The Joup Friday Album: Grouper – Dragging a Dead Deer up a Hill

grouperI imagine that at this moment, I’m knee deep in some sort of SXSW mayhem, my body and mind awash in music, free beers, breakfast tacos, and corporate swag.  I’m probably tired.  I’m probably thinking about when I need to cut myself off so that I can drive to go pick up my son.  I’m probably wondering where to go to next.  (I’m writing this a few days before now, so maybe I’m not doing any of those things.)  SXSW can be a blast, but it can also be an endurance test, so let’s all mellow out a little bit with Grouper’s 2008 album Dragging a Dead Deer up a Hill.  It’s time to come down.

The Joup Friday Album: Chris Cornell – Scream

screamReleased in 2009, “Scream” was Chris Cornell’s third solo album. It debuted at #10 on the Billboard 200 chart, but its sales were abysmal — it secured that spot with only 26,000 units moved, which tells you a lot about the state of music sales even six years ago. It was also met with a lot of negative press, most of which seemed not to appreciate the scope, subject matter or musical experimentation that the former frontman of Soundgarden was pursuing at the time. Granted, this was a semi-radical departure insofar as it brought in a lot of electronic, bass-heavy elements to the production (mostly courtesy of producer Timbaland, whose label Mosley co-released “Scream”).

The Joup Friday Album: The United States of America

usaalbumAs “The American Metaphysical Circus” begins, the atmosphere is indeed akin to that of a circus, a hodgepodge of sounds swirling along together in an audio soup. Ragtime dances play with classical marches and jazz numbers before subsiding as the electronic pulses take over and a female voice beckons you in. The mood is progressive. The ideas are many. The palette is open to an array of new sounds. Welcome to one of the most fantastic and experimental psych rock records of the 1960’s, the self-titled, sole release from The United States of America.

The Joup Friday Album: The Chameleons – Strange Times

chameleons-strange_timesHoly cow, where has this record been all my life?

To me, one of the greatest joys in all the world is when I find an album someone gave me at some point in the past that, for whatever reason, initially escaped my attention. I always tell people when they try to turn me on to new things, I get to everything eventually. Sometimes its a day, sometimes a month, some times five years. But I do get to it. The Chameleon’s 1986 record Strange Times is a perfect example of one that has remained just off my radar for longer than most, only to appear out of the blue recently and smack me upside the head with a newfound frenzied appreciation.

The Joup Friday Album: Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual (30th Anniversary Edition)

71Ky+lq86mL._SL1500_In her self-titled autobiography, singer Cyndi Lauper talks a lot about making something out of nothing. The New York-born Lauper specifically mentions painting the bottom of her heels in a Vincent Van Gogh motif for the cover of “She’s So Unusual,” which was reissued in 2014 through Legacy Recordings on a 30th anniversary celebration limited-edition vinyl pressing. The vinyl itself is a lot like Lauper, with it’s riotous explosion of color against a clear background.

The Joup Friday Album: Dum Dum Girls – Too True

13929I’m using this edition of The Joup Friday Album to exorcise my regret over not including Dum Dum Girls’ new record Too True on my best of 2014 list. Honestly, I knew this was going to happen – inevitably every year as soon as I post a list the “One that Got Away” syndrome pops up on something I didn’t hear in time. That’s not the case here though. I’ve had this album for months and had even developed quite a relationship with it, listening to it over and over on my Greyhound bus trip from Chicago to Dayton back in late October and MAN did it hit all the right buttons as I stared out the window at Autumn in the Midwest. And yet, despite my immediate love of Too True, and despite contemplating putting it on the list, not everything can make a list of ten, so it was one of the ones I cut.

The Joup Friday Album: Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue

denniswilsonI don’t know about the rest of you, but when I was growing up, and gradually discovering music of all kinds to wiggle around to, one of the few bands that got the full fledged seal of approval from both my parents and us kiddos alike was the sunny, surf-pop rock sounds of The Beach Boys. They were catchy, and fun, and even popped up on Full House with Uncle-fucking-Jesse on the drums. Good, old-fashioned, wholesome rock and roll. Or maybe not.

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