Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September Record Shopping in Tucson and Albuquerque.

Last week I took a trip to the Southwest with a handful of missions in mind: I'd never seen my brother's band, The Monitors, before (because I live in Portland and they are based in Tucson), so when I found out they were playing a Thursday night show, I decided it was as good a reason as any to get the hell out of town, see them play, then stick around and make a long weekend of it.

I don't remember exactly how I got the idea to go to Albuquerque and check out Breaking Bad landmarks while I was out there, but once I looked into it, I realized it was actually a realistic plan and something I would never have the opportunity to do again (while the show was still airing), and something I wouldn't forgive myself for if I didn't do. So, we did it, and we not only checked out Breaking Bad stuff, but also Albuquerque's record and comic-book stores. And we tooled around Tucson's stores for a day before we even did that. We were all over the place.

Here's how it went:

First off, here's The Monitors playing at Plush in Tucson:
Hot gig! That's my brother and frequent guest-contributor Pocaroba on drums.

The next afternoon (Friday), we hit the streets of Tucson. First stop: that place you see in the first picture, MetroGnome Music. MetroGnome is doing a lot of stuff, all at once. They sell musical instruments, but they also have DVDs, CDs, vinyl (kind of), and a bunch of sweet Nintendo stuff:
I could have gone nuts in there, but it was our first stop of many and I didn't want to get ahead of myself. I settled for an NES Tag Team Wrestling cartridge and a copy of Chill Factor on DVD.
Next we hit Toxic Ranch, Tucson's stalwart punk-rock shop, which is, sadly, closing (or maybe moving) soon. I loosened up the grip on my wallet a little bit at Toxic Shock, mostly because I found some cool, cheap stuff:

Hullabaloo - Dead Serious (1990)

One of many bands I would never have heard of it weren't for the Teriyaki Asthma comps that C/Z put out in the early 90's. Also, this is a great album cover.

Pork - Grand Slam Baby 7" (1993)

I picked up a different Pork 7" when I went record shopping in Atlanta last year and liked it, so when I found this one on white vinyl for a buck, I figured I'd roll the dice. Mid-90's lady rock.

Toxic Ranch used to have a label, and they still have a bunch of their releases left over. 50 cents each on cassette:

Shell Shock - More Gore (1988)

Think this might be thrash.

Hullabaloo - Dead Serious (1990)

My goal is to own this one on ALL formats! I'm listening to this right now and they're covering Led Zeppelin's "The Rain Song" and it's either the best or worst thing I've ever heard.

Jack Endino - Angle of Attack (1990)

Endino! This dude has recorded many bands that you love, and he also makes his own music. This is one his projects. Haven't listened to it yet.

Hullabaloo - Beat Until Stiff (1989)

Hey, that title's dirty! This one has a song on it called "Retardo Porn," which promises to be a classic.

Jesus Chrysler - This Year's Saviour (1988)

No idea.

Skin Yard - Hallowed Ground (1988)

One of Endino's more prolific bands. This one could be pretty sweet. That bonus track definitely has me feeling spoiled.

Next we hit Bookman's, which is a must-stop for me every time I'm in Tucson. Books, movies, music, video games - they've got tons of all that shit. I bought a Jackass box set (don't you dare judge me), a Jim Morrison magazine, a comedy record by a Hawaiian comedian, a Prince 7", a random Disco single, and this LP:

Gucci Crew II - So Def, So Fresh, So Stupid (1987)

I had hoped this one might be salvageable, but the vinyl is pretty wrecked. This one won't make the official collection cut. Instead, I'll listen to it in my garage. Good enough.

Next we went to Zia Record Exchange, which I failed to take a picture of. But I did pick up these two items:

Let's Wrestle/The Love Language - Split 7" (2010)

I bought a Let's Wrestle single last year in Philadelphia, and though I initially picked it up based solely on their name, I ended up really liking it. So, I thought I'd give this one a go. Never heard of the other band, but I can safely say I like their name a lot less.

Radiohead - Hail to the Thief (2003)

I've been waiting to find this one used for a long time, and my patience paid off. This is a 2008 reissue, but the important thing is I didn't pay 28 bucks for it.

That evening, we hit the hallowed grounds of the Tucson Swap Meet. I picked up a few Nintendo games, but I never dreamed I would find so many cassettes. Apologies for the writing on the cases.

Above the Law - Livin' Like Hustlers (1990)

I used to have an ATL tape, but it wasn't this one. Don't think I've ever heard this one.

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

So glad I found this. This was one of the first rap tapes I ever bought and I have no idea what I did with my original. One of the greatest rap records of the 80's, easy.

Daddy D - Check Ya Self (1993)

I have a few other Daddy D records, but dude seems more like a Fresh Prince knockoff on those. I'm pretty sure this is the same dude, but on the inside of this album he is brandishing a gun. Also, I can find literally nothing about this release on the internet. Very excited.

Digital Underground - Sons of the P (1991)

Pretty sure I don't already have this on cassette.

Just-Ice - Kool & Deadly (Justicizms) (1987)

This one is possibly a bootleg. Shoddy craftsmanship all around.

Metal MC - Born to Party (1988)

They sure are. Warren from the Vandals' band before he joined the Vandals. Rap rock in its most nascent form.

Tony M.F. Rock - Let Me Take You to the Rockhouse (1989)

Skywalker Records. This one could be trouble. Or just a bunch of booty bass in my face.

X-Clan - Xodus (1992)

Feeling like I might get some knowledge dropped to my domepiece with this one. I'm ready.

Frank Zappa - The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life (1991)

Not my favorite Zappa era, but hey: double cassette in one of those fancy double-cassette cases!

So that was Tucson, and that was Friday. Saturday, we made it to Albuquerque. Right when we got there, we spotted this place. Turns out the sign was mostly a lie: they had like 12 records. Instead, it seemed to be a graffiti supply store. Because apparently those exist.
After touring some Breaking Bad sites and taking in the dirty city, we ended up at We Buy Music, a place that time and society forgot a long time ago. Here are some more pictures:
I mean, get a load of those CD shells. The place was fairly spotty, but after overhearing the owner talking to another customer about "The Boneyard," which we figured out was a "secret" area in the store, I had to ask about it. Turns out the guy who runs the place was cool with us checking it out, and he led us to a back room:
This is what record nerds (literally, sometimes) dream of. It wasn't exactly Valhalla, but I did find a bunch of weird private-press stuff that I'm not going to share here because I'd have to photograph the covers and I don't feel like dealing with it.

When all was said and done, I did find a few things I'll be adding to my record shelves, as well as some more cassettes:

Roxy Music - Flesh & Blood (1980)

Cheap and still in some of its shrink. And a Roxy Music record I'm not altogether familiar with.

Railroad Jerk - The Third Rail (1996)

Bohemia Afterdark-era band that I have a feeling I don't actually like that much, but this was five bucks so I was willing to risk it.

2 Young Brothers - "Check Out the Hook" 12" (1991)

Dynamite MC and DJ Devastation! I have little faith in this one.

John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band - Roadhouse (1988)

My brother and I were talking Eddie & The Cruisers and I got caught up.

V/A - Dudes: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Album (1987)

They just won't release this on DVD, will they? This may be the only soundtrack that contains both W.A.S.P. and The Vandals.

Material - Seven Souls (1989)

Bill Laswell, going nuts I'm sure.

David Byrne - Sounds from True Stories (1986)

This is the score, not the actual soundtrack. Man, they really let David Byrne go nuts with this thing.

Users of the Wicked Gravity - Breaking Through the Fifth Wall (1991)

This is a homemade tape from a local Tucson band and I cannot wait to hear it.

That night we ended up at Charley's, a strange-ish store where they had a ton of overpriced cassettes and vinyl stock that was sealed, regardless of whether it was new or not. Everything was sealed. By them. It was bizarre. Here are some more pictures:
I was really excited when I walked into this place, but it ended up being sort of a bust. I got an old gangsta rap VHS tape and these few things:

Mike Watt - "E-Ticket Ride" 7" (1995)

Watt! Contains two bonus tracks on the b-side, one of which is a Blue Oyster Cult cover with Frank Black on vocals.

Big Scoob - "U Got It" 12" (2001)

I can't believe I found this, though I was probably the only one looking for it. You know how I feel about Scoob.

The next day we went to this place:
They were selling Men at Work records for six bucks and I will not stand for that. But I did pick up a few dollar records, so that was something.

And that's that. I didn't spend a bunch of money, but I spent a bunch of time. And that's just as good, if not better.