Monday, December 26, 2016

The Japanese Popstars: The Remixes (2011)

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The Japanese Popstars are an electronic trio from Northern Ireland. I think they have now been downgraded to a duo. The Remixes release came in two varieties: a regular edition; and, a limited edition heavyweight vinyl edition released on Record Store Day 2011. I have the latter, which I picked up for a dollar or two..

This EP contains remixes of:

Depeche Mode: Peace
Thirty Seconds to Mars: Closer to the Edge
Kylie Minogue: Better than Today

The Depeche Mode remix really excels. I like it very much, and it's the best thing on the record. The Thirty Seconds to Mars track is also quite enjoyable, in its own way. I'm a bit puzzled by the Kylie Minogue tune. I've never been a fan, and I am unfamiliar with the original version. I'd say that it sucks.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Japandroids: No SIngles (2010)

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No Singles compiles ten previously-released tracks, five tracks each from from 2007's All Lies EP and 2008's Lullaby Death Jams EP. Clearly, no singles were released from the record.

There is an obvious nod to The Boss on Darkness on the Edge of Gastown, which is a pretty good track, though it seems to have nothing racing out at the trestles. Sexual Aerosol might be the best track on the LP, but who knows?

Japandroids: Near To The Wild Heart Of Life (2017)

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I recently picked this up, so I can't say too much about it, except that I like it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Japandroids: Post-Nothing (2009)

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The Japandroids are not from Japan. They are not droids either, as far as I can determine. The band is a duo, much like The White Stripes and what The Black Keys used to be. The description from Wikipedia, is interesting:
"Japandroids' music has been described as "one part classic rock, one part punk",due to their blending of classic rock influences such as Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, with punk rock influences such as the Replacements and Hüsker Dü." [source]
The Springsteen influences are obvious on the track Darkness On The Edge Of Gastown from the band's 2008 EP Lullaby Death Jams.

Post-Nothing was the band's first LP, but this release was preceded by two EPs (including the aforementioned EP), which were later collected on the No Singles compilation.

This record rocks. Live Japandroids in Toronto:

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Japan: Exorcising Ghosts (1984)

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This 1984 compilation, apparently overseen by Sylvian, is rather odd, for it contains only three tracks from the fist two records. Instead, it focuses on the last two records. The record also includes some rarities, like A Foreign Place, Life Without Buildings (which isn't rare if you have the 1981 12" single of The Art of Parties), and a remix of Taking Islands in Africa. The CD and cassette versions have different track listings. This a great intro into the mostly later years. If you want a compilation of the early years, Assemblage is obvious the one to get.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Japan: All Tomorrows Parties (1983)

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All Tomorrows Parties originally appeared on Quiet Life in 1979. The discogs entry for this 12" single has a good description of this release:
"The original of 'All Tomorrows Parties' was recorded in June 1979; the mix featured here was made in 1981 by Steve Nye but not released until 1983 (hence it is known as the "1983 Remix" and the copyright dates are 1981). The other two tracks, 'Deviation' & 'Obscure Alternatives' are taken from the 'Live In Japan' EP which was released in July 1980.

There were 4 different 12" Vinyls [sic] released, all crediting the wrong Producer. This entry is release # 3 which uses the standard Hansa Label & lists Giorgio Moroder as producer, however this is incorrect.

All releases are credited incorrectly as it was Simon Napier-Bell and Japan who produced All Tomorrows Parties. [source]
I like this track immensely, but I find it can't really compete with the Velvet Underground.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Japan: ‎Canton / Visions Of China - Live (1983)

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Both tunes are taken from Oil on Canvas. You can clearly hear the Eastern influences on these tracks. This single was released in 7" and 12" formats in various parts of Europe. I have the first UK pressing.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Japan: Oil on Canvas (1983)

