Saturday, April 25, 2015

Record Store Day 2015.

At this point I'm mostly going to Record Store Day just to do it. Yeah, there were a few things I really wanted to get this time around, but I could have shown up at Music Millennium way later than 5:30 AM and still copped those limited-ish releases. But: I actually like waiting in line with my friends once or twice a year, especially if it's to get into a record store. Plus, my brother was in town this RSD, and we wanted to make it an event. PLUS, I like to be back in bed by 9. (MM opens at 8, and actually one of the best parts of getting there early is leaving early with a bag full of shit and watching all the other people in line desperately speculate as to whether or not you bought the one thing they'll die without.)

So, yeah, we got there at 5:30 in the morning when it was still a little brisk, but it warmed up as the sun rose and we were probably 50th or so in line. Within hours the line was sprawling at least two blocks behind us. This picture does a terrible job of encapsulating the sheer volume, but you get the idea:
Once the doors opened, the line moved a little slower than it has in past years, but it's all in the name of order and fairness, and I'm super down with that.

I didn't grab much this year, but it sure cost me a lot! Here's what I went home with:

Dwarves - "Fun to Try" 7"

This was one of the records that I didn't want to leave without, and even though this thing was limited to 900 copies nationwide, there were more than enough to go around. Album version of the title cut, indistinguishable "remix" of "Sluts of the USA," and the non-album track, "Got Them Saints."

And a terrific back cover.

Citizen Dick - "Touch Me I'm Dick" 7"

What can I say? I'm a sucker for Seattle nostalgia. Bonus points for this coming with a fake concert poster sticker, but man: one-sided vinyl with some wacky etching on the flip and I'm in a full ten bucks on this slab.

Dolly Parton - The Grass is Blue

This my wife's favorite Dolly Parton album, and she was actually excited about it being available on vinyl for the first time. (This was originally released in 1999, so it's no surprise that it was CD-only till now.) For some reason I thought it was going to be on blue vinyl, but it's just black. However, I did just notice that the cover of this LP is different than the original CD release, so that is something.

V/A - The Wrestling Album/Piledriver

Uuuuuuugh the money I paid for this two-record set. I wasn't sure how they were going to do the cover and artwork on this one, and it's kind of odd: The Wrestling Album was a gatefold originally, so that's reproduced almost exactly, but with the red vinyl in the left pocket, and in the right, a slipcase repro of the original Piledriver single-LP cover, with yellow vinyl inside. There's one way to do it.

Built to Spill - Untethered Moon

Picked this up while I was there. Haven't listened to it yet, but I appreciate that Built to Spill keep providing CD copies with their vinyl. It's nice.

Vampire Weekend - "Step" 12"

White vinyl and the B-side features the remix with Heems, Danny Brown, and Despot. This definitely feels like something I would buy.

Run the Jewels - "Bust No Moves" 12"

This one worked out well for me: This 12" collects not only a new track and the previously not-on-vinyl "Love Again," but also the other two Run the Jewels cuts that I did not have physical copies of: "Pew Pew Pew," which I think was on a different issue of the first album than I own, and "Blockbuster Night Part 2," which I think had only been released as a digital one-off single-type thing? The vinyl on this is smoky clear and it's in a clear slipcase - pretty sweet package. Not too expensive. Felt good about this one.

This, on the other hand... I gotta stop getting caught up in the moment.

Wow! Straight Outta Compton on cassette, but the cassette is red and there's a slipcover with shitty, phony, insulting graffiti on a cartoon brick wall! No better time for me to prove who the biggest N.W.A. fan in the world is - even though I own an original copy of the cassette and have no real use for this one!

A lot of remorse over this one. By next year I'll have it down to zero garbage.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Event Attendance: Portland's Night Owl Record Show - April 11, 2015

Have I not been to the Night Owl Record Show in two years? I guess that's possible. This time around I was barely even there - I ended up with about 55 minutes between installing a chain-link fence in our backyard and evening plans to see a cover band in Beaverton with which to scramble around the crowded, stale-beer reek and try to find semi-gems amongst the madness.

