Prices Do Not Include Federal, State or Local Taxes

Ceiling PricesBack, wayyyyyyyyyy back in the day when records were housed in nothing more than paper sleeves (the high cost of colored board be damned!), companies, such as the 1929 founded Decca Records here, saw a blank paper sheath as an advertising opportunity to sell more of their product. Makes sense, right? I mean, why not utilize every square millimeter of space to keep the bellies full? No, it wasn’t the act of garnishing repeated consumers that struck me as aloof, but instead the terms in which Decca described their catalog.

Absent, and apparently a lavish afterthought, were the artist names for each of the 20 different recorded sound categories. Instead, the customer was given a series of genres (complete with color-coded label), with which to make their money-offering decision. Have a look at the wealth of universal genres offered by Decca Records, and tell me you aren’t breaking windows and stealing cars out of sheer excitement for Series 8500.

About Time for Smoke

About TimeOwning a hard copy of an album more than twice is usually an indication of some pretty stellar grooves, but my (excuse) rationale behind owning three copies of Pennywise’s 1995 effort, About Time, is purely for nostalgic purposes. Dubbed to tape more than a few times, About Time was one of the 8 or so cassettes sliding around the pickup (a 1989 Ford Ranger) for much of my Junior year of high school. I distinctly remember driving to and from work, and to the occasional bonfire, blasting Perfect People while hollering along to the lyrics (usually at full roar, and much to the dismay of my frequent, punk-deaf passengers).

Southern California pop-punk at its finest, About Time recently (as of a few months ago, I believe) saw a limited run (500 copies) on smoke colored vinyl. Seeing frisky releases such as this that incorporate the album cover into the vinyl color get me excited for upcoming reissues that will undoubtedly acquire my money (the smoke colored record ties in nicely to the timebomb on the cover, don’t you think?). For nostalgia’s sake, owning an album more than twice makes perfect sense to me.

A Split in the Swivel, A Warp in the Whirl

Pay no attention to the crack at 11 o'clock.

Pay no attention to the crack at 11 o’clock.

Cracked grooves break my heart… especially Oscar nominated cuts from the 1940s. The 1940 film, Second Chorus, featured both this shellac track, Love of My Life, as well as a clarinet-yielding Artie Shaw, masterfully (I assume) portraying himself up on the big, flickering dream-screen. Never saw it, but with a score and on-screen performance provided by Mr. Shaw himself, this little entertainment blip just spun onto my radar.

Chalk this oversight up to adrenaline, heat, or simple fatigue, all of which were raging through my withered carcass at the initial moment of this record’s discovery. Unplayable, but never-the-less pretty to look at, I’m thumbing my creative button to figure out what the hell to do with this glaring example of deplorable sadness. She’ll rest, having had her last 78rpm go around until I can figure out a decent and respectable way to upcycle her.

Dead records are never easy to stomach.

It’s Raining 78s!

Tandy MacKenzieA heavy haul of 78s was had at a local thrift store over the weekend. Nabbed a few Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and this single sided early Columbia Records release. More than anything, I slapped down the $3 for this stunning label graphic than the actual track it accompanied. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of Tandy MacKenzie, and due to the fact that I had to enter this release into discogs.com, not many modern collectors have heard much from him either. I was excited by the gold foiled 1915 printed in the band, but further internet digging dates this release closer to 1920. Either way, $3 for thrift store 78s, or thrift store 78s in playable condition at all, is worth a little PG excitement as this may very well be the oldest disc in my collection.

With Time, Comes Maintenance

MotorSo, the hi-fi is on the fritz. Well, that’s nothing a trip to the local hardware store, and the local pharmacy can’t fix (or so I’m hoping). How something is programmed to revolve at precisely 33.33 rpms is beside me in the first place, but one thing (has been) is painfully clear… the living room turntable needs fixing.

Today’s laborious result = still needs a bit of work, but at least this 1966 motor is as crystal as Palmolive dish soap.

Kill All the White Man

LongestLineNOFX, the pop-punk outfit you love to hate, or love to love (as was the case throughout the sprouting years of my 20s), has been pushing their nimble-tongued, middle class anarchy since 1983, and it’s sometimes easy to forget that one of their paramount members, the illustrious Aaron Abeyta, didn’t appear, gloriously manifested as El Hefe, until 1992 with the EP (featured here), The Longest Line.

WhiteLineProviding guitar, vocals and yes, trumpet on the fan-favorite Kill all the White Man, El Hefe was the last “new” member to join the crew, a brigade that’s still selling out shows some 31 years later. If you can stomach rock-n-roll with a bratty attitude (brattatude?), punk of any sort, or are generally game for tongue-in-cheek wit, then NOFX may be just the bastards you didn’t know you were looking for.

