Friday, November 27, 2015

Honest/ly: Steely Dan - Black Friday - 1975

Sure, the song is technically about the financial Black Friday of  September 24th 1869.  You know the one, where 2 ass-hat gold prospectors decided to corner the market's gold supply after the civil war.  They bought and subsequently raised the value of gold about 30% above it's normal values simply by hoarding it.  So, then President Grant said, fine.  I'll just release the governments supply of gold to normalize the market, thus devaluing it completely and of course, cause economics, the market crashed.  Fast forward 106 years later, Steely Dan wrote a song about it!  It was the lead single on their 4th album, Katy Lied, an album which despite having only 2 official singles on an album of 10 songs, went gold.  Like a lot of their albums.  More on them later but, Katy Lied is 1 of 2 Steely Dan albums I don't own.  I'll do a proper post on them later.  Think of it as my own little countdown to ecstasy...

More on that much later.  Let's talk about the matter at hand.  I'm still in the process of setting up the rig here in the new place.  As I said in the last post however, I haven't stopped collecting new stuff to spin when that day comes.  To that end, Record Store Day meets Black Friday for some pretty big exclusive releases.  It's the last time for exclusivity till the major Record Store day this April.  If you live close to an awesome store, hopefully one of the few that I've even highlighted here, please do your self a favor and get into a local record shop for some of this.  Check out all of the releases here, then please check out some local stores.

Personally, I'm shouting out that dope as all fuck Beck single from earlier this year.  I've also got to get my hands on the Garbage 20th anniversary album, and while we're in the 90's, Trent Reznor is releasing Halo I-IV, oh and for good measure The Pharcyde has the single they're known for due out.  So when I'm not catering to the masses tomorrow, I'll be sure to hit up a record store or two, cause at the end of the day, it's all about the vinyl.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Still Spinning - Black Friday is Upon Us

Fear not great readers of the interwebs!  Rumors of my demise have been fairly assumed and as such are categorically wrong.

I've been on the move from one state to another.

Collecting all kinds of vinyl...

From the fairly obscure and eclectic...

To the guilty pleasures...

To the albums that defined my life...

To the must owns...

To the not so uncommon...

To the uncommonly good...

To the life defining and rare...

Once I settle in to the new place, perhaps get the new turntable up and spinning, and finally get back to enjoying what I love, I'll be back with all of these and then some.  (I've been to some awesome shops over the past 3 weeks.)  Obviously with Black Friday coming there's even more coming down the pipe.  I'll be posting the stuff I'm willing to get in line for.  In the meantime.  Shop local, shop often and by GOD shop for your vinyl!  

Friday, November 6, 2015

Cyndi Lauper - So Unusual - (1983)

At some point between the mid 70's and the rise of what was then known as the WWF circa 1985, Cyndi Lauper went from fronting a group called the Blue Angel to managing in the first ever Wrestlemania, and putting out one of the 80's greatest synth-pop albums ever.  

When it comes to 80's music and it's popularity, there weren't too many musicians that couldn't pump out a song worth recording from the radio.  Ok, that's not a completely true statement, there were a bunch that you would have a difficult time trying to remember if you ever heard of them at all.  Not everyone can be as magical as Mick Smiley.  Cyndi Lauper's a curious case...  The Queens native was an accidental star.  She was discovered while singing for the outstandingly horrible group, Blue Angel as the lone star in that outfit.  Apparently her voice was the only bright spot there.  Think I'm kidding, do a Google search for them.  They were Apple Maps bad.  

Like any repressed artist should, Cyndi went for the solo career.  As such, she kinda hit it big.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

The first single released from this album, came about a month before the albums drop making it a late summer banger.  Matter of fact, that one song was so popular that it charted #2 on Billboard and that single alone was certified platinum.  This album actually set off a trend when it came to that anomaly.  Obviously a musician would want to tease you with their best work on their album so that based on the strength of that song or songs, you would go out and buy the album,  It's been going on since the beginning of time.  What makes this single on this record special is that it was the first of many singles from the album, and this single alone sold better than a lot of artists full length albums! That changed how important singles were to the success an album.  It also validated some musicians right to stop creating albums and just work on singles and videos, a horrible trend that hit it's stride in the 90's and is now quite the norm today.  Hell, this single was so big that at it's time, it was the most recorded single on FM radio.  (Hoover your mouse over that last part if you have no idea what I'm talking about,)  Then there was the 2nd single...

Time After Time

Three months after So Unusual was released, Cyndi's 2nd single, Time After Time landed. That one ended up spending 20 weeks on the charts, certified gold, and set up what I'm calling the first commercial song about masturbation ever, Single #3...

She Bop

As has been the history with Cyndi, this single charted for 18 weeks, again certified gold and at this point it's July 1984.  There's still 2 singles to go, and lots of good music out there.  Elsewhere in the music world at this point, Michael Jackson's Thriller was still in full swing having been released earlier in 1983, So Unusual was released up against The Police with Synchronicity.  Right when  She Bop was nearing it's run of air play, Prince popped up with an album I'm sure you may have heard of, Purple Rain.  So what does Cyndi do?  Releases single #4.

The single, All Through The Night, really slowed things down on the album.  Over time it became a standard for easy listening music or adult contemporary.  The coolest part about this song is while it didn't resonate quite the same way the previous 3 singles did, it showed her range as an artist.  Cyndi was able to go from power punk borderline riot grrl, to having a super soft persona.  It's kinda scary particularly considering the make up of the song.  Part of the reason that this song didn't become larger has everything to do with Prince and damn near every song from Purple Rain.  As a musician, you literally had to pay to get your music on the radio, and if you didn't hear Prince at least 4-6 times an hour, something was wrong with you.  That said, here we are over a year since So Unusual was released, and she's about to drop the 5th single.

Money Changes Everything came out in December of 1984.  

Money Changes Everything

That single, a cover of a 1978 song by the group, The Brains, was the downside of the album.  Money Changes Everything, while a great commentary on relationships and how money has a funny way of fucking them up, didn't do too much better than 27 on a lot of charts.  Curiously enough though, it was the 2nd in a series of easy listening songs that we would hear from this album.  Thinking that since there were only 10 songs on the album, why not make 1 more single or two?  

Cyndi went on to release 2 more singles into 1985.  Neither of them with the same degree of popularity of anything she had released prior.  That's not a problem seeing as though her next album, True Colors in 1986 will do just fine.  So unusual won her quite a few awards through it popular life span.  She won a Grammy for Best New Artist, and a MTV award for Best Female Video for Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Cyndi is an outstanding activist as well.  Her work for and with the LGBT movement has kept her in the public eye through today.  If you're lucky enough to see her live these days, you'll see that she can still sing and her live shows are something to witness.  While she isn't as "punk" as she used to be, she can still power with the best of them.

I picked this original pressing up over at Replay Records in Hamden CT.  I highly recommend that if you're ever in the area that you check this place out.  He's got a great collection of R&B, well curated used Rock, and some of the most obscure soundtracks that you'll see in a used record store.

Next week, I may be in a period of transition, but I think I'll be dropping the needle on something really different.