The Bolshoi “Lindy’s Party” 1987. Beggars Banquet. Industrial goth, post-punk and highly danceable, Lindy’s Party was The Bolshoi’s second LP (or their third if you count the 1985 mini-album Giants). For whatever reason I never listened to The Bolshoi in the 80′s, though I certainly listened to their contemporaries and bands they gigged with like The Cult and Lords of the New Church (and though I’m not sure if they ever toured with Love and Rockets, I’d compare The Bolshoi’s sound with them, too).
Lindy’s Party has a big, glossy 80′s sound with lots of keyboards, bordering at times on synthpop, courtesy of newish member (’85) Paul Clark. My top tracks are the industrial-dance “Auntie Jean,” the hook-ladened “Please,” the Rio-era Duran Duranish “Swings and Roundabouts,” the jangly Smiths-esque “She Don’t Know,” and “T.V. Man” which cleverly nabs snippets of dialogue, film titles and soundtrack soundbites from Clint Eastwood’s catalogue. I also really like “Barrowlands” which is creepy in a carnival funhouse Siouxsie and the Banshees way and provides an appropriately gothic break to Lindy’s (dance) Party.
Sid Vicious “Sid Lives” 2019. Black Friday Record Store Day release, Jungle Records, tri-color double-LP vinyl. Live recordings from two of Sid’s last-ever shows on September 28th and 30th, 1978 at Max’s Kansas City in NYC. His backing band included New York Dolls’ Jerry Nolan and Killer Kane, plus Steve Dior who writes an incredibly lengthy set of liner notes on the inside of the gatefold cover. Besides a meticulous timeline of Sid’s life, it also contains some interesting tidbits regarding this recording: Mick Jones from The Clash performed with Vicious at the first of the Max shows but “Sid said he didn’t like Mick’s guitar coz he played too much lead, so that was the only show he did. That first show wasn’t recorded. But thankfully two more nights were and here they are, in all their rough and ready glory.”
The shows are rough, that’s for sure. I’m familiar with several of these live recordings as they first appeared on the 1979 release Sid Sings and I totally recognize a beyond-irritating audience member who was too close to the recording equipment “singing backup” through much of the set and shouting out shit constantly. The four sets from the two evenings on Sid Lives are pretty similar. They all include covers of The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “Search and Destroy,” the Vicious-penned Sex Pistols song “Belsen Was a Gas,” Paul Revere and the Raiders/The Monkees’ “Stepping Stone,” Jerry Nolan’s “Take a Chance” (from the liner notes: “Sid had to read the lyrics every night we did this. And every night he lost ‘em.”), and Dave Berry via Sex Pistols’ “Don’t Gimme No Lip, Child.” There are two Johnny Thunders covers that don’t appear on all of the sets: “Born to Lose” and “Chatterbox” (from the liner notes: “Originally Johnny Thunders was offered the other guitar spot [in Dior’s band that backed Vicious], on the condition that he was somewhat straight. I was there when [Jerry] Nolan called him. ‘Johnny, if you turn up looking the least bit silly, I’m walking!’ Thunders never showed up. Too many junkies on the one stage is a recipe for total disaster!”) plus Richard Hell’s (co-written by Dee Dee Ramone) “Chinese Rocks” and Eddie Cochran’s “Something Else.” One of my favorites is Sid’s cover of Paul Anka’s “My Way” made popular by Frank Sinatra. Back when I first heard Sid Sings in the 1980′s I honestly had never heard Frank’s version before so my only awareness of the classic pop tune was Sid’s. Hahaha, imagine my surprise when I finally heard the original.
Again according to the liner notes, Vicious had planned to go into the studio with the band (going by The Idols at the time) soon after these shows. However, twelve days after the last gig on October 12th, Sid’s girlfriend Nancy Spungen was found dead with a knife wound to her abdomen and Sid was arrested on murder charges. Steve Dior clearly doesn’t believe Sid did it. “I got to see many tender moments between Sid and Nancy. My memories are fond. I remember clearly the moment I summoned up the courage to ask him about Nancy. We sat alone in my apartment on 3rd Street. I wanted to ask him but I was really scared. Finally: ‘Sid, I’ve to ask you! Did you do it?’ ‘No! Steve! I didn’t! I didn’t kill Nancy!’”
