10 Christmas Records (On Vinyl) to put Under the Tree in 2016

edge-christmas-pic

Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song

Let’s face it, most Christmas music is really the same 30 songs repeated by various artists over the years for a little variation. Few artists can claim to have recorded the ‘quintessential’ version of any one tune. However, Nat King Cole is one of those few to have done so with “The Christmas Song” (quite a feat when you consider that there are literally hundreds of covers, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Christina Aguilera and even Twisted Sister.)  His take on the Mel Torme penned “The Christmas Song” is the one that everyone hears in their head and over the air when the holiday season rolls around. Also included are great renditions of “Deck The Halls”, “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing”, and other classics. You can find the standard black vinyl version in all of the usual record stores or, if you are looking to put that special something under the tree, a red and white split coloured wax version is available from Newbury Comics.

Christmas with the Chipmunks

Ok – sure, the lifespan of these particular rodents has far exceeded their “best before” date. However, there is no denying the syrupy pleasure derived from the high pitched glory of “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”. As much as one can try to hide their embarrassment, these annoyingly cute over-sized rodents put a smile on the faces of those of us who like a bit of laughter included with holiday cheer. Throw this onto Red/Green split coloured vinyl (also at Newbury Comics) and you have a legitimate present to place under the tree.

The Beach Boys – Christmas Album

Funny how changing a few words on a hit song can turn it into an even bigger holiday classic. “Little Deuce Coupe” made it to #4 on the Billboard Charts while the re-written “Little Saint Nick” actually made it to #3 six months later. Side one of the record carries original material that actually stretched the Beach Boys (and more importantly, Brian Wilson) beyond the safety of their surf, cars and girls motif and into some interesting territory. Their harmonies on “Blue Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” are stellar. A limited run of 1000 copies on green translucent vinyl have been printed for this holiday season.

Bob & Doug McKenzie – Twelve Days Of Christmas

Rereleased only a few days ago as part of Black Friday/Record Store Day, the classic hoser Christmas tune can be found at your local record stores on a red 7” vinyl 45. Interjected into a holiday mix, it never fails to crack a wry smile on the faces of your festive guests. My kids (8 & 12) thought this was the greatest Christmas song ever as they experienced it for the first time the other day.

She & Him – Christmas Party

I’m guessing that the overwhelming success of 2011’s A Very She & Him Christmas has gotten Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward to reconvene for a second Christmas album entitled, Christmas Party. True to form, they playfully go through a diverse mix of holiday tunes as if they’re sitting in your own home to play them. Included are covers of Mariah Carey’s “All I want For Christmas Is You”, Vashti Bunyon’s “Coldest Night Of The Year” and Chuck Berry’s “Run Run Rudolph”. This new album can be found at record stores on red vinyl… complete with a Christmas card from the pair.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – It’s A Holiday Soul Party

Due to extraordinary demand, Daptone Records has completed a new printing of 2015’s It’s A Holiday Soul Party. Last year’s original release was limited to 10 thousand copies on red translucent vinyl while this new one is on green translucent vinyl and limited to 5000 copies. The late-great Jones and her Dap-Kings cover a few of the standards and mix it up with some astonishing originals. Particularly poignant is “Ain’t No Chimneys In The Projects” which is rather reminiscent of some similar James Brown social commentary on the season.

Frank Sinatra – White Christmas / The Christmas Waltz 7”

This is the year Sinatra would have turned 100. As part of Capitol Records’ celebration, we get this 7” of “White Christmas” and “The Christmas Waltz.” While the Bing Crosby version is the highest selling single song of all time (estimated sales of 100 Million according to the Guinness Book of World Records), the Sinatra cover peeked at #3 on the Billboard charts in 1948. Sure, the Crosby version is better known, but Sinatra’s voice on the Irving Berlin classic soars into places no one else could go… after all, he’s the Chairman of the board. This year’s 45 is on white vinyl.

Run DMC – Christmas In Hollis

A tribute to their home in Queens, “Christmas In Hollis” was originally released in 1987 as part of the first A Very Special Christmas, with the proceeds going to Special Olympics. “Christmas In Hollis” is definitely one of the coolest damn holiday songs to come down the chimney. Sampling Clarence Carter’s outstanding “Back Door Santa”, Run DMC powers through a rap in the city adventure that is full of Mom, money, Santa and a single dog pulling the sled. Another Black Friday/ Record Store Day release, “Christmas in Hollis” is on a 12” picture disc and limited to 3000 copies.

