Wednesday, August 26, 2009

End of H


Getting ever closer to the $1000 mark, which makes me feel like total shit given that I'm not even halfway through. I am a little more than 1/3 of the way through. Oof. If things keep up, this thing will break my initial estimate of around $3000. God, that's like, a semester of school. That's a NEW FUCKING CAR, oof. And this isn't even including the 7"s, although all of those pry only add up to $100 (if that). I have no records by bands whose names start with I so on to J we go!

Hüsker Dü - "Don't Want to Know if You Are Lonely" 12"

Hüsker Dü - “Don't Want to Know If You are Lonely” 12”
Warner Brothers, 1986
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
Price: $2

So remember when I said that Bob Mould pretty much wrote all the good songs on New Day Rising (or at least the catchy, memorable ones)? Well, I think this is Grant Hart trying to be Bob Mould and it's pretty much the fucking jam. I love this song so much, it has a whole chorus dedicated to it on the second to last song on the Kite Tails record. One of my ultimate bummer-fuck you songs. The cover of the single features a hopefully tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek note written by someone's lover. It reads “This song reminds me of you! -XOXO.” It's written in cursive, so I think a girl gave it to a guy. Bob Mould's contribution is the 8 minute “All Work and No Play” on the B-side, which is just fine but man, pretty long and listening to it I just wanted it to end so I could hear the live cover of the Beatles “Helter Skelter.” The cover is pretty fucking rad, like five minutes of getting pushed up against a wall (somehow, I see that as a good thing for a band to do). Secures Hart/Mould as the McCartney/Lennon of the 80s, I guess.

Hüsker Dü - New Day Rising

Hüsker Dü – New Day Rising
SST, 1985
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
Price: $6

I've always wanted to be in a band like this. Two songwriters contributing their own stuff (and probably trying to one-up the other) and somehow making a record that sounds completely fucking unified. This record is like a statement, and when I first heard it when I was something like 17 it blew my fucking mind. I was always more inclined to pop-punk, but Hüsker Dü blended that with a little bit of hardcore punk and buzzsaw guitar riffs. This is exactly the kind of music I want to make. Though Bob Mould wrote all my favorite songs on this record, in the past few years I've come to appreciate Grant Hart's work tremendously. “Terms of Psychic Warfare” is a totally overlooked jam, just as good as “Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill” (if not, it's way close). However, I can't tell you how many times I've tried to write a song like “I Apologize” (a lot of times). “Celebrated Summer” is one of the greatest summer songs of all time (later homaged by the Hold Steady in their song “Constructive Summer,” which also steals the riff from “Heaven Hill”). John Porcellino titled his excellent bildungsromans memoir Perfect Example after the song, and I'm pretty sure there's a band called 59 Times the Pain. I really don't think anyone interested in punk rock hates this record, or for that matter, this band. Hüsker Dü were one of the rare exceptions that could sign to a major without having everyone hate them (and Candy Apple Grey is a pretty stellar record).

The Hollies - The Very Best of the Hollies

The Hollies – The Very Best of the Hollies
United Artists, 1975
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2007
Price: $1

“Bus Stop” was one of my top three favorite songs from the years of 1993-1996, my peak of listening to Oldies 95. The other two are “Runaround Sue” by Dion and “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke. Only now, today, after putting this on, did I realize how weird “Bus Stop” actually is and how fucking good this band was. They're also an interesting group of lads, based on the cover. The frontman has a goatee, one dude looks like a slack-jawed Tim Roth, another looks like a train conductor and another looks like he's trying to be George Harrison but looks too much like Ringo Starr. The other guy looks like Logan from Logan's Run. Basically, this is the shit I was raised on and it always sounds good to me. “Bus Stop” sounds kind of creepy, like something sinister is afoot, and I think the msuic is commenting on the subject matter. Homeboy offers to share his umbrella with a lady and they end up getting married. The whole song is spent realizing how “silly” all of this is. However, the wording is fucking weird. People look at them like they are “quite insane” when she shows him the things she's purchased at the shoppes when they're waiting for the bus and he remarks that “Someday my name and hers are going to be the same,” which is a weird way to think about getting married. That and “Nice to think that that umbrella/ Led me to a vow.” I feel like this guy is a wife hawk, like George Sibley on Six Feet Under. Regardless, killer cut!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday

The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday
Frenchkiss/Women, 2005
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
Price: $15

It's well known that the Hold Steady are among my favorite bands. They are easily the best live band I have ever seen and last year at SXSW I saw them as many times as I could (three times), bringing the total to 5. At a Hold Steady show, protocol dictates that the diehard lunatic fans must find their way to front and center. Bystanders who are just there to watch the band are cast aside and told to fuck off if they are bothered by this. It's a communal thing, the twenty-five or thirty people wholly love the Hold Steady. Though “love 'em or hate 'em” is thrown around in reference to other bands, nowhere is this more applicable than with the Hold Steady. And those who hate this band can, quite frankly, get fucked. I will still be your friend (i.e. Kasey Klimes), but I will think something is wrong with you and that you just do not know how to have a good time and are a total square. I'm sorry, but the Hold Steady (and seeing them live) is the closest I will ever get to religion. I am a diehard and can quote lines from their songs like scripture (which they make reference to on a later album). Separation Sunday is my favorite. Not only does it have my favorite songs, but it's their most cohesive record. A concept album chronicling the life of Hallelujah (the kids call her Holly), a normal girl who hooks up with some druggy kids on the banks of the Mississippi River where she is baptized into their world by taking a hit off a nitrous tank and getting dunked into the river by Charlemagne. She lives the life until she burns out, comes to in a confession booth and stumbles into Easter Mass to ask the priest if she can tell the congregation how a resurrection really feels. It's simple, and really, all Hold Steady albums are pretty much about the same thing. It's a bunch of dudes singing rock anthems about being young and alive. Getting drunk and fucked up and partying until you simply cannot party anymore. If I made a list of Top 5 records, this one would be on there. It was also a test I laid out for Jenny, putting it on one night. If she didn't like it, I was convinced we would probably have to break up because really, being friends with anti-Hold Steady folk is one thing but living with one might be impossible. Through all our differences, she loves the Hold Steady with the same fiery passion I do and things are swell. Just sayin'.

Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians - Fegmania!

Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians – Fegmania!
Slash, 1985
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2006
Price: $6

Side A of this record is one of the most perfect Side As I've ever heard. I think I first listened to Robyn Hitchcock because Colin Meloy of the Descemberists claimed to be heavily influenced by him. The first five songs flow perfectly. There's the dreamy lilt of “Egyptian Cream” followed by the perfect pop of “Another Bubble.” The balladesque “I'm Only You” offers a slight enough gearshift for the single, “My Wife and My Dead Wife” to reach its full potential. “Goodnight I Say” sounds almost like an Elvis Costello song. Not to say that Hitchcock's voice sounds like Costello's, but in tone, that bratty tone from Costello's first two records. That song has that. The next six songs are all good, but the first five are all amazing, so it's kind of a weird switcheroo after flipping the record. “Strawberry Mind” is very good, though, and “The Man With The Lightbulb Head” has all the weirdness of a weird Kinks song. It's funny how Hitchcock looks exactly like you would expect him to look like based on his voice. I remember seeing him in Rachel Getting Married. I'd never seen a picture of Hitchcock, but I knew it was him when I saw him playing a guitar and singing. It just made sense.

High Places - High Places

High Places – High Places
Thrill Jockey, 2008
Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2008
Price: $15

I don't know why I felt the need to own this record on vinyl. I mean, it's a really good record and it's on beautiful marbled vinyl, but why I bought this seems to be a testament to my previously wasteful, wasteful ways. Sure, this record sounds beautiful on vinyl but I don't need it, and I certainly won't make a habit of listening to it. I think maybe it was the cover art that did me in. Sonically it reminds me of the Books...or a more lo-fi, ramshackle version of the Books, which is nice. Singer Mary Pearson's voice reminds me of a classic K Records girl-voice, and I think that's why I like High Places so much. Because essentially, beneath all the glitches and odd electronics, these are pop songs. Incredibly well written pop songs (“From Stardust to Sentience” is going to be a rare gem someone will dig up someday).

