The first time I encountered a record by R.J.’s Latest Arrival, it was in a bargain bin at 2nd & Charles in Woodbridge, Virginia. The moment I saw their 1986 album Hold On, with its mid-’80s barbershop’s assortment of jheri curls on the back cover, I knew I had to have it (it helped that it cost less than three dollars).
The second time I encountered a record by R.J.’s Latest Arrival, it was in another bargain bin at another Northern Virginia record store, CD Cellar in Falls Church. This time it was their self-titled 1985 album–their third self-titled album, just for maximum confusion–and I didn’t buy it, because does anyone really need two albums by R.J.’s Latest Arrival?
Despite my sudden financial prudence, however, I’m still sort of fascinated by R.J.’s Latest Arrival. Maybe it’s their clumsy moniker, the meaning of which I still can’t quite parse despite way too much mental energy dedicated to the subject. Or maybe it’s the fact that they’re from Detroit, which always gives me a little swell of home-state pride–even if, like their fellow Michiganders Ready for the World, they seemed hell-bent on sounding like they were from Minneapolis. Whatever the case, they’ll always have a special place in my heart. And while “Off the Hook (With Your Love),” their biggest hit single from 1988, is unlikely to blow any minds–it’s bog-standard Late Jheri Curl, complete with its proto-New Jack beat–it’s a pleasant enough way to wind down our last week of Jheri Curl June. Check it out on the playlists below.
It didn’t take a stroke of genius to come up with the idea for this year’s Jheri Curl Junepodcast.Rick James may be the most important architect of the genre we call Jheri Curl Music who we hadn’t already commemorated with a long-term feature. He also has a hell of a story: one he told in not one, but two posthumous memoirs–2007’s Confessions of Rick James: Memoirs of a Superfreak and 2014’s Glow–which makes him a perfect candidate for the Dystopian Book Club. A “habitual line-stepper” in both life and art, James was vital in bridging the gap between 1970s P-Funk and 1980s Jheri Curl; his later decline into drug addiction and imprisonment was unfortunate, but could only somewhat dampen his boundless talent and charisma. So join us on this most sacred of occasions as we celebrate Mr. Cold Blooded himself: a man whose artistic potential was the only thing bigger than his larger-than-life personality and appetites. Gimme some ganja!
This year, we’re kicking off Jheri Curl June with Detroit R&B group One Way, formerly known as the Soul Partners. Although not exactly a household name, One Way has made a significant impact on music. Between One Way and Zapp, you pretty much have the sound of West Coast G-funk down pat: Everyone from Too $hort and DJ Quik to the Game has sampled One Way’s heavy bass and whiny synthesizers.
One Way had a consistent output of top-charting R&B singles throughout the late ’70s and early ’80s. “Cutie Pie,” their biggest hit, is the perfect music to listen to in your vintage Lincoln Continental while you cruise through the strip on Belle Isle.
We’ll be back tomorrow with this year’s Jheri Curl June special, on the music of Jesse Johnson. In the meantime, check out our Spotify and YouTube playlists below!
Well, here we are: for the second consecutive year, we’re turning Memorial Day weekend into a time of remembrance for the many great artists we lost since last May. But because this is still Dystopian Dance Party, and we’re constitutionally incapable of being reverent for more than a few minutes at a time, please be aware that the resulting podcast is about 70% wake, 30% roast (well, maybe 60/40). Just believe us when we tell you it’s all coming from a place of love. Hopefully, while everyone good continues to die and leave us trapped on this smoldering husk of a planet, we can at least entertain you (and ourselves) with our impressions of “The Force M.D.’s Meet the Fat Boys”… R.I.P. to Trisco Pearson. Show notes and Spotify playlist below. Continue reading “Dystopian Listening Party Podcast: Memorial Day, 2016-2017”
Last Saturday, Yoko Ono turned 84 years old; so we’ve decided to take the opportunity to shout out one of our favorite visual and musical artists, who has been fucking shit up for five decades and is still going strong in 2017. If you’re a Yoko neophyte and want to know what the fuss is about, here’s our (deeply personal, 100% subjective) primer on why she matters and where to start. No hate allowed–Callie will ether your ass. We’re taking next month off the podcast, but we’ll be back in April with another KISS memoir. The sublime and the ridiculous, folks!