 

 

David Bazan – Dark Sacred Nights

Formerly going by the moniker of Pedro The Lion, David Bazan has been releasing Christmas singles for a number of years now. Wrapped in a cloak of melancholia and simple arrangements, Bazan plays the kind of Christmas music the goes with quiet conversations and sharing a bottle of wine. However, if you want this, you had better act quickly. Only 2000 copies of this record were printed on blue vinyl (with white snowflakes). His own website is sold out. His record companies’ website is sold out. It seems like the last available copies are from various Amazon sites.

Elvis Presley – Elvis Christmas Album

Sure, Presley was known as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, but his background growing up in the church made him especially well suited to put emotion into the holiday songbook. So much so, this particular Christmas record is the biggest selling holiday “album” of all time, with over 15 million being sold since its 1957 release. Rather than emphasizing the heavier aspects he was well known for, he stretches back to his gospel roots and makes a truly incredible record. You don’t need to be an Elvis fan to enjoy his renditions of “White Christmas”, “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Blue Christmas.” Over the last few years this record has been reissued numerous times, with each new edition always selling quickly. The 2016 version is on 180-gram red transparent vinyl and would look great under the tree or spinning on the old turntable.

HOW MUCH!?!?!?! or A Christmas Carol (1951)

Wrote this last year, as a part of my first post. Thought I might put it back out there for ya as I’m watching  it now.

A Christmas Carol or Scrooge

The 1951 Alastair Sim Version

a christmas dvd

For many years I have stayed up late on Christmas Eve so that I could watch the old 1951 classic black and white version of A Christmas Carol. For me, it is the ultimate holiday movie. While not exactly what I would call family friendly, it does put forward not only the themes of kindness and generosity, but also the desire for redemption.

The movie acts as morality tale, horror film, and holiday movie all in one shot, which pretty much speaks to its lasting appeal. Then of course there is the multitude of versions inspired by both the original Dickins tale, and this film. Bill Murray, Mickey Mouse, the Muppets, Jim Carrey and many many many others have all taken shots at telling this story.

However, from a collectors point of view, beyond the books and movies (movie in Blu-Ray can be had for about $15.99 from Amazon) – what is there?

Glad you asked.

The movie posters!

Yep. The movie posters.

A quick search online and you will find yourself at movieposters.com which is located in Toronto and has a massive selection of movie posters to be had.

Seeing as I’m sticking to the 1951 film, you can find two different reproductions at great price points.

The first is close to your standard sized movie poster at 26” by 39” for $10.99. Standard size these days is 27” by 40” but places that sell posters usually also sell frames that will fit any film poster size.

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Of course, if you don’t have wall space for something so big, you can go with the more classic look poster that is only 11” by 17” which is also $10.99.

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Then, let’s not forget the collectors dream come true – an original poster!

The one selling at movieposters.com is not standard size and does not come cheap. Remember that this movie holds legendary status amongst people that love both old films and Christmas themed films.

The poster itself is 44.5” by 82.5” which is both wider and taller than me – and I’m pretty wide and tall. It also sells for $2874.99; which means, sign up for their newsletter and wait for a 15% off sale because even that will save you a few hundred bucks. Of course, a serious collector will love ya forever with a gift like that, but let’s face it; it is out of the price range for most of us.

 

Some Lips For Christmas… or Imagene Peise (The Flaming Lips) – Atlas Eets Christmas

 

ROUND 1

Back in 2007, the Flaming Lips were still at their peak as they were touring 2006’s At War With The Mystics. So, with a massive backstory written on the CD jacket they put out a Christmas record in very limited quantity under the pseudonym Imagene Peise. The only clue to it being the Lips was a sticker on the plastic wrap that read “Merry Christmas from the Flaming Lips.”

Fast forward a few years and the Lips are doing another limited run of their Christmas record, this time on red translucent vinyl. What is extremely fascinating about Atlas Eets Christmas is just how well the Lips stay in character. Yes they sound like the Flaming Lips, but with the crackles and pops they have added to the record, at times it really does come off as some little known jazz artist that walked straight out of a mid-eastern desert.

