Mushroomhead – Superbuick

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Dude, these dudes are on acid… Everything’s like subliminal and all mixed-tunes and shit. It’s weird, man. 

Mushroomhead’s second full-length album Superbuick was released in 1996 and is commonly referred to as being the band’s greatest work. Featuring familiar elements that carry over from the first album along with some new twists and turns, Superbuick is another trip down the dark, cracked and bleary streets of Cleveland, Ohio. Utilizing biting guitars, crisp piano playing, various TV & movie snippets and the unmistakable growl and shriek of co-singers J Mann and Jeffrey Nothing, Mushroomhead spend 46-minutes in the odd world of avant garde metal music that they know all too well.

If Mushroomhead’s first album was the kind-of-fun, hillbilly-house-party rave, then Superbuick is the post-date-rape, wake up feeling groggy not knowing where you are, trapped in a box in a cellar, soundtrack to a murder scene. This album definitely has a sinister overtone to it all. Somebody is having fun but it definitely isn’t the victim.

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Mushroomhead – Mushroomhead

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We are about to take you into world of the LSD user.

The opening line of this album sets the tone for the whole crazy, fucked-up ride to come. Full of avant-garde, artistic, heavy music; this album is the combination of many different styles and many different local, musical personalities. Cleveland, Ohio’s Mushroomhead released their self-titled album in 1995, initially on their own label Filthy Hands Records. I didn’t hear this album until 2003 but when I finally sat down with it, the songs would never fully leave my rotating playlist again. This album is an odd mashing together of songs with various TV/movie/talking clips that truly sets a unique tone for this band that they would follow into the new millennium. Many people point to their second album, Superbuick, as their “best” work but for me, they will never top this album.

The vinyl release for this album was something I wanted for a very long time and in 2016 they finally obliged. Available only at their concerts (or local Cleveland shops if you are lucky), this album is on blue vinyl and features revised front/back artwork. The original CD artwork in 1995 was very similar but it lacked the vintage, beat-up look around the edges of the jacket. MRH also reissued the album in 2002 with an altogether different look.

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Attila – Rolling Thunder

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Attila is another one of those 80s heavy metal bands that I truly know nothing about. Rolling Thunder was released in 1986 on Shattered Records as an import from the Netherlands. It’s not a bad album but it was definitely no chart-topper here in the States. The album definitely has thrashy bits to it but it’s probably more comparable to Purgatory (Cleveland) or even pre-Anselmo Pantera. Basically a very heavy Glam Metal band. A bit spooky and theatrical but definitely not heavy enough to scare your cooler older brother or even your parents.

The thing that initially jumped out at me was obviously the cover of this album. I mean, look at this thing. It’s an abomination. It looks like it was done in colored pencils. Maybe it was. That’s not really the point. In the era of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and the emerging Thrash movement you just have to have better artwork. This is 1986. The same year that Master of Puppets, Reign In Blood and Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying were released. If I saw this in the store next to one of those albums I know what I’d be slogging up to the counter with. That’s not to say this isn’t a good album musically, it just leaves a lot to be desired from a visual standpoint.

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Vinyl Wednesday: Acid – Acid

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Acid is a band I know nothing about but it didn’t stop me from liking their tunes. I received this record in a batch of 80s heavy metal albums that I purchased over a year ago and once I had sorted them all alphabetically, it stood out like a sore thumb right at the front. I had never heard of them and I’ve not seen too much about them since. Maybe just a random album pops up in vinyl collecting groups here and there online. This is no fault of theirs because they kick some serious ass. After listening to every record in that big bunch of records (100+) I kept the ones that really stuck out to me and this was definitely one of them. The artwork is awesome, the logo is cool as hell, the band name is simple and amazing. They also wrote some tasty riffs on top of all that cool imagery. The band has all the makings of a decent 80s metal band. If you want to hear something new (old) that just might knock your socks off then I’d say give this group a shot.

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Vinyl Wednesday: Bucker & Garcia – Pac-Man Fever

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M-m-m-mousetrap, mousetrap — Cheese was the bait.
Won’t somebody help me — Before it’s too late?

I was woefully ignorant of Buckner & Garcia before one fateful trip to Cincinnati in early 2009. I grew up on the tail-end of the 80s arcade revolution. Did I go to some video game arcades in my youth? Yeah, I did. Did I sit around with friends and pump quarters into the machines trying to get a high score? Nope. Not even close. I grew up with Nintendo and Sega dominating the landscape of digital gaming. Arcades were already a passing phase once I was old enough to really enjoy them so it’s no wonder that I hadn’t heard of Buckner & Garcia and their minor hit “Pac-Man Fever” before 2009.

Released in December 1981, the title track of the album steadily rose on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, finally reaching #9 in March of 1982. The single sold over 1.2 million copies by the end of 1982 and over 2.5 million copies by the end of 2008. That. Is. Ridiculous.

The album Pac-Man Fever was released in January of 1982 and went on to sell over 1.2 million copies by the end of 1982. That’s pretty impressive for an album made up of songs based around arcade games. We’re not talking about the highest form of music-making here. The songs are decent and sound effects from each respective game are present, which I suppose was pretty cool and probably one of the selling points of the album. It is, at the least, a fun bit of nostalgia to bring out and listen to once a year. It surely gets me hyped up to play some Frogger and Centipede whenever I listen to it.

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