Friday, August 30, 2013

Slurpees and Murder Record Club: She Will Love You and Leave You High and Dry (or, 1987 Just Was Not a Year for Lookin' Good)

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of the Slurpees and Murder Record Club! Are you all set for the long weekend? Not yet, you ain't!

Get ready to kick it like it's 1987:

97 ROCK-KIS FM HomeGrown Project '87 (1987)
[ as always, I'd link to the official publisher or artist store here if it existed | there is a guy in Steinbach offering the cassette secondhand for eighteen bucks, though, if you'd like | that is literally the only other Google hit besides mine for this album, incidentally ]

So, uh, the tracklist. You may recall that it took me a while to grok what the last radio-station compilation album I posted was up to, but this album's confusion was settled a tad more quickly when I -- well, you've noticed it already too, haven't you?

When you compare the tracklists on the album's sticker labels to the tracklist on the cardboard jacket -- or if you fire the record onto the player without looking too closely and then wonder what's up -- you realize that they managed to swap the info for sides one and two on the jacket. Whoops! Haha, well, happens all the time, y'know how it is.

(As always, library cataloguing dictates that we follow the information source least likely to be separated from the work, so I've arranged the digital playlist to the label's sides one and two rather than the jacket's sides.)

The other thing you've probably already noticed is, OH MY GOD, 1987 FASHIONS. OH MY GOD. OH -- SWEET -- LORD:

I can't, you guys. I just cannot even. A picture is commonly said to be worth a thousand words, so this is at least twelve thousand words' worth of content, and I fear I can't possibly do justice to any of it.

Everything leaps out at you at once, doesn't it? The ten-out-of-ten creeper faces going on in the Chocolate Bunnies (From Hell) shot. Sosumi (I wanted so badly to believe that this name is Japanese for something, and not the exact stupid pun it sounds like) mugging like the doughiest toughguys, which incidentally makes it the most Winnipeggian picture possible. 417 looking like a hastily-assembled collage of dudes from four completely different bands. The Cones of Silence picture kind of looking like the Rhino Video catalogue commercial. A young David Spade apparently photobombing The Johns' publicity shot. Izzy & The Fifth Biz -- the Fifth Biz is presumably not pictured -- featuring what appears to be a leather bathrobe. In a Sense (that is seriously the name of the band) being the end product of a nuclear holocaust. OH MY GOD, THE PANTS ON THAT FOOL'S CROW GUY. OH MY GOD EVERY SINGLE STRAND OF HAIR IN THE DANNY KRAMER SHOT. I just, it just, where do you begin? Where do you begin.

There is a picture of me in a sorta-barn-cottage along Lake Winnipeg -- I don't have it conveniently digitized, but I promise I'll share it once I get my hands on it -- there is a picture from right around this time, in which I am maybe two or three years old. My father, sporting a moustache thick enough to bludgeon a man to death with, is wearing an explosion of primary colours forcibly wrangled into the shape of a men's suit, and I -- because I was perhaps two or three, and was given no say in this matter -- I am wearing a sailor outfit. A SAILOR OUTFIT. I used to believe that this must surely be the most embarrassing picture taken in 1986-87; I understand now, with the benefit of hindsight and my ownership of this record, that the photo I have just described does not even crack the top ten.

For a fun home game, start playing the album without looking at the tracklist, and then look at the pictures to see if you can match the music to the artists. (Talk on the Block will, I should note, be an absolute gimme. But you're on your own for the rest of 'em!)

ANYWAY. Here are twelve of the most promising local acts in the Winnipeg scene as of 1987 -- note the blurb on the back cover talkin' some backhanded shit about the local scene -- given time to shine. Inside you will hear the Eddie Moneyest thing you've heard all year, a couple of lost college-rock artifacts, the exact soft rock song that an elevator would play if it were in a multi-storied dentist's office, and more than one Daniel-Lanois-era-U2 soundalike.

I want to note: Talk of the Block is supremely off-putting at first listen, and has a hamfisted geopolitical understanding altogether common to the era, but -- and I say this in dead seriousness -- it is also twenty to twenty-five years ahead of its time. I guarantee -- I've followed yon internet zeitgeist long enough in my time -- I guarantee that our modern internet music blogs, far and wide, would lose their shit over this song if it came out today.

(I suppose that would make the band "Talk of the Blog".)

(I'll see myself out.)

The jump from Talk of the Block to Fool's Crow is, possibly, the biggest whiplash on the album. And, like the song that precedes it, this could just as easily be from right now; it feels most particularly like it would make it onto an NHL2K soundtrack if that series ever came back from the dead. Did anybody else buy NHL 2K6 for the Bob Cole and Harry Neale commentary, or was it just me? Because if you did, you remember "Banishment of Love" by The M's. Yes, you do, and it will follow you to your grave.

The Cones of Silence and "Got a Problem" predate Iggy Pop's "Candy" by three years, and that fact will blow your mind while you listen to it. (Also, parts of it read like a suicide note. So there's that.)

And, finally, the album concludes -- label-tracklist-wise, anyway; let's not get into the sleeve tracklist -- the album concludes with my overwhelming personal favourite of the bunch, Danny Kramer's "The Chance I'll Take". Tom Cochrane apparently chose In a Sense's "Love and Courage" as the best song of the album, if the back cover is correct; y'all know I'm not normally one to argue with Tom Cochrane, but man, he totally blew that call.

I gushed about this song at length (even by my standards!) on this episode of Winnipeg Internet Pundits, and I take this time to play it here because I take the time to play it everywhere now. So here it is as a standalone download as well, just in case you ain't got time for the whole album:

Danny Kramer - The Chance I'll Take
[ it doesn't appear that this song ever got any other release, which is mad unfair | if this page is the same Danny Kramer, you can hire his cover band for your wedding or corporate event | also, he likes licorice tea ]


Thank you for reading! I hope you've enjoyed this installment of the Slurpees and Murder Record Club; coming up next on the blog, I'll teach you some long weekend fun with hard liquor and grapefruit juice. See you tomorrow or the next day, true believers!


Anonymous said...

Yeah man! That was Danny's "Eye Of The Tiger"! It shoulda been on the Top Gun soundtrack or something.

Blue said...

Oh lord, this is too much.

James Hope Howard said...

File under "OP delivers", and also under "oh my god the things people wore in 1987":

I'd forgotten the suit was pinstriped, haaaa ha ha ha oh geez

Ron kirsch said...

That's me in those pants.... and those were the safe ones .. I had others where my underwear and package would hang out .... not recommended in winter...... never wear anything on stage you won't wear in public... Wpg was fun in the 80's ...

James Hope Howard said...

You are, and I say this with one-hundred-per-cent deadly seriousness, an inspiration to us all. (I can barely pull off hats.)