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In June, 1983, the band (or maybe the record company) released Oil on Canvas, a double live LP. The record also contains three instrumental studio tracks: Oil on Canvas, Voices Raised in Welcome, Hands Held in Prayer and Temple of Dawn, plus a new version of Nightporter. Oddly, this was the band's highest charting record. Maybe they gave up too soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Japan: Nightporter (1982)

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This UK 12" pressing contains the full length version of Nightporter, originally from Gentlemen Take Polaroids. The flip-side is a tune called Methods of Dance. This is the shorter version of the title track:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Japan: Visions of China (1981)

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Visions of China is taken from the forthcoming Tin Drum. Swing, on side B, is from Gentlemen Take Polaroids. This is a UK pressing. Visions of China was released on 12" in North America in 1982.

Japan: Tin Drum (1981)

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Tin Drum was the last studio record from Japan and it's quite possibly the band's best record. It has a greater emphasis on sounds from the Far East sound including Orientalist influences (I think I read that on Wikipedia). I wonder if the word Orientalist is outmoded now. On the other hand, the cover image leaves no doubt that Oriental was a theme.

The record includes a re-recording of The Art of Parties, on of the singles from a total of four released. I can't say it better than the people at Sputnik Music:
Tin Drum is an intricate collage of arty soundscapes and exotic instrumentation. There are no trashy glam flourishes, no awkward Bryan Ferry posturing. This is an album with its own voice; with every member confident in their role, and not a sound out of place. With communist China as a loose concept, the album is crammed with polyrhythmic percussion (excellently performed by Steve Jansen) and traditional oriental instruments that invoke influences without falling into the trap of becoming a cheap pastiche. Xylophones and Mick Karn's fretless bass give it all an organic, off-kilter feel, yet Richard Barbieri's electronics twist an icy knife into the arrangements to present a clash of human warmth with desolate technology, reinforcing the Red Army concept and the images of rural peasants struggling to survive amidst the new order. 'The Art of Parties' opens the album and launches straight into some rollicking, warped percussive effects, but has enough space left to ensure they don't take over, or suppress David Sylvian's wonderfully unique vocals. He has finally found his confidence here, his words flowing gracefully over the top of all the hollow clanks and synth washes of songs like 'Visions Of China' and 'Cantonese Boy'. But even when he's absent, as on the gorgeous instrumental 'Canton', you don't lose interest; you just get drawn into the strange, fractured sounds even more. [source]

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Japan: The Art of Parties (1981)

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The Art of Parties appears in re-recorded form later in 1981 on Tin Drum, the group's final studio record. This first version was released on this single. The 12" single (mine is from Canada) contains three other tracks: The Width of a Room, Life Without Buildings, and The Experience of Swimming.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Japan: Gentlemen Take Polaroids (1980)

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I knew a guy back-in-the-day, who always claimed that Japan released only one good record, and that record was Gentlemen Take Polaroids. I agree that this is a great record, but I can't agree that this is the only good one from the band.

Gentlemen Take Polaroids is the fourth record from the band, and the first on the band's new label, Virgin. And it's great. It's so good, in fact, that all of the tracks (except one) appear on the compilation Exorcising Ghosts.

This is the record that really brought a change of sound. I really like it. The only single from the record is fabulous, though I am not sure what these gentlemen are photographing.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Japan: Special Edition - Five Song - Extended Play (1980)

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This was a Canadian-only five track EP, containing I Second That Emotion, made famous by Smokey Robinson, a remix of European Son, Life in Tokyo (from Quiet Life), Stateline, and a re-recorded version of Adolescent Sex. It's a nice collection.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Japan: Quiet Life

