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The Scrounger's Report

Feb. 24, 2002

The Windy City Scrounger's Report

Tax refund in hand. Monitor rebate arrived. Hmmm. Must be time for a jaunt
out somewhere to do some scrounging. But where? All my regular haunts I've
been to within the last 2 months. So after some headscratching, I decided
to head to Impulse Music in Roselle, IL. I'd been there once before, coming
back from Wisconsin 4 years ago (I think it was 4; my memory gets crappier
as I get older). Pros: Excellent selection of AOR, hard rock, and heavy
metal, including lots of Japanese imports; what you see on the web site is
available for you to peruse. It's nice to be able to listen to the music
and read liner notes, etc. prior to buying. Cons: You're paying full retail.
Mall-level pricing ($14.99-18.99 per CD as a general rule), but unlike a
mall music store, there's real music.

So I printed out directions and set off on the 3-hour drive up north. Note
to self: driving in urban areas sucks. Posted speed limit is 55. I'm doing
80. People are flying by me like I'm standing still. It would be ok if I
were driving a real vehicle, but a GMC Sonoma extended cab with a 2.0-litre
4-cylinder engine automatic just doesn't cut it. I was doing a "Fred
Flinstone" to keep from being run over. Merging into traffic was just so
much fun.

It also didn't help that my map was out of date. Luckily I didn't end up
in Cabrini Green (that's another story for another time).

I ended up hitting 3 different stores while I was up north, spent far too
much money, but came home with lots of fun stuff. My descriptions will be
more abbreviated than usual, simply because I haven't listened to the vast
majority of the discs yet. I was a little disappointed that some of my
major wants were out of stock, but I guess you can't have anything.

From Impulse:

Bonfire - Freudenfeuer. 1996. LZ Records.
   Been on my "to-get" list for a while; figured I should.
Bonfire - Strike Ten. 2001. BMG Ariola.
Brass Kitten - Across America. 2001. Nightmare Records.
   I'd heard MP3s of this. Quite good! Much better than the debut.
Dreamtide - Here Comes the Flood. 2001. Frontiers Records.
   Have some Fair Warning! A few fillers, but overall excellent.
Haven - Age of Darkness. 1991. R.E.X. Music.
Helix - Walkin' the Razor's Edge. 1984. Capitol Records.
   Completes my collection of Helix studio efforts (other than the
   B-Sides disc).
House of Shakira - Live+. 2001. Self-released.
Krokus - Hardware. 1981. BMG Ariola.
   Completist fodder.
Melodica - U.S. Acoustica. 2001. TPGP Records.
Murderer's Row - S/T. 1996. Milestone Music.
Outside Edge - Running Hot. 2000 (1986). Virgin Records.
Pride - Far From the Edge. 2001. Point Music/AOR Heaven.
Randy Jackson's China Rain - Bed of Nails. 1991. Beyond Records.
   Traded this away a few years back because I got an offer I couldn't
   refuse. Excellent album!
Shakra - The Live Side. 2001 (?) Point Music.
Shotgun Symphony - On the Line of Fire. 1997. Pulse Records.
Sons of Angels - Thrill of the Feel. 2000. Victor (Japan).
T'Bell - Replay. 2000. Point Music/AOR Heaven.
   Another one that I'd heard prior. Excellent!!
Tyketto - Take Out and Served Up Live. 1996. Music For Nations.
Vital Signs - S/T. 19??. AOR Heaven.
   What year was this recorded? Sounds 1988 to me. Good stuff.

I then hit a used CD store called "Disc Replay" about 10 minutes away.
Nothing overly memorable, with two exceptions.

The Unbroken - S/T. 1994. Self-released.
   Kinda nondescript hard rock produced without a budget. :) Still, it
   was only $2.

Player - Lost in Reality. 1996. River North Records.
   Comeback album? Or has Player been active since they were "big"?

Meat Loaf - The VH1 Storytellers Sampler. Beyond Records.
   I'm always a sucker for promo items.

Michael O'brien - S/T. 1990. Oceana Records.
   Wow! Quite good! Who the hell is this? Good production and mix, hi-tech
   hard rock. A fucking gem. This will end up being the unexpected find of
   the day.

