LOUDNESS – Lightning Strikes

On February 26, 2013, in Japan, Music, by mugen

Another cool find from my first trip to Toxic Beauty Records in Yellow Springs:

A signed copy of Lightning Strikes by LOUDNESS!

LOUDNESS is a Japanese hair-metal band. I got into them by finding Thunder in the East (1985), Lightning Strikes (1986), and Hurricane Eyes (1987) at the library when I was in high school. Some great stuff, lyrics all in English.

The edges of the sleeve are all chewed to hell, so whoever owned this must have listened to it a lot, or at least moved it around a bunch. But the signatures made it worth the $5 I dropped on it.
Vinyl does have a certain satisfaction and allure to it that nothing else quite approaches. I have been really excited to find stuff by (for example) Scheer on CD because there were so many 4AD singles when that band was active, but it’s not quite the same. Still, sometimes buying brand new music on vinyl almost feels kind of like a posture. It’s very weird. Reissues feel kind of fake.

But I listened to Lightning Strikes on vinyl for the 4 weeks I had it, and then played my cassette copy over and over for about 3 years. Fun stuff. If you’re into Poison, Motley Crue, Dokken, and that ilk, and you’re looking for something “new,” this could be a nice discovery for your collection.

An aside: I lived in Japan in Nara prefecture for 5 years from 2006-2011. Apparently, the drummer Higuchi Munetaka (RIP, 2008 liver cancer) has family (a grandmother, I believe) from the next village up from where I lived. When I was in Fukuoka, I went to Jackie’s Bar, and the owner was friends with the members of LOUDNESS. Very cool that I was able to relate to people about this band while I was there, and to have their autographs is very cool.

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ELP – Brain Salad Surgery

On February 23, 2013, in Music, by mugen

On Sunday, while window shopping in Yellow Springs, Ohio (the cool hippie village up the road from where I live, home to Antioch College and Young’s Jersey Dairy), I stumbled into Toxic Beauty Records, an honest-to-god VINYL record shop. Chatted a bit with Josh, the owner/operator, about the new My Bloody Valentine album coming out soon (first release since 1991!) and poster art, as well as Japanese reissues of Beatles 7″ records.

As I flipped through the bins, I found a pretty amazing surprise, especially from a sci-fi nerd perspective. H.R. Giger designed the biomechanical look for the 1979 film ALIEN. Giger has also designed album covers and sleeves. I had found Debbie Harry’s “KooKoo” in a used vinyl bin back in the early 1990s, and had even hung the inner sleeve up on the wall, as a fan of Harry AND Giger.

One of Giger’s most famous (and interesting) album cover art designs is for the Emerson, Lake, and Palmer disc Brain Salad Surgery. The album features headshot portraits of all 3 band members on a foldout poster. The poster, if folded properly, overlays Giger’s biomechanical artwork around the band’s faces.

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