So what you get is this instrumental record that is driven by piano and accompanied by synthesizer and sitar. Instead of the usual holiday sentiment poured into your consciousness like a well known Chardonnay you find yourself drinking Port for the first time ever. It’s cigar smoke drenched and kissed with oak in a darkened bar where you sit alone by the window and contemplate the true meaning of that one bright star hovering in the sky.

Or, let’s just say that this isn’t an easily accessible holiday record designed to make you remember roasting chestnuts and singing Rudolph with the family. Nope, it mixes joy with quiet reflections and darker hues of greens and reds that don’t so much shine with a warm glow as threaten to burn. The character of “Imagene” is rumoured to have committed suicide in 1978, and that underlying feel is carried throughout the record.

Personally, I found myself rather mesmerized by Atlas Eets Christmas in much the same way I find some of the darker records in my collection. It isn’t an easy listen, and not one I would pull out while toasting the health of my in-laws as we sit down to our turkey. But, it is a worthy record to pull off the shelf in mid-December after you’ve spent a few hours shopping in an over-crowed mall, that has ‘syruped’ your ears with greetings from Celine and Bolton in some attempt to make you want to buy more stuff from more places. This might be a kind of apocalyptic Christmas record, but sometimes that’s what we need in order to really appreciate what we have.

10 Awesome Christmas Records … available on vinyl

christmasvinyl

The holiday season brings out the nostalgia in most of us, and nothing seems quite as cool as breaking out the Christmas wax with a few friends and sharing some good tunes. Since the tactile nature of vinyl makes it a great sentimental gift, here are some great records to acquire for (yourself or) others as you celebrate the holidays.

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John Denver & The Muppets – A Christmas Together

Say what you want about Denver and his antiseptic brand of environmental folk-rock… his work with the Muppets was truly outstanding. Back in 1979, he performed a one-off Christmas Special with the Muppets entitled A Christmas Together, which has never been released onto home video or DVD. Regardless, the soundtrack has become quite the holiday classic.  I mean come on; the admission price is worth it just to hear Fozzy forgetting words and Miss Piggy over-articulating “gold” in “The Twelve Days Of Christmas.” In terms of vinyl, you have some great options if you look hard enough. There is the standard black edition, however; if you are looking for the ‘wow factor’ there is either the more coveted green vinyl or picture disc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qt3wPl7bdFQ

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Dr Seuss – How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Nothing quite like Frankenstein’s monster (Boris Karloff) narrating a beloved holiday classic… and, of course, you have the singing of Tony the (Frosted Flakes) Tiger (Thurl Ravenscroft) with the most outrageous holiday lines ever… turning this into a ‘must have’. Two separate editions of this classic are available on vinyl for fans. The first has the familiar animated special cover while the other has the Dr Seuss original Grinch version. Both editions have special ‘Grinch Green’ coloured versions available.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgP0aUKlmNw

ROUND 1

Imagene Peise – Atlas Eets Christmas

Back in 2007, the Flaming Lips were still at their peak as they were touring 2006’s At War With The Mystics. So, with a massive backstory written on the CD jacket, they put out a Christmas record in very limited quantity under the pseudonym Imagene Peise. The only clue to it being the Lips was a sticker on the plastic wrap that read “Merry Christmas from the Flaming Lips.”

Fast forward a few years and the Lips have re-released Atlas Eets World, a record that mixes joy with quiet reflections and darker hues of green and red that doesn’t so much shine a warm fire glow as threaten to burn in post apocalyptic flames. Last year’s Black Friday / Record Store Day version was released in translucent red vinyl and is still widely available at your favourite record retailers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RW7IZBUMc8

nightmarechristmas

Soundtrack – The Nightmare Before Christmas

For those of us who like our stop motion animation specials a little darker in tone than the various Rankin/Bass giggles, The Nightmare Before Christmas provided the annual holidays with a refreshing blast of gothic insanity. After all, nothing says Christmas like skeletons and zombies learning lessons about the spirit of the season. Interestingly, the vinyl versions of this record have only been released as two 180 gram picture discs; making it a very collectible gift for that Tim Burton fan in your life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPblZa10_Pk

bigstarchristmas

Big Star – Jesus Christ (10 inch)

