New Shriekback Viddy For “The Wolfman Whinesplains”

Gloryoski! We got notice a few days ago that the new Shriekback viddy was online in …that place. The Hodah-helmed clip was actually shot and featured the very real and not at all simulated Barry Andrews in the clip itself, as well as the lycanthropic festival act of The Wolfman and his pals. While we normally ignore viddy hosted in …that place, the lack of a Vimeo hosted clip this time has pushed my hand in this hasty posting as I’ve had errands to run this lunchtime.

And this was a real video. Not one of those assemblages of stock footage or [worse yet!] something thrown up by CHAT-GPT. We will allow that, yes, there was a bit of stock footage used [artfully] within the clip but the primary footage was just that! And if you’ve ever wanted to see a werewolf eat crisps in a pub setting while Barry Andrews holds court, Barry Andrews doubling on vocals – and video, much less the horrid spectacle of the “cock in the salad”…well, it’s just a click away.

Shriekback | The Wolfman Whinesplains | from “Bowlahoola” | Directed by Hodah, as ever


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Adele Bertei Releases Memoir “Twist” Today From ZE Books

adele bertei twist book
ZE Books | harcdover | 250 p. | 2023

Today there is the release of a new ZE Books memoir by Adele Bertei covering the crucial New/No Wave artist through her tumultuous origins in Cleveland before her move to New York City and a different world entirely. It’s the first of a trilogy of memoirs from the singer will be writing which examines her experiences in the years of 1965-1973 through the eyes of an avatar persona she constructed; Maddie Twist. The distance was probably the only thing that made this book possible as Ms. Bertei sounds like she had very rough waters to chart as a young woman.

Growing up through poverty in the American Rust Belt as its buckle started to crumble and flake would be challenging enough. Adding the reality of being a queer as well as abandoned youth growing up in foster homes and reformatories would have fractalized the challenges that Ms. Bertei had to surmount to ever begin to bring her art to our ears, years later.

I can hope that anyone reading this has some examples of Ms. Bertei’s vocals in your own private Record Cells. But as usual, for every record I have with her on it, there are six more in my want list! I could name a dozen projects of hers off the top of my head, but until now I had no idea that she had recorded a single with Scritti Politti.

Adele Bertei 2023
Adele Bertei © 2023 Natalie Hill

As an artist who first manifested in the public eye with The Contortions in the No Wave movement, quite appropriately, Michael Zilkha’s ZE Books imprint has published this volume today and Ms. Bertei is embarking upon a series of readings to take place in the following cities and dates. With publisher Zilkha attending in his Houston locale.


  • March 14 | Skylight Books | 7PM | Los Angeles, CA [with Lizzie Borden]
  • March 19 | Book Passage | 2PM | San Francisco, CA [with Nazelah Jamison]
  • March 20 | Brazos Bookstore | 6:30 PM | Houston, TX [with Michael Zilkha]
  • March 23rd | McNally Jackson Seaport | 7 PM | New York City, NY [with Nan Goldin]
  • March 27th | Mac’s Backs | 7:30 PM | Cleveland, OH [with Amanda Raboniwitz]

If you are reading this at the point of posting, there’s still time to attend the first event tonight, but please review the event page at ZE Books for RSVP details and links. Some events require registration. In the mean time, her volume may be purchased widely, or directly from the ZE Books website.

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Cristina Monet Zilkha’s Legacy Served Well With New CD Remaster Of “Sleep It Off” And Biographical Book/Website

cristina monktone

Last Friday was the release date of the CD that I never expected to see, but I should know better than to underestimate the powers of Rubellan Remasters. They are the plucky reissue label [run by one person – Scott Davies] that often seems like a manifestation of my brain gone rogue and given to grandiose realizations of my wildest fantasies of deluxe CD remasters. Sure, sure. Of late they are diving into the LP reissue trend [with a colorful line in Ultravox, Visage, and Oingo Boingo LPs], but this is a full-fledged CD and we wasted little time in ordering our personal copy!

I have written at length about the fulsome merits of “Sleep It Off,” the second, and sadly final Cristina album at length. If I didn’t have limited time and a number of targets to hit today, I would be capable of extolling its astonishing virtues even further, but suffice to say that this was the CD that can correct the numerous issues with the single, earlier CD mastering of this amazing piece of work. Which we’ll next see.

cristina sleep it off DLX RM CD 2023 Rubellan Remasters
Rubellan Remasters | US | CD | 2023 | RUBY46CD

Cristina: Sleep It Off – US – CD [2023]

  1. Don’t Mutilate My Mink 3:12
  2. Ticket To The Tropics 4:20
  3. She Can’t Say That Anymore 3:05
  4. Quicksand Lovers 3:16
  5. Rage & Fascination 4:31
  6. Ballad Of Immoral Earnings 4:17
  7. What’s A Girl To Do 3:31
  8. The Lie Of Love 4:31
  9. Blue Money 4:12
  10. He Dines Out On Death 2:34
  11. Things Fall Apart 4:29
  12. Disco Clone (7″ Mix) 4:12
cristina sleep it off 2004 cover

Even before we play it, the noveau ZE Records penchant for revision was manifest on even the iconic Jean Paul Goode cover art. Not in the physically altered Kodachrome slides sliced with an X-acto® and spliced crudely with cellophane tape, but the typography had been changed to a mixture of serif and sans serif, without the crude punch that the original typography reflected on the now restored cover on the Rubellan Remasters CD.

