty, but in 1981 I was expecting big beat synth dance monsters from this band. Nick Rhodes presence was relegated to string matches used for textural effect. I recall wondering what was up with this diffusion of the energy.

Once more, the sweetly sustaining seaside guitar of Andy Taylor was the big winner here, though I believe this may have been the first time that John Taylor had used a fretless bass on a song. Roger Taylor got to bust out the congas to add some extra percussion here, for a stretch. With the benefit of hindsight, the song now reminds me of the sort of vibe that they had reached for earlier on “Khånada” but I had not yet heard that song in 1981. It was still a year or two into the future. It’s best to think of “Like An Angel” as another trip to a well that was getting drier. “Khånada” I’d put on a DD compilation as a perfect deep cut. This one, in comparison, was missable. Simon LeBon’s vocals here lacked the poise and confidence of his [not bad] singing on the A-side. This was more typical of his widely variable singing. I thought the whistling solo was a Bryan Ferry appropriation that was a bit of thin ice. Fortunately, it’s only two bars.

Japan got a Nagel cover instead…

The best thing about the single, for me at the time, was the cover design! The sleeve was the first instance of collaboration by two of the primary sleeve art stars in my world: Malcolm Garrett and Peter Saville. “My Own Way” was not the last time the twin titans of graphic design collaborate, either. In 1983 they teamed up for two highly superior works: OMD’s “Dazzle Ships” and Howard Devoto’s “Jerky Versions Of The Dream.” But this sleeve was a decent first time for these friends and colleagues to collaborate. I suspect that Garrett was responsible for the layout with typography falling under Saville’s duties. The scratchboard/lino cut illustration riffed off of the “dancing with the bulls in any old way” lyric effectively enough. I appreciated the use of gold ink for the band’s name. It’s an effective four color [but not full color] design. The “double d” logo on the label/back cover was another good idea. Better than the string section, in any event!

Here’s the logo on the B-side of the sleeve

The net result for buying this single as soon as it made it over the Atlantic was that I cooled on Duran Duran going forward. I shied away from buying more discs from them and this was only my second at the time! I thought that they had lost their way after a strong enough debut album. It remained until I got MTV a year later and they began exposing American brains to “Hungry Like The Wolf” before I was ready to give Duran Duran one more chance; thus setting the tenor of the relation that I [and thousands] of discerning fans would have with the band for decades to come.

– 30 –

Posted in Core Collection, Designed By Peter Saville, New Romantic, Record Review | Tagged , , | 13 Comments