Monday, February 28, 2011

Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (CD, 1988)

Just scoped my Public Enemy stockpile and came to the realization that our journey through the land of PE is going to be random, way too brief, and threatening to my credibility as a rap fan. Could have sworn that I had CD copies of both Fear of a Black Planet and Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black. Turns out I have neither. So that sucks. Pretty sure I still have my cassette copies, so that's something. But that doesn't fit our criteria here. So, there's my disclaimer.

Unlike most people, this album was not my introduction to PE. A few friends of mine had copies of Fear of a Black Planet when it came out, and I think (other than possibly hearing "Bring the Noise" somewhere) that that marked my initiation to the group. I have a vague recollection of owning the "911 is a Joke" cassette single, but I don't have it anymore, so maybe I'm making that up. Either way, I jumped into PE three albums into it, and maybe didn't even hear this one until after Apocalypse 91.

I dig Public Enemy, but if I'm being honest, their music didn't appeal to me as much as a lot of other hip hop, so when it came time to make purchases, they were never at the top of my list. I'm not sure if the political stuff didn't mesh well with my teenage mind or what, but I was never obsessed with them in the same way that I was with, say, Ice Cube.

And when it comes to this album, I've owned it for a while now (I have some weird "Def Jam Remasters" enhanced CD copy), but I don't listen to it that much. I think it's really great, but I don't have that long-lasting connection with it that I do with a lot of the albums I was immersed in 20 years ago. But I'm always happy when it shuffles through on my iPod. And, come on: it's one of the most legendary rap albums of all time.

Still wish somebody would have slipped me a copy of this when I was 13. I also wish I had legit copies of their next two records so I could blab about those, because those are the ones I know the best. Eh. What can you do. Add 'em to the list of embarrassing holes in my music library.

"Don't Believe the Hype"

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Three More Records I Accidentally Left Off My Best of 2010 List.

I told you that there were probably more. I meant to write this post like a month ago and have been putting it off, but I figured if I squeak it in before March it's still relevant, right? And I consider myself an organized person... I'm going to do better this year. I've already got a list going in my phone, so whenever I listen to a new record, I write it down. We'll see how that works. And since when do I listen to 30 albums in a year? That part I'm excited about. Anyway, here are three more that I'm embarrassed to say I left off the list.

Busdriver - Computer Cooties

I sort of get a pass on this one because it's a download-only mixtape, so the usual process of buying it didn't happen. But, really, that's no excuse. This is best (legitimately) free album that came out in 2010, and for as much as I listened to it, I don't know how it slipped my mind 'round list time. Whatever. I'm singing its praises now, even though I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as an introduction to the man and his music. Well, I would, but with the warning that a lot of the stuff on here is not really representative of Busdriver's overall sound. I'm probably overthinking it. You should go here and listen to it or download it and see what you think. I think it is good.

"Beats Way Sick"

MC Paul Barman - Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud

The return of Paul Barman! This album is a beast, and if you didn't like Paul Barman before, you won't like him now. But if you like him and have been missing him (this is my deal), then you're in luck, because there are 22 songs on here, with diverse-ass production and styles that Paul has never tackled before. (I don't even know what to call this one.) But more than anything, there's the crazy wordplay, and that's why you listen to MCPB, isn't it? That's why I do. And I'm still finding new shit in all the layers of this thing.

(Edit: I just realized that this album came out at the end of 2009. Still, I've never mentioned it here. So I'm leaving it in this list. Technicalities be damned!)

"Owl Pellets"

Maximum Balloon - Maximum Balloon

Full disclosure: I didn't even hear this until the year was over, and it's only been recently that I've been rocking it hard. How this one slipped through the cracks is a real mystery to me. The dude from TV on the Radio goes solo and I don't buy the shit out of it immediately upon its release? I'm losing it. But I choose not to dwell on the past. Instead, I put this in the CD player of my car and hope to one day be able to make beats even half this good. I'm going to be listening to this one for a long time. This song is incredible:

"Groove Me"

All right. I think that's all I got. Hey, who's happy that I'm back writing in this damn blog again?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Proz and Conz - Life I Lead (CD, 2000)

Turn-of-the-century Portland hip hop in the heezy.

My brother will have to refresh my memory as to how we got into this group. I seem to remember seeing them live and thinking they were pretty sweet, but I can't for the life of me remember what show they would have been the opener for. Now I'm doubting the fact that I ever saw them. That doesn't really matter. What does matter is that these dudes were some up-and-comers in the Portland hip hop scene when that label barely existed, so we thought they were pretty cool. I still do. This CD has some sweet cuts on it.

I think my brother had both of their CDs (I believe Posanegavybe was the other one, and it came out the year before this one), but this is the only one I ever ended up with, and I don't think I even bought it until maybe five years ago. And talk about discs I haven't played in a long time. I forgot I even had this thing. And while some of it's coming back to me now, there's really only a few songs that stand out, and among those, one in particular: "Master of Ceremonies," a song that we used to rock repeatedly in car rides, because it is supremely awesome. Of course I can't find a full version of it online. Bleh.

I always got the vibe that these guys weren't too far out of high school when they released this, so it's no surprise that they didn't stay together for a long time. But good local hip hop was tough to come by back then, so we were happy to have discovered these dudes. I'm going to have to go back and get to know this one again.

"Life Story"

Friday, February 25, 2011

Proof - Searching for Jerry Garcia (CD, 2005)

I haven't listened to this CD in years, and though I know I got it for free, I can't exactly remember how that happened. Maybe through my job?

However it happened, I was happy, because I was actually really curious to hear this album, but not curious enough to shell out the money to make that occur. I listen to Eminem and I listen to D12, and Proof's shape-shifting has always been intriguing to me. He's the only one in the D12 posse who doesn't stick with one style, and maybe it's because of that that he struck me as the one with the most to offer.

I'm listening to this now and not much is coming back to me, so I don't know how much I can really say about it. But Proof was a solid rapper, and though I guess this record didn't hit me hard enough to keep me coming back, I still have it, so there must me something to it. Right...? I remember being floored that Eminem only shows up on one song, and his name's not even listed on the back of the disc (he's just included in D12 on the song "Pimplikeness"). I figured he'd be all over this thing.

Method Man and B-Real guest on "High Rollers," and if you can't guess what that song's about, you're not allowed to listen to rap music anymore. 50 Cent and Obie Trice also show up (on separate songs), and so does Nate Dogg, so you know Proof's got his guest spot game on lock.

At 20 tracks and almost 70 minutes, I think I'm starting to remember why I didn't listen to this thing a ton: it's a beast. But it's cool to have, and there's even a DVD that comes with it. I should watch that sometime... And as usual, Bizarre can bring an entire album to a halt with his shittiness. It still floors me that this guy ever got on a record. (Just like to throw that out there whenever I can.)

"Biboa's Theme"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Promise Ring - Wood/Water (CD, 2002)

In between Very Emergency and this, the band's last album, lead singer Davey von Bohlen developed a brain tumor and had surgery to have it removed. Much has been written about how that event affected the overall scope of Wood/Water, but I think those theories are reaching a bit.

What I hear when I listen to this record is another natural shift in the band's sound. And yes, some of the lyrics are noticeably morose, and the overall feel of the album is noticeably darker than its predecessor, but that's not saying much. Very Emergency was shockingly bright; almost anything was going to be a step in a more sullen direction. I guess what I'm saying is I don't really give a shit about any of that. I think this is a really fantastic album, and it's always annoyed me that it's their most divisive.

This was the only record that The Promise Ring put out when I was a current fan, so it's the only one for which I experienced any anticipation. I wasn't freaking out, waiting for its release, but I didn't waste much time buying it when it came out. (Still regret not buying the 2x10" version. Don't see those around much anymore.) But here's what irked me: Spin had done nothing but build up the band during the late 90's, and were clearly fans. But when this record came out, they gave it a 5/10 and compared the band to Train. Yeah, it's just a review, but it was the lead review in the issue and it was dickish. The Promise Ring broke up shortly after this album was released.

I'm not saying that the review had anything to do with it, but for some reason it felt like that to me. I dunno. A lot of great records are the ones that you don't see coming, and I feel like that's the deal with this one. And I felt like the band was just getting started with a new sound on this thing. It doesn't sound like a Promise Ring record. It doesn't really sound like any other record I own. It's a weird side of a band that had never even flirted with being weird. And I really feel like it worked.

I'm not sure how this record comes across without any frame of reference to their previous output, but if you need a good rainy-dayer, I'd look into this one. I'll just leave it at that. And we'll leave The Promise Ring with that.

"Stop Playing Guitar"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Promise Ring - Very Emergency (CD, 1999)

I think I mentioned it before, but if I didn't: this was the first Promise Ring album I bought. Picked it up brand new on vinyl (apparently I sold that at some point) after reading a bunch of complimentary articles about the band. I didn't really know what to expect, but given that they were synonymous with the "emo" label, I guess I figured their music would be way more forlorn and depressing than the songs on this record.

In fact, when I heard the opener, "Happiness is All the Rage," I was struck by the feeling that I had made a bad call in picking up the record. "Skips a Beat (Over You)" and "Arms and Danger" (though that one may be sarcastic in its intentions) did little to assuage that notion. After I accepted the record for what it is - peppy pop that is sometimes way too enthusiastic - I learned to enjoy it, though a bit guiltily.

Let's be honest: I'm not usually into bands that regularly tour with Jimmy Eat World. But I liked these songs, and as I mentioned before, this record caught me at a time when I may have been a little more vulnerable to music that was expressing feelings, no matter what they might be. And if this album put me a better mood than I was often in, I don't see the harm in that.

But I don't want to spend this space defending my enjoyment of The Promise Ring (though I apparently feel like I need to). They're certainly not for everybody, but they definitely heavily connect with some people. I don't think I'm that person anymore, because I rarely listen to this record these days. But, I also don't plan on getting rid of it.

If nothing else, it still reminds me of being up at 4am on a Tuesday while singing along with "All of My Everythings." Which is a depressing memory that I've somehow found a way to cherish. That's the most emo thing I've ever said.

"Emergency! Emergency!"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Promise Ring - Nothing Feels Good (CD, 1997)

The leap that The Promise Ring made between their debut and this album is fairly astounding.

I don't know if it was due to a better recording environment (the album's production is noticeably sharper), the band honing their sound, or them just getting way better at everything that they were doing (this is my blanket assessment), but when "Is This Thing On?" blasts in, opening the record, it barely sounds like the same band. Davey von Bohlen sounds way more assertive on the lead vocals, and instead of the ramshackle rhythms that characterized their first record, they favor a much more propulsive sound.

And not just on that track. "Why Did Ever We Meet" (arguably their signature song) is another great example, and even the slower songs on the record sound tighter. None of that would matter if the songwriting hadn't followed suit, but it did. There's a reason a lot of folks consider this the quintessential "emo" record: it's really good. It's probably their best, but I don't know if it's my favorite. I realize that statement makes little sense. But I'm partial to Wood/Water. We'll get to that.

Anyway, if you know any depressed teenage dudes, give them this record and a couple wine coolers and they'll either feel way better or way worse after they listen to repeatedly in their dark teenage bedroom. Probably better. This record still puts me in a good mood. I'm man enough to admit that.

"Why Did Ever We Meet"

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Promise Ring - The Horse Latitudes (CD, 1997)

This transitional EP collects tracks from The Promise Ring's first three 7"s (one of which I used to have, and must have gotten rid of when I bought this), and adds two other songs that were unavailable elsewhere.