Meanwhile, a look at the rear cover was even more dramatic with the original song order as shown above in tracks 1-10 a welcome return from the radical re-think of the 2004 CD as shown below.

  1. What’s A Girl To Do
  2. Ticket To The Tropics
  3. The Lie Of Love
  4. Quicksand Lovers
  5. Rage & Fascination
  6. Ballad Of Immortal Earnings
  7. She Can’t Say That Anymore
  8. Blue Money
  9. Don’t Mutilate My Mink
  10. He Dines Out On Death
  11. Smile
  12. Deb Behind Bars
  13. Things Fall Apart
  14. When U Were Mine
  15. Deb Behind Bars [Alternate Version]
  16. You Rented A Space

The bonus tracks on each issue differed greatly. With Rubellan Remasters licensing the master tapes from Universal Music Group so that just the album and two crucial earlier tracks that were released adjacent to “Sleep It Off” were available for CD issue. “Things Fall Apart” was the siren song I’d heard from Cristina in 1981 from the ZE Christmas Album, where it got college radio airplay and made me an instant fan. Though here it was the longer 1982 version that was used for the CD. That single’s B-side, the second recording of Cristina’s debut single “Disco Clone,” guest starred a rakish Kevin Klein as the unnamed Disco Lothario narrating the record to Cristina’s girly choruses ripped straight from the Marilyn Monroe playbook.

cristina things fall apart

The biggest difference on this new issue was down to something that I mentioned the last paragraph. This 2023 CD from Rubellan Remasters was actually mastered from a master tape! Sadly, the earlier masterings of “Sleep If Off” were taken from vinyl, and even worse, these recordings were further brickwalled to make them an exceptionally harsh listen. As the following wave images of the same song from each disc [the iconic “What’s A Girl To Do”] will duly reveal.


2004 mastering of "What's A Girl To Do"
WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO » The 2004 ZE Records mastering had little dynamic range


2023 mastering of "What's A Girl To Do"
WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO » The 2023 Rubellan Remasters mastering was beautiful to hear

Listening to the differences between the editions was dramatic! Being taken from an LP, the 2004 edition featured excessive harsh sibilance on Cristina’s vocals as well as the mushy sounding cymbals and hi-hats. Details in the vibraphones and other percussive filigree were sadly lacking. And Scott Davies had admitted that he sought to tame the traditional [and anomalous] brittle high end footprint of “She Can’t Say That Any More” with a more balanced EQ curve. So for the first time ever, this song feels integrated with the surrounding album.

Having this CD fulfills a long-standing wish of mine to have something better than the 2004 disc. I was almost to the point of mastering my own copy from vinyl before I saw the happy news that it would be a Rubellan “passion project” and the label’s first CD release in six months. Anyone reading this far really needs to order this before it’s all gone. There will be probably a single pressing of it and when it’s sold out, that ship will have sailed. The early ZE CD editions have been OOP for ages and priced accordingly in the aftermarket. This CD is currently plentiful and priced to move at $15.99. Moreover, it actually gives these stellar songs and performances the staging that they so richly deserve. Act accordingly!

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ZE Books | 2022 | 400 p.

It was some time shortly following Cristina’s tragic death in the early days of the pandemic when I received an amazing email from Ian Birch; a name I knew from the days of Melody Maker and Smash Hits magazine. Mr. Birch revealed that he was writing and ,editing a book about Cristina and would I like to contribute a brief essay? Astonished that I was being invited to this project, I absolutely replied in the affirmative and sent off a brief and concise paragraph detailing what her art had meant to me. Hard to believe on all counts, if you’re familiar with not only the millions of words here at PPM but also my decidedly modest stature in the blogosphere [is that still a word?].

From the summer of 2020 through the next two years I would get an occasional missive from Mr. Birch on the project, updating me on its status as it hummed along. It was two years later when I was informed that the book was going to press and would be done soon. I asked him what the street date was so that I could time a review of it here on PPM and I received the bombshell that although it was being designed and published by ZE Books, there was no commercial release of the 400 page tome. The book had been privately commissioned for Cristina’s friends and family by her partner, Stephen Graham. Since I had been a contributor, I would also be getting a copy. Oh my.

Since I was absolutely the target audience for this book, I was especially grateful that I would be able to read a copy! How I wanted to find out all I could about the recording of her two, very different albums, with the strongest emphasis on the still-astonishing “Sleep It Off.” I also had an intense curiosity about what she had done during the many years when she was effectively retired from writing and recording music. I had heard tantalizing mentions of critical writing for the Village Voice and other publications, but I had seen nothing concrete over the years.

Fortunately, the estate of Cristina have not kept the amazing contents of the book a public secret, and to that end, they have built a website that contains all of the content for anyone to read and view. While there’s nothing quite like a mind-bogglingly thorough coffee table book on the life and art of a singer like Cristina, the website does have one over on the book by way of the songs and videos embedded within it for viewing and listening. I’d hate to be reading this book without having all of the relevant music [or videos] at arm’s reach.