Whitesnake - Live at Hammersmith. 1979. Polydor (Japan).
   Ehhh? WTF is this? I'm familiar with Live in the Heart of the City, but
   I've never seen this one before. It's a 6-track CD, in an over-sized
   mini-LP sleeve with the title embossed in sliver, complete with OBI.

My last stop (I still had a 3-hour drive home when done) was at Tower
Records. I remember this store well from my last trip 4 years ago, because
I had snagged a copy of Urgent - Thinking Out Loud from the cutout bin at
this store... and lamentably had left about 4 copies lying there. It's
turned into quite the tough find.

I've read a lot of people complaining about Tower Records. You folks that
live in close proximity to Tower have no idea how good you have it. If
this store is representative of most Tower Records stores, I would give my
left whatsit to have a store like this closer than 3 hours away (I think
there may be one in Indianapolis, but that's still 2 hours away). Tower
blows away Best Buy, Circuit City, Sam Goody, and the other crap stores we
have down here in podunk (I guess we're too small of a population center
to warrant a Tower). All sorts of AOR, hard rock, and metal in stock; MTM,
Point Music, Frontiers stuff all in quantity.

I didn't buy any new stuff though. I spent my time (and money) in their
so-called "used" section, which as it turns out, really didn't have any
used discs, but rather lots of cutout/remaindered imports. All of these
were $6 or less. Suchadeal.

Thunder - The Only One (live). 1998. Eagle Records.
   A CD single with 4 live tracks.

Lo Mejor de Seru Giran v. 1. 1994. Music Hall (Argentina).
   One of those gambles. The look of the band on the front looked like it
   could have been '70s AOR, or pop, or instrumental stuff. It's... well...
   70s allright. Lite pop on some tracks, AOR-ish on others, a little bit
   of funk in places, of course all sung in Spanish. No liner notes of any
   kind, so I can't make any heads or tales of what this actually is.

Paul Di'Anno's Battlezone - Feel My Pain. 1998. Zoom Club Records.
   Interesting. Not what I was expecting at all. Thrash/rapcore??? And
   he still can't sing.

Mama's Boys - Growing Up the Hard Way. 1987. Zomba Records.
   A lot of people have been asking me for CDRs of this one lately. Well,
   here's a brand new still-sealed copy for someone. Small cutout drill
   hole, unobtrusively placed on back tray card. Make offers if interested.

Jim Capaldi - Let the Thunder Cry. 1991 (1981). Jet Records
   (United Kingdom).
   Kind of AORish blend of roots rock. Fairly melodic. I'd picked up a
   later album from him a couple of weeks back so I figured I'd give it a try.

Yes - Symphonic Music of Yes. 1993. BMG (Japan).
   I'm not the biggest Yes fan in the world, but sure I'll bite.

Golden Earrings - On the Double. 1981. Polydor (Germany).
   What's the deal with this? AllMusic lists this as a 1969 release, but
   the back of the CD says "(P) 1981 Polydor B.V. except 1: 1971, 5: 1969,
   8: 1972, 9: 1968". It's interesting to hear some of their early material.

Samson - Joint Forces. 1994 (1986). Magnum/Thunderbolt (UK).
   Claims to be remastered, but egads, then I hate to hear the original. :)
   Still, I've always liked Nicky Moore on vocals, although his Samson
   stuff can't shine a candle to the work he did with Mammoth.

Gillan - Double Trouble. 1999 (1981). Caramba! Ltd. (UK).
   Boy does that album cover look straight out of the early '80s. The few
   occasions when I've heard Gillan stuff, I wasn't too enamored with it.
   This one seems a bit better (although nothing stellar).

Riot - Narita. 1979. CBS/Sony (Japan).
   Hell yeah. Beats the heck out of paying $30+ for the darned thing. One
   I needed too.

and lastly:

Urgent - Thinking Out Loud. 1987. Manhattan Records.
   Can you fucking believe it? Four years later and there's still a copy
   left. Amazing. Technically it's a cutout, but the saw cut missed the
   front booklet, and only nicked the tray card for maybe 1/16th inch cut.
   Gem mint condition (I opened it to check the condition of the CD since
   the jewel case was quite munched).
   Make offers.

What a fun day!

Till next time,


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