Saturday, February 23, 2013

Intermission III [End of "C" Part 1]

We're at the end of another letter--however belatedly--and with it at a nice, round fifty different artists touched on. Left behind are handfuls of alternate albums, a scattering of singles, and, in this case, nothing but more singles and albums from the artists touched on. It's likely not a surprise that Coheed and Cambria compose a reasonably large amount of the remaining items. The Clash were the only band that matters (are the only band that mattered? How do we deal with that now? Is it still in the present, even though they are not? With, of course,  Requisite requiescat in pace for Joe). In fact, beyond them, there's a bit more of Elvis CostelloCursive, and The Church, no one left much to linger.

If I had my druthers--some of which I'm working on for future letters intentionally, sometimes just as coincidence of normal purchase, sometimes deliberately  to see them here in the future. Of course, my friends ask me about artists here and there--no, sadly, I don't have any Can on vinyl (I did get into them through vinyl, interestingly--while I was not big on John's copy of Tago Mago in college, I grew into it after appreciating my dad's copy of Ege Bamyasi on LP), Carcass would continue to run a bit counter to the tastes of, well, almost everyone I know of reading this but I'd welcome appearing (and looked into, but Earache doesn't do heavy pressings, and there are some albums I'd be less pursuant of), I'm sure a few friends would appreciate a bit of Wendy Carlos's work appearing (and my friend Kyle who passed me Wheels of Fire does have some himself), and a copy of Cocteau Twins' Garlands would not go unloved in my hands either. CCR is a long-time love, but, like a lot of '60s artists I grew up appreciating, I've never run after their material on vinyl. It probably wouldn't be too much trouble to run into The Crucifucks (it's self-titled, if you're wondering), which I guess proves it doesn't quite hop into the "needs" pile for my records.

It would be nice to have the self-titled Clash or In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3--but at least those two bands did get to have a chance under the needle.

A mess of real life is intruding on my ability to do this--devoting the 30-90 minutes to listen, the handful of hours to write is not always easy, though some days a few could be worked in, I'd prefer not to rush through or half-ass any of them, as I own records I like, and I don't want to disrespect those works in comparative effort to those I give the time they deserve. Certainly, there are  releases and bands I like more and less, and albums I like more and less, but I've never had much truck with trying to run extreme comparisons between largely unrelated works, so that doesn't much factor into it for me.

So, bear with me if you're in for this--I am still on it, and working out the timing kinks as best I can. I do get recommendations on occasion, but haven't always got the funds to throw at them (or even the ones I'd like myself!), though I'm not as opposed to them as I may come off. Thank you kindly to anyone sticking around here--and, most importantly--to anyone who has given one of these records a chance upon reading. I love a nice affirmation like anyone else, but I write this for the music, not for my writing.

We've got 23 letters to go, and I imagine a good number of both expected delights and surprises.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Day Fifty: Cursive - Burst and Bloom

Saddle Creek ■ LBJ-35

Released July 24, 2001

Produced by Mike Mogis and Cursive
Recorded by Mike Mogis
Mastered by Doug Van Sloun

Side One:Side Two:
  1. Sink to the Beat
  2. The Great Decay
  3. Tall Tales, Telltales
  1. Mothership, Mothership, Do You Hear Me?
  2. Fairy Tales Tell Tales
If one checks back, one finds that I actually stated my next item on the block would be Cursive's Happy Hollow. However, as I sat for a moment and considered that I had a Record Store Day exclusive on coloured vinyl (marbled yellow) and that release was one that was singled out by a friend (the words "so good" in a few incarnations came up, occasionally with profane emphases) as quality in the career of the band...I considered that perhaps I could once again write about an EP released by a band from whom I also own a full-length LP. Most pertinently, I guess, my good friend Brian--one of my most reliable folks for discussing music, which can be difficult for many in light of my erratic listening habits--is the person I most strongly associated the band with.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day Forty-Nine: The Cure - Seventeen Seconds

Fiction Records ■ BEG A 65

Released April 18, 1985

Produced by Robert Smith and Mike Hedges
Assistant Production by Chris Parry and M L S
Engineered by Mike Hedges and Mike Dutton
Assistant Engineering by Nigel Green and Andrew Warwick

Side One:Side Two:
  1. A Reflection
  2. Play for Today
  3. Secrets
  4. In Your House
  5. Three
  1. The Final Sound
  2. A Forest
  3. M
  4. At Night
  5. Seventeen Seconds
I don't remember now how I found myself listening to The Cure. I think it was finding the video for "Lullaby" (meaning I probably saw it on the same tapes that led me to Marshall Crenshaw and listening to more Elvis Costello), but I'm really not sure. It meant I kept an ear out for Disintegration, but was never sure what to do with the rest of their discography. Someone I know--forgive me, for once, I can't remember who--posted video of a live performance of "Killing an Arab",¹ and I finally found myself asking: what album do I go to next? Pornography was a quick response, and I filed it away mentally--I'd picked up Bloodflowers on somewhat a whim, but had listened to it only a few times, and "Killing an Arab" told me there was something else back there, an entirely different style than what I'd heard so far.

