Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Top 10 of the last 5

There have been many great new records in the past five years. Here are my personal top ten fave vinyl LPs (not including re-issues) released since 2003:

1. Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE (2004)
2. The Beatles - LOVE (2007)
3. Burt Bacharach - At This Time (2005)
4. The Vines - Vision Valley (2006)
5. Elvis Costello - North (2003)
6. The Bird and the Bee (2007)
7. Crowded House - Time on Earth (2007)
8. Duran Duran - Astronaut (2004)
9. Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah (2006)
10. Big Star - In Space (2005)


...other noteworthy LPs that didn't make the cut:
Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005)
Brendan Benson - The Alternative to Love (2004)
The Polyphonic Spree - Together We're Heavy (2004)
Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country (2006)
Neil Diamond - 12 Songs (2005)
Elton John - Captain & the Kid (2006)
Dressy Bessy - Electrified (2004)
The Muffs - Really Really Happy (2004)
Sean Lennon - Friendly Fire (2006)

Monday, October 29, 2007

On my turntable: Kula Shaker - "Second Sight" 7"

I don't typically blog about singles that are on my turntable, mostly because it's just one song and that doesn't give me much time to type! So it takes a pretty outstanding single to make me want to mention it here.

I love this 45. It's got everything going for it: a psychedelic power-pop track, a fantastic fuzzy guitar solo, and groovy retro Airplane-esque cover art. If the rest of Kula Shaker's new album is as good as this first single I reckon it's worth buying. Has anyone out there in blogland heard it?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Business card of the week: Riverview Theater

The Riverview is the coolest movie theater in the Twin Cities, at least since the Apache Theatre was demolished. Leo and I usually wait for movies to make it to the Rivierview, since movies are just $3 and they have the best popcorn, hands down. So tonight we went to see Hairspray, got two big buckets of corn and a large soda all for 16 smackers. Can't beat that.

Friday, October 26, 2007

On my turntable: The Beatles - Anthology One

Anthology One (1995) came out at the start of my renewed interest in vinyl, when I was living in Mankato. Anthology's fantastic packaging with its three-panelled foldout cover and pristine sounding LPs got me thinking about how great records were compared to the disposable feel of CDs. Over the next few years I converted back almost exclusively to vinyl, and today I barely ever buy CDs (which you know if you read this blog regularly).

Beatles vinyl releases since Live at the BBC (1994) have all been fantastic deluxe LPs. The most essential is probably 1 (2000), but my favorite is likely this year's LOVE LP. I also particularly love the remixed Yellow Submarine Songtrack (1999), which sounds great on LP.

On my turntable: ELO - Time

This is one a big autumn LP for me. Time (1981) was ELO's creative peak. It's a bit cold and electronic for an ELO record, which adds to the album's spooky time travel concept. My only minor complaint about this record is the last track on side 1, "Another Heart Breaks". It's a pretty useless song. In my opinion they should have omitted this track and included "When Time Stood Still" (the b-side of "Hold On Tight") in its place.

Time videos:
"Hold On Tight"
"Twilight"
"Here Is The News"
"Ticket To the Moon"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

On my turntable: Andrew Ridgeley - Son of Albert

Andrew Ridgeley is better known to millions as "That Other Guy In Wham!". Son of Albert (1990) was his one and only solo album, and perhaps rightly so. It's not a great record, although it's definitely not as bad as I remembered it to be.
In 1990 I was working for a small local record chain that way overstocked the CD and cassette of this album. I suppose people were curious what Andrew would come up with, but not curious enough to buy the CD.

There is rumor on the internet speculating that Andrew and George Michael are planning a series of reunion shows next year. Personally I think it would be cool if they did a 25th anniversary tour. Who's with me?

Speaking of Wham!, check out these great Japanese commercials the duo made for Maxell tapes:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gormel Scary Kitchen Scorned Beef Hash

15 oz. of dead tormented flesh.
No thanks, I'm vegetarian.

Roseanne and Phyllis Diller

From Roseanne's blog, here's a video of her having lunch with Phyllis Diller. It's pretty cute.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wacky Halloween!

As a countdown to Halloween 2007 I'll be digging up some super scaaary Halloween-themed Wacky Packages. Fancy and spoooooky!!

New Duran Duran

Duran Duran are one of those old school bands whose new releases I still get excited about. 2004's Astronaut was a great return to form, partly because of the return of Roger Taylor's drumming (in my opinion). And of course John Taylor is one of the greatest rock/funk bass players of all time. It's true. So their new album Red Carpet Massacre is slated for a November 13 release on Epic. I'm hoping that there will be a vinyl release as there was for Astronaut. The first single, "Falling Down" is available on iTunes now, and you can watch the video here.

On my turntable: Salt-N-Pepa - Black's Magic

I just finished watching the premiere episode of The Salt-N-Pepa Show, and it was very entertaining. I'll be watching this show.

Black's Magic (1990) sounds a little dated as I listen to it now, but it's still a great record. It reminds me of a time when new young hip-hop artists were talking about positive things, social issues, and creating change. Where are the female hip-hop artists these days? In the early 90's we had Latifah, Monie Love, Salt-N-Pepa, Ya Kid K, Neneh Cherry, TLC, etc.. It just seems there's no positive messages out there right now . Of course it could just be that I'm not really paying attention.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

On my turntable: Joni Mitchell - The Hissing of Summer Lawns

Picture it: Mankato MN, spring of 1996. Like many graduate students I was scrambling to finish the final draft of my big thesis paper. The previous year had concluded with months of dreadfully active crohns disease, and 1996 started out a little crazy from steroids, but at least my crohns was under control. I felt like my life had been handed back to me just in time to finish grad school. I was journaling a lot, exploring my spirituality, and spending quality time with the city of Mankato, as I knew I'd be leaving soon.

I bought a lot of new records that spring, including two Joni albums: Blue (1971), and The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975). To this day these are the only Joni albums that I'm really interested in. One thing that I love about these two records is that they are very different from each other. Blue is moody, folksy, and well, blue. Summer Lawns is jazzy, perky and eccentric. Both albums evoke vivid memories of foggy and misty Mankato mornings when I was too hopped up on prednisone to sleep, so I'd be up listening to records or hanging out downtown at the Wagon Wheel restaurant. It was a very intense, healing, and special time with an equally awesome soundtrack.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Business card of the week: Let It Be Records

I miss Let It Be a lot. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Let It Be was the last remaining downtown record store, until it closed 2 years ago. Oh wait - there was the ridiculous Sam Goody store in City Center, but that's gone now too (no big loss). Of the indie stores that we've lost in the past 2 or 3 years (Let It Be, Know Name, Aardvark, Root Cellar), Let It Be probably stung the most. We've still got some superstar stores in Minneapolis though: Treehouse, Roadrunner, Uptown Cheapos, and Electric Fetus to name a few. Be sure to give them your business when you can, 'cause we need them. Even if you have to pay an extra buck for an album at an indie, consider it an investment in your local culture. Without our business the indies die, and when the indies die we lose a bit of our music history, which is sad, don't you think?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

four

A little something I took from someone else's blog, with my own answers obviously. Yes, it's a bit self involved, but that's what blogs are, right? Feel free to post your own "4"s (Jan this means you).

4 jobs I've held:
1.financial aid adviser
2.record store clerk
3.musician
4.college instructor(current job)

4 Films I Could Watch Again and Again:
1.16 Candles
2.Head (The Monkees)
3.Austin Powers
4.Not Another Teen Movie

4 TV Shows I Watch:
1.30 Rock
2.The View
3.Top Chef
4.A Different World

4 Places I've Lived:
1.Mankato, MN
2.Duluth, MN
3.St. Paul, MN
4.Minneapolis, MN(currently)

4 Favorite Foods:
1.Chipotle veggie burrito
2.Fresh bread
3.(tie) Vietnamese/Thai
4.Brueggers salt bagle w/hummus

4 Websites I Visit Everyday:
1.cute overload
2.CNN
3.Rolling Stone
4.eBay

4 Bands I love:
1.Beatles
2.Beach Boys
3.Monkees
4.Redd Kross

Soup day

Friday, October 12, 2007

On my turntable: Bee Gees - 1st

In the fall of 1986 I was driving home from somewheres, listening to the local AM oldies station, when this amazing song that I'd never heard comes on. It was so moody and beautiful, tailored to the weather of that autumn day. The song was "Holiday" by the Bee Gees. Soon after hearing the song I bought a somewhat battered used copy of their first album (1967), which included "Holiday", as well as the original version of "In My Own Time", which was covered by one of my favorite bands, The Three O'Clock (my own band also included the song regularly in our gigs). As a kid who grew up with the disco era, I had little knowledge of the late 60's/early 70's Bee Gees. So many riches to discover. A lot of people don't realize that the Bee Gees weren't just singers/songwriters/arrangers. On this first album, and continuing on for several years, they were a self-contained band with Maurice on bass/piano, Barry on guitar, and two non-Gibbs: Colin Petersen on drums and Vince Melouney on lead guitar.

The handsome copy of 1st that you see here is 1/3 of the perfectly awesome Studio Albums box set released earlier this year. The sound is amazing, expecially compared to that old beat up copy I used to listen to. I highly recommend.

1st videos:
"Holiday"
"New York Mining Disaster 1941"
"To Love Somebody"
"Close Another Door"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

20 years of Coming Out Day

Nice new video from HRC:

In our kitchen: Warhol

This is one of my favorites.
I hung it tonight in this lovely thrift store frame.

In our kitchen: Super groovy lamp

It's a psychedelic freak-out, man.
Our kitchen is full of this sort of colorful stuff.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's the little things

I've been having a rough week, academically. For the past three days I been feeling beat down, defeated, and a little depressed. I know it's temporary and that things will get better, but living in the moment sucks. Tonight after taking a 3 hour nap I laid on the floor next to our bunny Simon and he started licking my face. licklicklicklicklick. That's all it took. I needed a reminder not to take everything so seriously. It's OK. All I need in this moment are bunny kisses.

So, this one's for Simon. I give you the inimitable Sonny and Cher singing "It's The Little Things", a delightful romp from their colorful 1960's feature film, Good Times.

Tears on my face

This is one of the most glorious things I've seen all week. Can't type anymore - must watch this video again.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

BREAKING NEWS! Shoppers not ready for Xmas!!

That's the exact headline as I read it at CNN.com. Disgusted with my self over what I was about to do, I threw good judgement to the wind and clicked on the link. I knew I was just asking for trouble, but I couldn't resist.

So according to CNN, "Consumers are in no rush to buy holiday gifts." Well, of course they're not BECAUSE IT'S ONLY OCTOBER 9TH. Fer cryin' out loud. How is this news?? And since when has this even been an issue? I always thought that people who bought Christmas presents in October were the exception to the rule. Are we supposed to feel shame because we're not ready to rush out and buy our Cabbage Patch or Betsy Wetsy Elmo dolls yet? Hurry! We're running out of precious time!! Only two and a half months left 'till Christmas!!!

Sorry Wal-Mart. Just because you decide it's the holiday season doesn't make it so. You're not the boss of me.

Business card of the week: Camdi Restaurant

This is a new blog feature I'm testing out. Here's the deal -- whenever I eat at a great restaurant or visit what I consider to be a great record store or some other kind of establishment, I pick up a business card and tell myself "I'll have to mention this on my blog." Yeah, well I'm running out of space in my wallet due to all these business cards. I may lose interest and abandon this feature, much like I did "My Fave B-sides" and "8-track Corner", but what the heck. It keeps me off the street drugs.

Camdi's has been serving up the Vietnamese goodness in Dinkytown for decades, although I ate there for the first time just this year. It's really good Vietnamese food, plus they have a complete Vegan menu that's pretty impressive. It's also reasonably priced for the student budget.

On my turntable: John Lennon - Legend

If you were to own just one Lennon CD I'd recommend Working Class Hero: The Definitive Lennon (2005), but Lennon Legend (1998) is probably the best Lennon collection available on vinyl format. It features 20 tracks (mostly singles) on 2 LPs. The sound is pretty fantastic, too.

If my math is correct, John Lennon would have been 67 today (seeing as it's his birthday). I think that makes all of us officially old. Everybody. Old. But I'm okay with old. It's tough for me to believe that I've already lived longer than John Lennon did, and that he's been dead for over half of my life.

In happier news, John and Yoko's son Sean (pictured at right with his momma) turns 32 today.

So Happy Birthday, Sean!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

On my turntable: KISS - Symphony: Alive IV

Released in 2003, Symphony: Alive IV was the last KISS album to include drummer Peter Criss. Peter's replacement Eric Singer is a better drummer in my opinion, but there's something about having the catman on drums that makes it more legit. Alive IV is a good album, and a very good vinyl package with special labels and photos adorning each inner sleeve. Only 10,000 were pressed, but I still see it in most of the record stores.

Prior to the release of this album there was a completely different Alive IV slated for release, recorded during the band's, erm, "Farewell Tour" with Ace & Peter (original cover art pictured, right). Apparently the band (read: Gene and Paul) were not pleased with the sometimes sloppy playing on the recordings so it was scrapped.

Friday, October 05, 2007

On my turntable: David Cassidy - Dreams Are Nuthin More Than Wishes...

As a general rule I try not to blog about the same record twice, but I'm making an exception this time since technically it's not the exact same record. Earlier today I found this super fancy sealed copy (pictured) at Hymies, a great local shop for vintage vinyl. Dreams...(1973) is one of the harder to find David Cassidy albums, particularly a sealed copy. It's pretty sweet listening to a pristine copy of this album. Proof yet once again that we need to support our local record stores!

You can read my history with this record at my previous entry from February '06.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

On my turntable: Circle Jerks - Oddities, Abnormalities & Curiosities

I bought this album at the now defunct Ernie November store in Mankato, MN in the summer of 1995. I picked up lots and lots of cheap records that summer after buying a $99 turntable one night at Radio Shack. Thus began the rebirth of my interest in LPs.

Oddities, Abnormalities & Curiosities
(1995) grabbed my interest with the video for "I Wanna Destroy You", which features harmony vocals by the immortal Debbie Gibson. For a punk band, the Circle Jerks created a pretty poppy album with Oddities. Highly enjoyable.

Here's the video for "I Wanna Destroy You". Pay special attention to Ms. Gibson's awesomely cute pop stylings toward the end of the song:

"Dancing With the Starved"

Cute and funny little video starring the lovely and talented Marie Osmond.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

And I'm done.

1) Done with my first official stats exam.

2) Done blogging about stats for a while (in response to a request from a couple of friendly readers who bluntly stated "we get it - you're a stats genius, blah-de-blah blah."). :)

Now I sleeps.

11:09 pm