Friday, May 20, 2011

Record Shopping in Atlanta.

Never have I traveled so much in my life, and never have I visited so many new-to-me record stores. It's a rush - all of it. Mostly because I'm usually crunched for time, and I know that I'm probably not going to be back in these places for a really long time, if ever. It makes for some frantic flippery, but there's few things I'd rather be doing.

This time around I ended up in Atlanta, GA, a place I'd never been. Not even close, in fact. The South wasn't nearly as balmy as I thought it might be, and Atlanta wasn't as big on record stores as I hoped it would be. But, I still hit a few places, and still managed to pick up some stuff I'm more than happy about.

I only had about three hours on my one free night to shop, so the whole excursion was a bit frantic. My first stop was Fantasyland Records, which was about a mile and a half from the hotel I was staying at. Figured I'd start there and see what happened. As soon as I walked in, I could tell this was a real-deal record store: Two old dudes behind the counter, a musty smell that hits you wonderfully as you open the door, and just an overwhelming amount of stuff.
They have vinyl, VHS, DVDs, a whole section of bootleg concert DVDs, tables full of well-organized CDs, stickers, buttons, and a whole bunch of posters on the wall. And check out these cassettes:
I hit this section up for a copy of Prince's Batman for my wife (she's got a tape player in her car), and a promo copy of Fudge Tunnel's Hate Songs in E Minor for myself. Plain blue cover with not much more than a simple tracklisting. Pretty sweet.

The store is broken up into three rooms, with the front one being the largest. The two in the back are each half the size of the one in front - split down the middle by a hallway, basically. The one on the right has hip hop, a bunch of old-ass 45s, and a random assortment of VHS tapes and other stuff that doesn't seem to fit anywhere else. The one on the left has jazz, soundtracks, and two tables that each hold two fat stacks of vintage movie posters from the early 60's:

There are hundreds of them, and they are indeed real. I asked one of the dudes working there where he got them, and he told me that he bought them in bulk, in the 70's, from a lady whose husband had owned a theater and had recently died. The ones he has left are all fairly obscure (which makes them even more interesting), but apparently he used to have a bunch of Hard Day's Night posters and a lot of other sought-after sheets. He told me he sold all those way too cheap, but still figures that over the years he has made 15k on what originally cost him 300 bucks and the work it took him to get them all out of this lady's crawlspace. They were awesome, and they were cheap. Five or ten bucks, I think. I wasn't going to drag them home on the plane, so I didn't get any.

I did get some records, though. Here's what I picked up:

Talking Heads - "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" 12" (1983)

I knew I already had some version of this, but I knew I definitely didn't have this one, so I grabbed it. Turns out I had a promo 12" at home - I'm not crazy. Not much here except the album versions of the title track and "Moon Rocks," but I love Talking Heads 12"s that play at 45rpm, and there's becoming fewer and fewer that I don't have. Plus, the back cover features a sweet butt-cheek shot.

Ice-T - The Iceberg: Freedom of Speech...Just Watch What You Say (1989)

I don't think I've ever even heard this record, and I'm not exactly sure why I bought it. It's rap from 1989, so that was definitely a selling point, and it was fairly cheap, so maybe that had something to do with it. I don't know. At some point I ended up with a copy of T's OG LP, and I guess now I'm not against picking up his other shit. Dude's never been my favorite rapper, but I'm always willing to give him another shot.

The Flavor Unit - Roll Wit tha Flava (1993)

I've had this one on CD forever, and though I've never actively searched out a vinyl copy, I've always hoped I would find one. Finally happened. The LP's got a different cover than the CD, which is cool, and this whole record is pretty badass. Non-album cuts from Freddie Foxxx, Naughty by Nature, Rottin Razkals, and others. Plus, Foxxx is straight-up brandishing a gun on the cover, because he is an individual you don't want to fuck with.

And, those were the only three LPs I picked up from Fantasyland. But check out what else I got:
Yeah, they also had unopened baseball card wax packs from the 80's. I got two packs of '86 Topps, and one pack of '89 Fleer. I can't decide if I should open them or not. Please comment and let me know what you think.