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This is a fabulous record. My favourite track from Quiet Life is the titular track. The band does a cover of the Velvet Underground's All Tomorrow's Parties, which is interesting, but I prefer the original. There is a major change in sound, mostly in David's vocals. Allmusic says this:
Quiet Life is the album that transformed Japan from past-tense glam rockers into futuristic synth popsters, though they'd been leaning in that direction for a while. It's also a solid proto-New Romantic synthesizer record, enhanced by Mick Karn's superb fretless bass work and David Sylvian's smooth, sneering vocals spread over pop hits like the title track and "Fall in Love with Me." [source]
I recently learned a couple of things about this record. First, I hadn't realized that this LP was released in Canada before the UK. It came out here in December of '79, but in January '80 across the pond. That is odd. I also didn't know that this record was included in the book 1001 Records You Must Hear Before you Die. I wonder what else is on that list.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Japan: Obscure Alternatives (1978)

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There is a slight change in sound with this record, but I am a big fan -- especially of David's voice -- so I really don't mind. I like everything the band did, as well as all of Sylvian's solo and collaborative efforts, especially those with Robert Fripp. I'd say that the band became far more interesting as time progressed.

I think that the reviews of this record were mixed -- as they often are -- or just plain negative, but I think this is a really good record, though there are some uninspired moments, perhaps. There's even some reggae on this LP, which is kind of odd.

The Canadian pressing has a different track order to the original UK pressing. But, what else is new in the world of schizophrenic record companies? The top tracks for me is probably Rhodesia.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Japan: Adolescent Sex (1978)

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I suspect that if this record were released today, there would be cries of cultural appropriation because of the name of the band and because of the image of what appears to be a rising sun. We have become a narrow-minded species.

This LP was released in Canada on vinyl and 8 Track. I still cannot fathom why anyone allowed that format. It is probably the worst format even imagined for music. Even downloading highly compressed MP3s is a better idea. I happen to have a UK pressing, though it's a re-release from 1984, which is probably when I really started paying attention to the band, though I had probably heard tracks before then, I think.

This debut is really fabulous. No adolescent boy could ever have failed to appreciate Adolescent Sex, both the act and the song. To me, this is a five star record, with solid tracks all the way through. It's punkish, but probably not punk. Call it new romantic, post punk, new wave, alternative, art rock, glam, synth pop, or whatever you want. It's awesome. It's also far different from later Japan releases, when the band mellowed out a bit.

But, here is something weird. Try search for the title track -- Adolescent Sex -- on youtube, and you will find nothing. Leave out the word sex, and you will. How dumb is that? So, here is Adolescent S*x

Monday, December 05, 2016

The James Gang: Thirds (1971)

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I've never been a big fan of Joe Walsh, though I recall being somewhat amused by Life's Been Good To Me for a while, anyway. I really don't know much about The James Gang, apart from this record. Any classic rock lover will know Walk Away. That's probably all you need to know.

Although this record was originally released in 1971, I have a Canadian pressing from 1980. This was another lawn sale pick-up, that probably cost $1.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Colin James: Colin James (1988)

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Colin James is the debut record from Colin James, a Canadian singer, songwriter, and producer who operated (operates?) in the blues-rock genre. I got this record free, I believe. If not, it was surely really cheap. This LP has a number of radio-friendly tunes, like Five Long Years, Voodoo Thing, and Chicks 'n Cars (And the Third World War). There are a number of cover tunes mixed in with original compositions. I think this is OK, but I never loved the record and I own no other releases from him on vinyl or CD or cassette.


Thursday, December 01, 2016

James: Come Home (1990)

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I have a UK 12" single of Come Home backed with Fireaway and Stutter (Live). The version of Come Home is the extended mix by Flood (AKA Mark Ellis), subtitled the "Extended Flood Mix." I really like this tune. In my opinion, the band left the pseudo-Smiths camp and adopted an authentic Manchester sound here.

There is no real video for the extended mix, but you can at least hear it. This is the video for the single release:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

James: Strip-Mine (1988)

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Manchester's James was supposed to be the next Smiths. Even Morrissey was a fan, but the next-Smiths-thing never really transpired, though the band released some solid records. On this record, there is some clear evidence at to why the band was once considered a successor to the Smiths. In the end, James just seemed to be a lesser version and they never really ignited a passion in me.