This Black Friday – Record Store Day has seen the re-release of Big Star’s epic “Jesus Christ” on coloured vinyl. Originally found on Third/Sister Lovers, “Jesus Christ” has been covered by artists ranging from REM to Blue Rodeo and many points in between.  The 10” also contains six other classic tunes by the power-pop pioneers, making it both a great gift and an introduction to one of the 20th century’s most overlooked and influential bands.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIO3KvvgCqA

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She & Him – A Very She & Him Christmas

A few years back, music hipster M. Ward and New Girl star Zooey Deschanel teamed up as She & Him, putting out a string of albums with a sound reminiscent of well crafted pop songs from the 60’s and 70’s. With that same motif intact, they also released the wonderful A Very She & Him Christmas covering classic hits “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, “Blue Christmas”, “Sleigh Ride” and a slew of others. Last year saw the album rereleased on clear vinyl or, if you don’t mind shipping, Newbury Comics in the US has a special 180 gram vinyl version in translucent green. Limited to 1200 copies, it is sure to be a coveted collectible in the near future.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz4oG4eh5J0

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Various Artists – Soul Christmas

The 60’s really was the golden era for Christmas music, producing a virtual ton of soul infused classics. Coming out of the southern Stax and Atco record companies was a compilation of some of the era’s biggest soul acts. Led by artists as inspired as Otis Redding and Booker T. & the MG’s, Soul Christmas has appeared on many best Christmas albums of all-time lists. If this album appeals to you, you’re in luck, as it has just been reissued on vinyl this year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_k5skKLwb8&index=3&list=PLgaJr2id8YsLN8Kn0IzH9seI0rUeltgq3

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James Brown – A Soulful Christmas

As long as there have been great Christmas records, there has also been outstanding contrarian holiday music. Rather than cover the standards or spin the same old cheer with familiar themes, Brown took Christmas in a more observational direction. Starting off with “Santa Claus, Go Straight To The Ghetto”, he would follow it with “Believers Shall Enjoy (Non Believers Shall Suffer)”, “Say It Loud: I’m Black and I’m Proud”, “Let’s Unite The World For Christmas” and “Santa Claus Gave Me A Brand New Start”. It may not be the usual Christmas tunes, but they are all outstanding. A Soulful Christmas was re-released on vinyl last year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2j9zRrJUPs

Music_album_record_a_charlie_brown_christmas

Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas

For many of us, our introduction to jazz was through Vince Guaraldi and his work with the Peanuts. The music itself takes us on Charlie Brown’s search for meaning amongst all the tinsel and can bring you to tears without any need of the cartoon itself. The playful nature of “Linus and Lucy” and the sadness of “Christmas Time Is Here” are only eclipsed by that incredible performance of “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing.”

As a gift, you have three outstanding options on vinyl. Most record stores carry a special green translucent version. If you are looking for something a little more… um … special; Newbury Comics is selling two different variant editions. The first is a red and white split vinyl while the other is a pink ribbon-coloured copy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6zypc_LhnM

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Various Artists – Phil Spector: A Christmas Gift For You

Music being subjective, we could all argue until we are blue in the face about what the greatest pop-focused Christmas record is; suffice it to say, this one is mine. When Darlene Love breaks into the opening of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” you get a song that conveys joy, sorrow, hope and yearning all at once. Phil Spector used his ‘wall of sound’ to create an atmosphere rich in texture and emotion.

Last year A Christmas Gift For You was released for Black Friday/Record Store Day on limited edition red translucent vinyl. However, this year has seen another edition made available in a much wider release in both standard black or translucent red. It is well worth the cost.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EvZOXEoJ84&index=11&list=PLzvFf9lFuV-fdtni_6bi4bq5hSDvSNiMU

 

So this year, instead of giving another ornament to hang on the tree, give the gift of spinning coloured wax. It’s sentimental, sounds great and is the perfect gift for that special someone whose turntable is amongst their prized possessions.

You can also read this at edge.ca

The Most Expensive Film Ever Made… Until Someone Spent More or The General

the general

We all have our prize possessions; those items that mean more than some calculated amount. It could be a key, a stuffed toy or a simple picture, and for many there is certainly more than one. So on a shelf of DVD’s and Blu Ray discs stands one of mine. There is no lego or posters to honour it within my home like so many other films in my collection. It has no place of tribute other than it always sits within inches of the electronics in which it is placed for viewing. Despite it being a ‘silent film’ I can’t imagine it without surround sound and even though it is black and white the story is more vibrant than anything I’ve seen since taking a film class in university. The man often credited with creating the greatest film ever made (Orson Welles – Citizen Kane) calls this film the greatest ever made, and who am I to argue.

So here it is folks, Buster Keaton in The General.

The_General_poster

If you’ve never had the pleasure, you really should. It is a stunningly crafted action filled comedy with stunts that one could not believe are real. However, not only are they real but Keaton directs and does his own stunts running around on a moving train. Literally folks! He jumps between box cars, jumps off the moving train, jumps on the moving train, sits on a cow-catcher of a moving train with a railroad tie in his arms, and sits on the trains coupling rods… no safety wires, no studio trickery, coupling rods as train starts moving. HELLO, but that is INSANE!

In its time (1926), it was the most expensive movie ever made. Oh sure, you’ve seen cars planes and even trains blown up over the years in which you’ve watched all kinds of action movies but that is the glory of special effects and a green screen. In 1926, if you wanted it to look real – then you had to do it. So not only is The General one of the greatest “chase” movies ever made, but Keaton actually takes out the whole frickin’ train and a bridge in a scene with 500 hundred extras.

So, I’m not even going to pretend this is a critical movie review and I’m Leonard Maltin… nope! It is hard to be objective when something this good blows your mind.

In a blue case, sits a piece of plastic with encoded information which is decoded in a machine and sent to a screen and speakers. The other day I showed it to my eleven year old with expectations he would get bored after he finished his popcorn. Instead he asked if we could watch more Buster Keaton films. How cool is that!

Just thought I would share… and yeah, it’s a good thing I have more Buster Keaton films.

 

Learn To Pull The Trigger or Matthew Sweet – 100% Fun

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A life time ago it seems I was getting the opportunity to interview some of my favorite artists for the now defunct id Magazine. In this case, it was the summer of 1995 and I was in my new overheated cheap rent apartment having just finished university. Sitting beside the phone random chords were filling the air as I strummed my guitar for no one but myself to hear. Once the phone did ring I was talking with Matthew Sweet for the better part of 30 minutes about his recently released album 100% Fun.

I wish I could reprint the article, or even remember the questions and answers, but it was a different time. While I have the interview on disc, it is one of those old 2.5 inch plastic jobs that haven’t been used in computers since before the turn of the century. The actual interview was recorded on a mini cassette, but I have no working player to even hear it with. So all I can tell you is this… he was super nice and patient with me when I asked him for the chords to the song “Someone To Pull The Trigger” from his previous record Altered Beast.

I hadn’t been playing guitar for all that long and I really wanted to learn how to play this song, but unlike the current version of the internet, you couldn’t just Google or YouTube to get answers – so I asked.

Remarkably, he laughed and started giving me the chords in enough detail to allow for a beginner, even giving me alternate and easier ways to play them. I’m guessing I thanked him for both the interview and the guitar lesson, but honestly, I don’t remember how things ended other than I was sweating in an overheated south facing shit-hole with a lovely view of the Humber River, trying to learn how to play a Matthew Sweet song that I really loved.

As the summer continued, “Sick Of Myself” was in heavy rotation at CFNY (the Edge) and I found myself turning off the radio when the song ended and picking up my guitar for another shot at figuring out my one and only guitar lesson. Unfortunately, I think I stopped trying when I finally attempted to add my own vocals and scared all the birds away from my balcony.

Anyway, 100% Fun is a classic power-pop record full of chiming guitar, powerful hooks and sing-a-long choruses that hide a wee bit of darkness and self loathing in the overall lyrical content. It is a record I keep coming back to year after year, and is one of my favorite albums to hear on those long drives. It is being re-issued later this month on 180 gram wax by Music On Vinyl over in Europe. I’m sure you can order it at your favorite local record retailer or online store.

