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.

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Insanity Blooms Eternal – April 19/15 Playlist

“Just One Of The Guys” – Jenny Lewis

This was a 7” I had a friend pick up for me on Black Friday/RSD 2014, but I only got it yesterday. It was nice to spin.

“Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” – Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Was having a bit of a difficult beginning to my week after visiting a cemetery to pay a visit to… well, anyway, it got me very reflective. This song and the next popped into my head.

“It Makes No Difference” – My Morning Jacket

Out of context but the sentiment and conclusions loan themselves to mourning, so I just wrapped myself in a cocoon of sad music for a couple days and rode the whole thing out.

“Like A Daydream” – Ride

RSD 2015 find. It was a glorious day and now I’m spinning it… it’s going to be another great day!

“Dumb” – Nirvana

Was reading the interview with Francis Bean last week when this song came up and was popped right into my head.

“Bohemian Like You” – The Dandy Warhols

Another RSD 2015 find, although this song wasn’t on it… just wanted to hear it after playing the earlier album.

“Stratford-On-Guy” – Liz Phair

Another interview I found myself reading, it was interesting to hear her perspective… on so many different things.

“The Denial Twist” – White Stripes

Yes! Get Behind Me Satan was released on vinyl – finally! It will be spinning later today.

“Milk Cow Blues” – The Kinks

The b-side to “You Really Got Me” which was another of yesterdays finds.

“Ride On Josephine” – George Thorogood & the Destroyers

Currently spinning on the turntable, I’ll have a full story on this later in the week.

“State Trooper” – Bruce Springsteen

What can you say about the Boss and Nebraska? Dark and desolate it leaves little room for hope…

“Brass Buttons” – Gram Parsons

Such a beautiful frickin’ tune from a soul that left us way to soon.

“Singer Not The Song” – Alex Chilton

B-side to “Jesus Christ” on this RSD release, it just smacks of sarcasm.

“No Cities To Love” – Sleater-Kinney

The only thing I bought yesterday that had nothing to do with RSD. It sounds a 1000 times better on vinyl.

“Funplex” – The B-52’s

Another fun and sarcastic bit from the band that always makes me smile.

“The Meaning Of Soul” – Oasis

I just had to slip this in for no other reason than I felt like it.

“Superstar” – Sonic Youth

You don’t realize just how creepy this Carpenters classic is until you hear the Sonic Youth version. Spine tingling!

“The Cabbage” – Teenage Fanclub

I so badly want this record on vinyl. One of my favourites!

“When My Baby’s Beside Me” – Kelly Willis

Say what you want, it’s a great song that holds its own even when it gets a little ‘countrified’.

“You and Your Sister” – Chris Bell

Because it is a great song that I just had to put in… no other reason.

Inspired in Part by Record Store Day – Playlist April 12/15

“Amphetamine: – Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three

Such a great frickin’ driving song if you want to get yourself a speeding ticket… by the way, I don’t recommend the ticket…

“Hoover Dam” – Sugar

I had a review half written called “the Return of Peanut Girl,” but I never finished it. Anyway, Copper Blue sounds awesome on vinyl and you can find it at your better record stores.

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“Deathly” – Aimee Mann

Any excuse to put Aimee Mann on a playlist is a good excuse. Still haven’t heard back from her… I’m guessing she doesn’t read my blog.

“Coming Home” – Leon Bridges

Soul music has a new champion and his name is Leon Bridges. Keep your eyes open folks, this guy is for real!

“Sliver” – Nirvana

Still bummed about missing my shot… maybe another will show up in 10 years.

“You Really Got Me” – The Kinks

After the disappointment of the new Van Halen live, I couldn’t even bring myself to play one of their songs. So here is something way better.

“The Lovecats” – Tanya Donelly & Dylan In Motion

Donelly is awesome and the Cure are awesome, so getting two for the price of one. Now if Robert Smith could cover “Feed The Tree” we… just kidding.

“Someplace” – Nick Waterhouse

He hasn’t put Holly out on Spotify, so I went with “Someplace” from his first record. I will be talking about Holly in the upcoming weeks. Spoiler – it is AWESOME! Buy it here!

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“Ain’t Messin’ Round” – Gary Clark Jr

Just because I wanted to stay in that rockin’ soul vibe.

“My Mind Is Rambling” – The Black Keys

A seven inch split is coming out in Record Store Day of the Black Keys and Junior Kimbrough, so I thought why not throw a Black Keys cover of Junior just for the hell of it. Besides – it fits.

“Touch Me I’m Sick” – Mudhoney

Turns out fictional band Citizen Dick (see movie Singles) is releasing “Touch Me I’m Dick” for RSD 2015. Can’t wait to hear it! Anyway, here is the original song that led to that play on words.