Fantasyland was great, but as you can imagine, it only made me want to take in more of what Atlanta's record stores had to offer. I asked the guys there where else I could go, and they gave me the addresses of two other places that were, though not close to where I was, right around the corner from each other. I hopped in a cab and headed to Little Five Points, which seems to be where a lot of the Atlanta subculture resides. There were lots of shops, and lots of weirdos. This was where I wanted to be.

My first stop was Criminal Records, which I failed to take any photos of. It was a nerd's dream, housing an extensive selection of LPs, CDs, action figures, comics, and various other collectibles. They had their vinyl spread out over different sections in kind of a weird way, and since I was in a hurry, I didn't really have a chance to figure it all out. In the end, I only picked up a few things.

Steel Pole Bath Tub - "Arizona Garbage Truck" 7" (1990)

It wouldn't be a non-hometown record shopping trip if I didn't pick up at least one Steel Pole Bath Tub record. I already have the regular version of this (on yellow vinyl, I believe), but when I came across the picture disc for $2.50, I figured I might as well grab it. Cool-looking little record, and one of probably many that lists the band as "Steel Pole Bathtub."

Theory of Ruin - "Outfit" 7" (1999)

I just recently found out that Alex Newport formed another band after Fudge Tunnel broke up, and I'm glad I did, because otherwise I would have had no idea who these guys were. Theory of Ruin is way more jagged than FT ever was, but they're heavy as hell, and the three songs on this single are all very cool. From what I can tell, they released this 7", and then didn't put out a proper record (their only one) until 2002. Strange.

After that, I headed around the corner to Wax n' Facts, and rolled in with less than an hour to go before they closed. As soon as I entered, I knew this wouldn't be nearly enough time. They had a ton of stuff packed into a fairly small space, and the more I looked around, the more I saw hiding under tables and behind the counter.
Look at that sea of vinyl. I ended up going through a bunch of boxes of 7"s, the hip hop section, the recent arrivals, and a few other spots that caught my eye. Ended up buying more here than I did at either of the other places. Check it:

Sonic Youth - Sister (1987)

I can't figure out what the deal is with this one. It's the Blast First version, which is the UK release, and it's in really good shape. Thought that maybe it was a recent repressing, but I can't find anything to support that. Also, the picture of the girl is blacked out, but the picture of Mickey and Minnie isn't. It seems that it's usually either both or neither. So, I don't know what's up with it. I'd probably have preferred to have an SST pressing, but the price on this was great.

Monie Love - Down to Earth (1990)

I have Monie's other album on CD, and I actually dig it, so I figured I'd pick this one up because the price was right. Not sure I've ever even heard it before, but that cover and the parental advisory label are such a winning combo that I'm down for that alone. This thing just screams 1990, and it will make a solid addition to my increasingly nonsensical hip hop collection.

Method Man - 4:21... The Day After (2006)

Not sure why I didn't buy this on vinyl when it came out, but I didn't. I got the CD instead, and I'd been putting off getting it on wax because I've heard it a ton and I rarely came across it in stores. Found it here, sealed, for a reasonable price and went for it. Another step towards replacing my CDs with vinyl copies. And I should probably revisit this record anyway: it's been a while.

Method Man - Tical 0: The Prequel (2004)

Yes, I'm such a Method Man fan that I'll even buy his indisputably terrible album, just to get one step further in completing his discography. (I'm down to the original Tical, if anyone's keeping track.) I've come across this record once or twice before, but never wanted to pay real money for it. They had a used copy for a decent price, and it seemed like the time to make it happen/get it over with. It's going to look great on my shelf.

Bügsküll - Bügsküll 10" (1993)

Regular Stallion Alert readers may recall that I picked up the Sone/Bügsküll split 7" when I went to the Eugene Record Convention earlier this year. Turns out I enjoyed Bügsküll's side of the single, so I made a note to keep my eyes open for more of their stuff. Came across this 10", sealed, for four bucks, and did not hesitate. It's on clear vinyl, contains three songs, and is almost as lo-fi and crazy as I hoped it would be. Yeah: sealed, from 1993. Yowsa.

The Spinanes - "All Sold Out" 7" (1999)

This is The Spinanes v. 2.0, with Joanna Bolme (Portland rock journeywoman) and Jerry Busher, that dude who was the second drummer in Fugazi for that weird period. Here they're covering two Rolling Stones songs ("She Smiled Sweetly" is the b-side), and also parodying the cover of the album that the two songs are from. Not sure what the story is behind this. But my Spinanes collection is really growing. Chicks are going to dig me, big time.

Some Velvet Sidewalk - "Valley of the Clock" 7" (1997)

Another Some Velvet Sidewalk single! I haven't listened to this one yet, but I'm assuming it's either great or terrible because it appears to be one of their last releases. The picture I found is terrible, so you can't really see it, but the blue sleeve says "The Modern Sidewalk Sound" in silver letters on it. Pretty cool packaging, and probably a riff on some record that I'm not aware of. Excited to listen to this one.

Yeast - Crisco Wristwatch 7" (1990)

Between the Zappa-referencing title, the C/Z label, and the dollar price tag, I couldn't find a reason to not buy this. It's about as terrible as I figured it might be - kind of a Butthole Surfers-type thing - but it's also a more-than-welcome addition to my ever-expanding collection of 7"s. And what a cover.

Vitapup - "Dragonfly" 7" (1995)

After never seeing (or at least recalling seeing) any Vitapup records in the last 15 years, I now can't avoid them. Found this one in the cheap-o 90's box, and though the cover is a tad bit jacked up, the record isn't, and the original insert is still in there in perfect shape. Listening to the a-side right now and it is awesome.

Vitapup - "I Need It" 7" (1995)

When it rains Vitapup, it pours. Do I have all of their 7"s now? I might. This one was also in the cheap-o 90's box. Another record in the cheap-o 90's box: Sone's "David's Sling," which I'm convinced is in every 90's-rock budget bin ever. Anyway, haven't listened to this record yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

And that's it. This post ended up being really long and took me way longer than I thought it might. So enjoy it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Record Shopping at Amoeba in Hollywood, Part Six.

Here's yet another shot of yet another part of the 7" section at Amoeba. I didn't go through any of the 70's or 80's boxes down there, but only because I didn't have time. You can also see the 50 Cent Indie section there, where I spent some solid time. On the far left they even have a section for Hip Hop/Rap 7"s. Now there's something you don't often see.

OK: Think I can get through the rest of my 7" purchases in one more entry here.

Some Velvet Sidewalk - "Pumpkin Patch" (1991)

This is my first-ever Some Velvet Sidewalk purchase, which isn't too surprising, but I've always been curious about this band, so I'm glad I picked this up. Found it for 50 cents and figured I'd give it a go. The tracks are exactly as lo-fi as I figured they would be, but actually much more listenable than I thought they might end up. Three songs here, including the title track, "Apple," and "The Burning World." I have a feeling this will not be my last SVS record.

Vitapup - "Disbelief" (1995)

My brother is a big fan of this band, so this caught my eye. The half-dollar price tag and a song titled "Laxative Cat" sealed the deal. The other song (There are two cuts on Side B) is called "My Abortion," which, despite its disturbing title, is actually a really catchy and pleasant tune. Seriously. I've only listened to this record once through, but I'm enjoying it. "Laxative Cat' is a rowdy jam that I can get with.

Teen Angels - The Early Years (1995)

Well, it looks like my Teen Angels collection is almost complete. One more single and I think I've got their shit on lock. Not much info on where these two songs came from, but a re-recorded version of the A-side, "Go Away," would end up on their lone full-length. The B-side, "Nightmare," appears to be only available here. By the way, this is on Scooch Pooch records, whose logo is a dog dragging his ass on the ground.

