Wednesday, June 28, 2017

La Bamba (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1987)

Here is a rare occurrence. I've seen the corresponding film to this soundtrack. Amazing. And, I liked the film very much, though watching it is a truly sad experience. Eight of the twelve tracks are performed by Los Lobos. Other artists appearing are Brian Setzer, Bo Diddley, Howard Huntsberry, and Marshall Crenshaw. I'd argue that this is a pretty good collection of tunes and the cover versions are all very well done.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Lenny Kravitz: Circus (1995)

Circus, from 1995, is a 10" record that was also released on CD. It contains the album and acoustic versions of Circus plus two live tracks: Tunnel Vision and Are You Gonna Go My Way (with no question mark). There are far far better Kravitz videos, if you know what I mean (nudge nudge, wink wink).

Monday, June 26, 2017

Kraftwerk: Aerodynamik + La Forme Remixes (2007)

The original mix of Aerodynamik, from the Tour de France record, is fantastic. I really like it. I'm not so crazy about the Hot Chip remix here. I think I can see the intention, but I am not sure. The flipside of this UK 12" is La Forme (King Of The Mountains Mix). I would make the same statement about this tune. I don't hate the remixes. I just think the originals are better.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Kraftwerk: Tour de France Soundtracks [Tour de France] (2003)

The 10th Kraftwerk album was released under the title Tour de France Soundtracks in 2003. The 2009 pressing, which I have, was simply entitled Tour de France. Obviously, the original pressing will cost you more. I have read that some fans hate this record (a friend of mine concurs). Others praise it. C'est la vie. For the record, I like the LP, though I think perhaps some earlier stuff was better.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Kraftwerk: The Robots (1991)

The Robots (Die Roboter) single was originally released in 1978. This 12" version was released in 1991 and contains the remixed version from The Mix. Side A has: Robotnik (Kling Klang Extended Mix); Side B has The Robots (Single Edit) and Robotronik (Kling Klang Mix). I don't hate the remixes as much as some Kraftwerk fans seem to.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Kraftwerk: The Telephone Call (1987)

Once again, this is a Canadian 12" single with a remixed version of The Telephone Call on side A. Side B has a track called House Phone and the German version of the tile track (Der Telefon Anruf).

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kraftwerk: Musique Non Stop (1986)

This Canadian 12" single contains the 12" version of  Musique Non Stop on side 1 and the 7" version of the same track on side two. That's it. I don;t remember where I bought it or how much I paid.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Kraftwerk: Electric Cafe (1986)

One starts to worry when vast periods of time pass between records, unless it's Peter Gabriel, of course. After a five-year wait, we got Electric Cafe, and it was something of a disappointment, to my ears at the time anyway. I listened to the record recently, and I have to say that I think I like it better than I thought I did. I know, lots of people will argue that this is an awesome record. I like it, but it is just not up to the level of the previous records

Friday, June 16, 2017

Kraftwerk: Computer World [Computerwelt] (1981)

Computer World is Kraftwerk's eighth record.
The album deals with the themes of the rise of computers within society. In keeping with the album's concept, Kraftwerk showcased their music on an ambitious world tour and issued several different versions of the single "Pocket Calculator" in different languages: namely, German ("Taschenrechner"), French ("Mini Calculateur") and Japanese ("Dentaku", or 電卓). A fifth version, in Italian ("Mini Calcolatore"), was lip-synched to on Italian television in 1981. The compositions are credited to Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, and Karl Bartos. As was the case with the two previous albums, Computer World was released in both German- and English-language editions. The title of the final track, "It's More Fun to Compute", is in English in all releases, as it is based on the slogan "It's more fun to compete!", which could be seen on old pinball machines. There are some minor differences in the mixes used on English- and German-language releases. [source]
Because I am not a fan of Cold Play, I had no idea that they had sampled Kraftwerk's Computer Love, found on this record, until very recently, when I was finding music from this record on youtube. I don't understand the fuss about Coldplay. To be, they are as offensive as Nickleback.

This album, on the other hand, is a triumph. Maybe it's the best Kraftwerk record? I'm not sure. Sadly, I will have to agree with Allmusic that this is the "last great Kraftwerk album."