These tracks are from the same era as their debut (some before), and so there's not much movement here. The songs are solid enough, and the two previously unreleased songs ("Miette" and "I Never Trusted the Russians") are short on lyrics, but otherwise don't show any outward signs of why they hadn't seen the light of day.

I never listened to this disc much. It's short, and though, like I said, it's not bad, it really does feel like a collection of singles, so there's not a lot of cohesion to it. Not that that's an excuse to not take a shine to it, but I guess I'm using it as one. And, the production on these tracks suffers from some of the same flaws as their debut: vocals are buried, guitars are undefined, and drums are thuddy.

A nice companion to the first album, I suppose, but again, it sounds noticeably elementary compared to their next stuff.

"E. Texas Ave."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Promise Ring - 30° Everywhere (CD, 1996)

And here's where we talk about my dark, dark secret: The Promise Ring.

Actually, I don't feel too embarrassed about liking this band. They remind me of a certain time (late 90's/early 00's), and during that time, I needed a wuss-rock band like this for drunken, lonely nights. The Promise Ring were great for that, and they were also great for hammering melodies into your head and writing lyrics that, when they didn't go over-corny and end up sucking super hard, were often unexpectedly good.

I started out with their third album (Very Emergency) after Spin wouldn't shut the hell up about it, so I sort of came in in the middle of things. I worked backwards to the one before it, and eventually made it back to this one, their debut, before their final record came out. I wish I would have heard them in order, but in reality, if I had heard this one first, I might not have gone much further.

As it stood, discovering the band's humble beginnings was somewhat charming after hearing their second and third records, but this one is a pretty steep step down (or I guess the other ones were a huge step up), that it was initially tough to process. The recording ain't great, the songs aren't especially interesting, and lead dude Davey von Bohlen hadn't quite found his voice yet. The guy's got a unique singing style, and he totally got it to work on their next record, but here: not so much.

So, this is easily the Promise Ring Record that I listen to the least. But, I've never gotten rid of it, and I played it through yesterday and remembered that I definitely don't dislike it. It just sounds like a young band finding their sound, because that's exactly what it is. Don't kill me, Promise Ring fanboys. I know you love this record. And that's cool. It just doesn't grip me as much as their later shit.

"Anne You Will Sing"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Princess Superstar - Is (CD, 2001)

The Princess gets a little poppier on this one, turning up the hooks and leaning noticeably harder on the sex kitten persona that she pulls off well. Thankfully, cutesy songs like "Bad Babysitter" and "Wet! Wet! Wet!" don't tarnish the overall feel of this record, and they don't even suck (somehow).

But she's still at her best when she's putting witty rhymes together over beats she makes herself, and that's why the second half of this record ends up, for my money, being better than the first. "You Get Mad at Napster" is one of the dopest tracks on the whole damn thing, and considering this came out a decade ago, a song about an MC blaming the internet for not selling any records must have been hyper-modern at the time. It's still extremely relevant today, probably even more so.

So, while I don't care for her sexy raps as much as I care for her I'm-a-better-MC-than-you raps, this record balances it out nicely. The production ends up sounding a little random, because some of the tracks (the ones she didn't produce) are ultra-clean and even a bit mainstream-y, and when pushed up against some of the more lo-fi-ish stuff, there's a clear divide. But whatever. This is a fun-ass album, and she flexes some solid lyrical skills here. And a duet with Kool Keith is always encouraged.

"Keith 'N Me"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Princess Superstar - Last of the Great 20th Century Composers (CD, 2000)

I've never fully embraced Princess Superstar, but I do enjoy listening to her from time to time. I guess that would explain why I only own two of her albums, and why they're the ones that fall pretty much smack-dab in the middle of her catalog.

This is her third, and though I haven't listened to this one a ton, I do like it. The beats are a little fractured, and the whole thing, while not being decidedly lo-fi, does have that recorded-at-home sound. Which I dig. She produced or co-produced most of the beats on this thing, and her beat style's not lazy. In fact, trying to pin down the direction of the music on this thing is tough.

