Sunday, January 29, 2012

January Record Shopping at Amoeba Hollywood, Part Three.

OK, I think I should be able to wrap up telling you about the stuff I bought at Amoeba in this post, and then we can move on to the exciting non-Amoeba stores I went to while I was down in California. But for now, I still have a handful of Amoeba-bought records to brag to you about. Let's do this.

TV on the Radio - "New Health Rock" 7" (2004)

This single was released right around the same time as Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes - a short time afterward, I think - and I've remained blissfully unaware of it. I'm not even sure that I'd ever heard these two tracks. It's weird: I'm a huge TV on the Radio fan, but I've never gone on the hunt for any obscurities by the band. I own all their proper albums, but I've never taken it any further. Not really like me. Maybe I'm getting old and complacent. Or maybe this will kickstart some exploration. Either way, I have this now. Very dramatic cover. The B-side is "Modern Romance."

Various Artists - Teriyaki Asthma, Volume Four 7" (1991)

I bought another Teriyaki Asthma single sometime in the last few years; it was Volume Two and it's on red vinyl. This is Volume Four, and it's the black vinyl version. I think blue is the one to look for, but this was a buck so I grabbed it. I'm sure I'll come across the blue one at some point. This one has tracks from Alice Donut, Vexed, Icky Joey (The still-amazing "Josephine"), and God's Acre, and it's in nice condition. It's a probably a bad idea to start collecting these, because at some point I'll be tempted to shell out the dough for Volume One, which features Nirvana and is kind of expensive. We'll see what happens.

Velocity Girl - "I Can't Stop Smiling" 2x7" (1994)

Velocity Girl may be the most wussy, poppy band that I listen to. I just realized that as I was rocking this double-7". Sometimes I feel like they're one step away from 10,000 Maniacs-ville. Anyway, Sub Pop loved them, as evidenced by this deluxe, gatefolded package that houses two singles on the inside, along with accompanying sticker sheets that encourage you to make your own cover. (And Beck thought he was being original with The Information when he did that - nice try, Hansen!) This is ¡Simpatico!-era stuff, and it features the album version of the title track, a bold remix of "Labrador," also from that record, and two non-album cuts, "Marzipan" and "Diamond Jubilee."

Velocity Girl - "Nothing" 7" (1996)

Another Velocity Girl single, but this one is Gilded Stars and Zealous Hearts-era. They were great about putting non-album stuff on their 7"s, and this one is no exception. The B-side is "Anatomy of a Gutless Wonder," and it's a solid track. Another instance where you can see why they left it off the album, but it wouldn't have seemed out of place if it had been included. This one's on translucent red vinyl with a few little blotches in it, and it doesn't have the big 45 hole. It's also got the later Sub Pop label. Check out a picture of it here if you wanna see what it looks like.

Royal Trux - "Red Tiger" 7" (1992)

Amoeba is officially the only place I ever see Royal Trux singles in stores, and it seems like I consistently score more than one, to boot. This one seems to be from around the time of Cats and Dogs, and a like a lot of their singles, these two tracks (the B-side is the scuzzy "Law Man") would be included on the Singles, Live, Unreleased comp that came out in 1997 and was reissued again this year. I don't have that box set, and I'd rather have the original source anyway, so I had to pick this up. This is a quality era for RT, and these two songs are heroin-drenched awesomeness. Drag City label.

Royal Trux - "Steal Yr Face" 7" (1993)

This one's from around the same time, but it's on Sub Pop as part of their Singles Club - April 1993, to be exact. Not sure what's up with the Grateful Dead imagery - there's even the actual Dead "Steal Your Face" dumbass logo on the back - but the Trux never really made much sense, so I guess it's best to not worry about it too much. "Steal Yr Face" is, for them, a pretty straightforward track, and the B-side, "Gett Off," is surprisingly listenable as well. (Not a Prince cover, if you were wondering.) This was a limited edition of 3,000 copies, and all of 'em are on sweet-looking purple marbled vinyl.

Royal Trux - "Mercury" 7" (1994)

One from 1992, one from 1993, and this one's from 1994. I'm really getting it done. This one came after their "breakthrough" album Cats and Dogs, so maybe that's why the production sounds a bit stronger. Or maybe they were finally able to afford some decent equipment. Either way, it's still sloppy as heck, but the sound quality allows for some more of that intricate sloppiness to carry through. Both of these tracks (the B-side is "Shockwave Rider") - and the ones from the previous single, too - would end up on that box-set comp I mentioned earlier. I'll probably buy that at some point. For now, I'll just incrementally build up my collection. It's the American way.

New Bad Things - "Freemason Love Triangle" 7" (1994)

I'm not going to sit here and act like I've been down with New Bad Things since day one, because that wouldn't be true. In fact, It's only been recently that I've been checking out their stuff. I'm not proud of myself here, folks. This single is on Punk in My Vitamins, features a blatantly hand-screened cover, and is really cool. This one features "The Dirge," the song that my pals in Buttery Lords jacked the outro/coda/chorus thingy from for one of their songs. It's an awesome song and I can't believe I wasn't listening to it years ago. I would have loved this shit in the 90's.