I finally picked up a copy of Pornography, and soon found myself picking up every one of the deluxe-ified Cure remasters I saw (each came with a bonus disc of demos and live material from the time frame surrounding the album in question), Seventeen Seconds and Faith following rapidly behind Pornography, and all of it being settled when I purchased Three Imaginary Boys four months later (about a year ago). My ever-referenced used vinyl haunt last year, Hunky Dory, happened to have a copy of Faith on vinyl, though--the owner mentioned a copy of Pornography waiting in the wings, but, alas, it never appeared when I was there. In a sense, though, that has its benefits: I already really liked Pornography, but had only listened to most of the other albums a few times. That it was Seventeen Seconds and not Faith (they are the two immediate predecessors to Pornography) was even more fortuitous, as that album had stuck with me far better than Faith ever has.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day Forty-Eight: The Cult - Love

Beggars Banquet ■ BEG A 65

Released October 19, 1985

Produced by Steve Brown
Engineered by Steve Brown and Mark Stent

Side One:Side Two:
  1. Nirvana
  2. Big Neon Glitter
  3. Love
  4. Brother Wolf; Sister Moon
  5. Rain
  1. Phoenix
  2. Hollow Man
  3. Revolution
  4. She Sells Sanctuary
  5. Black Angel
Despite being a band I remain cursorily familiar with (at best), I actually wrote about The Cult twice on the last blog, once in bite-sized form regarding their fourth album, Sonic Temple, and very early on regarding the Beggars Banquet "Omnibus Edition" releases, which included this very album. I still have no idea what to make of them in more "global" terms than my own personal one, but I've found myself gravitating more and more regularly to their work, as proven by my eventual acquisition of this record (another of my more excited purchases from Hunky Dory. It is, so far as I can tell, actually a UK original from '85, but I've never been too fussed about such things (even if I do find the thought neat and vaguely exciting).

Day Forty-Seven: Marshall Crenshaw - Marshall Crenshaw

Warner Bros. Records ■ BSK 3673

Released April 28, 1982

Produced by Richard Gottehrer and Marshall Crenshaw
Engineered by Thom Panunzio, Jim Ball [Assisting]
Mastered by Greg Calbi

Side One:Side Two:
  1. There She Goes Again
  2. Someday, Someway
  3. Girls . . .
  4. I'll Do Anything
  5. Rockin' Around in N.Y.C.
  6. The Usual Thing
  1. She Can't Dance
  2. Cynical Girl
  3. Mary Anne
  4. Soldier of Love
  5. Not for Me
  6. Brand New Lover
Another of my "Black X" titles that indicates a $1US purchase at Musik Hut, I first heard Marshall Crenshaw via the same tapes that introduced me to the video for "Oliver's Army", though the song I saw a video for was "Whenever You're on My Mind", from Crenshaw's follow-up to this album, Field Day. I knew the song wasn't on here, but figured for $1 I'd live, and figured I knew "There She Goes Again" and could justify the purchase with that. It was an unusual choice: the "Whenever" video cropped up a few times in those tapes, and the first few times did nothing for me. At some point though, it suddenly clicked and ran through my mind pretty regularly. So, seeing this at that price (being a non-major classic rock title, it also ensured it was probably in really solid condition, which it is), I figured--why not?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day Forty-Nine - Needle-Scratch: Dan Friel - Total Folkore

Thrill Jockey Records ■ THRILL 324

Released February 19, 2013

Recorded by Dan Friel

Side One:Side Two:
  1. Ulysses
  2. Windmills
  3. Valedictorian
  4. Intermission #1
  5. Velocipede
  1. Scavengers
  2. Intermission #2
  3. Thumper
  4. Landslide
  5. Intermission #3
  6. Swarm
  7. Badlands
My last blog was actually named for a song by the band Parts & Labor, about whom I eventually wrote there,  and this was partly in the interest of a title that implied the aim I had, and partly as a result of my overriding love of the band, particularly the album Mapmaker. After they released the follow-up to that one, though (Receivers) I actually caught them live with my friend (and former manager) Gerald who had introduced me to them with that lasting and evocative phrase, "Music to melt your brain". At that show, I expanded my awareness of their work by picking up BJ Warshaw's Shooting Spires album (by his side/solo project, Shooting Spires, of course) as well as Dan Friel's then-exclusive release (barring an extremely limited EP I am FAR too late for), Sunburn. Sunburn was a quick little release, 7 tracks and less than 20 minutes, and released on what could've been a 3" CD but was instead a neat little partially clear one. It was the noisiest, strangest, most experimental side of Parts & Labor distilled, devoid of vocals, yet still imbued with hooks.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day Forty-Six: Cream - Wheels of Fire

RSO Records ■ RS-2-3802

Released August, 1968

Produced by Felix Pappalardi

In the Studio
Engineered by Tom Dowd and Adrian Barber

Side One:Side Two:
  1. White Room
  2. Sitting on Top of the World
  3. Passing Time
  4. As You Said
  1. Pressed Rat and Warthog
  2. Politician
  3. Those Were the Days
  4. Born Under a Bad Sign
  5. Deserted Cities of the Heart
I've traded records only a few times, and on occasion had some passed along from friends for similar reasons to trades, but without the actual "trading" portion of it. My good friend Kyle--with whom I once lived, alongside my friend John--dropped a few records (and some CDs) on me when he was in the midst of moving some time ago, as well as a few when I moved out of the apartment the three of us shared. As he doesn't have the more technical expertise John has poured into equipment (as the one of us who has owned a turntable longest), he has had a turntable with a useless belt, pre-amp issues and various other things that precluded actual vinyl listening for some time. Between that, the move, and the fact that he planned to sell most of them, he gave me dibs on those records as a consequence of our friendship. Most of them reflected the variance in our tastes--John edged toward the truly weird and the normal-but-less-popular-classics as far as vinyl, Kyle edged toward progressive and improvisational classic rock, and I edged toward a weird mix of pop and post rock when we all lived together--and so I didn't know the albums as well as I might have (and, to some minds of course, "should" have).

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