Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Various - Ten of a Kind: Presented by CMJ (1988, RCA)

1988 was a good year for music, especially of the modern rock contingent. I'll spare you my laundry list of stellar examples from that year, but as it turns out, the now legendary College Music Journal, in all their infinate wisdom patched together a compilation of the ten best unsigned picks they could find. Needless to say, Material Issue are the boys done good here, checking in with what would become one of their signature tunes, "Valerie Loves Me," (yes, it's the same version on International Pop Overthrow). As impressive now as it was then, maybe even more so. Side A kicks things off in fine three-chord fashion with Little Rock, AR's Gunbunnies, quickly followed up by equally capable basement rock of Boston's Titanics (who would soon garner a record deal with Taang!). Ten of a Kind actually features three more Massachusetts hopefuls, Lazy Susan, Circle Sky, and Kid Crash, the latter taking the cake as Ten of a Kind's fiercest participants with their AC/DC cum quasi-punk panache. LaBlanc's spit-shined power ballad "Turn to Me" would have more appropriate for the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, and frankly, is something of a drag here. "King' and Queen's," courtesy of Raleigh, NC's Distance is effective but not quite modern guitar rock, while Paul K. & the Weathermen, who would go onto something resembling indie success in the mid-90s, deliver the rockabilly tinged "My Knife." And a good time was had by all...

01. Gunbunnies - The Emancipation of Helga (She's Not a Number)
02. Titanics - Clown Down
03. Lazy Susan - Faith Has No Other
04. Raging Fire - The Marrying Kind
05. Lablanc - Turn to Me
06. Kid Crash - Contact
07. Circle Sky - When the Life That I Lead Doesn't Lead Anywhere
08. Material Issue - Valerie Loves Me
09. The Distance - King's and Queen's
10. Paul K. & the Weathermen - My Knife


Garth Johnson said...

PffffffffT! I bought this record from the dollar bin at Target when I was a teenager. It couldn't have been too long after it came out. This compilation is totally burned into my teenage brain. Thanks for helping me to reclaim it!

WhatTS said...

Can see why you didn't mention Raging Fire, as it's a lame track, but their debut EP was fantastic. I've never gotten around to ripping, nor it would it seem has anyone else...

Record-bopper_MC said...

One of A Kind: at the very center of the record cover image and indeed the major label graphic art, design and concept itself of Ten Of A Kind CMJ sampler as an album and as released on RCA Records: Music group CIRCLE SKY (left to right:) Mike Stone, Michael Culhane, Matt Keating, John Sharples - American original singer-songwriter rock 'n' roll band — Circle Sky — 1988 Boston, MA – are the band at the center of the artwork, around which all of the other band’s artist images are arranged and contextualized. Official promo photo © Circle Sky by Maureen Mehan – from that time period underlies the album art as an illustrated version of itself. The legendary Mike Nesmith song from HEAD whose own title is referenced in the band name Circle Sky is an enigmatic and once neglected nugget of psych-garage pop music, a post-fab preteen transitory treasure whose timeless buried brilliance is one also reflected aurally here by the band as represented on Ten Of A Kind within their richly allusive arrangement and production of their own included original song. Its own song title is though also one not without a rich resonance of another kind as it eerily forecast the future career presence as a collective for this then potential-rich post- power pop combo, as evidenced (so to speak) within a year of this brief compilation album appearance – “When The Life That I Lead Doesn’t Lead Anywhere”