For those who often find themselves victims of mail theft, having parcels sent from Japan is a risky and anxiety-inducing activity. You cannot have parcels shipped by regular mail, only courier, and dealing with DHL is a nightmare. Fortunately, Jen happened to be home when DHL delivered the parcel on the wrong day when I was not.
I unboxed these Japanese import CDs on Friday February 3’s episode with my good friend MarriedAndHeels. I didn’t spend a heck of a lot of time going through them, so here is a closer look at each!
D-A-D – Osaka After Dark (1990 live EP)
EXTREME – Extragraffitti(1990 EP)
EXTREME – Waiting For the Punchline (1995 Japanese version with “Fair Weather Faith”)
AEROSMITH – Vacation Club (1988 EP)
LOUDNESS – Slap In the Face (1991 EP)
BON JOVI – I Believe – Live At Milton Keynes – September 93 (1993 EP)
BON JOVI – Hey God (2 CD Japanese singles)
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Insomnia ain’t no joke! As a long time sufferer (since childhood), I have continually sought new ways to fall asleep. Last time we checked in, I was looking at using my laptop and a small pair of laptop speakers to play music and rock myself to sleep. I have since revised the setup and experimented some more, with promising results. Here’s the scoop.
The idea of keeping my laptop near my bed, next to my alarm clock and night-time drinks, was not ideal. I’ve spilled plenty of night-time drinks so the laptop was not going to suffice as a long term solution for music in the bedroom. I’m sure kids today have more efficient ways of playing their music wherever they want, but I also require certain minimum levels of quality. Gotta have stereo, not a single speaker, for one. The sound quality has to be slightly better than my buzzy, bass-free laptop speakers. And I have to be able to play my own music, because Spotify doesn’t have what I want.
I looked around for my old Sony mp3 player, but I couldn’t get it to charge. I had a second Sony too, but it appears to be lost. So, my parents bought me a new mp3 player for Christmas. Yes, they still make them! It’s an off-brand player called a “AiMoonsa”. The Amazon writeup said it has an “HD” speaker built in. I don’t know about “HD”, but it doesn’t sound too terrible. It does violate my stereo rule. Gotta have stereo. Of course, stereo is available through the headphone jack. What’s nice about this player compared to the old Sony is that it has a removable 64 gig SD card. Easy to swap in and out, and upgrade if desired. I find swapping just as easy. I’ll always put my old Kiss albums on my mp3 player, and the rest of the space can be taken up by other favourite bands and new musical purchases. The only thing about this player is the controls are a little clunky, and it doesn’t display cover art like the Sony did. But I also only need it to do the bare minimum of work. That being, playing mp3 files over a pair of speakers while I try to get to sleep.
I needed new speakers, so I ordered the standard Amazon computer speakers, the Amazon Basics USB speakers for $24 bucks. This is actually my third pair. I have a set at the lake and you’d be surprised how far you can hear the music up there. I also have a set at work. This third set is for the bedroom.
I needed a power source for the speakers, so I grabbed an extension cord and one of those USB cube charges. A bit jerry-rigged, but it works.
I loaded up the mp3 player with the aforementioned music, including my entire D-A-D collection as gifted to me by Thor. Lemme tell something people: D-A-D is a band with a deep, rich discography of awesome tunes! Latter day stuff like “Empty Head”, “Something Good”, and “Everything Glows” are great tunes! I put on the D-A-D compilation Good Clean Family Entertainment You Can Trust, and had a Christmas holiday nap. And yes, “Sleeping My Day Away” was indeed the first track.
It was perfect! The music sounded good enough (certainly better than when I used to fall asleep to music on cassette in the 80s). The D-A-D did the trick, as tune after tune rocked me to sleep. I fell asleep mid-way through the disc and stayed that way for a couple hours.
Now, who’s to say that I wouldn’t have fallen asleep that day even without the music? It was a good nap though, and I enjoyed falling asleep that way, like I used to. Jen came in to nap too, and whaddaya know? Now she’s a D-A-D fan.
Mr. and Mrs. LeBrain fully endorse D-A-D. Now go get some!