The book and site were chock-full of candid recollections by family, partners, friends, and peers that detailed the full breadth of her life and times. From her childhood through her tempering in the artistic cauldrons of Harvard, London, and Paris. The full story was here with her unexpected transformation from a student of English History and Literature, to a theater critic, and ultimately a mononymous recording artist.

I’d read the occasional web article or interview about her flagging health [autoimmune issues and possibly more] that ultimately made her an early target for the Covid-19 virus along the way, but her post-ZE Records life was duly recounted intricate detail as she became a mother and then single. She ultimately re-connected near the end of her life with Stephen Graham; an early flame who she didn’t quite synch with in her youth, but who was the right man many years on. Most tantalizing were the lyrics for songs that were never recorded or possibly even completed with a score to record. There were at least two albums worth of material she had written in her notebooks [the source of many scanned images in her own hand here] that exist now to taunt her fans with their vibrancy.

Furthermore, a wealth of her published writings post-1984 were included here as well; making “Cristina” an well-wounded portrait of an artist with an enviable ability to write songs [as well as art and literary criticism] that were singular in their cold-eyed precision in hitting their targets full on. Making this book an enticing glimpse of not only the woman behind such observations, but also carrying the artistic seeds of songs which never managed to germinate in the years past her active recording career.

Fortunately for anyone reading this, the full content of the book is online now, with each chapter available as an excerpted web page with a PDF download of the full text. Click the homepage image below to read the new Cristina website that goes far beyond the handfuls of interviews that have popped up on the web in the last 20 years. This is what we’ve all been waiting for.

Cristina Monet Zilkha ©1984 Josef Astor
Cristina Monet Zilkha ©1984 Josef Astor

Join us tomorrow for a look at another book that ZE Books is publishing that we can all order and read.


Posted in Book Review, Deadpan Women, Record Review | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Fluid Japan Populate An Elegant “Afterlife” With Their Art Rock Chops

fluid japan artwork
When machine learning finally understands hands…we’re all doomed!

Sometime it’s hell keeping a secret! Especially one you’d prefer to shout from the rooftops! In the case of the group Fluid Japan, I first encountered their member Todd Lewis [vox, synth, bass, drum programming] when he had played bass and string synth on Jan Linton’s excellent “Melatonin” single of 2022. I’m a big fan of Linton’s music, so after mentioning Lewis in my review, he used the contact form to talk up his return to active duty with Fluid Japan; a combo who had released a single CD in Japan 22 years ago, but were now based in the US and making music anew.

Mr. Lewis sent along some frankly astonishing music that is now finally mixed and mastered for release on Bandcamp today and this music decidedly presses all of my critical buttons. Hard. They now have a trio of songs for download in their Bandcamp store and I have to ask, is it too early in the year to hand out single of the year awards, because after hearing “Afterlife,” everyone else might have to go home.

It began with portentous synths reminiscent of those on Cabaret Voltaire’s “Automotivation.” Then a screaming came across the sky as the drums faded up. Laying the groundwork for bass player Walt Wistrand’s [bass, guitar, synth, drum programming] fluid and muscular bass lines to push us off the starting block and into the wild. This track was shaping up to be the sort of dronetrancefunk that I’d not heard since the days when Derek Forbes was leading Simple Minds by the nose!

In all candor, it staked out an exciting middle ground between the vibe to be found in “Sons + Fascination” and “New Gold Dream [81, 82, 83, 84].” A glorious hybrid synthesis of the varied peaks to be found in the early Simple Minds canon. With the backing vocals by Heather Heimbuch enmeshing skillfully with the placid, measured lead vocals of Todd Lewis.

The glassy, cinematic synths and fractalized cymbals posited a very widescreen cinematic energy that could last for days as this leviathan of a song belied its size while gliding gracefully towards the far horizon. When the Fairlight samples manifested, bringing an Art Of Noise energy to the proceedings, I thought that this track couldn’t get more perfect. Then Wistrand’s guitar solo made me a liar, and then his rhythm guitar, chopping obliquely into the melody, shamed me further. It was 8:45 of sensual, technological bliss. And it could have lasted a full album side. Listen.

The band have two further “B-sides” showing different facets of their vibe. “All Of His Reactions” was primarily Walt Wistrand [with Lewis and Celine LW on backing vocals] exploring a mixture of synths and drum machine with vocal samples for a vibe similar to what Bill Nelson was exploring in his Orchestra Arcana albums of the mid-80s. Only this sounded even richer. I suspect that Mr. Wistrand spent more time considering and polishing the results here than the hasty and impatient Nelson did!

A final instrumental track, “Descent Of The Valkyrie,” rounded out the initial trio of offerings with the sort of instrumental track that used to be such a pleasure on China Crisis B-sides. With the exception that the lusher environs of the Fluid Japan ethos had developed the sound and arrangement further than those B-sides that Gary Daly worked out solo on his gear. Here the results were solely down to Lewis, working alone. The lack of rhythm programming relied on piano and synths instead to carry the tempo. Impossibly lush choral patches navigated between the glassy and reverberant piano chords. Making of this song the sound of breath being held in rapture.

