The Scrounger's Report
Feb. 10, 2002
The Hotter Than Hell Scrounger's Report
Friday was about the warmest day we've had this winter, about 50 degrees.
Wouldn't ya know it that our "climate control system" (a clear oxymoron)
picked that day to go apeshit and spew out heat as if the temp outside was
40 below. When I got to work at 6:45 am it was approximately 80 degrees in
the office. 6 hours later, even with all the windows open, the temperature
had climbed to almost 90 degrees. Since the operations & maintenance staff
showed absolutely no sign of ever showing up, I (and just about everyone
else in the office) decided to exit for the day. What to do with half a day
<MC HAMMER>Stop! Scrounging Time!</MC HAMMER>
A couple of local pawn shops were blowing out CDs for a buck a pop, so I
gambled on a bunch of discs that looked like they *might* be worthwhile;
some were, some were absolute dog-caca. Such is the nature of a gamble.
Then I ventured south about an hour's drive, and
on a whim I hit a pair of stores that I'd omitted from my rounds the last
few times because they SUCKED. Well, I guess it pays off to revisit stores
that bite, cuz ya never know when there might be a change in management or
I've added something new this time; I'm including links to cover scans, so
you can get a better idea of what's what.
First, a few discs I got specifically for the trade/sale pile (see
here for my trade/sale list):
Bride - Kinetic Faith. 1991. Pure Metal Records.
Bride had 2 eras; their early material was classic heavy metal, whereas
their more recent albums were more in the alternative vein. This album
bridges the gap. It's lighter than the early material, but not as
alternative as the recent material. Solid Christian hard rock, getting
tougher to find.
Allies - S/T. 1991 (1985). Light Records.
Original Light Records pressing. Excellent Christian "lite AOR"
produced by Dino Elefante and Randy Thomas. This is their first album. Cutout.
Cher - Heart of Stone. 1989. Geffen Records.
Quintessential AOR album, songs produced by Michael Bolton, Desmond
Child, and Diane Warren. Guest musicians include Steve Lukather, Michael
Anthony, Robin Beck, Desmond Child, Diane Warren, John Fiore, Bonnie Tyler,
John Pierce, Michael Thompson. This version is the original pressing. The
artwork is completely different from the artwork you commonly see; it was
withdrawn because Cher did not like the artist's rendering of her. Quite
tough to find!
Next, a CD single that apparently is somewhat tough; a cool find:
Megadeth - Hangar 18. 1990. Capitol Records.
4 tracks: Hangar 18 (AOR edit), Hangar 18 (LP version), The Conjuring
(live), Hook in Mouth (live).
And now the full-length discs. We'll start with the crapola and work our
way into the worthwhile discs...
Stephen Bruton - Nothing But the Truth. 1998. New West Records.
Zak - In the Hurricane. 1988. Insatiable Records.
Willy DeVille - Loup Garou. 1995. EastWest Records America.
To quote Bill Murray from the Movie Scrooged, "Wow! Boy did THAT suck!"
All 3 of these discs bite hard. In addition to sucking, they all have one
other thing in common: they come off as poor 3rd-rate Tom Petty wannabes.
The only thing worse than sounding like a crappy artist, is being a poor
imitation of a crappy artist.
Mike Peters - Rise. 1998. Velvel Records.
Mmmmkay. Solo album from the lead signer of The Alarm. Sounds nothing
like The Alarm whatsoever. A heavier-edged version of The Beatles, with
lots of modern/alternative sounds. Well produced and mixed though.
Another Carnival - Enjoy the Ride. 1991. JRS Records.
Hard rock with yet more of that Tom Petty, Bruce Cougar Mellensteen
sound. What's the correct term for that stuff anyway? Midwest rock? Roots
rock? I'd call it crap, but there's gotta be a more descriptive term out
there. This one has a few moments, but not many.
Louise Goffin - This Is the Place. 1988. Warner Brothers.
A poor man's version of the Bangles. Ok, but lacks polish in places.
The Men - S/T. 1992. Polydor Records.
More nondescript quasi-hard rock. Rather generic. Stuff you might hear
played in a bar in Podunk, Iowa, in front of a crowd of 12.
Desultory - Into Eternity. 1993. Metal Blade Records.
Interesting stuff! I'd just picked up their 1994 effort on my last
excursion. I think I like this one better. This band bridges the gap
between death metal and thrash. Fairly technical stuff.
Soundtrack - The Rage: Carrie 2. 1999. Edel America Records.
While most of the groups featured on this soundtrack are unrecognized
by myself, a couple caught my eye: Fear Factory, Paradise Lost, Type O
Climax Blues Band - FM/Live... plus. 1989. See For Miles (United Kingdom)
A British band doing down-home good-ole-boy music? Ok. Sure. Why not?
More than a little dated sounding, yet solid in performance. Artwork is
completely different from the current version.
Anthrax - I'm the Man. 1987. Island Records.
CLASSIC!!! I don't see this EP all that often, so I figured I'd snarf
while the snarfing was good. I remember when the title track first hit the
airwaves, it caused a bit of a hubbub, what with the metal dudes doing rap.
These guys were at their best when they weren't taking things too seriously.
Coroner - Grin. 1993. Futurist/Noise Records.
Quasi-thrash, fairly technical heavy metal. A bit more experimental
than their earlier works, incorporating some vocal effects. Haven't
listened extensively, but first impressions have me liking the earlier
Darren Scott Kramer - On the Proving Ground. 1991. River Records.
Christian Pop/AOR. Fairly heavy in the praise department, but some
Waterfront - S/T. 1989. Polydor Records.
Dance-pop. Apparently I was mistaken all these years, since I thought
the song "Cry" was sung by George Michael. Good stuff for the genre.
The Grip Weeds - House of Vibes. 1994. Twang! Records.
This one was a surprise. The cover art implies a very psychedelic '60s
sound, and this group is all that. While as a general rule I despise '60s
music, there's some good vocal harmonies on the choruses happening, and the
production isn't anywhere as abysmal as one would expect. This one gets
your toes tapping along...
Venice - Born and Raised. 1997. Vanguard Records.
Laid-back, almost to the point of being a cure for insomnia. :) Very
melodic westcoast AOR, but VERY mellow. At times reminiscent of some of the
lightest Eagles material. Excellent harmonies.
Fear Factory - Linchpin (Special Australian Tour EP). 2001. Roadrunner (Australia).
Cool! 7 audio tracks plus 2 video tracks. Several unreleased tracks on
Karla Bonoff - Wild Heart of the Young. 1982. Columbia Records.
Quite good! Genre: country blended with adult contemporary. Don Henley
and Timothy B. Schmitt, J.D. Souther guest on backing vocals. Definitely
has an '80s vibe to it. Vocally, she sounds a LOT like K.D. Lang... sans
bull dike accoutrements.
Wa Wa Nee - S/T. 1987. Epic Records.
Boring! I was expecting a lot more, given the fact that I'd read quite
a few people referring to it. '80s new wave pop fluff without hooks.
Basia - The Best Remixes. 1990. Epic/Sony (Japan).
Not normally my cup of tea, but it's kinda hard to go wrong on a
Japanese import for $1.99. At that price I'll gamble on almost anything,
figuring that even if I don't like it, someone will pay a premium for it
(at least enough to cover my costs). Not bad stuff in a Celine Dion pop
sorta way. 6-track EP.
Private Life - Shadows. 1988. Warner Brothers.
I thought the S/T album was quite boring. This one is MUCH better! Why
they went downhill from this one to that one is beyond me. Both albums are
produced by Eddie Van Halen. Female-fronted hard rock.
Ted Nugent - Night Time. 1994. K Point Records (Germany or Czech).
Weird. This is the 2nd CD I've found on this label, the first being
True Brits Vol. II. It has all the earmarkings of being a bargain label
(kinda like Sony Music Special Products, or Cema), with a couple of odd
exceptions: The artwork, both front panel and tray card, are printed on
clear plastic; it's a neat effect in a jewel case. Also the CDs are gold
discs. So what you end up with is the gold CD showing through the
transparent areas of the cover art. With respect to what this album
actually is, in terms of track lineup, it's identical to "On the Edge",
released 2 years later, covering early material with The Amboy Dukes.
Money Talks - S/T. 1990. Curb Records.
Interesting. Fairly tough find, it's '80s Hi-Tech pop-AOR. Kinda in the
Simple Minds/Tears for Fears vein but with a slightly heavier edge. Fans of
'80s pop rock will definitely enjoy.
Toronto - Greatest Hits. 1988. CBS Records (Canada).
I'd been wanting to pick this up for a long time, just have never found
it anywhere. Female-fronted Canuck AOR. Some of the tracks are excellent,
while others sound *extremely* dated, with some rather primitive
production. The track "Looking for Trouble" is classic!
Well, that's all for this issue. A relatively inexpensive day by normal
standards (including the cost of a half tank of gas, less than $80 spent).
Till next time, keep rockin!