Category: 7" single

The Mono Men “Kick Out the Jams” and Girl Trou…

The Mono Men “Kick Out the Jams” and Girl Trouble “You Got What It Takes” 1996. Gearhead Records. This split 7″ came with an issue of Gearhead Magazine, back in the 90′s when they still did that (other issues included splits by bands like Gas Huffer, Red Aunts and Man or Astroman?). The Mono Men’s cover of MC5′s “Kick Out the Jams” is punked up, less funked-up and a bit more scuzzy than the original. I also prefer it to Girl Trouble’s “You Got What It Takes,” a cover of Dinah Washington’s “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)” that doesn’t translate well to the Pacific Northwest garage punk style of Girl Trouble.  

David Bowie “Space Oddity” released 50 years a…

David Bowie “Space Oddity” released 50 years ago today, July 11th, 1969. Inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, the single was released to coincide with the first manned moon landing (which launched on July 16th, 1969), “Space Oddity” was Bowie’s first single to chart in the UK: British radio only began playing the track once the mission was successful (on July 20th) and the crew returned safely to earth (July 24th). “Space Oddity” hit #5 in the UK but failed to crack the top 100 in the US (#124). The original single had “Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud” as its b-side. Our version is the RCA 1973 reissue with “The Man Who Sold the World” as its b-side; in ‘73 “Space Oddity” did significantly better in the US, going to #15. That success, in turn, inspired a UK re-release by RCA a couple of years later: in ‘75 it re-entered the UK charts and went to #1, his first in England. It again re-entered the charts after Bowie’s death in 2016.

I love “Space Oddity” – it was the first song I listened to after Bowie died and I was in tears by the second line. I also love the history and trajectory that the track had in Bowie’s catalog throughout his career. He revisits the loneliness and isolation of the Major Tom character in “Ashes to Ashes,” “Hallo Spaceboy,” possibly “Starman,” and “Blackstar.” Recently I listened to the audiobook of On Bowie by Rob Sheffield, who argues that “Space Oddity” is also responsible for inspiring a host of other artists’ songs over the years, the most obvious being, of course, “Major Tom (Coming Home)” by Peter Schilling but also ones like Duran Duran’s “Planet Earth” and Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love.” It’s included in several “best of” song lists, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s, and certainly deserves to the there. 

Squeeze “Take Me, I’m Yours” 1978. We picked u…

Squeeze “Take Me, I’m Yours” 1978. We picked up Squeeze’s debut single at a great little record store in Brighton, England last week, a place called Vinyl Revolution which I just learned is closing its doors this weekend. It’s a sad situation when global economics and politics, legal and transportation issues all combine to push a lovely independent record store out of its brick-and-mortar business. One of the shop owner’s, Simon Parker (who can be seen in the video – linked at the bottom of this post – about the shop’s closure), chatted with me for a bit upon checkout and what a lovely guy! They will still have an online shop: here is their website link

Me in front of Vinyl Revolution, Brighton

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Joe digging through the 7″ singles.

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Anyway, Squeeze’s “Take Me, I’m Yours” is a fantastic early new wave track. It hit #19 on the UK charts and appears on their debut album Squeeze. John Cale produced that LP but did not produce “Take Me, I’m Yours” nor the other single, “Bang Bang.” The b-side, “Night Nurse,” a rockin’ rhythm and blues scorcher which features Jools Holland on vocals and boogie woogie piano and, according to the video, The Invisible Man on saxophone. 

Here’s the video from Vinyl Revolution. It’s a bit long but worth the time.

Depeche Mode “The Meaning of Love” 1982. Mute …

Depeche Mode “The Meaning of Love” 1982. Mute Records. Today, June 1st, is former DM keyboardist  Alan Wilder’s 60th birthday (b. 1959) who stepped in after Vince Clarke left the band in 1982 (Wilder split in ‘95). He wrote a few tracks for DM, though “The Meaning of Love” is not one of them (though it was the second video that Wilder appeared in); it was written by Martin Gore and appears on their second album A Broken Frame. It went to #12 in the UK and is backed by “Oberkorn (it’s a small town),” an instrumental – also by Gore – named for a town in Luxembourg.

Depeche Mode “New Life” b/w “Shout!” 1981, Mut…

Depeche Mode “New Life” b/w “Shout!” 1981, Mute Records. Today, May 9th, is Depeche Mode vocalist Dave Gahan’s birthday (b. David Callcott, 1962). “New Life” is one of my favorite DM songs ever; written by Vince Clarke, it appeared on their debut album Speak & Spell. “New Life” was the second single from the LP and the group’s breakthrough, going to #11 in the UK and was the first song the band played for the TV show Top of the Pops (they are so adorable, so young and so awkwardly lip-syncing). I love the bright, optimism of this classic new wave synthpop track, and the B-side “Shout!” has a similar sound though a bit more exotic; it too was written by Clarke. 

