Monday, January 31, 2011

Event Attendance: The 23rd Annual Eugene Record Convention - January 30, 2011

Has it been a year already?

Getting up at 7AM on a Sunday sucks, but when you've got a two-hour car ride with a good friend (who you don't see that often), followed by four hours of hardcore record flippery, it ain't that tough. I wisely bought a 32oz. Americano from the coffee shack down the street before we hit the road, and by the time we got down to Eugene, it was 10AM, the show was just starting, and I was jacked up and ready to dig in.

A lot of the same faces were behind the dealer tables, but I actually saw a few new dudes, too. So that was cool. Other than that, nothing too out of the ordinary. Lots of people, lots of records. Lots of stinky nerds. There was a guy selling hardcore porn DVDs at his table, along with all his LPs, so I guess that was a new one. He also had a record that said "Beastiality" on it, and featured a photo of a fat guy hugging a pig. Good times.

There's a couple guys that I always buy stuff from, so I made sure to hit their tables early. But other than that, I had no plan. So, I wandered. My friend didn't even plan on buying any LPs, but since he's the most self-sufficient guy I know, I didn't have to worry about him. He left at one point and just walked around Eugene for like three hours. And that's cool, because I like to dig undisturbed.

Anyway, I made off with a bunch more stuff than last year. In fact, I got so many records that I think I need to break my haul up into two separate posts. So, for the time being, I'll list the 7"s I bought. As an added bonus, I'm including pictures. It's the least I can do, since I don't post in this blog nearly as much as I should.

Here we go.

Love Battery - "Between the Eyes" b/w "Easter"

I didn't listen to much Love Battery when they were actually a band, but I bought one of their albums on cassette a few years ago and I've played it quite a bit while tooling around in my garage.

Noisy rock. Buried melodies. Pretty sure this is their first release. Black vinyl. I enjoy early Sub Pop singles.

Crackerbash - "Walk Back" b/w "Holiday" & "All Work"

Dude had a sticker on this that said "Crackerbash debut," but that's not the case. In fact, this is from 1992, which would have been closer to the end of their career than the beginning. Strange that it says "Holiday" on the front when that song isn't the A-side, but that might have been a track length consideration. This is one o' them fancy 7"s that plays at 33, which, of course, isn't listed on the sleeve or the vinyl. But once you figure it out, there's a good amount of great music on here.

Black vinyl with original inserts.

Crackerbash - Final Show

Can't figure out exactly how much of a bootleg this is. It has proper labels on the vinyl, and it seems to have been released by a semi-legit company (Humble Records). There are a few inserts talking about the label, as well as a sticker. Huh.

The sound quality is definitely bootleg. This is from La Luna in December of 1993, and features "Lon," "Back to School," "Aluminum Siding," and La-La-La." Not a great recording, but a cool mix of songs. White vinyl.

Dwarves - "That's Rock 'n' Roll" b/w "I'm a Man"

I've been listening to the Dwarves lately. Don't tell anyone. And don't you dare judge me. I'll get over it pretty quick, but for now I'm riding it out. They are just too ridiculous for me to ignore anymore. These two songs are surprisingly tame, but I think that's mostly because they're both covers. They're both surprisingly long, too. Most Dwarves songs from this era barely last a minute, but these seem to be pushing three. Maybe two. Either way, sort of a strange little record.

Black vinyl. Sweet cover photo.

Dickless - "I'm a Man" b/w "Saddle Tramp"

I just found out a few years ago that "Saddle Tramp," the first song on the Supersuckers' first single, was not written by the Supersuckers. On that 7", it's not listed as a cover. In the subsequent compilation of all the early Supersuckers singles on which it was included, it was explicitly listed as being written by the Supersuckers. You can understand my confusion. Turns out it is a Dickless song, and one of the only Dickless songs. Not much output from these ladies.

And yes, they cover the exact same song that the Dwarves do on that previous single I listed. Did not realize that until I got it home. Random.

Been looking for this. Glad I found it. Translucent green vinyl with original insert and a Sub Pop Singles Club form.

Mark Arm - "Masters of War" b/w "My Life With Rickets"

When it comes to records I meant to buy 20 years ago, this one is definitely on the list. Used to see it all the time at the local Salem record store, and just couldn't seem to pull the trigger for whatever reason. Then I didn't really see it for a long time. Then I saw it, but it was way overpriced. Then I saw it at the record show the other day, priced at five bucks, and I bought the shit out of it.

Mint green vinyl with Sub Pop Singles Club form/flap still attached to it. Cool songs, too.

Sone - "747" b/w "Down At the Expo"

My brother got me into Sone a while back, and I've somehow managed to collect almost their entire discography since then. And I think it's cost me a grand total of 20 bucks. For three 12"s and three 7"s. Get into this band. They're great and apparently no one wants their records. I had never heard these songs before, and I am loving them. Especially "Down at the Expo." Incredible tune.

