Shakespears Sister: Cosmic Dancer



Format: CD

Label: SF Records

Country: US

Year: 2011

Price paid: $11.98

Purchased at: Amazon


‘When you think the night has seen your mind… that inside you’re twisted and unkind…’

There are certain artists who’s voices transcend their context. Crooning warbles so luscious that I’d listen to them read the ingredients off the back of a cereal box or sing about paint drying for hours of end. Enya and Siouxsie are two that spring to mind. Siobhan Fahey certainly makes it onto this short but sweet list; her rich seductive voice evokes images of dark city streets shiny with rain, cold dark ocean depths, and brooding forests thick with moss.



I must admit I prefer my Shakespears Sister (not a misspelling, look it up) with Marcella Detroit, as I felt she was the perfect lilting counterpoint to Siobhan’s sulky nature, but its been twenty-one years since the split so I should really just get over it and move on. ‘Cosmic Dancer’ is their fifth studio album (the third sans-Detroit), a glorious expression of what the evolved face of New Wave looks like in the 21st century.


shakespears_cosmicdancer2It’s primarily a cover album, but so precise were the decisions for song inclusion and subtle the mastery of their execution that the experience is truly unique. It festers and bubbles with leisurely acoustic grace. Songs include ‘Baby It’s You’ (the Shirelles, the Beatles), ‘Dancing Barefoot’ (Patti Smith), ‘Wish You Were Here’ (Pink Floyd), ‘My World Is Empty Without You’ (the Supremes), and ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ (the Velvet Underground, also covered masterfully by the Primitives back in 1989.)


The CD art is basically a showcase for Fahey’s sultry pouty beauty; no objections here. What a long winding road from the ditant perky BananaramaWorld she has traveled…



Joan Jett tour 18 wheel semi-hauler


Format: Toy
Company: Hot Wheels, ‘Concert Billboard’ series
Country: US
Year: 2011
Dimensions: 15.8 x 2.5 x 3.9 inches
Price paid: $15.99
Purchased at: Forbidden Planet, NYC


“New York City when it’s late at night
I’m on West Side Highway heading
Up to the G.W. Bridge down by the power lines
I see all the neon and it’s cold at night
I got my radio on”

A wise man once said that “Diversity is the spice of a collection.”

Actually I just made that up, but it stands to reason. I’m always on the hunt for that oddball stuff to brighten my musical assemblage, so when I spied this on the discount rack of a midtown Manhattan comic book store I knew I just had to have it…

This truck is part of a series of ‘concert billboard’ vehicles. Others in the series include AC/DC, The Who, and Kiss. It measures in at an impressive 16″ long and, ripped from the Amazon description:

  • Celebrating the biggest stars of classic rock
  • Billboard-like images with great detailing
  • Cab is detailed with the bands iconic logo
  • Die-cast metal cab is a great addition to any collection
  • A must have for the classic rock collector
  • Recommended Ages: 8-13+ years


For what it’s worth Amazon also recommends that, based on my interest in this product, I may want to check out yellow hard hats and a Disney ‘Cars’ three-piece upholstered sectional set. Buyers rate this product a solid 5-stars too!

Who these appeal to other than the niche fanbase of their respective fans and the Hot Wheels enthusiasts I’m not sure. Maybe that demographic is robust to bolster sales into the stratosphere… but I’m guessing not.

Odds are I’ll never take this out of its box, as the packaging is 80% of the charm.


Mute Vorwarts compilation


Format: LP

Label: Mute (stumm440)

Country: US

Year: 2011

Purchased at: Soundgarden, Syracuse NY


‘Try to ride on waves of activity in every direction, you’re the center and you’re always free in every direction.’ – Junip

Mute was and is a seminal British indie label with roots stretching back to the late 70s. Artists that have appeared on the label include Depeche Mode, Erasure, and Nitzer Ebb.

Released as a vinyl/CD pack, I only picked up the vinyl. I can’t remember exactly what I paid; it was probably not over $5- CD or no, I’ll buy succulent colored vinyl LPs at that price all day long! It’s a hand numbered (#32 of 1000) Record Store Day EX, released on April 16th, 2011.

This is the US version, which contains the following tracks:

  • mute2Junip ‘In Every Direction (White Sea Remix)’
  • Big Deal ‘Locked Up’
  • Josh T. Pearson ‘Singer To The Crowd’
  • Liars ‘Greyscale’
  • Can ‘Millionspiel (Edit)’
  • S.C.U.M. ‘Summon The Sound’
  • Moby ‘Be The One’
  • Mick Harvey ‘The Ballad Of Jay Givens’
  • Polly Scattergood ‘Silver Lining’

The CD has identical tracks, with the addition of bonus track ‘Noise Activity’ by Simon Fisher Turner / Espen J. Jörgensen. The UK version does not include the Moby track, but includes two additional tracks, Grinderman’s ‘Heathen Child (RAK Session) and ‘The Gutter’ by Yann Tiersen.

The press release sums it up rather concisely: ‘Mute’s first ever Record Store Day exclusive release is a limited edition LP on orange colored vinyl, containing rare, exclusive, unreleased tracks from a slew of Mute artists, old and new. This LP comes with a CD insert that contains a bonus track from longtime Mute artist Simon Fisher-Turner. Featuring the new Mute logo, each LP is a hand numbered edition of 1000. Vorwarts means “Forward” in German. This compilation represetns the next step forward for the newly-re-independent Mute. The London-based label was owned by EMI for several years and re-established its independence in October 2010.’

The package design is a class act inside and out, exactly what would expect from a Mute product. The design conveys the cool minimalist tone of the tracks, the orange wax a juicy treat at the center.


Dum Dum Girls: He Gets Me High

Format: 12″ EP 
Label: Sub Pop 
Country: US 
Year: 2011 
Price paid: $8 
Location purchased: Exchange, Kent Ohio

Until recently I had never heard of The Dum Dum Girls, but they’re quickly becoming one of my favorite groups. I find their sound a fascinating and complex mish-mash of styles, ranging from west coast New Wave to British shoegazer.

I picked this one up on impulse based on the cover and its simple, iconic design. Sup Pop really went all out on the product too- the sleeve is super-thick stock that I haven’t seen commonly used since the 60s; the inner protective sleeve alone is as substantial as many contemporary exterior sleeves. Put together it’s one hefty package! Supposedly this vinyl came with a coupon for an MP3 download of the music which is, not surprisingly, gone. Undoubtedly pilfered by hipsters who bought the vinyl and then threw it away once they realized that they’d rather have the sweet, sweet digital version after all…

2011’s ‘He Gets Me High’ EP includes a cover of The Smith’s ‘There Is a Light That Never Goes Out’:

The Dum Dum Girls are Dee Dee Penny with an oft changing cast of band members. Their name is derived from the Iggy Pop song ‘Dum Dum Boys’ and The Vaselines’ album ‘Dum Dum.’

‘I Will Be’, their debut album released in 2010, was produced by Richard Gottherer, a major player in the New Wave music scene. He had previously worked with such acts as Blondie and the Go-Go’s and co-wrote the 60’s hits ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’ and ‘I Want Candy.’ His involvement here hones their sound, evoking images of west coast New Wave (much of which i tselfevoked images of older girl groups of the 50s and 60s.)