Fluid Japan members apart show here they can craft impressive material, but it is when Lewis and Wistrand unite as on “Afterlife,” that they ascend to ever higher plateaus of achievement. Suitably, the band have turned to the ear of Paul Gomersall to master this material for maximum impact. Mr. Gomersall has a CV of impeccable engineering credits including many Monastic favorites such as Cabaret Voltaire, Propaganda, Thomas Dolby, Echo + The Bunnymen, and Billie Ray Martin. So this sounds absolutely top drawer. I am now twisting in the wind until I can get a full album of this material on the silver disc! At the very least, I’m told that a follow up single [“You Shut Down”] is being prepped for a timely follow up to this initial salvo. If you also yearn for sophisticated, melodic music that reaches the sort of heights that were more common 30-40 years ago, then get thee hence to Fluid Japan’s Bandcamp store. These delights are yours at any price you pick. [hint: be generous – the karma could badly hurt otherwise]

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Posted in Immaterial Music, Record Review | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Steve Jones + Logan Sky Smolder With “This Intensity”

steven jones + logan sky 2023
L-R: Logan Sky + Steven Jones

We were away on a rare instance of travel these days when the neü Steven Jones + Logan Sky EP dropped on March 3rd. So we had to catch up a few days later upon returning home. “This Intensity” will presumably be from their any-day-now, still unnamed next album. It’s another of the duo’s letter perfect evocations of the classic 12″ single form, albeit in ones and zeroes from their Bandcamp store. Three mixes [radio, extended, remix] of the A-side and a pair of thematically congruent B-sides to round out the package.

steven jones + logan sky this intensity
Etrangers Musique | DL | 2023

Steven Jones + Logan Sky: This Intensity – UK – DL [2023]

  1. This Intensity (Single) 04:03
  2. This Intensity (Extended Remix) 05:28
  3. This Intensity (May Be Horizon Slow Burner) 04:03
  4. Space & Time 04:31
  5. Foolish Scenes 02:50

“This Intensity” showed the band getting back to their roots with a return to Synthpop following some stretching out of late into Art Rock territory. No guest stars to add any element x. Just two men, voice, and synths. The way we did it in 1981! Mr. Jones was riding the synth riffage with ease; expending only the energy necessary to remain aloft as a kite would as he contemplated tearing the Veil of Maya away from his eyes. Once more, he ventured into his falsetto zone for the chorus as shards of synth and beatbox from Mr. Sky shook the foundations of the song.

It was all a bit more Darkwave than their biggest Synthpop influence, Depeche Mode, but echoes of the latter’s delightful melancholy to be found on the deepcuts from “A Broken Frame” were recognizable in the mix. And the synth shrieks in the climax that simultaneously sounded like train brakes and wailing banshees were a bracing callback to the same from “Master + Servant.”

Those same shrieks opened up the old school extended mix by the band with more beatbox for an extended intro buildup. An extra serving of kick drum making it all more clubworthy. Sample below.

For the remix, May Be Horizon took the energy levels lower for their appropriately named “Slow Burner” mix. Resulting in a lovely “last call” 3 A.M. mix with subdued energy.

“Space + Time” almost played out like an instrumental maintaining the vibe of the preceding remix full of percolating, minimal synth before Mr. Jones unleashed his voice over chops to enhance the dark, abstract mood of the cut. It mutated into something more twitchy as the glitch rhythms eventually came to the foreground with their odd meter and whipcrack accents.

The concluding “Foolish Scenes” showed most of the synths back in their anvil cases as this was Logan on piano and the smoldering voice-over style of Jones only joined with his singing voice on the song’s chorus. The only synths here were the bell-like tones doubling with the piano melody to fatten the sound selectively.

Some bands approach a single to make a balanced meal of contrasting flavors and moods. Pet Shop Boys were expert at this with bangers being paired with heartbreaking ballads to hit contrasting targets. Other times, as with this single, a band can build and sustain a mood throughout all of its tracks. Like a finely considered album in miniature. “This Intensity” is out there today on Bandcamp and tomorrow it will be on streaming as well. The asking price is too small to mention, so don’t forget to top up when you buy. It’s been highly enjoyable building up a portfolio of the vibes of Jones + Sky as they have developed and spread out, with this single being something of a roots check for the duo even as they have refined and honed the mood they are delivering. Mr. DJ hit that button!

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Record Shopping Road Trip: Akron Ohio – 2023 – Time Traveler

time traveler entrance
Another overcast Ohio day at Time Traveler…I have so many images like this in my blog and they all look similar

The one constant to any trips to Akron in the last 28 years have been that a visit to Time Traveler is a must! Scott Shepard has been in business from 1980 and he’s had a solid run through thick and thin. The joy of visiting is that there’s never been a time where I’ve walked away empty handed. And the goods each time can be very different. The CDs are always great, but sometimes the 12″ or 7″ discs can really turn my head.

I was meeting with our friend Dean for lunch at Luigi’s Resuatrant and afterward, a visit to nearby Time Traveler was a must! It was a typical overcast day as we entered the store around 2 PM on a Monday afternoon. The proprietor, Scott Shepard was there having an amiable discussion with a couple of his customers and this is the kind of store where a non-regular [albeit of 28 years] like myself can walk in the entrance and immediately jump into the conversation! In other words, it’s more than a Record Store. It’s like home.

wall of stuff @ time traveler
Info-dense wall behind checkout at Time Traveler

Shepard had to move from the huge State Road location, in Cuyahoga Falls, in 2015 after creeping gentrification saw new commercial development price him out of his formerly expansive store. The two room’s he’s in now, adjacent to a bedding store, is cramped in comparison. But packed with goods stacked everywhere. A glance behind the counter space revealed a dense collage of music ephemera with certain obsessions [Kate Bush, Todd Rundgren, Bowie, Stones, Beatles] standing out more than others. Dean sat down and joined in the conversation [he was a regular who Scott knew by name] while I scoped out the 7″ singles.