Thanks to everyone for your kind comments about my 50th birthday gone awry. Jen is feeling better, though besides a fat lip, she now sports a nice black eye. Could have been worse.
I’m still Covid negative so I’ll take that as a win. The cold that I do have is not so bad, and though I am back at work, I have not been able to do a full day yet. But that will improve.
After Jen felt better from her fall, we opened some gifts. She got me some cool Marvel and Star Wars figures, but the music is the best part.
First up was the new Black Crowes EP, 1972. This six-song covers EP is getting rave reviews and I cannot wait to hear the Rod Stewart cover “You Wear It Well”. This EP is in anticipation of new material from the reformed band. There’s even a photo of the new lineup (including returning bassist Sven Pipien) which is a packaging touch I always appreciate. I have been skeptical of the Crowes’ current reunion, but putting out new music with this lineup alleviates most of that. Dig it!
And then we have the massive Black Sabbath Technical Ecstasy box set! This is one of my favourite Oz Sabbath albums. Actually one of my first, after Paranoid. The box includes the full album, the album remixed, some outtakes and a live show from 1977. The live show looks especially cool, with “Gypsy”, “Dirty Women” and “All Moving Parts” in the setlist. “Electric Funeral” is even included. The bizarre cover art has always struck me as Asimovian. Think The Gods Themselves.
Thank you Jen. What a day for you. You sure know how to buy gifts though.
Then I unboxed the massive parcel sent to me by Thor in Denmark. It was heavy. I didn’t know what to expect. It was obviously packed full. Even so, nothing broke in transit! Everything arrived in great condition, but there was so much stuff inside, we need to do a complete inventory.
First, there’s Anthem: Ultimate Best Of Nexus Years Japanese import with obi strip intact. Thor actually wrote an excellent review of this album with all the details. Bassist Naoto Shibata played on one of my favourite Loudness albums, so this is a total enhancement for my collection. It’s a double disc with a different singer on each disc, from two eras of the band. He rated it 4.95/5!
Then we have Red, Hot and Heavy by Pretty Maids, a band he considers the most underrated in metal. I don’t know this one, but it’s from 1984 so I think I’m going to like it.
Finally we have a self-titled album by Dizzy Mizz Lizzy, who I had to look up. This is a 1994 debut album by a critically acclaimed Danish band. Says a review on the Wikipedia page, “It all heavily oozes Led Zeppelin and Seattle.” Sounds good to me.
It may take a while for me to get to Dizzy Mizz Lizzy, considering Thor also sent me the motherlode of a band I first heard in the 80s, D-A-D, originally known as Disneyland After Dark. They too hail from Denmark, and I have praised their 1989 American debut, No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims, with a 4.5/5 star review.
Well, Thor went overboard. And by that, I mean Overmuch! Look at all this D-A-D glory! Thanks to him, I must now be the proud owner of the best D-A-D collection in Canada. Let’s go through everything one by one.
No Fuel Left For the Pilgrims (1989). This is the super rare original version of the CD, with the original name, before the change to D-A-D. Not only is the cover different, but so is the mix on four tracks: “Sleeping My Day Away”, “Point of View”, “Rim of Hell” and “Girl Nation”. On the international CD that I have, these four tracks were remixed by Chris Lord-Alge. You can hear the slight difference, mostly in terms of levels in the mix.
Good Clean Family Entertainment You Can Trust (1995). A single disc compilation with live and studio cuts, and loads of single artwork inside.
Psychopatico (1998). Double live. Their first live release besides a 1990 live Japanese EP. 17 tracks total.
The Early Years (2000). Double compilation! Includes their first two studio albums, plus their debut EP called Standin’ On the Never Ever, and 17 rare or previously unreleased bonus tracks.
Scare Yourself Alive (2006). Another double live! Two gigs from 2005 included. Minimal overlap between the two discs.
DIC·NII·LAN·DAFT·ERD·ARK (2011). Studio album. Check out that Super Audio CD case! Looks like I have all their studio albums now, as you shall see.
A Prayer For the Loud (2019). Their most recent studio album.
