Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day Forty-Five: Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Armed Forces

Columbia Records ■ JC 35709

Released January 5, 1979

Produced by Nick Lowe
Engineered by Roger Bechirian

Side One:Side Two:
  1. Accidents Will Happen
  2. Senior Service
  3. Oliver's Army
  4. Big Boys
  5. Green Shirt
  6. Party Girl
  1. Goon Squad
  2. Busy Bodies
  3. Moods for Moderns
  4. Chemistry Class
  5. Two Little Hitlers
  6. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding
While I've managed to cover bands from ItalyCornwallSwedenIrelandAustralia, and, of course various other parts of the UK ("other parts" references back to Cornwall, not Australia), I'm most definitely a U.S. citizen. I have always lived here, and indeed have never left here. As a result, many of my used records reflect the peculiarities of the U.S. market, and the alterations¹ thereof. While Mondo Bongo managed to squeak into my Boomtown Rats poll without warning, I decided, in the future, to notate these issues as they arise, in case anyone is voting on standing preference or favourites. Armed Forces is more distinctly transformed from its original U.K. counterpart, going so far as to be effectively unrecognizable even on sight. The tracklist is altered only slightly, though: "Sunday's Best" is dropped from the middle of the early half of side two in favour of the closing inclusion of "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding," E.C.'s cover of Nick Lowe's song, which was originally released as the B-side to Lowe's "American Squirm", and credited to "Nick Lowe and His Sound", though the cover does manage to hint at the artist's true identity if you look (just a bit) carefully.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Day Forty-Four: Converge - Axe to Fall

 Deathwish Inc. ■ DWI98

Released October 20, 2009

Produced, Engineered, and Mixed by Kurt Ballou
Mastered by Alan Douches

Side One:Side Two:
  1. Dark Horse
  2. Reap What You Sow
  3. Axe to Fall
  4. Effigy
  5. Worms Will Feed/Rats Will Feast
  6. Wishing Well
  7. Damages
  1. Losing Battle
  2. Dead Beat
  3. Cutter
  4. Slave Driver
  5. Cruel Bloom
  6. Wretched World
I've always been wary of the "hardcore" scene, such as it has been described and defined for the last, oh, decade and a half. What once was Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and D.O.A. was now something else entirely--something that was often difficult to relate to the music that first bore the name. Hardcore at this time was also plagued with clichés readily pointed out--the inevitable breakdowns, where the pace slowed and the riffs chugged and boomed to encourage the sense that the bottom had dropped out and all hell had broken loose, which is a difficult thing to do constantly to any real effect. At the same time, I didn't listen to many of those bands in any detail, either. But it meant that when the name Converge was mentioned, I tended to leave them to their fans, stuck a bit in my own metal pseudo-elitism. I would periodically hear of them in a tone of reverence even from those who were more active in their criticism of this new "hardcore", which I filed away in the back of my mind and left be for some time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day Forty-Three: Communist Daughter - Soundtrack to the End

Grain Belt Records ■ GBR013

Released June 7, 2011

Mixed by Brad Kern
Mastered by Greg Reierson at Rare Form Mastering

Side One:Side Two:
  1. Oceans
  2. Soundtrack to the End
  3. Not the Kid
  4. Speed of Sound
  5. Northern Lights
  1. Fortunate Son
  2. Coal Miner
  3. In the Park
  4. Tumbleweed
  5. The Lady Is an Arsonist
  6. Minnesota Girls
Since I moved a few months ago, there has been a serious decline in my concert attendance. Of course, that's the inevitable difference between living twenty minutes from a venue where you can see independent artists to your heart's content, eventually catching a small French band that was told repeatedly that they would have a great time playing there--and a place where an hour's drive would risk reckless driving-level speeding tickets to manage for any kind of established show. As a result, I've been to two shows since moving, one at the suggestion of my father (to see Tom Russell in a tiny bar), and one of my own accord, intended to put my foot down on seeing an artist I'd let slip by a number of times. The latter was Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, touring on the back of a live album that will work its way in here eventually.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day Forty-Two: Coheed and Cambria - Year of the Black Rainbow

Columbia Records ■ 88697 52995 1

Released April 13, 2010

Produced by Atticus Ross and Joe Barresi
Recorded and Mixed by Joe Barresi and Atticus Ross
"Here We Are Juggernaut" Mixed by Alan Moulder

"If Man should decide to dabble in my affairs, then guardians must intervene. But, should I come forth to change the face of Man with you there to challenge me, then I shall return with the stars to destroy all I have made. Whether Man or I present that danger will not be told in the coming."