Sweet is also working on a new record that will hopefully arrive at my door before the annual Christmas specials have me contemplating an apartment on the moon.

Where To Buy Sh.. Stuff #4 – Newbury Comics

A while back I wrote a piece about treating everyday like Record Store Day. Thing is, while I don’t really want to endorse one retail place over another, a good deal of the “new” collectible vinyl I have gotten my hands on has been through Newbury Comics. I get an e-mail, I check out the price, and then decide if it is something I REALLY want.

newbury

However, like RSD itself, it does come with its detractors. There are those people who would argue that having “special” “limited” “collector” or “variant” editions of records raises prices, causes delays in arrivals of new releases and is an overall cash grab. Generally speaking these limited run records do cost a couple bucks more than the common black vinyl editions. There is also the question of how many variants are needed for a single record. Between 2009 and 2014 there were no less than nine official re-releases of Bleach by Nirvana in 180 gram vinyl and in almost all the colours of a rainbow (blue, green, yellow, red, maroon, white and clear). Two of these colour choices came from Newbury itself and both quickly sold out.

nirvana colour

Still, for me the question is, does the vinyl sound good, and is it giving me a unique fan experience. I don’t go to e-bay resellers who charge way above market after the fact, but I do find it interesting what people will charge for what is essentially scalping records instead of tickets.  Of course my ego plays a part as I find it cool to see something I bought for $20.00 have a new asking price of $100.00 and that only 749 other people on the planet own a copy.

At other times, it gives me an opportunity to buy something I wanted to get, but in a different form. In fact, with music moving more towards a digital medium I think a bands best chance to make money from their “true fans” (those willing to spend money for their music) is to provide them with a variety of formats and “special” opportunities to receive their music in a unique way. The other thing is they do make awesome gifts for those hard to buy for people. I gave a copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas in red and white split vinyl to a very happy friend.

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So you see this is where Newbury Comics comes into the picture. For a couple years now they have been offering music fans a chance to get “limited edition” vinyl. The prices are competitive with most record stores for the same records that sit on their shelves and the shipping cost is quite reasonable. To date I’ve never had problems with any of the vinyl shipped to me. As for sound quality, I’ve played Big Star’s #1 Record gold coloured variant against the recent 180 gram edition, and I found both items sounding great… in fact, I’d lean more towards the gold variant as it “seemed” to have a bit of a warmer tone.

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Anyway, new items seem to hit the market every week, and the choices are pretty eclectic ranging from the Coltrane to Nirvana and points in-between. Check them out, you might find yourself signing up to the old mailing list and buying something from time to time. Just don’t be too disappointed if it gets sold out before you get your shot. It’s happened a couple times to me and caused a slight bit of teeth grinding and cursing. But then again, that’s all part of the fun of getting something worth having.

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Some links to past vinyl releases I wrote about that came from Newbury.

https://barrettbitesdotcom.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/episode-one-christmas-and-more

https://barrettbites.com/2015/03/13/oh-woe-is-me-the-rocky-horror-picture-show-soundtrack/

https://barrettbites.com/2015/03/25/which-bleach-is-bleach-nirvana-bleach/

https://barrettbites.com/2015/04/08/you-know-what-they-say-about-blinking-nirvana-sliverdive-7/

https://barrettbites.com/2015/04/16/1-in-so-many-damn-ways-big-star-1-record/

Holy Frickin’ Dinero Batman! Is A DVD Collectors Set really a “Collectors Set”? Batman 66 & Lord of the Rings

batman66

For Christmas I got the most awesome gift of the Batman television series (or Batman ’66) in a Blu-Ray collectors set. The kids and I watch together and laugh a lot and when the subject matter gets ridiculously misogynist as it did in Season 3 with its “straw feminist” depiction in “Nora Clavicle and the Ladies’ Crime Club” we use it as a teachable moment. Even before we started talking about it my eleven year old son was yelling “this episode is horrible – girls don’t act like that!”

Anyway, it’s a pretty cool set that has in addition to the blu-ray discs booklets, playing cards and a Hot Wheels Batmobile. BUT – is it worth anything as a “Collector’s Set? Actually, are any of these DVD/Blu-Ray sets worth anything more than the cost of viewing admission?

batman66cs

If we go back to the Lord of the Rings and their extended editions collector sets we can take a look at popular item amongst fans.