Strip-Mine is the band's second LP (released in September of '88) and it's not too bad, though I prefer the later 90s output.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Jam: Snap! (1983)

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Snap collects all of the Jam's singles plus some b-side and rarities onto two LPs. For some reason, I have the original UK pressing, rather than the Canadian pressing. It's truly an excellent retrospective, and would be perfect as an introduction to the band.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Jam: Dig the New Breed (1982)

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And, so it ends. This live record was the last LP from the Jam, with the exception of future compilations. In 1983, Weller introduced us to the Style Council, with the mini-LP entitled Introducing the Style Council. This is a good collection of live tunes.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Jam: Beat Surrender (1982)

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Beat Surrender was the Jam's last single, released in December 1982. It contains a new version of War. The five-track release also contains Beat Surrender, Shopping, a cover of Curtis Mayfield's Move on Up, and a cover of Stoned out of my Mind, originally by the Chi-Lates.

I like the title track very much.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Jam: The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow) (1982)

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I believe that this was the Jam's second-to-last single. It was, then, their penultimate single. The 7" version contains three tracks, while the 12" single (in some countries, including Canada) had five tracks, so maybe it's really a mini album or an EP.

Side One:

The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)
The Great Depression

Side Two:

War (from Barrett Whitfield and Norman Strong)
Pity Poor Alfie
Fever (from Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell)

Fever has been covered by many people and I'm not really impressed with what The Jam did with it or with War, for that matter. I guess this is an OK release, but it's not fabulous.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Jam: Town Called Malice b/w Precious (1982)

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This is a Canadian 12" single featured Town Called Malice with Precious on the flip-side. I love both tunes. That's all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Jam: The Gift (1982)

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For some an inexplicable reason, a few critics didn't like this record. I think it's great, especially as it contains my favourite Jam track, Town Called Malice.

Rows and rows of disused milk floats stand dying in the dairy yard
And a hundred lonely housewives clutch empty milk bottles to their hearts
Hanging out their old love letters on the line to dry
It's enough to make you stop believing when tears come fast and furious
In a town called malice, yeah

I'm also a big fan of the tune Precious.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Jam: Absolute Beginners (1981)

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Absolute Beginners is a five-track EP released in 1981. I have a Canadian pressing. It's a solid EP, and I like every track very much. What else can I say? Oh, how about this: I think I read somewhere that the title track is one of Weller's favourite pieces of music, or something like that.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Jam: Sound Affects (1980)

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A police car and a screaming siren
A pnuematic drill and ripped up concrete
A baby wailing and stray dog howling
The screech of brakes and lamp lights blinking
That's entertainment

A smash of glass and the rumble of boots
An electric train and a ripped up phone booth
Paint splattered walls and the cry of a tomcat
Lights going out and a kick in the balls

- That's Entertainment

The jacket for this LP opens at the top, which is unusual for LPs but not for 12" singles. Another possibility is that the images are turned on the side. Whatever. The other weird thing is that it's difficult to know which side of the cover is intended to be the front. Some sites display one side and some use the other. Take your pick, I guess. Also, the title is Sound Affects not Sound Effects.

In my ever so humble opinion, this might be the Jam's best record, and nothing that followed was quite as good. The most recognizable song on this record is probably That's Entertainment, a tune that was later covered by Morrissey. I like Mozzer's version too.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Jam: Setting Sons (1979)

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Sup up your beer and collect your fags
There's a row going on down near slough
Get out your mat and pray to the west
I'll get out mine and pray for myself
Thought you were smart when you took them on
But you didn't take a peep in their artillery room
All that rugby puts hairs on your chest
What chance have you got against a tie and a crest?

