Emma Ruth Rundle – Orpheus Looking Back

This will be a pretty quick and easy post. Last Friday, Emma Ruth Rundle released a three-song EP consisting of leftover tracks from her Engine Of Hell sessions. The collection is called Orpheus Looking Back and is available digitally, Emma has stated on social media that she does not know of any plans for a physical release.

It’s interesting to hear what got left off of the album. Engine Of Hell was my number two on my list of Albums of 2021. It was a minimal, stark effort that brought difficult themes to life instead of being sometimes hidden behind the music of past albums.

The three songs here are in keeping with the style of Engine Of Hell. It is Emma singing along to sparse instrumentation. Two feature a guitar and one has a pump organ. I will let you all guess which song has the pump organ.

Emma Ruth Rundle – Orpheus Looking Back

Released March 25, 2022 via Sargent House Records

The EP kicks off with Gilded Cage. The song has a kind of Celtic folk vibe or something, it’s a bit exotic. It seems to depict some struggle between being “like them” and feeling the rage to transcend. Emma’s singing on the track recalls Dolores O’Riordan, who I suspect is an influence on Emma’s work (sort of confirmed, I don’t know, she doesn’t tell me things). The song is very nicely done and is also over before you know it at a 2:36 runtime.

Up next is the Pump Organ Song. It is Emma and a pump organ, exactly as advertised. The song is a bleak recount of some lost love or episode. It is a little hard to tell as the work feels unfinished, but what was established here is a nice piece. I’m hopeful that Emma will use the organ again in the future as there is plenty she could do with it.

The final track on this collection is St. Non. It’s one more light, minimal number that feature’s Emma and a guitar. Non is a real saint, I had to look it up as I’m way more up on band lineups or baseball rosters than I am my saints. The song is a very quiet and honestly sweet one that does feel a bit against the grain of the more harsh vibe of the Engine Of Hell album.

All three of the songs fit the vibe of the album they were part of the session of but also aren’t quite as fleshed-out as the works on the record. Orpheus Looking Back is a nice piece to have as a further window into the Engine Of Hell sessions. It’s also very nice to end a post before the first page is filled, I don’t often get a chance to do that.

Orpheus Looking Back is available on Bandcamp and other digital platforms.

Album Of The Week – March 28, 2022

This week I’m taking a dive into the album that really hooked me into music. I talked about it in an older post, now it’s time to get specific and go over the album in greater detail. I got the cassette as a Christmas gift a few months after its release and I played it over and over and over again, literally wearing out the tape and burning the album into my 12-year old brain. The results would have me chasing music all over and shape my pursuit of sound into a new decade while in my formative years.

Motley Crüe – Dr. Feelgood

Released September 1, 1989 via Elektra Records

My Favorite Tracks – Kickstart My Heart, Dr. Feelgood, Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)

Dr. Feelgood was the fifth studio album from Motley Crüe. The album would be a smash success for the group, topping charts and selling several times platinum. The group had been instrumental in starting the hair metal era of the 1980’s and would end the decade with a massive triumph. The album spawned five singles which were in constant rotation on MTV. Hair metal as a whole was winding down as the calendar turned to 1990 but one of its most important acts was still running hot.

Dr. Feelgood

After a brief intro to set the scene, the album kicks off with the title track and lead single. Dr. Feelgood is a massive, heavy song that outlines the highs and lows of Jimmy, a fictional drug dealer. The full, bombastic production of Bob Rock was a welcome change from the thin sound of the band’s two prior albums. It went a long way to reminding everyone that the Crüe had the chops to play a harder brand of rock than what the L.A. Scene had largely devolved into in the late ’80’s.

Dr. Feelgood did great as a single – it was the band’s first top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and also their only gold-certified single.

Slice Of Your Pie

Moving on to one of the many songs on the record about sex, here we have a song full of euphemisms and sex talk that skirts the lines between clever and explicit. Even as one of the perhaps secondary tracks, this song still provides a sleazy thrill ride with the band’s rediscovered chops and improved production. The end of the song borrows from the Beatles track “She’s So Heavy” because that’s what everyone was expecting from a Motley Crüe album in 1989.

Rattlesnake Shake

Another sleazy rocker that glorifies the evils of lust and fornication. Jesus wept.

Kickstart My Heart

This song was on offer as the album’s second single. Nikki Sixx wrote it about his infamous heroin overdose in 1987 where he was apparently injected with multiple doses of adrenaline to revive him and was dead for a few minutes. The story is disputed by some but the song remains.

Kickstart My Heart quickly caught fire on release and became noted as one of the album’s standout songs. It has gone on to become the band’s signature anthem. We aren’t simply talking about a good song here – this is possibly the best song the band ever recorded, and is easily in the conversation even if not. It is a blistering effort with an interlude that perfectly sums up the Motley Crüe experience. The song is a shot of adrenaline and is found on millions of workout playlists worldwide.

Without You

It’s not hair metal without a ballad and Dr. Feelgood hosts a few. The first is this decently crafted tune that is every sappy love stereotype possible shoved into a song. The song is noted to have been written by Tommy Lee about Heather Locklear. The song did well as a single, providing the band’s second top ten showing on the Billboard Hot 100.

This is one of those songs I can go back and forth on. I’ll admit that I probably liked it a lot better when I was 12 than I do 32 years later, but it’s not a song I feel a need to skip over when I play the album. It’s a bit much but I can generally live with it.

Same Ol’ Situation

We thankfully pick the pace way back up with what was the fifth and final single released from the album. It’s a hot, fun rocker about falling for a gal who ditches the guy for another gal. The video was a performance clip, showing the band at the height of their popularity. While some might argue that people only remember the singles more because they were aired out more, I’d say this is a case of picking the right singles to air out. The song is not necessarily any “different” than several others but it packs a harder punch and gets the listener’s attention.

Sticky Sweet

Another ode to the glorious activity of hooking up. It’s simple, to the point and well executed. The lyrics offer a bit of a reference to the earlier Crüe song Ten Seconds To Love.

She Goes Down

One more sleazy number, it’s blatantly obvious what the song is going for.

Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)

This quasi-ballad and top 20 single brings a change of pace and another signature track from the Crüe. Nikki Sixx lifted the title from a movie he doesn’t remember, though many speculate that it’s a line from Heartbreak Ridge that he his using.

While the title invokes a snarky vibe the song itself does not take that path and instead sticks to the high road. This is a quintessential break up song that celebrates the love found and then parts on fond terms. The song builds to a driving conclusion that uses the title to great effect. It’s another well-done effort.

Time For Change

I’ll just get straight to it – I hate the song. I think it sucks. It’s a shitty hair metal attempt to do The Greatest Love Of All or something like that. It has always bothered me and I can’t help but wish the song would somehow fall off the record. But it’s there, and here we are at the end of the album.

Dr. Feelgood was Motley Crüe’s best-selling album, having been certified six times platinum in the United States. It provided the biggest hits of the group’s career and defied the times to put an exclamation point on a genre of music that many were bemoaning at the time and whose death was just around the corner. Motley Crüe themselves seemed poised to survive the specter of 1991 and would only join the list of hair metal casualties due to their own problems a few years later.

The album was a success for more than the band, too. Producer Bob Rock had reinvigorated the group’s sound after two albums that left something to be desired in production. A lot of people noticed his work on Dr. Feelgood, including Lars Ulrich. The Bob Rock-Metallica meetup in 1991 would alter the face of music forever.

Is Dr. Feelgood the best Motley Crüe album? Some critics think so. I would agree that it’s in the conversation but it’s also hard to ignore the sheer ferocity of those first two records. This album is a career-defining effort though and was a huge victory lap for the band at the end of the decade.

As I’ve said, this is the album I played over and over again and that set my music fandom off the scale. I had been following along with music for several years before as a young tourist, but with Dr. Feelgood I became obsessed and had to have more. My own course would go every which way and much heavier as 1991 loomed on the horizon but this album is near the top of a list of the most important albums to me. It kickstarted me into the path I’m still on today, with piles of music in multiple formats and the thing I spend a great deal of my time discussing.

Upcoming Releases, Further Into 2022

The month of March is winding down and music acts are offering up new albums left and right. It’s a mixed bag this time around with no central focus on any one sound. Some big boys are coming out to play in the later stages of the pandemic and it looks like tours might fire off for real this year so out comes a whole trove of new music.

Def Leppard – Kick

The legendary British rockers are back with a new album Diamond Star Halos, due May 27 and marking their first release in seven years, which seems to be the new norm for the group. The album also hits just before the band head out on the much-hyped and delayed stadium tour with Motley Crue across the US this summer.

The new song Kick is a simple rocker that throws back to eras in rock even before Def Leppard first hit the scene. It is very hard telling what we will get with a new Def Leppard album in 2022 but the lead single is a nice, simple number to kick off the proceedings. It doesn’t entirely excite me but I am curious about what they’re gonna get up to.

Muse – Compliance

I covered a new Muse track a few months back but now we have a second single as well as full album information. Compliance is the second single from The Will Of The People which will see release on August 26.

The song is an electric-pop number that indicates Muse is going to offer a mixed bag of sounds on the new album. They have done work across several styles over the years so it might be a good approach and offer a bit of something for everyone. The song and the theme of the album as a whole have a danger of being interpreted in strange ways in today’s nasty political climate, but it wouldn’t be the first time Muse tunes have been co-opted for shitty political movements.

Blut Aus Nord – That Cannot Be Dreamed

The French avant-garde black metal unit are back with a new album Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses, which will see release on May 20. This song is much in line with their prior work, which is nasty, atmospheric and mostly inaccessible. It’s the soundscape of nightmares and horrors, meaning the group have done their job well yet again.

Talas – Inner Mounting Flame

A bit of a surprise entry here from a band that has been inactive longer than many people have been alive. Talas were a 70’s and 80’s rock outfit featuring the talents of renowned bassist Billy Sheehan, who just celebrated his 69th birthday last Saturday.

Inner Mounting Flame is not a new song, Talas apparently played the track at live gigs just before Sheehan left the band to join with David Lee Roth. This song might be a recording from a planned yet unreleased album from that time period. It is nice to hear something from yesteryear and also from a bit of a hidden gem band like Talas. The outfit and their record label Metal Blade promise more news soon, perhaps that unreleased album will finally see the light of day.

Weezer – A Little Bit Of Love

Apparently Weezer are still an active recording group.

Joe Satriani – Pumpin’

One of the guitar’s most brilliant masters, Joe Satriani is preparing the release of his 18th solo album The Elephants Of Mars. It is a quick turnaround for the record which hits on April 8.

It has been more than a minute since I last checked in on Satriani. There isn’t a lot to say – he is one of the best axe wielders out there. Pumpin’ is a nice little jam that keeps it short and seems to be having fun.

EMF – Sister Sandinista

A big time throwback is coming seemingly out of nowhere to release a new album. EMF released 3 albums in the early 90’s and had a massive hit with the single Unbelievable. The group has toured off and on in the time since but Go Go Sapiens will mark their first new material since 1995. The album releases on April 1.

Some fans in the YouTube comments on this video are disputing how much of EMF really did the new album but I’m not up on their lineup history so it’s not a huge concern for me. It is pretty cool to hear something from a group who hit a long time ago and I figured were long gone. We’ll see how their electro-alt rock plays in 2022 but the single sounds nice.

Cave In – New Reality

A welcome surprise came last week when legendary post-rock outfit Cave In announced their reformation and new music. Heavy Pendulum will arrive on May 20. The band had been active in the past few years in order to pay tribute to fallen bandmate Caleb Scofield but were largely dormant in most of the 2010’s.

New Reality is an apt title for our present state. Cave In are joining the pandemic era with their heavy blend of post-rock and post-well, everything. It is a stellar tune that predicts good things for the upcoming new record. And in the video they get to have some fun turning Kurt Ballou’s studio into a playland.

Price Points

I’ve done a few posts about money and prices of a few different things recently. I thought I’d do a few quick updates and also discuss the insane prices of a few records. But first, I’ll provide two quick recaps of prices I covered awhile back.

Megadeth cryptocurrency

As I wrote in the original post, I was a foolhardy individual and dropped $10 on Megadeth’s crypto launch awhile back. That was in December when $MEGA was first on offer. The price was tanking when I posted about it, my $10 had whittled down to $7.

Here we are a month and a half later. My $7 in 21 Megacoins is now a bit under $5. It appears that economic forces have further stifled any fortune I might have made off Megadeth and cryptocurrency. I really don’t know what to do with these Megacoins so I will probably just ride this rocket straight into the ground. I could have done any number of things with that ten spot but oh well, the meme was worth it.

Tool’s last album on vinyl

I did a post just after we all found out that Tool were selling “tour editions” of Fear Inoculum on record for $800 at their shows. The price point was insane, even for an autographed edition of an unwieldy, super deluxe 5 LP edition in ornate packaging.

As updates to my original post indicate, the band opened up the “normal” edition of the album for pre-orders to ship in the beginning of April. Those not-tour editions came with a much more reasonable price tag of $170. Though I probably have better things to spend money on I went ahead and pulled the trigger on a pre-order. It’s excessive and not at all necessary, but under $200 is a justifiable price point for the ultra deluxe package. A more budget-friendly 3 LP edition could be manufactured, but as I noted in the original post, Tool are in no rush to get their albums on vinyl so I didn’t want to be left out. These will be flipped very hard when they hit in April, no doubt about it.

Vinyl prices are nuts

I’ve been over it a few times, including just the other day – vinyl prices are crazy. The supply is constrained by outsized demand and undersized manufacturing. Things do not appear poised to get better any time soon, it seems people are hoping that capacity magically increases itself or something.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the secondary market is really getting out of hand. I don’t know enough about it to know if it’s coordinated flipper/gouging activity or if it’s simply supply and demand. Maybe it’s both, I don’t know.

Over the past 18 months or so I picked up most of the Alice In Chains discography on vinyl. Facelift got a new reissue in 2020 and I got it from the local record store on release. I bought Dirt, Unplugged and Jar Of Flies/Sap as well, all were older reissues that I paid normal retail prices for. I don’t have the self-titled release as it hasn’t been reissued and goes for big money, I also don’t have 2000’s albums as they spiked quite a bit right after release.

But going back to the Layne Stayley-era albums I did get – I bought these about a year ago, maybe late 2020. Again, I paid $30 or less for each of them, they were all on the store shelves and priced in the normal $25-30 range. Here are the present Discogs median values for each of these releases.

Dirt – $111

Facelift – $37 (nothing listed for sale under $50 though)

Jar Of Flies/Sap – $109

Unplugged – $189

Those prices are crazy. Facelift is still holding serve as a newer reissue but the intent of sellers to mark it up is clear. The others have flown up in value and are approaching crazy territory. And, as usual, the copies listed for sale are well over the median prices.

Alice In Chains is a very popular act and their vinyl will remain in high demand. Everything could be reissued again to keep prices at retail for buyers who don’t want to sell a kidney for the records, but of course the supply constraints of vinyl manufacturing come into play. How long would it take to press new runs of these albums? Would the major label take priority at a record plant and shut out smaller labels already far behind on album releases, or will the label just let the high secondary market continue and do a reissue later on? It isn’t like record labels really care about secondary prices, other than to gauge perceived demand for a back catalog repress.

I’ve had thoughts about selling off my AIC records with these insane prices going on. I don’t want to mess with the online marketplace though and I don’t know what I’d get from a record store for them, so I probably won’t. But these prices are tempting to sell into.

Album Of The Week – March 21, 2022

For this week’s pick I’m revisiting someone who has become my favorite artist in recent memory. She has released a wide selection of music across several projects over the past 15 years and has not been shy to explore new styles and soundscapes. Today I will be looking at her third solo album, which kicked off a sound that ran through a few records and has provided some of her most harrowing and memorable work.

Emma Ruth Rundle – Marked For Death

Released September 30, 2016 via Sargent House Records

My Favorite Tracks – Real Big Sky, Protection, Marked For Death

The record features minor-key, atmospheric passages along with at times harsh, cutting distortion that breaks through and highlights the darkness of the album’s themes. Unconventional guitars and tunings create a sound not found in many other places, if anywhere. The combination of atmosphere, noise and dark subject matter create a unique and awe-inspiring listening experience.

Marked For Death

The opener and title track establishes a tale of two lovers bound in a fatalistic way. It is not a Cinderella story, or if it is it’s one where everyone turns to ash at midnight. The song is mostly quiet and rolling, with the guitar ringing out during the chorus. It’s a song that works well both plugged in and stripped down, as the performance at the end of this post illustrates.


The noise gets turned up on the second song as Emma explores a tryst that is, well, extremely heavy. It is hard to tell on the surface if the lyrics indicate a truly transcendent love experience or if it shades at something much darker. A betting person would likely go with the latter when considering Emma’s work as a whole. The guitars go absolutely off in a noisy chorus of their own, and even in the quieter verses Emma lends a great deal of power to her vocal delivery.


A more gentle tune that showcases the atmospheric side of Emma’s recording. The song recounts difficult dealings with someone wrapped in the symbology of the mythical Medusa. It’s one of several songs that employ a rolling and marching feel that Emma has put to great use on several albums.

Hand Of God

This song keeps things mostly quiet and is a very haunting account of someone who has fallen from grace. While Emma has often used the contrast between harsh and gentle music, here it is a contrast between a nice, mild song and very, very harrowing lyrical matter.


Another very gentle song that also tackles matter similar to Hand Of God. This song doesn’t “feel” as desperate as the prior one, though. There is an acceptance of the loss of Heaven here and the constraints of mortality. A bit of noise builds up in a beautiful ending that apparently sees Heaven burning.

So, Come

A song that offers some allusions to traumatic events and implores the saints to come, if indeed they are supposed to. So, Come begins quietly then builds into some powerful distorted passages while Emma still seems to maintain an almost upbeat plea to these saints. “Suffer so that we may live” is invoked, but it’s not clear who is supposed to do the suffering or the living.

Furious Angel

This gorgeous song lays an atmospheric tone that almost conceals its very heavy vocals about what seems to be the end of the relationship Emma has outlined in other songs here. With the end of said relationship, Emma is caught in the rage of a furious angel, as the all-consuming nature of the relationship is all there was. The music recalls some of Emma’s shoegaze/dreampop past and uses these layered elements wonderfully.

Real Big Sky

The album’s closer strips away the layers and sonic elements to present only Emma’s voice and a distorted guitar. Other songs on the album provide sonic hiding spots from the haunting themes but Real Big Sky offers no such respite.

The song offers up a subject person who is apparently at the end of their life. The verses outline the person’s plight while the chorus hears the person sing what could be their final words. The somber, stripped-down presentation only amplifies the deep sadness found here. But there is also hope in transcendence to also be found in the ultimate journey away from mortality. The song offers a prelude of sorts to Emma’s more minimalist work on her 2021 effort Engine Of Hell, which also provides no place to escape from the inevitability of the subjects at hand.

Marked For Death is an album both beautiful and scary – it provides a variety of well-executed musical passages with which to digest the very dark themes on offer. Emma relayed in this 2016 feature with The Independent that she recorded the album after a dark period in her life and still grappled with the themes even after the album’s completion.

The album marked a period of transition in Emma’s personal life and also in her recording career. Marked For Death offered up some of the same “sonic warfare” that would be on display for her next album, 2018’s On Dark Horses. I have previously covered that album and hold it in the highest of esteem. But this album stands alongside that as a master work of music that plunges to the depths of existence and pulls out something otherworldly. While she is crafting music from a place of pain and trauma, Emma has provided a series of songs that offer an amazing listening experience.

Tales From The Stage – King Diamond, 2005

It’s time for another concert recap, this time I’m going back to 2005 when I went to see one of metal’s legends live. It was my first and to date only time seeing him. The tour was supported by 3 bands that have gone on to become bigger names in the extreme metal community. There were also some snags getting to the show that led to a less than optimal experience, at least for a moment.

The show took place in April 2005 and the lineup was King Diamond with Nile, The Black Dahlia Murder and Behemoth as support. The show was at Pop’s, a large club on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River in St. Louis. It’s one of those bars that only closes down for an hour to clean up or whatever, but is the perfect size to host gigs.

At the time I lived about 100 miles from St. Louis. I was heading to the show on my own. Several friends of mine were covering a greater distance from the other side of the state (where I live now). We met up on the way and I parked my car and rode with the group.

On the way we got snarled in a large traffic jam due to a semi trailer wreck. It took a lot longer than usual to make the trek and would cost us the chance to see the opening band. When we got to the venue I had it in my head that The Black Dahlia Murder was playing first, but I was crestfallen to find that Behemoth was the one almost done with their set. I was very much looking forward to seeing Behemoth whereas I was indifferent about TBDM at the time. I think we got to see maybe two songs from Behemoth and it was a bit of a downer. But there was still plenty of metal to go.

The Black Dahlia Murder came up next. I wasn’t very familiar with them at the time and I was a bit peeved that I didn’t get to see Behemoth. Not TBDM’s fault, of course, but I wasn’t fully vested in their set. I spent time milling around and catching up with the large number of friends who made the trek to the concert. My memories are a bit muddled from attending too many shows over the years but I believe I’ve seen them at least one other time since then and gave more attention to their performance. Still they played on and have made quite the name for themselves in the years since this show.

Nile took the stage after The Black Dahlia Murder. By 2005 Nile was already a hot commodity on the death metal circuit. They were the band that essentially brought the genre back into public attention after a lull in the late 90’s. Their brand of Egyptian-themed death metal along with technical and symphonic elements had put the world on notice. This concert was a month ahead of the release of their Annihilation Of The Wicked album.

Nile had plenty of material by this time for their direct support slot. They had established themselves with now-classic albums Black Seeds Of Vengeance and In Their Darkened Shrines. The upcoming album Annihilation… would only add to their epic death metal legacy. Nile’s stage show was a no-frills presentation with mainman/guitarist Karl Sanders pausing between songs to set samples for the next tune. It stood out in contrast to the theatrical nature of King Diamond and also Behemoth, but Nile’s music brought the goods and did not require an elaborate stage set to keep up with their tour mates. The crowd was full of more old-guard metal types there to see King who might not have taken to the more extreme nature of Nile’s music but I noticed that most of the group was into the set. It was in this time that the old guard and new of metal put up a united front and offered a diverse array of touring packages that didn’t try to nitpick subgenres or suit the tastes of one segment of fans. It was all hands on deck for heavy metal’s resurgence in this time frame.

I couldn’t find a good 05 clip so 03 works

After Nile exited the stage things were set up for the main event. King Diamond had made a career of theatrics and was going to put on a splendid set. A large fence that aped the appearance of wrought iron was put up and of course plenty of fog would churn out through the performance.

King Diamond’s twin guitar attack would feature his longtime compatriot Andy LaRocque as well as Mike Weir, who had been with King both solo and in Mercyful Fate for several years. LaRocque was a world renowned guitarist and producer with a fistful of credits to his name but his main gig has often always been with King Diamond.

By this point in time King Diamond had 11 studio albums recorded so his set would hit upon several of his works. The Puppet Master was his most recently recorded effort from 2 years prior, a few of those songs were interspersed with works from his classics like Abigail, Conspiracy and Them. While King Diamond doesn’t have a signature “hit” per se, the track Welcome Home from Them might serve that station and was aired that night.

King Diamond was in fine form on stage that night, his signature falsetto ringing out bright and clear. He made plenty of time for banter between songs, referencing that he had not played in St. Louis in many years and was happy to be back. He would often call the city “San Louis” which fit his exotic persona. The haunting backdrop with the fence and fog perfectly created Halloween in April.

King and the band would air out a few Mercyful Fate tunes during the retrospective set. Come To The Sabbath and Evil saw time that night. The set hit the highlights of King’s career while also giving a bit of time to more recent tunes from Abigail II and the aforementioned Puppet Master. It left the crowd happy to have seen one of metal’s legends grace the stage in St. Louis again.

A way more recent version, but live footage from the 2005 era is hard to find

Time would go on to be kind to the acts featured on stage that night. Nile would continue their dominant run through death metal, while Behemoth and The Black Dahlia Murder have gone on to become two of the hottest tickets in metal today. King Diamond would release one more album in 2007 before a serious health scare stalled his career for a few years. He has since returned to the touring circuit and is planning a new studio record. He has also reunited Mercyful Fate, though their touring plans were cut short by the pandemic.

It was very nice to see King Diamond that night, it has to date been my only time seeing him in concert in any form. I have since seen both Behemoth and The Black Dahlia Murder again, but haven’t had the occasion to catch Nile again. It was a shame to miss Behemoth’s set that night due to traffic but the rest of the show more than made up for it.

Is the Vinyl Bubble ready to burst?

The price of vinyl records and the scant supply remains a hot button issue in the music world. Prices of records, even fairly recent reissues, are causing eyes to pop out of heads. Even a run through stuff I bought at retail prices last year is making me consider offloading some stuff at inflated secondary values.

But the core issue at the heart of all ills in the vinyl world is the supply constraints. Existing plants are backlogged for months on end. Bands wishing to release albums often wait months after a digital and CD release date to offer a vinyl version. Some independent labels have floated the idea of not pressing vinyl or only doing it as an ultra-limited format. Vinyl is a red hot market but its supply issues could cause a bubble burst that might lead to a collapse of the format. People can’t be interested in what they can’t get.

All of this is at the heart of a new communication from Jack White, released yesterday. White has been involved in every facet of the music business – fan, artist and producer, as well as label owner, retail store owner and vinyl manufacturer. His statement discussed the issues at hand in the record industry through what he sees via his Third Man Records group.

This article from Pitchfork provides White’s statement, which is also in the above YouTube clip in abbreviated form. In it White is asking the 3 major record labels to invest in their own vinyl record production facilities in order to head off the massive supply issues currently plaguing the industry.

White’s appeal takes the high road and does not throw major labels under the same bus that many music fans like to throw said labels under. Last year Adele’s latest release was widely blamed for clogging record plant capacity as half a million records were pressed. This NME article has some industry experts explain, in their terms, why Adele and the majors aren’t the core issue behind record delays. I don’t know where I am in this argument but the people in that article possess a lot more knowledge of the landscape than I do so I’ll defer to their judgment.

One paragraph in White’s statement really hits home with me.

There are people who will say—isn’t this good for Third Man? More demand than you can handle? To which I say, even though Third Man benefits in the short term, in the long term it ultimately hurts everyone involved in the vinyl ecosystem given the bottlenecks and delays. Something needs to be done.

This is a point I’ve made in a few posts since I’ve been running this site. If these vinyl bottlenecks aren’t dealt with, it is going to have several ripple effects that cause the format to suffer. Bands and labels, especially independents, will abandon or at least curtail their use of vinyl due to lack of power to have their products made. The prices of highly sought-after records will climb on the secondary market if reissues can’t be pressed to meet demand. Vinyl will become a purely high-end market and effectively price out the average consumer in a time when the average consumer’s money isn’t going as far as it used to for a number of reasons.

Vinyl demand has climbed in the past decade or so and has skyrocketed since the 2020 pandemic. The industry is left without ways to quickly answer the demand, which in the end will lead to shrinking demand. Some collectors will give up out of disgust at high prices, others will scale back to only grabbing their personal essentials. Maybe the next year will see something tilt the pendulum back towards consumers but it isn’t a rosy outlook right now.

More pressing plants is the easy answer to the problem. Hell, I spent a bit of time last year looking into the prospect. While it isn’t hard to get presses, they are very expensive and the cost of starting a pressing plant is very, very high. It is honestly out of my reach as an individual with no business ties or experience in the industry.

Of course, Jack White isn’t asking everyday blokes like me to find millions in capital and open vinyl plants. He’s asking the major labels to shoulder the burden of producing their own records. The majors closed up vinyl shop in the 1990’s when the format fell off a cliff and are now using the handful of operators around that mostly opened shop to service independent labels.

It is a logical solution to the problem, though of course there is another side of the argument. If I were a major label, I’d be reluctant to fund any massive kind of vinyl pressing operation. They get by as it is via buying out the capacity of existing providers and they may not want to tie up the money and infrastructure in a format that has no guarantee of lasting. It’s a cold and clinical business outlook, but that’s exactly how these huge businesses look at things.

White’s message does reference investors standing by, willing to get in on the action while the market is hot. Perhaps enough new plants can open up to stave off a massive burst in the vinyl bubble. And, with the most rose-colored of lenses, perhaps the appeal to the majors to press their own damn records will be heard and heeded. I won’t bet money on it, but I’ve been known to be wrong a time or two.

There are looming problems on the vinyl horizon, and this appeal from Jack White should be taken as stark recognition of that fact. Plenty of people are willing to collect physical formats and vinyl has become the format of choice, but it is getting out of hand. And the supply not meeting demand poses a huge issue that could sink the format before it got its 2020 legs under it.

Album Of The Week – March 14, 2022

1999 was an interesting time. The turn of the decade, century and millennium was one of great transition. One facet of culture at this time was the “edgebro” – stuff like nu-metal, WWF, Spike TV and The Man Show were running hot around this time. We were welcomed to Jackass, Eminem was beginning his shock-rap run that would smash boundaries, and we read about it all in Maxim magazine.

Music was perhaps not in the most creative place as nu-metal and boy bands fought for chart supremacy. But one act would catch lightning in a bottle and find themselves with a multi-platinum record and a massive hit single. Perhaps beneficiaries of the trend toward potty humor, this group would refine it a bit, provide foul shock aplenty, and laugh all the way to the bank.

The Bloodhound Gang – Hooray For Boobies

Released October 4, 1999 in the UK via Geffen Records (February 29, 2000 US)

My Favorite Tracks – Magna Cum Nada, I Hope You Die, Hell Yeah

Hooray For Boobies sold like hotcakes in the Y2K era. The Bloodhound Gang had made some waves previously with songs like Fire Water Burn and You’re Pretty When I’m Drunk, but The Bad Touch and this album would go to a whole other level.

Arguments could be made about the level of humor on the record – in fact that is an argument that peels more layers than the world’s biggest onion. But this album is absolutely a product of its time and fits well within the culture of the “Woodstock 99” period. It won’t be my cause to frame the album’s contents through a present day lens – rather I will simply discuss the album I spun many a time in the early 2000’s in its own context.

There are a ton of tracks on the album. I won’t be getting into the several skits that appear and add more fuel to the comedic fire, I’ll stick with the abundance of proper songs. I will be discussing the “full” version of the album – there were initially several versions that omitted some tracks due to sampling rights. Subsequent reissues have presented the album in full.

I Hope You Die

The “rap-rock but not that kind of rap-rock” kicks off with a decidedly rock tune. The title says it all – these lyrics really, really wish pain and suffering on someone. The depths of creativity to paint the woeful narrative that befalls the song’s target go on far past where many people would have given up. It is shocking, explicit and hilarious. The short chorus hits the nail on the head and simply expresses what singer Jimmy Pop hopes happens to his adversary.

The Inevitable Return Of The Great White Dope

A rap-dance hybrid song that serves as a hype piece for mainman Jimmy Pop. It helps establish a bit that the band isn’t just using toilet humor to pave their way, there is a bit of actual talent in the ranks.

Three Point One Four

On this track Jimmy Pop takes on one of the English language’s greatest challenges – what rhymes with vagina? The largely unsuccessful results couple with Jimmy’s need for a new girlfriend which takes humorous and objectifying turns. A bit of falsetto at the end wraps up the fact that Carolina is about the only word that rhymes with vagina.


A bit of an intro sets up this tribute to Austrian pop act Falco. The song borrows from Falco’s huge hit Rock Me Amadeus, as well as the Frankie Goes To Hollywood hit Relax. For good measure we find the Metallica standard For Whom The Bell Tolls included as a sample as well. Video game icon Pac Man also joins the fun – at this point in 1999 the star has fallen on hard times and crack addiction. The song is a very creative mashup that works better than it should.

Yummy Down On This

A heavier riff stands out through this ode to blow jobs. Really, that’s it – this song is about blow jobs. Not much more to say.

The Ballad Of Chasey Lain

One of the album’s singles, this song sees Jimmy Pop obsess over porn star Chasey Lain. It’s a bit like Eminem’s hit Stan, except without any cultural significance or anything, well, good. The song is pretty funny and even features Chasey at the end respond to her stalker’s advances. The band reported that they were less than impressed with Chasey’s intellect upon meeting her, but such is life.

Magna Cum Nada

This ode to a lack of success if one of the album’s stronger highlights and my personal favorite. A metal riff runs through a list of creative ways in which Jimmy Pop is bad at life. It is a well-crafted ode to the loser.

The Bad Touch

The album’s first single (in most territories) and the song that catapulted The Bloodhound Gang to the forefront of 1999’s music scene. Even a person unfamiliar with the group would probably recognize the refrain “You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals/Let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.”

This dance number turned potty-mouthed recount of sexual relations became a smash hit through Europe, topping the charts in multiple countries. It was a more modest success in the US but would be a highlight on dive bar dance floors and also get a shoutout from Eminem in his immortal hit The Real Slim Shady.

The Bad Touch is an entertaining romp that highlights the nuts and bolts of The Bloodhound Gang – using a thesaurus to describe sex acts in every way possible and making a mint off of the results. Can’t argue with success.

This is the “explicit” version, not sure what that means exactly

Take The Long Way Home

This song is another turn through futility and the crushing weight of existence, much like Magna Cum Nada before it. While not one of the album’s standouts the song does offer its own weight and is one of the quietly enjoyable numbers found here.

Hell Yeah

Here we find Jimmy Pop telling a Sunday School story, of course in explicit and pun-filled fashion. Jimmy embraces his messiah complex here and contemplates what would happen if he were God. While heavy metal has long been the standard home for blasphemy, The Bloodhound Gang worked some into their brand of potty-pop or whatever we’re calling this.

The song makes humorous turns through the decrees Jimmy Pop-God would make then spends a moment contemplating his crucifixion. It makes for a funny tune that probably won’t get any airtime at the local church.

Right Turn Clyde

This more chill track takes on Pink Floyd’s seminal Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2. It’s another of the album’s secondary tracks but is a pretty fun listen still. This song was the reason for the delay in the US release of the album as there was some arguing with Roger Waters over rights before the latter apparently relented.

A Lap Dance Is So Much Better When The Stripper Is Crying

For all of The Bloodhound Gang’s toilet humor and cheap use of sex for laughs, nothing comes close to the shock and awe of this one. The title alone screams “What did you just say?” and the song itself offers no reprieve.

The song is set as a country story-song that narrates rather than sings its contents. The story is, well, as fucked up as the title suggests. The song would probably be considered the high point for taking offense, but it is so absurd that it can only be dismissed as a farce.

Along Comes Mary

The album’s proper closing song is a cover version of a 1966 pop hit by The Association. The Bloodhound Gang turned the song into a punk number that was featured in the soundtrack to Dave Chapelle’s hit movie Half Baked. This was the album’s true first single released in parts of Europe long before Hooray For Boobies was released.

Hooray For Boobies was a hit for The Bloodhound Gang. It was certified platinum in several countries and spawned several singles that did well on the charts in Europe. The Bad Touch is, of course, the group’s signature track and biggest hit that stills gets referenced over 20 years later.

The album would mark the high-water point for the band. A few modest hits would come in later years as band members from the …Boobies time period left the group. A series of controversial incidents in 2013 in the Ukraine and Russia involving flag desecration would seemingly spell the end for the band.

But for all the churn and turn of 1999 and the coming millennium, The Bloodhound Gang perfectly captured the low-brow humor of the era and the shifting music landscape to score a major hit. An album such as Hooray For Boobies might not make it in today’s war-like cultural climate but it hit all the right notes in its time and place. The album still holds up well in today’s marketplace – limited vinyl reissues are gone before they appear and many people still recall the dumb and hilarious record fondly.

A Story And A Song – In The Summertime

Today’s story revolves around a friend’s hi-jinks and one of the biggest selling singles ever. The song is the 1970 smash hit In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry. The UK track set the world on fire and sold over 30 million copies, an absolutely ridiculous number for a single. It hit the top of the charts in 26 different countries and is considered the world’s first “maxi-single,” meaning there are more songs besides just an A- and B-side. The 7-inch vinyl ran at 33 RPM as opposed to the standard 45 for singles in order to achieve that feat. Maxi-singles would later come out in 12-inch format and be a staple of record selling well through the 1980’s.

The story, as such, goes like this – it was the summer of 2020. We were bored shitless, as I’m sure much of the world was in the height of COVID. Several of us decided to use Zoom or other web communication tools to hang out, at least virtually. It was like being at a bar but over the Internet and full of technical glitches and not being able to tune someone out talking too much and stuff like that.

Anyway, one day the friend who hosted these meetings had been spinning In The Summertime for some reason so he decided to share the love with us. I honestly didn’t remember the song, it did come out about 7 years before my arrival on this rock. That is in stark contrast to my dear friend who was very much alive when the song was released.

This of course kicked off a quest to find out more about the song and Mungo Jerry, given that we were very bored and had nothing else to do in Lockdown Summer 2020 but drink on camera and deep dive for trivia on legacy rock acts. The band is still active and released an album as recently as 2019 according to their brief Wikipedia bio. Ray Dorset has been the group’s lone constant member and he has employed a wide range of talent as side players for the band. One interesting former member is Bob Daisley, he of Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow and Uriah Heap fame (among many others). It was a trip to see his name in the extensive list of former Mungo Jerry members, though to date I haven’t taken the occasion to visit the album he recorded with the group. It’s called Long-Legged Woman for those curious.

We also wondered how hard it might be to snag a vinyl copy of the song and/or album. Vinyl was skyrocketing in price in 2020 as the influx of cash to citizens led to a run on collectibles that sent prices into the stratosphere. But, when something sold over 30 million copies in 1970, it turns out there are plenty of copies of the In The Summertime single and the debut Mungo Jerry album to go around. It might set a person back $5 for a copy online or maybe $2 if found in store.

There was one final bit of a joke over the song. My friend, being older and somewhat technology-challenged for some reason despite working in the technology industry, tried playing a bit of a joke on me. He would send a link to the song via text message in an attempt to “rickroll” me into playing it.

The only problem with that approach is that I have a modern phone and YouTube links preview their content in my text feed. I’m sure most anyone who has a phone made in the past decade experiences the same thing. It renders rickroll attempts obsolete. My well-meaning but oblivious friend struck out with his clever plan that might have worked in 2008.

That is about all for this silly story involving a 52 year old song. It’s honestly a pretty fun tune. I can see why it caught fire back in the day and I don’t mind giving it a spin as summer approaches and the carefree vibe the song invokes helps usher in the season. Just be sure that if you want to pull one over on someone that you know how technology works in 2020 and beyond.

Album Of The Week – March 6, 2022

Today’s album is widely-regarded as the magnum opus of a legendary singer’s solo career. This crown jewel of an album, coupled with the low-water mark his former band was at in the late 90’s, would result in a reunion and a new legacy.

Bruce Dickinson – The Chemical Wedding

Released September 25, 1998 via Air Raid Records UK

My Favorite Tracks – The Tower, Chemical Wedding, The Book Of Thel

The Chemical Wedding was Bruce’s 5th solo outing and his 4th since leaving Iron Maiden in 1993. Former Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith was also along for the ride, having joined with Bruce the year prior for the Accident Of Birth album. Helming the console for production and also picking up a guitar was Roy Z, whose Tribe Of Gypsies bandmates would also fill out Dickinson’s solo band.

The album’s lyrics and themes were inspired by the works of English poet and painter William Blake. Blake’s painting The Ghost Of A Flea was used as the cover art. The marriage of Blake’s themes of religion and nationality along with heavy metal would create a stunning and unique record. At a few points where Blake’s works were directly read as song intros, English shock rocker Arthur Brown provided the narration.

King In Crimson

Things open with a banger. The guitars are low and heavy and Bruce builds through a powerful pre-chorus to deliver the to-the-point chorus. Adrian and Roy Z are all over this track with an extended solo section. This is one of the songs from the album that one really wonders what it would have sounded like with Maiden.

Chemical Wedding

A more atmospheric and brooding tune, the title track evokes images of marriage and death. It’s unclear what a “chemical wedding” actually is but it sounds pretty messed up. Bruce again stays quiet through the verses then goes air raid siren on the chorus. Play to your strengths, so they say, and Bruce does just that.

The Tower

A bass line opens the track, reminiscent of that band. The song goes into another metal outing that sees Bruce attacking the vocals from the get-go. The lyrics possess a ton of symbolism that some speculate is derived from tarot cards. This blend of heavy metal and spooky, mysterious symbology persists throughout the record and creates a vibe that transcends the cliches of heavy metal songwriting.

Killing Floor

The heaviness ratchets up a few notches on this slamming tune about the Devil. Satan is out on the prowl here, seemingly attacking people through their dreams in the vein of Freddy Kruger. The pre-chorus offers a bit of a melodic reprieve before the band tears through the heavy as hell chorus. This song also got a video with Arthur Brown fittingly in the role of Satan.

Of all the music videos, this is certainly one of them

The Book Of Thel

Directly lifted from a William Blake work, both Blake’s story and Dickinson’s song ponder the inevitable loss of innocence and the bleak ultimate fate of life. The song tears through the twisted tale of Thel discovering her terrible destiny.

Gates of Urizen

More from Blake’s mythology here, Urizen is a powerful figure that represents one aspect of a central god who later fell and created the material world out of spite. The song offers a vague recounting of being at Urizen’s gates and a dark transformation happening. Despite the heavy subject matter the song is one of the lighter offerings on the record.


Most Dickinson-related fare requires an epic and Jerusalem serves that purpose here. Tied to Blake’s most ambitious and ponderous work of the same name, Dickinson sings of Jerusalem being re-established in England. The lyrics hold to Blake’s vague work, not offering a clear picture of whatever symbolism is delivered here. The band are up to the task of bringing a lush soundscape to this epic tale.

Trumpets Of Jericho

Here Bruce takes a story from the Bible, one where soldiers march around the outer walls of the city of Jericho until the walls crumble. In this song the unconventional siege tactic doesn’t work, because nothing about science indicates it would work, and the walls remain. The tune discusses the feeling of futility after being unable to break the walls down.

Machine Men

This song makes use of a well-worn topic in heavy metal – the literal use of metal to create engines of war. Soulless metal monsters storm the landscape and devour humanity in their jaws. The creations here seem to be made of humans now repurposed as war machines. The song’s heaviness matches the weight of the subject matter.

The Alchemist

The album closes with a very trippy and atmospheric number. The meaning is somewhat unclear but the protagonist seems to be rejecting the ills of civilization, it is a last stand against death and decay. As the song winds to its conclusion it offers the chorus of the title track as a reprise.

The Chemical Wedding was a critically acclaimed success for Bruce Dickinson. It is widely considered his solo masterpiece. Commercial success was more elusive for this traditional metal album in 1998, just as it was for Bruce and Adrian’s former bandmates toiling in obscurity. Less than 6 months after the release of this album, Bruce and Adrian rejoined Iron Maiden for a reunion that kicked off a new legacy for that group and an era that has now lasted 23 years.

It is believed by many that The Chemical Wedding was the catalyst for the reunion, as Bruce and Adrian were outshining Iron Maiden’s maligned output of late 90’s. It seems to have been a more practical decision involving finances but this doesn’t stop fans from ranking this record highly, even slotting it ahead of some of Maiden’s classics. Many wonder what this album would have sounded like backed by Iron Maiden, though that discounts the influence of Roy Z. Rather than ponder what-ifs, the reformed Maiden pushed forward with creativity on their own terms. We get occasional live samples of what Bruce would sound like on the Blaze Bayley material, but The Chemical Wedding stands on its own as a Bruce Dickinson classic.