Eurythmics “Love Is a Stranger” 1982. 12″ single. “Love Is a Stranger” was the third single from the band’s January 1983 album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) and it’s one of my all-time favorites from the synthpop/new wave duo. First released as a single in November ‘82, it did relatively poorly (it was their 5th single to date, hitting #54 in the UK. However, after the next single, the title track “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” hit #2 in the UK and #1 in the US (it was their first single released in America), they re-released “Love Is a Stranger” and it, too, became a hit going to #6 in the UK and to #23 in the US (#7 on the US Dance chart). The B-side of the 12″ has two tracks, “Let’s Just Close Our Eyes” which is hypnotic and super-danceable and “Monkey Monkey,” also hypnotic but more mostly just an instrumental track: experimental with lots of techno weirdness.
Tina Turner “Acid Queen” 1975. Today, November 26th, is Tina Turner’s 80th birthday (b. Anne Mae Bullock, 1939) so I’m spinning this half blues and hard rock cover songs/half Ike and Tina Turner-penned tracks album. Acid Queen was Turner’s second solo studio LP (though Ike appears on the excellent single “Baby – Get It On” which went to #88 on the Hot 100 and #31 on the Hot Soul charts in the US and to #53 in the UK) and was recorded about a year before she and Ike split. The title track “Acid Queen” by Pete Townshend is a Who cover based on Turner’s role in the Who’s rock opera Tommy (which also starred a bunch of other musicians including Elton John. (Sidenote: I’m currently reading Elton John’s new autobiography Me – it’s great and hilarious – and in the early 90′s he and Turner contemplated touring together but it didn’t happen because, according to John, Turner was a nightmare to work with. During a rehearsal of the classic Tina tune “Proud Mary” she stopped every couple of seconds to accuse various band members of screwing up before turning her wrath on Elton because he was improvising too much. Fed up, Elton said she could take “Proud Mary” and shove it up her ass. He then commented to the reader that she is a perfectionist and has every detail of her performances down exactly, which is what has made her one of the greatest performers of all-time but also not easy to work with.) Other covers on Acid Queen include soulful and disco-groovy versions of the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” (which she gender-reverses and with the benefit of hindsight seems to be a big f-you to Ike) and “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” The Who’s “I Can See for Miles and Miles” and Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” which she fantastically funks up. Turner originals, besides “Baby – Get It On” are the bluesy “Bootsey Whitelaw,” “Pick Me Tonight” and “Rockin’ and Rollin.’”
Death By Chocolate “Death By Chocolate″ 2001. Siesta Records (Spanish import) on chocolate colored vinyl (of course). Mary Quant-esque 60′s swinging London psychedelic art rock: a mix of spoken word/poetry “vocals” – think Nico but with less singing and icy Germanic vibes and more poppy English schoolgirl poetry recitation (Angela Faye Tillet, Death By Chocolate’s vocalist, was a teen she recorded this album and possibly lifted the lyrics from her grammar school inspiration notebook) – plink-plunk organ and a breezy air of mod paisley – see “The Land of Chocolate” in particular (“Kit Kats…mmmmm, crunch. Instant satisfaction.”). It’s really weird and really cool. Death By Chocolate (the band) was formed by British indie pop A&R man Mike Always, who got Tillet (at the time 19 years old and working as hotel chambermaid), Matty Green from Boyracer, producer/composer Jermey Butler and John Austin together to record Death By Chocolate. The instrumentation would be right at home on any early Pink Panther soundtrack (like “Daddy’s Out of Focus”). My top tracks include “Magpie,” “My Friend Jack” (a cover originally by Smoke), “Ice Cold Lemonade” (great 60′s organ on this one), “Rainbow With ‘a’ Underneath & an Elephant” (a song as loopy as the title would indicate) and “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out,” a Cat Stevens cover (which completely endeared me to the record) that is really the only song that Tillet actually sings on, sounding a bit like Meg White.
Duran Duran “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” released on this date, November 21st, 1983. Limited edition, double vinyl release from 2010. Of course I still have my original album from ‘83 but I couldn’t resist picking up this reissue that has the original record along with a bonus disk with four remixed Duran Duran singles: “Is There Something I Should Know? (Monster Mix),” “Union of the Snake (Monkey Mix),” “New Moon on Monday (Dance Mix)” and “The Reflex (Dance Mix).”
Seven and the Ragged Tiger entered the UK album chart at #1 in 1983 and went to #8 in the US a bit later. Quoting myself (and others) from a year ago when I wrote about the album for its 35th anniversary: “’Opulently produced, their new romantic origins blooming into lush decadent pop’ from The Telegraph and ‘Restores danger and menace [to Duran Duran]’ from Melody Maker. Danger and menace definitely describes several of the tracks on Seven and the Ragged Tiger including their first single from the album, “Union of the Snake” which hit #3 in both the US and the UK, the non-single tracks “(I’m Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement,” “Of Crime and Passion” and “Shadows on Your Side,” as well as the third and final single “The Reflex” which went to #1 in the US and UK. New romantic, opulent and lushly decadent are apt descriptions for the other songs from Seven and the Ragged Tiger like the instrumental “Tiger Tiger,” sultry and aching “The Seventh Stranger” and the second released single “New Moon on Monday.” “New Moon on Monday” has always been one of my favorites (my Duranie name was La Luna Le Bon – we Duranies had our own special names, a worldwide network of penpals and other nutball schemes only pre-teen and teenage girls could come up with); it went to #9 in the UK and #10 in the US and its video won two Grammy awards though Nick and Andy both hated the video and making it: it was miserably cold and by the end of the shoot the entire band was drunk. On the upside we get to see Nick dance which is a rare occurrence.
Ty Segall & Mikal Cronin “Reverse Shark Attack” In the Red Records (reissued in 2012, originally pressed by Kill Shaman Records, 2009). Heavily fuzzed, psychedelic noisy garage punk and it’s so so good. Side A is jam-packed with seven fairly short, punchy and loud tracks; my favorites are “Wear Black,” “Drop Dead Baby,” “Doctor Doctor” and “Bikini Babes” (that last one so excellently 60′s psych-garage inspired) – all are totally danceable. Also great is Segall and Cronin’s cover of Pink Floyd’s 1967 “Take Up Thy Stethescope and Walk” – it’s completely insane. Side B has just one very long song, the title track “Reverse Shark Attack” which is just as nuts: distorted vocals, 60′s pop melodies, loping to crashing rhythms, abrupt tempo changes and general psychedelic freak-outs. Segall and Cronin grew up together in Laguna Beach, California (Cronin was born in ‘85 and Segall in ‘87) and while Segall is now probably the better known of the pair, Cronin’s resume is pretty impressive: he’s been in Segall’s backing band (working on Slaughterhouse, Emotional Mugger, Ty Segall and Freedom’s Goblin), Thee Oh Sees (on Drop), Okie Dokie and others besides issuing four of his own solo albums.
Depeche Mode “Shake the Disease” 1985, Mute Records. 12″ single, special edition, UK import. This past weekend the subject of Depeche Mode came up with an old friend who shares a mutual enthusiasm for the band and who is currently re-collecting the band’s catalog on vinyl. I commented how grateful I was that I’ve pretty much hung onto all of my records since I started buying them in the 80′s. This 12″ extended version of “Shake the Disease (Edit the Shake)” is one i’m still very fond of: I purchased this soon after its release in 1985 while on a visit to Los Angeles. While there I heard “Shake the Disease” on KROQ and was thrilled to be hearing the new Depeche Mode single before my friends back in the Midwest – radio stations in small-market Wisconsin cities did not play such dark gothy synthpop in the 80′s.
