Monday, October 31, 2016

Joe Jackson: I'm the Man (1979)

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)

"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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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

Images In Vogue: Call It Love (1985)

The 12" single for Call it Love contains Call It Love (Extended Mix), Call It Love, and The Swim. A 12" and 7" version were also pressed in Germany.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Images In Vogue: In The House (1985)

The debut LP from IIV was released in Canada and Australia. It contains Call it Love and Save It, originally released on the previous EP, plus a bunch of other tracks. It's pretty good new wave stuff from Canada.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Images In Vogue: Rituals (1984)

Rituals -- again, an EP pressed only in Canada -- contains five tracks, the most familiar of which is probably Call it Love (or perhaps Save It), both of which would appear in reworked versions on the band's debut LP in 1985. The other tracks are Rescue Me, Everything About You, and Calling My Name.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

David J: Etiquette of Violence (1983)

David J's first solo LP is dark and gloomy. There can be no question about that. It has it moments, but some of his later work is better. (Oct 12, 2016, 11:00 AM)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Images in Vogue: Images in Vogue (1983)

This five-track self-titled EP was only released in Canada. This record contains one of the band's best known tracks, Lust of Love: "Don't mistake my lust for love." We've all been there. I like this track very much.

I feel that the band should have had more success than it did. I guess the band felt that way too, and they started bleeding members. For example, the drummer eventually left to form Skinny Puppy, one of my favourite Canadian bands. The band has been compared to Depeche Mode and Japan, but I am not sure about that. There's a little Peter Murphy in the lead singer's voice, to my ears anyway.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Billy Idol: Charmed Life (1990)

What happened to sides seven and eight. This record has sides nine and ten. Charmed Life has sides five and six. Someone, please tell me where I can find sides seven and eight?

It took four years since the last release, but Billy Idol finally greeted the new decade with Charmed Life, a reasonably good record probably most notable for his cover of the Doors' LA Woman. The record was a bit deeper than that, with tracks like Prodigal Blues and Cradle of Love. If you listen to this record and think that something is missing, that something would be Steve Stevens, who had worked with Idol since the early days. Without Stevens, the record is probably just not as good as it could have been. Still, it's not terrible.

I lost track of Mr Idol after this record.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Billy Idol: Whiplash Smile (1986)

I never understood why it took three years for a new Billy Idol record to be delivered after Rebel Yell. One would have thought that the record company would have pressured him to follow up Rebel Yell as soon as possible. You know, otherwise, the music buying masses might forget about him.

When this record finally arrived, it was a mixed bag. On the one hand, it contains the very good To Be a Lover. However, the rest of the album doesn't really equal what he did previously, but there are a number of good cuts, like Sweet Sixteen and Don't Need a Gun.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Billy Idol: Rebel Yell (1983)

This record was a huge one for Billy. I didn't own a copy at the time, mostly because everyone else did, or so it seemed. His videos were all over TV, and several tracks from this record could be heard almost everywhere. One day, I acquired a really beat up copy of this record for next to nothing, and later, found an equally cheap copy in fabulous condition.

A curious thing about this record is that side one and two are labelled as sides three and four. Billy continued this numbering system after this record with sides five and six on Whiplash Smile.

I'm not a huge fan of this record, but I think that the songs were well put together and it works as a pop/synth record. It's not punk by any means. In fact, it seemed that Billy wanted to capitalize on the new wave sound, but it missed the mark a bit in that respect.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Billy Idol: Billy Idol (1982)

You can easily find versions of this record with different covers and with different track listings. The record company swapped covers, exchanging the image of Billy in a Hawaiian-looking shirt (tied around the mid rift) for an image of him wearing a leather-looking vest that had the added bonus of exposing a tattoo. I get why they did this. The leather makes Billy look a bit more masculine and expresses a more punk attitude.

On some copies, Congo Man was dropped for Dancing With Myself. I guess it made sense to add the most famous Gen X track to the record. I have the original cover with the track Congo Man. This LP is also notable for containing White Wedding (Part 1) and Hot in the City. This is a pretty good record, though I still do not believe that it can be labelled as punk. It's pop, but it's a pretty good pop record, even though there's not much of interest beyond the three tracks just mentioned, though Come On, Come On is not bad.

I have to argue that Billy probably enjoyed more fame than perhaps he would have, like many other artists, because of the advent of music television (MTV, and the rest). That's not meant to detract from his success. The smart recording artists invested in video and it paid off for them.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Billy Idol: Don't Stop (1981)

The first post-Gen X release from Billy was an EP that contains one Gen X track, one cover song, and two originals. The tracks are: Mony Mony, Baby Talk, Untouchables, and Dancing With Myself (Long Version), by Billy Idol With Gen X. Yes, Mony Mony, that song you like to curse along with at weddings, etc., was originally recorded by Tommy James & the Shondells. Just check it out, if you don't believe me.

I resist labelling Billy Idol as punk, because there is overarching pop sound to my ears. I'm not sure that Mr. Idol is someone I would have chosen to listen to had it not been for my very good friend, who was a big fan.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

The Icicle Works: Blind (1988)

The US version of The Icicle Works' fourth LP (the one I have) is radically different from the original UK, and other versions. The artwork is different, the track listing is different, and even some of the edits are different.  

Blind has a different sound, as the band clearly moved away from new wave to something else. It's not bad. I think the word different describes everything about this record.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The Icicle Works: If You Want To Defeat Your Enemy Sing His Song (1987)

My Canadian pressing of this record was bundled with a 12" bonus sampler. The bonus LP contains two tracks each from The Icicle Works, Pierce Turner, The Go-Betweens, and Passion Fodder. Both tracks from The Icicle Works appear on the record, so that is odd. Wicklow Hills from Pierce Turner really brings back the memories. It is a really great song.

Again, I think I can say that this is not as good as the debut record, but it's a fine record. Understanding Jane was a hit, as I recall.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

The Icicle Works: Seven Horses Deep (1985)

Until I read the Wikipedia entry for this band, I never knew that they were named after a short story by Frederik Pohl called "The Day the Icicle Works Closed."

There is not blockbuster hit on this EP, but all of the tracks are fine. Oddly, the UK pressing is entitled Seven Horses, while the Canadian pressing, in a gatefold sleeve, carries the title Seven Horses Deep.

Deep Side

Seven Horses
Beggars Legacy
Goin' Back

Wide Side

All The Daughters (Of Her Father's House)
(Let's Go) Down To The River

Monday, October 03, 2016

The Icicle Works: The Small Price of a Bicycle (1985)

Somehow, I have the first UK pressing of the sophomore efforts from TIW. I think that's because, for some reason, it was not released in Canada. No, it is not as good as the first. There's more big guitars and big vocals here, but the songs aren't quite as good as the first record.