Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guest Post: July 3rd Record Shopping in Portland/Tacoma/Seattle, Part Two.

(Ed. note: I mentioned in my previous post that my brother's summary of our joint record-buying road trip would show up here soon, and true to my word, here it is. Thanks to him for another long-ass guest post.)

Green Noise
Green Noise has become my favorite spot in Portland, with a great selection of punk and indie rock LPs and 45s. I always seem to have good luck there and this trip was no exception. 

Ten-O-Seven - You're Cool (1993)

I have always had a soft-spot for this Seattle pop/punk band. They sometimes are a little too emo for my liking but their best songs more than make up for it. I have had this on CD for quite some time but was excited to find the LP. Apparently it is available on red vinyl but mine is on black so, you know, I'll eventually have to find that one too.

A Minor Forest - Joyful Ride On The Donkey EP 10" (1994)

Mr. Stallion Alert himself pulled this one out of a stack of new arrivals, so new in fact that they were still laying unpriced on the counter. I have never seen this in the wild and am pretty sure that there is a song on here that was never released on anything else (the other 3 songs were included on a CD discography). The guy gave me a really fair price and it was a no-brainer. It also had the original insert which seemed to be an introduction to the band leading me to believe that this is one of their first releases. Pretty excited about this one.

Larry - Larry EP 7" (1998)

This is the solo debut of former Rickets member, Larry (previously known as Diarrhea). Larry plays all of the instruments on what, unsurprisingly, sound like a bunch of unreleased Rickets songs. Which is a good thing. There is no date on this thing but I put it as around 1998. I have his follow-up 7", "Do You Want To Hate Me?," which came out in 2000. Anyways, this is on Larry's own Puke Records and features such sensitive songs as "Berkeley Scenester Scum" and "Half Dead." I'm down.

Mark Bruback/Whorehouse Of Representatives - "Burn Down Nike Town" 7" (1998)

I found this split 7" in the 2 dollar bin and couldn't believe my luck. Whorehouse Of Representatives were a great Seattle punk band and I have been slowly finding their stuff over the years. I don't really know who Mark Bruback is but it seems to be spoken word stuff. I haven't had the guts to listen to his side yet. The artwork on this thing is extensive as it is basically a 16-page mini-book. Each song gets its own page and artwork and then some. You have to admire the work ethic of these crusty punks. Whorehouse contribute 3 songs about the usual stuff but unfortunately don't sing about Nike Town (that song is on spoken word dude's side). Oh well. It still sounds great.

Worst Case Scenario - "Checkin' Out" 7" (1996)

I already had these 3 songs on other stuff but the artwork is dope and the price was right. Justin and Brandt from Unwound playing disturbing hardcore songs. The singer's voice makes my throat hurt.

V/A - Superhits Volume I 7" (1992)

This is another 7" where the artwork is designed as a book with each band getting two pages. Once again, the work ethic of the crusty punks. This NW punk compilation includes songs from Aspirin Feast (who later morphed into Chicken), Meatminder, North American Bison, and DUMT. The artwork on Discogs shows this as being blue and black but mine is hot pink and black with yellow vinyl. It is also hand numbered 98/500. Nice.

Rocket Records

Rocket Records is a frustrating place because they have tons of great stuff but the prices turn it into a museum. I have never seen so many records marked at $80 and $100 before. Who is paying that? Are people really paying that? Lord knows I'm not. Still, I managed to dig out a couple gems.

764-Hero - "Now You're Swimming" 7" (1995)

I was extremely excited to find this and at a reasonable price. I already have this 7" but my copy is a second edition with different artwork. This purchase solves that as this is a first edition and in great shape. "Now You're Swimming" might also be their best song, which sweetens the pot.

Jonestown - Genetics For Your Future 7" (1990)

How many Jonestown 7"s can their be? I continue to try and like this band and continually don't. However, I'll keep on buying their stuff when I find it. Figure that one out.

Severin - Severin (1992)

This is a funny one. Mr. Stallion Alert himself was digging through a dollar box of LPs and I pointed this one out to him, saying it was on Dischord and from the early 90s. He went for it. When we got home and I further inspected the record, I saw that the band featured Mark Haggerty from Gray Matter, one of my favorite Dischord bands. My kind brother then gave me the record. What a champ, that guy.