I’d gotten some doozies here as there are few 7″ bins anywhere that sport heavy presence of bands like The Skids or New Musik. I’d last been here in 2019, and that day I was not seeing much churn from the last time. I’ll admit that import 7″ singles probably aren’t flowing copiously into his stock these days.

Stranglers "Let Me Introduce You To The Family" @ time traveler
Here’s a Stranglers single I never see in stores!

So I next started looking at the used CDs which were stacked in dozens of 30-disc shipping boxes all over the place. I flipped through every box but was not seeing anything of interest, even though there were at least as many CDs as I own in the used stock! In a time when CDs are deemed hipster kryptonite and banished to who-knows-where, their mere presence here was a godsend. As I kept looking, I was rewarded with one used CD that I was going to buy for my wife. On the trip up in the car, I pulled the CD we have of Dire Straits “Making Movies” and while listening, my wife was so smitten with it [and Knopfler’s tone], that we contemplated stopping in West Virginia to try to find another Dire Straits CD we didn’t already have to listen to right then and there. So the Mark Knopfler solo album was the appropriate thing to buy here.

I next took in the 12″ records and the LPs were light on 12″ singles this time, and there aren’t many used LPs on my want list, so I blew through that stock quickly with no gems this time. The new LPs were heavily salted with RSD gems that were actually of interest to me but I never see them in stores…ever! Things like the CD single remix of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Rage Hard” on 12″ that came out in 2016 on RSD. There were titles like the recent “Invisible Man” EP by Gerry Casale of DEVO that I would have preferred on CD, but just seeing them was nice. While it’s been some years since I really pulled new CD stock, that was definitely where the big wins were in the store today! I’m so used to stores not having CDs any more, that a store packed with new CDs that I’d love to buy felt almost foreign to me.


front glass case with Be Bop Boxes at time traveler
delightful Be-Bop Deluxe goods in the glass case

A glance at the high-ticket boxes in the glass counter revealed a couple of Be-Bop Deluxe ultraboxes that I would never say “no” to! While the 90s DLX RMs of their canon was mostly sufficient for my seeds, I’d make an exception for the “Drastic Plastic” boxed set with 4xCDs and 2xDVDs of goodness, including a Stephen W. Tayler 2.0/5.1 mix! It was comfortably priced at $79.99, but that was a big chunk of change for me on a trip; unplanned. If I got this, that would be it.

Rubellan Remasters in the wild - Berlin "Love Life" @ time traveler
You could pay $120+ for the Rubellan Remaster of Berlin’s “Love Life” on Discogs or $14.99 at Time Traveler…the choice is yours!

When I saw the “Berlin” section I thought I’d look and see if any of the fabbo Rubellan Remasters were still in the bins…and there were! I was stunned to see the DLX RM of “Love Life” from just three years ago there still for sale at $14.99 as if it were not an out-of-print three figure disc in the aftermarket! If you didn’t get your copy in time, Scott will ship! Just saying. As I continued in the “B” section I stopped at the Blue Nile section and was stunned to see the 2xCD DLX RM of “A Walk Across The Rooftops” still there, priced at a modest $17.99. The second disc hooked me but good! I had to have this.

I had sat out the Blue Nile DLX RM program that had begun over a decade ago, since money was tight, and I never saw these in store…until now. And after buying this I entered it into my Discogs collection and I saw that this 2018 Confetti Records reissue of the 2012 set was at the mid-two figures in the aftermarket. You can tell that Time Traveler is not a hipster record store because is it most definitely not a clip joint!

Then I struck paydirt with a 1996 Vertigo Euro CD of the debut by Dire Straits; an album we surprisingly didn’t have on the racks. Then I chanced upon the “E” section and saw a DLX RM of Echo + The Bunnymen’s “Ocean Rain;” an album I have actually wanted for 39 years but have never owned in any way, shape, or form! Lame? Yes! [raises hand] But at least I didn’t let it become 40 years! I was aware of the 2008 2xCD edition and had it on my want list for quite a few years, but this was a single disc with different bonus materials. I was not aware of it, but was here today and it was coming home with me.

Korgis @ time traveler

I looked in the Korgis section. Yes, this was the sort of store that had a Korgis section! That’s how they roll at Time Traveler! I was astonished to be reminded that The Korgis has reformed and recorded their fifth album, “Kartoon World” in 2021! If they had the 2xCD “Complete Rialto Recordings” set I would have jumped on it as I only have the “Dumb Waiters” and “Sticky George” LPs on the racks. Not today for “Kartoon World,” but now I reliably know where to buy it!

Elsewhere in the “K” section was exactly the compilation I was looking for by The Kinks! Last month, my wife wanted to re-watch Richard Curtis’ “Pirate Radio” [a.k.a. “The Boat That Rocked”] and in wathcing the simply smashing opening montage scored with TheKkinks “All Day And All Of the Night,” we asked ourselves why on earth did we not have any Kinks albums in the Record Cell??! After all, in the pantheon of the British Invasion bands, I felt that Ray Davies’ pen was the most skillful; with Pete Townsend, and Jagger/Richards in descending order following him. I discussed privately with Echorich, Chasinvictoria and Mr. Ware this vexing issue as I attempted to find a compilation that hit all of the required marks.

