Friday, July 30, 2010

T-Shirt of the Week: Tyranny >For You< Promo (1991)

Up next is a nice promotional T-Shirt that was given away to promote the US release of the album Tyranny >For You<. There are numerous promotional items associated with this album that I will spotlight someday. Since this was the first "major label" 242 release, Epic did a fairly good job trying to push the album (see also the Epic Press Kit).
This T-Shirt is a nice heavy white cotton Fruit of the Loom T-Shirt. It is two-color, black and yellow, and sports the "Tyranny Symbols" and the album release date. There is no image on the back. I obtained this item on the secondary market, but it may have been given away at the promotional release party (from which numerous memorabilia items are available and I will get to soon enough!) Comments always welcome if you have this shirt or were available at the promo party!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bootleg of the Week: Parted Tragedy

This is another quality bootleg in both sound and production. "Parted Tragedy" features 242 cuts "Live in Europe 1989-1991." The label is "Mind The Magic" and has the catalogue number MTM 008. The liner notes list 12 tracks, but the disc actually has 13, the "hidden" track being the excellent "Welcome To Headhunter" remix. Misspellings are few, with only Im Rythmus Bleiben being misspelled on the inside liner notes and disc, but correctly on the back!
The picture sleeve is very colorful and has yet another man with electrodes on his head! (What is the fascination with electrodes on 242 bootlegs? see Kampfbereit bootleg). The standout tracks for me are Slo-Mo (one of the few times I hear Jean Luc in place of Richard singing the refrain "I Feel So Fucking Alive!") W.Y.H.I.W.Y.G. - U-Men medley, and the Welcome To Headhunter remix. I don't see this one offered on the secondary markets as much, so expect to pay $25-$50.00 or more!

The track list (with typos):

  1. No Shuffle  4:01
  2. Headhunter  4:56
  3. This world must be destroyed  5:12
  4. Moldavia  6:45
  5. Im Rhytmus bleiben  3:38
  6. Slo-mo  4:22
  7. Gripped by fear  4:40
  8. First in - first out  2:31
  9. Welcome to paradise  3:49
  10. Masterhit  4:57
  11. Soul manager  4:30
  12. What you hear is what you get  5:12
  13. Welcome To Headhunter (unlisted)

Memorabilia of the Week: Official "Bag242"?

Up next is another one of those unusual items that probably isn't seen much today. (One man's trash is another man's treasure?)
This is a plastic Front 242 bag from 1987. It measures approximately 14" X 19" inches and is double-sided. The bag lists 3 Swiss concerts from the Official Version Tour, 1987. The bag sports the 242 logo down one side and a great computer graphic of the group at the bottom. 3 concert dates are listed from June 18, 19, and 20. In addition a 242 Discography is provided at the bottom. The "sponsors" of the bag appear to be the early 242 German Label Animalized (a division of SPV GmbH):
and Disctrade (a publishing or distributor company perhaps? I could not find very much about this company!

I obtained this on the secondary marked with other 242 items, so I am sketchy on further details. Did it come with early 242 Propaganda Unit items (more on that later!). I suspect that with only three concert dates listed, that it was given away at concerts or in record shops to promote the tour or upcoming shows in Switzerland? If you have any other information about this item, please comment below!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Record of the Week: Tragedy For You CD Single (with variations)

To give the "old" records a break this week, a spotlight on the CD single release of Tragedy >For You<. This was the first cut released from the album Tyranny >For You< . It was released on 12" and 7" vinyl and promo and test pressings are available (I will spotlight them in the future). This week I want to highlight the CD Singles that were released. The track was released in a slimline jewel case on the RRE label in Europe along with Tyranny >For You< Two (which I will also spotlight another day!). In the US, there are actually two versions of the release that can be obtained if you look carefully!

The RRE Version is catalogued RRE CD 10; it contains three cuts:

  1. Tragedy >For You<  4'30"
  2. Punish Your Machine Mix (long version) 5'07"
  3. Slo-Mo  4'30" (title is hyphenated here)
The artwork features the "Tragedy swimmer" over the entire sleeve with 242 along the Left side and "Tragedy >For You<" along the right. Since it is a slimline jewel case, the flip side to the sleeve shows a textured brown background with four Tyranny symbols. For reference, the UPC number is 5 413356 501025. The disc itself shows the same background with the Tyranny Axe symbol prominent:

Back in the US, we are not as fond of "slim line" jewel cases, so the single was released in the standard regular case. There are actually two "versions" available.
The first closely resembles the RRE release. It is catalogued as Epic 49K 73594. The front artwork mirrors the RRE release, the reverse side being blank except for the catalogue number. The back of the jewel case reproduces the RRE version as well. The disc however does differ from the RRE release. The disc here is white, also with the Tyranny Axe symbol. There was not a Tragedy >For You< Two release stateside. This disc contains the following tracks:
  1. Tragedy >For You< 12" Vox  4:30
  2. 7" Vox  3:39
  3. Punish Your Machine Mix 12"  5:07
  4. Punish Your Machine Mix 7"  3:12
  5. Slo Mo Mix  4:39  (Note on the back of the insert it lists the time as 4:30) The disc states 4:39. The title is hyphenated on the back artwork, but not hyphenated on the disc!
  6. Instrumental  5:50
  7. Neurodancer  6:56
For the record, it has the UPC Number 0 9870 73594 2

There is a SECOND variation also available in the US. The front artwork has been trimmed down somewhat, with a more prominent white border and the words "Tragedy >For You<" are relocated to the top of the Tyranny swimmer. On the sides of the jewel case there are plain parenthesis in place of the triangles around >For You<. The sandy texture on the back of the jewel case has been replaced with a plain yellow-beige background with the Tyranny symbols. Also of note, the Slo Mo Mix on this sleeve has a track time listed here as 4:39, as does the disc and the title is not hyphenated. The disc itself is identical to the other release. Both "versions" have the same catalogue and UPC numbers.

Why the different releases? I purchased them both around the same time. I suspect one (likely the later) is a "second pressing" perhaps? Who knows...but if you are a "242 Completist" like myself, they are out there!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Poster of the Week: UP EVIL 1993 (Belgium)

Up next is a beautiful (and quite large) poster from the 1993 UP EVIL Tour. Continuing the Gargoyle theme from a T-Shirt posting last week, this poster is from the October 26, 1993 show at the Halles de Schaerbeek, in Brussels, Belgium.

This poster measures 38" X 28" on flat paper. The most striking feature is of course the Gargoyle as featured on the Religion single and on much of the tour merchandise and as backdrop for the stage set. Does anyone know who designed this gargoyle or where it came from? This is another one of those posters that I someday will have to have framed. (Oh lack of wall space!) I would welcome any comments from persons who may have been at this show!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Compilation of the Week: The Edge Level 3

This might be a collection that many Front 242 fans are unaware of, but may consider picking up as it has a lesser-known remix of Headhunter. "The Edge Level 3" was part of the Hot Tracks DJ Subscription service and was released in 1997. Of course the standout track being Headhunter. The liner notes state that this cut was remixed by Robert Farrell based on the 12" Club mix. It reminds me a little of "Welcome to Headhunter" as it does mix a few bits from Welcome to Paradise, but otherwise it is its own mix. The liner notes go on to state:
"Robert takes this track beyond itself by adding lots of samples from other 80's classics such as George Kranz, Voyou ("Houseman!"), and others. An easy to use intro and break will make mixing this a breeze. Should work well in any retro or alternative set." (To me, Headhunter is anything but retro...!)
The liner notes also provide a survey for feedback and a loyalty saver coupon. The insert is surprisingly plain, but it does have great write ups for all the tracks presented, with BPM/Time/Intro/Break/Outro provided for each song. I also favor several of the other remixed tracks, "Walk Like An Egyptian" notwithstanding: Level 42, The Human League, OMD, and Dead or Alive. A very excellent disc! It can be pricey. I have seen it offered for up to $75.00 and I seldom see it offered on ebay. Good Luck!

The track list:

  1. Various Artists: "Jim's Edge Of The 80's Medley, Pt. 1"
  2. The Bangles: "Walk Like An Egyptian"
  3. Level 42: "Something About You"
  4. Heaven 17: "Let Me Go"
  5. The Human League: "(Keep Feeling) Fascination"
  6. OMD: "If You Leave"
  7. Front 242: "Headhunter"  BPM: 122.7 / Time: 7'03"  Intro: 32/32 (00")  Break: 32/32 (4'25") Outro: 32/32 (6'32")
  8. Dead Or Alive: "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)"
  9. File 13: "Taste So Good"
  10. Cyndi Lauper: "She Bop"
  11. Berlin: "Sex"

Friday, July 23, 2010

T-Shirt of the Week: Moment of Terror (1989 Tour)

Continuing our look at early 242 clothing: up next is another early tour shirt. This one is from the "North American Tour 1989" and has one of Front's famous sayings: "The Moment of Terror Is The Beginning of Life", which of course is a line from the 1980 movie Altered States.

This quote and the "242 Clock" artwork can be found on the FRONT X FRONT liner notes. The shirt is white with black and yellow printing. Once again, I obtained this one of the secondary market, so I would love any notes from those who attended these early shows or if you also have this shirt. Did it also come in black? (Seems like all the early tour shirts are white!?)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bootleg of the Week: Switzerland 1986

For the longest time, this is perhaps my favorite 242 bootleg. The songs featured on this disc are from the era when I first discovered Front 242 (Official Version era) and so each has a special fondness to me.

