Tuesday, September 29, 2009

catch of the day

I remember first gazing upon this rare, shaped picture disc of "Valotte"/"Leave Me Be" by Julian Lennon (1984) at a record store called Last Place on Earth in Duluth, MN. (The store has since relocated across the street from its original location, becoming much less of a record store and much more of a dingy head shop/sex toy emporium.) I'm not sure why I passed on the record back when I first saw it - perhaps it was too pricey as an import - but whatever the reason it worked out well because I found this copy today for a very wallet-friendly $2.99.
(photo borrowed from rob's webshots)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Framed!

"It was a set up!! I'm innocent, I tells ya! IN-NO-CENT!! Why, this is an outrage! I demand to speak with my lawyer NOW!"

Austin's way of telling us it's treat time.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

9:25 PM

Leo and I got this super 70's-era light fixture recently at the thrifty store for just a couple of bucks. It reminds me of Shakey's Pizza.

Friday, September 25, 2009

7:59 PM

I tend to wait to purchase reissue LPs until one of my stores has a sale. Today I took advantage of a 15% off special by finally snatching up the Capitol Vaults reissue of The Beach Boys' Sunflower (1970), which could not be a more perfect LP.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

2009: Best of Qtr III

Titles in BOLD are all available on glorious VINYL, the historically superior recorded music format preferred by discriminating ears.
20. "Let's Go Surfing" - The Drums
19. "I Would Die 4 U" - Mariachi El Bronx
18. "Celebration" - Madonna
17. "@8" - Fdeluxe (The band formerly known as The Family)
16. "Femme Fetale" - Elvis Costello
15. "Back to the 80's" - Aqua
14. "BBQ Party" - Shonen Knife
13. "In One Ear" - Cage The Elephant
12. "Too Many Rappers" - Beastie Boys w/Nas
11. "Go All The Way" - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
10. "Miss Tomorrow" - Cheap Trick
9. "21 Guns" - Green Day
8. "We Are Golden" - Mika
7. "You Never Know" - Wilco
6. "The Sun Is Down" - Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band
5. "Don't Wanna Talk" - Brendan Benson
4. "Dandelion Seeds" - Lemonheads
3. "What You're Working With" - Sextus
2. "Get Rid Of That Girl" - The Donnas
1. "(If you're wondering if I want you to) I Want You To" - Weezer

I was telling my brother yesterday what a great summer we've had for music. I love this list of tracks, and the fact that almost 3/4 of them are available on vinyl. Several years after returning to my obsession for the wax, it remains such a thrill for me to see the vinyl's healthy rivival.

So to celebrate how awesome I think this batch of 20 songs is, I would like to try something new by sending a CD copy to the first three folks to leave a comment to this post.

Ready
? GO!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On my turntable: Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band - Between My Head and the Sky

From the first notes sung on Between My Head and the Sky (2009) you know that you are listening to the return of the Plastic Ono Band. So far I've only heard record one of this 2LP set, but I can already say without a doubt that this is one of my favorite Ono LPs of all time.

Between My Head and the Sky is an artful blend of primal scream Yoko, the jazz/rock/funk of Approximately Infinite Universe, and Sean Lennon's Friendly Fire. Yoko and Sean (who produced the album together) have pulled out all the stops here, mixing rock, jazz, funk, avant garde & club/dance (of note: Yoko is the oldest artist to reach the top of the Billboard Dance charts -- not just once, but five times to date).

The album's free digital download card is itself a piece of classic Ono art, with the following printed instructions:
After downloading, plant this card to grow wildflowers.

11:03 AM

Today's a sick day. I've got a few of the flu symptoms so I'm being Mr. Safety First. While I was in the shower Leo created a study space for me in the kitchen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

BEATLES '65 & EARLY BEATLES

Beatles '65 (December 15, 1964)
The Early Beatles (March 22, 1965)
If I remember correctly, I purchased both of these LPs after John's passing (although I did obtain '65 on 8-track in the 70's). Beatles '65 has the distinction of containing one of my least fave Beatle tunes, "Mr. Moonlight" (another is "Matchbox". Feh. But that's another album).

My most vivid memory about The Early Beatles is from December 9th, 1980, the day after John was killed. A Twin Cities radio station, KQRS, scrapped their programming that day for a complete Beatles A-Z. At the time, "Ask Me Why" was a song still missing from my collection, so I was probably experiencing it that day from the radio for the first time. The recollection of how gloomy and gray the weather was that morning, and the helplessness I felt over trying to process John's death, is boldly etched in my memory.

6:50 PM (mono edition)

I just got home from the record store with the cleanest looking MONO copy of Meet The Beatles! I've ever seen. I made Leo listen with me as I put the needle on the LP for the first time. He rolled his eyes, and I peed my pants just a little.