It was only after discovering that I did indeed have a previous Kinks CD [that my wife picked up at a visit to a 2nd + Charles in 2015] that had the absolutely required “Destroyer” from the band’s Arista era, that the 2002 UK 2xCD with everything else I would need as a starting point by The Kinks, was a thing. And days later, here it was. Easily in my grasp! Huzzah!

The Robert Fripp section had the new [old] Frippertronic album that was on my want list but after careful deliberation, it got the cut as I didn’t want to spend in advance of $100 on this visit and it was a $24.99 item. Believe me, I deliberated long and hard over this decision. This was also the rare US store where Fripp’s better half, Toyah Willcox, actually had her own section in the bins! Cherry Red has been recently wearing out the CD plants of Europe by pressing ultraboxes of her canon, but those were not in evidence. Only her latest 2021 opus, “Posh Pop” was there…and in the autographed version. But quite frankly, her image [and the title] on this album left much to be desired. In 2021, it seemed very tone-deaf of her. It was not calling to me, in spite of its rarity. The last time I came across the new Toyah CD in a store was nearly 20 years earlier when I saw the “Velvet Lined Shell” EP and bought it.

Toyah "Posh Pop" @ time traveler
I’m stymied as to why Toyah thinks looking Tory is a good look…

I was surprised to see the scarce in stores 3xCD + DVD version of “Purple Rain’ from 2017! When it was released, the remastered single and 2xCD versions were plentiful in evidence in every store I went to looking for the full version with the all important single mixes/B-sides disc! After a year back then, I finally found one in L.A. on my 2018 trip there. This was only the second time I’d come across one.

Prince "Purple Rain" SDLX 3xCD+DVD @ time traveler
Wow – this was only the second time I ever saw the full 3xCD + DVD SDLX RM of “Purple Rain” in a store!

I moved to the Sparks section and saw lots of CDs I would want to buy. Holy Toledo! They had an “unlimited Edition” of the “Annette” OST in a 2xCD, 65 track version with demos and everything that I’m pinching myself now for not buying, but when I saw the Sparks CD that I did buy, that was it. I’d been grousing since 2009 that their Swedish radio play album “The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman” was well-nigh impossible to get on CD…in English. In 2009 your choices were: the three figure boxed set with four LPs of the English and Swedish-language versions of the play and the sacred English CD. At the time, I could easily run across the English language LP of the title, but I wanted it on CD! And the single CD version was only released in Sweden.

Two years later, the band released a special English only CD version for the 2011 L.A. Film Festival, where they performed the play live. Within weeks, this disc, which had the performance I wanted, was selling for a large three figures! It remained until the Sparks 21st century reissue program of last year until one could buy the album…in English… on the silver disc for less than three weeks worth of groceries! So, betchabygollywow, I was buying this CD if I walked out of there with nothing else! At the end of the shopping I put my picks down, with the full knowledge that I could have dropped $300 on CDs there that day [if I dared]. Rare are the times when I can even find $12 worth of CDs in a modern hateful record store.

After thoroughly shopping, I sat down and re-joined the conversation between Scott, Dean, and his customers that were also spending the afternoon there. This was something that I used to like to do when I lived in Orlando with many a Saturday afternoon spent matching quips with Ray Ehmen at Rock + Roll Heaven, but non existent in my life in the last 22 years. It was a warm room of music geek fellowship with the bait that pulled me in being the mix CDs that Scott was playing. I was excited to hear New Musik’s “On Islands” being played and jumped at the chance to talk Tony Mansfield with Scott and the others.

Shepard revealed that the mix discs he’d been playing in-store were compiled by his two daughters. He told me that every day, without fail, he emailed his daughters a song of the day, and they took their favorites and compiled the discs he played in the store. How cool was that, but it got better, since his daughter Emma had now opened her own second-generation record store in Cleveland, Shepard Records!

We stayed there talking until Dean had to leave for a doctor’s appointment around 4 PM and we kept the conversation going until around 5:30 my wife Messaged me saying that she was done making her sister a quiche and was ready to pick me up. I got ready to check out, and I had apparently mislaid the Mark Knopfler CD, so I started searching the used bins where I had laid my pulls on top of. This turned out to be a good thing because I saw the holy “Rush” debut album CD with “Working Man” that I had earlier missed.This was the only Rush my wife ever pined for in our home that has a full run of Rush albums from 1980-1993… but not this one. Now rectified. I then found the Knopfler CD so I checked out with the resolve to spend another long afternoon in this most welcoming record store the next time I venture inside.