I did good, considering! Here is what I bought:

The Doors - Alive, She Cried (1983)

There's this dude who's always at the record shows, always selling Zappa, Beatles, Talking Heads, and Doors stuff. He sells plenty of other vinyl in the same classic-ish rock categories, but those are the ones I care about. He's got a spot at Crossroads, too. I've picked up cool Doors stuff from him in the past, but this was about as cool as it was going to get this time around: A Guatemalan pressing of a Doors live compilation released in 1983.

Robby Krieger - No Habla (1989)

Also picked up this not-oft-sought after LP, which brings my total Krieger solo-record count to two. Feeling pretty weird about that. Not shockingly, he tackles a couple Doors songs on this LP.

Sci-Fi Sex Stars - "Rockit Miss U.S.A."/"Teenage Thunder" 12"

I barely understand what this is. Some crazy synth madness from the dude from Sputnik. I was just getting down for the cover art.

J.J. Fad - Supersonic: The Album (1988)

Still crazy to me that Dre and Yella were making this album at the exact same time they were rolling deep with N.W.A. and Eazy. And speaking of deep, I've somehow ended up with a bunch of J.J. Fad records on the Ruthless label. Young businessmen, they were. Entrepreneurs. I bet they were not nice to these poor girls.

Defari - Focused Daily (1999)

I saw Outkast at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles in 2001, and a pre-fame Ludacris and a mid-fame Xzibit were the opening acts. Xzibit had a dude with him who impressed me during the show, and I made a point to seek out his CD when I got back home. I did, and it was this album, and I had the CD for a long time and never came across the vinyl, but somehow at this record show I finally did. West Coast Liks shit right here.

Faith No More - "Epic" 12" (1990)

I'm not sure I'd ever seen this cover version of this single before. This is an import 12" on the Slash/London label, with three live tracks and a sticker on the front of it that mentions Kerrang! magazine's #1 ranking of The Real Thing in their '89 awards. Hot endorsement! 1989-issue Mike Patton on the back cover wearing high-tops and a Mr. Bungle t-shirt.

I bought all those records from a few different dealers, but I was really looking around for the couple from the late Boom Wow! Records, who always have the best hip-hop stuff. I didn't think they were there; turns out I'm just blind. The dude of the couple was there, and though I had precious little time at this point, I speed-flipped and ended up finding some great stuff.

Souls of Mischief - "Never No More" 12" (1994)

He had the "'93 Til Infinity" 12", too, but it was $25 and I can't even smoke like that. This one's a solid little single in its own right - a "Rock On Mix" of "Make Your Mind Up," a "76 Seville Mix" of the title track, and a song called "Good Feeling" that I think might be exclusive to this single. There's some instrumentals on here, too. Man, these kids can rap.

2 Live Crew - "Me So Horny" 12" (1989)

I bought Nasty as They Wanna Be recently; I guess this seemed like its logical companion. I was gambling on the B-sides on this thing being somewhat interesting, and they are. There are two remixes of "Get the Fuck Out of My House" and they are both booty-shake steez, ready to be played at high volume in a club full of University of Miami satin Starter jackets.

Schoolly D - "No More Rock 'N Roll" 12" (1988)

I was listening to Schoolly's Smoke Some Kill on the way to the record show, so I guess it made sense that I'd come across this single. The cover doesn't say that it's a promo, but the vinyl does, and there's an unlisted track on the first side, which seems to just be an instrumental with the chorus vocals left in. There's also a clean "UK Mix" and a remix of "Treacherous" on the flip. You know this guy invented gangsta rap, right?

Low Profile - "Pay Ya Dues" 12" (1989)

I've been meaning to buy Low Profile's lone album for about 20 years now - ever since I heard Cube mention them in "I Gotta Say What Up," I think. (Side note: "I Gotta Say What Up" is the greatest shout-out song of all time. Recognize.) Well, I've never found that. But I did find this 12", which is pretty sweet. Two album tracks, an instrumental, and some bonus beats. Not sure why it's so tough to find early WC shit. I could really use a copy of the first Maad Circle LP, too.

