Monday, August 20, 2012

Concert Review: Destroyer Live @ the Cedar

Soooooo this happened almost two months ago. And then the computer died. And then I sorta fixed the computer and then the software and the scanner and all that stuff wouldn't work. And then I kinda forgot about this. And then I saw it in the sketchbook and remembered it again! And here it is.

And here's that amazing video for "Kaputt" for good measure.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Joey Casio - "Share the Cup" 7"

Joey Casio – “Share the Cup” 7”
K, 2009
Acquired: Music Staff, New, 2009
Price: Free

I love K Records, you know that already. This 7” though, oof. There was a reason this one never made out of the music office and onto the rotation shelf. Popped up electro that might be angling for some of the attention Crystal Castles were getting at the time. Not really sure. K’s forays into electro have been hit or miss at best, and while the Blow and Yacht are fun, that’s precisely why they’re good. They’re fun, don’t take this shit too seriously, but Joey Casio sort of comes across as the dude holding the headphones to his head with one hand and a microphone in the other as he bobs over a turntable. Or maybe this just sounds obnoxious to me and other people like it.

You can listen to this bizarro club jam over hurr.

Cath Carroll - "My Cold Heart" 7"

Cath Carroll – “My Cold Heart” 7”
TeenBeat, 1994
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2008
Price: $1
 Let’s face it, I bought this because I love that song “Cath Carroll” by Unrest. I vaguely recall her band Miaow from the two weeks I was goofing off over C-86, but this doesn’t sound what I think that sounded like (read: ramshackle, borderline, ladypunk). Too bad it’s a total snore. “My Cold Heart” and the slightly better “Into Day” walk a thin line between indie pop and adult urban contemporary. I just don’t know when I would listen to this little record again. I have to keep replaying it to remind myself what it sounds like. It’s not bad, it really isn’t, just not my cuppa tea. Seriously, I listened to this thing four times and I still don't remember what either of the songs sound like. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Carissa's Wierd - "Die" 7"

Carissa’s Wierd – “Die” 7”
Hardly Art, 2010
Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2010
Price: $1

It’s sad that Carissa’s Wierd is now mostly known from the “featuring members of Carissa’s Weird” tag applied to Band of Horses records. That wasn’t a problem for the first Band of Horses record, or the second one really, for that matter, but now that Band of Horses are trying to be Kings of Leon and it’s only Ben Bridwell (Mat Brooke quit after the first one) and well… But I guess they don’t do that anymore, since Band of Horses is its own thing and Carissa’s Wierd is now that band featuring members of Band of Horses. Good lord that was confusing. Anyway, I found out about Carissa’s Wierd because I loved that first Band of Horses record but ended up loving CW (gonna refer to them as CW from now on because MS Word makes it incredibly hard to properly spell the bands misspelled name. Not to be confused with the CW) more. The quiet, break-your-heart bedroom pop was like a womb for me. I’m pretty sure I got this on Record Store Day, but if that’s not the case, I’m pretty positive it was issued to promote a CW career retrospective issued by Hardly Art in 2010 (the comp was called They’ll Only Miss You When You Leave, which is etched into the margin here so there’s that). “Die” is a little more bombastic than my favorite CW jams (read: “A New Holiday “November 16th” cue the strings, no more sad songs need to be written after THAT one. Sheer perfection) but the percussiveness of the pianos and the strings that sort of weave their way in and out of those begging-for-mercy Jenn Ghetto vocals, man oh man. The B-Side “Sharin’ a Hole” is more subdued and features Brooke on lead vox but is just as good and I should mention, the thing CW did best (besides write the saddest songs you’ve ever heard) was harmonize. Goddamn could Brooke and Ghetto harmonize. Both songs have their fair share of THAT. Oddly enough, both of these songs were culled from two separate compilations (I Before E and Scrapbook), so maybe it’s perfect that they share this hot pink vinyl. Awesome little seven, and at a buck, what a damn steal. 