And, best of all…
The Overmuch Box: Twenty Five Years of D-A-D (2009)! This includes all their studio albums up to 2008, completing my collection! The albums are:
Standin’ On the Never Ever (1985 EP)
Call Of the Wild (1986)
D-A-D Draws a Circle (1987)
No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims (1989 US version)
Riskin’ It All (1991)
Everything Glows (2000)
Soft Dogs (2002)
Scare Yourself (2005)
Monster Philosophy (2008)
Bonus album: Behind the Seen (Rare, unreleased & B-sides 1984-2009)
There’s still a bit of D-A-D out there to acquire, such as that Japanese EP, but surely not much. To be honest I never expected to get any more D-A-D beyond the Riskin’ It All album (which is supposedly lethal). But…holy shit people! That’s enough D-A-D to take years to digest.
Thor’s generosity cannot be understated! This is awesome stuff. You never see their music around in Canada, and I simply assumed I’d never have them. I love the price tags from a store called Moby Disc – great name! To have this much D-A-D, including the early stuff I only read about, and both versions of No Fuel, I’m just blown away. Truly overmuch! This is a band that has been special to me for a long time, because I can remember sitting in Bob Schipper’s basement when that music video came on. He went nuts for it. Just loved it. Just like I loved that big guy! Nothing but great times.
Thank you Jen, thank you Thor, and everyone who wished me a happy birthday.
“And when the night comes to the city I say…I’m sleeping my day away.” – D.A.D.
D.A.D. – No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims (1989 Warner)
There we were sitting in Bob Schipper’s basement after school on some Thursday in late 1989. Suddenly Bob’s attention was caught by a music video. We always had our eyes open for unique guitars. Neither of us had ever seen a two string bass before. The neck was insanely thin. The song was called “Sleeping My Day Away”, and the band was D.A.D. — Disneyland After Dark. They already had two albums out in their native Denmark, but this was their first North American single.
It wasn’t just the bass. Even the song was unique. Anchored by a simple three-note lick played on a fat hollowbody guitar, the song had an edge we were unfamiliar with. The singer, Jesper Binzer, had a cool rasp. He wore a tie in the video and the bassist (Stig Pedersen) wore a medic’s helmet! Bob loved ’em. So did the music magazines. It’s a shame that didn’t translate into North American success.
When the bassist’s medic helmet erupted with fireworks during the guitar solo, I didn’t know what to think about D.A.D. Were they serious? Were they a joke? I should have just listened to the music, but it wasn’t easy to find their album.
D.A.D.’s No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims is made up of 12 sparky rock tunes. They range from 2:04 at the shortest to 4:36 at the longest. If guessed that punk rock must be an influence, you would be correct. No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims has that energy and sneer, crossed with the melodic sensibilities of classic hard rock. Also a knack for a memorable lyric; not the easiest task when English is your second language.
“Jihad! I’m gettin’ mad! And there’s no fuel left for the pilgrims,” sings Jesper, somehow stretching the word “mad” into two syllables. “Jihad” is an adrenaline-fueled blast, revealing the band’s punk rock roots. But they slow it down to a strong beat on “Point of View”, a melodic bright spot with more of that catchy hollowbody echoing hooks. “Rim of Hell” slows it down further, turning up the menace. “They throw the best damn parties at the rim of hell,” goes the hook, and you’ll be ready to jump in by the end.
“ZCMI” brings AC/DC to the table, adding to the stew of influences. Iggy is definitely in D.A.D.’s record collection too. “Girl Nation” is another catchy highlight, with Jesper imagining an interstellar “female civilization”. Elsewhere, the chorus “I win with a Siamese twin!” tells us where Jesper’s mind is. It’s certainly a unique lyrical theme in music. “Wild Talk” edges into Kiss territory; but it’s Kiss when Bob Kulick was secretly playing guitar! Closing on “Ill Will”, thrash metal is the final genre to be conquered!
No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims contains no duds, and has nothing to skip. Though “Sleeping My Day Away” is clearly the best song, it is among a very strong batch. D.A.D. have that punk rock sense of humour that runs through the album. A reckless, who-gives-a-shit attitude that hints this band will do anything so long as it’s fun to do. It’s a great little album that didn’t particularly fit in with any of their peers coming out of Hollywood.