Rubato Records

As Mr. Stallion Alert himself pointed out, it was a weird scene inside of Rubato Records. We were kind of in a hurry to get out of there but I still managed to find The Cars' Door to Door in a dollar box and this little gem.

Some Velvet Sidewalk - "Pumpkin Patch" 7" (1991)

I am not a die hard Some Velvet Sidewalk fan by any means, but I pick up their stuff when I find it. This one is especially cool as it is part of the International Pop Underground series and I know the song "Pumpkin Patch" as I have had the Crayon cover (from their "Snap-Tight Wars 7") for years. Plus, it is in really nice shape. Yay for me.

Singles Going Steady

I love Singles Going Steady. Their 7" bins might be my favorite place in the world. I didn't do nearly as much damage there as I did last time but I still managed to spend the most that I spent in any one place on our trip.

Bristle - Won't Die For You (1996)

I seem to find a Bristle record every time I go back home so why break the trend? This is their only LP and delivers exactly what I was hoping for: 90s NW punk about beer and hating stuff.

Defiance - Nothing Lasts Forever (1999)

I was really excited to find this at a decent price and have been listening to it regularly since getting it home. The LP is in tip-top shape, is a gatefold, and includes a huge pull-out poster of the cover. Have I mentioned the work ethic of the crusty punks yet? Defiance are from Portland and always deliver gleefully angry punk music. Their crusty but actually play longer, slower style songs. Good stuff. "Kill The Bastards" and "You Don't Know" are my current jams.

Portrait Of Poverty - Portrait of Poverty (1998)

I had heard Portrait of Poverty on various compilations so it wasn't hard to drop the five bucks on this LP. This is yet more 90s NW punk and the release is kind of a weird one. The LP is hand numbered 89/300 and is on red vinyl. The sleeve is made out of a thicker stock paper but is basically folded over like a giant 7". It is listed as being on Infect Records but I get the vibe that was created to simply release this. The music is definitely in the vein of Poison Idea, kind of metally punk. Still, it works for me. Plus, it's hard not to like a song called "Scumbags in Paradise."

Pansy Division - "Jack U Off" 7" (1994)

I will buy anything of Pansy Division's. Their artwork is always great and the songs never disappoint. "Jack U Off" is a sped up cover of the Prince song and it works out very nice. The B-side, "Strip U Down," is a slower tune, almost like an 80s country ballad, about, well, wanting to Strip U Down. Duh.

Witchypoo - "Olympia Must Die" 7" (1998)

This is some late period Witchypoo, and although I haven't listened to it yet, I'm sure it will be noisy. The title of the title track is hilarious and the record also includes a cover of the Melvins' "Anal Satan." Nice touch. Not a huge Witchypoo fan but I will throw down if the price is right. And it was.

Battle of Disarm - In The War EP 7" (1994)

Singles Going Steady have such fair and reasonable prices that I always end up dropping loads of cash there. This record is a great example. Most places probably would have priced it at nine or ten bucks (which I would reject) but here? Five bucks. Sold. I have some of their stuff from a Masskontroll split and always liked it. This sounds like more of the same: Japanese crust punk about animal rights and war. Let's get crusty.

Capitalist Casualties/No Comply - A Painful Split 7" (2011)

This is basically a new split release of songs recorded by the bands in the 90s. The Capitalist Casualties side has five live songs from 1994, including quite possibly the greatest punk song of all time, "Greedy Bastards." The sound quality is worth mentioning, as for a live punk recording from '94, it sounds really good. As for No Comply, I wasn't very familar with them before this. Their side has nine songs recorded in 1997 for a demo. What's weird is that the sound quality on these is worse than the live recordings on the other side. The music is thrashy screamy stuff which is fine but not really my thing, especially when it sounds like it was recorded on a boombox. On a sidenote, this actually came with a digital download, which I could never get to work. So yes, those crusty punks have a high work ethic but poor file sharing skills.

Queen Anne Easy Street Records

I like this Easy Street Records quite a bit. They have endless amounts of budget CDs, well priced DVDs and lots of records. I actually spent most of my time digging through the DVDs but still managed to pick up some music.

Mukilteo Fairies - Closet Check EP 7" (1994)

This is one of my favorite scores from the trip. I have a soft spot for the Mukilteo Fairies as their stuff was on so many Olympia compilations in the 90s but their records are pretty hard to come by. This was the classic record shopper story: it was the last 7" in the last row of 7"s. So let that be a lesson to all of you. What you get are 12 spastic, angry punk tunes, including my favorite, "Heavy Into Brett." Plus, the artwork is really nice with full lyrics included and the price was way lower than it should have been.

