Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Now Playing 02/19/10

1. Once OST
These nice, if wildly heartfelt, indie-folk (beard division) songs drive this fine, under-stated movie.

2. Lou Reed Walk on the Wild Side
Much more representative of Lou's solo work (take the creepy beauty of "Satellite of Love" for instance) then Rock n' Roll Diary.

3. Reo Speedwagon Hi Infidelity
Q: What's the difference between a Neglected Genius of Power Pop and AOR swill?
A: About four million units.
Harsh perhaps, but listen to "Tough Guys" before you dismiss the idea.

4. The Beatles Let it Be
Naked or Spectored this oft-brilliant project is still filler-laden and unfocussed, and while I never take John Lennon at his word I enjoyed his defense of Phil Spector's production excesses, "He was given the shittiest load of badly-recorded shit with a lousy feeling to it ever, and he made something of it."

5. Gaza Strippers 1000 Watt Confessions
Rick Sims' eighties band, the Didjits played a classic rock/pop-punk mix-up just a bit too soon but by the time of this album's release in the late nineties it sounds a little to late.

And that, fellow obsessives, is that...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Your Stories II

TLRS loves your stories about music retail (from either side of the counter) and would like to post them. Please leave a comment and we'll put them up, either in batches or (in this case) as stand alone pieces.

As I write this, the next to last remaining independent record store in Dayton, OH will be closing down within the week. When the news hit, so many music lovers went into shock. Like so many other dying institutions, everyone flocked to the store for one last time of remembrance. But I knew it was coming.

While growing up, the first place I hit after cashing my paycheck was the record store. That custom continued well past the cd switch. But within the last 5 years, the releases I wanted became more difficult to obtain. It became frustrating to go into a local record store only to walk out empty handed because the album I truly wanted had to be special ordered. I hate to admit this, but when the digital download options came into play, I played that option out because it was more convenient.

I still miss those old days of walking into a well-stocked record shop & losing myself. But that was another problem. The inventory in some of our local shops became so scarce that it wasn’t even fun to browse anymore. All you could find was the same popular music found in most major department stores. There used to be so many record collector shows in this region, but those likewise ceased operations about 7 years ago.

Like I indicated previously, I knew the digital download options would kill the independents. I was stubborn & tried to buy everything I could from our local shops. When I finally bought my first download via Amazon, I knew that was it. I found some remixes that I’d been trying to find via special orders, but to no avail. But there they were staring at me from the computer screen. I could have them with the click of a button. I went for it.

We still have one remaining independent record store left in this small town. Trouble is, they don’t sell the music I love. But I hope they stay in business for a long, long time.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Now Playing 02/16/10

Gotta listen to albums you don't already own at the record store, so tonight's listening was:

1. Crime + the City Solution The Adversary Live.
A deceptive title as this is CCS most memorable song (arguably) as heard in the endurance-defying Wim Wenders' movie Until the End of the World paired with a live set of Nick Cave meets the Doors songs from 1990.
The Adversary ****/*****
Live * /*****

2. The Prime of Horace Andy
Sweet-voiced seventies reggae from Studio One's endless well of beautiful music most of the world has never heard.

3. Oi: the Main Event
A recording of mid-80's live Oi! extravaganza with the Business, the Angelic Upstarts and a lot of 3rd string oi band plus Judge Dread (an x-rated cross between Benny Hill and Prince Buster) who, judging from the tinny recording, didn't all get the crowd roaring along like The Business does with "Harry May" at the end.

4. Metallica Garage Days Re-Revisited
I decided to ignore Metallica around 1985 when a fan made me listen to Kill 'Em All. "You can't hear the vocals" I said, "The vocals don't matter in this kind of music" he retorted and that was that for me though a few moments like their blitzing cover of the Misfits "Last Caress" did end up mattering to me.

5. Townes Van Zandt A Private Concert
I cheated and listened to this poorly-recorded and poorly-regarded pseudo-live album on the car ride home and for the first time I understood Townes Van Zandt, not just the privileged writer and his tragic downfall narrative but how the allure of these finely-detailed narratives could make someone want to turn around and drive the old car to Texas with the CD on repeat.

A good night...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nostalgic for Nineties

I sold a shitload terrible CD's in the nineties. As a music retailer at stores such as Music World, A + B Sound and Musiplex, I could move thousands of units of garbage every day: Stone Temple Pilots, Shania Twain, the Empire Records soundtrack, Enigma, Matchbox 20, 1000% Dance compilations - people delighted in laying down cash because a friend had recommended the album or the the radio had played the single or they just needed some retail therapy. Then people discovered they could get music for free and the soggy bottom fell out of the cardboard CD-50 box. Now, at my current place of work, I'm buying those EXACT same albums, which retailed at ~$15.99, back for a pittance.

Of course, the odd fact is that it goes back out the door again albeit at a rock-bottom price. Over the course of a few years we've sold 250 copies of Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill. You need to stop and re-consider the exact implication of that number. 250 men, children and women (primarily the latter) have walked thorough our doors to dump that angst-addled album and THEN 250 more people all waltzed in and scooped it back up again.

Sometimes music retail seems like a zombie, feeding on the flesh the past.

On our playlist today, 1000 Mona Lisa's version of "You Oughta Know", the Ergs version of "Hey Jealousy", J Church's version of "Creep" and Ryan Adams' version of "Wonderwall"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Your Stories

TLRS loves your stories about music retail (from either side of the counter) and would like to post them. Please leave a comment and we'll put them up, either in batches or (in this case) as stand alone pieces.

I used to own a very hip indie record store. I fought bravely through the early punk years dealing with GG Allin, an occasional blood-spurting exploding penis on cover of a 45, Dead Kennedy's posters by HR Giger, and other gross and offensive imagery. When the Ism LP came out with the extreme close-up of the woman giving birth on the cover, I caved and put a brown wrapper over it -- mostly so I didn't have to look at it every single day myself.

But the day I got a call from a white power distribution company trying to get me to carry Skrewdriver and other similar bands gave me one of the sickest feelings I've ever had. My first conversation with a card-carrying Nazi was as short as I could make it, but the sick feeling lingers 15 years later.

Just wanted to add my "Well done!"

I first heard reggae rapper Shinehead say it and I agree "Freedom of speech is freedom to teach" and there's no reason to put up with racist entertainment.

(Anonymous for now...)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Smash Fascism

Today I smashed an Ian Stuart CD into bits on the sidewalk. Ian Stuart led the band Skrewdriver and was one of England's most virulent racists before his death in 1993. On this particular CD, Stuart's name (and that of his partner, Stigger) was emblazoned on a swastika. My co-worker and I debated what best to do with this hunk of weapons-grade bullshit. We weren't going to sell it at our store, we didn't want to give it away and even the garbage can seemed too forgiving. So I took it outside and executed it.

While direct censorship by governments can be dangerous, destruction of Nazi propaganda I've come into possession of is perfectly fair game. I can recall the sick feeling I got many years ago when my local record store chose to carry albums by Skrewdriver. That's not right. Racist, murderous ideologies must be resisted, not passively condoned.

And besides, seeing the shattered bits of aluminum shine in the mid-day lent a certain beauty to the whole episode.

The Soundtrack