Saturday, November 28, 2020

Wild Cat

Last month I picked up a few New Wave Of British Heavy Metal singles. It had been a while since I'd really focused on that stuff, and those 7 inches were the catalyst that had me obsessing over it again. It was only a matter of time before I was on the hunt for more NWOBHM records, but now I wanted to knock a classic album off my list.
I've been listening to the first Tygers Of Pan Tang album a lot this past year. I had always preferred the band's second singer, Jon Deverill, and hadn't really paid much attention to thier first record, Wild Cat, with Jess Cox on the mic. Compared to Deverill, Cox's voice had always sounded a bit amateurish to my ears. This time around though, it was Jess Cox that made me keep reaching for the Wild Cat album. Suddenly it clicked, and I was loving the rough and shaky sound that Cox brought to the record. This album is just overflowing with youthful hunger and passion, and I haven't been able to get enough of it this year. When I started to look to pick up a NWOBHM classic, Wild Cat was the obvious choice.
While I could have probably picked up a US pressing for cheap, I really wanted the UK press that included the merch insert and lyric sheet...plus the UK version has the full Tygers Of Pan Tang logo on the center labels, instead of just the plain text for the band name. While it didn't break the bank, it was still worth the overseas shipping to grab this copy.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Seger Single Shakedown

Look, I enjoy Bob Seger's music, but I'm not a collector or even close to a completist. A lot of his 70's stuff is great, but as Seger moved through the 80's, things got a bit dicey, and I don't really spend much time with it. These two singles from '86 and '87 are outside of my comfort zone for the man, but they were free, and the songs aren't terrible, so I'll keep 'em in the collection. Why not?
The first Seger single on deck I received from a Discogs seller as a freebie. I'd ordered a few Japanese singles from him, so he tossed this one in for me. Okay, I'll take it. The song itself is Shakedown, from the Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack. As a kid, the first Beverly Hills Cop movie was a favorite. It was one of the few VHS videos that my family bought, and watched that this over and over. The sequel, I don't remember a damn thing about right now. I do remember this song though, and I found it was a fun one to spin today.
I've got a few odds and ends that are still sitting in a pile from a collection that I inherited from my mom's boyfriend when he passed away four years ago. It is stuff that isn't too interesting or exciting, so I haven't bothered to do anything with it... but this seemed like a good time to pull out the Bob Seger single from the pile. The song, It's You, is from the Like A Rock album, which I am completely unfamiliar with. The song is okay. Not sure that I'd actively reach for it, but if I'm spinning some Seger, it isn't something that I'd skip.
Strangely enough, both singles happen to have the same b-side song, The Aftermath.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Punching The Sky

It has been five years since the last Armored Saint album, Win Hands Down. Having seen the band play live twice when they toured for that record, I have fond memories of it. When I heard that we were getting a new disk from the band in 2020, I was looking forward to what they would deliver. As soon as preorders went up in the Metal Blade store, I was quickly grabbing my copy.
The album is a solid slab of Armored Saint. It took me a few spins to warm up to Win Hands Down, and that was the same deal with this new one, Punching The Sky. It takes a bit for the songs to hook me, but after a few spins, I finally start to settle in and really enjoy it.
When I ordered my copy, I went for the special edition. Lavender colored vinyl, numbered and limited to 300, and includes a bonus patch and 7 inch.
Over the Covid Summer Lockdown, since all touring was shut down, a lot of bands were getting together virtually and recording some songs for fun and posting the videos online. Armored Saint decided to do a stripped down acoustic version of Isolation, from their 1987 album, Raising Fear. Glad that they took the opportunity to include it on the bonus 7 inch here.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Green Nightmares Of The West

Back in the day, I was a huge fan of the first couple of Strike Anywhere records. I absolutely loved Chorus Of One and Change Is A Sound, but after that, their other albums failed to make much of an impression on me. I mean they were okay, but nothing really hooked me. Still, I was hopeful when I heard that Strike Anywhere were releasing a new record in 2020. If ever there was a time that we needed a blast of their brand of political punk rock, it is now.
Nightmares Of The West delivers exactly what I needed. Seven songs in 21 minutes that makes me want to bounce around, sing along, and throw up a middle finger to so much of the bullshit that made this past year so much of a hellscape. Try watching the video for Frontier Glitch and not be moved... emotions were stirred when I tune in to it for sure.
Because I was dragging my feet on ordering this record, I had to settle for the second pressing. That's cool. I dig the look of this colored vinyl, so I'm happy.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Open Hearts And Cow Print Vinyl

