My Story of RSD 2015 or Insanity Blooms Eternal

Over ninety minutes early and the line is more than one hundred deep. The old roomy and I meet and catch up as some dude directly in front of us chain tokes his way into the sonic abyss that is Record Store Day 2015. Music geek conversations drift through the air only interrupted by my backfiring joke at the length of the line.

“Maybe everyone is here to pick up that One Direction record…”

“I am!” says the woman just two people ahead. Her boyfriend starts laughing at my dumbfounded look.

I think to myself “I haven’t actually met a One Direction fan over the age of twelve” but I hold my tongue; after all, it isn’t even 9AM and pissing people off shouldn’t happen so early on a weekend.

The line moves forward in a civilized manner, which seems rather odd considering that I’ve had vinyl literally rain down upon my head during past RSD’s. Seriously, it is an odd sensation when a bunch of seven, ten and twelve inch records start smacking your cranium. Mild pain followed by anger and a quick burst of panic because you just don’t want any of this very sweet vinyl to get broken.

As usual, there is that group of people trying to look through the bins of records while the people behind them are giving them the “pick your record and get the fuck out my way” stare. It would be amusing if I wasn’t trying to get my hands on the same record as … well, the guy in front of me who just grabbed the last Otis Redding record that my fingers were reaching for.  Fortunately, I do get my hands on some of the stuff I wanted.

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The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan in gatefold cover with coloured red and white 180 gram vinyl

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The Dandy Warhols – Eponymous – first time on vinyl in double gatefold cover and white vinyl to boot

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George Thorogood & the Delaware Destroyers debut without bass as it was originally recorded. Also on blue vinyl

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Ride – OX4: The Best of – In glorious 180 gram red vinyl with a double gatefold cover

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Yeah I missed out on Social Distortion, Joan Jett, Small Faces and as mentioned, Otis Redding, but still had a pretty good time despite the competition and jockeying for best vinyl position. I jump into the vehicle and head for the elderly mall on the west side of the city figuring maybe I could grab some of what I lost out on. When I arrive the employees are praying mallrats will finish the free coffee they had for their customers. I manage to pick up a couple of the 7 inch’s I missed out on, namely Alex Chilton’s “Jesus Christ” and the Lemonheads/Gram Parsons split “Brass Buttons” on pink vinyl.

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Now, I’m looking at the clock and considering the likelihood of finding a few things at some record stores I’ve never tried before.

Do I really want to spend more?

It’s the best haul I’ve managed but the little music geek in the back of my brain is whispering, “find more… you must find more…”.

Then I remember, I have stuff on the way… other awesome pieces of vinyl in transit from places abroad.

Afterall, if you look around in the right places, any day can be a record store day. Yeah, right, who am I kidding, I’m heading to another record store.

Life is just Cooler with a little Matthew Sweet – On The Path To Vinyl Glory

Originally I was going to do a music memories take on Matthew Sweet and his always fantastic Girlfriend… I still might, but other things have popped up to make this a bit more informational for music fans in general.

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First Girlfriend was released on vinyl back in November with a slightly altered track listing. While the CD version contains 15 songs, the vinyl is cut down to 12 for space reasons. It seems that rather than picking and choosing someone’s ridiculous idea of weaker songs, they just dropped the last three tunes from the original 1991 Zoo release. (“Does She Talk?”, “Holy War” and “Nothing Lasts.”) It’s unfortunate really, it may have been a better idea to split the record onto two vinyl discs and add a couple ‘bonus’ tracks rather than remove anything… but whatcha gonna do.

Now I couldn’t find out if this Plain Recordings vinyl was remastered for vinyl or if it is taken from the CD master, but the sound quality is outstanding regardless. Having it burst from turntable to speakers gave me the same energized feel I got back in ’91 when it blasted out of my Walkman on my way to class.

The next two pieces of info are a little bit ahead of the curve this time so, if you are a fan, this is great news.

Last June, Sweet’s Facebook page announced a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new record. By mid July he had reached his goal and a new record should be showing up around April of this year. It was a pretty good campaign that included rewards such as downloads CD’s coloured vinyl and original artwork by Sweet himself.

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Also, Blue Sky On Mars (1997) has been released on vinyl in Europe (by Music On Vinyl), and has just landed here. Amazon has it on a 3 – 5 week delivery, but one of my favorite retailers, Northern Volume, has it in stock now. It’s on 180 gram audiophile vinyl and has a gatefold cover with insert.

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http://www.northernvolume.com/matthew-sweet-blue-sky-on-mars-180g-audiophile-vinyl-lp-record-from-music-on-vinyl/

If you are unfamiliar with Blue Sky On Mars, it is the last in a string of four records (Girlfriend, Altered Beast, 100% Fun & BSOM) Sweet put out on Zoo, and remain arguably his most well known. On this record he adds elements of the 70’s Todd Rundgren produced Cars to his usual Big Star inspired power-pop for what I’ll call a bit more of a carnival ride atmosphere. It swings in such a way that during the albums heavier moments it reminds you of the blasting rhythms you hear playing from the classic “Polar Express” ride at the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition). Sure, as always, critics have complained that Sweet’s music comes off a little too ‘syrupy’ to make for a lasting impression, but honestly, I’ve always found those complaints to be a bit short sighted. To my ears, he has always had one foot in the guitar driven tunes of the 70’s while the other is standing in the premier pop of Burt Bacharach and Harry Nillson. If anything, as demonstrated by his cover records with Susanna Hoffs, Sweet has a soft spot for the well produced and hooky in all genres.

Anyway, I’ll likely own the vinyl within the week and I highly encourage you to give it a listen.