I had a couple of trips to Half Price Books in Cedar Rapids that yielded a couple of interesting things.
Laughing Stock – Talk Talk (CD Polydor 847 717-2, 1991)($3.00) This is a CD that has been on my “if I ever see one” list. Laughing Stock was the last formal release from Talk Talk and commercially their biggest flop. Talk Talk started their career in the synth-pop arena with bands like Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Communards, and Japan. The soulful vocals of Mark Hollis catapulted singles like “It’s My Life” (later covered by No Doubt) and “Talk Talk” into the top of the world’s singles charts. Following the success of their 1986 album Colour of Spring Hollis changed the direction and sound of the band into a more Jazzy, improvized sound that sparked the end of the band. Laughing Stock and its predecessor Spirit of Eden are in retrospect considered “Post Rock” and the earliest examples of this sound. After the split-up of Talk Talk Hollis would record a solo album that is a continuation of the sound established by the last two records. I really enjoy this album and am happy to have it in my collection. I’m not sure that I think this album fits in the “post rock” genre, but it has the same melancholy acoustic feel as David Sylvian‘s Secrets of the Beehive which is my favorite of his catalog.
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop – A History of the Hip-Hop Generation – Jeff Chang (Hardback Book St. Martin’s Press ISBN 0-312-30143-X, 2005)($7.98)(MSRP $27.95) This is a heck of a deal! I love finding stuff like this at HalfPrice. This is probably the best book on the history of Hip-Hop. I’ve just started reading this, but already it has been an eye-opener. I can see that this will be a reference for me later. If you get a chance to pick one of these up at HalfPrice I recommend it.