Headlights - Kill Them With Kindness

Headlights – Kill Them With Kindness
Polyvinyl, 2006
Acquired: Music Staff Meeting, New, 2006
Price: Free

Polyvinyl sure loves putting their pretty ok to very decent records on really, really nice, heavy delicious vinyl. The Asobi Seksu album was also this heavy. I snagged this during my first semester on music staff at KJ, right around the time this went into rotation. I remember hearing “TV” all the time, which is the absolute best song on this record and the absolute best song Headlights have ever written. They're akin to Electrelane but more sunny skies indie-pop and less Krautrock influence. This isn't anywhere close to being a great record, but it is a very, very good record. “TV” fucking kills it every single time and the rest of the songs are, again, very good to very very good. I enjoy listening to it, however I would never list Headlights as one of my favorite bands nor would I go out of my way to see them live (although at SXSW either this year or last I went out of my way NOT to see them, which was apparently really stupid because Nick Spacek said he saw them and that they were fucking awesome). I don't think Headlights is anyone's favorite band, but in ten years this might be a little gem to pull out every now and then while reminiscing about the indie-pop influx of 2006. However, I am not really engaged. After the first three songs I quit paying attention and focused more on reading this new Pitchfork review of Kid A and though I never read their reviews I'm reading this one and it's making me want to listen to that album instead. And then I compare Headlights to Radiohead and Headlights seem stupid. I'm sorry Headlights! Perhaps it's that this record is about four songs too long. I am a firm believer that a good indie-pop album should have about ten songs and run (give or take) around 30 minutes. You can stretch this to twelve songs, usually, as long as you keep stay within the time limits, but indie-pop bands love putting 14 songs on records. Bishop Allen did this with their last record and it fucking sucked. I got so bored. Same thing happens here. Had they saved a few for b-sides, this would be a much more solid album and maybe a great one.

Richie Havens - Mixed Bag

Richie Havens – Mixed Bag
Verve/Forecast, 1967
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2006
Price: $7

I can't remember why I bought this record. Though the cover proclaims that “The WOODSTOCK show-stopper! “Handsome Johnny” included on this album,” I'm sure that wasn't it. I'm betting it was during the Bob Dylan phase and Bob Dylan liked Richie Havens or something, or they played together or were friends and I saw this and bought it. I don't know. I'm listening to it right now and not digging it so much. He's got a great fucking voice, but some of this sounds like some lame-ass almost bossa nova lounge music shit. Although, I will say I really love me some rhythmic guitar. I will say, I can totally see how “Handsome Johnny” was a showstopper. It's pretty much yr standard anti-war song of the time, although it's not a song you would ever see in a Vietnam war movie. It ain't “All Along the Watchtower,” I guess. Oh wait, I bought this because his version of “Just Like a Woman,” featured here, was supposedly real real good. There's also a pretty weird/sorta rad cover of “Eleanor Rigby.” But then again, there's some lame-ass shit like “San Francisco Blues” and “Sandy.” However, his version of “Just Like a Woman” is pretty fucking groovy and I think I might even like it as much as the Dylan version. I can't decide whether or not I wanna sell this one, though. I feel like it gives cred to my record collection or something. This seems like a very shallow argument for keeping a record, but you know, it's my argument. Plus I'd pry get like, $3 for it and I might as well just keep it if that's the case. HOWEVER, this might be worth some money because the labels are on the wrong sides. Do people still love printing errors?