New Bad Things - "Robin Hood" 7" (1993)

Ah, how I love a good five-track 7". There's only one song-that's-not-really-a-song on this record, and that's the goofy "Chewbacca," so that's cool. The other songs ("Robin Hood," "Click Town," "Let Her Stay," and "Lavender") are all two-or-three minute horn-assisted lo-fiers, and they just reek of Portland in the mid-90's. Nothing wrong with that. This one is on Candy Ass Records, and is in a hand-stamped sleeve that might be printed on a grocery bag. Meanwhile, the record has a very fancy-looking label. Oh, the DIY-ness of it all. Can't believe I found two different New Bad Things singles. These are the things that can happen within the fabled walls of Amoeba.

All right - I think that covers it for stuff that I bought at Amoeba. Next up, I'll tell you about the other stores I went to while I was in the Orange County area. They made for an interesting mix.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Went to a Show: Hazel at Al's Den (January 28, 2012)

Well, this isn't how I expected to spend my Saturday evening.

I'm a big fan of Hazel (see here, here, and here), and I've been lucky enough to see them every time (I think) that they've reunited since their dissolution in 1997-ish. They've only done a handful of these shows, and the gigs have always been at somewhat sizable venues and widely advertised. Not this time. In fact, I'm lucky I even ended up seeing this short set.

Here's what happened.

A friend of mine was in a band called Havoc Kow that put out a tape on Hazel drummer Jody Bleyle's Candy Ass Records in the early 90's. I guess he has kept in touch with her, because he hit me up late this afternoon to let me know that she had emailed him to tell him that she and Hazel frontman Pete Krebs were playing at Al's Den at 7 tonight and that they were going to be doing some Hazel songs. I got this message from him while I was sitting at Ringler's - which I haven't been to in at least six years - having lunch for a friend's birthday. He's the most non-Ringler's guy ever (it's kind of a bro bar), but there was a dude playing music there that he wanted to see, so that's why we were there.

Anyway, I'm mentioning this because Ringler's is right next to Ringler's Annex, and Al's Den is directly beneath the Annex. So, I basically got the news that there might be some Hazel-ish stuff going down in an hour or two, and I was already right next to where it was happening.
I've been to Al's Den before, and it's a low-key little place. There's a hotel connected to it, and the venue specializes in singer/songwriter stuff that out-of-towners can enjoy while grabbing a meal. I guess this is why I figured it might be an acoustic set, or at least something more stripped-down than the usual Hazel show. But when the wife and I (she was very understanding about all this) were walking toward the Den and I saw Hazel dancer Fred Nemo breeze past us on the street, I began to wonder what we were in for. (My wife after Fred passed us and I told her who it was: "I thought that was a homeless person." He's still got it!)

So, we headed down to the basement that is Al's Den, and when we got in there I saw Pete tuning an electric guitar at a table he was sitting at with Jody, and three drag queens standing next to them. There were two other drag queens on stage. Turns out they're having some big celebration for the Crystal Ballroom's 100th anniversary, and we had stumbled into the tail end of a female impersonator show where the performers were doing lip-sync/dance numbers and whatnot - you know, a drag show. My wife couldn't have been more excited; she loves that stuff. So I suddenly didn't feel so bad about giving her no choice but to accompany me to this show.
There were a lot of people there, but after Poison Waters said her goodbyes and announced that "Pink Jody" was coming up next, we were able to snag a front-row table that was vacated by a guy that bolted right after the drag queens were done. There was a short interlude Q&A (long story) by headlining act A Simple Colony, but after that, Pete and Jody took the stage and started getting set up. Also setting up: Donna Dresch, Jody's bandmate from Team Dresch, who would be handling the not-present Brady Smith's bass duties. (We later found out via stage banter that Brady is living in Abu Dhabi and Pete and Jody had not told him about the gig because they were afraid to. Pete had someone call his answering machine and hold up the phone while they played their last song.)

So, they plugged in, things started squealing a bit, Fred took the stage right after the first song started, and it felt like a real-deal Hazel show, aside from Brady's absence. But Donna did a fine job keeping up with the rusty/sloppy Pete and Jody, and the band kept it together pretty nicely aside from a few bits here and there. Who cares. It was just awesome to see them onstage. I'm a nerd, so I kept track of the setlist. Here it is, in order:

"Ohio Player"
"Day Glo"
"J. Hell"
"Title Track"
"King Twist"
"Blank Florida"

Those last two tracks were a bit unexpected. So, yeah, they played eight songs, which was apparently all they had "learned" for the gig, and the few of us Hazel nerds who were lucky enough to make it down there pretty much freaked out the whole time.
A few other things of note:

Though it was a short set, Fred still managed to change outfits four times, put on a dress, and do the water-pitcher-on-the-head balancing act (see picture above), which was making my wife very nervous. He didn't spill it.

During one of the songs - I think it was "Comet" - Jody strayed from the normal lead part she was supposed to sing and sang "Yeah, and you don't stop/'Cause it's 187 on an undercover cop" instead.