M-4 Sers - I am a Star (1987)

No idea what this is, other than 1987 and Miami and there's a song called "Crack is Wack" on it. I'm down.

Anquette - "Ghetto Style" 12" (1987)

Little embarrassed I'd never heard of these gals. More Miami bass, but this one's on the Luke Skyywalker label. One of those 12"s that features an instrumental of a song that's otherwise not on the record. Makes sense!

This song is actually pretty dope.

Digital Underground - "Doowutchyalike" 12" (1990)

I have the "Doowutchyalike"/"Packet Man" 12", but I somehow didn't have this one. It features the song "Hip-Hop Doll," which I did not have and had not heard before, so I'm cool with that.

Point Blank MC's - "What This Party Needs" 12" (1986)

I passed this record up the very last time I was at Boom Wow!, and I think maybe they dropped the price this time around, too. Either way, I was too intrigued to let this slide again. I mean, what a cover.

MC EZ & Troup - "Just Rhymin"/"Get Retarded" 12"

Craig Mack before he was Craig Mack! My streak of picking up pre-fame rap records continues. It's weird though - the songs on here are listed as being by "C. Mack." Mack's on some "real name, no gimmicks" shit? Tough call in dropping the MC EZ moniker!

The CIA - Cru' in Action! (1987)

Speaking of pre-fame rappers, here's the Ice Cube/Sir Jinx/Dr. Dre single that came out a year before N.W.A. hit the streets. Can't believe I didn't have this one - it's actually not that rare, but apparently I haven't come across it. Finally did. Still not sure if this is called Cru' in Action, the CIA EP, or My Posse.

The Skinny Boys - Weightless (1986)

I picked up a few Skinny Boys cassettes over the past few years, or maybe it was just one. Either way, I've gone down a Skinny road and there's no stopping me now. I am actually feeling good about this one - it's in great shape and on the dope-ass Warlock label.

Record Store Day 2015 is mere days away. Will I buy some shit? Probably.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Internet Buys, April 2014: The Dayz of Wayback

I bought some records online over the past few weeks that I have been wanting for years. These are records that I kept thinking I would come across in stores for prices that weren't ridiculous, but it never happened.

So, they have that in common. What a bunch of them also have in common, and I think this is why I tracked them all down simultaneously, is that they're debut records from rappers whose subsequent projects would take them in a completely different - and usually more successful - direction, leaving these slabs o' wax as semi-rarities to be hunted down by goons like me.

These are them:

Total Devastation - In the S.F. Streets (1990)

Before Total Devastation were blazing doobs full-time at the hemp rally, they were flossing on the streets of Frisco in jumpsuits and Jordans, dabbling in gangsta rap. Red Eye goes by "B. Fresh" on this thing, and Big Tone aka Big Smoke aka Da Soopa Doopa goes by "Toss-Up T," I think. Still finding themselves. This fan-made video for "Comin' Up Hard" features some sweet early footage.

So, this record popped up on eBay about a month ago for the first time in at least a year, and I was there, bidding high and early. No movement for the entire auction until some shitbag last-seconded me and nabbed it. I was irate and resorted to Discogs, where I was able to pick it up for the same price, also in the shrink, also with the original promo sticker on the front. And while I was at it, the guy selling it also had this record, sealed, which I have also been looking for forever, so I added it on:

Total Devastation - "Many Clouds of Smoke" 12" (1993)

The pothead anthem that hooked me the minute I saw the video on Bohemia Afterdark at 3 in the morning when I was 17. This record features one of those remixes that is labeled "remix" but the only difference I can find between it and the album version is that it's 7 seconds longer. These crazy stoners.

This is a three-dollar record and I have never been able to find one in the wild. Found their other 12" singles, though. I think this may complete the ol' TD collection. Another mountain climbed.