- Eton Rifles, The Jam  

Eton Rifles was the band's first top ten UK hit. In reading about this LP, I found out something that I bizarrely did not know:

"Singer, guitarist, and songwriter Paul Weller originally conceived Setting Sons as a concept album detailing the lives of three boyhood friends who later reunite as adults after an unspecified war only to discover they have grown up and apart. This concept was never fully developed, and it remains unclear which tracks were originally intended as part of the story, though it is commonly agreed that "Thick As Thieves", "Little Boy Soldiers", "Wasteland", and "Burning Sky" are likely constituents; extant Jam bootlegs feature a version of "Little Boy Soldiers" split into three separate recordings, possible evidence that the song was intended to serve as a recurring motif, with separate sections appearing between other songs on the album." [source]

Once again, the record company was up to its usual nonsense, but in this case, I don't mind too much. The Canadian LP has two extra tracks. True, they messed with the song order, but I guess I can live with that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Jam: All Mod Cons (1978)

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Where the streets are paved with blood
With cataclysmic overtones
Fear and hate linger in the air
A strictly no-go deadly zone
I don't know what I'm doing here
'Cause it's not my scene at all
There's an 'A' bomb in Wardour Street
They've called in the Army, they've called in the police too

- 'A' Bomb in Wardour Street, The Jam

This might sound odd, but I had never heard the phrase "all mod cons" before I became familiar with this record, probably because it is a UK expression. I  guess we don't use that term on this side of the pond. I have even see the phrase mangled to become "all cons mod" and "all mods con."

The amazing thing about this record is that Paul Weller was only 20 when it was released. I find that amazing. I was 20 years old once, so this seems extra amazing. Apparently, Paul Weller had been suffering from writer's block, which he managed to overcome in time for this record.

This LP is a vast improvement over its predecessor.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Jam: This is the Modern World (1977)

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The Jam's first LP was released on May 20, 1977. Somewhat amazingly, the second record came out on November 18 of the same year! Perhaps the record company put pressure on them? With this time-frame, it's probably inevitable that the second record wouldn't be quite as good as the first, though I still like it very much. This is one of two Jam records that I also have on CD.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Jam: In the City (1977)

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The Jam were the leaders of the mod revival, which was a return to earlier styles, like The Who and some others. So, the band is often categorized as mod-revival, punk, and new wave, though I resist the latter label. I think it's punk, with a 1960s influence. And, the lyrics could be political:

In the city there's a thousand men in uniforms
And I've heard they now have the right to kill a man

- In the City, The Jam

Paul Weller, the lead singer and primary songwriter, went on to form The Style Council, followed by what I gather was a successful solo career.

I have a US copy, even though the record was pressed in Canada. I think the Jam were a really great band, with lots of great tunes. I love the intro to this video:

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Joe Jackson: Blaze of Glory (1989)

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A year or two before this record came out, I bought a CD player. When that happened, I paid less attention to records, and although I picked this up (somewhere), I didn't listen to it very much. That's probably too bad. Wikipedia's post about this record is very good, so maybe you should just read that.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Joe Jackson: Live 1980/86 (1988)

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This is a double live LP from recorded in Melbourne, Utrecht, Manchester, Sydney, Tokyo, and Vancouver over four different tours. The record runs as follows:

Side A: The Beat Crazy Tour, 1980
Side B: The Night And Day Tour, 1982/83
Side C: The Body and Soul Tour, 1984
Side D: The Big World Tour, 1986

I guess it's worth noting that I have never seen Joe Jackson in concert. Again, this is a problem of having grown up in a small town. It sucked. In the early days, it was difficult to get hands on records, and bands never came to town. In later days, there was a small record store, but bands never came to town. I know I would have been happier in a big city, one where you could see concerts and where the record stores carried a wider array of artists. I remember having to travel to KW to find a Billy Bragg record.

In other news, Trump has won, and I find that to be simply incomprehensible.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Joe Jackson: Big World (1986)

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Big World is an odd record. Firstly, it extends to three sides, with the fourth being blank, though there is one groove with nothing recorded on it. The way Jackson presented it was that it came with a bonus side, since the record cost the same as a regular record. Secondly, it's a live record with no audience noise. Jackson asked the crowd to remain silent until each song was completely over. I've read that he wanted to capture the spirit of the live recording without the audience participation. It's interesting that he invited people to attend, rather than just playing to an empty hall. Amazingly, it seems that no one coughed or opened a piece of candy wrapped in cellophane. Apparently, there were no re-recordings to fix anything and no overdubbing.