Friday, September 11, 2009

SOMETHING NEW & BEATLES' STORY

Something New (July 20, 1964)
The Beatles' Story (November 23, 1964)
I blogged about Something New less than a month ago (see 8/21 entry), so there's not much I would add about the album at this point.
The Beatles' Story, on the other hand, is a very curious record that deserves a few words. I bought the album at Don Leary's record store in St. Anthony, MN, probably in 1979/80. It's not a record that one listens to often, since the bulk of it consists of a narrator dryly telling a watered down history of the band, along with very brief interview clips and snippets of Beatles songs. The best part of the album, in my opinion, is the bits from interviews with frenzied female fans, whose lives (and every cent of babysitting income) had been officially forfeited to their dedication to The Beatles. It provides an interesting glimpse into just how intense "Beatlemania" really was.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

5:11 PM

Varshons (2009), the new LP by the Lemonheads.

BEATLES' 2nd & A HARD DAY'S NIGHT

The Beatles' Second Album (April 10, 1964), in my opinion, always sounded hastily thrown together (as many Capitol LPs were back then). Some of the tracks were in stereo, while others were fake stereo. The MONO version (pictured, left), however, eliminates that problem. I just got this LP a few weeks ago, and already it's improved how I rate this collection.

I bought A Hard Day's Night (Soundtrack) (June 26, 1964) in the late 70's, when the album was still being pressed by United Artists (Capitol acquired the rights to the album in the 80's). I like this LP for a couple of reasons. First, the mixes tend vary from other known versions, especially the lead vocals, which are mostly double-tracked on the Capitol mixes. Here, on songs like "If I Fell" and "And I Love Her" the leads are single-tracked. I also appreciate this album because of the swank instrumental cocktail party versions of Beatle tunes. Of course, the British release of AHDN is a better value for your Beatle dollar (since it contains a full side of new songs not featured in the film), but the American soundtrack is unique for its inclusion of these other groovy tracks that can be heard throughout the movie.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

MEET THE BEATLES!

In honor of today's release of The Beatles' remastered catalog...

Meet The Beatles!
(January 20, 1964) was one of the first Beatles records that I ever owned, given to me on my b-day in 1977. It's every bit as kickass today as it was then.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

7:46 PM

Fresh parsley from our garden,
for the nightly Feasting of the Buns.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

10:51 PM

Rubber Soul

Leo and I made the rounds at our usual book and thrift stores today, and I came home with several Beatles books. I spent some of the night thumbing through them and then listening to some Beatles LPs. It got me to thinking...

Remember those awkward preteen and early teenage years? Although now I'm able to appreciate how the 11-14 age bracket presents challenges for most people, at the time I remember feeling dreadfully isolated in my awkwardness. As a result I spent a lot of my non-school time secluded in the safety of my bedroom, studying my Beatles magazines and records, soaking in as much Beatle data as possible. These days when I hear, see, and touch these records, as cheesy as it may sound, it feels like hanging out with an old friend. That's why, for all their faded covers, split seams, and worn grooves, I could never get rid of my old originals. I may upgrade in order to supplement my collection with cleaner copies, but these old and ragged ones are irreplaceable.

Quote of the week: Steven Blush

The awesome Dust and Grooves blog posted an interview with music journalist Steven Blush this week. I thought this was golden:

D&G: Why vinyl?

SB: Vinyl is music’s organic fruits and vegetables, CDs and MP3s are crappy junk food.

(photo borrowed sans permission from DustAndGrooves.com)

Friday, September 04, 2009

"Four more years! Four more years!!"

It was four years ago this month that I started this modest little mish-mash of a blog. I figured now was as good a time as any for a fancy new header:


As always, my sincerest thanks to all of you who visit this space. I truly value your readership, feedback, and friendship!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

On my turntable (special 'you heard me' edition): Queen - Innuendo

You read it right -- I'm finally listening to Queen's masterpiece Innuendo (1991) on unbelievably handsome-sounding vinyl.

Right now one of the LP's best singles, "I'm Going Slightly Mad" is playing and I'm just shaking my head in near disbelief over how stunning this sounds. Keep in mind that Leo and I have been listening to this album in the car from a CD we burned in '01, compiled from noisy mp3s. Prior to that I had only heard this album in the record store where I worked at the time of this album's original release.

My strongest memory of Innuendo is of being on spring break in Florida in 1991 with my housemates Jim and Dan, driving our rental car and hearing the first American single "Headlong" on the radio. It was one of those moments where all of life's elements sync up at just the right time, causing a memory snapshot. I remember thinking "This is such a good comeback song! Way to go Queen!". Of course I had no way of knowing that Freddie was terminally ill, or that he would be dead by the end of the year. You can tell upon listening to Innuendo that Mercury was truly giving all that he had to give in the studio, undoubtedly knowing that he didn't have much time left.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

vinyl wishlist: Queen - Innuendo

WTF? Since when is Christmas in September? Am I going slightly mad?

Turns out that TWO of the albums on my vinyl wishlist are being reissued within the span of a week: The Stone Roses, as previously mentioned here, and now Queen's 1991 epic (and Freddie's swan song), Innuendo, which just got reissued on vinyl this week.

work

Taken yesterday from my new office on campus.
I heart this place.