It drives me a little nuts when I see posts on some of the vinyl boards on Facebook about how someone ran across some amazing batch of wax at some kind of thrift store or garage sale and got it super cheap. If I’m being completely honest, my reaction is tinged with more than a hint of jealousy, because that never seems to happen to me. To be sure, I’ve found some outstanding stuff at the flea market in Reykjavik over the years… but the sellers knew exactly what they had, so while I got to pick up some rare records, I certainly paid the price. To be fair, I don’t do a lot of thrift shopping, so much of this is on me (OK, 99.9% of it). Back in the 1980s and 90s I used to be involved in a collectibles business and I knew plenty of guys who spent their entire weekends cruising yard and estate sales and storage locker auctions, some even going so far as keeping tabs on the obituaries. Now, I love a great score as much as the next guy, but…. you know what? Obviously I don’t, because otherwise I’d spend more of my time on the hunt.
One place that always raises an eyebrow when it comes up on these kinds of posts is Half Price Books. I love Half Price Books. I’ve literally been going there for over 30 years. And it isn’t uncommon for me to pop down with a couple of boxes of books to trade in, and whenever I do I look through their vinyl. And it’s usually an assortment of beat up 1970s rock and easy listening, with a smattering of terrible soundtracks thrown in for good measure. And a lot of it is pricey for the condition. But I still look. And a few weeks back I was rewarded! I’d hardly call it a score, but I picked up three cool records in decent shape (dirty as all hell, but they cleaned up great) and for very good prices – Skinny Puppy’s Remission, Alien Sex Fiend’s Who’s Been Sleeping In My Brain?, and today’s turntable occupant, Nausea by Executive Slacks.
Founded in Philadelphia in the early 1980s, the Slacks were influenced by the burgeoning electronic scene, but also by funk and hip hop, which is evident right out of the gate with the scratching open to the album’s first track, “In And Out”. The title track “Nausea” got some mainstream exposure when it appeared in an episode of Miami Vice during the show’s second season (episode title “Phil The Shill”). There’s definitely an IDM feel to Nausea, especially the B side with its snappy and almost sterile percussion over-layered with what are often shouted vocals. (♠) “Cold” is the most unusual track, a quiet instrumental featuring nothing but guitar… which doesn’t even remotely fit in with the rest of the record.
If you’re interested in checking out Executive Slacks, look no further than their Bandcamp page HERE, which currently offers a 36-track double CD of the band’s early output for a mere $14. You’re not going to find a better bargain than that anywhere. I bought one.
(♠) The record actually labels the sides as Side 1 and Side A, with no Side 2 or B. To add to the confusion, the track listing on the jacket reverse isn’t in the order the songs appear on the sides. I went with “In And Out” as the opening track based on the way the album’s listing appears on Discogs, though this may not be right as the first five tracks on the CD version are from the other side (opening with “Electric Blue”).