"Do it Like a Robot" is appropriately blippy, while "Sex (I Like)" is way more punk rock than hip hop. The rest of the stuff falls somewhere in between, with vintage drum samples that pound and distort, and synth flurries that aren't ever predictable. She doesn't sound overly confident on the mic on this record, and sometimes her matter-of-factness is frustrating. When she duets with Baron Ricks (?) on "Come Up to My Room," dude comes out aggressive while she stays laid-back, and the end result feels a little uneven.

But whatever. This record has a lot of depth to it, and it might be her last one before she tried going for some mainstream-ish cred. Or at least that's the way it looks to me. But I don't really know her catalog well enough to say that. But I'm saying it anyway.

"Do it Like a Robot"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Prince Paul - Politics of the Business (CD, 2003)

After A Prince Among Thieves failed to hit as hard as it should have, Paul took some time to do his Handsome Boy Modeling School thing and eventually came back with this, a semi-vitriolic assessment of how fucked-up the record industry is.

I'm not going to act like I was down with this since day one. I didn't buy this until a few years ago, and hadn't really heard much about it before that. But when I found it in the five-dollar bin at one of my local record stores, I figured I'd give it a shot. And, while this record is definitely a little pissy in places (Dave Chappelle's record exec portrayal is not meant to be flattering, but it is his hilarious) - almost reaching the point of sour grapes - the beats are awesome, and the guest spots are well-chosen.

Again, Paul gathers some of the dudes in hip hop who "get it" (Chubb Rock, Guru, Chuck D, Ice-T, and a bunch more), and gets the most out of them. I don't know who Horror City is (though I plan to download this after I'm done writing this), but the dudes are rough-edged and a little bit dope. Prince Paul's beats also make anyone sound better than they usually are: I've always thought Tash was a pretty sweet rapper, but the guy kills it on "Original Chryme Pays."

Coming back with another concept/message album after his previous one was a bold move, and since this wasn't a huge hit, I guess you could argue that it didn't really work. But I enjoy this album just as much as A Prince Among Thieves, and might even say that it flows a little better because there's not as much narration.

And I can't believe I only own two Prince Paul albums. I guess there's only five real solo albums from him, but I should have them. Something to work on.

"Make Room"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Prince Paul - A Prince Among Thieves (2xLP, 1999)

Prince Paul might be too sharp for his own good.

This album should have been a monumental moment for hip hop, but instead, it performed poorly on the charts and only got Paul critical respect - no chart love. But fuck it: ask anyone who knows anything about this record, and they'll tell you how not-of-this-earth it is. Prince Paul is really the only person that could have pulled a "rap opera" off and not had it suck, and he did it, thanks not only to his stellar beats, but also to his gaggle of famous friends.

But I get it: there's a lot of talking on this record, and it's an hour and fifteen minutes long. It's a bit of a commitment. Well, make yourself a version without the skits, and roll with it. You'll find that even if you ignore the story - and I wouldn't blame you if you did; it's not like you need to hear the skits over and over - this record is filled with dope-ass tracks. Big Daddy Kane's "Macula's Theory" and Kool Keith's "Weapon World" are worth the price of admission alone. And "The Men in Blue" features Everlast's best post-House of Pain performance.

I get why this album wasn't popular (in that selling-lots-of-records way), and even I'll admit that I have to be in the right mood to want to take in the constantly-shifting sounds that this thing pumps out. But when I'm ready for it, I still marvel that this album exists. It's just so damn ambitious.

And its "failure" is probably one of the reasons Prince Paul tends to get pissy about the music biz sometimes. His next record is a prime example.

"A Prince Among Thieves"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Prince Markie Dee - Love Daddy (LP, 1995)

I can't remember how I found out that Prince Markie Dee from the Fat Boys had a solo record (actually, I think he has two), and I still can't remember why I gave a shit. Because I hate the Fat Boys. I like the idea of the Fat Boys, and they're funny in that I-can't-believe-society-let-that-happen sort of way, but their music is flat-out awful.

But maybe that's why I was so curious about the prospect of Prince Markie Dee reinventing himself for the 90's. Dude was still in his mid-to-late twenties when this record dropped (my crack research has his first solo record coming out in '92, btw), so it wasn't like he was washed-up by definition, but things had certainly shifted in the hip hop world, even in the years between this record and his previous one. Sadly, Markie took the route that almost certainly cancels the career of any rapper that dares walk the path: an album filled to the brim with slow jams.

If the title didn't tip you off, dude was out to rebirth himself as an irresistible ladies man, and while better rappers have made the same ill-fated move (I'm looking at you, Big Daddy Kane,) few were brash enough to do nothing but that. This album is straight sex-up songs, front to back. And one is indiscernible from the next. Some are more gentlemanly than pornographic, but for the most part it's a mix of both. He's charming, debonaire, but also wants to rub things on you until they release fluid (Yikes).) He also seems to have an unhealthy obsession with biting. It's all very troubling.

Yet, somehow, I'm still curious to hear his first solo record. Even though I can't get through this one. Huh.


Monday, February 14, 2011

I Went to a Show: Busdriver and Dark Time Sunshine at Someday Lounge (Feb. 11, 2011)

Busdriver has turned into one of the only artists that will get me to drag my old-man ass out on a Friday night to see a show, and that's because I know I'm going to enjoy it. He's full of energy, doesn't chit-chat too much, and just plays the shit out of his music. I am a staunch proponent of all of those things.

This show was even more exciting for me because I was, against all odds, actually looking forward to seeing one of the opening groups. I got turned onto Dark Time Sunshine earlier this year, and found myself coming back to their album Vessel quite a bit. So, I was really looking forward to seeing how they would pull off that shadowy-ass sound live.

I got to the show at around 10:45 (there were two, maybe three other openers who I wasn't dying to see), and caught most of the guy-before-Darktime's set. It wasn't really my thing, but it gave me a chance to meet up with my friend who was there and say hi to some other people that I knew. There was a good crowd at the Someday, though it seemed to be biggest when I first got there. Weird.

Anyway, Dark Time Sunshine (Onry Ozzborn and producer Zavala) hit the stage around 11:30 and I was ready for it. The music actually translated really well to a live setting, with Zavala working a drum machine, doing some backing vocals, and also just some random tinkering and knob-twiddling, all while bobbing his head and clearly having a good time. Ozzborn looked stoned to the bone, but his laid-back don't-give-a-fuckness is part of what makes the music so eerily hypnotic, so I thought it worked.

Here's a vid my friend Mike took:

Good stuff. They played a solid set, tossing in some Onry songs off his new record, along with a lot of the cuts from Vessel. I made sure to buy their CD after the show, because I had been listening to a "free" copy for a long time. So, that's me patting myself on the back and telling you how much I support artists. I'm welcome.

Busdriver came out pretty quick after that, and unlike the last time I saw him solo, he was all by himself. He had a small table with a few samplers on it, two microphones (one of which was hooked up to foot pedal thingy), and a couple other little boxes that he didn't seem to fiddle with. He also set up a green light at his feet, so for the first four or five songs of the set, he looked like this:

Pretty cool. Anyway, he did a few tracks off his latest mixtape, Computer Cooties, but other than that, it was the "hits": "Sunshowers," "Avantcore," "Casting Agents & Cowgirls," etc. He fucked with tempos and hammered on beats with the samplers, and jacked up his vocals with the footpedals hooked to the one mic. Made his set frantic as shit when coupled with the fact that he barely stopped moving, rapping, or beating on his machines. It was great.

He didn't play for too long (which is fine by me), came out for one short encore, and then left us with a beat that he "made in his bedroom the other day" as he walked off stage. Dude's a weirdo. But he puts on a great show.

I picked up the Hoofdriver 7" on yellow vinyl while I was there, and I have listened to it six times in the past few days. It is sweet.

