Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Hey, no one listen to albums anymore, it's all singles, shufflePod, mixtapes and piracy. A rocket scientist at the New York Times said so a couple days ago so it must be true.

DD, however, lives in the swamps of Paphlagonia. I still buy albums and when Tower went out of business, boy-oh-boy, did I go to town. And I was no vulture. In the last agonies of Pasadena's Tower people flooded the store lured by the idea they were going to get real price breaks on treasure before Christmas. Maybe they'd be able to score something for a friend and NOT SPEND MUCH MONEY.

They'd read in the op-ed pages of the Los Angeles Times, one contribution from a writer who did jokes for "Seinfeld" -- wow (!), there's a music expert -- who said he had been there to see crashing prices. And he said he was going to break out his checkbook which immediately told the intelligent he was a liar, making it up for the newspaper as celebrity contributors are wont to do, BECAUSE if he had actually been to Tower he would have seen the YELLOW SIGNS ALL OVER THE PLACE SAYING NO CHECKS ALLOWED, JUST CASH AND PLASTIC!

Readers know that the mainstream media hires contributors who lie and make stuff up all the time. Editors like it like that until they get found out and then they pretend to hate it and say it's bad.

The people flocking to Pasadena Tower didn't know it though. They thought there would be stuff they would want. They thought they'd get classic rock CDs by Genesis and Tool and Frank Zappa or Yes or the Who or some giant country artist or some famous album, like "Dark Side of the Moon" or Aerosmith's "Rocks" or "Frampton Comes Alive" or Nirvana for a dollar!

Ha-ha! That was all gone by the time prices hit firesale. Instead, DD heard people listlessly moping how there sure were a lot of CDs but they were all things no one had heard of or the album by the popular artist that had been roundly condemned and found to be the end of a career.

One fellow even started following DD around, noticing I had purpose, hoping for guidance. I had none to dispense, not the kind anyone wanted. DD's 24-karat gold is most people's blackened zinc. Nope, no one wanted that new Buckethead CD (neither did I), or the new one by the blind white guitarist -- the guy who was in the Patrick Swayze movie, "Roadhouse" -- playin' his favorite old jazz and ragtime standards.

No one wanted the 2,000 hear here today gone tomorrow hip-hop CDs crash-priced to between one and two dollars, each one with the the artist on the cover with his gold chains and gold teeth and XXL football jerseys and baseball hats. No, not even if you gave them a shovel and said, "Here, all you can put in a burlap sack, for 50 cents!"

The experience was making DD laugh. I was imagining people determinedly buying stuff that they didn't want, maybe one or two to slip into the stocking of a child or a friend, who'd see it and whine in dismay, "What's this?" The CD equivalent of the old Christmas fruitcake, that's what, the gift everyone always wanted from the insincere feigning sincerity.

And for New Year's rundown of the pile, DD couldn't even get to all of his booty. So here's some more.

Saigon Kick "Water" Hollywood hairspray hard rock, issuing this album after grunge had arrived. Reissued on Wounded Bird in 2005, languishing in Tower warehouses, twenty of them in the racks at Pasadena. Ace cover of Bowie's "Space Oddity" and a couple numbers that head toward late period Beatles, Revolver-Abbey Road-Magical Mystery Tour psychedelia. You almost expected Saigon Kick to cover the Monkees' "Porpoise Song" but it's not here.

Thunder "Their Finest Hour (and a bit)" English hairspray hardrock, crashed into the singles MTV-video charts in '90 or so with "Dirty Love" and one of the band members, the drummer, dressed in a tutu. "I don't need your dur-tee love, I don't need you touchin' me!" yells the singer in the hook, followed by even more catchy "Na-na-nas." Lots of hooks, lyrics which are not cringeworthy, good singing and a stomping rhythms. Successful in stadia for about six months in the US.

Daddy Longhead "Classic" Another one of the two hundred or more reasons the Man's Ruin record company went out of business. THIS IS STONER ROCK -- MANLY STUFF made by someone whose day job was in the Butthole Surfers. Sometimes he sings like Ozzy Osbourne.

The Move "Message from the Country" Another one that had been sitting in the warehouse, waiting for Tower to go into liquidation. Never saw it when it was issued, everyone passed it over maybe 'cuz the Move was never popular in the US. However, it features "Do Ya" (you know the ELO version, maybe) and "California Man," covered by Cheap Trick. A great mix of hard rock and Beatles-influenced pop, meaning they could sing and play guitar pretty good.

Enuff Z'Nuff "Favorites" See more Hollywood hairspray except they were from Chicago and were big on MTV way back when with the singles "New Thing" and "Fly High Michelle." An anthology of their career, compilations of such which DD sometimes doesn't like, unless they remind him of the old greatest hits, volumes one-two-three, by Herman's Hermits. Doesn't sound like Herman's Hermits, sounds like the Beatles doing psychedelia, particularly "The Freak," which should have scored for them long after everyone had forgotten and their hair had gone to seed.

Blackjack "Anthology" Michael Bolton's HARD ROCK band before he became wealthier than Midas doing schmaltz. Both of Blackjack's two records are on this 2006 reissue, complete with liner notes and interviews with other non-famous band members -- a guitarist who went on into Kiss -- insinuating their former buddy tried to have its release suppressed. Think of it as Taylor Hicks' first record, before "American Idol" and the Orange Bowl with Aretha last night, only better. Blackjack's first record was produced by Tom Dowd, making it sound a bit homespun and southern, the second by Eddie Offord, which sounds 80's and ready to compete with Bad Company in the arena. I had one of these on vinyl once, believe it or not. It looked like a deck of playing cards.

Sugerloaf "Alive in America" The band that had hits with "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" and "Green-Eyed Lady." Both are on here, jammed out and early-70's in concert hard rock style. What that means: If you liked the hits, you'd hate this. DD liked the hits and likes this, too, because the funky organ and guitar extensions cook.

Modern "promo" declined because of bounty from Tower (Or, "You'd Ignore This, Too.")

The County Medical Examiners "Odious Operettas" If Amazon sold all 789,345 grindhouse extreme heavy metal records ever made, this would come in at #345,221 on the ranking list. "Maturating Decompositional Gas" is a "kick me" title, suggesting this music for fans who drink two gallons of Coke while watching highlite reels culled from "Saw" movies or the remake of "The Hills Have Eyes." Don't even have to listen to know its grade-A urban slum metal made exclusively for readers of urban slum metal fan and webzines.

Coldworker "The Contaminated Void" Ibid. Except it comes in at #345,222.

Both guaranteed to sell 250-500 copies which is probably break even.


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