Caramel - "My Tailor is Rich" 7"

Caramel – “My Tailor is Rich” 7”
Harriet Records, 1996

Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2007
Price: $.25

This is some spastic-ass French indie-pop. I remember really liking the A-Side—“My Tailor is Rich”—when I got this. This was the indie-pop incubation period, where I liked everything. It had the Harriet Records imprint on it, though, so I had to bite. I mean, the label was founded by a goddamn Harvard history professor, how cool is that? Some incredibly well educated and probably rich dude putting out groups like the Magnetic Fields, The Extra Glenns, Tullycraft, and Crayon (not to mention my beloved Ampersands 7” “Annabel Bleach”). There was just such a pure understanding of what music should sound like, a vision really, in Tim Alborn’s label. It didn’t have to sound great, it just had to be exciting. This 7” is some of the weirdest, sloppiest indie-pop I’ve ever heard with vocals executed in some of the most broken English I’ve ever heard (when they’re not speaking their native French, of course). Yet there’s a spark/verve to it that’s really kind of charming. It’s like music for some high-energy Nintendo 64 game. The mixing is all really awful, the guitars sound goofy as they jangle, and “My Tailor is Rich” has this fucking BIZARRE organ running through it but the song moves so quickly that there’s not really enough time for you to hate it. Best though, the insert has a bit called “Improve your French with Caramel” which features translations of words used in the songs. Translations for: The English, Beer, Awful, Cute, My Favourire [sic] Bands, a glass, his “baby,” flowery skirt, strippy tights (?), what a wonderful life, and hmm…you’re not my friend(!)* Too cute to dislike, even if the music is pretty much rubbish. The chorus to the “My Tailor is Rich” reads: “My tailor is rich/ And your mum is OK/ God saves the queen/ Yeah!” Not kidding.

Can't find any examples on the net, but here is a picture of this adorable band. Also, I played "My Tailor is Rich" on an episode of Pop Rocks circa the era I bought this, which makes sense. The playlist is enviable. It's also half-stuff I culled from the pitch perfect blog Little Hits, and I'm so so SO glad I went through and downloaded as much as I could before they sadly had to shut down. Oh man, 2007! When Challengers was in Rotation!

End of B

END OF B (7”)

Gracious me and mine, it has been a year and a half since I got to the end of a section. I suppose that comes with the turf. Although I don’t know, there are a shitload of 7” records to get through. But they’re easy to blaze through, so I don’t know what the problem is, why in the last lap I can’t wrap this project up. I mean, it’ll never wrap up officially, so long as I’m still buying records, but there is a final number I wanna find out and when I find it out I’m gonna move all that stuff over to my other blog and just make one big pot of stuff. As usual, the total at the end of this one is not from 7” records but the records I kept buying over the last year and a half. I’ve managed to curb my record buying habit pretty well, but there are still some that are too good to pass up.

Running Total: $2692.25
New Total: $2882.50

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Burnout - "Lounge" 7"

Burnout – “Lounge” 7”
Drag City, 1991
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2007
Price: $.25

Drag City! Five years later, I know exactly why I blew 25 cents on this 7”. That was half the art of that day. Sitting in my weird lotus-tinged Indian style on the floor looking through hundreds of 7”s and looking for labels names that I knew. Or 7”s with cool covers. This one though, it was just the Drag City checker pattern and an easy “why not?” The music is almost punk rock and almost grunge but not quite either (erring on the side of punk though, I suppose). It is very sloppy, and comes close to doing it in an almost interesting way but mostly just sounds like a big mush of overblown guitars, punk rock vocals and drums where the snare has to like fight its way to the top of the mix and pokes little holes in the songs. It’s not bad, though. It’s just very opening-band-esque. You know the type. Where you show up at the venue and catch half their set and through the first couple of songs you’re like “Hey, this isn’t half bad” and the last four you’re just impatiently tapping your foot waiting to see the band you came for. It’s not their fault, really. I talk about the universal sound of early 90s college rock and how it’s great that all those bands sound roughly the same and how any band can contribute at least one song that’s totally worth listening to, but none of the songs here really jump out.

The Bumble Bees - "Maybe Someday" + 2 7"

The Bumble Bees – “Maybe Someday” + 2 7”
Op Art, 1999
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
Price: $1

