Saturday, February 28, 2009

On my turntable: The Turtles - Turtle Soup

The Turtles' Turtle Soup (1969) is one of a very few albums for which I've ever purchased digital version. I downloaded it last summer in the midst of my infatuation with the bands' music, and after reading about the album's interesting history. On vinyl, it's not a record that shows up often in the used bins, but today I scored this nearly flawless copy at Hymie's. If you ever come across this record, and you happen to have an interest in great pop music of the late 60's, I strongly recommend that you buy it.

"America"

This is an important film. Rosie O'Donnell did an amazing job (as Producer, Screenwriter, and Actor), and I'll be very surprised if she doesn't get an Emmy nomination.

7:24 pm

Tonight's exciting adventure: grading papers. I'm actually looking forward to it a little bit, because I've got a pretty stellar group of rockstar students this semester.

Hymie's

So I've learned that Hymie's Vintage Records is selling. The two women who took over after Hymie himself passed away have done a spectacular job keeping the store's legacy going. As I understand it, the shop is being sold intact, as a fully stocked record store. I hope the owners-to-be do the place proper justice. Best of luck to Julie & Auralee as they venture on to new things!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On my turntable: Janet Jackson - Discipline

I had initially intended to buy this double LP last year when I first heard "Feedback", but my interest fizzled with the absence of a strong follow-up single. I'm glad I waited, 'cause today I picked up a *brand new* copy from the clearance bin at one of my stores for $6.99.

*big sigh of thrifty satisfaction*

Official Videos:
"Feedback"
"LUV"
"Rock With U"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On my turntable: The Cavedogs: Soul Martini

When I graduated college in 1991 I felt compelled to make a job change. So I left the music retail job I'd been in for about 3 years, and got a new job...at another record store. Probably more symbolic than smart, I suppose, but no regrets. While at the new store I had roughly 40 hours a week to explore lots of new music, including this powerpop powerhouse from The Cavedogs.

Tonight after a grade-A sucky day I came home to find this new friend in the mail, and it made everything a little bit better. Soul Martini (1992) was released at the height of America's love affair with the CD, and to be honest, I'm not sure that it was even released on vinyl in the U.S., as I'm pretty confident this LP is a German import. The first thing I noticed when listening to the LP is that there is a nice echo/delay on the vocals that I never heard before. It's a wonderfully mastered LP, with amazing songs. The album, as a whole, has to be one of the greatest overlooked albums of the 90's.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quote of the week (pt. II): Sean Penn

Accepting the Oscar for Best Actor tonight:
“For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think it’s a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the great shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.”

Quote of the week: Dustin Lance Black

Accepting the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for MILK:
"When I was 13 years old my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life. It gave me the hope that one day I could live my life openly as who I am, and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married. (pause) I want to thank my Mom, who has always loved me for who I am, even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago I think he'd want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are 'less than' by their churches, or by the government, or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value, and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you, and that very soon I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Kelly Groucutt 1945-2009

I just learned that Kelly Groucutt, bass player for Electric Light Orchestra, died yesterday at the age of 63.

(image from Kelly's Official Site)

Video: E.L.O. "Wishing" (1979)

filling in the gaps

This week I won two eBay auctions on LPs that I previously owned on CD only (Wynonna (left) and Soul Martini by the Cavedogs (right)), both of them from 1992. My first experience with these albums was when I worked at a record store, where we regularly received promotional copies of new discs. I doubt that I would have been exposed to this music had I not had access to those promos. I'm excited to experience them both on vinyl for the first time!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nice booty

Today's trip to the motherland wasn't too earth shattering, but I did get some dirt cheap 45s, including a sweet copy of a somewhat rare Zombies single:
"Imagine the Swan" - The Zombies
"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" - Wham!
"Listen To What The Man Said" - Wings
"Letting Go" - Wings
"You're Still New To Me" - Marie Osmond w/Paul Davis

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

11:17 pm

I got stuck thrice in the arm today at the doctor's:
1) Remicade infusion, 2) bloodwork, and
3) Mantoux (tuberculosis test, required for folks on Remicade).