Side One:Side Two:
  1. One
  2. The Broken
  3. Guns of Summer
  4. Here We Are Juggernaut
  1. Far
  2. This Shattered Symphony
  3. World of Lines
Side Three:Side Four:
  1. Made Out of Nothing (All That I Am)
  2. Pearl of the Stars
  1. In the Flame of Error
  2. When Skeletons Live
  3. The Black Rainbow

I intended, in my previous blog, to cover a lot of things over the course of time. It was ambitious in one sense, and completely directionless in another; I had a slew of ideas, a mess of bands, albums, genres, and thoughts to address, and no order to them, no way to encourage readership as I hoped. I suppose anyone writing publicly in this fashion wants someone to read it, but the idea for me was to try and convey and express the passion I feel for music as a listener first, and my writing was only the means to that end. A large part of the inspiration for that drive is the fact that it's difficult for me to quickly or easily express anything so broad as my taste in music, and because there are so many factors that affect the process of evangelizing almost anything--particularly the preconceptions of intended audiences. I've always made an attempt--however rough, however futilely--to frame my own notions under the overarching guidelines of acclimation to the tastes, thoughts and feelings of others. But that requires both a willing ear and a sense of trust, and it's difficult for the less devoted to concern themselves with a willing ear for something like this, and easy to lose a sense of trust with those who share any musical devotion.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day Forty-One: Codeine - Frigid Stars LP

Numero Group ■ 201.1
(Originally released on Sub Pop)
Released August, 1990
This compilation released June 19, 2012
Produced by Mike McMackin and Codeine

Side One:Side Two:
  1. D
  2. Gravel Bed
  3. Pickup Song
  4. 3 Angels
  5. New Year's
  1. Second Chance
  2. Cave-In
  3. Cigarette Machine
  4. Old Things
  5. Pea
Around the time I moved out of my last home, I realized that I was moving somewhere that record stores were not going to be anything like convenient (and so they aren't--it's at least an hour's drive to find new records). So, with a measure of money in hand (that which I thought I could spare), I decided to "clean house" on my desired purchases at the then-local stores. While I was, in majority, picking up CDs I'd been eyeing for sometime, I also decided that the temptation of the Codeine reissues was just too great. I asked the owner of CD Alley in Chapel Hill (whose band may show up here later, if I continue intermittent reviews of 7"s) if he had a stance, and he said unfortunately he had not personally gone in the direction of Codeine, and had never heard one singled out. I've worked enough retail that, considering they were five or ten minutes from closing, I decided to just grit my teeth and grab one. Frigid Stars LP was the first album, so it seemed like a logical starting point for me as well.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day Forty: The Clash - Combat Rock

CBS/Epic Records ■ FMLN 2/PE 37689
Released May 14, 1982
Mixed by Glyn Johns

Side One:Side Two:
  1. Know Your Rights
  2. Car Jamming
  3. Should I Stay or Should I Go
  4. Rock the Casbah
  5. Red Angel Dragnet
  6. Straight to Hell
  1. Overpowered by Funk
  2. Atom Tan
  3. Sean Flynn
  4. Ghetto Defendant
  5. Inoculated City
  6. Death Is a Star
There has not yet been a poll more frustrating than the one for The Clash. I own four of five albums on vinyl (no, there aren't six, you're imagining things), and at no moment was there a completely clear choice from the people I know who participated. I had three people whose votes I could guess, and all ended up confirming to me that I'd guessed correctly. One unsurprisingly went up for Sandinista!, not because it's weird, but because he likes weird things. Another went for Give 'Em Enough Rope because he felt he'd paid it the least attention, and undeservedly so (I'm inclined toward the same, and my copy was a rather special gift, actually). Another went for Combat Rock because it was a favourite of his (which I knew). I had a few more conversations--two who noted their Clash-y inexperience, one suggesting his exclusive familiarity with London Calling meant perhaps he should choose a different record to learn something, another suggesting that because she only knew London Calling, it would be most comfortable to read about. And let's face it: usually we all read about the records we know already unless we're deliberately seeking one out.¹ There's not much frame of reference to understand the description of the unfamiliar, after all.

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