There was a hammered-drunk dude that all of a sudden appeared behind me and was screaming for "King Twist" at the top of his lungs. If you know how small Al's Den is, you know how obnoxious this was. It was even more grating for me because he was spitting all over me. But, they actually played "King Twist" and he was happy. Then after the show ended he made a beeline for Pete and fell into a table full of people in the process. After he recovered, he hugged Pete. I also heard him (as did everyone in the room) on the phone yelling to someone about how he was watching Hazel and it like he had been "transported back to 1993."

My wife on Fred: "What is that guy's deal?" "He's Fred," I replied.

January Record Shopping at Amoeba Hollywood, Part Two.

Amoeba is overwhelming, especially when I inevitably get lost in the 7" section, find way too much stuff, and then have no choice but to neglect some of the deeper recesses of the store, lest my finances crumble. I always at least check out the new arrivals, dig pretty hard through the hip-hop section, and look for selected things in the main rock area. But, this time, as usual, I spent the majority of my time - and money - in the amply stocked and meticulously organized 7" nook.

Here's some of the stuff I grabbed.

Love Battery - Nehru Jacket 10" (1994)

If you're keeping track at home, I now own two Love Battery 7"s, a German-press 12" single, and now this, a promo-only 10" on clear-blue marbly vinyl, which apparently came out in advance of their major-label debut. I also have two actual Love Battery albums on cassette, but I have yet to make the big leap to full-length vinyl. I'll get there! This little EP is pretty sweet, as it features cover art by Ed Fotheringham, two tracks from their at-the-time forthcoming LP Straight Freak Ticket ("Nehru Jacket" and "Red Onion"), and two non-album tracks ("Please Before You Go," which is a cover, and "Illuminated Man"). Kind of a cool little find. And I think it was three bucks. Even cooler.

Karp - Tumwater T-Birds 7" (1994)

My first Karp 7"! How exciting. I always thought this was the band's first release. Is it not? Maybe Discogs is feeding me erroneous info. Wherever it sits chronologically in their catalog, I'm happy to have it. The copy I bought is in incredibly great shape, unless there were supposed to be inserts in it, in which case I'm pissed that mine doesn't have any. I enjoy a 7" that is 45 on one side and 33 on the other and makes no effort to fill you in on the situation, and this is one of those. The two tracks here are "A Turkey Named Brotherhood" and "I'd Rather Be Clogging," and they are both sufficiently blistering. But you already knew that.

Pavement - "Black Out"/"Extradition" 7" (2006)

If you preordered the Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition deluxe reissue from Matador's Buy Early Get Now promotion in 2006, you received a bonus 7" that featured two songs from the era that would not be included on the double CD. I failed to take part in that. But, all was not lost because I finally found a copy. It's actually not that rare, and I never felt the need to eBay it because I wasn't dying to have it. But here it was, and I bought the damn thing. It features an extremely alternate version of "Black Out," as well as a not-so-alternate take on "Extradition." It comes in a plain white sleeve, which isn't very exciting, but one of the labels is black and one is white, so that's kind of crazy, right?

Dwarves - "She's Dead"/"Fuckhead" 7" (1990)

I'm not sure if I've ever paid this much money for so little actual music. It's not like I broke the bank on this thing, but it was easily the most expensive 7" record I bought at Amoeba, and the grand total running time of music on the two sides of this single is one minute and twelve seconds. "She's Dead" clocks in at a respectable 0:38, while "Fuckhead" tips the scales at a lean 0:34. It makes for a quick listen. Still, this is a pretty rare record, and it's the Dwarves' first appearance on Sub Pop, so I had to get it. It was taped shut and I was hoping it was the rarer white-vinyl version, but it's the translucent black wax, which is still great. Plus, it still has the Sub Pop Singles Club flyer on the inside, which is key.

Some Velvet Sidewalk - "Free From It" 7" (1994)

My Some Velvet Sidewalk collection continues to grow at a steady rate. This is my third 7" from the band, and the second one to contain three tracks, which is a bonus. "Free From It" is one of the more melodic SVS tunes I've heard, which isn't saying much at all, but it's something. Don't get me wrong: my wife would still ask me to turn it off, but this whole record is actually borderline listenable by anyone's standards. "Currents" is a poppy, short little number, and "Astrolabe" is a solid, steady instrumental. These dudes were onto something. I'm still not sure if I know what it is, but I might be getting closer to figuring it out. K Records, IPU style.

Long Hind Legs - Three Songs (And a Horse) Shot Right to Hell 7" (1993)

My brother's been preaching the gospel of Long Hind Legs for going on 20 years, and I've always enjoyed the stuff I've heard from them on mixes he made for me, so I was more than willing to add this to the ol' collection for a few bucks. This is Vern from Unwound's surprisingly sensitive (and almost devastatingly depressing) side project, and I'm fairly certain this is their (or was it just him at this point?) first release. There's a surprising amount of music on this thing (over twelve minutes), and though it's definitely morose, it's also pleasant in that lo-fi, cloudy sort of way. My copy still has the insert with the lyrics for "This Cold Room" in it, which is an added bonus.