Poster Children - Just Like You EP CD (1994)

Mr. Stallion Alert himself doesn't like to brag about his CD finds but I have no such problem. Case in point. I found this for a dollar and as I don't think it was ever released on vinyl, I don't mind buying it on CD for a buck. I was never a big fan of this band but but this as a promo cassette all the way back in '94. I always liked it and just never got around to buying the proper release. Hey, it only took me 18 years.

Porn Orchard - Urges and Angers CD (1991)

I like Porn Orchard and I'm not afraid to admit it. I have had this LP for a long time but had never seen it on CD before. Imagine my surprise when I saw that it included not one, not two, but seven bonus tracks. With my curiosity piqued I picked it up. Upon further research it turns out the bonus tracks are the "Heart And Brain Raw EP" in its entirety that was released on Porn Orchard's own label on vinyl. Color me stoked.

And that was that.

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 3rd Record Shopping in Portland/Tacoma/Seattle.

My brother was out here in Portland (from Tucson) for a vacation during the week of the 4th of July, so as usual, we made it a priority to head up north and hit our usual vinyl-buying haunts in Tacoma and Seattle. Not to be a downer right from the get-go, but I do want to get this out of the way: it wasn't our most successful trip, for a number of reasons, all of which were beyond our control. Not a total bust, mind you, but there were some frustrating aspects to the day. I'll whine about those as we go.

But first: I'm going to throw in our trip to Green Noise in Portland at the beginning here, even though we didn't hit it up on the same day as our road trip. We did hit it, though, and we spent some time there, and I bought some stuff, so I'm going to kick it off with that.

And if I haven't said it before: Green Noise is one of the best record stores in Portland. The dudes who work there are super nice; they've got a legit collection of 7"s to flip through (which is something a lot of record stores in this town sorely lack); and their prices are fair. And they have cassettes. And VHS tapes. They even had some reel-to-reels when we were there. I liked their previous location a bit better than their current one (the old spot was lived-in and felt more record-store-y), but they're still getting the job done.

Here's what I got there:

V/A - Teriyaki Asthma, Vol V 7" (1991)

I'm actually not 100% sure that I got this at Green Noise, but I think I did. Anyway, these are songs that I've heard a hundred times because I've had the Teriyaki Asthma, Vols. I-V comp for twenty years, but I've been picking up the 7"s if I come across them at a decent price. This one is the yellow vinyl version, and it was just a few bucks, so I laid it down. This one features Jonestown ("Fuck Your High and Get You Up," which is an amaaazing song), Gas Huffer, Porn Orchard, and Daddy Hate Box.

Homostupids - The Brutal Birthday EP 7" (2006)

This is one of Homostupids' first releases, and it's on plain-labeled, one-sided vinyl, and features six songs that don't even last a total of five minutes. Pure Homostupids. Highlights include "Finding the Corpse," "Tapeing the Worm," and "Finger." Brutal indeed.

Homostupids - The Glow EP 7" (2006)

This one is also in the same type of cheap-o white sleeve as the other Homostupids release I picked up, but this bad boy is on pink vinyl, has songs listed on the labels, and one of the tracks almost clocks in at two minutes. Deluxe! My Homostupids collection grows. This "EP" (it's not even four minutes long) marks the first appearance of "Apeshit," one of my favorite Homostupids cuts.

Pailhead - Trait (1988)

When it comes to records I own just for the sake of owning them, this one is right up there with Mike Patton's solo records. You can read more of my thoughts on this record here. I've had this on CD forever, and when I came across this LP for cheap, I figured I'd replace it with a vinyl copy. The one I got has a circular cut-out in the top right corner and I can't get this old-ass price tag off of it without risking ripping the shit out of the cover, but whatever.

Unwound - New Plastic Ideas (1994)

Unwound LPs are a hot commodity these days (copies of Leaves Turn Inside You routinely sell for $80-$100 on eBay), and I'm trying to fill out my collection before things get any worse. This is one that I didn't have, and somehow Green Noise had a still-in-the-shrink, cut-corner copy that has clearly never been played. Yeah, I'm not super excited about the chopped corner, but the price they let this go for made the decision easy. Lyric sheet included. Boom.