I'm easily influenced. Someone on Instagram recently posted a photo of a record for The First Step, and it got me thinking about what I was still missing. I jumped over to Discogs, noticed a few glaring holes in my TFS collection, and made a move to cross one off the list. Zero self control.
Much to my surprise, I realized that the only copies of Open Hearts And Clear Minds that I owned were the 12 inch reissues. I didn't own a single 7 inch pressing that was originally done by Livewire Records in 2003. Seeing the opportunity to correct this oversight, I grabbed the "cow print" colored vinyl. I love the look of this pressing.
I've been extremely slow in collecting records for The First Step. I fucking love this band, but they released their demo and Open Hearts And Clear Minds before I got into collecting records, so I'm still working on making up that lost ground. It feels good to take another small step in building this collection.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Alive And Screamin'

Last year I became kind of obsessed with Krokus. They were one of those early bands that got me hooked on heavy metal, but I hadn't really listened to them since 1985, when I started chasing bands that were louder, faster and heavier. By chance, I happened to stumble upon their Hardware album when I was digging through the used bins at one of record stores in town, and I bought it on a whim. That shit sent me down a Krokus rabbit hole, and I spent a lot of time in 2019 rediscovering those 80's albums from the band.
I'd done a decent job last year building up my Krokus collection, but once 2020 hit, I started to focus on other things. Recently, however, I got to thinking about the band again, and I didn't want to close out this year without buying a single Krokus record. I started looking at what I was missing, and while I'm not big on live albums, I still needed the Alive And Screamin' record from '86.
This is a solid live disc from the band, with a good mix of songs... especially since checking their '86 setlist from when they opened for Judas Priest's Turbo tour, it shows Krokus playing four fucking cover songs in their nine song set...so it is good to see them doing all originals here for this live album. As a bonus, this live set includes Lay Me Down, which I don't believe showed up on any of their studio albums, so it is cool to have it here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Look Of Japanese Love

When I first started buying Japanese singles for those early MTV hits, I kind of assumed that it would be a fleeting obsession. I figured that I would burn out on it rather quickly. Yet, here we are, and after going a few rounds with these things, I still have a desire to keep this collection growing.
In continuing my obsession with these MTV singles, my first move was to pick up another 7 inch from Hall & Oates. I'm not sure exactly what it is about their songs, but man, I really dig them. It has to be some kind of deep connection to my childhood, or maybe it is just John Oates mustache, because that thing is glorious. Either way, their early 80's singles are mandatory, and the 1981 7 inch for Private Eyes is no exception.
As I was listening to the Early MTV playlist on Spotify, the song Abracadabra from Steve Miller Band came up in the rotation. Holy shit. I'd completely forgotten about this song, and it was a lot of fun to hear it again...plus the video for the song was state of the art technology for 1982.
I had no interest in Rod Stewart, and if someone had mentioned the song title for Young Turks, I would have shrugged my shoulder in indifference. Nope. I didn't recall that song at all. When it popped up on the Early MTV playlist on Spotify, I had my finger ready to hit the "skip" button and move on to the next song...then once I heard the familiar synth sounds, I figured that I'd ride it out and give it a chance. As the song progressed, it all came back to me, and unbelievably the lyrics were rolling off my tongue as if I'd been hearing this song regularly since the 80's. Honestly, this song was a huge surprise. I'd forgotten how much I'd loved it as a kid. As an awkward eleven year old, this song about teenage runaways, and the lyric "there ain't no point in talking when there's nobody listening, so we just ran away" was like a wild and dangerous fantasy at the time. Man, it was cool to discover this song again.
Before I closed out this run of MTV singles, I wanted to pick up a song that basically defined those early 80's MTV years. Big synths and wild videos defined that time, and I needed that represented in my collection. I really didn't care for the synth pop stuff at that time, as I preferred stuff with more of a kick, but going back and listening to those songs, I can't help but get sucked into them. I remember that the Poison Arrow video was kind of big on MTV during those early years, but once I started checking out the other ABC hits, I was surprised to find that I not only remembered them, but I was also fucking loving them. The video for The Look Of Love is a perfect snapshot of the time. It is just so over the top and weird...I can't look away from it...so I definitely needed the 7 inch single.