Friday, June 09, 2017

Kraftwerk: The Man Machine [Die Mensch·Maschine] (1978)

The two big tracks on this record are The Robots and The Model. This is a more pop-oriented record, and it seems to belong to the early new wave movement.  I'll just paste in two excerpts that will summarize things better than I could:
The NME wrote a glowing review and said: "Kraftwerk manage to convey the entire 'melange of elements' by musical means alone: the sparsity of the lyrics leaves the emphasis squarely on those robot rhythms; chilling tones and exquisite melodies." Critic Andy Gill also praised the "complexity of construction", saying "there's a lot more than electronic percussion in there" [source]
The Man-Machine is closer to the sound and style that would define early new wave electro-pop -- less minimalistic in its arrangements and more complex and danceable in its underlying rhythms. Like its predecessor, Trans-Europe Express, there is the feel of a divided concept album, with some songs devoted to science fiction-esque links between humans and technology, often with electronically processed vocals ("The Robots," "Spacelab," and the title track); others take the glamour of urbanization as their subject ("Neon Lights" and "Metropolis"). Plus, there's "The Model," a character sketch that falls under the latter category but takes a more cynical view of the title character's glamorous lifestyle. More pop-oriented than any of their previous work, the sound of The Man-Machine -- in particular among Kraftwerk's oeuvre -- had a tremendous impact on the cold, robotic synth pop of artists like Gary Numan, as well as Britain's later new romantic movement. [source]
This band was always ahead of its time. Again, I have a Canadian pressing, for $5.99! Sehen Sie sich dieses Video an, um die Band zu sehen. (Yes, I used Google translate).

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Kraftwerk: Trans Europe Express [Trans Europa Express] (1977)

I only wish that they have given us a full side (22 minutes or so) of the title track. That would have transported me to a hypnotic state. This album is simply stunning and ground-breaking. I have a repressing from the 80s.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Kraftwerk: Radio-Activity [Radio-Aktivität] (1975)

This is the Voice of Energy
I am a giant electrical generator
I supply you with light and power
And I enable you to receive speech,
Music and image through the ether
I am your servant and lord at the same time
Therefore guard me well
Me, the genius of Energy

I have the original US pressing of this LP from 1975. The original German pressing from the same year carries the title Radio-Aktivität and that will cost you a bit more. Allmusic's review is brief but to-the-point:

"A concept album exploring themes of broadcast communications, Radio-Activity marked Kraftwerk's return to more obtuse territory, extensively utilizing static, oscillators, and even Cage-like moments of silence to approximate the sense of radio transmission; a pivotal record in the group's continuing development, the title track -- the first they ever recorded in English -- is their most fully realized electro-pop effort to date, while "The Voice of Energy" precipitates the robot voice so crucial to their subsequent work." [source]

I like it. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Kraftwerk: Exceller 8 (1975)

This compilation covers the first four releases, up to an including Autobahn. It bridges the gap between the earlier noise stuff and Autobahn, which heralded the new smother sound. This LP contains a rare 7" mix of Autobahn, which may be reason enough to own it. I don't think this compilation was ever released on CD. I am still surprised that this record was released in Canada, which is the version I have.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Kraftwerk: Autobahn (1974)

Autobahn really announces the arrival of Kraftwerk. The record's title track is twenty-two minutes and forty-two seconds of hypnotizing genius. I think I could listen to it all day long.

I should point out that I have a Canadian repress from 1985, rather than the original. Even then, prices on discogs for my release start at $30. For that price, you might as well opt for the new 180 gram releases readily available in most record stores.

Kraftwerk is one of my favourite bands, and this album really says why. If you don't like it, there is something wrong with you :)

Friday, June 02, 2017

Kraftwerk: Kraftwerk (1971)

Now don't get too excited. I do not own an original pressing of Kraftwerk, the first LP from Kraftwerk. My copy is an unofficial release from Italy pressed on red vinyl. I have no idea what year it was made. I have compared the sound with an official best of Kraftwerk LP, and it sounds great to my ears.

There were only a few versions of this album released, most on LP, one on cassette, and none on CD. All other releases on any format are unofficial, or bootlegs. For some reason, the band really doesn't like this record and it seems that they have disowned it. I have heard that it might finally be re-released on CD.

As much as I'd like to own an original pressing, the price for such would be high. I once saw this record in a store in Toronto for $150 about a year ago. I am not sure which version it was.

Evidently, the cover was inspired by Warhol's pop art movement, but all I can think of is VLC.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Mark Knopfler: Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989)

I can't say anything constructive about this record. There is orchestration here, unlike the other Knopfler soundtracks I have. I think I like this less, too. I just might have to see the film.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mark Knopfler: Cal {Music by Mark Knopfler from the Film Cal]: (1984)

This soundtrack from Mark Knopfler gets the same rating from me: meh. It probably doesn't help that I have never seen the film, so maybe I will give this a provisional meh, and then go and see the film.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Kark Knopfler: Local Hero (1983)

I guess I was expecting a record that sounded exactly like a Dire Straits record. In hindsight, that was, perhaps, a little unfair. Freeway Flyer hits the mark, but that tune is way too short. The rest of the record has never really done anything for me.  It's a real meh record, but it might just work as a soundtrack. Since I have never seen the film, I can't really comment on that. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Knack: ...But the Little Girls Understand (1979)

This record sums up what happens when a band tries to rush a carbon copy of a successful debut. Only six months had passed when this uninspired record was dropped. They should have taken a breather and put a little more thought into it, but maybe they had nothing left to offer?

I remember the first time I heard Baby Talks Dirty, the lead-off track. The radio DJ said that some staff had listened to it and were calling it My Sharona II. As I said, this LP was a failed attempt to clone the debut record.

Sadly, Doug passed away in 2010. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Knack: Get the Knack (1979)

Ah, songs about adolescence or songs for adolescent boys.

Despite this record's popularity when it was released -- it still ranks as one of the best-selling debut records of all time -- I still think it is a little under-appreciated. Yes, they seemed to model themselves on the Beatles and, according to Wikipedia, "[t]he album went Gold in just 13 days, becoming Capitol Records' fastest selling debut LP since Meet the Beatles in 1964" and "The lead single, "My Sharona", also met with immediate success, becoming Capitol's fastest selling debut single since the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks." [source] In awarding the record 4.5 stars, Allmusic referred to the debut record as "at once sleazy, sexist, hook-filled, and endlessly catchy -- above all, it's a guilty pleasure and an exercise in simple fun." [source]

I bought this record soon after it came out at my local small-town record store. I remember the clerk telling me that I got the last copy in the store. Yay me.

Everyone seems to know the track My Sharona. That is a really great song and it contains perhaps one of the best bridges I have ever heard. I think the record had more depth than that, however. Take Good Girls Don't, for example:

She's your adolescent dream,
Schoolboy stuff, a sticky sweet romance.
And she makes you want to scream,
Wishing you could get inside her pants.
And it's a teenage sadness
Everyone has got to taste.
An in-between age madness
That you know you can't erase
Til she's sitting on your face.

Those were very enlightening lyrics for adolescent boys everywhere, though I am sure that some of my friends did not fully understand the last sentence above.

Get the Knack is a fine record willed with great hooks and guitar solos, and some lyrics that are at least misogynistic and maybe worse. The band found their market immediately, and I'm guessing that it was generally young men or adolescent boys. I have to say that I loved the cover image on the original My Sharona 45.

Despite everything that I said, I have not played this record for decades. Maybe I should do just that.

I'm not gong to include the video for Good Girls Don't because the youtube version is the censored version.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kissing the Pink: Certain Things are Likely (1986)

Certain Things are Likely is the title track from Kissing the Pink's third LP, released in 1986. The 12" single contains four mixes: garage mix, garage dub, original mix, and instrumental. It's too much to listen to all at once.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Kissing the Pink: Naked (1983)

I remember when this band was more or less forced to change its name from Kissing the Pink to KTP because some people were offended by the sexual innuendo. What a bunch of crybabies. I am not in favour or rampant profanity of profanity for no good reason, but Kissing the Pink is obscure enough not to offend the vulnerable or the easily offended. After all, you have to do a little thinking to connect the dots, but not as much as you need to do to figure out what Steely Dan's name is all about. Nowadays, we have much more explicit names for bands, like Scissor Sisters, Anal Cunt, Fucked Up, Butthole Surfers, Holy Fuck, among many others. Kissing the Pink seems genuinely wholesome and completely inoffensive compared to some others more contemporary bands.

Naked is the first Kissing the Pink LP. I like it.

Kiss: Double Platinum (1978)

This is a difficult album jacket to photograph, unless what you are really after is a selfie (G-d, I hate that word) or other crazy reflections.

I was done with Kiss very soon after I got my copy of The Originals. There was so much other music to explore. But, sometimes, the message takes a long time to make its way to family and friends, and so, one year, I got a copy of Double Platinum for Christmas from some relatives. I think I managed to hide my dismay.

This record collects the biggest Kiss hits, like Calling Dr. Love, Love Gun, Firehouse, Detroit Rock City, God of Thunder, Hard Luck Woman, and that god awful song, Beth. Sorry, Kiss fans, but I have always hated Beth. It's insipid and truly awful garbage. The horrible orchestration makes me laugh.

I have virtually no knowledge of Kiss after this period. I am aware that there have been many lineup changes and that they were unmasked at some point. I am familiar with Lick it Up because of the music video. That, by the way, is a fantastically ridiculous song and the video is terrible.

I have heard people argue that Kiss were better than the Beatles. That is delusional thinking. Only someone completely ignorant of music could make such an argument.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Kiss: The Originals (1976)

The Originals, by Kiss, is a seminal record in my collection because this was the second record I ever bought, after Goofy Greats. I no longer have my copy of Goofy Greats (I probably unloaded it at a lawn sale), but I hung on to this one, though I am not sure why. This is another record that had my name scrawled across the cover, in my sister's handwriting, along with "Album #2." Thanks to the magic of Photoshop, you do not have to see that.

I consider the music of Kiss to be one-dimensional and juvenile. Besides, looking at them now, one might have half expected the band to have been a progressive rock band. At the time, though, I was a fan...or, maybe I was a fan because some of my friends were fans. It's hard to say. What I can say is that I find it incomprehensible that there are adults who are fans of this band. I see Kiss as music appropriate for pre-adolescents.

I once did a school project about Kiss and that, sadly, means that I used the six color rock superstar cards and the Kiss Army sticker that were bundled with this collection in that report. Stupidly, I stuck these items onto the pages in the report, which later ended up in the trash can. But, I still have the original booklet that came with the record.

This collection contains the first three Kiss records: Kiss (1974), Hotter Than Hell (1974), and Dressed to Kill (1975). The Originals came out in 1976, and, by the time I bought my copy, I had already heard Alive! at a friend's house many times as well as Rock And Roll Over and Destroyer. I can't remember exactly when I bought this record, but I remember where I bought it.

In my home town, there was no record store, at the time anyway, so I either had to hope that I could join my sister or my mom on one of their shopping trips to larger urban centres, where one could find a record store or two, or rely on a feeble stereo store in town. This local stereo shop had, for a short period of time, a small rack of records. I guess if someone bought a new hi-fi system, they could then rightly suggest a record or two to go with it. The selection was generally dismal, as it tended to serve the needs of the older rural conservative. But, one day, I found this record and I had saved enough of my allowance to buy it. I cannot remember the price.

The debut record -- Kiss -- might be the best Kiss record, though I have not heard them all. Back in the day, if you asked me to chose my favourite Kiss track, I would have said Strutter. Other top choices would have been Firehouse and maybe Deuce and possibly even Love Theme from Kiss. I suppose Hotter Than Hell and Dressed to Kill are probably equal in quality, but I just liked the first record better. I have really no idea when I played anything from this collection last, but it must have been a hell of a long time ago. It's unlikely I will ever play this again, except maybe for comedic purposes at a dinner party, perhaps.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Kinks: State Of Confusion (1983)

I know this will sound absolutely crazy, but my favourite Kinks song is Come Dancing. What? I know, it's hard to believe. Still, its true. I'm not sure why, but it just is. The other big hit from this record is Don't Forget to Dance, a slow-paced song, which is also about dancing. What was going on with the Kinks in 1983?

I had lots of Kinks music, all on cassette, way back when.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Kingbees: The Big Rock (1981)

I don't know this record as well as I now the first LP from the band, simply because I didn't listen to it as much. But, I would say that the first record is better, but this is pretty good fun music.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Kingbees: The Kingbees (1980)

I'd guess that there are lots of people who have never heard of this band. The Kingbees had a short-lived career which started in 1980 and ended in 1981. I know, they released something in 2004 and something in 2012, but I know nothing about those records. For me, they existed from 1980-1981.

This record is part of that rockabilly revival that included the Stray Cats and others. I was never swept away by that movement, but I did like some of the music, and I liked this record, which - without looking it up - I think came out before the Stray Cats. Surprisingly, Allmusic gives the record 4.5 stars. I'm amazed.

By the way, there was a band called The King Bees that operated in the 1960s and I believe there were other bands called King Bee.

Monday, May 15, 2017

King Crimson: Sleepless (1984)

What? A remix? A Dance mix too! What a surprise. I have a copy of the first UK pressing of this 12" single.

Side A:
Sleepless (Dance Mix)

Side B:
Sleepless (Instrumental Mix)

Friday, May 12, 2017

King Crimson: Three of a Perfect Pair (1984)

Discipline represented the drive to 1981. This record was part of the incline to 1984. Am I remembering that correctly?

This record completes the 80s trilogy. After this, it took eleven years before we got a new record, though we did get the EP VROOOM in 1994, which was still ten years on.

I love the title track almost as much as anything that appeared on Discipline. However, Model Man is another song that probably should have been on a Belew record. I feel the same way about Man with an Open Heart, though I like both songs.

Side two is the less commercial side, containing more experimental efforts, with three of the four instrumentals appearing here. The best tracks on side two to me are Industry and Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part III).

Like Discipline and Beat, I used to own the cassette. I have the record. I have the definitive edition on CD. I have the thirtieth anniversary edition on CD. In this case, the thirtieth anniversary remastered edition sounds better, maybe because the original tapes were digital and remastering helped?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

King Crimson: Beat (1982)

Beat makes reference to the Beat generation, especially Kerouac's On the Road. The opening track, Neil and Jack and Me provides an obvious reference. It's an excellent record, but I prefer Discipline, even after learning that Bruford preferred Beat to Discipline.

I would say that the live versions of these tracks are better than the studio versions, perhaps because of the recording or mastering of this record. Oddly, there's a pop song here -- Heartbeat -- which sounds more like a Belew solo tune. I feel the same way about Two Hands. But, there are some brilliant musical moments on this record. The band even made an official video for Heartbeat, one of only two the band ever made.

There is a strange stability with his record, as Wikipedia notes: "[Beat] is the first King Crimson studio album to feature a band line-up identical to that of their previous album." [source] The next record would feature the same lineup as well.

I used to own the cassette. I have the record. I have the definitive edition on CD. I have the thirtieth anniversary edition on CD.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

King Crimson: Discipline (1981)

Dialogue, duologue, diatribe,
Dissension, declamation
Double talk, double talk

Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford, Adrian Belew, and Tony Levin! Wow. Imagine that? The 80s KC is really a super group. And, wow, what a change in sound. At times, Discipline is my favourite record. It might be the best thing Crimson ever did. It's either this record or The Power to Believe. Both are fabulous. I also love the other two 80s records: Beat and Three of a Perfect Pair.

I would say that Discipline contains my favourite KC track of all time. That track is Frame by Frame. From what I have read, this tune is in 7/8 and 13/8. I'm not up on my music theory. It has something to do with Fripp falling behind Belew one beat every measure until they sync up again, after each has played thirteen and fourteen bars or notes. My memory is hazy. In any case, it is totally awesome.

The title track is also interesting:

"During the piece the two guitars of Belew and Fripp, respectively, move through the following sequence of pairs of time signatures: 5
and 5
, 5
and 4
, 5
and 9
, 15
and 15
, 15
and 14
, 10
and 20
, 15
and 15
, 15
and 14
, 12
and 12
, 12
and 11
, 15
and 15
, 15
and 14
. Throughout the drums play in 17
..." [source]

The only track I am not big on is Matte Kudasai, which might sound sacrilegious given the love this track gets from many fans. It just doesn't do anything for me. I like it; I don't love it.

I used to own the cassette. I have the record. I have the definitive edition on CD. I have the thirtieth anniversary edition on CD.

This record fits on my top ten list of records of all time, a list that probably has one hundred records on it by now. By the way, I used to be on a listserv called Elephant Talk. Formerly, it was called Discipline, until Fripp asked the group to change the name. You can find the archives via the ET wiki.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

King Crimson: Islands (1971)

Like Lizard, I paid $1 for this Canadian pressing at a church rummage sale in the early 1990s. I think that this is a better record than Lizard.

Some people hate it; others do not. I don't have much to say about it. I still prefer later Crimson, but this record has it moments, like:

Monday, May 08, 2017

King Crimson: Lizard (1970)

I bought this record at some sort of church rummage sale in Toronto in the very early 1990s for $1. Fripp once said that the record is unlistenable. I think that's a bit harsh, but I see what he means. There are some less successful parts on the record, and it just doesn't hold together. The best thing might be the lead-off track, Circus. Wait, that should read Circus (Including: Entry Of The Chameleons).

If you know anything about KC, it's likely that you will be aware of the revolving cast of musicians. It's really difficult to keep track of the changes. Oddly, Jon Anderson was brought in for some vocal duties, which does not work at all. So, it's hit and miss, mostly miss.

Friday, May 05, 2017

King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King, An Observation by King Crimson (1969)

Cat's foot iron claw
Neuro-surgeons scream for more
At paranoia's poison door.
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Blood rack barbed wire
Polititians' funeral pyre
Innocents raped with napalm fire
Twenty first century schizoid man

Twenty first century
Twenty first century
Twenty first century
Twenty first century schizoid man

Death seed blind man's greed
Poets' starving children bleed
Nothing he's got he really needs
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Twenty first century
Twenty first century schizoid man
Twenty first century schizoid man

Welcome to the twenty first century

Years ago, Pete said something like: "everyone has a copy of In the Court of the Crimson King in his record collection." I didn't then, but I do now (on both CD and vinyl). My CD copy is the Definitive Edition, which was released in 2009. My LP is a Canadian gatefold pressing, but I do not know the date it was pressed, though it is probably not from 1969.

I am pretty sure that I have a complete run of KC recordings on CD, including some of the ProjeKCts (but only some releases from the Collector Club), and many recordings on vinyl and/or CD by current and former members, most notably Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew. For many years, I went down the Robert Fripp rabbit hole and ended up in very strange places. Think recordings by Bill Reiflin, Trey Gunn, Tony Levin, Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford, Brian Eno, etc. All of which led to Steve Gorn, David Torn, The California Guitar Trio, Jeffrey Fayman, etc, etc...

This record is perhaps the first truly prog rock record, a genre I have a love/hate relationship with. I admire some of it but hate vast quantities of it. I also have a love/hate relationship with this record, despite it's ranking by most people as a classic. There is some fantastic drumming on this record.

The truth is that I never really like King Crimson until I heard Discipline in the early 1980s. I guess I should also say that I discovered some earlier KC that I quite like, particular Red. In my ever so humble opinion, this record has two excellent tracks: 21st Century Schizoid Man and The Court of the Crimson King. The former track is so good it might be worth the price of the record. The rest of the tunes don't do as much for me. OK, OK, Epitaph is not bad.

A very proggy thing to do is s to have movements in songs, or very long song titles, like these:

21st Century Schizoid Man (Including Mirrors)
I Talk To The Wind
Epitaph (Including (A) March For No Reason; (B) Tomorrow And Tomorrow)
Moonchild (Including (A) The Dream; (B) The Illusion)
The Court Of The Crimson King (Including (A) The Return Of The Fire Witch; (B) The Dance Of The Puppets)

I have heard that this type of song naming really had to do with royalties, since the record only contains five tracks. I have no idea if that explanation is correct.

I saw King Crimson in concert years ago. Oddly, I saw PJ Harvey the same weekend. Anyway, the gender imbalance of the KC audience had a curious effect. The women's restroom had no queue: the men's did. I had to wait to pee, while the women just walked straight in. That never happens.

I do love the album jacket. It's epic. There is a prescient comment on the video below: "I'm going to enjoy this before it gets taken down..." If it's gone, it's gone.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Killing Joke: Outside the Gate (1988)

Once again, this album really divides people. Personally, I prefer the earlier releases, but this is not as bad as some critics would have you believe. I see the problems with the record, for sure, but it does not stink, as Allmusic claims:
Put it this way: this is the Killing Joke album where castanets are heard and both bassist Paul Raven and drummer Big Paul Ferguson quit the band to avoid association with this misfire. If you're anything but a very forgiving completist, pass on this one. [source]
America, the lead-off track, is not too bad, despite the fact that the first thing that occurred to me when I first heard the opening sythny sounds is Van Halen's Jump. I hate Jump, mostly because of the infantile use of the synthesizer. I will have to listen to Outside the Gate again soon.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Killing Joke: Brighter than a Thousand Suns (1986)

This album is either loved or hated by Killing Joke fans. The critics seems to be united in their dislike for it. Just have a look at what Allmusic said. The critic argued that the album was: effort ultimately dialed in rather than performed. The sound-alike quality of nearly all the songs -- especially ironic considering the accomplished genre-hopping on the earliest records -- renders Killing Joke its own unfortunate parody in the end. [source]
Wikipedia finds a more charitable review:
Adrien Begrand of PopMatters wrote "Without question, 1986's Brighter Than a Thousand Suns marked a sharp decline in quality, many viewing it as a complete betrayal of Killing Joke's signature sound, but more than 20 years later, it's surprising how well parts of the album hold up." [source]
It's a fact that some of the edge is gone, but I truly like most of these tunes. The opener - Adorations - is really great, for example. Sanity is good. I like Chessboards, Twilight of the Mortal, Love of the Masses, and others. In short, it's far better than the critics would have you believe, but it's not the Killing Joke of yore.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Killing Joke: Kings and Queens (1985)

Kings and Queens (track four on side A of Night Time) was the third single released from that record. Side A of my UK pressing contains A Right Royal Mix of Kings and Queens, while side B contains the album version and a tune called The Madding Crowd (Re-mixed By Killing Joke).

Kings and Queens is a great tune.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Killing Joke: Night Time (1985)

This record contains what is perhaps the band's most recognizable tune. I would say that Love Like Blood might be the band's best track. Wikipedia's summary of the record is interesting and, I think, accurate:
In his retrospective review, Ned Raggett of AllMusic opines that the album finds the band's music "caught between their earlier aggression and a calmer, more immediately accessible approach. This turned out to be the band's Achilles heel in the end, with later albums in the '80s evidence that the group had turned into an unbelievably boring, generic modern rock band. At this point, however, the tension between the two sides had a perfect balance, and as a result, Night Time is arguably the quartet's freshest album since its debut, with a warm, anthemic quality now supplementing the blasting, driving approach that made the band's name". Adrian Begrand of PopMatters opined that, with the album, the band "perfected" their "balance between antagonism and accessibility" and that "the band are simply on fire on this record" [source]
The tune Eighties is interesting because many people felt that Nirvana ripped off the guitar riff and used it in Come as You Are. I see the obvious similarities, but I am not sure what to conclude. Allmusic is more direct: "Nirvana, of all groups, thoroughly cloned the watery guitar line at the heart of the track for "Come as You Are." [source

I have a UK pressing.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Killing Joke: Fire Dances (1983)

"Fire Dances bridges Killing Joke's primal past with their more melodic, accessible future and without compromising any of their thunder." [source]

I'd say that the above is a very apt statement. I regret that I have never seen this band live. It's also strange that I am totally unfamiliar with the band's more recent output.

My copy of this LP is a German repressing from 1986. $15 to $20 is probably a reasonable price for this record.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Killing Joke: Revelations (1982)

This record is either a disappointment or a triumph, depending on which music critic you read. That says everything you need to know about critics. I think that this is a really great record. I love the sound.

Killing Joke: "Ha" - Killing Joke Live (1982)


This record was recorded live at Larry's Hideaway, Toronto (yay!) on August 9th and 10th, 1982. Sadly, I didn't get a chance to go to Larry's Hideaway. It was closed before I moved to Toronto, and the building was later demolished. About Larry's, Wikipedia says this:

"The venue was notable for being one of the first venues in Toronto to open itself to punk and new wave music acts, as well as hard rock. The venue was well known for its good acoustics." [source]

A number of seminal acts played there. Here are a few: Bauhaus, The Cult, Einstürzende Neubauten, The Diodes, Goddo, Nina Hagen, Max Webster, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, R.E.M., Rush, They Might be Giants, The Fall, Hüsker Dü, Richard Thompson, The Cramps, and The Demics.

But, back to the record. Most of pressings were released as 10" records, but I think there were 12" imports. Ha has six tracks.

Sun Goes Down
The Pandys Are Coming
Take Take Take

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Killing Joke: What's THIS For...! (1981)


I guess the real title is What's THIS For...? Shouldn't there be a question mark and not an exclamation point! See what I did there! Again! The second Killing Joke record is also awesome. It might not be as good as the first, but it's pretty fantastic.
What's THIS For...! was generally well received by critics. Trouser Press described the album as "nearly as terrific" as their debut album, "bringing funk to ambient music, implying feeling sublimated in a chaotic world".

Paste magazine's Josh Jackson listed the album at No. 48 on his list of "The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums", noting that "the real genius here is the human emotion that comes through such spare efficiency" [source]
I think more than a few people recognize that Ministry was influenced by this record.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Killing Joke: Killing Joke (1980)

It's argued that Killing Joke paved the way for acts such as Metallica and Nine Inch Nails. They have been described as post-punk, new wave, gothic rock, industrial rock, industrial metal, alternative pop/rock, alternative/indie rock, punk, and dance-rock. I 'm really uncertain as to which label fits better, and it needs to be pointed out that the sound of the band shifted over the years. But, new wave, I think not. Let's just read the entire Allmusic review:
Since 1980, there have been a hundred bands who sound like this; but before Steve Albini and Al Jourgensen made it hip, the cold metallic throb of Killing Joke was exciting and fresh. The harshly sung vocals riding over the pulsating synth lines of the opener "Requiem" have a vigor and passion that few imitators have managed to match. The precise riffs and tight rhythms found in songs like "Wardance" would influence a generation of hardcore musicians; yet "The Wait," with its thrashing guitars and angry vocals, would find itself covered on a Metallica album only six years later. That such a bleak and furious album could have such a widespread influence is a testament to its importance. Certain parts of the album have not dated well; the vocals and drums are mixed in such a way that they lose some of their effectiveness, and the fact that so many other bands have used this same formula does take some of the visceral feeling away. But this is an underground classic and deserves better than its relative unknown status. Fans of most kinds of heavy music will probably find something they like about this band, and this is a good a place as any to start the collection. [source]
I love this record and I love the cover art. I have a Canadian pressing. Enough talk, more listen:

Friday, April 21, 2017

Nik Kershaw: Human Racing (1984)

A couple of years back, I had some friends over for dunner and drinks. One of my friends laughed and exclaimed loudly when he saw this record. I get it. This is probably weak 80s music, more like weak top forty 80s music. But, I will admit that I don't mind Wouldn't it be Good. But, shouldn't that have a question mark at the end? Is not "wouldn't it be good" a question?

In contrast to that song, the rest of the album really does nothing for me. Elton John once said that Kershaw is "the best songwriter of a generation." [source] That's not a great endorsement, especially from a man whose entire catalogue post-1977, or so, is more or less uniformly awful. Maybe I like Wouldn't it be Good simply because the remainder of the songs are uninspiring.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lostboy! A.K.A Jim Kerr: Lostboy! A.K.A Jim Kerr (2010)

I guess I could have filed this under L for Lostboy, but I put it under K for Kerr.

Jim Kerr, the lead singer of one of the top Scottish Bands -- Simple Minds -- released his first solo record in 2010. What took him so long? The vocals are credited to Lostboy, not Jim, and yet Jim's name is on the jacket. I wonder what he is trying to say? The Peter Pan reference is a bit bizarre.

I'd say that this is an OK record, but I am not blown away. I wonder why he bothered, at this point, with a solo record. The LP version was pressed only in Germany. I think I paid under $10 for it, which is probably what it's worth. I'm not crazy about the jacket design.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

John Kay: Forgotten Songs & Unsung Heroes (1972)

I find it interesting that Canadians do their best to claim Steppenwolf as a Canadian band. John Kay did live in Canada, beginning in 1958, when he was 12 or 13 years old. At some point, he shuffled off to the USA where the pastures are greener. Others refer to the band as Canadian-American, which seems fair enough to me.

Anyway, John Kay (born Joachim Fritz Krauledat in East Prussia) was the lead singer of Steppenwolf, which was formed in 1968. I'm not up on my Steppenwolf history, so thank you Wikipedia for the details. Anyway, on to this record.

Forgotten Songs & Unsung Heroes, Kay's debut solo record, is pretty good. In fact, I recall being surprised by how much I liked it upon first listen. Half of the record is comprised of original tracks, while the other half are covers. It seems to work quite well, but I gather it fell between the cracks, as has happened to so many good songs and records.

I think that perhaps some were expecting a raucous record with tracks like Born to be Wild and Magic Carpet Ride, but this is a mellow countryish, bluesy affair, and maybe some were disappointed?

I'm pretty sure I paid a dollar or so for this one. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Kansas: Point of Know Return (1977)

I recently purged a bunch of Greg Kihn records from my collection. I didn't mind some of the tracks, but I never really listened to them any more, even though they don't write 'em like that anymore.

This record contains the other really huge Kansas tune, Dust in the Wind. By the way, some people think that this record is entitled Point of No Return. It's close, but it isn't right.

I think this record is not so great. Maybe I just don't get it. I find it almost to be a job to force myself to listen to the record, and that's saying something. I will admit that Dust in the Wind is probably a very good rock song, but its bot really my cup of tea.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Kansas: Leftoverture (1976)

The best thing about this record is the title. It's pretty clever and it's an authentic title too, from what I've heard, since they used bits and pieces of older material after failing to come up with new material.

Prog rock mixed with classic rock and pop is probably a good description of this band, who I think are still staples of classic rock radio. I just learned that this band has released records through the decades, including a new collection of songs in 2016. Who knew? I thought they were dead and buried. But, then again, who knows what the lineup is? I'm too disinterested to care.

This record was either a lawn sale pickup, when I was a teenager, or something passed along to me sometime by a person long forgotten. I do not recall the last time I listened to it. I'll likely never listen to it again.

I am relatively ignorant of Kansas, but my uninformed argument is that Carry On Wayward Son has to be the band's biggest song. This portion of the Allmusic review made me chuckle: impenetrable conundrum of significance that's capped off by nothing less than a five-part suite, appropriately titled "Magnum Opus," and featuring such promising movement titles as "Father Padilla Meets the Perfect Gnat" and "Release the Beavers." Of course, there's no telling whether this closing opus relates to the opener, "Carry On Wayward Son," the greatest single Kansas ever cut -- a song that manages to be pompous, powerful, ridiculous, and catchy all at once. That they never manage to rival it anywhere on this record is as much a testament to their crippling ambition as their lack of skills. [source]
I can't add anything to that. I have a Canadian pressing

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Just West Of Something Big: A CFRU-FM Compilation Album (1987)

This LP contains 15 tracks from obscure bands from the Guelph scene in the mid-late 1980s. A copy of this record is currently for sale on Discogs for $53.29, which is asking far too much, if you ask me. I paid a buck for my copy. I don't think any of these bands made it big, but I could be completely wrong about that. There's not much information about this record on the interwebs. It appears to be the only release from No's To No's Records. I wonder about the apostrophes in that name.

By the way, I'm pretty sure that the title refers to the fact that Guelph is west (just a bit west) -- geographically speaking -- from Toronto, which is a big city.

So, here are the tracks:

Right Nostril (Side 1)

A Single Voice - Ripping Susan
This Ill File - Step In Time
Belinda Wu - Facelift
Rigor Mortis - Life Cycle
Built With Lego - Not Your Fault
Maggot Fodder - Down And Under
Strings And Shades - Last Fall

Left Nostril (Side 2)

The Bird Sisters - Big Plans
Love's Ugly Children - Teeth Marks (Cannibal Bliss)
The Exploding Postmen - S.N.A.F.U.
Garden Bower - Stockholm
The Nationals - Workin' For A Living (Just Don't Work)
2 Below Subway - Are Ye Able
The Weathermen - Record Of The Time
Smash To Death Inc. - Condoms

The name some people might recognize from this release is that of Chris Bottomley, who produced the track from Love's Ugly Children. Chris's brother -- and former band-mate from Tulpä -- John Bottomley, went on to have a promising solo career. Sadly, John passed away a few years back.

(Being in the Ju section, I remember that I once had some Juluka records, which I purged from my collection).

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Joy Division: Live In Holland (Live at the Paradiso Club in Amsterdam, January 11, 1980) (2015)

This unofficial (bootleg) record was released by DOL, a trademark of Vinylogy, a Russian "reissue label" (bootleg label) evidently specializing in jazz and blues. My understanding is that the source for this record was an FM radio broadcast or a cassette of the FM radio broadcast. I believe that there have been several versions of this record, some on CD and some on double vinyl and with different names. Such is the nature of bootlegs. This particular version comes on 180 gram virgin vinyl. The sound is really great, for a bootleg.