Friday, April 30, 2021

Pinhead Gunpowder - Jump Salty LP - Yellow w/ Red Splatter Vinyl


1234 Go! (2021)

I could not possibly happier about vinyl reissues of the Pinhead Gunpowder catalog and specifically Jump Salty.  I love Pinhead Gunpowder, I've actually always liked them more than Green Day for whatever reason.  I've had the Jump Salty CD for twenty five-ish years and also had the two seven inches and three of the four compilations that make up the album.  That was the rationale I used when Recess started putting out the Pinhead Gunpowder records on vinyl in 2010.  'I already have the 7"s.'  So I didn't buy them.

I don't know exactly what happened after that, but those reissues vanished.  I don't know if they were pulled or what, I've read all sorts of interesting theories, but whatever happened, they just vanished from the face of the earth.  In that time frame I realized that I would really like to be able to sit in front of my record player and listen to Jump Salty without having to pull out five different records.  So I started looking around to no avail.

Luckily, the preorder for these new 1234 Go reissues were announced before I did anything too stupid and paid way too much for a copy.  Now I have a fresh clean album on a pretty nice looking piece of vinyl to boot.  The record sounds really good for what it is.  These songs were recorded a hundred years ago and they don't have the sort of bass heavy fullness that became easier to capture just a few years later. But that's not a slight on this pressing, that's just a reality of the master recordings.  

I think this LP, cut as 45rpm, is the best these sounds have ever sounded.  It was a joy to plop this down on the turntable and crank the volume.  I really like all of the Pinhead Gunpowder records.  Each has a handful of songs you could argue are the best of the best.  But when push comes to shove, Jump Salty is probably my favorite.  I will likely buy the rest of these reissues (despite having the originals of several), but Jump Salty was the one I was most excited to finally get my hands on.

Pinhead Gunpowder - Jump Salty (YouTube Music full album playlist):

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders LP


Jive (2015, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Buying Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest was a watershed moment in my hip hop education.  I loved the "Check The Rhime" video that ran on Yo! MTV Raps and just absorbed the CD the moment I picked it up.  Watching "Scenario" start to blow up a few months later was a little weird, but it was such a great song that it made all the sense in the world to me that it would start to leave to Yo! bubble.  By the time Midnight Marauders was ready in 1993, I was all in and so ready for some new Tribe music.  I was kind of disappointed when I finally listened to it.

I don't know what about this album didn't click with me in 1993.  Maybe I was too invested in Low End Theory?  Perhaps there were a lot of other eclectic hip hop acts to choose from?  I don't really know, but even though I didn't dislike it, I just didn't listen to it that much.  It took a while for me to finally revisit Midnight Marauders and as I listened to it, I couldn't figure out why I neglected it in high school.  It's probably not quite as good as Low End Theory, but it's really, really great.

The beats are innovative and are fresh sounding to my ears even in 2021.  The flow of the album from one song to the next is perfect and I could even argue that Phife shines brighter on this record than he did on Low End.  As I fill out my Golden Era vinyl collection, it was a no brainer that I need the three key Tribe Called Quest albums.  Sure, this is the third of the three to get picked up, but I fully expect to listen to it just as much as the other two.

A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders (YouTube Music full album playlist):


Monday, April 26, 2021

Come Closer - Pretty Garbage LP


Pirates Press (2021)

I'm in dire need for new music in 2021.  There's been so little that has caught my eye and I'm sure you see it in my weekly write ups, it is quickly turning into 90s reissue land over hear.  Luckily a few key selling points about Come Closer caught my eye.  Primary songwriter has done time in Tiltwheel and Dan Padilla.  Also featuring Davey from Tiltwheel and Chris Prescott from No Knife.  Sounds like Superchunk.  Well, sign me up for a little slice of that.

In listening to Pretty Garbage, what jumps out to me the most is that it doesn't sound anything like Tiltwheel or Dan Padilla.  This isn't a rough around the edges, indebted to Leatherface sort of sound.  As advertised, there's a healthy dose of Superchunk inspired poppy indie rock.  And while Come Pick Me Up era Superchunk is a pretty solid starting point as far as a reference goes, I actually think Come Closer's sound is more akin to the sort of thing that Marvelous Mark was doing or the most recent Audacity album.

There's a real knack to this type of songwriting that not everyone can pull off.  If you're not really loud, it can come across that you're lacking energy.  But if you're playing too fast, you're just another pop punk band.  Come Closer straddles that divide perfectly, providing tuneful pop songs and fuzzy guitar without losing that sense of 'oomph' that keeps things moving and makes it the type of record you're likely to revisit. 

If you want to distill this album into one song, check out the song that ends side one, "Never Say Goodnight."  It has everything I'm looking for in a pop song. Interesting guitar riffs, crunchy chords, excellent vocal melody; I mean seriously it's everything you could want out of this type of music.  This is definitely worth taking a moment to check out.

Come Closer - Pretty Garbage:

Friday, April 23, 2021

The Beekeepers - Song Demos 3 - 3.5" Floppy Disc


Self Released (2019)

This is a new one.  Three songs on a 3.5" floppy disc.  Or at least that's what it says is on here, I have no way to actually check that.  There could be a deadly virus or a gif of a porcupine eating a taco.  What I'm saying here is I haven't had a computer with a 3.5" drive in probably fifteen years so I just have to take The Beekeepers' word for it.

Luckily the songs are readily available on their bandcamp page and as a free download to boot.  I reviewed one of the band's demo tapes a few years ago and enjoyed it.  I'm happy to say I like the three songs on this release as well.  There's a lofi pop thing going on here.  The vocals and melodies remind me of White Wires, though you need to replace the surf vibe with some upbeat jangly guitar if you wanted to see where The Beekeepers were at.

This came out back in 2019, like so many of the tapes that have been lying around here.  Based on the Bandcamp page it seems like this was the last batch of songs released.  I hope they do some more as I have enjoyed what I've heard so far.  Maybe there will be a sudden run on 3.5" floppies now that I've finally wrote about this.  Maybe not.

The Beekeepers  - Song Demos 3:

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Jeru The Damaja- Wrath of the Math 2xLP


FFRR/Payday (Reissue, Originally released in 1996)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

I can't figure out exactly when this repress of Wrath of the Math came out, but I'm very glad it exists and is easily obtainable at the moment.  There have been a lot of records, particularly old hip hop releases that have been reissued in the past few years, but then went out of print and are commanding high costs on the secondary market. Not that I should be buying a ton of records right now anyway since my hot water heater shit the bed and have put out about five grand in plumbing bills over the last couple of weeks.  But, I do wish it was easier to get a few records that would have been easy even a year or two ago.

I never heard this album until very recently.  I had Jeru's first CD in high school, but by the time 1996 came around, I was pretty convinced there was nothing useful happening in hip hop anymore.  I still sort of stand by that statement, but I have discovered a few outliers that buck that trend.  Wrath of the Math is every bit as good as The Sun Rises in the East.  DJ Premier holds down the production again and it's a total throwback to a few years earlier.  This probably sounded really bizarre in 1996 when the hip hop world had moved on to copycat G funk nonsense, but it sure has aged better than that stuff.

I wish I had heard this record when it came out.  I think it would have given me pause on my dismissal of hip hop as being a thing I only liked in the past tense.  I'm not sure that I would have found many more records as good as this one, but at least I would have been able to listen to it all this time rather than giving it a first chance a couple months ago.

Jeru The Damage - Wrath of the Math (YouTube Music full album playlist):

Monday, April 19, 2021

Starmarket - Sunday's Worst Enemy LP - Silver (/150), Clear (/150) & White/Orange/Green Marble (/150) Vinyl



Thirty Something (2021, Reissue)

If I'm doing one of those deals where I have to pick desert island discs or rank my all time favorite record, there is absolutely no way that Sunday's Worst Enemy would not be on whatever list I made.  It is easily one of the ten best albums I have ever listened to in my life and I feel just as strongly about it today as I did the first time I heard it back in 1997.  If you were able to find it, if you looked at the December year-in-review issue of my college newspaper, I put Sunday's Worst Enemy as my number one record of that year. My love for this album has not changed one bit since then.

Within seconds of the opening song "Repetition," I lose my goddamn mind when that pick slide hits and the band breaks into the first verse.  What follows is a cavalcade of gigantic guitars, passionate vocals and pounding drums.  There's a definite Sugar/Bob Mould influence, but as much as I love everything that Bob puts out, to me these Starmarket songs perfect the sound he's most associated with. We even ended up putting out this record on PopKid in America, though we had to trade the epic "You Can't Come" for the equally great, but very different "Your Style" from their first album.  We proably should have done vinyl, but we didn't.

When this album originally came out on Dolores records out of Sweden, they did do a vinyl version.  That said, it was only available as a picture disc.  Pretty much the worst way to listen to a record on vinyl.  I've had a copy of that since it came out, and though I wouldn't ever say it sounded bad necessarily, it is lacking in dynamics a bit.  That's a crime as this is one of the most dynamic records I've ever heard in my live. 

These reissues sound excellent.  And though I am trying to cut down on the number of variants I buy for any single record, I just couldn't help but get all of them for this album.  It's too important of a record to me.  I am so happy to have a version of this album that sounds great and can play at will.  If this one isn't in your collection, you should go grab a copy before they are gone, import shipping costs be damned.

Starmarket - Sunday's Worst Enemy
(I can't find the regular version of this on the Thirty Something or Starmarket Bandcamp pages, so here's a link to the PopKid one.  It doesn't have "You Can't Come" or some of the other bonus tracks that the new LP has.):

You can buy the LPs from, Thirty Something here:

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Human Pigs - Poop Stick Around Cassette


Poop Stick (2019)

What's the theme for Fridays? Two year old tapes that I've never listened to.  This is actually the last tape left in my pile, though I do have one more oddball thing that's been sitting around that I'll be writing about next week.  The band with the coveted honor of being the very last tape I wanted to listen to is The Human Pigs.

They achieved this honor by having the first song on the tape be one called "My Dad Should Have Pulled His Dick Out."  That was more than enough to kick this one to the back of the pile.  But, now that I've finally listened to it, I can say that the whole thing isn't as bad as I would have thought going into it.

Don't get me wrong, it's not good and across the board the lyrics are just awful.  But there's more musical competency on display here than I would have expected and vocals aside, it's probably the easiest Poop Stick release for me to get through start to finish.  There's an element of catchiness to the songs and there isn't a constant barrage of screaming and wild drums.  There's something of a 70s punk vibe to it, particularly in the way the guitar rhythms are constructed.

Not that snotty 70s style punk is really my bag either, but can tolerate it way more than hardcore.  At least there are song structures here, which is more than I can say about a lot of bands.  If these guys stick with it and maybe change up their subject matter in an attempt to be slightly less 'shocking,' they could be on to something in a few years.

The Human Pigs - Poop Stick Around:

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Masta Ace Incorporated - Slaughtahouse 2xLP


Craft (2018, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

I'm pretty sure the very first time I heard Masta Ace was on the Brand New Heavies' Heavy Rhyme Experience album.  I really liked his track, but didn't persue anything else of his until he started to show up on Yo MTV Raps.  At some point in 1993 they started playing the video for "Jeep Ass N***h."  I loved the rolling bass line that I felt had some similarities with Tribe Called Quest style production, but combined it with a much harder hitting lyrical style.  I bought the cassette single of that with also included the song "Saturday Night Live."  Those two songs led me to picking up the whole album.  His appearance on the  further solidified my need to get it.

For whatever reason, I didn't listen to it much back then.  The two songs from the single always shone the brightest to me and the album as a whole just kind of got lost in the deluge of unbelievably great hip hop records that came out in 1993. It was much later that I revisited the album and really started to appreciate what a great album it is from start to finish.  

In particular, the production is just so good with killer beats on almost every track.  I've listened intently to the album that came out before Slaughtahouse (1990's Atake A Look Around, which is quite good) and to the record that came out right after (1995's Sittin' On Chrome, which I do not like at all), but neither can hold a candle to Slaughtahouse.  Masta Ace also turns the best lyrical performance of his career, hitting it out of the park every single time he picks up the microphone.

I really think this is a forgotten classic of the era.  I'm really happy that someone released it not too long ago though I am somewhat surprised by that.  I'm hopeful that with hindsight more might give this album a chance.  1993 had so many incredible hip hop records, this is one of them that deserves another listen.

Masta Ace Incorporated - Slaughtahouse (YouTube Music full album playlist)

Monday, April 12, 2021

Prospector - Twist & Shout 7"


Pop Ball (1998)

Digging around, I found a small stash of 7"s that I picked up during my 2017 trip to Tokyo that I never wrote about for some reason.  I'm going to try to catch up on those and I'm starting off with this record by Prospector.  They're a band that I wasn't really familiar with prior to getting this 7", but I know they had a song on that Dave Parasite Japan comp that came out a million years ago.  Best I can tell, this is their only standalone record.  Which is a shame, because I really like these guys a lot.

When the 7" starts off with "Passin' Through," you immediately know you're in for a treat.  The way the band has blended in lead riffs with their power chords and corralled the energy into an infections pop punk/rock and roll hybrid.  It sort of makes me think about the kind of stuff that Mutant Pop was trying to do with the bulk of their bands, but almost none of them were able to pull it off at this level.

Vocally, I think the sound is somewhat similar to the Navel/Plum end of the spectrum, with a little Hum Hums like harmony thrown in for good measure.  Like I mentioned early, it's too bad this is the bands only record as I'd really like to hear more from them.    

Friday, April 9, 2021

Science Man - Demo Cassette


More Power Tapes (2018)

OK, as I clean up the tape backlog, I cannot fathom how I have one from 2018 still hanging around.  Seriously, this is almost three years old?  I sure feel like a scumbag for never listening to it until now.  Not that I probably would have had much to say about it three years ago that differs from what I think about it now.

It's all right for the most part.  The production is pretty solid and it sounds better than your typical demo tape that has a skull on the cover.  The guitars are kind of sludgy on purpose and the vocals have a harsh edge to them that kind of vary back and forth between growling, changing and yelling.  There's something about the song "Science Monster" that feels like it could have been a noise B side to a Beck Mellow Gold era release, but not one of the ones I'd listen to all that much.

The band appears to have gone on to put out two full length records and a 7" since this tape came out.  Maybe it'll be a collector's item someday.  I don't know that I would have expected them to go on to great things based on this tape, but it's not anywhere near as bad as some of the others I've listened to over the years.

Science Man - Demo:

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Ultramagnetic MC's - Funk Your Head Up 2xLP


Bootleg (Originally released in 1992)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Ultramagnetic MC's are a pretty special band to me.  I know they are lauded by those in the know these days, but when I stumbled across them in the early 90s, they certainly weren't a household name.  I am reasonably sure I saw the video for "Poppa Large" on MTV sometime during 1992.  It wasn't a staple of the show, but I find it impossible to believe I didn't see it once or twice.  That's likely what led me to pick up my first copy of this on CD, which I did at a CD store in Heathrow airport in London.

1992 was my sophomore year in high school and I got a job at McDonalds so that I could save up and go on my school's Spanish class trip to Spain.  I was in debt for a long time after that trip and I had good times there for sure, but it's funny to me that the most memorable part of that trip thirty years later is that I bought this Ultramagnetic MC's album while on a seven hour layover at Heathrow.  I also had the single best glass of orange juice I ever had in my life that day. Whether it was remembering the "Poppa Large" video or just because I had a little extra spending money in my pocket, Funk Your Head Up came along the rest of that trip with me.

Now, is this album a crushing classic from start to finish?  No, it's not.  There are a handful of songs that either are really slow, have a weird R&B vibe to them or seem to be trying to claw at a mainstream acceptance that would never be the band's destiny.  I think the album would be stronger if you removed "I Like Your Style," "Porno Star" and "Bust The Facts."  That said, my life would be so much worse if I had never heard the rest of this album.  "Poppa Large" (any of the 3 versions between this album and the 12" single), "MC Champion," "Funk Radio," "Pluckin' Cards" and "You Ain't Real" are top notch, all time hip hop classics.

I've had a single LP version of this for quite a few years, but this is a long album and it kind of sounded like crap.  It's too much music for 1 piece of vinyl.  This 2xLP bootleg version showed up on eBay and I snagged it.  It doesn't have cover art, so I've put in the cover from my other copy in the picture.  Lack of art aside, it sounds so much better than the single LP version.  Maybe it was pressed straight from the CD version, who knows - but the bass is deep and full of energy and I'm just thrilled to have a really solid sounding version of this album in my collection, bootleg or not.  It's not like I wouldn't instantly buy a remastered 2xLP official reissue of this.  Hell, I'd still buy one even having this bootleg.  Someone get on that.

Ultramagnetic MC's - Funk Your Head Up (YouTube Music full album playlist):

Monday, April 5, 2021

Supersuckers - The Sacrilicious Sounds of the Supersuckers LP


Sub Pop (1995)

For me, the key Supersuckers albums are the first three and while La Mano Cornuda has always been my favorite, The Sacrilicious Sounds of the Supersuckers has been a very close number two.  Sacrilicious hit my freshman year of college.  It had a big rock and roll sound with just enough pop hooks to satiate my newly forming interest in pop punk.  The band had a similar group of fans as Rocket From The Crypt at the time and I'm pretty sure that's how my good friend at the time Joe and I stumbled across them.

Supersuckers were also one of the first bands he and I interviewed for our college paper at the time and I have odd memories of that Maxwell's basement interview.  I remember coming out of thinking the dudes in the band weren't particularly nice, but I have no recollection of anything they actually did that would make me think that.  Bizarre for sure.  I also remember sitting on the speaker that was at the right hand side of the stage during the show, back when they had one speaker on the ground and the 2nd speaker hanging from the ceiling.  I don't think that set up lasted much longer after that at Maxwell's.

All these years laters, I think the album holds up well.  "Born With A Tail" is still a smash hit and is probably one of the best two or three songs the band ever wrote.  The mid album trifecta of "Marie"/"The Thing About That"/"Ozzy" still smokes pretty hard.  This isn't the sort of album I can listen to every day and  I'm not even sure I would like it if you played it for me for the first time today, but it has those early college memories baked into it and twenty six years later, it's sometimes nice to revisit those feelings. 

It took forever for me to add this one to my collection and it ultimately involved me trading my copy of the first Carbonas record on red vinyl to obtain this copy, which was still sealed.  It wasn't a one for one trade, but it did take a deep dig into the archive and relinquishing a fairly rare record.  I justified the trade for three reasons.  One, I got some cash on top of the deal. Two, I still have the record release version of that Carbonas record, which is the rarest variant of the three. And three, I don't even like that specific Carbonas record.  Everything they did after that one was way better.  

All in all it ended up being a good trade, but I'm surprised I had to make it at all.  It strikes me as being very unusual that the Sub Pop Supersuckers records have never been reissued.  I wonder why. I still need to hunt down a copy of The Smoke Of Hell eventually.  Hopefully it doesn't require another collection sacrifice.

Supersuckers - The Sacrilicious Sounds of the Supersuckers (YouTube Music full album playlist)

Friday, April 2, 2021

CaveXrage - I Believe In CaveXrage Cassette


Poop Stick (2019)

Another 2 year old tape.  The good news is that I'm finally almost all caught up on my pile of tapes and will be able to move on to new things soon, but it's been appalling to me how many of these have been sitting around for so long.  This is another Poop Sick records release, which I think means these are probably high school kids.  As such, I applaud them for being out there, picking up instruments and making some rock and roll racket.  That said, this hurts my ears.

I guess this is hardcore?  It's a lot of really fast drums with fast chord changes accompanied by a bunch of yelling.  The songs are super short and there are mercifully only five of them, so the whole thing is over in less than six minutes.  I'm not really sure I could take more than that.  I've never been one who likes hardcore as the lack of melody and song structure has always driven me crazy.  I don't really know if this band is any better or worse than others that I've heard.  While this is the lamest, old person statement ever; it mostly all just sounds the same to me.

Again, props to the kids out there playing rock music as oppose to whatever else it is that high school kids do these days.  I'm hopeful they will stay interested, grow and contribute great things to the music scene in years to come. 

CaveXrage - I Believe In CaveXrage: