RECORD STORE TALES & REVIEWS: Complete Table of Contents

February 1, 2012 9 comments
Categories: Table of Contents

#452: Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto Again…Again!

November 30, 2015 12 comments


GETTING MORE TALE #452: Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto Again…Again!


Toronto was, in a word, perfect.

We have done this every year for four years now, Aaron and I, always in the fall.  We go to the heart of Toronto and plunder its best music.  Then, we return to our homes, and listen in glee while making evil laughing sounds and clutching our treasure in our greedy hands.  This was the latest in the year that we had gone (November 28), but miraculously the skies parted that morning and we were not rained upon nor snowed.  It was once again, just perfect.

Aaron’s complete post on this trip can be found by clicking here!

We were accompanied like last year by Aaron’s dad Wayne, who just wanted to walk around and see if there were any curiosities that struck his eye.  After parting ways, Aaron and I made our way to Stop #1:  BMV.

I found three treasures there, all of which I am very happy and excited aboot:

1. STYX – Equinox, $5.99 CD used. I’m still trying to grow a Styx collection so this great album was a find. Review is already written; to be published.
2. QUEEN – Queen – 2 CD remaster, $9.99 used. SCORE! Just reviewed the 1991 issue of this album recently. Can’t wait to dig into the bonus EP!
3. OASIS – Definitely Maybe – 3 CD remaster, $14.99 used. SCORE! Erk, wait! The discs were not inside! BMV will be sending me the discs shortly, but dang! Nice find. This is to be kept alongside my 2 CD edition featuring the live album, Oasis Live.
4. MARTIN POPOFF – The Big Book of Haἳr Metal, $14.99, originally $33. Lotsa text, loadsa pics, let’s go!

Music heard in store: Judas Priest – “Metal Meltdown”, “Ram It Down”, “Victim of Changes”. Pretty amazing shit to hear in a book store.

Total spent: $45.96.


BMV Books
471 Bloor St W
(416) 967-5757

Stop #2: Pauper’s Pub (39 Bloor Street West). This is a lunch time tradition. Aaron had the veggie burger (with avocado and salsa) and fries, I had the Canadian (cheese and bacon) burger with a garden salad. I would put this lunch in my top five burgers of all time, easily. It was that good.

We hoofed it back to the point at which we started, the parking lot right next to Stop #3:  Kops. The Cult serenaded us with “Fire Woman”. Lots of goodness found here:

1. HENRY ROLLINS – The Boxed Life 2 CD (sealed!), 2 for $5.
2. ROLLINS BAND – Come In And Burn (sealed!), 2 for $5.
3. TRIUMPH – Edge of Excess, 2 for $5.
4. STEVE EARLE – A Special Collection, 1989 promo greatest hits CD with 17 tracks! 2 for $5.
5. RAINBOW – “Can’t Let You Go”, 12″ single, $7.99. Features two live tracks unavailable on album including Joe Lynn Turner singing “All Night Long”. Can’t wait to spin this.

Total spent:  $17.99.


Kops Records
229 Queen St W
(416) 593-8523

Final Stop:  Sonic Boom.

We always do well here and this was no exception.  I told Aaron that I was hoping to buy some deluxe editions, and considering I’d already scored Queen and Oasis, I thought I had been doing well.  I had forgotten that Faith No More had some deluxes out.  I remembered this when I saw the vinyl reissues at Kops, so I was sure to look for the CDs at Sonic Boom.

Treasures plundered:

1. BEN FOLDS – Ben Folds Live, $2.99 used.
2. BRANT BJORK and the LOW DESERT PUNK BAND – Black Power Flower, 2 bonus tracks, $14.99.
3. FAITH NO MORE – The Real Thing deluxe, $22.99.
4. FAITH NO MORE – Angel Dust deluxe, $22.99.

I have a really extensive collection of Faith No More singles and EPs. I had most of the bonus material already on physical copies, but with a few notable exceptions. Now I got ’em: “As the Worm Turns” with Patton singing, and some of the live tracks such as Sheffield 1990 and Munich 1992.