The New Style - Independent Leaders (1989)

Before Naughty By Nature were yoking the joker, they were dropping knowledge as The New Style. (In fact, you can still hear the "new style" drop in "Yoke the Joker.) Treach was then known as "Double T. Treachery" (which he would call back to during his Naughty days), Vin Rock was "Vinnie Rock," and Kay-Gee had a hi-top fade that couldn't be coming more correct. They would soon ditch the dancers, hook up with Latifah, and take over.

So, around the same time I was going deep-cut steez with TD, this album showed up in my eBay feed and the price was surprisingly low. I've only ever seen this in a shop once, and the dude was trying to get $35 for a warpy-sleeved copy. That shit's a no-go with me. The person selling this copy on eBay did not put "Naughty By Nature" in the title of the auction, which may be why I was able to cop this for less than 10 bucks. Can't call myself a real Naughty collector without this one. Next stop: this 12".

Freddie Foxxx - Freddie Foxxx is Here (1989)

Speaking of Queen Latifah, before Freddie Foxxx was getting so tough with La and the Flavor Unit, before he became Bumpy Knuckles, and way before the industry shakedown, he was rolling deep with Eric B. (the Rakim one) and cutting the occasional cringe-worthy love song that is probably one of the reasons he's not quick to acknowledge this album's existence. Come on, Bump: it was over 25 years ago.

I've come close to buying this record 10 times over the past 15 years, but just never pulled the trigger. After nabbing all those other early-career footnotes, I needed to keep the buzz going so I found this one on eBay and paid what it's worth. Sweet copy. Felt good.

Freddie Foxxx - "Somebody Else Bumped Your Girl" 12" (1989)

I did not order this record when I bought Freddie Foxxx is Here, but it showed up in the same package. It's not in the best shape, but for free, I will take it. Not sure if the seller did this on accident or as a fun favor, and I'm not going to ask. This 12" features a remix and a dub version. Very 1989.

MC's of Rap - Ain't No Stoppin Us Now (1988)

I'm not sure how I got mixed up in an eBay auction for this one. This has nothing in common with the other records I picked up, but what it does have is one of the greatest names for a rap group ever, and it's an LP that I've seen a few times when I've been out-of-town record shopping, and it's always been a little too expensive for a record that I knew would be flat-out audio garbage. I love how they didn't even capitalize the "c" in "Mc" like it's "Micks of Rap." Just so great.

Smoove Matty Matt - "Rapping Wrestling" 12" (1987)

Discogs has got this thing listed as coming out in '86, but the way ol' Matty Matt talks about the wrestling on this song makes me think it's more towards '87. Needless to say, there is no date on the vinyl. I've known about this record for a while, and I even bought Smoove Matty Matt's sole other release, "I'm Not the One," sometime in the last year or so. Been waiting for a copy of this single to show up on eBay for less than $20. Waiting finally paid off and I got a great copy for half that.

The song is amazing, too - this dude's not dicking around on the casual-fan tip. To know that much about wrestling in the mid-80's you had to really be a cable-having, TV-guide-referencing, VCR-setting mat fan. And he's sampling Dusty Rhodes and shit! The originator of the wrestling-rap style.

Melvana - "Sacrifice" b/w "Way of the World" 7" (1993)

This is a bootleg 7" of a dicey bootleg recording of Dave and Chris from Nirvana joining Buzz from the Melvins onstage at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle in January of 1992. These songs are both Flipper covers, and it's all really loosey-goosey. My brother bought this record for me as a gift many years ago and at a low-point moment in my life about 10 years ago, I sold it on eBay. I always felt like a real ass for doing it, but figured I'd just pick it up again when I got my shit together.

Of course, by that time, the record had become a minor collector's item and the prices had really ramped up. They've pretty much stayed there, but I got a decent price on a great copy of this record, and I shall not let it slip away. Good to hear these songs again. You can almost smell the beer-soaked thermals.

Speaking of my brother, he's going to be out here for Record Store Day 2015, which is almost a week away. When it comes to RSD, I think I'm mostly excited about this: