Posts Tagged ‘The Wonder Years’

Going through my archives recently, I have been spinning many different records and CDs and re-realised that there really are some incredible songs out there and sadly, for the most part, they are ignored. Why this is so continues to baffle me and the only reason I can come up with is that there are too many bands and a lot of good ones just get lost in the heap. So what I have done is to help make the next 30 minutes of your day that little bit more interesting by presenting to you 10 great songs that you probably missed out on or just simply forgot about. Turn up the speakers my friends and listen away. Things get better from here on in.

1. THE DEXATEENS – “Down Low” (from the album Single Wide)
I discovered this band many moons ago as they released some records on one of my all time favourite labels, Estrus Records. In 2009 when I was traveling the USA, i noticed they were playing at the Grog Shop in Cleveland the same night that I was in town. Of course I had to get along to that and what I discovered was nothing but cool guitar jams and classic blues inspired rock n roll. A little different to this song but that night, guitar slinger, Elliott, gave me a promo of this album to check out and when I got home, I chucked it on and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now you can too!

 

2. THE GOODNIGHT LOVING – “Dead Fish On The Banks” (from the album Cemetery Trails)
On the 4th of September 2009, Milwaukee’s very own The Goodnight Loving waltzed into Off The Hip Records in Melbourne and performed an instore to a packed house thus turning so many on to this “new” band. While not new in the true sense of the world, many that night had never heard the band before and were instantly converted to lifelong fans, well, that is until they fell off the radar once they disbanded which was a real shame as they were definitely one of my favourite discoveries in 2009. When I visited Milwaukee in 2012, I ventured to the only two record stores I could find to search out any vinyl that I didn’t have from these cool cats of garage pop n rock. I was a tad successful in obtaining this very LP and it has span consistently on my turntable ever since. Better late than never, right?

 

3.  TROUBLED COAST – “Patient Hands” (from the EP I’ve Been Thinking About Leaving You)
I bought this record without even hearing a single note from the band. I was on a merchandise website picking up a limited single by The Wonder Years and figured that I should make the postage worth it so I picked up a triple pack of different coloured vinyl variants of this 7″, (trust me, the half white / half blue limited to 200 variant looks bitchin’ and you would have bought it too) and just hoped for the best. What I found was that this song resonated with me in all the right ways and my ears just thanked me from the bottom of their tinnitus-infected heart. I was moved. Maybe you will be too?

 

4. JEFF DAHL GROUP – “I’m In Love With The GTO’s” (from the album Scratch Up Some Action)
When I saw this record way back in 1989, I was in a music store called Seeing Ears which was in a basement in Rundle Mall. The guy behind the counter there told me that this album would blow my mind. He put the record on for me and this is the opening track from that classic slab of awesomeness. I hadn’t even gotten to the second chorus and I was like “Here, take my money!”. Top notch purchase there and I still see this album around and wonder why it’s in stores and not in people’s collections. This song is a killer.

 

5. LIZ PHAIR with MATERIAL ISSUE – “The Tra La La Song” (from the album Saturday Morning Cartoons’ Greatest Hits)
There is no way this could fail. What we have here is the one and only Liz Phair backed by a band most have never heard of singing one of the coolest and most enjoyable TV theme songs (which was also covered by The Dickies) from the golden era of children’s television. How could you not sing along? And do I have to remind you again that the vocalist is the sultry Liz Phair? The video is full of good times and features some amusing moments from The Banana Splits and brings back fond memories of a time when Saturday Morning TV was simply fun.

 

6. WESTON – “Retarded” (from the album Got Beat Up)
I first heard this song on a compilation way back in the day and immediately I was hooked. This song is pure pop perfection of a time when you’d make mixtapes for people and want them to pay close attention to the lyrics for whatever reasons you saw fit; love, lust, anger, frustration, etc. This was an era of life that will probably never happen again. Sure, people will still make mixtapes but it will never be the same. This part of my life was a very happy time for me musically. So many great songs, political correctness wasn’t too overboard (now a band would probably get inundated with abuse for writing a pop song called Retarded), and love really could be found within a mixtape. The lyrics to this song are one we can all relate to at some time of our lives. This song was my life in 1996/7.

 

7. JETS TO BRAZIL – “You’re The One I Want” (from the album Perfecting Loneliness)
I think anyone who was a Jawbreaker fan was eager for frontman Blake Schwarzenbach to continue writing classics and he did just that with Jets To Brazil. This is off their second album and it stuck with me for quite a while. The album is a little different to their debut, Orange Rhyming Dictionary, but it is still a winner if you are in the right frame of mind / mood to handle such stuff. Blake stings deep with meaningful and emotive lyrics. This song is a perfect example.

 

8. NADA SURF – “Weightless” (from the album Lucky)
I remember when I bought the album Lucky I was told that this album would brighten up all my dark days as I was going through a pretty rough time. I got home and once I put the needle on the record, laid down on my bed and just lost myself within the music, things started to look more promising again. This song is just one of many feel good anthems found on this record and I suggest that if you are feeling down in the dumps, maybe this album will be a pick-me-up for you just as it was for me.

 

9. SLUSH PUPPIES – “You’re So Perfect” (from the 7″ titled You’re So Perfect)
Australia’s very own Descendents. A song so infectiously catchy that I find myself singing it at the most strangest of times. I received a mixtape from my friend Jenny way back in the early 90s and this song was on it. Immediately I set out to find this song and low and behold, I found the 7″ vinyl on one of my many travels from Adelaide to Melbourne. I was over the moon as this song, and it’s B-Side (which is also on YouTube), were two slabs of power pop punky perfection that I have always loved and continue to enjoy over 20 years later.

 

10. BANE – “As The World Turns” (from the 7″ titled Rome 12:58am)
One of the coolest hardcore songs from the last few years. Released in 2009, this classic sound of old-school straight edge hardcore finishes with one of the most epic 65 second brackets that you will ever hear in hardcore music. Fast forward to 2:32 if you don’t like what you’re hearing  at the start and sing it with me: “I took the whole damn ride with my best friends by my side. The days turned into nights and we held on with all our might. Cos nothing stays no way, no how, there’s no forever. The only thing that lasts forever is right fucking now!” Thankyou and goodnight.

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Record shopping is pretty much my favourite hobby. Wherever I go in the world, you will always find me browsing the shelves of used record stores looking for gems. While in the USA last year, out of the 110 records I bought, I managed to secure around 80 records for $1 each. This is what I love about record shopping. This post pays tribute to 10 great albums (in no particular order) that I have found in record stores over the years that cost me no more than $1. Enjoy!

1. RUSH – “Moving Pictures” (1981)
I have to be hoest, I bought this album purely for the fact it had the track Tom Sawyer on it. Probably the most popular of all RUSH songs. I personally think it is a damn good track, I love that whole bass and drums bit and then the guitars come in and go sonic as fuck. Yeah, rock! Now, I am by no means a diehard RUSH fan. In fact, my whole RUSH collection includes a whopping 3 records. This album, though, I needed to have. If you know the song, you know why it’s cool. I wouldn’t say Prog Rock is my thing at all although I do dig the sounds of Hawkwind and Uriah Heep. Yep, this RUSH album was $1 well spent (even if side B does have a scratch half way through it cos I never listen to that side anyway. Tom Sawyer only!) and here’s proof…

2. KISS – “Rock N Roll All Over” (1976)
I made a vow to never buy KISS merchandise brand new cos I don’t want Gene ever getting a cent of my hard earned cash cos a) he has enough money, and b) most KISS albums are about 50% great and 50% filler. This album though was a total score purely cos the cover art rocks and it has the songs Hard Luck Woman, I Want You and Makin’ Love on it. Those 3 tracks are defintely worth the $1 I spent on them. Yep. For those who thought it was a Paul song (and so many do), here’s the voice behind the sweet tunage…

3. CHEAP TRICK – “Dream Police”  (1979)
You’d be hard pressed to actually find a second hand store in the USA that will actually charge you more than $1 for a Cheap Trick used LP. They were everywhere. Especially this album. In fact, this album is so damn good, I actually own 3 copies of it (actually, i think it could be 4, but who’s counting?). Each copy bought for $1 each. Why so many? Have you sat down and listened to this thing? It’s incredible. Robin’s voice is amazing and the guitar work is just flawless. On top of that, these guys know how to always write the perfect tune. Always. Just listen to the songs I’ll Be With You Tonight, Voices or the album’s title track. Sheer perfection. So many bands sneakily wish they were this good. That’s not me making it up either, that’s a fact. Cheap Trick are one of the finest melodic rock n roll bands to ever grace the planet. Make use of their awesomeness while they are still around creating some of the best tunes you will ever hear. You need to own this album. It’s kinda illegal not to. Enjoy the video…

4. THE WILDHEARTS – “Endless Nameless” (1997)
Technically, this album didn’t cost me $1, it actually cost me 49pence when I was in the UK in 2002. When I work out conversion rates and a percentage of the train ticket I bought to get to the city of London that day, it works out to around $1 so suspend disbelief and play along with me here. This album is pretty much the most ignored Wildhearts album in their catalogue. People just don’t seem to like it. Beside the fact the white noise that was put into all the tracks makes the album unlistenable, this heroin induced mess of a record, I believe, is one of their best. Why? Cos the songs are there. Hidden in the mix, they are there and they sound fuckin’ great! How can you honestly say that Urge, Pissjoy, and Anthem are not instant classics? Or what about their reworking of the Dogs D’Amour aptly titled, Heroin? This album is sheer audible bliss, especially in headphones. Highly recommended, especially if you’re suicidal.

5. GRAND FUNK RAILROAD – “Closer To Home” (1970)
Another gem found in the $1 bin and will always be unknown to me as to why it was sitting there in the first place. This album is all killer, no filler. I got turned onto Grand Funk’s awesomeness back when the movie The Spirit of 76 (starring Redd Kross, Devo and the hot chick rom the Wonder Years) was released and they raved about them in the film. I instantly became a fan and snapped up everything but I couldn’t seem to find this LP though and then one day, BAM! There it was, staring me in the face and needing my hard earned $1. I parted ways, brought it home and was blown away. Songs like Mean Mistreater, Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother and the finale, I’m Your Captain, were instant faves in the Damo files of rock. Do I need to mention the live photo in the middle of the gatefold sleeve? Probably not but I will… it made me jealous that I never got to witness Grand Funk’s live shows back in the day. Total rock n roll complete with possibly the second best white man’s afro ever seen to grace a stage (the first goes to the MC5’s Rob Tyner). Do yourself a favour and love this band cos you are doing yourself a great disservice by not.

6. AEROSMITH – “Live! Bootleg” (1978)
This album was a score on so many levels. Let’s look at this one in detail: a) It’s Aerosmith, b) it’s a double LP, c) it sounds fucking amazing, d) it still has the poster! and e) it’s motherfucking Aerosmith! Got it? Good! This album rules so much. The performances on this LP (that I will also throw in that it looks in mint condition, like it was never even played once!) are all tops. The choice of cuts on this album includes all the hits and more. Yeah, really, they’re all here: Back In The Saddle, Sweet Emotion, Toys In The Attic, Mama Kin, Dream On, Walk This Way, etc. It’s an incredible live album. Which is something else considering how much I usually hate live records (except this one is from the 70’s – I should confirm that I don’t like many live albums after about 1985. Once technology got better, I found that live albums started getting boring… except Iron Maiden’s Rock In Rio… that’s heaps rad). And for this to still have the poster inside, that’s like gold! I was super happy with this gem.

7. THE OUTFIELD – “Play Deep” (1985)
Okay okay, I know this is cheesy 80’s pop rock but I love it. I found this LP at a record fair and bought it cos a girl I used to know was in love with a song on here called Your Love so I got it for her as a present but someone had already found it for her. So I kept it for myself and I’m glad I did cos it’s great! So many cool and catchy tunes on here. See, if you search long enough, you will strike gold. For $1, this album was so fun and happy sounding that I found like I was ripping the dude off at the record fair by only paying the $1 for it. Score! If you don’t know the song Your Love, then click this link below. You’ll probably hate it.

8. VAN HALEN – “Van Halen” (1978)
We don’t really need to say a lot about this album cos I am sure you all own it anyway. This album is one of THE greatest rock n roll records of all time. It just is. Hey, don’t get mad with me, I don’t make the rules, history has spoken. Everything about this album rules; the songs, the solos, the vocals, the production, etc. it’s all good! Nothing to fault here. Just brilliance right the way through. I don’t need to write anymore. You know it already and for $1, this album is without a doubt not one you would pass over. I expect you’d do the same, even if you already owned 15 copies of it, this is just one of those albums. I am gonna put this on right now. Yep.

9. HOODOO GURUS – “Stoneage Romeos” (1984)
Found this on my trek to the USA last year. I already owned the Aussie version but this is the Big Time Records release and has the different cover so I figured I needed it just in case it sounded different. It doesn’t. But that doesn’t matter cos it’s still a sweet record. If you have looked over the Hoodoo Gurus then, plain and simple, you’re an idiot. You’re an even bigger idiot if you claim to like rock n roll and still overlooked this record. Why? Cos it’s awesome. Like, heaps awesome! Hell, I’d even write in capitals to show how awesome it is but internet ettiquette tells me that typing in capitals means shouting and I don’t like shouting at anyone, let alone the many strangers who will read this. Still, you need this record. Listen to these killer tunes: I Want You Back, Let’s All Turn On, Tojo, Leilani, I Was A Kamikaze Pilot, etc. The list goes on. This album has no dull moments. It’s just all good. If you don’t own it, please rectify this situation immediately then we’ll talk.

10. ZZ TOP – “Eliminator” (1983)
Around 15 years ago, back when I lived in Adelaide, there used to be this amazing second-hand record store down at Glenelg. They had thousands of second hand records, multiple copies of most and it was a haven to the vinyl junkie. I was super happy shopping there. One of the albums I picked up there for a measly $1 was a mint copy of this ZZ Top classic. I mean, let’s face it, this album has the hits on it and is a great rock n roll record from that little band in Texas who have managed to keep their original line-up in tact for their entire 20+ year career (a feat matched only by those boys from Ireland known as U2). Yep, you know these songs: Legs, Sharp Dressed Man, Gimme All Your Lovin, Got Me Under Pressure, TV Dinners, etc. This album is perfecto. A good time record with great guitar riffs. Those in the USA can find ZZ Top LPs for $1 all over the place. For some reason the American’s think this is all their homegrown Texan’s are worth. Such a shame for them but great for us record junkies. Sweetness!

So there you go. I could continue this on for a long time as I left out notables like Bruce Springsteen, Journey, Foreigner, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Bob Seger, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, and countless others. Still, this is a great start and hopefully you have enjoyed reading this little trek through the best from the bargain bins. Thanks for reading.