Black vinyl. Number 410/500. Original insert.

Sone & Bügsküll - Split 7"

You know what I love? A 7" with six songs on it. This one features three tracks from each band (though I think Bügsküll might just be a guy) and it's nice and gritty. "High Frame Audio" by Sone is on their full-length, but I'm not sure if this is the same version or not. Nice photocopied-style collage cover. Lots of music on this thing. Plays at 33 on both sides, and packs a wallop.

Black vinyl.

Beck - "Chemtrails" b/w "Vampire Voltage No. 6"

Extremely un-rare promo single for "Chemtrails" that features a really cool B-side. I've got a nice stash of Beck 7"s, and I wasn't going to pass this one up for a few bucks. Thick black vinyl in a thick cardboard sleeve. Nothing too special, but I'm glad to have it.

And that's only the singles. I'll try to break down my LP haul in the next day or two. Get ready for the randomness.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Top Twelve Records You Didn't Hear in 2010.

Or maybe you did. Either way, I wanted to mention some albums that I considered more, for lack of a better term, "under the radar" than the ones I got to in my Top Twenty post. A list like this could go on forever, but I came up with twelve that I really like, and I'm running with it.

12. Mike Phirman - The Very Last Songs I Will Ever Record (Part One)

I'm not a huge comedy-rock guy, but I do occasionally enjoy a little nuttiness, especially Hard 'N Phirm. So when the Phirm half of the group dropped a solo album, I took a listen. (It doesn't hurt that I got to meet Mike Phirman last year, and he's the nicest guy ever.) Dude's a great musician, and not only does this record get the laughs going, but it also shows his adeptness at multiple musical styles, which makes the whole thing even more interesting. Tracks like "Sketchy Dudes" and "Street Meat (You Keep Tauntin' Me)" are every bit as good as their titles.

"Thanksgiving Song"

11. Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger! - Whispers

Only four songs, but this NY almost-too-hipster-for-me group gets the job done. Big melodies, driving lead guitar riffs, and drums that beat the shit out of everything. They put out a record last year (I think) called Be Yr Own Shit and I still have to give it up for such a sweet album title. I'm assuming a proper full-length will be coming soon, but I have absolutely nothing to base that on. What I do know for sure is that the title track from this EP is a song that I like more and more every time I listen to it.


10. Junk Science - A Miraculous Kind of Machine

I can't even remember who hipped me to this Brooklyn alt-hip-hop duo, but I found myself rocking this on my laptop quite a bit. Honestly, I'm not 100% in on these guys - some of it strives too hard to be deep and ends up sounding self-indulgent, but the beats never slip, and the songs that do hit really get the job done. That being said, it's much more interesting than most of the other rap I heard this year. And man, these beats. They rock it.

"Fire Drill"

09. Run With the Kittens - Myth in the Sky

I still can't get a clear read on these guys, and it continues to make this EP more and more intriguing to me. Seems that every track adopts a different style, and though none of them seem to fit together, the whole thing works together really well. They shift between buzzy synths and almost-metal guitars in the blink of an eye, and vocals come and go without fair warning. If it all sounds really mixed up, it is. But sometimes that's cool. And here, it's definitely cool. Effin' Canadians.

Listen to the album here.

08. Dark Time Sunshine - Vessel

I thought this project (between rapper Onry Ozzborn and producer Zavala) would be a little too "Hey, we're underground!" for me, so I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed the shit out of it. Yeah, it gets a little lyrically cloudy in parts, but the production on this thing is so badass that it hardly matters. Aesop Rock's guest appearance should give you some idea of what the vibe is here, but this record makes a lot more sense than most of the stuff that dude passes off. It sounds corny, but if you're looking for something different in the hip hop realm, check this shit out.

"Sleestack Payback"

07. Crosswind - Opposing Forces/Beyond

My taste in metal stretches about as far as from the "H" in Helloween to the "I" in Iron Maiden (sometimes I'll throw the "G" from Gamma Ray in there), so, yeah, I'm picky. Or maybe just lazy. The point is, I know what I like, and man, do I like this. Fairly certain these guys are Greek. Absolutely positive that they play the guitar really fast and have songs that are called "Nephilim Rising" and "Weavers of Nightmares." This record (which I think might be two EPs) continues to blow my mind. Drink a big cup of coffee and listen to this. You will flip.


06. Open Mike Eagle - Unapologetic Art Rap

I first heard Open Mike Eagle when I saw him open for Busdriver last summer. He stuck with me not only because he worked part of Frank Black's "Thalassocracy" into his song "I Rock," but also because he gave me a free copy of his CD for recognizing that. My kind of guy. The title to this record is clearly an attempt to take a little jab at himself, but he doesn't need to make any excuses for what he does. The guy's smart, and his raps reflect that. And when so many rappers love to shy away from acting like they give a fuck, this guy embraces it. Really cool shit.