“Everyone Knows” – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

Jett has a double album being released for RSD, so I put her in the mix… because she is a rock god and I need no other reason.

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“Machine Gun Blues” – Social Distortion

I am so looking forward to getting my hands on that first Social Distortion record next Saturday.

“Alex Chilton” – The Replacements

Another 7” being released this weekend is reason enough… I miss Chilton.

“Back In Your Head” – Tegan & Sara

Um are you picking up on a theme that surrounds a certain date that has rare vinyl being released.

“Runaway” – Del Shannon

I’ll be doing a review on this guy soon.

“I’d Run Away” – The Jayhawks

Read a rather depressing article on these guys recently. Awesome band that can never seem to catch a break…

“The Cuckoo” – Kristin Hersh

Leader of the Throwing Muses and incredible singer/songwriter in a varied solo career (check out Hips & Makers if you need proof) she also has a 7” of “The Cuckoo” coming out on RSD.

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“Brass Buttons” – The Lemonheads

Yep. A split 7” of the Lemonheads and the original Gram Parsons tune is arriving on Saturday.

“Jesus Christ” – Big Star

Only reason I put a Christmas song on a April playlist is because of RSD… irony is, the original release of this song was on a record that had nothing to do with the holiday season either.

Between My Heart & My Brain A Battle Rages or The Eagles Studio Albums 1972 -1979

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Sitting uncomfortably on a fence is not a pleasant place to be. It isn’t that I’m worried about outside opinions at this point in my life. My friends and relations will still be the same regardless of my commentary on the Eagles. Although, I know that many would be in shock to find me not coming to the defence of my once favorite band and side with critics on many levels… but still…

I spent a decent amount of cash to buy this limited (5000 copies) edition copy of the Eagles Studio Albums all of which have been re-mastered for this 180 gram audiophile vinyl re-release of their six albums proper. Six studio albums that were inspired by the sounds and formula laid out entirely by others and turned from coal into diamonds by the combo of Henley/Frey and associates.

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The best explanation for why a large group of people hate the Eagles was best represented in the Big Lebowski by “the Dude” himself. On the other hand, the cab driver in that same scene shows exactly how much a ‘real’ Eagles fan wants to hear that… not only can a ‘real’ Eagles fan not comprehend your criticism, but they could resort to violence just to get you to “shut the fuck up.”

So about this fence… well in one previous blog I spoke about my past and reviewed Eagles Live… sort of. It’s just that those thoughts and feelings come from a decade when I had my head stuck up the ass of classic rock. While it wasn’t called “classic rock” in the 80’s, it was a genre type that most people recognize today that encompasses a large amount of bands that rose to prominence in the 60’s, 70’s and a bit into the 80’s and then stopped cold. In the world of ‘Rock Radio’ it was if music stopped being made one day. I’m not sure what day that was. Maybe it was the death of John Lennon or John Bonham; maybe it was when Van Halen became Van Hagar; maybe it was the release of one too many Asia records; whatever the reason… “Rock Radio” became “Classic Rock Radio” and the airwaves became filled with, well – crap. That is when the fence went up.

It isn’t that I hated the music I had once loved. That couldn’t happen. But I did get bored. Seven thousand, nine-hundred and thirty-seven listens to the same songs by the same bands just made me search for something new instead of being fed the same old shit. So, my cassette copies of the Eagles sat in plastic racks by the stereo gaining dust while I listened to Dinosaur Jr. Boston sat quietly in a box while Nirvana (yes I know what you’re going to say) was spinning on a nice carousel CD player. And… Uncle Tupelo had me searching out the influences to the band I once loved (the Eagles), because they offered those similarly influenced groups praise where the Eagles rarely did.

Here’s the thing, I never heard Henley or Frey once refer to Gram Parsons. Sure they dropped the names of the Burritos and the Byrds, but… not the guy who convinced them to go in that country direction. That’s just something that, to quote Homer Simpson, “grinds my gears”. Then there is the soulless nature of the music. Sure Frey can turn a phrase, and Henley can go all epic about the death of the American dream or environmental causes… BUT, it all seems very manufactured. Manufactured in a way that manipulates an emotional response like so many animated Disney films that would rather create your response than allow a story to ‘move you’ by a true emotional connection to the subject matter.

Oh… I hear ya. You want a better example. OK, I can do that.

“The Long Run” is a classic boy meets girl, boy might lose girl cliché driven song. It is harmony gold sung by a great vocalist and given power by an amazing band. You can hum, sing along and even play air guitar to it, but in the end it says shit-all about the truths of being in that relationship. “We can handle some resistance, if our love is a strong one…” is hardly what one would see as depth.