Thinking is Overrated

Broken“If I can keep myself from thinking for the rest of my life, maybe I’ll survive this fall.” – Jeffrey Lewis

Jeffrey Lewis, the famed comic book artist and occasional singer / songwriter delivers an exceptionally agonizing diddy filled with a deceivingly optimistic tone, catchy refrain, and the sliver-sharp wit that requires, no, DEMANDS repeated listens. Titled Broken Broken Broken Heart, Jeffrey Lewis and his backing band, The Junkyard, spawn a candy-coated razorblade of nervous sensitivity, discretely masked inside an anti-folk pop song, and it’s nothing short of blissful ear bourbon.

JLewisWe aren’t meant to sympathize with Mr. Lewis, or whatever character he is when speaking in the first person. His over-analytical observations of (failed) relationship-causing pain are muted and all but ignored after evidence is revealed as to the cause of his (much deserved) heartache: being cruel and curious.

I’m stuck in a Jeffrey Lewis rutt as of late, and it seems as though a few times a day I need to squeeze in a quick listen, usually to the three or four key tracks off this album (2009’s ‘Em Are I). Jeffrey’s is a story of success by self-deprecation. Mix that with hooky guitars and soul-baring honesty, and you’ve got the ingredients for an emotional cocktail you’re not soon to forget.

Clearly Spun

ClearI don’t have much to offer tonight except for this half-assedly composed (that’s the industry term) action photo of my all-time favorite flavor-shade (read: color) of polyvinyl chloride. One would think that the absence of normality (in this case, white), would tickly my ear’s fancy, but I rather find myself a gullible sucker for the opacity of clear records. My exhaustion has taken its toll, and the Groove is taking the blow.

Teamwork Tuesday

ZepIIStuck at work and running on minimal sleep, I opted for a few extra moments of shut-eye and neglected to photograph an album for today’s post. Teamwork being tonight’s theme, I enlisted the help of my SO to pick any record in the collection, take a picture of it, and send it my way. Having free reign of nearly 3000 records, she (my SO) sent over the picture to the left, and with it, a little story. Much to the dismay of my loving and beautiful SO, I’ll share that story with you now…

(Sent via text) “This was the first Zeppelin album (read: cassette tape) I listened to. I think it was 7th grade. Some of the boys had a “band” and were going to play Stairway to Heaven at a gathering of some sort and they asked me to sing. I realize that’s not on this album, but it’s a little trivia for you :). I ended up not singing :(.”

(Then, asking her why she didn’t sing, I thanked her for writing today’s post. She added) “It’s not even on the record! I don’t remember why. I didn’t have a lot of rehearsal time with them and we didn’t plan it out well… being 12 and all. I think they ended up playing Kashmir instead? Or else they tried Stairway but the guitar solo was less than fabulous? I forget. It’s been, like, 20-some years! Uhggggg I can’t believe it’s been that long.”

And this has concluded, the first ever… Teamwork Tuesday.

From London With Love

London InsertLondon Recordings, with all her lofty divisions, offered a red, white and blue window into the mid-60s English Assault, and was home to some pretty significant acts producing some pretty extraordinary cuts. Their mainstay, and supplier of the label’s flowing honey, were, as you’ve probably guessed, the Rolling Stones, but what I didn’t recognize until earlier today was how many other British Invasion favorites, or in this case Teen Beat favorites, also strolled under the London Recordings umbrella. Unit 4+2, the Moody Blues, the Zombies, and Them all saw early offerings on London, or one of her sisters, and in such a short amount of time, helped propel this label into the upper, heavily coveted realms of rock n’ roll history.

From Youtube to iPod in 10 Easy Steps

Photo 1

Photo 1

Let me hip you all to a nifty little trick. Rocket science and intergalactic space travel this is not, but in a pinch, it could serve beneficial. If you’re like me, you’re a whore for digital media as well as good ol’ fashioned analog. On the bus, in the car, to clear the mind on a long walk; it’s comforting, to the point of necessity, knowing that at least 160 GB of music is available at literally any point of any day. This leads us to that nifty little trick previously mentioned.

Photo 2

Photo 2

Say you’re at work on a Sunday, and while eating lunch at your desk, you start to rummage around Wikipedia for info on Daft Punk singles. Now say, you head on over to Discogs and a particular singe, let’s say Indo Silver Club (Part One) catches your eye (mainly because you’ve never heard of it, and the words “Daft” and “Punk” don’t appear anywhere on the record, credits, sleeve or otherwise). Discogs offers a handy little videos section which plays fan-uploaded YouTube clips. More time than not, you can find a video for every song, including some of the more rare releases. What I’m jivin’ at is this… without any additional software, purchased, borrowed, etc., you can turn these free videos into mp3 files, and bump them to the portable digital listening device of your choosing.