Coffin Break - "Lies" 7" (1990)

My previous experience with Coffin Break begins and ends with their track "Hole in the Ground" from the C/Z Teriyaki Asthma series, which I used to rock hard as a teen. But even then, that wasn't one of my go-to tracks. Still, they're one of those bands that I've always felt I should have given more time to, so here we are. This single features two songs, "Lies" and "Pray," and they are both very 1990-Seattle sounding, which is what I was hoping for. I think this was part of one of the early Sub Pop Singles Clubs, and the copy I got is on orangey-red marbled vinyl. It's in great shape, has a very literal cover, and was mad cheap.

Mudhoney - "This Gift" 7" (1989)

A little weird that I didn't own this already, especially considering that it's one of the least-rare Sub Pop 7"s from this era. Or at least this version is. This one's just the standard black vinyl. I know the first pressing was on purple, so I'll have to keep my eye out for that. I keep toying with getting a little more serious about collecting Mudhoney records, but I know it would just open up a whole big thing that would never end, and I've already got that going with the Supersuckers. So for now, I'm keeping it casual. We'll see how long that lasts. Anyway, this is a classic single and now I finally have a boring copy of it. Still happy about it.

Flop - "The Losing End" 7" (1990)

I think this might be the first Flop release. It's on Lucky Records, which I always thought was a semi-major player in the NW scene, but I think that might be just because I'm a Supersuckers and Best Kissers in the World fan, and they released stuff by both those bands, so it's popped up in my little world more than once. Turns out they didn't release a ton of stuff. Anyway, they released this, and it's got four tracks on it, which I guess makes it an EP of sorts. The sound's a little rough on this, but that's to be expected. Still, Flop's poppy-rock sound that a lot of people thought would propel them to stardom shines through. Another one I picked up on the cheap.

All right, that's it for now. But I've still got more Amoeba finds to share. Next time.

Friday, January 27, 2012

January Record Shopping at Amoeba Hollywood, Part One.

I mentioned in a previous post that I was getting ready to go down to the L.A. area for work, and last week it happened. I was staying in Anaheim, but with the help of a rented GMC Terrain and a soundtrack provided by old-school (or "back in the day," as they call it) hip-hop station KDAY, I made a Thursday-night trek from the wholesome, clean community of right-next-to-Disneyland to the dirty, piss-reeking sidewalks of Sunset Blvd.

After scarfing down my traditional pre-flipping fuel of Baja Fresh nachos - and seeing two people get arrested during the course of my meal (you can see one of the cop cars in the photo up there) - I rolled into Amoeba around 8 and ended up staying till a little after 10. I had planned to push it till their closing time of 11, but I had to get the hell out of there before I spent any more money. I had plans to hit some other record stores while I was on my California trip, so I needed to restrain myself. More on my other vinyl adventures later. For now, I'll tell you about what I grabbed from the hallowed grounds of the greatest record store I've ever been to. I'll start with the 12"s.

Raw Fusion - Live from the Styleetron (1991)

I bought a Raw Fusion 12" single during my last hometown vinyl excursion, and I also mentioned that I was going to attempt to hunt down this LP as soon as possible. And look at my followthrough. I actually remembered to look for it (which is somewhat rare for me - I usually blank out when I'm in the store), and there it was. It's got a cutout notch in the spine, which isn't ideal, but otherwise it's in great shape, and it was reasonably priced, so I'm good with it. 12 tracks of Money B straight flowin'. If anyone's got a digital version of this, hit me up. I couldn't find one (damn you, RIAA!) so I digitized it myself and I think there might be a skip in there somewhere. And that just won't stand.

Del the Funky Homosapien - "Phoney Phranchise" 12" (1999)

A while ago my brother gave me the 12" single for Del's "If You Must," which is on Both Sides of the Brain, the same album that this song is from. I'm a fan of that record, so scooping up this six-song single wasn't a tough call to make. I love a 12" that doesn't even bother to include the album version, and that's how this one rolls. It includes three different versions of "Phoney Phranchise": a "Del Mix," which uses the same beat as the LP version but features an extra minute-and-a-half of Del rapping at the end; a "Domino Remix," which uses a different beat but also includes the extra verses; and an instrumental version of that remix.

Side B features the album and instrumental versions of "Press Rewind" (also from Both Sides of the Brain) and an at-this-point unreleased (I think) track called "Master Minds" featuring Tajai from Souls of Mischief. And Del's playing Dreamcast on the front and back covers, which is pretty funny. I remember him always talking about how sweet he thought that system was. I never played it.

Big Daddy Kane - It's a Big Daddy Thing (1989)

It's almost embarrassing that I didn't already own this on LP. It's one of my favorite rap records ever, and I've owned it on both cassette and CD; I just never came across it on vinyl and have been putting off eBaying it. In retrospect that worked out fine, because this copy is sweet. I don't usually geek out too hard over the condition of LPs, but this one is basically brand new. It's a promo copy, so it's got the gold stamp on the bottom-right corner, but it's also got a sticker on the front with a short list of "Recommended Radio Cuts," which is pretty cool. This was the most expensive record I bought at Amoeba, and I'm totally fine with that. Seriously: squeaky clean.