  1. Mark Knopfler: Sailing to Philadelphia – Warner Bros. Records – 9 47753-2 – US – CD – Time traveler/$4.99
  2. Dire Straits: Dire Straits – Vertigo – 800 051-2 – EURO – CD – Time Traveler/$12.99
  3. Rush: Rush – Mercury – P2 22541 – US – CD – Time Traveler/$4.99
  4. The Blue Nile: A Walk Across The Rooftops DLX RM – Confetti Records (2) – BLUECD1 – UK – 2xCD – Time Traveler/$17.99
  5. Echo + The Bunnymen: Ocean Rain DLX RM [25th] – Warner Strategic Marketing – 2564-61165-2 – EURO – CD – Time Traveler/$13.99
  6. Kinks: The Ultimate Collection –  Sanctuary – SANDD 109 – UK – 2xCD – Time Traveler/$17.99
  7. Sparks: The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman – BMG – BMGCAT572CD – World – CD – Time Traveler/$15.99


Posted in Record Shopping Road Trip, The Great Record Stores | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Record Shopping Road Trip: Akron Ohio – 2023 – The Bomb Shelter

the bomb sheltern Akron
The Bomb Shelter opened in Akron in 2011

During in the last week of February, we actually traveled to Akron, Ohio to visit family. We had not been there [or really, anywhere] since the pandemic but with 91-year old in-laws, no longer making the yearly pilgrimage to Florida to “winter” and visiting us on the way, something had to give. So masked up whenever outside of our car/hotel room we got there and managed to spend quality time with my wife’s parents, and most of the other family members living there. That accounts for the recent lack of postings, but at least I was able to edit the Tommy Frenzy interview while away and get that up and running; a herculean task, but so worth it.

While there, our brother-in-law told us about The Bomb Shelter; a huge mid-century antique mall that had our names writ large on it. The place opened in 2011, but we’d only visited Akron in 2015 and 2019, and no-one had told us about it. Our home is like a time capsule from 1954, and as much as Rock music had brought my wife and I together, so did antiquing. In fact, by the time we wed, my wife rented space in an antique mall and had reached that point where an aficionado became a dealer. That ended in 2000 when a senior was ripping a ceramic out of her hands at an estate sale, and when we moved away from Central Florida, there was little money/space for that sort of thing. But we still will occasionally look and see what’s out there. My wife was definitely interested, so we went.


record store in The Bomb Shelter
I couldn’t photograph the record store part of The Bomb Shelter fully since a fashion shoot was happening out of frame on the left!

As you can see from the exterior, the atomic-kitch paradise of The Bomb Shelter was hitting all of my buttons. But the enormous building complex was packed with tons of amazing goods. I imagined that prop buyers might have kept them afloat and I’ve seen that Netflix has been a steady customer. All of this was of interest to me, but once we entered the main room near the checkout, I saw the “record store” area within so I had to investigate while my wife made the rounds [looking for a better butter dish for our home, actually].

A caveat. I’ve been hitting antique malls for 30+ years. Seeing records in them is a not uncommon occurrence. How many records have I ever bought in an antique mall? That would be virtually zero. I did once buy a “Dark Side Of the Moon” NZ SQ-Quad pressing in the late 90s for resale – the price was good! I don’t think the dealer knew what the “SQ” logo on the cover meant! But without fail every record for sale in an antique mall has been seriously overpriced by dealers who don’t have any clue. Trashed Beatle albums especially get my bile flowing freely as dealers with their Sacred Beatle Relics® believed that records pressed in the millions were “collector’s items.”

So I looked at the goods that I could reach, since, as the cutline above revealed, there was a fashion shoot happening in front of the record racks! The lower area of the bins was marked $1.00. A dollar bin, in this vinyl bubble day and age??!! I glanced down and saw that there seemed to be some 12″ singles in there. I rarely see the beguiling discs anywhere, so I looked in the dollar bin first. Then I started freaking out.

Rough Trade - for those who think young

The first thing I saw in there, and rather quickly, was the second US Rough Trade album; precisely the sort of goods I snap up in a heartbeat in the last 30 years. And that first row yielded further delights! I saw a Hazel O’Connor 12″ of “D-Day” and I’ve never heard Hazel O’Connor to this day [being a Toyah fan there didn’t seem to be much point] but for a dollar, I sure would be now! I was now getting positive feedback form these dollar bins. There was no way I’d leave without seeing every disc in this place!

To cut a long story short, I lost my miiiiind!

Post-Punk Monk

I was about a third through the dollar discs when my wife came by and said that there were too many “kids” here [she was right] and she was heading for the car. I told her that I’d try to keep it brief but was getting a lot back from the dive so far. Truth be told, I was actually copping a buzz from the experience. Let me state that for the last decade, this has not happened much at all. Record stores have become a somewhat repellent place for me as almost everything they are doing [eliminating any singles and CDs, reducing used LP stock, increasing new LP stock, filling the commercial space with things that are not music, etc.], is exactly what I do not want from them. Yet here, in this antique mall, I was having a bin dive that was among the best I’ve had this century; especially for the price of one dollar per disc! This was the take from The Bomb Shelter.

larry blackmon says OW!

There were so many want list items in this group that I would have gladly paid much more than $1.00 for! I had just about given up all hope in finding the holy Sweet Pea Atkinson album which was in effect a Was [Not Was] album with only Sweet Pea singing! I’ve been pining for the Afrofuturistic charms of Mandré for ages now [having not heard him in 40+ years], and I need any Cameo 12″ single I can get my grubby mitts on. The John Foxx and Freur 12″ers I already had, but for a dollar, I now own two copies!

I like the first album Jody Watley solo era, and “Still A Thrill” was her sultry finest. That’s a 12″ I would really like to hear. I also had her first two 1984 UK-only solo singles on my want list and “Girls Night Out” was a Bruce Woolley co-write/production so there’s that! I never expected to see them in the US. Ever.