L7 “Burn Baby” b/w “Fighting the Crave” 2019 R…

L7 “Burn Baby” b/w “Fighting the Crave” 2019 Record Store Day release on golden yellow vinyl. “Burn Baby” is the lead single from L7′s forthcoming album Scatter the Rats due out in May, their first LP in 20 years (which means that’s about how long it’s been since I last saw them perform, in September ‘99 while on tour for Slap Happy at The Globe here in Milwaukee – I’m pretty sure I interviewed at least one member of the band for my write-up for Shepherd Express but at the moment I can’t remember who). Scatter the Rats will – fittingly – be released on Joan Jett’s label Blackheart Records. “Burn Baby” is a grungy rocker from the one of the best Riot Grrrl bands of the 90′s, hard driving, catchy and with a chorus that snarls “Burn at the stake” shows L7 haven’t much mellowed in the past 20 years. The B-side’s “Fighting the Crave” will not appear on Scatter the Rats but this is no throwaway track. It’s more on the metal edge of grunge than “Burn Baby” but also has a great funky stomp and an absolute killer hook. I think I like it better than the A-side.

L7 “Burn Baby” b/w “Fighting the Crave” 2019 R…

L7 “Burn Baby” b/w “Fighting the Crave” 2019 Record Store Day release on golden yellow vinyl. “Burn Baby” is the lead single from L7′s forthcoming album Scatter the Rats due out in May, their first LP in 20 years (which means that’s about how long it’s been since I last saw them perform, in September ‘99 while on tour for Slap Happy at The Globe here in Milwaukee – I’m pretty sure I interviewed at least one member of the band for my write-up for Shepherd Express but at the moment I can’t remember who). Scatter the Rats will – fittingly – be released on Joan Jett’s label Blackheart Records. “Burn Baby” is a grungy rocker from the one of the best Riot Grrrl bands of the 90′s, hard driving, catchy and with a chorus that snarls “Burn at the stake” shows L7 haven’t much mellowed in the past 20 years. The B-side’s “Fighting the Crave” will not appear on Scatter the Rats but this is no throwaway track. It’s more on the metal edge of grunge than “Burn Baby” but also has a great funky stomp and an absolute killer hook. I think I like it better than the A-side.

INXS “Need You Tonight” b/w “I’m Coming (Home)…

INXS “Need You Tonight” b/w “I’m Coming (Home)” 1987. Today, March 27th, is INXS keyboardist and primary composer Andrew Farriss’ 60th birthday (b. 1959). The massive hit “Need You Tonight,” probably the sexiest single of the 80′s, from their album Kick went to #1 in the US and #2 in the UK and its video won MTV’s Video of the Year in ‘88. A few years ago I watched the INXS biopic INXS: Never Tear Us Apart (2014) which chronicled the band’s formation, rise to fame and the events leading up to the tragic suicide of Michael Hutchence. In the show, there’s a pretty good scene about Farriss (played by actor Andrew Ryan) composing “Need You Tonight” on the keyboards, striking the iconic opening riff (eventually played on guitar) over and over, realizing he’d pretty much struck pop gold. (I have mixed feelings about the entire two-part miniseries program, but that part was cool.) The B-side, “I’m Coming (Home)” is, to quote myself when I wrote about the 12″ single of “Need You Tonight,”  weird. Lots of saxophone and 80′s synth and a creepy/sexy low voice talking with moaning and groaning in the background, Michael Hutchence occasionally singing “I’m coming home, coming home.”

INXS “Need You Tonight” b/w “I’m Coming (Home)…

INXS “Need You Tonight” b/w “I’m Coming (Home)” 1987. Today, March 27th, is INXS keyboardist and primary composer Andrew Farriss’ 60th birthday (b. 1959). The massive hit “Need You Tonight,” probably the sexiest single of the 80′s, from their album Kick went to #1 in the US and #2 in the UK and its video won MTV’s Video of the Year in ‘88. A few years ago I watched the INXS biopic INXS: Never Tear Us Apart (2014) which chronicled the band’s formation, rise to fame and the events leading up to the tragic suicide of Michael Hutchence. In the show, there’s a pretty good scene about Farriss (played by actor Andrew Ryan) composing “Need You Tonight” on the keyboards, striking the iconic opening riff (eventually played on guitar) over and over, realizing he’d pretty much struck pop gold. (I have mixed feelings about the entire two-part miniseries program, but that part was cool.) The B-side, “I’m Coming (Home)” is, to quote myself when I wrote about the 12″ single of “Need You Tonight,”  weird. Lots of saxophone and 80′s synth and a creepy/sexy low voice talking with moaning and groaning in the background, Michael Hutchence occasionally singing “I’m coming home, coming home.”

David Bowie “1984″ b/w “Queen Bitch” 1974. “19…

David Bowie “1984″ b/w “Queen Bitch” 1974. “1984″ appears on Bowie’s Diamond Dogs LP. It was released only in the US, New Zealand and Japan (where the b-side was “Lady Grinning Soul” – honestly a better stylistic match for the A-side than “Queen Bitch”) and it failed to chart in all three countries. Highly reminiscent of “Theme from Shaft,” the track is super-funky, operatic and a vision of Disco future. Bowie intended the track to be included into the soundtrack for a stage musical of George Orwell’s famous book but Orwell’s estate refused to release the rights. Side B has my top Bowie song, “Queen Bitch.” It originally appeared on his 1971 album Hunky Dory as a tribute to Velvet Underground and as the b-side to “Rebel Rebel.”