Big Daddy Kane - "Cause I Can Do It Right" 12" (1990)

This is the maxi-single for the leadoff track/first single from Kane's follow-up to It's a Big Daddy Thing, the awkwardly named Taste of Chocolate. This was the beginning of Kane going off the deep end with his ladies man schtick, so as you probably already surmised, the "It" in this song is bonin'. Still, it's a pretty good song, and I'm buying the shit out of Big Daddy Kane 12" singles whenever I see 'em. Nothing exciting here, though: just the album and instrumental versions of the title track and another song from Taste of Chocolate, "Dance With the Devil." This is also a promo version, and it's got the gold stamp and a sticker that advertises that this single is also available on cassette.

Big Daddy Kane - "How U Get A Record Deal" 12" (1993)

This track was the first single from Kane's underrated I'm-from-the-streets-now LP Looks Like a Job For..., and though it's a sweet song, it's definitely a weird choice if they were aiming for radio play. I'm sure they figured that out when it went nowhere. This is the maxi-single for it, featuring six tracks that aren't too notable. There's the album, clean radio edit, and a cappella versions on Side A, and an instrumental version on Side B, along with album and instrumental takes on "Here Comes Kane, Scoob and Scrap," which is also a really awesome song, featuring a rare verse by Scrap Lover. So, this is another one that's more for show than anything else, but it looks damn good.

Sir Mix-A-Lot - "Rippn'"/"Attack on the Stars" 12" (1988)

I'll go to my grave claiming that pre-Mack Daddy Mix-A-Lot is some of the best rap music of the 80's, and tracks like this are proof positive. I've been talking about how I'm trying to amass a complete collection of Mix's early 12" singles, and this was one that I didn't have. The plain-black sleeve isn't the most exciting thing in the world, but this single includes a five-minute "Rippd' Up Remix" of "Rippn' (feat. Kid Sensation)," as well as an almost-four-minute track called "Rippn' (Bonus Beats)" which, as you might expect, is completely instrumental, aside from a weird shout-out to a local DJ from Mix at the end. And the song doesn't base itself too much off the original track, which is cool. The B-side features the album version of "Attack On the Stars," as well as a really sloppy a cappella. Weird inconsistency on this one: the "Rippn'" side is labeled "1," and the "Attack On the Stars" side is labeled "A." You're wild, Mix.

Naughty By Nature - "It's On" 12" (1993)

This was the follow-up single to "Hip Hop Hooray," and it never stood a chance of surpassing that track's success, especially since there were other arguably stronger cuts from 19 Naughty III ("Sleepin' On Jersey," anyone?). That almost makes me like it more. Anyway: this is a solid single, and another one that doesn't mess with wasting space on the album version, though the first track, a remix by the group's own Kay Gee, doesn't sound a whole lot different from the one on the LP. An instrumental of the remix is also on Side A, and Side B features a bouncy Beatnuts remix, an a cappella, and a Pete Rock remix of "Hip Hop Hooray," because they weren't going to let that one go quite yet. It's actually an interesting take on the track, so I'm cool with it.

Naughty By Nature - "Written On Ya Kitten" 12" (1993)

This was the third and final single from 19 Naughty III, and again, I don't think it's one of the better songs on the record. Still, I guess they were due for the wide-release slow jam, and this one definitely fits the bill. It also makes for an interesting 12". Side A includes a "QDIII Radio Edit" (apparently that's Quincy Jones' son) that has a different beat and is a bit shorter than the LP version, a "Q-Funk Radio Edit" that sounds a lot like the previous radio edit but seems to have some more synths, and an instrumental version of the Q-Funk track. Side B has a "Shandi's Smooth Radio Edit" which is indeed much smoother, and vocal and instrumental versions of the song "Klickow-Klickow," which would also show up on their next release, though the one included here is 40 seconds longer. Haven't delved deep enough yet to figure out where those 40 seconds come from. Oh, and this one's a white-label promo with a stamp on the back.

Milk - "Spam" 12" (1995)

I was really excited to find this because I love this track and I've always been somewhat intrigued by the weird-ass album that it comes from. It wasn't the cheapest record I bought at Amoeba, and if I'd inspected it a bit closer I may have passed on it, but I did not. Aside from a cutout notch on the spine, it's in sweet shape (still in the shrink, even), but out of the six tracks on it, there's only one that I'm really excited about, and that's the remix that leads off the second side. Other than that there's just album, radio, and instrumental versions of the original track, an instrumental of the remix, and an a cappella. So, not too crazy. But this is another one that'll look damn cool on the ol' shelf.

OK, I think that's it for the 12" records I picked up. Not too many full-lengths, huh? Not sure why. I'll be back soon with the long-ass tale of the 7" records I bought. There's some good stuff I'm looking forward to bragging about.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Friday Afternoon Record Shopping at Crossroads.

