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.


Biff Pocaroba said...

What a weird haul of stuff to bring back from Hotlanta. I am so jealous of that Dragonfly 45. I have never heard that b-side. Here is a weird story. When Vitapup released their only album it was slightly too long to fit on vinyl. So they opted to take Dragonfly off of the vinyl version and release it on 45 with a song not on the CD. Which was a weird call because they filmed a video for Dragonfly. So when Fargo bought the LP he didn't get the sweet song from the video. Strange move. Anyways, nice score on the STBT picture disc and the Sonic Youth record. Can't believe you broke down and bought Tical 0. As a collector I totally understand.

And yes, you now own all of Vitapup's 45s. I only own one (Disbelief). Jerk.

Oh, and that Disbelief 45 actually has a hidden Star Wars rap thing on side B that I remember the dude doing live when I saw them. So there's that.

And open all of those packs. Although recently I bought two packs of old Donruss and opened them and the second pack was almost identical to the first, 75% doubles. What the heck is that about?

Biff Pocaroba said...

Correction: I don't own "Disbelief." I meant "I Need It." The hidden song is on "I Need It." I really really want that "Disbelief" 45. Jerk.