I have a vague memory of buying this record when it came out, after having heard two tracks: Wild West and Right and Wrong, two genuine politics tunes. I'd say that this is a good record, and perhaps one that causal Joe Jackson fans probably don't know much about.

The LP that followed this record was Will Power, his foray into classical music. I was not interested in it, which is probably a good thing. Allmusic said this: "Joe Jackson finally becomes the "serious composer" on Will Power. A good exercise in self-indulgence but little of anything else."[source]

Monday, November 07, 2016

Joe Jackson: Body and Soul (1984)

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My copy of Body and Soul has lots of sibilance, and I've read that this is a common fault with this record. It must have been cut hot. This production fault distracts from the record which is too bad because I really like this jazzy record. You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want) and Go For It are probably the most well-known tracks from the record.This is a very good record.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Joe Jackson: Mike's Murder - The Motion Picture Soundtrack (1983)

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Apparently, this movie -- Mike's Murder -- sucks. The good news is that I have never seen it. Side one contains five pop songs, in the same vein as Night and Day, while side two is all instrumental. The five pop tunes from side one later appeared on the deluxe CD edition of Night and Day. According to Wikipedia, very little of Jackson's material ended up in the film, so I guess there is no reason to see it, unless you are a fan of Debra Winger or James Bridges, whoever he is. It also means that the subtitle (The Motion Picture Soundtrack) is misleading, to say the least.

This is a good record, but not as good as Night and Day, which is fine. The best track might just be Zémio, the 11+ minute instrumental.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Joe Jackson: Night and Day (1982)

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In my ever-so-humble opinion, this is the best record that Joe Jackson ever made. It's also one of my favourite records of all time. I'd almost call it a masterpiece. The record contains Steppin' Out, one of the finest pop singles ever released. My first copy of this record was on cassette and I played it so much that the tape stretched and it became unplayable.

Of course, there is Jackson's weird take on Cancer:

Everything
Everything gives you cancer
Everything
Everything gives you cancer
There's no cure, there's no answer
Everything gives you cancer

On one level, that's fair enough, but then he says:

No caffeine
No protein
No booze or
Nicotine
Remember –

On the surface, this is also fair enough, since we know that tar is the cause of cancer not the drug nicotine. But, the primary medium for most people to use nicotine is smoking, and that is definitely cancerous. I wish he would just accept that he is an addict and dump the smoking apologies. But, back to the music.

There is not really a bad track on the record. I just wish the record was a bit longer. The weakest song might be T.V. Age, mostly because of his vocal delivery.  Steppin' Out, A Slow Song, and Real Men are highlights for me.

You don't want to sound dumb – don't want to offend
So don't call me a faggot
Not unless you are a friend
Then if you're tall and handsome and strong
You can wear the uniform and I could play along

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive: Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive (1981)

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Somehow, we have been saved from the ridiculousness of discogs overly-specific categorizations, meaning that this record is listed under Joe Jackson, despite the protestations of one person who made a comment that this release that it should listed be under Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive, as if that was the name of the band. I mean, maybe it was, but really?

Anyway, this record contains all cover versions of 1940s swing and jump blues (mostly from Cab Calloway and Louis Jordan), and it's really really catchy, though I remember being somewhat surprised by it and I avoided the record for a while thinking that I would not like it. When I finally picked it up, I found that I liked it.It's packed with energy.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Joe Jackson Band: Beat Crazy (1980)

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Beat Crazy is credited to the Joe Jackson Band, rather than to Joe Jackson, so sure enough, Discogs lists it under the Joe Jackson Band. How stupid. I repeat, there should be uniform titles. Under this rule, Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive should be listed under the artist "Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive," not Joe Jackson, which it isn't. Someone screwed up, or they did it right, IMHO

I guess one could say that Joe left new wave and added lots of other musical styles, like reggae. This is a great LP, but not as great as the first two. I admire the guitar work on the title track, especially.