If you bought the gift set that came with replicas of Gollum, Minas Tirith or the Argonath bookends AND you “didn’t open it” it’s worth near a $100.00. However, if like me you own the extended four disc set and watched it many times – you would be lucky to get the price of a cup of coffee. So it’s just best to enjoy the experience of viewing it over and over again.

lorex

Then we have Batman 66. The first thing you need to realize about this “Collector’s Set” is that they made 95,000 of them; which means they are about as rare as seeing a minivan stuck in highway traffic. In fact, the regular set, which was actually selling for more than Collector’s set over the holidays (on Amazon) might actually qualify as ‘more rare’ than it’s better packaged sibling.

Of course, in both cases, it doesn’t stop people from trying to make a few bucks. While Amazon.ca is selling Batman for $200.00, E-Bay has it listed from $180 up to and above $385.00. The same goes for those Lord of the Ring “Gift Sets;” which go for anywhere between $35 and $155 on E-Bay.

lotr3nd3

My conclusions on the whole subject – these things are only worth as much as the sentiment you have for them.

 

Are You Kidding Me? A Working Lego Turntable! – I Really Want This!

Anyone having read this blog knows that I love Lego and I LOVE vinyl. Well, holy rotating crap Batman!… some beautiful genius in South Korea has combined them to create this gorgeous working turntable.

 ltt1

So, I’m looking at my Facebook page and this video pops up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFSXsOpm2MY

Now, having watched the youtube video, it does sound like crap, but youtube has a whole bunch of working turntables built with lego… they also sound like crap.

The one from the video uses parts from an audiotechnica with Lego, and puts the sound out through speakers that are also built from Lego. I would be curious to hear it with real speakers. In fact, I would be curious to see a turntable built with Lego and really great parts from an old turntable that could be run through a stereo. To date it seems that the ‘master builders’ have been using Lego motors instead of the ones housed in a real record player. So, it might be a great project for someone to try using the Lego for buttons, switches and housing while getting the internals to work with genuine turntable parts.  Having no electronics aptitude, it isn’t a good project for me, but someone could probably do a good job.

AND – when they do – I want one!

With a Lego instruction booklet so that I can put it together and feel like an eight year old genius who just built a turntable out of lego… first play would go to the White Stripes.

Here is the original article that got me dreaming about this.

 

 

 

D’oh – I waited too long! Or Simpsons House almost gone – Kwik-E-Mart almost here!

I had an awesome birthday last year. Small gathering of family, good conversation, and people who know me well enough to pick the most awesome of gifts… it was a great day!

My wife and kids got me this:

lego simpsons house

How cool is that eh!

It took almost ten hours to build which I did over several sittings and it now has a place where it is prominently displayed so that the world can see just how much of a geek I truly am. For any of you thinking about it, the original price tag is a hefty one, and the re-sale value is through the roof.

First thing to know is that the Lego store still has them priced at $229.99 Canadian. Unfortunately they also have marked it as ‘Hard To Find’ which means that it will soon slip into the Sold Out category.

Resellers on e-bay are already listing new & unopened sets at over $300.00 American. It is crazy, but once the set sells out some people will be willing to pay that price or more. Depending on how you see this (toy vs. collectible) it really isn’t surprising. The show has hit 25 years while still remaining popular, and the Lego set has 2523 pieces and is detailed from the garage right down to the ‘property of Ned Flanders’ barbecue. The original set was sold with six minifigures, while 16 others were sold separately in individual packages. Some kids at my sons birthday parties were getting up close and personal with the minifigures, even reading the little things that characters had in their hands.

LEGO-Simpsons-House-back-inside

In Fact, even the minifigures are going at crazy prices for the complete set of 16. The lowest price I spoted on kijiji was $90.00 while most people were asking well over a hundred. If you like them, but don’t want to pay those prices, a new set of Simpsons minifigs will be going on sale May 1.

Of course that is also the day that Lego releases the Kwik -E- Mart.

kwikemart

Direct from the Lego store it is also priced at $229.99, has 2179 pieces and includes minifigures of Homer, Marge, Bart, Apu, Chief Wiggum and Snake. It looks very cool.

Now, how many days until July?