I had so much fun last weekend at Crossroads that I decided to go back this week. Friday was my birthday, I got a little money in the mail, and since I had already decided to take the day off work, I really had no choice but to go back and flip through what I didn't have time to fully scour the last time I was there. As usual, I had to say no to some gems (the 7" pictured above being one of those, unfortunately), but also as usual, I came home with a nice little stack. Here's what I got:

Bongwater - "You Don't Love Me Yet" 7" (1988)

My second recent Bongwater find. I think this may be the only 7" the band ever put out; it's at least the only one listed on Discogs. The two songs would end up tacked on to the end of 1989's Double Bummer (along with their debut EP), so I already have them on that release, but it's cool to own a copy of this anyway. "You Don't Love Me Yet" is a Roky Erickson tune, and the B-side, "The Porpoise Song," is a Monkees cover from their movie Head. So that's sufficiently weird. Which I guess was the idea. The cover and vinyl label say "limited edition," but they were probably just fucking around.

Pavement - "Father to a Sister of Thought" 7" (1995)

I found two Pavement 12" singles the last time I was at Crossroads; this time around I scooped up two 7" singles. This is the first, featuring one of the kind-of overlooked gems from Pavement's strangely underrated Wowee Zowee LP. The B-side features two non-album tracks - the expectedly jangly "Kris Kraft," and the Spiral Stairs-sung "Mussle Rock (Is a Horse in Transition)," which was probably a song he tried to get on the LP before being shot down by Malkmus. They're both good, but not album-worthy, and they'd eventually end up on the Sordid Sentinels edition of Wowee Zowee, so I already had them. Still cool to have this, though.

Pavement - "Stereo" 7" (1997)

This is the other Pavement single I picked up, and while the previous one was on Matador, this one's on Domino. It only includes one B-side, the four-minute (kind of long for them) "Birds in the Majic Industry," which has one of the more straight-ahead and focused Pavement rock-riffs in existence. It's almost Beatles-y, but only for a second. And, of course, the lyrics don't seem to make any sense at all, in case you thought the band was starting to go soft. This, like all the other B-sides I've been talking about, would find its way to the deluxe version of the album it's from, Brighten the Corners.

Octant - Shock-No-Par (1999)

I picked up Octant's second LP earlier this year, and since then I've been on the lookout for their debut. I even saved an eBay search for it and almost bought a copy a few weeks ago for five bucks (before the shipping). I held off because I knew I'd find it in a store for cheaper, and I finally did. Three bucks, in the original shrink, and it's in sweet condition. Maybe the previous owner didn't know what they were getting into. This LP has two non-CD tracks on it, which is always awesome because it's usually the other way around. Nice to be able to check this one off the ol' list. That was a rough eight months.

Sonic Youth - "Dirty Boots" 12" (1991)

The label on the vinyl has this titled as The Dirty Boots EP, while the cover and spine say "'Dirty Boots' Plus 5 Live Tracks." Whatever you want to call it, this is another one that I've been looking for for a long time and also almost purchased on eBay on a few different occasions. I've had the CD version of this for a while, so it wasn't like I was in any hurry to hear this stuff, so I waited. I didn't get a crazy deal on this copy, but it is always more satisfying to find it in the store. The five live tracks are nicely recorded and include "White Kross," "Eric's Trip," six-and-a-half minute versions of both "Cinderella's Big Score" and "Dirty Boots," and "The Bedroom," which is classic SY squealery and also known as "Can Song" and "The Destroyed Room." There are a bunch of other versions of it floating around.

Sir Mix-A-Lot - "Posse' on Broadway" 12" (1988)

Not sure why Mix felt he needed to put that apostrophe after "posse." But he did. My Mix-A-Lot 12" single collection still has a long way to go, but I think I'm about halfway through copping all of his pre-Mack Daddy singles, which is the goal. I've come across this one before but never pulled the trigger, and even though this copy was a tad bit overpriced, it's in the original shrink which still has the Nastymix sticker on it, which is awesome. It has the Swass logo, but it says "posse" on it instead. Smooth, Mix. This single doesn't even feature the album version; it has the eight-minute "Godzilla Remix," a "Godzilla Remix Edit" (only five minutes!), a two-minute instrumental track called "Godzilla Posse Beats," and Mix's early attempt at being hard (even though the cursing is edited out), the relatively tame "F the BS (It's Time)," which would show up on later CD pressings of Swass.

Dizzee Rascal - Showtime (2004)

Yikes, has it really been eight years since this came out? I bought Dizzee's debut, Boy In Da Corner, when it came out the year before this record, and got really into it for a while. I remember burning a copy of this album from a friend, listening to it a little bit, and coming back to it every once in a while. I always felt I should own a proper copy of it, though I clearly didn't make it a priority. I found this double LP for seven bucks, which was the right price to get me to make it happen. This record's not as strong as his first one, but I've often wondered if I feel that way because I never gave it a solid chance. Maybe this purchase will make me go back and try it again. Probably not, but you never know.

