Live at The Whisky 1977
Real Gone Music
4 CD Box Set
4 CD Box Set
The record starts off with an explosion, namely the Jesus Lizard-inspired insanity of Flotilla. It's a swift kick in the face that just rips with intensity. In the following aftermath, the band opts for a slow burn that meanders menacingly through the rest of the 5 tracks, a kind of smoldering, droning haze that never lets up. By the time we get to the last cut, We Never Were, you are simply left beautifully dazed and confused by everything that has happened up until then.
MISH MASH MANDATE: Are You Experienced?
It has only taken the better part of over three decades, but it seems that Paul Weller's mid-80s exercise in unapologetic pop, The Style Council, is finally getting its due. After disbanding The Jam in 1982, Weller decided to take his music into an entirely different direction with his new group he formed with Mick Talbot. The result was a pop band that eschewed the rock and punk aesthetic that The Jam was famous for, and it more than confused a lot of fans that had worshiped at the foot of Weller in the past.
Seeing as how the The Jam fans were polarized, most of the group's newfound audience was rooted in 80s New Wave and New Romantic pop instead of punk. However, the group never really got a true foothold, and it eventually fizzled out at the end of the 80s. Weller went on to a very successful (and long-lasting) solo career, and the brief stint with TSC was all but forgotten for the most part.
Over the years, TSC has gained a better reputation, as much of the output has stood the test of time. It's a testament to the talent of Weller and his penchant for strong songwriting and consistently sticking to his guns - something he has done over and over again.
This collection gathers up the best of TSC and gives us a rather comprehensive look at their work in the 80s, spread over 3 LPs in a beautifully packaged collection. There are only a couple of previously unreleased/rare tracks, so it may be a little redundant for serious fans (although we know they are probably going to buy it either way). But, you won't find a better way to capture the band in all their glory if you're looking for a convenient and concise package like this.
MISH MASH Mandate: Here's One That Got Away
This is what RSD should always be about; great records that otherwise wouldn't see the light of day. In this case, a live record that should grace every turntable owned by fans of Cheap Trick. Forget the polished overdubbed excess of Budokan or the multitude of unofficial bootlegs floating around since the late 70s. THIS is the one you want. Captured over a few shows at the Whisky A Go Go in June of 1977, this double LP shows off the true down-and-dirty rock that made Cheap Trick famous in a live setting.
The sound quality is great, and the show digs deep into the cornerstone early tunes that are rarely heard nowadays - such as the blistering "Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School" and "Taxman, Mr. Thief". It's not polished, it's not overly produced - it's raw power the way that Cheap Trick needs to be heard; in a small, sweaty club with the sound bouncing off the walls.
Unfortunately, it's a limited edition, but should be easy enough to grab at a reasonable price if you're on the ball. If you're a fan of CT, this is a must have for your collection.
MISH MASH Mandate: Speak Now
When the list for the third RSD 2020 drop was released, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Violets would be putting out a new compilation on vinyl. I was in Athens from 1991-1993, and The Violets were a main staple in the music scene. Their single, "I Hate The Grateful Dead", was a hot item in the local shops and on the UGA radio station. After that brief moment in time, they dropped of the radar, and that was that.
Fast forward about 30 years, and we're looking at the opening of a veritable time capsule; a collection of tunes from a semi-obscure Athens band, pressed on vinyl in the year 2020. Imagine being told that piece of information three decades ago, when vinyl was all but dead (even then), and absolutely no one was paying attention to anything going on in Athens (thanks, Seattle).
With that in mind, this is an amazing slice of Athenian music history. The Violets were a classic college band - part jingle-jangle and part punk, they eschewed any real pigeonholing or convenient classification. They were a group of college kids who bashed out a few great rocking tunes, and their garage-rock sound almost sounds quaint and innocent in the current music climate.
Who's this really for? Is it simply a nostalgia trip for those in the know, or is there anything to glean for those not privy to the sounds of Athens circa 1990? Let's consider the "hit" track here, which is of course, "I Hate The Grateful Dead." The track actually holds up well, and it's just as humorous as it was when it was released. Who can deny the silly-but-clever lyrics in the refrain, "I'll be grateful when they're dead"? Add to that the cover art for the original single where Jerry Garcia's head is superimposed over the face of Lee Harvey Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby, and you've got a song that should live forever in infamy.
I've always thought that the Athens scene of the early 90s was sadly underrated and ignored, and this record is a testament to that opinion. Bands like Five Eight, The Woggles, Bliss, Roosevelt, Vigilantes of Love, and others never really got their due. It's nice to see one of those bands from that era getting attention, albeit 30 years too late.
MISH MASH Mandate: Time in a Bottle