As is expected with most Front 242 bootlegs there are a few typo mistakes, but the overall quality of this disc and package is outstanding. Switzerland 1986 is an Italian bootleg on the "Rarities & Few/Red Line" Label , catalogue number "RFCD 1222" and is from 1992. It contains 11 songs recorded live at the Hot Point Festival, Lausanne Switzerland on November 30, 1986.
The sound quality is excellent! Highlights include live versions of Television Station and Red Team, which I seldom have heard played live. My very favorite track is W.Y.H.W.Y.G. (Listed as "What You Have Is What You Get" on the packaging.) This version features lyrics from that song which don't appear on the Official Version track, except as it actually fades out. For years I searched for these lyrics as I couldn't quite make them all out on this song. They are partially printed on one of the stills from "A Selective Retaliation" (which I will feature soon enough). So if you know the complete lyrics, let me know!

The inside booklet has much Italian so I included a larger scan, and would welcome the translation. The packaging is very professional and the artwork really stands out. The track listing and times are as follows:

    1. Masterhit  4:16
    2. No Shuffle  4:00
    3. Body To Body  3:37
    4. Television Station  4:10
    5. Don't Crash  4:14
    6. Funk Hadafi  4:51
    7. Red Team  4:10
    8. Quite Unusual  4:36
    9. Commando Mix  5:02
    10. What You Have Is What You Get  4:37
    11. U-Men  3:42
This usually retails now for between $25 - $50. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Memorabilia of the Week: Epic Press Kit 1991

1991 was a fantastic year if you were a Front 242 fan! Coming off both the commercial and chart success of FRONT X FRONT, Front 242 signed with Epic/Sony...a major label debut! Was the world ready for 242? I was both excited and apprehensive about this. Front 242 was always "MY" band. Underground, outside the mainstream. I loved and loathed the attention they would be getting now by signing to a major label. Would they compromise their artistic qualities (NO!)...Would they be inaccessible to the fans (NO!)...By reaching the "greater masses" would their music be appreciated by more people....(YES and NO)... Imagine my delight and surprise seeing the re-issued catalogue in mainstream record stores and a life-size Tyranny >For You< album hanging from my local Tower Records! (Man, I would love to have THAT in my collection....)

Below is a press kit issued by Epic promoting the band. It explains the imagery and messages behind the Tyranny symbols. It provides a timeline for the band and a complete discography as of 1991. The flyer itself is standard 8.5 X 11 inches in black/white/gray-tones on glossy paper. There are actually two versions (see scans)...differing only in the first/front page. One looks hastily put together with a gray-tone "Front 242"in the background, and quotes in the forefront. I think the first version (which is likely the later, perhaps?) is much cleaner and nicer. It contains various quotes, including a quote from Nietzsche, Section 242, Beyond Good and Evil. (EVIL...foreshadowing of UP EVIL perhaps?)

The glossy photo shows the guys very dapper, Jean-Luc in a tie even! Of course Daniel B. was still very mysterious and seldom-photographed at this time.

Also included is a letter from Julie Farman, Assoc. Director for Media and Artist Relations at Epic (1990-1997). A Google search here shows what she is up to today:
The letter is addressed to: "Dear Person Who Probably Loves Sonic Youth and Will Thus Hate Me Soon After Reading This Letter,"
I cringe at the comparison and mentions of Sonic Youth and Kim Gordon...exactly who was Epic trying to appeal to? It does mention some sales numbers as of March 21, 1991: 135,000 units and she says that the record is "HOT. SALES HOT."

Finally, a North American tour itinerary is included. The scan does not show up very well, but that is because the type-written original is also very faint and somewhat challenging to read! These were scanned original size, but Blogger shrinks them. If you would like to see bigger/greater details, just let me know and I will be happy to email the files...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Record of the Week: Two In One (New Dance)

Another "oldie but goodie." This is the original 'Two In One' released on the New Dance label in 1982. It would later be released with updated art (will post those soon).
It is catalogued ND 009.

Side 1 lists U-Men and Ethics; Side 2 contains Principles and Body To Body. The picture sleeve is very minimalistic in blue-green hues and black. The front also states 'Limited Edition' but I have not seen exact numbers (1000 maybe?). The reverse pictures the same. Although it would seem rare, this vinyl is seen quite often and I have seen it retail from $25-50.00 range.

This particular copy also has an orange typed insert from Play It Again Sam. It is in dutch and Google Translate does not give the best translation, so I'll leave it up to the fans to translate:

"Pers bericht

Na meerdere vynil aanslagen door Front 242 hoort men en terug op een uitzon-derlijken maxi single, getitelt "Two in one" de welke hun de welke hun vier eerste nummers herneemt. "