Although the first day of summer doesn’t hit for another couple weeks, it sure felt like the season had officially began the moment this New Coke and Stranger Things 1985 Limited Edition Collectors Pack landed on my doorstep on a sunny late afternoon this week.
As I stood on my porch just about to open the box, the sky became stormy with clouds rolling in, looking very apocalyptic. Then I started to smell raindrops hitting the warm asphalt in the street. Nothing beats that feeling in the air just before a storm breaks.
Now this next part might sound fabricated but I swear to you it’s 100% true. As I cracked open the packaging tape around the box and opened it up, a spider crawled out. Mind you this box was sealed up very tight so I’m pretty sure this spider traveled all this way directly to the TNUC lair…as if he or she was sent for a purpose. If that isn’t some sort of sign from the secret laboratories in Hawkins, Indiana, I don’t know what is.
When Coca-Cola announced in May that the company was bringing back “New Coke” in a partnership with Stranger Things Season 3, my excitement went through the roof because not only do I love the TV series but I cherish a good promotional tie-in and this one makes so much sense. Plus I missed the original launch of New Coke back in 1985 during its three-month lifespan, which means I missed out on tasting the product and witnessing its quick demise.
In case you disciples aren’t up on your soft drink history, in the mid-eighties Coca-Cola sales were rapidly declining due to diet drinks and non-cola beverages being all the rage. Pepsi was on the rise with a majority of people preferring its sweeter taste. So in an effort to mix things up, Coca-Cola experts and researchers developed a new recipe that they predicted would revolutionize the soft drink world. “New Coke” was introduced to the public and became almost an instant failure. People didn’t respond well and the company reintroduced the original recipe within three months.
…Well, that sad story suddenly took a wild turn because 12 oz cans of New Coke are BACK (yes, the original batch) for a limited time available at CokeStore.com/1985. Purchase yours today or regret it for the rest of your life.
GET A LOAD OF THIS GUY. While listening to the latest Purple Stuff Podcast, Uncle T came to find out that “upside-down” Stranger Things-inspired vending machines started popping up in select cities and dispensing free cans! If you can find one of these in a 100 mile radius of your location, GET THERE. Otherwise pick up New Coke at CokeStore.com/1985!
So…how does it taste? TNUC will conduct a full-frontal taste test this week! Stay tuned to the Instagram ♦
For the first time in the annals of history, two of our favorite supreme beings have joined forces to present us with a powerful musical offering like no other. One half of this united awakening is SPIROS, the romantic phantom hailing from the Mediterranean who’s given TNUC three musical journeys in the past (SPIROS I, SPIROS II and SPIROS III). The other is Kurt Sloan, the spirit-obsessed warrior of the wind who’s blessed us with such mixtapes as Deep Mountain Meditation and Ride Like The Wind.
Just this week I received this letter postmarked from an undisclosed exotic location…
The letter read the following:
The search for Tammy Hutchins had come to a crossroads. Al the clues had dried up. Kurt Sloan had nowhere else to turn. He had to seek out the guidance of the Seer. In all his years of being a bounty hunter in the Arizona deserts, only once before had he sought her council. He took one last look at Tammy’s photo, wondering where she could have gone. She was a classic West Coast babe – her blonde hair glistened with hair spray, and her well-tanned and oiled bod was covered by a white one-piece swimsuit with a high hip cut. He carefully folded the photo, put it into his back pocket, and revved the throttle on his bike. He was off to Sedona.
Kurt climbed the deep red sandstone steps that spiraled up the butte, until he came upon a hollowed out cave at the top. Cedar smoke and incense poured out the entrance as he brushed aside the beaded curtains, and took his place on the hand-woven Navajo carpets. He was face to face with the Seer for the first time in years. They sat in silence, with only the stillness of the desert wind between them. Then, without a word she rand a Tibetan singing bowl, whose deeply resonant pitch ran throughout Kurt’s body and reverberated around the hollowed out stone chamber. She opened her pale, translucent eyes and looked right through Kurt and into the mesas and valleys beyond.
“The Great Spirit sees all things my son. He has given me these visions: I see a crisis of Spirit. I see a young woman trapped in a labyrinth. I see a phantom watching over her from his villa. He sings of passion and lures her towards realms beyond.” She grew silent as a shadow fell across the whites of her eyes, and her wrinkled face strained in concentration.
“Interesting, yes, yessssss. Yes, very interesting indeed. I can see you now. Amidst the Gardens of Illusions and Mirrors”.
7 Months Later…
I have found him. These must be the fabled grounds of SPIROS himself. I see the shadows of his villa silhouetted by the soft moonlight. With each step I take the foliage becomes denser, the fog grows thicker, and the labyrinth becomes even deeper. Hedges, marble statues, and grand fountains await me at periodic intervals, serving as an ever more complex series of landmarks. Between those landmarks I brushed aside ferns, ivy’s, palms and tropical fronds.
But, something else entirely happened to me there. Something I cannot begin to describe. My identity, my very spirit itself fractured, reflected, refracted, and echoed around the gardens, and I lost all sense of who I was. Suddenly, I had many identities, I was many selves, many possible experiences. My spirit entered a gateway into the Astral Plane, where it fused with the eternal flame of SPIROS himself. What came next cannot be put to mere words. So, all the beauty, the passion, the mystery, and the menace can be found within this mix journey, formed during our union in the Gardens where all identity becomes lost. These are but some of the myriad of experiences that I and now you will have amidst The Gardens of Illusions and Mirrors…
– Kurt Sloan
P.S. I would like to thank Uncle T on his tenth anniversary for giving a mysterious stranger from the Mediterranean a place to call home. And for allowing these wholly original creations to evolve and flourish over the years.
Back in 1991, there was this arcade in our city where all the baddies and punkers hung out all the time. It was only open at night and the vibe was intimidating as hell. The place was in one of those dilapidated old factories in the armpit of the city. You had to climb under fences and through tall weeds to find it. This huge Japanese street gang guy in a trenchcoat worked the front door. We were too young to be allowed inside so my friends and I would sneak into the back alley and climb onto dumpsters to take a peek through a window. We’d stand there in the pouring rain for hours just to catch a glimpse of the action and hear that music. This place had EVERYTHING. Double Dragon, Castlevania, Mortal Kombat, Turtles, T2: Judgement Day, Contra, Street Fighter II, Rad Mobile, Splatterhouse, Bad Dudes. Not to mention all the Dominos pizza, Jolt Cola, Dunkaroos, Bubble Tape, cigarettes and Fruit Sharks you could possibly imagine…I’m talking a lifetime supply of bad snacks.
All the rougher, older kids who took shop class in school had been going to this arcade for years. They’d be in the upper loft area playing all the ‘exclusive’ arcade games, smoking cigs, comparing switchblades and controlling the mysterious music playing over the PA system.
Truth be told, we never made it inside the arcade before the place ended up being condemned in late of ’93. However the worst part about the arcade being bulldozed had nothing to do with the games. Let’s face it, arcades were everywhere. What ruined me for the next decade was never finding out what that mysterious, incredible music was playing inside the walls of the arcade and where it came from.
Almost 20 years later an electronic duo from Australia by the name of POWER GLOVE seemed to appear out of thin air. The name grabbed me from the get-go, then I pressed the play button and heard white-hot anthems of synthesized armageddon that brought me to my knees. I couldn’t believe how immediately it brought me back to those dangerous days at the forbidden arcade. The pulsating rhythms, distorted samples and dream-crushing synths were exactly what I remembered hearing outside standing in the rain.
Over time Power Glove released a slew of singles, two EP’s and two amazing video game soundtracks (the latter which they were clearly born to do). However an actual full length record is something I know many of us have wandered the streets salivating for.
Well disciples, the wait is over. Power Glove are ready to release their first official LP entitled PLAYBACK on Friday May 17th!
Artwork by Chrome & Lightning
I’m so thrilled for these guys. To say it’s been a long time coming is quite an understatement. I’ve heard most of the album because TNUC is granted access to such royalties and secret handshakes, and believe me when I say Power Glove are about to deliver the kick to the prick this genre so desperately needs right now. So many electronic artists try to emulate a similar vibe, but Power Glove always stuck out in the pack by creating a sound simply felt bigger and more authentic than the followers. Just wait until you hear what these two lawyers sent from the future have been brewing.
Let’s have a taste right now. Uncle T has the keys to an exclusive new track called ‘Daybreak’. Listen now.
Man, if there was ever a track to embody the image of a clenched fist after just reaching the summit of a plateau in the desert, this is it. The synthesizers sweep into this song with such ease and sway, it brings to mind a desert warrior walking into the sunrise over the end credits of a film. During the middle the track the Giorgio Moroder influence kicks into high gear and all I can picture is Manny Ribera’s floral shirts effortlessly blowing in the Miami breeze.
Check out the album trailer above, then don’t forget to order ‘Playback’ wherever cassettes, compact discs and records are sold.
Top Gun: The Motion Picture Soundtrack is without question one of the best soundtracks of all mankind. It rocked me to my core in 1986 and even three decades later, the brilliant onslaught of songs never ceases to amaze. It still holds up amazingly and hasn’t lost a shriek of power. Tracks like ‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Loggins, ‘Mighty Wings’ by Cheap Trick, ‘Take My Breath Away’ by Berlin, ‘Hot Summer Nights’ by Miami Sound Machine and the ‘TOP GUN THEME’ by Harold Faltermeyer & Steve Stevens make up just one-half of pound for pound one of the best of the decade.
So TNUC has always wondered, could one additional track have made this album the absolute #1, undisputed, heavyweight champion soundtrack of all soundtracks?
Well the Gods answered my question, or I should say Metal Gods, because in 1986 heavy metal legends Judas Priest were approached by Top Gun producers to include the song ‘Reckless’ in the film. The movie executives loved the song and thought it fit perfectly with the high-octane thrills and adrenaline aspect of the film. Listen below and picture those mig-28 fighter jets in action.
The song was set to be played during the closing credits, however the deal sank after producers insisted the rights to the song would go directly to the Top Gun soundtrack, meaning the band would have to cut the song out from their forthcoming album, Turbo. The band members also thought the movie would flop (!) so they declined and the deal was off.
It’s a damn shame, because nobody in their right mind would pass on a Judas Priest face-ripper showing up in classic like Top Gun.
We can’t end this article with all this adrenaline pumping through the veins after listening to ‘Reckless’. Let’s cool down with a scene that I’ve watched literally seven thousand times since 1986.
Sometimes all it takes is a stunning piece of artwork to lure me right in.
Such was the case with the new album from Repeated Viewing simply titled THE BEACH HOUSE. That blood red stormy weather, the skull reflection on the water and the phantom in the upstairs window. All it took to captivate Uncle T.
‘Repeated Viewing’ is the soundtrack/synth project of Scotland-based recording artist Alan Sinclair. As legend has it, these 9 tracks were inspired by a deserted house Alan found during a hungover morning walk along the beach near the filming location of 1973’s The Wicker Man.
An actual film version of THE BEACH HOUSE doesn’t exist, which at first seems like a bummer, but it does present you with the opportunity to lay back, stare at the album artwork and fantasize your own plot.
My story takes place on the beautiful-but soon to be tragic shores of the Salton Sea. The year is 1955 and Billy Davenport throws the wildest parties on the entire shore at his beautiful new house on the shore. The “Salton Sea” is Southern California’s newest desert oasis destination, a must-visit location for tourists, celebrities and the like. Billy’s house and accompanying cabanas are always filled to the max with scantily clad ladies, weekend warriors and anyone wishing to party with the elite.
If you know anything about the real Salton Sea, you already know the story of it’s imminent demise. As years passed, the ecological disaster started to really kick into gear, with salinity levels reaching so high that no wildlife could survive. The once pristine, beautiful oasis in the desert became a smelly wasteland. Billy’s neighbors pack up and abandon their homes. Properties are left to rot. Hundreds of dead fish wash up each day on the beach. The stench is too much for people, especially in the boiling desert climate.
Everyone except Billy Davenport. Billy ended up taking so much acid during 1968, his mental state was far beyond bringing back to life. His friends tried their damnedest to get him to leave the Salton Sea, but his drugged-out antics and brutal stubbornness caused violent outbursts which resulted in people giving up on him. Even some of the Manson Family members he’d become acquainted with during the summer of ’68 wouldn’t associate with him now. Billy spent his days wandering up and down the shores of this disgusting wasteland, stark naked, screaming gibberish while completely dehydrated and eating nothing but dried out, salty fish.