 Beat Crazy, Biology, Pretty Boys are all great tunes. I'd say that Joe was three for three at this point.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Joe Jackson: I'm the Man (1979)

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Right now
I think I'm gonna plan a new trend
Because the line on the graph's getting low
And we can't have that
And you think you're immune
But I can sell you anything
Anything from a thin safety pin
To a pork pie hat
Cause I got the trash and you got the cash
So baby we should get along fine
So give me all your money
Cause I know you think I'm funny
Can't you hear me laughing
Can't you see me smile

Look Sharp was released in early 1979. Somewhat surprisingly I'm the Man came out in October of 1979. I guess he had a lot to say in 1979. This record contains one of my favourite Joe Jackson tracks, the title cut, I'm the Man. That's simply a fantastic punk song, and the rest of the record is pretty good too.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Joe Jackson: Look Sharp! (1979)

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"Is she really going out with him?"
- New Rose, The Damned (1976)

The first time I heard Joe Jackson's Is She Really Going Out With Him? I thought it was some sort of novelty song. I didn't take it seriously, nor did I like it very much. It wasn't until I heard the whole album that I understood what Joe Jackson was all about, and that might have been new wave or new wave punk, pseudo-ska, and -- later -- jazz and jump blues. Others might have labelled him a singer-songwriter or maybe alternative or simply pop.

This is a really great debut LP. But (or should I say "butt"?) I have to temper my appreciation for Mr. Jackson because of his crazy smoking ideas, as I have mentioned in the past. Here we have a seemingly intelligent individual spewing the most ridiculous anti-science. It's a good case of cognitive dissonance.

At some point or other, someone compared Joe Jackson with Elvis Costello. That had never occurred to me before, but I guess it makes some sense. Both were lyrically-interesting versatile new wave artists.

The good news is that after the catchy but bizarre, Is She Really Going Out With Him? there are some other truly great tracks, like Sunday Papers, Look Sharp, Got the Time, etc.

I am pretty sure that my sister bought a copy of the 7" 45RPM single of Is She Really Going Out With Him? Sometime after that, I picked up a copy of this record, and I remained a Joe Jackson fan for some time. That is, until he started dabbling in classical music, not that I dislike classical music. I just prejudged it and was never really interested at all. His career had trailed off by the point anyway.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The J. Geils Band: Freeze-Frame (1981)

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Years go by I'm lookin' through a girly magazine
And there's my homeroom angel on the pages in-between

- Centerfold, The J. Geils Band

My dad once told me that a former co-worker of his went to school with a woman who later appeared in a Playboy spread. I'm not sure if she was the centrefold and she wasn't his girlfriend. Even then, that's more or less the story of the tune, Centerfold. That must have been a fascinating experience nonetheless.

This is a record I should not own, but I somehow inherited it, along with a second copy that I disposed of. I think my sister had a copy of this as well as Love Stinks. Oddly, this band was formerly a bar blues band (I used to own an early J, Geils blues record) that somehow morphed into a new wave act.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

David J: Candy On The Cross (1992)

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As far as I can tell, this EP was released only in the USA on CD and 12" vinyl. By 1992, vinyl was in its death throes, so I am somewhat amazed that the record company bothered, especially in North America. It seems to me that vinyl had a longer life in Europe. At one time, I owned a copy of this EP on CD, but I have no idea if I still have it.

Candy on the Cross really only has three tracks, plus a brief reprise at the end. The tracks are:

Candy on the Cross
Antarctica Starts Here
Memphis Ghosts
Antarctica Starts Here (Reprise)

Some music fans will know that Antarctica Starts Here is a John Cale tune from Paris 1919, which, in my mind, is Cale's finest record.