The Charlatans UK - "The Only One I Know" 12" (1990)

If you know me, you know I bought The Charalatans' debut, Some Friendly, when it came out, obsessed over it for a year, and never bothered to listen to anything by the band ever again. Yet I still think Some Friendly is a great record, and apparently I was curious enough about the unreleased tracks on this single to shell out a few bucks for this 12". It's pretty good: "Imperial 109 (Edit)" is an instrumental, and probably the first part of "109 pt2" from Some Friendly. I always wondered about that. The other two non-album tracks are "Everything Changed" and "You Can Talk to Me," which are both very Charlatan-y, and that's really all you can ask for. Maybe I should check out some of the stuff they've done in the last 20 years.

Love Battery - "Out of Focus" 12" (1991)

Remember when I was talking about how I really like the 90's-era Sub Pop German import 12" singles that spin at 45RPM? Got another one. I'll tell you: when it comes to bands that I wasn't into in the 90's but will now pick up any and all of their records if they're cheap (and they usually are), Love Battery may be at the top of the list. It's good though, because I'm actually starting to appreciate their music, which is a pleasant side effect. This is a weird single. "Out of Focus" and "23 Modern Stories" are from their Dayglo record, "Wings" is from the CD version of their debut, and "Come Now" is a Troggs cover that I think is exclusive to this release. And, while most of these German 12"s have a US 7" counterpart, this one is a standalone, import-only 12". Rarity! Not really.

I also went to 99 Cent Records on MLK on Saturday, where I picked up a bunch of random cheap LPs, along with these two singles:

Daddy D - "Coming Right At You" 12" (1990)

I guess this might be more of an EP than a single: it's got five individual tracks on it, though one of them is a short instrumental. Whatever. The weirdest thing about this record is that it's on the Volt label - yeah, the Otis Redding one. I forgot that they fell on hard times and released some very un-Volt-y stuff there for a while. This record showcases a Fresh-Prince-type dude who is unabashed in his Will Smithery, but it makes for a pretty fun listen. It really sounds more like 1988 than 1990 to me, but I'm just going by what the sleeve says. This was a dollar and I've listened to it at least three times. Already paid for itself.

Raw Fusion - "Rockin' to the P.M." 12" (1991)

It is really odd that I've never owned any Raw Fusion albums. I was always a big Money B fan; I guess I just missed this shit when it dropped. So, yeah, this is Money B and DJ Fuze from Digital Underground, teaming up on some tracks that don't sound a lot different than DU, but it's cool to hear Money command the track and not come in for the sweet guest verse. The B-side is "Don't Test," and both songs are from their debut album Live from the Styleetron, which I will be keeping my eyes peeled for from here on out.

And that's it. I mentioned it in my last post, but I'm going down to the L.A. area this week. Hoping to return with some sweet record store stories.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Record Shopping at Crossroads.

I didn't take any pictures of my expedition, so instead, here's a photo of Steve Vai from the movie Crossroads, which I have never seen. Looks pretty sweet.

I don't know why I bother to go to any other record store in Portland other than Crossroads when I'm shopping for used vinyl. Don't get me wrong: I love Music Millennium, and always will. But, I buy more new stuff from there than I do used. And they're great for that. And I do occasionally find some LPs in the New Arrivals section there that I pick up. But Crossroads is the only place in town where I consistently find too much to buy, and have to make decisions about what to put back. That's a great problem to have.

You know where I never have that problem? Everyday Music. I went to the one downtown on Saturday evening, looked around for an hour and a half, and ended up spending five bucks on some bargain-bin records and a jacked-up copy of Red Dragon on DVD. I went through all seven bins in their New Arrivals section, and didn't even pause once. But I'll tell you what: If I need nine VG copies of Elton John's Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, I know exactly where to go.

Sweet burn.

I'm taking a trip to Anaheim for work next week, so I went to Crossroads yesterday so I could pick up the latest copy of Record Collector News and start mapping out my plan of L.A.-area-record-store attack. I'm working till 6 every day I'm there, so let's not kid ourselves: I'm just going to find my way to Amoeba every evening and rummage through that place until they kick me out at 11. I figured I'd better warm up, so while I was at Crossroads helping myself to free literature, I decided to take a look around. Of course, I bought more than I should have. Good stuff, though. Check it:

Seaweed - "Measure" 12" (1992)

I love 90's Sub Pop 7"s, but I also really enjoy the corresponding German-pressed 45-RPM 12"s that they put out for some of their singles, too. They usually have the same songs as the 7" version, with a bonus track or two tacked on. I don't have a ton of 'em, nor do I have a ton of Seaweed stuff, so I was happy to find this. This features the two non-album songs from the standard single, "Measure" and "Turnout," and also includes a demo version of "Taxing," a song from 1992's Weak. And, because it's a 12" that spins at 45, it sounds awesome. In the credits they refer to the cover art as an "exquisite watercolor portrait," and I can't tell if they're being sarcastic or not. I actually think it's pretty cool.