So, I’m going to hammer through this because I’ve got to continue making dinner before the SO gets home, so pay attention!

Step 1: Go to YouTube and find the video of the song you’d like. I’m using Indo Silver Club (Part One) and Indo Silver Club (Part Two) as my examples.

Step 2: Copy the URL.

Step 3: Go to http://en.savefrom.net.

Step 4: Paste the YouTube URL into the input field and hit the big yellow DOWNLOAD button. (Photo 2

Step 5: Click one of the provided download links on the right. I grab the highest quality mp4, just in case I want to keep the video as well. (Photo 2)

Step 6: Go to http://www.freefileconvert.com.

Screen shot 2014-04-27 at 8.22.04 PM

Step 7: Click the BROWSE button and locate the file you just saved from saveform.net (from step 5). I save everything to my desktop so I know where it is, then blow off any unnecessary files when finished.

Step 8: Select mp3 from the Output Format, then click the CONVERT button. You’ll see a little progress bar indicating, well, the progress of the conversion.

Step 9: Once the conversion is completed, click the download button (the blue globe with a green down arrow), and save your new mp3.

Screen shot 2014-04-27 at 8.31.25 PM

Step 10: Open iTunes (or whatever music listening software you prefer) and add your new mp3.

Donesville. Once in iTunes, you can change the metadata and bump the track to your device. You’re welcome.

Death by Trolley

PJ'sBand name: Death by Trolley aka DBT. Does it exist? No, but it should. Do any of you remember the Twilight Zone episode, Judgment Night? For those that don’t, it’s a microscope peak into the looping, déjà vu hell of a German U-boat captain forever reliving the victim’s side of his own, malicious, and blood spilling attacks. For me, a death by trolley, accompanied by Eddie Cano’s version of The Trolley Song, is my own personal night of judgment.

The hit and run victim to this proposed, personal death loop, I picture myself merrily strolling along with a carefree heart, and a suspicious smile. All this is abruptly interrupted at around the 30 second mark when, WHAM! out of nowhere I’m violently struck by the Death Trolley. Able to force out a few, labored breaths, I accept my fate, and proceed to give in to the sweet, calming void of death… only for the entire trip to loop and begin its eternal cycle, that which has no end.

Eddie Cano plays my end song, a duet with the booming, forceful abruptness of the Death Trolley.

The Trolley Song

 

3x MC + 1x DJ

Front16hr work days call for lazy posts… and right now the lot of you are thinking, “Man, this guy must work 16hr days ALL THE TIME!” To that I say, “Well aren’t you just a little slice of something.” By now the majority of you know my adolescent obsession with the Beastie Boys, and if you don’t know this little tidbit of useless information, I have an adolescent obsession with the Beastie Boys.

BAck1998 was a bittersweet year for the B-Boy fan, a year that brought with it borderline anxiety-ridden anticipation, and (the almost inevitable) heartbreaking disappointment. We received a Grammy for Best Alternative Performance with Hello Nasty, if you’re into such materialistic badges of mundane stature, but with it we had to suffer through, well, Hello Nasty. My echoing opposition of this album has dwindled as I’ve aged, but my early disliking to it certainly didn’t prevented me from owning it (a necessary) three times (1x CD, 1x yellow vinyl, 1x black), in addition to all the singles that accompanied it (Intergalactic, Body Movin’, The Negotiation Limerick File, and Remote Control / Three MC’s and One DJ). Don’t ask “why” of people who obsess. You certainly do not want to see how the sausage is made. Moving along, Three MC’s and One DJ showcased the awe-inspiring talents of the band’s newly acquired DJ, Mix Master Mike. I dug / dig the new DJ (you can’t knock his skills), but I’ve always preferred the traditional cuts of DJ Hurricane, the band’s mainstay DJ since their Licensed to Ill days.

Anyway, this video is 3 parts goofy, 1 part technically fascinating, and all parts good time. When we’re tired, and lazy, the Beastie Boys always seem like the logical excuse. Enjoy!

 

Capitol’s “Songs Without Words” Contest

Songs Without WordsEither Capitol Records was exceptionally hard up for decent songwriters in 1961, or their “Songs Without Words” contest was one of the most dream-fulfilling opportunities ever to hit the record-hoarding public. American Idol for songwriters, and some 41 years prior, Capitol’s “Songs Without Words” contest was an unprecedented marketing ploy that boasted a $500 advance against royalties for publication rights to the Better Homes & Gardens reading, fuel pump-changing, plastic hat-wearing, Leave it to Beaver-style, June and Ward Cleaver-minded entrepreneur with aspirations for stardom, and a little free time on their hands.

The skinny, in a sleeve-shaped nutshell is this… all the enthusiastic, future Paul Simon had to do was acquire the “Songs Without Words” contest album (Capitol Records T-1601 and ST-1601, mono and stereo respectively), listen to the ten, instrumental tracks of varying genres (6x popular, 2x Country & Western, and 2x Rock ‘n’ Roll), isolate the one, don’t mess this up or your future is doomed track that spoke to the lyric-writing demon inside of them, and print or type their lyrics in the space provided on the entry blank located on the back of this sleeve (sleeve desecration was required, and scissors were necessary for cutting along the printed, dotted lines).

BackEntries were, quite stylishly, judged against three separate categories, each based on a 33 1/3 point system (all totaling 99.9 possible points… I see what you did there, 1961 Capitol Records. Kudos to you!) based on the following:

– Appropriateness and suitability (the manner in which the structure and content of the lyrics fits the melody)

– Composition, distinctive style and poetic flair

– Commercial appeal (suitability for presentation to today’s listening audiences)

Apparently nobody (on the internet) knows who any of the 10 winners with executive-pleasing lyrics were, but little forgotten moments in record publishing history like this are certainly entertaining to discover on an otherwise, calamitous Thursday morning.

Around the World at 33 1/3 Revolutions per Minute

Guad BrassApart from the overpriced exclusives, Record Store Day (aka this past Saturday) affords the lucrative opportunity for local brick and mortars to unload their less popular inventory at ridiculous prices. Take for example, this copy of Around the World by Guadalajara Brass. Already a steal at $0.92, she was welcomed into the (family) collection for a cool $0.31, along with a slew of other lesser known, bottom of the crate gems.

BackSpace age instrumental pop launched from the capital of the Free and Sovereign State of Jalisco, Guadalajara Brass offers that unimposing and subtly cheerful sensation, much like you’d find after the bottom of your second rye Manhattan. Tackling internationally fashionable music from Italy to Israel, and from Africa to Japan, Guadalajara Brass proposes a quiet, soothing soundtrack perfect for your next bachelor pad-themed casual dinner party. I’m a sucker for hip-shaking, foot-tapping, international grooves of the instrumental nature. Around the World comes highly recommended.

That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It

Stick It!Q: What’s more annoying than seeing a yippy dog saunter down the sidewalk wearing a bandana? A: Peeling off price stickers on album covers.

Good morning, and happy Tuesday. There are but a handful of things more mind-numbingly tedious than putting your fingernails to the test while attempting to maintain the integrity of a prized album cover in beautiful condition. This annoying practice of removing a temporary sticker, something that, by itself is not too attention demanding, is baked in the oven of frustration when a lucky day on the hunt is had (you really start to second guess that 3rd Jim Nabors record when it comes time to remove that stubborn sticker). I’ve stayed away from certain record stores due to their price sticker practices, and I’ve outright complained at more than a few thrift stores that insisted on writing their prices on album covers in ink. Although an acceptable tax for the fervent record collector, this tradition of adhesive pricing is something that need not stick around.

First You Love Me, Then You Get on Down the Line

FleetwoodMonday mornings are about as celebratory as striking a 10d x 3in nail through your foot, but that didn’t stop the newly formed supergroup (circa: 1975), Fleetwood Mac, from churning out a righteous soundtrack that pairs perfectly with a stiff cup of joe on this, the beginnings of another working week.

Written by Lindsey Buckingham, Monday Morning launches the 1975 self-titled album (the band’s second… self-titled that is), and features, for the first time, the inclusion of the now defunct, but once romantic pair, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

Monday MorningMonday morning you look so fine… so long as Mick Fleetwood and crew are pumping groove-juiced energy through the speakers, Monday mornings look a’okay.

Remembering the Classics

BeethovenDon’t forget to appreciate the classics… set aside the hip-hoppery of N.E.R.D., Dre, the Fat Boys, and Lords of the Underground… extinguish the fiery rags of Rocket from the Crypt, Todd Terge, and MOTOR… cast away the modern indecency of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Richard Pryor, and Lard… and carve out some well deserved time to remember the classics. For me, it gets no better than Beethoven… or Brahms… or Wagner… or Stravinsky… or Prokofiev… or ONYX… or Bartók. Remember the classics, and allow all other seeping improprieties to pass you by, if only for the length of four, alleviating movements.