All right: Off to Tacoma!
We always look forward to going to Tacoma to go record shopping on our way up to Seattle, because it's always been a great place to warm up. There's a little strip that houses four or five different shops, and they've all been worth the trip in the past. Not this time.

I'm not sure what the hell is going on at Turntable Treasures (pic at the very top), but their prices have gone waaaay up, to the point where we walked around in there for about ten minutes, looked at each other, and bolted. Nearly every single record was $20. Dude was trying to sell copies of Men at Work albums for $8. You can literally find those in the garbage. For a second I thought I may have found a Helloween record that was reasonably priced, but upon inspection the vinyl was fuuuucked and the price tag was around $15. Insane. Like laughably ridiculous. We will never go there again.

As usual, we stopped by Hi-Voltage, which is across the street, just to confirm that their prices continue to be not based in reality, and they were, so we were out of there in less than two minutes. But, hey: if you want to pay $17 for a beat-up Fat Boys 12", this is your place!

Next up we went to this place that I can never remember the name of, but it's on that same strip. It's this big-ass spot that has pot-smoking paraphernalia, a huge room full of records, endless racks of 501 Jeans (?), VHS tapes, cassettes - just a mess of shit. Of course, none of it is priced, so buying stuff is an awkward process where you have to ask the guy about every single fucking thing you're interested in, just to find out that he wants $18 for a Sir Mix-A-Lot 12". I left with some random sample-ready records and a Vietnamese bootleg of the Doors' Strange Days.

Next we hit Rocket Records, even though we've rarely had luck there before, but I was getting desperate. The owner is a nice dude, and he explained to us that his policy is to sell things at a "third of internet prices." This got my hopes up. Though "internet prices" can mean a number of things. What it should mean is what people are actually paying for things, not what dildos are trying to sell stuff for. When I saw he had a copy of Sonic Youth's Sister priced at $80, I realized he was either lying, crazy, or maybe he meant he tripled internet prices. I bought an Oaktown's 3-5-7 12" for a buck and we got the hell out of there.

We were happy to leave Tacoma. It was a frustrating bust.
We headed north and hit West Seattle first, because we knew we wanted to go to Rubato Records and the Easy Street location that's over there. Rubato was a weird scene: apparently we were there during one of their final weekends. I couldn't really tell if they were trying to move or if they were just going out of business, but it was a tad bit sullen in there. Of course, that didn't stop me from picking up some random VHS tapes and this:

V/A - Bostonot 2x7" (1992)

My brother picked this out for me, because I think he already has it. It's a weird little collection featuring indie-rock bands covering Boston songs. Treepeople do "More Than a Feeling," Karp takes on "Let Me Take You Home Tonight," and there's also seven other bands doing random Boston covers. Kind of a novelty, but I'm happy to have the Karp track because it's not available anywhere else, and it's not Karp-y in the traditional sense.

After our short stint at Rubato we walked the block down to Easy Street, where I proceeded to find absolutely nothing I was interested in. Last time I was there, I know I walked out with a short stack of stuff, so this was a bit of a surprise. Still: better than finding stuff I wanted and balking at the price tag.
We got back in the car and headed to Seattle proper, where our first stop was the always reliable Singles Going Steady. I once again forgot to take a picture of it, so I jacked the above photo from Flickr to give you an idea of what the place looks like (from behind the counter, apparently). We spent some solid time here, as expected, but again, I didn't have as much luck as I did last time. Still, I found some stuff:

The Fluid - Roadmouth (1989)

I've been meaning to listen to The Fluid for about 20 years, and finding an original-issue of this LP (and the next one) is just the motivation I needed to finally make it happen. Sub Pop. Black vinyl. In really sweet shape. Didn't expect to see this at Singles Going Steady, but there it was.

The Fluid - Glue (1990)

This is the Fluid LP that I always remember seeing when I was younger, and I always thought the cover was pretty sweet. So that's something. I don't know if I see myself ever becoming a full-on Fluid fanatic, but I have been enjoying these two records. Rugged, ragged, and strangely poppy. The 90's continue to live in the music I always meant to get into but couldn't afford to.

Gnome - Six-Hi Surprise Tower (1992)

I'm pretty sure I got this at Singles Going Steady, though it may have been at the Queen Anne Easy Street, which was our next stop. Either way, it was via my brother sticking it under my nose and insisting I purchase it. It's from 1992, on the C/Z label, and is pressed on translucent cherry-red vinyl, so it wasn't a tough sell. Haven't listened to this one yet.

BOAT - Life is a Shipwreck, We Must Remember to Sing in the Life Boats 7" (2010)

I am having a heck of a time finding any info on this release on the internet, which is odd, because it says it's a 2010 Record Store Day release, and this band isn't exactly obscure. This is a clear flexi-disc that contains three songs, all of which sound terrible because flexis are a sweet novelty, but not great for much of anything else. Still, this is a cool little record to have.

I wouldn't say we were feeling defeated at this point, but we had definitely acknowledged to each other that it wasn't the most fruitful mission we'd been on. We headed to the Queen Anne Easy Street, which is always reliable, and thankfully I broke my streak and found some stuff I was really excited about. Again, not as much as I have found there previously, but it definitely made the rest of the day feel much less wasted. Here's what I grabbed:

Paris - Sonic Jihad (2003)

I can't believe it's been almost a decade since this dropped. I still think of it as one of Paris's "newer" records. It ain't. But it does still have that insane cover, which has probably been a bit softened by time, but man: putting this out in '03 was a little bold. Anyway, I've had the CD forever, but I'd never come across the 2xLP before. And it's gatefold, even. And also angry. It is very angry.

DJ Premier & Bumpy Knuckles - Kolexxxion (2012)

This is a badass comp of Bumpy/Premier tracks, some of which have appeared on 12" singles, Foxxx's Konexion LP, and probably some other places that I'm not aware of. Not surprisingly, the liner notes on this thing are of no help. No matter: this is 17 tracks of a couple of veterans making some no-nonsense rap music, and I'm into it. I almost bought this when I was down at Amoeba earlier this year, regretted not doing it, and I'm glad I came across it again.

Jr. High - Killer of Friendships (1997)
This is the one-off (right?) LP from Sean Croghan's post-Crackerbash band (that also features Joanna Bolme, and apparently Elliott Smith did some production work on it), and I'd never heard it, so I was fine with paying four bucks for it. I've only listened to it once, but I liked it a lot. It's nothing like Crackerbash; it's much more restrained. Mature, even.

My Name - Megacrush (1992)

I have thought about buying this record, off and on, for 20 years, so when I found a sealed copy of it for five bucks, it seemed like the right thing to do. I was hoping it'd be colored vinyl, because I know there's some of those out there, but mine ended up being black. Still, unwrapping it after two decades was a sadly exciting experience for me. The music's a little too wacky for me most of the time, but I'll always think that cover art is brilliant.

Company Flow/Cannibal Ox - "DPA (As Seen on TV)"/"Iron Galaxy" 12" (2000)

A 2x12", gatefold split single. What a piece of work. I already had the Can Ox songs (because they ended up on their debut), but I didn't have the Company Flow stuff because I'm still catching up with that shit a decade later. This is back when Def Jux was still Definitive Jux, and in fact, I think it might be either the label's first or second release. I'm feeling good about this one.

Gas Huffer - "Mole" 7" (1992)

It wouldn't be a record-buying trip if I didn't pick up a Gas Huffer single, so here I am, filling my quota. Apparently there are a bunch of different variations of this record. Mine has the pink cover and an almost eggshell color to the vinyl. It's white, but not white-white. "Mole" is a sweet two-minute rocker (duh), and the B-side, "Body Buzz," is an instrumental.

Dwarves/Blag Dahlia - "We Must Have Blood"/"Surfing the Intercourse Barn" 7" (1996)

I almost had a Dwarves-less day, until my brother unearthed this gem (and another one that's coming next) for me. This is on Man's Ruin, which is a bit weird, and the vinyl is pink. The Dwarves track is from their The Dwarves are Young and Good Looking LP, though I'm not sure it's the same version. The Blag track is him reading a short story over wankery.

Dwarves - "Underworld" 7" (1993)

Another Dwarves single that I did not have, and though these two songs ("Lies" is the flip) appear on their Sugarfix LP, the ones here are alternate versions, which is always a treat for me. Clear yellow vinyl, Sub Pop, and a hilarious cover.

And that was it for me. Look for my brother's haul soon, if he gets his act together and writes it up. I still love you, Seattle. Tacoma: we're on thin ice.