Hey Dan, cheers for the insight. I have friends in North Branch, north of Detroit, which may not be far from where you lived originally? I also have connections in Milwaukee and Chicago and love the people. Plenty of free thinking and healthy diversity. I have just finished watching Wednesday and had forgotten the Kalamazoo references.Danimal wrote:Hi Dog,Dog wrote: ↑Tue 27 Dec 2022, 3:19 pm Hey Dan, great to hear from you. I am from the UK but have always been intrigued by Kalamazoo as it is name-checked in one of my favourite childhood books, Dr Seuss’s Horton Hatches The Egg. And I drove close by a couple of decades ago when my wife and I took a road trip from Chicago to New York - we stayed in Nappanee and then Battle Creek. I think that was the first time I actually realised Kalamazoo was a real place! It’s a great part of the world.
I agree PSB produced so much good stuff around this time. It is one of my favourite periods for b-sides - The dead can dance, Wierdersehen and In bits are all excellent, and of course the fantastic Brick England also comes from this era. As you say, You are the one was the song put aside for Hotspot. They also started work on Monkey business but that morphed into Pazzo. Wedding in Berlin was from this period but only ended up on Hotspot due to Stuart’s enthusiasm. It is interesting that The forgotten child also hails from this era.
Another theory regarding The lost room could be that they are saving the Price version for another purpose. Maybe it’ll be this version that ultimately ends up on the Super Further Listening disc?
Here are my 12 favourite tracks from this era:
The Pop Kids
The dead can dance
The forgotten child
Say it to me
Sad robot world
I'm originally from the east side of Michigan, just north of Detroit. I moved to Kalamazoo five years ago for work. Before that I had only been to Kalamazoo a handful of times. My girlfriend in college (the "Behavior"/"Very" era) went to Western Michigan University, which is in Kalamazoo, and I used to visit her. When a good job opportunity became available in the county neighboring Kalamazoo, I choose to live in Kalamazoo to provide more job opportunities for my wife. We both run public libraries. I run the Van Buren District Library in neighboring Van Buren County, and my wife runs the Comstock Township Library five miles northeast of Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo is an interesting place. It's a small city of about 74,000 people with the metro area being about 335,000. Compared to Detroit traffic is light, which is a welcome change. The western side of Michigan is very conservative in general, but being a college town, Kalamazoo is extremely left leaning and diverse. As with most cities, there is a lot of poverty and property crime, but the people are friendly and one is safe in their person. Marijuana was legalized in Michigan about four years ago and in Kalamazoo there are literally dozens of pot shops; one may smell it absolutely EVERYWHERE in Kalamzaoo. Many people smoke it as they drive around, living their lives.
Kalamazoo is most famous for it's unusual name. Kalamazoo was most recently name-checked in the Netflix, Addams Family derived series "Wednesday." Uncle Fester mentions numerous times "the Kalamazoo job." Gibson Guitars were manufactured in Kalamazoo until 1984, when the company moved to Nashville. Though former employees of Gibson subsequently set-up their own guitar plant in Kalamazoo, Heritage Guitars.
Kalamazoo is equidistant from both Detroit and Chicago, with each being about two and a half hours by car. Growing-up, Detroit was one of the largest metro areas in the US due to the auto-industry. Detroit used to be a must stop for any band on tour. The Cure recorded their "Show" live album at the Palace of Auburn Hills north of Detroit as it was the biggest venue they could fill two nights in a row in 1992. But, with the decline of the auto-industry, Detroit ceased to be a mandatory stop for many touring bands about 15 years ago. Now that I live in Kalamazoo, I may easily take the train to Chicago, which is actually quicker than driving by about 30 minutes. I've taken the train to Chicago a few times in the past five years to see Robyn, Little Boots, and the Pet Shop Boys/New Order tour. I’m also going to see what remains of Depeche Mode in Chicago in April. For shows, Detroit is still preferable to Chicago as the venues and crowds tend to be smaller, but as I said, not everyone stops in Detroit these days, but they always stop in Chicago.
The west side of Michigan is a popular vacation spot for affluent people from Chicago, and many Chicagoans own second homes west of Kalamazoo, in the county I work in, Van Buren County. Over the years many have fled the high taxes and overcrowding of the Chicago area, moving permanently to western Michigan. Up until the pandemic the flight from Chicago only extended as far as Van Buren County, but during COVID, I started to notice more and more Illinois license plates in Kalamazoo. While it used to be that Kalamazoo was most closely associated with Detroit, over time Kalamazoo is becoming more closely associated with Chicago.
In my estimation, "Super", along with "Electric" are among the sturdiest things PSB have done since the "Very" era. "Bilingual" wasn't bad and had absolutely killer B-sides, but I felt after that PSB kind of got themselves into a rut. "Nightlife" didn't live up to its promise and fell apart in the second half. "Release" is something I almost never revisit. At the time I thought it would be great if they tried their hand at a "more rock" sound, then they did and for the most part it didn't work (though oddly their best "rock" song, "I didn't get where I am today" was relegated to a B-side). While many love "Fundamental" I only cared for the more dance-oriented tracks such as "Minimal", "I'm with stupid", and "Fugitive." I was pretty excited for "Yes" when that came out, but only the co-writes with Xenomania have stood the test of time. By the time we got to "Elysium" I was pretty much ready to give up on PSB. "Elysium" was patchy at best and I only really cared for about five of its tracks. Then we got "Electric" and that was the album I always wished they would make! Every single cut is solid and all the tracks have room to breathe. While I wasn't as excited for "Super" as I was for "Electric", it's probably their sturdiest pop album since "Very." "Groovy", "Undertow", "Say it to me", and "Burn" are some of their best pure pop recordings. I think it's telling that songs written during the "Super" sessions form the foundation of "Hotspot", and that seven years on they're still releasing material from those sessions.
I think my favourite of the Price trilogy is actually Hotspot and I love the variety across all of their albums - I’d be quite happy if their next album is another in the Release or Elysium mould. But we can agree that the Super sessions threw up plenty of exciting material. I think side two of Super might be the most consistent side of any of their albums.