If you listen closely, you can hear peter Murphy on backing vocals on Candy on the Cross.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

David J: Joe Orton's Wedding (1983)

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I had never heard of Joe Orton, prior to owning this EP, so I had to investigate. Orton was an English playwright and author. He was murdered in 1967 at the age of 34 by Kenneth Halliwell, who struck him repeatedly with a hammer on his skull. Halliwell then committed suicide by consuming bottle of Nembutal, dying before Orton gave into his injuries. Check out Wikipedia entries for both men for more on this story.

"Mrs. Orton* penned the ending
The final play for today
Putting faith in nembrutals
And a hammer to keep it that way"
(*Mrs. Orton was Kenneth Halliwell)

Of course, David J (originally David John Haskins), was the bassist for Bauhaus and Love and Rockets. David is also an artist and a playwright.

By the way, I never really knew where to alphabetize David J, as J is really is middle initial, but I guess the J section makes sense.

Monday, October 24, 2016

INXS: Listen Like Thieves (1985)

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In Canada, Listen Like Thieves was released in standard jacket and gatefold jackets. I have the latter. There was probably a club edition too. This record has a few somewhat memorable tunes, like What You Need and Listen Likes Thieves. At one time, I had a 12" single of What You Need. I'm sure if you asked any INXS fan they would rave about this LP. It's a fine record, but I was done with the band at this point. In the future, we'd get the ridiculous Suicide Blonde. That song sucks mightily.

Friday, October 21, 2016

INXS: The Swing (1984)

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I became an admirer of INXS when this record came out, but that admiration never really stuck. My enthusiasm just died upon subsequent releases. I will make this bold statement: INXS has released only one good record, The Swing. The rest is forgettable. I know, lots of people will disagree with me. I think I still have a copy of this on CD as well.

My LP is a US pressing. with a "Special Limited Edition Album Cover." I have never been able to determine what is special about it, other than the fact that it is a gatefold and some others were not. The centrepiece on the record is Original Sin, but music fans might know I Send a Message, and Burn for You.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Intended Play: (Matador & True Panther 2011-2012) (2012)

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On the upper right corner of the record jacket is the phrase: "PAY NO MORE THAN $1.98." When I bought the LP, the sticker price was $1.99, but that was in Canadian dollars, so that translated to way less than $1.98 US. On top of that, I got it at 40% off, so I really only paid $1.19 CDN, or about five cents American. That's a deal.

This is compilation of Matador recording artists, as follows:

Side 1
The Young - Don't Hustle For Love
Kurt Vile - Life's A Beach
Girls -  My Ma
Ceremony - Hysteria
Tanlines -  Brothers
Lee Ranaldo - Off The Wall

Side 2
Fucked Up -  Into The Light
Esben And The Witch - Hexagons II (The Flight) 
Perfume Genius - All Waters
Cold Cave -  Confetti (Edit)
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Polvo

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

In Harmony 2: [Various] (1981)

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As I wrote in reference to an earlier record in my collection: "I own this record because I went through a major Springsteen phase (more on that later)." The same applies here. I bought this record simply because there is a Bruce Springsteen song on it, and it's a bad Bruce Springsteen cover version. I hate Christmas music, and this track is no exception. Bruce Springsteen's version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town is the last track on this record. Oddly, that track might be the highlight on this LP. I suppose the Dr. John track is OK, but most of this record sucks. I think kids hate it too.

Side 1
Billy Joel - Nobody Knows but Me
James Taylor - Sunny Skies
Lou Rawls And Deniece Williams - The Owl and the Pussycat
Teddy Pendergrass - Reach Out and Touch
Janis Ian - Ginny the Flying Girl

Side 2
Crystal Gayle - Here Comes the Rainbow
Dr. John - Splish Splash
Kenny Loggins - Some Kitties Don't Care
Carly And Lucy Simon- Maryanne
Bruce Springsteen - Santa Claus is Coming To Town