On my turntable: Soy un Caballo - Les Heures de Raison

This is my brother's new favorite album...to hate. You can see the evolution of his severe distaste for this record in the previous post's comments.

I'll tell you why I took a risk on this album:
  • It looked intriguing at the record store when I thought the band's name was SOY, which is a great name for a band.
  • One of the band members is Sean O'Hagan, who is one of big brains behind the High Llamas (a group that I like a lot).
  • The sticker on the sleeve describes the music as "Indie-fied bossa nova...downright charming" and "Delicate wispy melodies vie with choral refrains...smooth as silk, cool as a cucumber and light as a feather".
  • I heard the track "Robin" online and liked it.
The LP is on colored vinyl & comes with a free download of the full album. So far I've only had a couple of listens, but I agree that it is downright charming. The harmonies and melodies are lovely, and the instrumentation is just as interesting as any High Llamas record. The lyrics are sung in French.

Video: Soy un Caballo - "Robin"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

10:04 pm

This is the first time in over a week that
all of the dishes have been washed.
*sigh of satisfaction*

On my turntable: Ramones: Too Tough To Die

All this talk about Music city (see previous post) has me a little sentimental about my old record stores. Too Tough To Die (1984) is one of many records I bought at Northern Lights Music, one of the greatest record stores in Minneapolis history.

Oh yeah - great album too. One of the Ramones' best.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Music City

For a short time in the very late 70's and early 80's there was a trio of record stores on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis that I used to frequent: Harpos' Hot Licks, Musicland, and Music City. Music City was a historic store on the corner of 7th & Hennepin, a block away from the now legendary First Avenue nightclub. I eyed the records there somewhat frequently, although I can only remember a handful of records I actually bought at the store.

Around 1981/82 Music City closed its doors and soon reopened as Northern Lights Music (which was previously housed in the former Hot Licks space). Northern Lights remained open until the 1990's, after which it was renovated/restored as the Pantages Theatre, which stands there today.

Last week at one of my stores I found this vintage Music City outer plastic sleeve (pictured, above right) inside a old, beat up Dino, Desi & Billy LP. Once I got home I did some detective googling I found this amazing photo (below) of the original Music City signage, which for years was covered up by the Northern Lights sign. The photo (my apologies - I don't know who took the pic) was taken during the Pantages renovation in 2002.
(Update: Thanks to Ollie Stench, who kindly informed me that the Music City pic was taken by Ian Rans)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

On my turntable: The Bird and The Bee: Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future

There's an old-school comfort in going to the local record shop, browsing through the new LP's, finding what you were hoping you'd find, and bringing it home. The new double LP from The Bird and The Bee was released this week, and I just finished my first listen. OH BOY I like this record.

A couple of the songs on the new album were released previously on the EPs Please Clap Your Hands (2007) and One Too Many Hearts (2008), and are available now on vinyl for the first time. The LP also features a vinyl-only bonus track, "Leggs". One of the album's many highlights is completely infectious "Love Letter To Japan", which is also the soundtrack to their groovy new video:

"What Would Lincoln Do?"

This article by Evan Wolfson just arrived in my email, as part of this week's Freedom To Marry activities. It's a very interesting piece about Lincoln's support of the gays:
Abraham Lincoln may have been the first American to write about a same-sex couple getting married. His 1829 poem recounting the marriage of Nate and Billy was "perhaps the most explicit literary reference to actual homosexual relations in 19th century America." Lincoln's most important early biographer, William Herndon, initially included the poem in his Life of Lincoln, but as so often with gay subjects, it was subsequently omitted and largely ignored by later scholars.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"I love you Barack"

This is fantastic and creepy and fantastically creepy. And awesome.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Nice Booty

I scored pretty big at the record store today, picking up the following 45's (most in very nice or near mint shape), all for $7:

Pablo Cruise - "Love Will Find A Way"
Styx - "Don't Let it End"
Journey - "Still They Ride"
Journey - "Who's Crying Now"
ELO - "I'm Alive"
General Public - "Tenderness"
The Other Ones - "Holiday"
Wings - "Venus and Mars Rock Show"
John Lennon - "Happy Xmas" (promo)
REO Speedwagon - "Don't Let Him Go"

1:36 pm

Our bunnies nap a lot, and who can blame them. We run a tight ship in this house, and the rabbits are expected to pull their weight. I tell them they can slack off when they start paying the mortgage, but until then they need to earn their keep.

One of the bunnies' household chores is to shred the phone books. As you can see in the pic (above) their method appears to be 1) tear off top page, 2) taste test, 3) discard page, 4) repeat. Two feet away from the task at hand, an exhausted Austin is taking a much deserved break in one of his fave napping spots (right).

What a trooper - I think we'll keep him.

12:26 am

Mike & Ikes

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Don't be a GAYCIST"


4:05 pm

The temperature is in the 30's today in Minneapolis, and it feels like a day at the spa. You know those days when every song in your iPod is killer, where you don't feel compelled to reach for the "next" button? Today has been one of those days. I'm also feeling a considerable sense of peace today, which is an enormous gift. Hence the smile.

Hope y'all have your own reasons for smiling today.

"life is short, have an affair"

So apparently this is for real. It's a networking site for married folks who want to find people to have affairs with.

And committed gay couples who want to get married are a threat to the sanctity of marriage.

What planet are we on?

(props to joe.my.god and GoodAsYou)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

10:55 pm

Happiness is...
...a handful of fresh hay before bedtime.

43 more...

Because I've not much else to say today, and 'cause Jen started it...
1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? I remember being told that I was named after an uncle or a cousin that fought in some war. I should probably ask for some clarification on that one.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Why is this question in practically all of these questionnaire things? I boycott this question.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Sometimes I do, yes.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Tofurky slices. Seriously - they are D-LICIOUS.
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Simon & Austin, our bunnies.
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Absolutely.
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM? Duh.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Got rid of those useless things in the 70's.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Probably not, but I did go cliff jumping once.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? I have a huge soft spot for Quisp, and I buy it whenever it's in stock locally. Otherwise I go for the Special K with red berries.
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Virtually never.
12. (Curiously, there is no number 12.)
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Soy coffee.
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Whether or not they are in my way. Pay attention to where you're walking, people!
16. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? Lately it's that I can be a bit reactionary and hotheaded when it comes to assholes who start sentences with "As a Christian," and follow it up with shit like "I believe that homosexuality is an abomination." I'm trying to learn how to be the grownup with these people.
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My dad.
18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? No shoes, and I'm wearing plaid jammie bottoms.
19. FAVORITE SOUNDS: Kick ass rockin' tunes, Beach Boys harmonies, the sound of the needle landing on a record, the sound of the U of M marching band practicing on campus, birds in the springtime, the sound of coffee brewing.
20. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Jon Stewart.
21. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? I don't know - Crayola keeps changing the names!
24. FAVORITE SMELLS? Coffee, the smell of bunny rabbit (it's such a clean, soft smell), Silly Putty, Freshly baked bread.
25. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My rockstar friend Kristi.
26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Tonsil hockey, pocket pool.
27. HAIR COLOR? Red.
28. EYE COLOR? Blueish.
29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Yup.
30. FAVORITE FOOD? Practically anything vegetarian. And spicy. And salty.
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? I like happy movies with scary endings.
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Malcom X.
33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Orange tee under grey sweater.
34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer.
35. HUGS OR KISSES? Hisses.
36. WHAT BOOK(s) ARE YOU READING NOW? Unequal Democracy by Larry Bartels
37. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Don't use one.
38. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? The usual: Olberman, Maddow, Stewart.
39. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles.
40. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Japan.
41. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Depends on who you ask and how you define "special".
42. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Minneapolis.
43. HOW DID YOU MEET YOUR SPOUSE/SIGNIFICANT OTHER? Internet.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Quote of the week: Deborah Stone

“If there is any hope for a democratic politics, it starts with rearing citizens who care for others besides themselves and who trust government to treat all its citizens with equal respect.”

Sunday, February 01, 2009

"I remember my first beer"

I don't drink very often, maybe two or three times a year. Last night one of my oldest & best friends had a birthday party, and I had one measly beer. Today I'm feeling a little hungover. WTF?