MITCHELL FROOM The Key Of Cool (1984)

The Key Of Cool (1984)
The Long Lost Debut

Ever heard Mitchell Froom’s The Key Of Cool? While many know Froom for his diabolical productions (often with partner Tchad Blake) for the likes of Los Lobos, Richard Thompson, Crowded House, Peter Case and far too many others to name (not to mention his stint in the Los Lobos offshoot, The Latin Playboys), most have never even heard this solo album. Not even Atlantic Records, who heavily advertised his second LP, 1998’s Dopamine, as his first, debut release. Stylistically, it’s not what you might expect. Synth heavy and mostly instrumental, Froom’s jazzy electronica almost recalls a heavy-handed version of what Angelo Badalamenti would concoct with David Lynch for the Twin Peaks series over 6 years later. Not quite as cool, but a similar principle is at work. The three vocal selections are by author Jerry Stahl, of Permanent Midnight fame, who offers a detached obstinence to the proceedings (“Patio,” below). This is a vinyl rip, as it’s never been on CD (or online, as far as I’ve seen), so there’s some surface noise to deal with. Consider it the price of obscurity. Speaking of price… it’s hefty at Amazon. We’ve got some of Froom’s work with The Latin Playboys in the archives.

Thrill Factor (Cafe Flesh Theme) (1:51)
The Key Of Cool (3:39)
Zip Code (3:07)
We Don’t Dream (4:42)
Patio (1:16)
Miami Priests (3:25)
“Fruto Prohibido” (3:11)
Blue Lips (2:58)
Face Down (3:11)
Jungle Of Cities (3:15)


  • Willard
    October 16, 2012 - 19:10 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • Ernie45
    October 16, 2012 - 20:20 | Permalink

    Great stuff!

  • October 16, 2012 - 20:51 | Permalink


  • October 16, 2012 - 20:54 | Permalink

    W o w ! Never heard of this. I thought Dopamine was his first.. and this from 1984?!! Crazy. Thanks, Cap’n!

    • Willard
      October 16, 2012 - 22:55 | Permalink

      I remember seeing the ad campaign that Atlantic had for Dopamine, touting it as his debut (and not just for the label). It actually made me look to see if THIS Mitchell Froom, sitting on my shelf, was the same guy.

  • October 16, 2012 - 20:57 | Permalink

    forgot to mention that if you like things like this (which I do), keep your eyes peeled for Carlos Alomar’s “Dream Generator” from around the same period of time. My copy was actually STOLEN at a party years ago! It is quite similar, and was one of my favorite releases on Private Records, that sort of Hipster new age version of ECM from the 80’s.

    • Willard
      October 16, 2012 - 22:52 | Permalink

      What!? I wasn’t at that party. I was nowhere near that party. That’s not my copy up on EBay. What are you saying? What?

      • October 16, 2012 - 23:41 | Permalink

        You know, it was actually sort of funny. No one ever fessed up, but certain people in my group of friends suddenly quit grousing about “synth guitars” around that time, which I thought was strange,considering how much they had hated them before I played them things like this…Hmm…You WERE at that party, weren’t you!
        Kidding (of course)

  • jd
    October 16, 2012 - 21:17 | Permalink

    dude. thanks!

  • willem
    October 17, 2012 - 05:18 | Permalink

    and let’s not forget the girl bros. and elvis costello’s mighty like a rose.

  • Duncan Walls
    October 17, 2012 - 10:37 | Permalink

    Froom also did time with David LaFlamme on tour playing keys after his stint with It’s A Beautiful Day when he released his solo Lp White Bird, reprising two songs (White Bird & Hot Summer Days) from the first IABD LP. He played at The Red Creek in Rochester. I confess to finding out only recently that Froom was a part of the band. LaFlamme was an asshole, bitching about how he was a million selliing artist and shouldn’t have to play shitholes like the Red Creek (capacity at the time about 150). His snottiness continued onstage. It made liking him VERY hard.

  • Duncan Walls
    October 17, 2012 - 10:39 | Permalink

    BTW, Dopamine is amazing. I collectred everything I could find for a time connected to Mitchell Froom & Tchad Blake. You couldn’t go wrong.

  • buzzbabyjesus
    October 17, 2012 - 21:24 | Permalink

    The obscure stuff is what interests me most.

    • Willard
      October 17, 2012 - 22:14 | Permalink

      You’ll be interested in the next post then.

  • Sled
    October 20, 2012 - 15:14 | Permalink

    Part of the reason for the project’s obscurity (and its “synth heavy and mostly instrumentais” ethos) is the album’s origin: the soundtrack of the New Wave-themed porn film Cafe Flesh, which enjoyed about 12.5 minutes of arthouse crossover infamy in the mid-80’s. BTW, Jerry Stahl’s contributions are not-so-coincidental – he also co-wrote the trendy skin flick’s script.

  • Willard
    October 20, 2012 - 19:45 | Permalink

    Ahhh… I knew about Cafe Flesh… it’s the only reason you can even find references to this LP online, but had no idea that Stahl was behind it. Thanks for the connecting dots.

  • Jake Pratt
    November 25, 2012 - 17:02 | Permalink

    This really could do with a CD release. A superb album.

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