Urge Overkill - Lineman (1987)

This is one of the earliest Urge Overkill releases (in fact, they're called The Urge Overkill on the front), and their first for Touch and Go, where they would stay for many years. I actually came across this record a few times when my brother and I went to Seattle, but I passed it up because I could have sworn I had already bought it. Upon coming home to find that I did not own it, I kicked myself. And then I found it for a buck at Amoeba. Contains "Wichita Lineman" and "Head On" - not the Jesus & Mary Chain one; a UO original.

Jonestown - You Can't Swim with Handcuffs On... (1991)

Well, would you look at that: I got another Jonestown single. This one seems to have some sort of political angle to it, which I don't care for. But I'm pretty much down for any piece of vinyl from the C/Z label circa 1991, so I was glad to pick this up. The tracks here are "Recall" and "Screw Crude" and the back of the cover has some long diatribe (possibly lyrics) about how crude oil is bad. Huh.

The Spinanes - "Rummy" (1992)

Early Spinanes single that looks to either be their first or (probably) their second release. A little more mellow than the Manos sound they're known for, but whatever: these are cool songs. "Hawaiian Baby" is the B-side, and it's a sparse tune that makes me wonder why this band wasn't crazy famous. Seems like they could have had a wider audience. Scott Plouf is wearing sunglasses in the picture on the back because he is a relentless cool guy.

Busdriver and Radioinactive as The Weather - "Touch Type" (2002)

This was mixed in with the indie records when it probably should have been in with the rap stuff, which surprised me given Amoeba's diligent organization. I solved the problem for them by removing it and then buying the shit out of it. I picked up the full-length that these guys did (also with Daedelus) a while back, but didn't even know about this single, and had not heard these songs before. The B-side is called "Winthorp & Winthorp" and it is sweet. Boom.

Velvet Monkeys - "Rock the Nation" (1991)

The dude over at Pette Discographies has a theory that "This one can be found at any record store in the world at any time." He may be onto something. I've definitely seen this record a bunch of times, and Amoeba had at least two copies of it that I saw. Still, it's a Sub Pop single from the 90's, it's on clear vinyl, and Thurston Moore is pictured on the back playing bass. And it was a dollar. So I got it. The songs are covers (the flip is "Why Don't We Do It In the Road?") and they are not very good.

Wool - "Medication" (1992)

Wool is never quite as good as I remember them being, but I can still get down for this song. And for a buck, I felt it was worth having. It's on clear red vinyl and features the B-side "Marky St. James," which is just a prank call made by a guy claiming to be a metal vocalist trying to get an audition with a band. The track is also a hidden song at the very end of the vinyl version of Budspawn, the LP from which "Medication" comes. Wacky stuff.

Royal Trux - "I'm Ready" (1998)

People try to charge far too much for Royal Trux singles on eBay, so I was excited to find this one (and another one) at Amoeba. "I'm Ready" is a great tune from Accelerator, and this thing also has two B-sides: The super-weird instrumental, "P.T. 20," and their own very non-traditional take on the old blues number, "Mr. Crump Don't Like It." I had not heard either of these songs before, so I'm excited about 'em.

Royal Trux - "Waterpark" (1999)

These Royal Trux singles were two of the more expensive 7"s I picked up at Amoeba, but I regret nothing. "Waterpark" is an extremely awesome song, and the B-side here, "Waterpark (version)" is as fucked-up as I expect the Trux to be, crushing the title track down to a barely-recognizable shell of its former self. Is it unlistenable? My wife thinks so. But that's why Jesus invented headphones.

And, if you can believe it, that wraps it up. Let me reiterate: All of these records, combined, cost me around $150. And that's with sales tax. Amoeba has ruined me for all other record stores. Here's another picture I took, after I finally went upstairs and looked around their huge-ass movie section.

Jealous? You should be. Really hoping they send me back down there again next year.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Record Shopping at Amoeba in Hollywood, Part Five.

Here's a shot of another small part of the Amoeba 7" section. I didn't go through all of these boxes, but I did browse through some of them. As you can see, there's a whole box dedicated to The Damned. Not really my thing, but that's pretty cool. Also down there: Punx & Skins, Thrash, Metal, Black Metal & Grindcore, East Coast Hardcore, West Coast Hardcore, and Straight Edge. I love the organization.

On with my 7" purchases.

godheadSilo - "Elephantitus of the Night" (1994)

Another godheadSilo record that I'd been looking at on eBay and just never went for. Again: glad I didn't. Picked this one up for a few bucks, and after I just spent 10 minutes picking the sticker that was underneath the Amoeba sticker off it (which must have been the original), it's looking good as new. Still don't understand why Stephen Malkmus is at the end of the first song on this.

Smegma - "Thicket" (1992)

It's an exciting moment in any young man's life when he purchases his first Smegma record. Not sure why I waited so long. Maybe it's that the band has one of the most insanely expansive catalogs in all of music. Maybe it's that Smegma scares me a little bit. The A-side is much more coherent than I assumed it would be, but the flip, "Vox," is about what I expected: man-made sound effects with people saying things like "nail-driven dick" over it. I was right to be scared. Red vinyl. Sympathy.

Archers of Loaf - "Vocal Shrapnel" (1996)

You don't often see Archers of Loaf singles in the bins - or at least I don't - so I was more than willing to grab this for the whopping three-dollar price tag. The sleeve is a parody of the emergency instruction cards you find in the seat pockets of airplanes, and I have to say: this thing is quite faithful in its presentation. Even opens up and has more stuff on the inside of the cover. Nice thick paper, too. And, both songs (the B-side is "Density") are great.

The Von Bondies - "Tell Me What You See" (2004)

While (Single Version) usually means that a song is edited down for radio play, in this case, "Tell Me What You See" is actually about 20 seconds longer than the album version, which clocks in at less than two minutes. So, it's still a really short song, but I thought that was kind of interesting. The B-side is "Suzie," which I had never heard before. This is Pawn Shoppe Heart-era, which was a strong time for the band. Pink vinyl.

Gas Huffer/Fastbacks - "King of Hubcaps"/"Lose" (1990)

Random-ass split between two NW semi-legends that I almost forgot I bought. My Huffer collection grows. Sort of a strange mix between the two bands, but I guess that's to be expected. The Gas Huffer track is rowdy and loose (as is their M.O.), and the Fastbacks song is sturdy, calculated, poppy, and very catchy. Sounds about right. Black vinyl on the very obscure Steve Priest Fan Club label. Huh?

Local H - "24 Hour Break-Up Session" (2008)

Local H aren't big on 7" releases, so this is sort of a novelty record, but I still think it's pretty cool. Says it's a limited edition of 1,000, but the spot where somebody was supposed to write in the copy number ("__/1000") is blank, so I don't know what's up with that. What I do know is that the B-side on this is their cover of TV on the Radio's "Wolf Like Me," and it's fairly badass. Clear red vinyl.

Steel Pole Bath Tub - "Auf Wiedersehen" (1995)

SPBT covers two Cheap Trick songs on this single ("Surrender" is the B-side), and are strangely faithful in their own way. Which is great. I don't know what it is about Amoeba, but it seems like they've always got Steel Pole Bath Tub shit on hand. Last time I went down there I walked out with three Steel Pole 7"s and a full-length, and this time I passed up some stuff that I already had but came out with this, which I am very happy with. Clear yellow vinyl and a propaganda-filled sleeve.

Ovarian Trolley - "Serenity" (199?)

Ovarian Trolley info is sparse on the web. I picked up one of their full-length records semi-recently but apparently I didn't mention it on here because I can't find any evidence of it. Anyway, they did a split single with Hazel many years ago, and I find their music somewhat interesting, so for 50 cents, I wasn't going to pass this by. Can't find a date on it to save my life, but the label that put it out (Imp) has a Portland address. So that's something.

St. Johnny - "Go To Sleep" (1992)

I'm not even gonna front, y'all: I had this band confused with some other band, and that's why I bought this. Turns out I recognized their name from that old DGC Rarities comp, and I guess that's why I thought I knew them... I don't know. Whatever the case, I spent 50 cents on this and it's really not that bad, actually. Three tracks of 90's rock from Chicago. 33 on one side and 45 on the other, which is always fun.

Flop - "Act I, Scene I" (1995)

I own Flop & The Fall of the Mopsqueezer! on cassette, and while it's never quite clicked with me, I've always felt like they're a Seattle band that I should get to know better than I do. When I found this for 50 cents and saw that it was on Steve Turner's Super-Electro label, I figured I'd give 'em another go. The title track is strong, and Side 2 features two covers: "I Am A Potato" by Devo and "The Place I Love" by The Jam. Also includes original Super-Elector mail order insert, which is photocopied and hastily cut with dull scissors.

There's still more coming. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Record Shopping at Amoeba in Hollywood, Part Four.

As you may have guessed from my last post, Amoeba has some of their 7"s divided up by label. As you can see in the picture up there (especially if you look at the big version), on the bottom row of boxes they've got five that aren't the Indie or $1 Indie ones.

They are: Indie Splits, K vs. Kill Rock Stars, Sub Pop, Mega 90's, and Sympathy for the Record Industry. Such a sweet idea, but only if you've got enough stock to justify it. And, they do. I spent some serious time in these sub-sections. Obviously.

On with my 7" haul.

Calamity Jane - "Miss Hell"/"My Spit" (1991)

I realize the songs are listed in the other order on the cover, but that's how they're situated on the actual record, so I'm assuming "Miss Hell" is the A-side here...? I guess it doesn't really matter. These are both cool songs, and the cover is pretty sweet, too. Mine is the pink vinyl version, so it matches the sleeve. Almost perfectly, actually, which is impressive. My first official Calamity Jane purchase. I should have had this 20 years ago and been using it to impress chicks. Damn.

Godzik Pink - "Nursery Lime" (1998)

Super-sharp Stallion Alert readers may recall that my brother bought this single when we went to Singles Going Steady in Seattle. We played it when we got back and I was intrigued and impressed. Plus, he's been championing them for some time now. So, when I came across this record in the Sympathy for the Record Industry box (along with the Calamity Jane record), I snatched it up. Two bucks. And it is awesome. Black vinyl, and label says "new musical science series: volume 2." Hmmm.

godheadSilo - Thee Friendship Village EP (1993)

I was listening to a lot of godheadSilo a few months back, and I watched as a few of these popped up on eBay. Glad I didn't bite. Got this four-song 7" for two bucks, which is less than the shipping would have been had I eBayed it. And boy, is it noisy. Also, the labels are reversed. And, in between the two songs on each side the groove in the record locks so it loops and you have to manually move the needle. These nutty guys.

Jonestown - "Twenty Five Years" (1990)

I'm pretty sure I know this band solely from their contribution to the Teriyaki Asthma compilation, which is a nutso song called "Fuck Your High and Get You Up." The two songs here are nothing like that. "Twenty Five Years" is a slow-ish, steady rocker that seems to be about something serious. The B-side is "I Love You, You Big Dummy," which is a much more lunacy-filled Captain Beefheart cover, but still not too chaotic. Cool, though. Green marbled vinyl. Another Sympathy joint.

Mocket - "Un-Man" (1999)

I went from having no Mocket records to almost owning their entire discography in a matter of months. Which isn't interesting aside from the fact that I made very little effort in making it happen. I just keep coming across their records. At this rate, I should be the proud owner of the "Pearl Drop" 7" in the next few weeks. I'm sure I'll come across it. This single is from the Kill Rock Stars Mailorder Freak thing, and is a limited edition of 2000, which you wouldn't know from the three copies at Amoeba.

Satisfact - "Life Abroad" (1996)

Speaking of Matt Steinke-related bands who's discographies I've inadvertently acquired, according to Discogs, this record completes my Satisfact collection. I've somehow picked up all their LPs, and now there's this. I'm sure my brother will inform me of something I'm missing, but again: fairly impressive considering the amount of effort I've put in. This is possibly their first-ever release...?

OK. I'm tired. More soon.