The last time I bought a Nona Hendryx single it drove home how I need as much of her oeuvre as I can manage to find! And heads up: this single was written by “Joey Coco.” Similarly, I buy every Kid Creole + The Coconuts releases I find as basic policy. August Darnell is a genius. Any promo only 12″ers from 1981 are a high value thing with me. As for Floy Joy, why do I only find their records in Ohio? Is there something in the water?

I have many CD-3 singles from Neneh Cherry, but not “Buffalo Stance!” What a classic single that was. It’s one of those records I can never tire of. And finally, Amii Stewart’s cover of “Knock On Wood” was one of the top synthetic records of the high-disco era. Possibly the closest competition for “I Feel Love.” I’ve not heard it since it was on the charts, so I’m looking forward to a revisit. For a dollar, I’d be crazy not to.

After grabbing 18 discs for $10 dollars, I notice that the general stock had some nice things showing up front. Have I ever seen China Crisis prominently displayed in the bins before? I say thee, “nay!”

China Crisis in The Bomb Shelter
I think the last time I saw “The Highest High” in a store is when I bought it new!

I had seen the US “Visage” dance mix EP in the dollar bins… after a quick flip through the “U” section for any Ultravox goods [merely US copies of “Vienna” and “Rage In Eden”] the thought went to seeing if there were any other Visage records here…including the one I’d actually need to buy! I found another copy of the Visage US EP [with hype sticker] priced for more than a dollar. I should mention that the main stock was largely priced at $4-10 per disc. In other words, prices I was down with in these, the end times! That is exactly my comfort zone for impulse buying records to listen to. I bristle at spending a small fortune, and for the most part, these records were priced in line with my expectations in buying used records. Which is to say that records in The Bomb Shelter were a highly unusual record shopping experience for 2023!

Visage "Love Glove" in The Bomb Shelter
This was an unusual sight…we were getting warmer

Flipping through the “V” section next coughed up Visage’s “Love Glove” 12.” It’s been 20 years at least since I saw one of those. Then I happened upon it. The one Visage record I had been hoping against hope for: The US second pressing of “Visage” from 1981 with the white cover!

White 1981 cover variant of "Visage" in The Bomb Shelter

Polydor | US | LP | 1980 | PD-1-6304

It was $40…not cheap, but not really expensive for this pressing. As the graph below shows, one of these will set you back a few. I remember having my eyes pop out when Polydor re-issued the album in 1981 with this cover following on the Visage dance mix EP’s inroads made into the New Romantic resistant American market. But in 1981, the notion of buying another copy of a record for the sleeve variation was not yet viable to me. By the 90s when this was my m.o. these records were long gone. I was just thrilled to think of this here and then see it! Of course, with that cover, it had some ring wear, as do most copies of that other New Romantic classic, “Journeys to Glory.” I’ve been looking for another pressing of that for 30 years now but with the flat, embossed cover, they’ve all been trashed copies. Worse than this was.

I didn’t look at much else in the full-price bins as my wife was waiting in the car, so I paid for my 18 records and got change from my $20! Even the anniversary sale at local Harvest Records where they price records for a dollar in their basement had ever yielded this much delicious wax from the want list. And it’s been a long time since that had happened.

  1. Rough Trade: For Those Who Think Young – The Boardwalk Entertainment Co – NB 33261-1 – US – LP – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  2. Hazel O’Connor: D-Days – Albion Records – 12 ION 1009 – UK – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  3. Jody Watley: Still A Thrill – MCA Records – MCA-23747 – US – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  4. Jody: Girls Night Out – Mercury – Merx 196 – UK – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  5. Jody Watley: Don’t You Want Me – MCA Records – MCA-23785 – US – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  6. Mandré: M3000 –  Motown – M7-917R1 – US – LP – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  7. Les Rita Mitsouko: Andy – Virgin – DMD 1134 – USP – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  8. Freur: Runaway – CBS – TA 3693 – UK – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  9. Sweet Pea Atkinson: Don’t Walk Away –  Island Records – 90007-1 – US – LP – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  10. Nona Hendryx: Baby Go-Go – EMI America – K 060 20 1981 6 – US – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  11. Kid Creole + The Coconuts: Stool Pigeon – Sire – PRO-A-1064 – USP – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  12. Ryuichi Sakamoto + Jill Jones: You Do Me – Virgin – 0-96495 – US – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  13. Nyam Nyam: The Architect – Situation Two – SIT 37T – UK – EP – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  14. John Foxx: Stars On Fire – Virgin – VS 771/12 – UK – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  15. Floy Joy: Friday Night In This Cold City – Virgin – VS 848-12 – UK – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  16. Cameo: Candy – Atlanta Artists – 888 193-1 – US – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  17. Amii Stewart: Knock On Wood – Ariola Records America – SW 50054 – US – LP – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00
  18. Neneh Cherry: Buffalo Stance – Virgin – 0-96573 – US – 12″ – The Bomb Shelter/$1.00

Suffice to say, I have a second place to check out when we’re in Akron, but that other store was coming up next.

Next: …Silvery Disc Bliss

Posted in New Romantic, New Wave Blind Spots, Record Shopping Road Trip | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments