Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quarterflash - Quarterflash - 1981

I digitized this record a couple months ago and I've been taking my own sweet time photographing the cover and processing the tracks. But then I watched the Tony's last week which lead me to the soundtrack to Rock Of Ages. That's the new Broadway musical will all 80's hard songs. One of the tracks is "Harden My Heart" by Quarterflash. Hearing that seemed like a sign to get this puppy up and out there.

However the full story to posting this record isn't all just Broadway. My real inspiration is that the record is really good. To be honest I've had the record for years, but whenever it took a turn on the turntable, I just played the hits "Harden My Heart" and true gem of the record "Find Another Fool". I mean after "Find Another Fool" there isn't much reason to continue on the record because it is so great. At least that was my thinking for years. For whatever reason I gave the whole record a little closer listen recently and I found that a quite dug a few other tracks on here. I thought that there were probably plenty of folks who never heard these tracks and would also like to hear them, since they will never get radio play.

The first true treasure on this record is "Valerie" which is on side one. The song is a perfect power pop tune and should have been a huge hit. If it had been released today I think it would have been, however the subject of a lesbian crush I don't think was as accepted amongst mainstream music back in 1981. Post Katy Perry, no one would even blink. If anyone is looking to cover a song I would nominate this as a great choice. The song also, if sung by a male singer would also still work great. It is just a well crafted song.

"Try to Make It True" which closes out side one is another really good song. It features some of that signature saxophone. I can't believe I've gone this far in a post about Quarterflash and not even mentioned the saxophone. There probably is a list somewhere of great bands with saxophone and Quarterflash should definitely be on that list. I wish it were used more these days. It was definitely big in the 80's.

Side 2 has a couple songs I like, "Right Kind Of Love" (more sax) and "Love Should Be So Kind". They are definitely not as strong as the selections on side 1, but they are worth a couple listens.

And before closing out I guess I should make some mention of the first two tracks. The only things I have to say as on a completely personal note. They will always bring strong memories of my elementary school days. 1981 and 5th grade is when I started to get my own taste in music branching out from my parents' music. I fell in love with rock music and other than girls, it became my latest obsession. I spent all my allowance on buying tapes from Flipside Records and buying blank tapes to record songs off the radio. Quarterflash was there at the beginning of this journey and will always hold a special place in my heart.

Okay, enough of the schmaltz.


01 Harden My Heart
02 Find Another Fool
03 Critical Times
04 Valerie
05 Try To Make It True
06 Right Kind Of Love
07 Cruisin' With The Deuce
08 Love Should Be So Kind
09 Williams Avenue

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer Sunshower - SAP Music Summer Mix 2009

It seems like I'm getting worse and worse at posting at any sort of regularity. I'm sorry. I know I keep saying that, but I do mean it. Maybe this mix will help make up for it and will give you something fun and interesting to listen to this summer.

The last few mixes I posted I didn't say much in the way of what was actually on the mix. I'm trying to avoid attention from pesky people and an search engine looking for places to complain about. However I know it must be frustrating, not know what is going to be on the mix before spending all that band width and time. So I want to strike a balance. I'm hoping that by just writing about the tracks and not actually posting or listing the files, that anyone looking to cause problems will just blow by this posting if it pops up. So let's all cross our fingers and hope this stays under the radar.

The first track is Steal Away by Murder by Death. This song could fit on a Halloween mix, but it does have the line about a Moon in June, so I figure it works for summer as well. Keeping with the macabre theme I went to Patti Smith with he fine fine tune "Summer Cannibals". Be careful with this song, because once you hear it I think it will get stuck in your head and then you will be sining about cannibals all day and people might look at you with a cautious eye.

Next up is something a little newer, "Swollen Summer" by The Bravery. After that I have a track that I credit to a coworker. I hadn't listened to Elvis Costello in a while and my friend was telling me how much he loved him. That prompted me to dive back into some Costello records. This song "The Other Side Of Summer" is a result of that recent listening.

The next song needs a little detour story. One day I was at work and in our "Kitchen area" there was a box of CD's with a piece of paper on it that said free to whoever wants to give the cd's a home. It was filled with mostly promo CD's sent to our music department from music companies trying to get songs into TV shows and movies. So of course I took the entire box or 60-70 CD's and I've been ripping them and listening to them. On them there are a lot of artists I've never heard of and a couple of them have made their way to this mix. This next track "The Sun Will Shine" by Ashen Keilyn is one of them. It is a pretty little song.

Miss Ludella Black won the next slot with "Last Summer". You know I couldn't do a mix without someone from the Billy Childish stable.

The next two tracks come from my recent listening of 60's rock. The first one is by Gun, a band I kind of stumbled across. The song is Sunshine and is a great late 60's flower power/summer of love type song. The next if by Traffic. I recently bought a bunch of records at a garage sale. The were all late 60's and early 70's records and belonged to a lady that obviously was a hippie at heart. Anyways, I got some early Traffic records, which made me dig into relistening to most of the Traffic catalog. "Paper Sun" reminds me of early Pink Floyd psychedelia.

Keeping with the decade I made a complete change of pace and headed to the beach with Annette Funicello and "Muscle Beach Party". Nothing says summer like the beach and so this starts off a run of songs around the theme of the beach. "Hot Foam Rider" by Surf Raider, "Surf Combat" by Naked Raygun, "Surfin' USA" by The Jesus and Mary Chain" all play off the surfing theme.

The next couple tracks may not be surf related, but they are bands heavily influenced by Jesus and Mary Chain's wall of sound guitar noise. Crocodiles is a band whose recent release sounds at times like a tribute to many 80's bands. There are some that sound so much like Echo and The Bunnymen it is scary. "Summer Of Hate" which is included here sounds like JAMC. And then off of the heavily JAMC influenced "Chain Gang Of Love" the Raveonettes give us "Noisy Summer", noisy being the key word.

The next couple come from that box of CD's. A band called Black Summer Crush do a song called "Memphis Sun". Don't know anything about them other than they obviously love Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, because that is definitely the vibe they got going here. This was a nice find. Then I go a little country with Jim Lauderdale and his song "Borrow Some Summertime".

Death Cab For Cutie give a low key contribution with "Summer Skin". Then I pick things up with a newer R&B/Soul song by Shontelle, "Cold Cold Summer". It's not a happy summer song, but it is a really good track none the less. It's for any of you who have recently broken up with a boyfriend or of girlfriend and will be spending the summer alone. Enjoy the pain.

The next track is a deep album cut from some other recently digitized vinyl. I digitized a bunch of records by Labelle and I've been listening to them. I wasn't very familiar with any of this music so it has been fun discovering how great Labelle was. I think like many other children of the 80's the name Labelle just makes us think of Patti's work in the 80's. Her work with Labelle in the 70's is a whole other animal. It is a lot funkier and trippier. Tracks are long and get deep into the funky music weeds. "Sunshine (Wake Me Up This Morning" is a track I listened to on the ipod on my walk to work one morning and I fell in love. I knew it had to be on this mix.

"Summer Sun" by someone or some group names Koop comes from the mystery box of CD's. Think 60's loungey jazz. Reminds me of a lot of the music on all those lounge compilations from the 90's.

Art Brut recently had an album come out. I've been listening to that a lot. I love how English it is. It is sort of a more punk rock version of The Streets in my opinion. "Summer Job" is included here.

As the mix comes to the end I decided to go out softly. The second to last song is the classic "Summertime Rolls" from Jane's Addiction. This could have come earlier amongst those tracks from the 60's, because of the vibe, but it seems more like a closer. It was the closer for a while, but then I decided to go out with a ballad off the new Journey record. Thought that might surprise some people. Yes, it is the new version of Journey with that Steve Perry sound alike. To some that may be bad, but I'm not so snooty. The guy can sing and this track sounds like it could have been off of Escape or more likely Frontiers. The song is "Like A Sunshower" and is was gave me the name for the mix. If you like Journey and their ballads, you should like this track. If you aren't into them, then you'll probably hate this, because it is distinctively Journey doing their formula. I'm a sucker for it.

Anyways, that rounds out the set coming in just under and hour and seventeen minutes. Just right to be burned to a CD if you are still rolling that way. I hope everyone has fun with these songs and that this will tide you over at least until the next post.