Total spent: $63.96.

Sonic Boom
215 Spadina Ave
(416) 532-0334

Final Stop 12. Moonbean.  Aaron had to grab some seriously impressive coffee.  It’s the tradition!  Moonbean can be found at 30 Andrew St. (1-866-595-0327), or online at

But wait!  That’s not all!

Aaron’s Box of Generosity:

As is his modus operandi, Aaron surprised me with some serious treasures.

1. EXTREME – “Tragic Comic” digipack CD single, featuring “When I’m President” live, which I didn’t have before!
2. KILLER DWARFS – Method to the Madness CD, out of print! I have all their studio albums now.
3. NIACIN – Live in Tokyo DVD, featuring Billy Sheehan on bass. This outta be a mindblow!
3. WILLIAM SHATNER – Shatner Rules, book. I’ve read a few of Bill’s books before and they’re fun.
4. WAYNE JOHNSON – The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. Know nothing about it, but I love Canadian settings in fiction.
5. MICHAEL ONDAATJE – Coming Through Slaughter. “My favourite book” – Steve Earle. ‘Nuff said.
6. HENRY ROLLINS – Fanatic! Vol 1, 2 and 3. An early Christmas has come. Rollins meticulously tracks every song he played on his radio show, with notes. Lots of metal and punk and more.
7. Rock the Cradle Lullabies – Dreamin’ with DEF LEPPARD. Might actually be good since Phil and Viv play on the CD! (Collectible regardless.)
8. Hot Wheels diecast starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (reboot version, in package). I love it!
9. A KISS backpack!  To put all my goodies in!

Aaron can be found at


In Conclusion.

Aaron made three trips to Toronto in 2015, I now have made two (for record shopping).  You might think we tapped that city out.  Hell no!  See you next year, Toronto!

Total spent: $127.91 (before tax).

Total items (not including Aaron’s generosity):  14.

Average cost per record:  $10.94.  Consider all those deluxe editions I bought, that is not bad at all!



Coming Soon:   the annual video documentary of the trip!



REVIEW: King’s X – Please Come Home…Mr. Bulbous (2000)

November 29, 2015 9 comments


Complete studio albums (and more!), part 12

Scan_20151017KING’S X – Please Come Home…Mr. Bulbous (2000 Metal Blade)

Starting with 1998’s Tape Head, King’s X would write and self-record new material in the studio.  The following album Please Come Home…Mr. Bulbous was done the same way, in a quick time frame of under two months.  On Tape Head they captured tremendous energy and groove with that method.  Perhaps the drawback to this approach is that you have less time to live with and tighten up the songwriting.  On the other hand, on Mr. Bulbous it sounds like songwriting was a minor concern next to instrumental experimentation.

Songs like the opener “Fish Bowl Man” sound like several loose ideas floating together.  It is a chorus without a song, unfortunately, because that chorus is a King’s X winner.  The beat poetry section of the song is very interesting indeed, but it’s not among King’s X’s finer moments.  Darkly simmering is the next song “Julia”, but its soft pulse is not enough.  Two important ingredients are missing, and they are Doug’s soul singin’, and the patented King’s X groove machine.  “She’s Gone Away” also fails to lift from the runway (although it sounded better live).  This is more like King’s X for the dreamtimes.

This band is always been interesting instrumentally, and that holds true on Mr. Bulbous.  Exploring laid-back musical landscapes while only blasting occasionally is more than fine.  “Marsh Mellow Field” for example has a rock-heavy chorus featuring Doug in full lungs.  The issue is that the songs are loose and sparsely arranged affairs that don’t sound coherent.  It’s a challenging listen, and there are moments of riff and solo brilliance, but one must be patient.

Album highlights:

  • Jerry Gaskill’s drums on “When You’re Scared”.  This guy is such an underrated drummer.  “He plays with his whole body,” said my friend Uncle Meat.  You can hear that, too.
  • “Charlie Sheen”.  No idea what the words are about, but this is about the only true “song” on the album.  It’s really good, with one of those Ty Tabor choruses that you remember for days.  “Kill the king, strip the queen, are you my friend dear Charlie Sheen”?  Who cares, it sounds good and that’s what works.  The song also has a very twangy Morse-like guitar part that makes this the catchiest track of the bunch.
  • “Move Me” parts 1 and 2.  Although Doug’s vocals are mixed in a nasal John Lennon fashion, this rocker has some movement to it.  It’s one of the most constructed songs on the album, with the light and shade finally making sense within the structure of a song.  An epic triumph almost worthy of the classic period of the band.

It’s a mixed affair but because it’s King’s X there is always going to be quality to it.

3/5 stars

Scan_20151017 (2)

PLATYPUS_0001Next in this series: a previously published review of a Ty Tabor side project named Platypus. Platypus are a band consisting of Ty Tabor – Guitars & vocals. John Myung (Dream Theater) – Bass. Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Alice Cooper, Kiss) – Keys. Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs, Winger) – Drums. Their second album, Ice Cycles, was loaded with fun time progressive hard rock. Ty gets a chance to shred jazzily and in other different contexts, and it is just delightful. You can check out that review now by clicking here.

Part 1 – Out of the Silent Planet (1988)
Part 2 – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (1989)
Part 3 – Kings of the Absurd (split bootleg with Faith No More)
Part 4 – Faith Hope Love by King’s X (1990)
Part 5 – “Junior’s Gone Wild” (from 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey soundtrack)
Part 6 – King’s X (1992)
Part 7 – Dogman (1994) + bonus “Pillow” promo single review
Part 8 – Ear Candy (1996)
Part 9 – Best of King’s X (1997)
Part 10 – Tape Head (1998)
Part 11 – POUNDHOUND – Massive Grooves from the Electric Church of Psychofunkadelic Grungelism Rock Music (1998 Doug Pinnick/Jerry Gaskill)

#451.5: Guess What We Are Doing Today?

November 28, 2015 8 comments

REVIEW: PoundHound – Massive Grooves from the Electric Church of Psychofunkadelic Grungelism Rock Music (1998)

November 27, 2015 16 comments


Complete studio albums (and more!), part 11

Scan_20151022 (2)POUNDHOUND – Massive Grooves from the Electric Church of Psychofunkadelic Grungelism Rock Music (1998 Metal Blade)

You have to give Doug Pinnick credit for many things, and one of them is his prolific musical output.  The same year as King’s X Tape Head album, Doug released this solo project under the band name PoundHound.   Massive Grooves (the shortened title) featured Doug playing all instruments except drums.  His King’s X bandmate Jerry Gaskill, and Shannon Larkin of Ugly Kid Joe helped out in the percussion department.  The result isn’t that dissimilar from Tape Head itself.  As the title suggests, these are indeed massive grooves.

The Reverend Hershall Happiness is your host for this heavy celebration.  “Jangle”, the opening song, isn’t that much different from the groovy side of King’s X at all, and just listen to that bass!  Doug lets it ring low, and boy oh boy does it sound good.  “Jangle” is as catchy as it is groovy.  “Shake” puts the emphasis strictly on groove.  “Everybody, shake your thing,” sings the Reverend.  It probably surprises nobody that Doug is a good enough guitar player to nail some cool solos too.  Is there anything he can’t do?  (Just the drums, apparently!)

The songs are mostly short and to the point.  Don’t expect the progressive metal of King’s X.  Do not think you’re getting simply good time party groovers either.  A great song called “Friends” for example is pretty blunt.  “Kevin is a razorhead, he says the cutting numbs the pain.”  Just like King’s X, Doug is not afraid to paint a stark picture of some parts of real life that we often want to bury.  “My world just got darker,” he sings on “Darker”.  If you were expecting an entire album of good times, this is not it.  But good rock and roll?  Absolutely.   The direction is more or less the same from track to track.  It’s heavy groove based rock with the best soul singer in metal.  The variety that you get from King’s X (and their multiple singers) is not present here, but if you like Doug then you will love PoundHound.