Tim Hardin - The Best of Tim Hardin

Tim Hardin – The Best of Tim Hardin
Verve Forecast, 1969
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
Price: $4

Pretty sure I got this one 20% off because Love Garden was doing some sale where Folk records had such discount. I'd never heard Tim Hardin, but desperately wanted to after falling in love with Okkervil River's Black Sheep Boy which not only features a cover of Hardin's “Black Sheep Boy,” but the whole record is constructed around that song. And that Okkervil River record is one of my favorite records, period. This Best Of is pretty excellent. Maybe not excellent, per se, but I really enjoyed listening to it. There are hints of Nick Drake throughout (particularly on “If I Were a Carpenter” and “Reason to Believe”) and “Black Sheep Boy” is pretty much a perfect song. He's not as great a guitarist as Drake, but his songs are damn fine and it feels like Hardin is right here in the room with me as I listen. I also like that there's an RIAA note on the back. It reads: “This record has been engineered and manufactured in accordance with standards developed by the Record Industry Association of America, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the betterment of recorded music and literature.” The words “non-profit” stick out like sore thumb style, especially in the light of that Minnesota woman being hit with a multi-million dollar fine for downloading 25 songs. Hmmmmm! And apparently, according to Jenny (and now the internet), Rod Stewart covered “Reason to Believe.” WEIRD! ALSO, I just noticed the next record up is another Tim Hardin greatest hits sorta thing. It's really funny, because it's all the same songs with the exception of two that are switched out. I'm going to remove it and give it away, or something, because I'm pretty sure I don't need it and it doesn't have a tribute song to Hank Williams on it, which means it can get fucked.

The Handsome Family - Twilight

The Handsome Family – Twilight
2001, Carrot Top
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
Price: $6

This record is awful and I don't know why I didn't sell it when I sold a big batch of records a few months ago. The singer sounds like he's trying to sing like Roy Orbison, but a very lame Roy Orbison. Not the totally awesome Roy Orbison. This is some boring-ass alt-country and though I have a special place in my heart for alt-country, this record is a snooze. Seriously, I'm barely listening to it now. I'm just thinking about how I'm going to create a crate for the records I do not want anymore and it's gonna sit in a corner then once a month I'll go trade-in and get store credit. But I'm worried about selling records because it's fucking sickening to realize that you had something that was worth some money. Like this Green Day 7” I sold that I saw in there the other day on the expensive records wall for like $20. I'm sure they gave me like $3 for it. Blah. Anyway, I have no qualms selling this shabby, moody record with an awful, awful, awful cover design. And is this song about his dog, Snickers, who is recently deceased? Blahhhhhhhh.

The Halo Benders - The Rebel's Not In

The Halo Benders – The Rebel's Not In
K, 1998
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2008
Price: $14

Danny and I listened to this record a lot this summer when working on Kite Tails stuff. Or at least I think we did, I know we talked about the Halo Benders a lot though, and how he hates Doug Martsch and wishes Calvin Johnson just sang all the songs. Again, as I stated in the God Don't Make No Junk write up, this is the best Halo Benders record. It has three fucking outstanding songs that, if they were made into a 3 song 7”, would probably be the best 7” ever. “Virginia Reel Around the Fountain” is where I started, the first Halo Benders song I ever heard and it comes very, very close to rivaling “Don't Touch My Bikini,” but that songs' weirdness ultimately makes it the better track. However, the restraint used here is what makes The Rebel's Not In more successful than God Don't Make No Junk. The other two tracks that kill me are pretty much ballads. The gorgeous and sad sad sad “Lonesome Sundown” (which Mirah did an EXCELLENT cover of on her recently released b-sides compilation). “Love Travels Faster” is comes in third place for best Halo Benders jam. Martsch's refrain of “Faster than airplanes/faster than cats/faster than robots/faster than that” always makes me feel sad and hopeful. That whole song does. The lyrics are practically nonsensical but there's something that just squeezes my heart on that one. Overall, this is a record I need to spend more time with.

The Halo Benders - God Don't Make No Junk

The Halo Benders – God Don't Make No Junk
K, 1994
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2008
Price: $25

There is a story behind my having possession of the first and third Halo Benders records. One fateful day at Love Garden I noticed The Rebel's Not In sitting in the new used vinyl. And for only $14! “A steal!” I harked. Honestly, I think that's the better record...that is, it has more monster jams per capita. Kelly quickly guided me to the expensive, fancy vinyl behind the counter upon seeing that record in my hands. He pointed out this record and I bought it because I knew that I would just go in and ogle it until someone else bought it and then I'd regret it. This is also why I'm poor. Though The Rebel's Not In is tighter, and features Calvin Johnson and Doug Martsch at their peak of creative collaboration, this one has “Don't Touch My Bikini” and “Snowfall,” which are huge, huge jams. “Canned Oxygen” is pretty rad, as is “Freedom Ride” (for some reason, I don't know why, but I get really into that song). “Don't Touch My Bikini,” though, is probably the first song I would play for someone looking to get into the Halo Benders.

Merle Haggard - The Best of Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard – The Best of Merle Haggard
Capitol, 1968
Acquired: My Parents' Basement, Used, 2006
Price: Free

Hmm. This sounds like a Merle Haggard record. It's not as good as the ones I downloaded a few years ago, but I know my dad is obsessed with Merle Haggard and this best-of is pretty good. Although, all it really does is make me wanna listen to some real Merle Haggard records. I also cannot get over how much Haggard looks like Warren Beatty in Bonnie & Clyde, made even weirder by the fact that Haggard released an album called Bonnie & Clyde. It's one of the rare gems from my parents' notoriously awful record collection that I still give them shit for. WHERE ARE ALL THE BEATLES RECORDS DAD! WERE YOU GUYS NEVER INTO ZEPPELIN OR FLOYD! ONE OR THE OTHER WOULD DO! I DON'T EVEN GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THOSE BANDS REALLY BUT IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE THEM ON VINYL! This is how I talk to my parents in my head.

End of G

A+B+C+D+E+F= $776
G = $67
(A+B+C+D+E+F) + G = $843

Again, to reiterate, this is why I'm poor. It's been a month! Basically, I couldn't get internet on my PC where I typically write all this stuff up and post, etc, so I just got lazy. However, today I finally started organizing my shit at the new place and I thought picking this up again would be a gooood idea. The internet barely works here, though, however I do expect a flood of new posts to come in the next few weeks given that the Turn period at First Management is over and I now have no work. Bummer.

Guided by Voices - Under the Bushes Under the Stars

Guided by Voices – Under the Bushes Under the Stars
Matador, 1996
Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2007
Price: $16

So, I wrote a big long piece about this record and how it's kind of my favorite GBV record and then it got deleted. I know way too much about this record and it's history, and you should read about it on Wikipedia. It involves this rising from the ashes of a Kim Deal produced concept album called The Power of Suck, which was intended to be an autobiographical record about the rise of GBV, closing with “Don't Stop Now,” in which the band has reached the top, changed their name to King Shit and the Golden Boys. That whole record (a lot of the tracks ended up on this album) is a piece of work and wouldn't have worked half as well as this one does. It's the last act of the trilogy, and the really, it's the last great GBV record. Though others detract, I think this is just as good as Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, or at least in the same league. It's got slicker production but it still sounds like it could have been recorded in a basement. The six pseudo-bonus tracks are what make this mostly my favorite GBV record. “Big Boring Wedding,” “Redmen and Their Wives,” “It's Like Soul Man,” “Drag Days,” they're all jams. Actually, maybe Bee Thousand is my favorite because it's the most perfect, but this is the first GBV record I listened to all the way through and that gives me a special connection. “Don't Stop Now” was the first GBV track I ever heard and it was on a mix CD that I woke up to for an entire semester of High School. Waking up once a week to that thumping cello and the lines “Woke up one morning,” which only became ultra-relevant years later.

Note: This new photo format is bugging me. However, it's less of a pain in the ass than my broken digital camera, which makes Photo Booth the new photo taking method...although the photos have to be FLIPPED, which makes taking them really weird. Although, to get enough light I have to light the whole thing like I'm in a film noir movie, which is really fun.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


At my new place...or I haven't had the money to get it set up. SO, yeah. That's why no update.