Nuggets-y pop from the Netherlands circa…1966? The label reads “Op Art Sound ’66 Serie” which I GUESS means it’s from 1966. It certainly SOUNDS like it’s from 1966. Upon further inspection (read: I quickly looked on the internet so as to not interrupt my fantasy football mock draft) this combines two separate 45s from 1966 and 1967 and is really awesome in that way that those psych-tinged pop bands from that era are all awesome in a ubiquitous sort of way. More like a standard of quality. The tender ballad-esque “Day by Day” is the real knock-out here. Just pure fucking loveliness all around with these harmonies that just kill. It’s like a great Tobin Sprout song buried in the middle of one of GBV’s more classic albums (editor’s note: I really need to figure out how many times I reference Guided by Voices in posts NOT even remotely about Guided by Voices, like this post…and the last post). The melody is subtle, the kind that creeps up on you (but not in a creepy way). The A-Side is pretty good, notably “Maybe Someday” which is mostly good because it’s kind of weird. It has a creepy horn in it that reminds me of the soundtrack from The Wicker Man. Pagan Ritual Horn? Is that a thing? I don’t know, it creeps me, but I enjoy being creeped by it. Also Creepy: There’s a dude in this band that looks exactly like me. Take a look for yourself. AM I A TIME TRAVELLING GHOST!?! I never knew!

A Bullet for Fidel - "Don't Want Momma to Know" 7"

A Bullet for Fidel – “Don’t Want Momma To Know” 7”
Scat, 1994
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2007
Price: $.25

This sounds like the solo acoustic project of a former punk rock singer. Oh would you look at that! It is! It is exactly that! Erie, PA’s Brian DiPlacido has a definite Roky Erickson jones at play here, and though the songwriting isn’t great, there’s something charismatic about his singing and the fact that this single is pretty much buried in the dark recesses of time that makes this kind of fascinating. There’s a really out of place but again, kind of awesome crappy guitar solo towards the end of “Don’t Want Momma To Know.” I love the pre-internet 90s. When if you wanted to record a song, you had to know someone and then if you did, or sent your song out to a bunch of people, someone would eventually press it to wax. Even though these songs aren’t great, they’re good enough. They exist on a tangible medium, which is more than you can say for the masses making music and putting it up on the internet (present company included) with only the slimmest hope of ever having their songs pressed to vinyl. This record is MOST interesting to me because it directly precedes Guided by Voices Bee Thousand in Scat Records’ discography. 

Here's a track from A Bullet for Fidel's LP Cold Before Morning. It is MUCH better than the two songs on this 7", but still maintains that kind of uber-ramshackle quality I was talking about. The writing is a little better here, though (but the vocals still yearn for a second take, but again, who the fuck am I to criticize anyone's vocals I can't sing for shit either and I still do it so forget that crack about re-recording vocals).

Bulkhead - "Psychic" 7"

Bulkhead – “Psychic” 7”
Rockville, 1992
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2007
Price: $.25

I love writing up these 7”s I got from the Shotgun Room five years ago. I typically start by googling the band, then the individual members, then the producers and engineers, all in an effort to put together the band’s family tree. Bulkhead’s only seems to be connected to Boston hardcore outfit SSD via drummer Chris Foley. Chris Foley is also the contact person listed on the insert, for some reason. I wonder if his phone number still works? Probably not, but I could always call and find out! More research reveals that Bulkhead released one album—Gas Giants—for Shimmy Disc in 1994. Based on the strength of “Psychic,” I’m gonna have to track the full-length down. It’s precisely the sort of song I hoped to find when I bought an armload of 7”s. Uncut, pharmaceutical grade college rock. It is unpretentious with aspirations probably not extending beyond the greater Boston metro area. It’s jangly like R.E.M. but Bulkhead bring their own energy to the table, and it’s sad that this 7” has gone through THREE different record shelving units in the past five years and gone unheard. The b-side tracks “Saw Ya” and the Roxy Music cover “Virginia Plain” are really good, but “Psychic” is the track I’m gonna save if the house is burning down (assuming I can only save one, and I have to choose between these three songs). The clear vinyl is fun too, and if I were giving this album a score Olympic gymnastics style, I’d probably bump my rating a percentage because I just plain fucking LOVE colored vinyl. ESPECIALLY if it is see-through. This is an artifact from a simpler time, when bands were content to just rock out and make whatever they wanted without having to worry about being extra-innovative or incorporating tape loops or children’s choirs whatever. Just good old-fashioned indie rock with heart and hooks.

Note: Jenny just said “this kinda sounds like the Pixies” and I was like “OF COURSE! THE BOSTON THING!” so there’s that.

I wish I could share "Psychic," but there are like four videos of Bulkhead on Youtube and they're all live and I don't have one of those line-in turntables (and then you get into the issue of using other people's music for your own personal use without their permission etc). But here's a live version of "Virginia Plain." They also have a song called "A Dong Market," the title of which cracks me up.