PTP - “Rubber Glove Seduction” b/w “My Favorite Things” 12″ (1989)

PTP was a side project of Ministry’s Al Jourgensen.  It only produced three songs - “Show Me Your Spine,” which can be heard in the movie RoboCop (but not on the soundtrack) and this two song 12″ from 1989.

“Rubber Glove Seduction” has a slick dance beat and some catchy repetitive lyrics, but the real value is on the B side with “My Favorite Things,” with it’s more industrial and less dance-y feel.

I was never much for 12″ singles back in the day, but recently I’ve caught the bug - the B sides are often intriguing, as are the remixes.  As an added bonus, a lot of them are available super cheap, so my vinyl dollar goes further.

Mix Master Mike - “Anti-Theft Device” (1998)

Mix Master Mike is probably best known for his work with the Beastie Boys, though by time he started working with them on 1998s Hello Nasty he was already a three-time DMC World DJ Champion.  The same year Hello Nasty was released Mix Master Mike put out his own solo double album Anti-Theft Device, 30 tracks of samples and scratches.

This is turntablism at its finest, a DJ who understands how to flow and mix while also being able to rock the ones and twos.  There aren’t any vocals here, at least nothing outside of some vocal and movie/TV sampling, but it should still appeal to the hip hop fan with its broad range of samples and kick ass beats.

This was a lucky and somewhat unexpected find over at Wax Trax during our recent trip to Denver, sitting in the New Arrivals bin for just four bucks, a bit beat up but well worth it.

Miles Davis - “The Man With the Horn” (1981)

It’s Saturday morning as I sit here and write this while listening to Miles Davis’ 1981 LP The Man With the Horn, though I’m not quite sure when it will be posted.  Time has sort of lost meaning in my mind lately, everything falling into two distinct buckets - being in Los Angeles for work (aka Monday through Thursday) and being at home (aka Friday through Sunday).  It feels like that is what my life has devolved into in 2016, a constant blur of airports, hotels (“Welcome back to the Hilton sir.  It’s good to see you again this week.”), restaurant food, and conference rooms.  Fortunately it turns out that a couple of my project cohorts are music and vinyl fans, and so is one of our finance guys, so at least I have some people to talk music with during the all-to-infrequent breaks in our schedule.

So it’s Saturday morning, which means relaxing and catching up with a few things on the home front.  Mrs. Life in the Vinyl Lane is out running some errands before we head out to lunch, and I’m burning some CDs and listening to Miles.  Ah, Miles… “I don’t always listen to jazz, but when I do it’s Miles Davis.”  I’m not a big jazz guy by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ll always take a peek at the Miles Davis section any time I’m in a shop just in case I can find a used older release for a good price, which is how I came to own this super clean copy of The Man With the Horn.  It’s probably the latest of Davis’ albums on my shelves, with most of my collection falling into his more classic 1950s-60s period.  By 1981 he’d expanded his sound and pissed off a lot of people, while clearly not caring that they couldn’t keep up with his musical development and genius.

The Man With the Horn is Miles playing a horn that is sometimes old school jazz at other times new school easy listening, surrounded by a funk band, and creating space for some absolutely fantastic electric guitar shredding.  Davis often drops into the background and let’s the band do their thing, making this a bit less horn-centric than a lot of his earlier work.  There are some more classical jazz parts here, like “Back Seat Betty” with it’s minimal beats and Miles’ fluttering horn, but it’s a diverse album, one that insists you sit back with a drink and just listen to it.  Whereas Kind of Blue is almost spiritual in its beauty, The Man With the Horn sways and grooves and crashes.  If it’s in any way indicative of his later sound, I’m going to have to pick up more of his 1980s era work for sure.

U.X.A. - “Illusions of Grandeur” (1980)

The biggest benefit of the vinyl resurgence is the lift it has provided to your local indie shop. I know, I know… I’ve read all the articles about how the pressing plants can’t keep up, which means that small bands are finding their releases delayed so that Justin Bieber can get the vinyl treatment, and I know there’s a lot of angst and hand-wringging over Record Store Day and whether it’s actually good or bad for the small retailer (<- the answer is, “it depends”).  But it has also allowed some shops to get a new lease on life, and for many even allowed them to expand, something that would have seemed impossible five years ago.

So with that in mind, I was very excited to head an hour down the highway to go visit the new location of my friends at Hi-Voltage Records.  Located maybe two blocks from the old shop, the new digs give the store a much more roomy feel and plenty of space for shoppers to browse through tons of product, most of it used.  Hi-Voltage has always been strong in the punk/metal sphere, along with a very healthy jazz section, and my visit didn’t disappoint.  I came away with a half dozen or so records that will grace the blog over the next few weeks, including some discount bin gems by The Motels and Scandal, some private pressings, and this punk rock gem from 1981, U.X.A.’s Illusions of Grandeur.

U.X.A. were originally from San Francisco, but headed down to Los Angeles to be part of the burgeoning punk rock scene there in the late 1970s.  They earned a spot on the 1979 punk comp Tooth and Nail, contributing a pair of tracks of which one, “UXA,” made it onto their full-length debut Illusions of Grandeur.  Stylistically the album doesn’t offer much in the way of variety, providing mostly straight ahead punk that’s almost grunge in its drone.  “Hand In Glove” and “Death From Above” are notable exceptions with their slow plodding heaviness, the latter of which reminds me quite a bit of L7.  De De Troit keeps her voice in the lower range for the most part, which is too bad because if she’d been able to separate it from the music a bit more I think the sonic disparity would give this puppy a more intriguing blend.

Like so many other LA punk bands, heroin took its pound of flesh from U.X.A. in the form of original guitarist (and songwriter) Michael Kowalsky.  The list of casualties from the era is long… too long, and most of them were extremely young.  It seems weird to think of heroin as being associated in some way with punk, given how much the frenetic nature of the music differs from the numbness of a heroin high, but it was available and it was a nihilistic time.

In listening to Illusions of Grandeur I feel like U.X.A. were a band that could have continued and developed musically, and I don’t mean re-forming like they did in the 1990s - I think they could have moved on and taken things to a different and potentially more popular place.  But it wasn’t meant to be, I guess.  So all we’re left with are a handful of songs and some grainy videos.

Andi - “Andi” (2016)

Those crazy folks at Lady Boy Records are at it again, putting out another tape of electronic deliciousness and divesting me of some of my hard-earned cash.  Lest you think that I live some type of glamorous, free-music-getting freeloading lifestyle that sees my mailbox constantly overflowing with free stuff… well, I don’t, and it’s not.  I buy this stuff; I’ve probably bought 99% of the stuff that has been on the blog, with most of the rest coming as gifts from friends.  And at this point I have the entire Lady Boy catalog in physical form (♠), all paid for, because that’s how strongly I feel about what these guys are doing.

The newest Lady Boy release is entitled Andi, by the artist who goes by the name Andi. (♣)  And it’s probably my favorite thing the label has put out to date, which is saying something because I love Old Stories by russian.girls and that fantastic CD by Slugs.  But Andi takes the cake.

I’m not going to give you a song-by-song breakdown of Andi.  Let’s just say it makes me think of electronic disco, in all the best meanings of both of those terms.  There are definitely some stringed instruments included in the mix that at times gives it a classical feel, but the synths and changing beats keep the entire thing fresh and upbeat throughout.    The bottom line is that Andi is a fun album to listen to.  And music is supposed to be enjoyable, so embrace that.

Give Andi a listen HERE.  It looks like there are still copies of the physical cassette (limited edition of 50) available for purchase as well, so if you like what you hear, how about you help out the Lady Boy crew and buy a copy.  There are a lot of great indie micro labels like Lady Boy out there, and if we want to keep hearing the kinds of things they’re able to put out, we need to put our money where our mouths (or keyboards) are.

(♠)  OK, I have everything except for the Rainbows in Micronesia laser engraved tangerine. Because it’s a tangerine, so…

(♣)  Aka Andri Eyjolfsson.