"Unapologetic (featuring Nocando)"

05. mcenroe - The Paper Champion

mcenroe hadn't been heard from for a few years, so I guess it's to be expected that he would ease back into releasing music with a record that contained more rounded edges than sharp corners. But don't get me wrong: I dig the shit out of this record. Heck, I was starting to think the dude might be done making music. Instead, like the rest of us, he's just growing up. And I love having some grown-ass-man rap to listen to. He's not the only one in mid-thirties still trying to be a rapper. (Cough, cough.) I'm happy the dude's back. And the bonus disc for this thing contains seven more songs than the actual album. True bonus.

"Keeping the Faith"

04. Coolzey - Coolzey and the Search for the Hip Hop Hearts - Volume I: He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper

How's that for a title? Coolzey undertook a huge project this past summer, tackling one song a week for 12 weeks. He hit up 12 different producers for the beats, but the rest - including a video for each song - was written, recorded, mixed, mastered and filmed in a week. Z is a lunatic, and he's probably the only person I know who could pull this off (full disclosure: he's a friend of mine). Not only did he pull it off, but these songs are pure dopeness, and the whole project is legitimately amazing in scope.

You can check out all the videos and download the entire album for free here.

03. John Smith - It's True Because it Rhymes

The return of Sloppy Joe. Is Smitty as strong without mcenroe providing the beats? Not quite. But Murdock's beats are cool and crunchy, and even though this record's only been out for about four days, I've been enjoying it heavily. Plus, mcenroe's been talking about a new John Smith album that he's producing coming out sometime in the not-too-distant future, so if this is just a warm-up, then shit - it's a good one. Awesome song title: "You Got Issues, I'm Out of Tissues." Sums up the man quite well.

Download the album for free here.

02. Megachurch - Megachurch

Two bass players. One drummer. A bunch of creepy religious samples. An album that was in my car stereo for like two months straight. My wife was all like, "Still?" And I was all like, "Totally." And then I turned it up and rocked out! In all seriousness, this six-song, 26-minute album is exactly what the world needs right now. I mean, come on. And when I saw that they had released it on vinyl, I couldn't but a copy quickly enough. I even got a poster of the sweet album art. Yes, I am in fanboy mode for these dudes. You should be, too.

"More Mormon Than Mormon" (NSFW)

01. Yy - Tape It Back Together

Big Yy! Apparently this record was recorded two years ago (a bit more on that here), but it's just now seeing the light of day. Whatever, as long as it's out. Not only does it make a great companion piece to mcenroe's The Paper Champion, but it's just an incredible record, all by its lonesome. "Crews Control" features Pip Skid, John Smith, Birdapres, The Gumshoe Strut, and mcenroe on one of the dopest posse cuts to ever come from the Peanuts and Corn camp (watch your back, "Butcher's Bill"), and those dudes all show up on other tracks on the record, too. But even when he doesn't have help, Yy just runs shit on this thing. The bonus disc houses a whopping 20 tracks, one of which is a cut that didn't make the record, called "Yahtzee." You know I'm down.

"I Got That Treason"

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

Because I'm an idiot. There's probably a few more, too. Anyway, I somehow managed to forget these, and they're definitely worth mentioning. Was going to speculate on where they belong in the list, but now I've decided not to. So there you go.

El-P - Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx3

I just bought this one like two weeks ago, too. Next year I'm going to keep an ongoing list of new albums in my phone or something. Anywho. El-P self-produces all his own records, and apparently dude's got beats laying around for days. This is an instrumental LP of breaks, samples, and general weirdness that feels a bit lighter than his most recent record, but not always by much. No raps here, but I have never cleaned my house so fervently as I have to this double-LP. Great packaging, too. I highly recommend getting it on vinyl.

"Meanstreak (In 3 Parts)"

The Electronic Anthology Project - The Electronic Anthology Project

Wherein Built to Spill remix (or is it cover?) a bunch of songs from their catalog with over-the-top retro synths and put together an album that you really never even imagined would exist. Is it much more than a novelty? Probably depends on who you ask. But if they were just dicking around, they probably wouldn't have released it, so that might tell you something. And I, for one, think it's damn cool. They also anagram the shit out of the track titles: "Goin' Against Your MInd" becomes "I Dim Our Angst in Agony," "Else" becomes "Eels," etc. Strange, but a must for any BTS fan.

"What if Your Dull"

Black Francis - Nonstoperotik

The jagged edges that Black Francis seemed intent on re-adopting on his first two solo releases are receding a bit, and it's making for a nice mix between Black and Frank. A track like "O My Tidy Sum" is a perfect example, with a slight rattle and orchestral elements that smooth it out. He's getting more ambitious with his production again, and it's making his material more compelling than it's been in a long time. Please forgive me for forgetting this one. Not sure how I did that. Should have been in my top ten. Yeah, said I wouldn't speculate, but there it was. Not going to make any other huge claims about this record, but it really is quite good. Worth checking out.

"Cinema Star"