If you haven't downloaded Computer Cooties you should cop that shizz.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Event Attendance: The 23rd Annual Eugene Record Convention - January 30, 2011 (Cont.)

I'm still reeling from all the sweet purchases I made on Sunday. I went through the 7" singles I bought in my last post, so now let's get down to the 12" haul.

Big Daddy Kane - "Raw '91"

My Big Daddy Kane vinyl collection is embarrassingly lacking, and I try to remedy that whenever I'm at shows. Sadly, there's hardly ever any Kane to be found. So, I was not unstoked to find this maxi-single for a cool five bucks. Pretty random selection of songs: a "Master Mix" of "Ooh, Aah, Nah-Nah-Na;" a "Remix Radio Version" of "It's Hard Being the Kane;" and a remix of "Taste of Chocolate." There's also a few album versions and an instrumental. The songs on this single are off two different Kane albums, making the whole thing even weirder. Cool mix.

Big Daddy Kane - "Smooth Operator"

Another Kane 12" single, but this one's from the untouchable It's a Big Daddy Thing era, and features a sweet cover with the Big Daddy in full-on high-top fade mode. Just playing some pool with a hot lady, as Kane was known to do. Features the title track and "Warm It Up, Kane," as well as "Dub" versions of both. Interesting what passed for a dub in '89. It's really not much more than the exact same instrumentals, with Kane's vocals randomly cut in and out. Weird. It also says "Thanks to my man, Rick James" on the back. Nice.

Pavement - Westing (By Musket and Sextant)

I always wondered if there was an "original" version of this, because I'm fairly certain it's still in print on vinyl, and I never had much interest in buying a copy that came out this year. I dig this record, but it's definitely the Pavement album I listen to the least. Still not positive if this differs from the current version of this LP that's still in print, but it feels thicker, has an inner sleeve with artwork, and still has a Drag City catalog from 1993 in it, so that's good enough for me.

Pixies - "Gigantic"

I have always wanted this single, but have never wanted to cough up the exorbitant amounts that some people think it's worth. Finally found it for a reasonable price, and snatched it up. This is the single that contains the alternate versions of "Gigantic" and "River Euphrates," as well as the badass live takes on "Vamos" and "Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)." For some reason, the Complete B-Sides comp that came out ten years ago didn't feature the two alternate studio cuts, so I'm happy to finally have legit copies of both of them. And yes, the cover is disturbing.

Frank Zappa - You Are What You Is

When it comes to records that I've been putting off buying for years, this one has been leading the pack for a while. The list of Zappa records I don't own is dwindling, and this (along with Them or Us and a few of the jazz/orchestral ones) is one of the last not-hard-to-find ones that I've needed to add to my collection. I haven't even been listening to Zappa lately, and probably won't listen to this any time soon, but it's nice to know it's there. Solid copy. Gatefold, Barking Pumpkin label. Original dust sleeves with lyrics.

Steven Jesse Bernstein - Prison

Did not expect to walk out of the show with a copy of this record, but here we are. I've been keeping my eye out for this LP forever, and I've never seen it. I've had it on CD for going on 20 years, and though I don't listen to it too much anymore, it's one of those records I never plan to not have. The one I got is actually the German version, which makes the whole thing even more weird. Same track listing and everything, just more of a plain label then what I assume the US version has. Really excited about this one.

Dwarves - Thank Heaven for Little Girls

Hey, now I own two Dwarves records! Again: please don't judge me. There's just a part of me that hears a song like "Blag the Ripper" and can't believe that it exists. It's just too absurd. Combine that with the fact that this is a Sub Pop release from 1991 and it's pressed on sweet, sweet marbled yellow vinyl, and I couldn't pass it up. Though I did pass up a copy of the album after this, Sugarfix, and I'm not sure why. Sort of regretting that now. But not too much. I have a feeling my Dwarves phase will be short-lived.

Royal Trux - Accelarator

Original copies of Royal Trux LPs are rarely spotted in the wild, so you've got to act quickly when you see them. I've never seen this one floating around before, so I was more than happy to pay possibly a little too much for it. Was hoping to find some Trux at the show, and I couldn't believe it actually happened. Looking forward to spinning this one and making my wife hate me, even though this record features some of their more bearable tunes. Still not mad palatable. But I've been obsessed with them lately. It's a beautiful train wreck.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper

We were getting ready to leave the show because we had to meet a friend for lunch. I had this record in my hand, and had seven dollars left in my pocket. This record cost seven dollars. I bought it, walked out the door, and wondered why I purchased a record that I have very little intention of listening to. I had this tape when I was in grade school; maybe I thought I might want to relive some memories. We'll see if that ever happens. I doubt it will.

The Doors - The Doors

I am an unapologetic Doors fan, but my LP collection has not, in the past, reflected that very well. Decided to actively remedy that situation at this show. I began here, with a sweeeeet mono copy of the band's first record. Original gold label, original inner sleeve, and just an all-around awesome LP to own. The vinyl isn't in perfect shape, but for an LP this semi-rare, I'll take it. Plays great, and is definitely worth way more than I paid for it. Could not be happier about this one.

The Doors - Waiting for the Sun

The copy of this LP that I've had since high school isn't a great one. Butterfly (non-original press) label, the sleeve was all jacked up and unglued, and I spent my youth playing it on shitty, shitty record players. Decided to replace it with an original gold-labeled version with an intact cover and smooth-ass vinyl. It's got some dude's last name lightly written in the upper-right corner, but what the hell. Still an awesome copy of this great, great album. I will enjoy it.

The Doors - L.A. Woman

If you're going to buy this record, you've gotta get the original version with the rounded edges and the see-through cellophane windowed cover. I'd been meaning to purchase this forever, but for whatever reason, never pulled the trigger. Since I was in Doors-buying mode, I told myself if I found a solid copy, I'd pick it up. I did, and I did. Nice and clean, with the original inner sleeve. Happy to finally have it on the shelf.

The Doors - Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine

I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is the Doors collection to own. Skip all those best-of comps that all contain the same songs, and go right to this one. Not only does it include the sweet b-sides "Who Scared You" and "(You Need Meat) Don't Go No Further," but it also pulls sweet moves like not including "Light My Fire," and making "Peace Frog" and "Blue Sunday" one track, like it always should be. I've had this on cassette for a while, but I'm glad I finally got the double LP. Never been issued on CD, and probably won't be. Great batch of hits and deep cuts.

The Doors - Resurrection

My first foray into Doors bootleg country. These are usually priced too high for me to want to take a chance on 'em, but this one dude at the show was selling all his stuff for half-price, so this 2-LP set was rendered affordable. It claims that it's a "French Fan Club Release," but who knows if that's true. Whatever its origins, the content is interesting. The first LP is an audio version of the The Doors Are Open film that has since seen VHS/DVD release. The audio from the film was never great, and this version doesn't improve on it. The good stuff here is on the second LP, which houses tracks from a show in Sweden in 1968 (including Morrison doing "Mack the Knife" at the beginning of "Alabama Song," which I'd never heard before), dubbed versions of the two songs they did on Jonathan Winters in 1967, a rambly version of "Who Do You Love?" from the Matrix in 1967, and clips of Morrison's drunken rantings ("You're all a bunch of fucking idiots") from the infamous 1969 show in Miami. I gotta say: I'm actually pretty impressed with this thing. Would have died to have had it 20 years ago, but I'm still happy to have it now.

So, that's what I bagged. Also picked up three VHS tapes for a dollar each: The Beastie Boys home video from Licensed to Ill, Metal Mania from 1986, and a Jane's Addiction 1991 bootleg that is of shitty quality but I've still managed to enjoy half of. It's one of those specials they show in South America on TV and then gets passed around for years. Pretty sure mine's an 85th generation copy.

Boom. Time to start saving for the Night Owl show in April.