Friday, March 27, 2009

Alkaline Trio - Goddamnit

Alkaline Trio – Goddamnit

Asian Man Records, 1998

Acquired: SXSW Record Convention, Used, 2009

Price: $11

Man, I am a nerd. This is one of those records I’ve wanted since I was 16 (and a rabid Alkaline Trio fan) and seeing it at the Euclid Records lot at the SXSW convention center made me eep. And for only $11! And I’m pretty sure it’s an original. I can’t be sure, but it looks like one and Nick verified that it probably is given that it was on black vinyl and the re-press had been on marble. Anyway, despite their recent sins (i.e. putting out two really really really terrible records) I still love this one. Sure, part of it is nostalgia, but the other part is that these are just amazing songs. Despite writing amazing love and longing songs like “Nose Over Tail” and “Clavicle,” Skiba also writes a bitter break-up song like nobody’s business. Granted, his masterpiece “Radio” is on Maybe I’ll Catch Fire, but tunes like “Cringe” and “As You Were” still bring the house down.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Clash - London Calling

The Clash – London Calling

Epic, 1979

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007

Price: $20

One of the more expensive records I’ve bought, but seeing it at Love Garden I knew I needed to have it. How can you have a record collection and not have London Calling? Seriously. This was one of the handful of records that saved my life in the middle ground of nu-metal and punk. One that I picked up from the public library and was instantly blown away by and here, now, in 2009 on my turntable it sounds as fresh as it did back then. It’s timeless. Blah blah blah, and everything else that’s ever been said about this album. It’s packed with monster jams. Anyway, I can’t even think about anything to write about this because, as I’m listening to it I’m rocking out too much. Other than the fact that “Lost in the Supermarket” runs through my head EVERY SINGLE TIME I go grocery shopping (playing over whatever sad music they are playing (it’s always sad music) or ABBA).

Now! Off to St. Louis and Austin after that for SXSW! AHH. Here's to hoping that my liver does not incur too much damage over the next week.

The Church - Of Skins and Heart

The Church – Of Skins and Heart

EMI Parlophone, 1981

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2008

Price: $8

I should probably let it be known that I bought this album specifically for “The Unguarded Moment,” which, when I saw it was track 3 on this record, I freaked out. It’s easily one of the greatest songs of all time, unarguably good, and a song that has been in stuck in my head since freshman year. That, and the album art is gorgeous. It’s a record I like having, one I’d want to put in a frame or something, it’s beautiful. And on top of the art and “The Unguarded Moment,” the rest of the album is pretty stellar too. Ironically, the record’s first single “She Never Said” is the lamest song on this record, which I have decided has only one lame song, that one. The rest live in this world of burgeoning new wave influence and straight up post punk power-pop jams. Of course, the band is Australian, which I see as something like a seal of approval for power-pop and indie-pop/rock in the 80s. Closers, the upbeat listen-to-on-repeat jam “Fighter Pilot…Korean War” and the somber “Don’t Open the Door to Strangers” is amazing and absolutely makes me want to flip the record over and listen to it again.

The Chinkees - Peace Through Music

The Chinkees – Peace Through Music

Asian Man Records, 1999

Acquired: Asian Man Records Mailorder, 2002

Price: $1 (it came in a box of vinyl that cost $25)

One reason I always really liked the Chinkees was because when Mike Park sang songs loaded with political and anti-racist themes I knew that he meant them. I think he actually believed he could achieve peace through music, and honestly that sort of positivity and optimism is really wonderful. He always seemed like one of the most genuine guys in punk rock (emphasized by the fact that he ran Asian Man Records out of his parents garage). The Chinkees were an all asian ska-pop-punk band that really won my heart when I was getting really into ska-punk in late junior high. Listening to “X-Mas” I’m really reveling in this, the mass of instruments and voices coming together and forming a cohesive little unit of a pop song (I love the little organ! Fantastic!). Where other bands of the time were singing about socio-political stuff, you could tell that the Chinkees were having a blast making this music. Who says socio-political ska-punk can’t be fun? On top of that, the liner notes state that the bands name is intended to be “a direct look at racism and the reality of its presence.” Actually, this is written on the back of the record because I’m sure Mike Park thought people would misconstrue the band’s name and lump them in with the slew of Aryan-punk bands of the day, or thought that he was being racist through this, it’s the way I think. I’d have done something like that and I guess that’s why I identified with Mike Park so much. That and like me, he can’t sing like a real singer, but his voice is precious and I couldn’t imagine anyone else singing these songs. They’re off the cuff and honest and on top of that the music is FUN. It’s a record that I was kind of not wanting to listen to and when I put it on the turntable (for the sake of the project) I realized that I was dumb for thinking that because I loved this record years ago and of course I love it now. I’m glad I had this album in my life when I did, right at the point when I was getting into punk and started freely thinking. That must have been around 9th grade, I remember I didn’t really get into punk and politics until a few months after 9/11. Anyway, this came in a box filled with Asian Man Records vinyl that I got for $25 and yeah, I still think Mike Park is pretty fucking rad. Also, “Will I Have a Chance?” is his masterpiece. Amazing tune.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Chills - Brave Words

The Chills – Brave Words

Flying Nun, 1987

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2008

Price: $6

I’m pretty sure this is technically the Chills first full-length if I don’t include their magnificent singles compilation Kaleidoscope World, which I would immediately recommend anyone looking to get into the Chills, Flying Nun Records, or just good goddamned late-80s indie-pop. I remember I was buying this with the self-titled Kid Dynamite record and Kelly seemed surprised and said something along the lines of “I guess you’re just a Kid Dynamite dude living in a Chills world” which I thought was funny.