Fudge Tunnel - Teeth EP (1992)

The 12" 45s from 1992 continue. I'm not a big get-on-the-floor-and-sift-through-the-understock kind of guy, but finding this bad boy in a cardboard box amidst a bunch of other random stuff relegated to under-the-shelf status has me rethinking that approach. I've had the same CD copy of this for almost twenty years, and I've long wanted the vinyl. I've never seen it in a store, and most of the online copies come from overseas, so I guess I just never dealt with it. I hoped I may one day find it in the wild, and I did. The CD has six tracks; this EP only has four. Omitted were the video edit of "Sunshine of Your Love" and "Joined at the Dick," which was previously available on the 7" that came with the limited-edition version of Hate Songs in E Minor. That one's next on my list. "Teeth" is still a great song.

Happy Mondays - Bummed (1988)

I bought Bummed on cassette from the cutout bin at Fred Meyer when I was probably 14, and while I was riding home with my mom, I opened the tape, unfolded the cover, and was faced with the most naked, body-hairless women I had ever seen grace album art. I quickly folded it back up so my mom wouldn't see, and played it cool. Of course I can't find a decent picture of it, but if you can imagine the two halves of her from this NSFW page connected and on the backside of a cassette cover, you'll get the idea. Anyway, I'm mentioning this because the inner sleeve to this album features two pictures of the lovely lady: the one from the old cassette, and this also NSFW one, one on each side. Oh, memories. I love this record, too, so I'm happy to have it. First press on the Factory label with the original embossed cover.

Bongwater - The Power of Pussy (1990)

Speaking of offensive cassettes I purchased when I was a teenager... I remember buying a used copy of this from Ranch Records in Salem, having no idea what I was getting myself into. And even when I did get into it, I barely understood what was happening. Still, this was a pretty badass tape to have around, and I was eventually able to enjoy most of it, especially the title track and the 10-minute "Folk Song," which is a wild ride of acoustic guitar and rambling, stream-of-consciousness vocals that are really hilarious and sharp. I don't often see Bongwater albums in record stores, even though they're not quite as rare as they seem like they should be. I got this for five bucks. Awesome. If you've never seen the video for "The Power of Pussy," it's here, along with an interesting story about its creation. Oh, also: this LP still has an original Shimmy Disc catalog in it, which is sweet.

Pavement - "Cut Your Hair" 12" (1994)

Another 12" single that plays at 45. Pavement singles aren't extremely rare, but you don't see 'em too often. In fact, I think this is my first Pavement 12" single, and I'm sure it will lead to many more that I don't really need because all the B-sides have shown up on the reissues. Or have they? This single actually features an unlisted track that has never been reissued: a weird, alternate, instrumental version of "Rain Ammunition," a rare cut from the Slanted and Enchanted days. A Pavement-y move if I've ever heard one. The actual B-sides that are included here are "Camera" and "Stare," which are both good songs, just not good enough for Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain apparently. It's understandable. That record's pretty flawless.

Pavement - "Range Life" 12" (1995)

So I guess that would make this the second Pavement 12" single in my collection. This one wasn't released stateside, so instead of being on the standard Matador label, it's on Big Cat, the UK label that released Pavement stuff over there. This one includes two non-album B-Sides, "Raft" and "Coolin' By Sound," both of which would be reissued on the deluxe version of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. "Raft" has always sounded like a winner to me; not sure why it didn't make the cut for the album. Seems like it would have fit in nicely. But, Pavement loves to be nonsensical. You know that.

Helloween - "I Want Out" 12" (1988)

This is probably the Helloween record that I see the most in record stores, and in fact, I've come across it a few different times at Crossroads. But, the copies are usually slightly overpriced and often not in the best shape, so I've passed. Not this time. I found a sweet copy on clear blue marbled vinyl for a reasonable price and had to grab it. Glad I waited. This is yet another 12" that plays at 45 RPM, and yet another one that features some solid B-sides. "Save Us" was not on the original LP issue of Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part II (it was on the CD), so it was a slight rarity at the time. "Don't Run for Cover" is a Michael-Kiske-penned non-album track that was exclusive to this single. Both tracks showed up on the expanded edition of Part II that was released in 2006. This thing is a gem.

Sonic Youth - "Disappearer" 12" (1990)

Man, I really bought a lot of 12" singles, didn't I? One of my friends went to see Sonic Youth around this time and bought a t-shirt with this same Traci Lords image on it. I would love to have one, but they routinely sell for like $150 on eBay. Good stuff! Anyway, this is a weird one. It's got the "(edit)" version of "Disappearer," which, like most Sonic Youth edits, cuts out some of the noise. That's followed by an 8-track demo version of "Disappearer," which is the same one that would show up on the deluxe edition of Goo. Then there's the non-album track "That's All I Know (Right Now)," which would also appear on the deluxe Goo, and an 8-track demo version of "Dirty Boots" that is not the same one from that reissue. Weird. And, it's called the "long version," when it's actually shorter than the other demo version that is on the deluxe edition. But it is longer than the album version. If that makes sense.

And that's it. Though I did see a few things that I might have to go back for next weekend. I have no willpower, so it'll probably happen.