Fast forward to 2019. It’s been presumed for decades that Billy Davenport is long deceased. Authorities confirmed he had died in the desert and buzzards or desert animals had picked his body clean.
But as anyone knows who’s been to the Salton Sea, the area attracts plenty of artists, photographers and curious folk who like to visit the area to discover it’s weirdness. Some of the dilapidated houses also still remain (to some degree).
Over the last year there have been several disappearances with kids driving to the area from outside cities and not returning home. At the same time, bizarre reports have been surfacing at the county sheriff’s office. Some talk about a soft glow coming from the upstairs window of one of the houses on the shore. Others have made similar statements, along with violent screams heard reverberating over the water. The strangest reports though, which come from several different people, are sightings of a naked man apparition roaming the desert. Since the climate of the Salton Sea can have it’s effect on people, locals believe it’s nothing more than a mirage. But is it?
(Scroll up to stream the album)
Order ‘The Beach House’ LP here
With Wrestlemania 35 looming on the horizon, now seems like a perfectly good time to jump inside a time machine with your trusty Uncle T.
In the wrestling world, nothing really tops a perfectly executed promo or backstage “vignette”. The really strong ones are considered sacred ground, with fans reciting quotes or playing clips repeatedly for nostalgia sake and pump-up factor. This was my understanding until I remembered the lost art of MUSIC VIDEOS that promoters often created for wrestlers.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan or wrestling or not. These videos are on a level that all walks of life can appreciate. So get ready to be moved, confused, aroused, frightened, emotionally stricken and downright inspired at the same time from watching these clips of absolute video gold. (Thanks Jason Eisner for reminding me!)
Wrestler: “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Song: Rock Warriors by The Rods
Notes: The late-great Randy Savage was once hospitalized in 1991 after Jake the Snake’s python took a bite out of his arm in a match on WWF Superstars. Savage was told at the time the snake was devenomized but ended up with a 104-degree fever. Savage lived, the snake died a few days later. Anyways, this song rips and it’s perfect for Randy.
Wrestler: Lord Humongous
Song: War Machine by KISS
Notes: Lord Humongous’ character was of course based on the post-apocalyptic psychopath “Lord Humungus” from 1981’s Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. The wrestler was played by over 8 different wresters during his tenure in the ring. Since he always wore a hockey mask that covered his entire face, promoters replaced him without publicly acknowledging it. The character was even played by Sid Vicious for a couple of years!
Wrestlers: The Thrillseekers
Song: Rock America by Danger Danger
Notes: The Thrillseekers were the Canadian duo of Chris Jericho and Lance Storm. All I’ll say this…There’s no better fitting song for a video of two friends laughing it up at the amusement park, playing arcade games, ice skating, throwing snowballs, bungee jumping and riding horses. Just watch.
Wrestler: Nightmare Freddy
Song: Wooly Bully by The Elm Street Group
Notes: Oh, you didn’t know that after Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare in 1991, the child murderer started taking up a new endeavor: wrestling in Memphis as a GOOD GUY. Yes, “Nightmare Freddy”, played by Doug Gilbert actually came to the ring wearing blade gloves and was one of the good guys. Now I’ll stop typing so you can stop reading and watch the video.
Wrestlers: The Fabulous Ones
Song: You Dropped A Bomb On Me by The Gap Band
Notes: This tag team consisting of Stan Lane and Steve Keirn were one of the first teams to adopt the “smug pretty boy” gimmick which many wrestlers are still doing to this day. Denim, bubble baths and farmhand sensuality? THIS ROCKS.
Wrestler: Kerry Von Erich
Song: Here I Go Again by Whitesnake
Notes: We saved the best for last. Hell, the first minute of this video alone could cure depression. But in all seriousness, while it’s hard to mention the name Kerry Von Erich aka “Texas Tornado” and not think of his tragic death at only 33 years old, this video is a powerful two minute and forty-three second testament to the greatness of this man and his legacy. R.I.P. big guy. Enjoy!
Let us never forget Kerry Von Erich’s only movie appearance, playing a “neo-nazi” prisoner in 1990’s Problem Child!