The Joup Friday Album: Saturday Morning Cartoons’ Greatest Hits

saturdaymorningSomething I don’t really see much of anymore are compilation tribute albums, those sonic testaments of inspiration and capital assembled together from a who’s who of whatever the kids are listening to and assorted old stalwarts to craft a quick and profitable loving homage to one of our respected audio forebears.  I don’t mean to sound snarky.  I’m not too good for these cash ins, as my old CD collection is proof to, but it seems like they used to be all over the place, lauding such artists as Depeche Mode, or Joy Division, or Led Zeppelin, or The Carpenters, but have now faded into relative obscurity with so much other 90’s detritus.

The Joup Friday Album: DJ Shadow – Endtroducing

endtroducingIt’s Friday night and my weekend has begun in the way I love most – I’m sitting at my favorite coffee shop working on a new short story waiting for my baby to get off work. The story was having a little trouble flowing and that’s when I remembered that I recently put the legendary Endtroducing by DJ Shadow back on my iPod. If there’s one thing I learned about this record when my good friend Keller introduced me to it back in 2011 – yeah, I was late to this party for sure – it’s that Endtroducing is a powerful catalyst for the isolation and introspection of creative writing. Maybe not for everyone, but definitely for me. Full Disclosure: the version I have is one I purposely left the interstitial dialogue tracks off of in order to keep the otherwise mostly instrumental flow, so when you cue this up and hit play you’ll be hearing a slightly different version than me, but that doesn’t matter. The thing’s a classic and I only resorted to the blasphemy of altering it to ensure it keeps me where I use it to go.

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The Joup Friday Album: Yak – Alas Salvation

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For this review, I desperately wanted to find something new that I would love, rather than taking another walk down memory lane to revisit an old favorite, or finding something new that I was only lukewarm about. Unfortunately, given the cyclical nature of popular music, most of the things I like are deeply out of fashion at the moment. So I put a request out to my facebook friends (many of whom have more free time to discover new music than I do) for something that would land in my wheelhouse, a fairly narrow corridor that runs from melodic garage and punk, edges into shoegaze and psychedelia but only the more sprightly regions, and finishes up on the edgier fringes of power pop.

The Joup Friday Album: Blondie – Parallel Lines

I had the week of National Women’s Equality Day, and now I have the week of International Women’s Day. Back in August I had said “…we don’t need a day on the calendar for equality. We just need equality.”

With a shifting tide, I’m just going to go ahead and take the day. Screw it – let’s take the week. Let’s take the time and appreciate the likes of Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, and Mavis Staples (Seriously – did you hear her new track with Arcade Fire?) Let’s worship at altars dedicated to Etta James, Karen Carpenter, and Poly Styrene. Take your pick! Find an amazing woman who has contributed to your musical upbringing, turn the volume up, and spend some time with them!

The Joup Friday Album – Graham Parker & The Rumor: Howlin’ Wind

Howlin WindHowlin’ Wind by Graham Parker and The Rumor is an album of abundant substance. The story behind the band and the production of the record have a lot of sub-plots behind them so I will try to focus more on the record and its songs rather than try to form a family tree behind it. This will be hard because Howlin’ Wind was produced by Nick Lowe, features Dave Edmunds as a guest guitarist and was recorded at Eden Studios in London, a studio that had quite an impressive guest list from 1972 to 2007. You very well might have quite a few records that were recorded there: Elvis Costello, John Cale, Joe Jackson, The Happy Mondays, The Smiths, The Undertones, The Sex Pistols, Primal Scream and Oasis are just a few bands that have recorded at Eden Studios. That said, I will try to pin down the Album “Howlin’ Wind” and a give brief history of Graham Parker and the Rumor.

The Joup Friday Album – The National: The Boxer

The BoxerSo this is going to be new, because we’re going to get to know this one together. I became a fan – and I mean a rabid, rabid fan of The National via a burned copy of High Violet that a former co-worker slipped me back around the time it came out in May of 2010. I sat on the record for a few years because at the time I was inundated with new music and what I can now admit was a completely erroneous idea that The National’s music was what I call “beard and wine music” (think Bon Iver – who knows, I may one day find I’m wrong about him too). So around 2014 Bret Easton Ellis had the band’s lead singer Matt Berninger one his podcast. I was unfamiliar with the guest by name, and as the cast began with the opening of High Violet’s Conversation 16 my eyes went wide – it sounded exactly like Ellis’s prose – which I am an enormous fan of – reads: haunted. I listened to the conversation Ellis and Berninger shared, which dwelled largely on Mistaken For Strangers, and afterward sought out the song on youtube. When I did I realized it was from the album I had on file and immediately dug it out of one of the stacks of burned discs that live in a cupboard in my dining room.

The Joup Friday Album: Alvin & the Chipmunks – Christmas With the Chipmunks

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For many people, Christmas With the Chipmunks represents fond holiday memories of fun gatherings and familial warmth. But for one artist, this album represents a career filled with emotional abuse by an ill-tempered Svengali, and cries for help that went unheeded. That artist is Alvin, and this album serves as evidence of his systematic abuse and suffering at the hands of David Seville.

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