“Shake the Disease” was Depeche Mode’s 13th single, a stand-alone that DM would include on their 1985 comp album The Singles 81-85 (UK) and Catching Up with Depeche Mode (US). It went to #18 in the UK and into the Hot Dance Club chart top 40 in the US. It’s super-dark, melodically minor: a great bridge from the moving-darker synthpop of Some Great Reward (1984) to the industrial goth Black Celebration (1986). “Alan Wilder felt this song captured the essence of the band, saying that ‘there’s a certain edge to what we do that can make people think twice about things. If we’ve got a choice between calling a song ‘Understand Me’ or ‘Shake the Disease’, we’ll call it ‘Shake the Disease’. There’s a lot of perversity and innuendo in our lyrics, but nothing direct.’" (DM website/Wiki)
Also on the 12″ is a live version of “Master and Servant” (originally on Some Great Reward), recorded at their performance in Switzerland in November 1984, as well as upbeat synthpoppy “Flexible (Pre-deportation Mix)” and “Something to Do (Metalmix)” (Some Great Reward).
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” released on this date, November 18th, 1981. This worn and well-loved LP was the first record I ever bought with my own money when I was 10 years old and I still love it (and since it’s an original pressing, it has the track “Little Drummer Boy” included as the record was released for the holiday shopping season. I don’t like that Christmas song but Jett’s version is tolerable). Hard pop rock inspired by the late 50′s/early 60′s classic rock-n-roll sound, Jett’s second solo studio album (and her first with the backing band The Blackhearts) was a massive hit, hitting #2 in the US and #25 in the UK. The title track “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” was the first single from the album; originally recorded by the Arrows in 1975, Jett’s version went to #1 in the US and #4 in the UK. But the single and the version on I Love Rock ‘n Roll wasn’t her original take – she first recorded it with Steve Jones and Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols in ‘79 as the b-side to “You Don’t Own Me” (which appears on her first solo LP Bad Reputation). Jett also released “Crimson and Clover” as a single, another cover song (by Tommy James & The Shondells), which hit #7 in the US and #60 in the UK. Jett’s version is so great, adding in a hard rocking beat to balance the sweetness of the original. Other notable covers that Jett recorded for I Love Rock ‘n Roll are “Bits and Pieces” originally by The Dave Clark Five, “Nag” by The Halos and “You’re Too Possessive” (she basically covers herself: it was on The Runaways’ album Waitin’ For the Night from 1977). The album isn’t all covers, though – I really love Jett’s “Love is Pain” and the Bo Diddley-inspired “Be Straight.”
The Go “Whatcha Doin’” 1999/2019. 20th anniversary reissue on orange vinyl (“summer sun variant),” Third Man Records. Originally released on Sub Pop Records (I’m pretty sure we have the original CD from ‘99 around here somewhere), The Go’s first album featured the then not-famous Jack White on guitar (he left the band after the album’s release). I LOVED this album when it originally came out, a fabulous mix of Detroit grungy garage punk in the spirit of MC5 mixed with glammy psychedelic elements (T. Rex, especially). Jack White remixed the reissue from the original reel-to-reel tapes and issued it as part of the Third Man Vault Package series (#41). The package also comes with another LP, Ferdinand Attic Demos and a 7″ single (studio outtakes of “Keep on Trash” and “Time for Moon”) plus a 30+ photo book of the band at various bars and recording studios around Michigan. My favorite tracks from Whatcha Doin’ have always been the gritty glam-psych “Summer Sun Blues” and “Keep on Trash” (both of which I put on mixtapes back in the day) but also great are the title track “Whatcha Doin,’” the 60′s garage-goes-pop flavored “But You Don’t Know” and “Suzy Don’t Leave,” the T.Rex dead-ringer “You Can Get High” and the grungy ass-shaker “Time For Moon.” I’m not sure why it’s been so long since I’ve listened to this record in its entirety but it’s definitely going back into more regular rotation.