Doug’s bass and guitar sound amazing (you will rarely hear such a full bass sound), but the drums are fairly dry and a little thin (compared to the last few King’s X discs).  This does not hamper enjoyment of the disc.  The songs and sound are consistent enough.

Best tracks:  “Jangle”, “Shake”, “PsychoLove”, “Friends”, “Hey”.  Only semi-stinker in the bunch:  “Supersalad” (too much grungy grunting vocalizing).

Doug released a second album as PoundHound, before shortening his name to Dug and putting out proper solo albums under his own name.  For all intents and purposes though, Massive Grooves is the first Doug Pinnick solo album and a damn good one it is.

3.5/5 stars

Part 1 – Out of the Silent Planet (1988)
Part 2 – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (1989)
Part 3 – Kings of the Absurd (split bootleg with Faith No More)
Part 4 – Faith Hope Love by King’s X (1990)
Part 5 – “Junior’s Gone Wild” (from 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey soundtrack)
Part 6 – King’s X (1992)
Part 7 – Dogman (1994) + bonus “Pillow” promo single review
Part 8 – Ear Candy (1996)
Part 9 – Best of King’s X (1997)
Part 10 – Tape Head (1998)

REVIEW: King’s X – Tape Head (1998)

November 26, 2015 13 comments


Complete studio albums (and more!), part 10

Scan_20151016KING’S X – Tape Head (1998 Metal Blade)

You never knew what you’d get with a new King’s X album.  Monstrous musicianship, intelligent lyrics, and integrity certainly; but they like to fly in all sorts of directions.  Tape Head, following the sweet pop rock of Ear Candy, was a monolithic slab compared to that earlier album.  In many regards Tape Head is a brother record to Doug Pinnick’s solo project PoundHound (more on them later).  The focus here is the groove.

Witness, the first song “Groove Machine”.  “Welcome to the groove machine,” sings Doug, letting his bass lay it down.  “Music oh music, such a funky thing. The closer you get, the deeper it means.”  He’s right.  Ty Tabor lays on a heavy wah-wah for his guitar solo, but not to be left out drummer Jerry Gaskill gets a bit of a solo too.  It’s simple, straightforward and unpretentious.  “Groove Machine” has but one purpose.

“Fade” continues the heavy groove direction, slower now, and with Ty Tabor taking the vocals in the chorus.  From the ultra-heavy bass to Jerry Gaskill’s beats, everything hits you exactly in the right spot.  A break in the groove occurs on “Over and Over”, a Doug ballad with sincere soul.  When Ty joins him in the chorus, the song becomes timeless.  Heavy again again but with the same kind of powerful chorus is “Ono”.  When you have an album as single-minded as Tape Head, you tend to grasp onto standout melodies like this even more.  King’s X let their 1960’s flag fly a little bit on “Cupid”, which doesn’t let up in the groove department, but does have shades of their hippie melodic bent.  That’s an appropriate way to lead into “Ocean”, a mellow Ty Tabor song that sounds like Ear Candy, but turned up to 11.  Doug’s hella-sonic bass just crushes, even though you could fairly call this song a ballad!  The difference between this and Ear Candy is all in the production.  Tape Head is self-produced and you can tell they just wanted to hear everything heavier and lower!

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Pure ear candy is “Little Bit of Soul” which sounds like it should.  Heavy rock knows no singer with as much soul as Doug Pinnick.  He even brings soul into “Hate You”, which is pretty straightforward in the lyric department!  Then “Higher Than God” is one of the mightiest choruses on the album, thanks again to Doug, with Ty and Jerry backing him.  Only King’s X can infuse R&B with their rock the way that they do.  Listen to Doug’s low vocal crooning on “Happy”.  Then he turns it up, lets it loose.  There is only one Doug Pinnick and he is a rock and soul treasure.

You might not expect the slight twang that starts off “Mr. Evil” but like most King’s X songs, it mutates into different forms.  (Nice steel guitar solo by Ty.)  If you were craving just one more killer chorus before it’s all over, then “World” delivers that and some heavy-ass grooves too.  The highlight here is a blazing rock n’ roll guitar solo, very different for Ty.  That’s not the last song though; there’s a surprise at the end that defies description except to say it’s pretty funny!

Tape Head is an impressive monument of rock indeed.  It bleeds pure gobs of soul, and it rocks the brain really, really hard.  It’s slimmer in the catchy melodies stockpile, but the relentlessness of direction draws you back in for another listen.  Some may lament that with Tape Head, their progressive metal past seems long behind them.  I think that was road they already turned from, with 1994’s Dogman.  They transformed into a heavier band, with echoes of their past but a sound that blends it all up.  The songs are not as distinct, but the groove is king on Tape Head.

4/5 stars

Part 1 – Out of the Silent Planet (1988)
Part 2 – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (1989)
Part 3 – Kings of the Absurd (split bootleg with Faith No More)
Part 4 – Faith Hope Love by King’s X (1990)
Part 5 – “Junior’s Gone Wild” (from 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey soundtrack)
Part 6 – King’s X (1992)
Part 7 – Dogman (1994) + bonus “Pillow” promo single review
Part 8 – Ear Candy (1996)
Part 9 – Best of King’s X (1997)

#451: The Summer Sausage Rule

November 24, 2015 24 comments


GETTING MORE TALE #451: The Summer Sausage Rule

The owner at the old Record Store was a very smart man.  He learned from everybody and absorbed everything.  He was a virtual encyclopedia of retail do’s and don’ts.  I don’t think anybody would be likely to meet someone who knows more about retail and how to thrive in difficult times.

There were many memorable lessons that I learned there, but one of the rules he tried to drill into managers was the “Summer Sausage Rule”.  This was a display tip that he learned from Mac Voisin, founder of M&M Meats.  This company is now one of the largest frozen food retailers in Canada.  They grew from one to 425 franchises.  You can see why the Boss admired their model, especially when we went into our own (less successful) franchising phase.  We couldn’t duplicate their success by selling used CDs, but the Summer Sausage Rule was pretty simple and easy to apply at a store level.

Here’s the rule:

Mac Voisin noticed that if he displayed only a small number of summer sausage (like one or two links) for sale, nobody would buy them.  There’s something psychological about it.  Customers are less likely to buy one, if there are only a couple out to buy.  Maybe they think “this product can’t be very good,” if there are only one or two out.  Or, perhaps it was, “There are only two left, which means all the best sausage is probably gone.” When Mac displayed dozens of pieces of summer sausage as opposed to just one or two, they would fly off the shelves.  Same product, same store; just different quantities on display.

Therefore, the Summer Sausage Rule, as it applied to CDs and CD accessories was “display as many as you can.”  If you’re selling CD wallets, don’t just price one or two and put them out.  Fill the shelves with them.  Same with CD towers.  If you display two dozen, you’ll sell them faster than if you only put out one or two at a time.  Posters, CD cases, CD cleaners – it doesn’t matter.  If you have the stock, then display it en masse.  You will turn them around much more quickly.

The best rules are often the simplest.  This is one rule that actually worked!   Retailers of the world, take note and learn from a once-tiny now-huge frozen food empire!


A Word on Summer Sausage

It may surprise longtime readers to know that I am not fond of summer sausage.  Considering I often boast of being a proud annual Sausagefester every summer, you might assume I enjoy all forms of cured spiced meats.  I do not.  Its powerful taste and dense meat* do not appeal to me.  Having said that, I find it fascinating just the same.

The most common summer sausage in this area is made by Schneiders, who make a pork based version.  However this is farm country, and just a few clicks north in St. Jacobs, you can buy it fresh in more varieties.  Keep in mind though, what you are looking at here is basically a fat and salt torpedo.  These things will bomb your guts like no tomorrow, so remember:  moderation!



*Aaron, your line here ___________________.

REVIEW: King’s X – Best of King’s X (1997)

November 23, 2015 4 comments


Complete studio albums (and more!), part 9

Scan_20151021KING’S X – Best of King’s X (1997 Atlantic)

Alas, it was inevitable.  After six stunningly good albums, but none of them gold, in 1997 Atlantic dropped King’s X.  In the mid-90’s it’s amazing that King’s X hung around as long as they did.  Many labelmates has long since been dumped, or broke up.  King’s X did not break up, but instead continued to work on their own, self-producing a new album.  Atlantic meanwhile prepared the calculable “best of” package for release.  Whenever a band gets dropped from a label, a “best of” is bound to follow.  It’s a law of science.

It’s a pretty straightforward release.  Chronologically, you get most of the major singles and hits from all six albums.  Then you get the three requisite unreleased songs.  Finally, a 10 minute live blowout from Woodstock ’94, previously unreleased.  In an unusual touch of quality for a release like this, Ty Tabor himself remastered all the tracks for the album.

We already took a close look at most of these songs earlier in the series, and there are no real duds.  The CD is weighted too heavily to the later albums, leaving Silent Planet and Gretchen under-represented with only four songs between them.  Hearing “King” opening the album is perfect, and the inclusion of “Pleiades” earns respect.  The other two tunes, “Summerland” and “Goldilox” are awesome but predictable inclusions.  The self-titled album and Dogman are represented by two tracks each.  We could have done with more Dogman.  “Shoes”, for example, or “Pretend”.  Three songs from this set come from the more commercial Ear Candy.  Again, you can’t really criticize the choices too much, because all the songs are great.  How do you squeeze more in?

Well, one way would be not including the unreleased songs, but these are record company bait to entice fans to shell out for it.  The three studio cuts are self-produced demos from 1996.  Appropriate to that era of the band, these are more commercial sounding than typical King’s X.  The production is not lush, but they have a lively quality.  “Sally” is nothing to write home about, but it’s a concise King’s X pop rocker with plenty of cool noodling by Ty.  Both “Sally” and the next song, “April Showers” feature fuzzy wah-wah guitar, always a treat.  Doug Pinnick sings the funky “April Showers”, which sounds a bit more King’s X.  Possibly the best song is the sparse ballad “Lover”, also sung by Doug.  It just depends on whether you prefer the mellow hippie sounds of “Lover” or the funk of “April Showers”!

The closing piece of the album was a surprising but important inclusion, and that is the live version of “Over My Head” from their opening set at Woodstock ’94.  This 10-minute track features a passionate singing rant by Doug Pinnick. He has often spoken about his difficult upbringing, and how he never heard the words “I love you” as a child. “This is a song about my grandma…she raised me from a child…she was a very religious lady…she went to church every night…she read her Bible all the time…” begins the painful rant. It still gives me chills, but it has a positive note.  If you have kids, make sure they know that you love them, more than anything in the whole wide world.

Yes it’s an odd way to take up 10 minutes of a “best of” CD, but it had to be on here. It was a historic moment for this band. Anybody in the crowd that day who wasn’t completely blasted on drugs would remember that moment forever.

Opening up Woodstock ’94 should have propelled King’s X into the stratosphere. They just couldn’t catch a damn break.  They couldn’t even be given a decent album cover for their own damned Best Of!

4/5 stars

Part 1 – Out of the Silent Planet (1988)
Part 2 – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (1989)
Part 3 – Kings of the Absurd (split bootleg with Faith No More)
Part 4 – Faith Hope Love by King’s X (1990)
Part 5 – “Junior’s Gone Wild” (from 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey soundtrack)
Part 6 – King’s X (1992)
Part 7 – Dogman (1994) + bonus “Pillow” promo single review
Part 8 – Ear Candy (1996)


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