“Thirteen” is a classic boy meets girl, boy might lose girl song. It is driven by the desperation of young person who hasn’t got a clue how the world works and just wants to be with the girl he has fallen for. The first two lines as sung by Alex Chilton blow the crap out of the tired cliché by giving it desperation and emotional resonance. Without the benefit of harmony vocals and big honkin’ guitar solo (which they were quite capable of doing), Big Star stick to an acoustic guitar and a singer who places himself in the part.

In the end, what has me buying Eagles records is nostalgia, what has me buying Big Star records is a connection with the music.

Anyway…

I’m not regretting buying the box. In fact, I was rather blown away by the quality of the recording to vinyl. Using “Witchy Woman” from the debut Eagles record and listening to my old cassette, a CD, Spotify, and the 180 gram vinyl, the wax wins by far. It has a clear and crisp detail that just doesn’t even come close on a digital transfer, and seeing as my tape was 30+ years old, and crossed the country a couple times over, its best days were left behind a few miles back.

If you’re a fan, you will love the box, I do, but at the same time, I love discovering new things even more, and the Eagles didn’t offer that even when they were one of the biggest bands on the planet.

The “Best-est” Album & Concert Ever – Lemonheads – Musical Memories

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http://www.amazon.ca/Its-Shame-About-Ray-Vinyl/dp/B00HQUQQ9Q/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1421972136&sr=8-3&keywords=it%27s+a+shame+about+ray

Back in May of ‘92 I was handed an advanced copy of the Lemonheads It’s A Shame About Ray. It was the very first album review that I did for the now defunct id Magazine, and it was a giant part of “my musical eye opening.” While Seattle had led the world towards what would be called “alternative” (whatever that means) this album slapped me in the face way harder than anything coming out of the so-called grunge scene.

It was twelve songs of pure ‘jangle pop’ joy that played like folk/punk/country/power-pop/lo-fi and whatever other style you decide applies all at the same time. You could play it at a party or a campfire. It had the energy of the Ramones with the pop sensibility of Big Star and the emotional depth of Gram Parsons. Under thirty minutes in length, Ray was a meaningful shot of music that did away with the heavy guitar bombast, and just gave you a perfect group of songs. What guitar solos that existed were of the “blink and you’ve missed it” kind. Hell, when I started playing guitar the following year, the first tune I learned was “Hannah & Gabi.”

To say that I was I was raving about this record would be a giant understatement. Every person that knew me was hearing about it and I was converting people into fans by the day. All this, and their cover of “Mrs. Robinson” wasn’t even on the record yet.

By the time they played Toronto’s Edgefest a couple summers later, it felt like I had personally invited half (ok – maybe a dozen) the audience. However, it isn’t the big show that comes to mind most when I think of the Lemonheads – it’s a much smaller venue that I attended in November of ’93.

The Masonic Temple, also known as the Concert Hall, was the sight of one of the coolest shows I had ever witnessed. The Line up was Magnapop, Redd Kross and the Lemonheads. As Magnapop began its set I noticed that the age of the audience was wickedly varied between aging hipsters who were into great shows and young hipsters who were now caught by the 90’s “alternative” bug. Looking back, this should have been just another of the frickin’ tons of shows I was attending… but no. Magnapop, who most of us had never heard of, began their set tossing candy out to the audience. The crowd was going insane with enthusiasm and applause. Then the brothers McDonald, who are essentially Redd Kross, jumped on stage treating a small venue ‘all ages show’ to a taste of ‘rock star swagger’ that would not have been out of place at Glastonbury. It was ‘hair rock’ for the alt-rock kids who were now “pogo-ing” in a mosh pit that was quickly expanding to all areas. By the time the Lemonheads hit the stage the November audience was dripping in summer sweat.

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Then came the body surfing. Oh sure, this was the usual fare for concerts in ’93, but something was different. Usually, it is your friends or a couple very good concert goers who keep you safe from falling. Not this time. The kids – all of them – a community of fans were keeping each other aloft and preventing falls. Women, were body surfing and not getting groped by idiots/assholes in the pit – because… well, this concert was the coolest, safest, “best-est” (yeah I know it isn’t a word) ever! In fact, this is what concerts are supposed to be like! Evan Dando is on stage playing guitar and singing and I’m in awe of both the performer and the audience alike.

Honestly, I had been to a lot of concerts before that one, and a lot more since, but outside of a few local acts playing to their hometown crowds, this was the most appreciative audience I had ever been a part of.

Today the mail arrived with my copy of It’s A Shame About Ray on 180 gram vinyl. It isn’t just one of my all time favorite records, or a ‘must have’ for fans of 90’s music… nope… it’s a good friend I’m always happy to see.

Thanks Evan