The Joup Friday Album: Nektar – Remember the Future

nektar remember-the-futureThis edition of the Joup Friday Album is going to be short and sweet because I am sick as f&$k and want nothing more than to hop back into my bed and go back to catching up on about three months of comics (four in some cases) that I’ve been too busy to read since, well, since about three or four months ago.

The Joup Friday Album: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – “Into the Great Wide Open”

Tom PettyOur family was middle class, blue collar, Polish and suburban. If you look at the average income of all the Chicago suburbs, Palos Hills falls literally right in the middle. Whatever “middle class” is these days, but in 1991 there was still a middle class and my brother and I grew up in it. As such we generally took one family trip a year, that is if my parents could afford it and get off of work. In the summer of 1991 we traveled west for not one but two weeks! I think my father’s rationalizing was we hadn’t taken a trip the previous year, and odds on after I graduated high school would not take another one as the four of us. This was “the last big family adventure!”
In late July we pilled into our tan Chevrolet four-door Suburban (the SUV before SUVs) and headed west on I-80. I will hand it to my parents, it was an epic trip and more then likely spawned my travel bug for years to come. We made stops at Pike’s Peak, the Grand Canyon, four corners, Las Vegas, The Great Salt Lake, Yellowstone National Park and The Devil’s tower. I’m sure there were a few kitch stops as well knowing my mother.
Appropriately enough, I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy during that two weeks. I had a black Sony Walkman and I loved that machine. I played so much music through that contraption in the four years between sophomore year in high school and freshman year at the university. On this trip it was REM’s Out of Time, Sting’s The Soul Cages and of course Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Into the Great Wide Open…today’s Friday album.

The Joup Friday Album: The Afghan Whigs – In Spades

In SpadesI’m going to keep this short because I’m actually off to Hollywood in a little bit to see The Afghan Whigs on the tour for 2017’s brilliant In Spades. Now, being as there’s a fairly wide rotation of writers for this column, I’m fairly certain this is the only chance I’ll get to do a post before Halloween, and I wanted to do something in keeping with that theme, but the Whigs have been in heavy rotation as pre-concert build-up so I had a bit of a tug-of-war. Then I realized I could write about In Spades and kill two birds with one stone: Whereas I would not normally lump the Whig’s Motown soul by way of hard rock in with my traditional Halloween sonic faire, In Spades is a bit different. This is a creepy record; maybe not all the way through, but most of it. Look at the cover art. Look at the song titles: The Spell, Demon in Profile, Copernicus, The Spell. Hell, look at the video for second single Oriole. Dark, occult and saturated in creepy imagery. Does that girl eat that tarantula? I DON’T WANT TO KNOW! Love that video though. Main man Greg Duli had always had one foot in superstition (Roll the Bones?) but on this latest effort he uses it and perhaps more effectively the imagery of the Occult to create a great rock album that seethes with a dangerous, ritualistic tone that fits the Whigs and their “Shot on Location”, cinematic aesthetic. Crack open a beer, roll a J and sit back and let Duli and Co. usher in a chilly Friday night halfway to our favorite time of the year. Meanwhile, I’ll be witnessing the band in the flesh.

The Joup Friday Album: The Rolling Stones – Some Girls

Some Girls

The age-old rock and roll debate continues. Are you a Beatles or Stones person? I am torn on this debate because my mother was the Beatles fan and my dad was the Rolling Stones fan. I will say I always lean towards the Stones side because of the dirty image they projected. To quote the recently departed Tom Petty from a late 90’s interview he said “Rock and roll was never supposed to be nice”. His statement inferred that rock and roll was originally labeled as the devils music and it challenged authority like a battle cry for the young, rebellious kids of the 1950’s and onward. There is nothing nice about a battle. Parents and the clergy tried to ban rock music and it made the kids that much more curious. The Beatles were nice and palatable, they were still a threat but they were wolves in sheep’s clothing. If the Beatles were a glass of wine with dinner the Rolling Stones were a whole bottle of Old Crow whisky, straight with no chaser.

The Joup Friday Album: The Smiths – The Queen is Dead

The-Queen-is-Dead-cover

We come to the final member of the Holy Trinity, The Smiths’ The Queen is Dead, which along with The Cure’s The Head on the Door and New Order’s Brotherhood, were the three albums I was given for Christmas when I was 13 that went on to influence my musical taste for the rest of my life. The Queen is Dead probably got the least play out of the three back then, but has proven to have the most staying power despite my ever-growing weariness with Morrissey and his… Morrisseyness. The simple truth is that I love the Smiths despite Morrissey, not because of him. Johnny Marr has been my lifelong guitar god and if I have to listen to an obnoxious narcissist bloviate over the top of him, it’s worth it to get those sweetass riffs and jangles.

The Joup Friday Album: The Specials – The Specials

downloadIt’s that time of year again! Summer is ending and school is back in session. It’s time to buckle down and focus on adulting. There’s one more thing we have to do first, though. There’s one weekend of fun left to put up the blinders and let it all go.

The time has come for fair food, crowds, loud music, port-o-potties, and bees.

Lots and lots of bees.

That’s right, folks. For the festival-focused, it’s time to head into the “Concrete Jungle” and leave it all there. Happy Riot Fest weekend!

The Tepid Ringleader

South Side Bar

Before reading this story keep in mind I am describing the events as I witnessed them. The vernacular and slurs that are used were essential to telling this story. The foul language and misconceptions of some characters captures the mindset and ignorance that unfortunately still exists where I was born and raised. There are no safe spaces here in this place. I am not writing this for shock value or to offend people. This is just a story about where I was before and after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This piece was hard to write and it may be a little grainy. Please be advised.

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