And some things that should not have been forgotten… are Found! RSD and Husker Du – Warehouse: Songs & Stories

As the weeks become days and the information begins to flow, the list for Record Store Day grows, grows and grows. Things that I didn’t know I even wanted get underlined in red, and some things I had forgotten jump out at me from the shelves themselves on that very day.

warehouse

Such was the case on Black Friday/RSD 2014 when I turned to see Warehouse: Songs & Stories by Husker Du sitting on a cart. I had not heard Warehouse since my University days as my “infamous roommate” was a big fan of Husker Du and Bob Mould. Suddenly my brain was straining to remember. Sure I have a CD copy of Candy Apple Grey, but, I couldn’t remember Warehouse until I saw the cover.

This might have been due to the fact that unlike other Husker Du records, it had not been re-issued since its initial release in 1987. It was if Warner had decided it wasn’t worthy of even being remembered.

Well, they were wrong. Two glorious pieces of vinyl, one coloured fluorescent yellow and the other fluorescent green sound absolutely fantastic. Maybe hindsight is leading me a bit, but you can definitely hear the development of Mould’s guitar work and song writing as he drifts towards the more accessible material he would write later with Sugar. Mould himself has stated that Warehouse might have benefited from being pared down to a single record, but it is honestly impossible to figure out where such a cut could be made.

warehouse2

I couldn’t find out how many of these vinyl editions were made, but it is still available. Discogs have it listed for $38.16, Amazon.ca at $55.60 and E-Bay at $28.04.

What can I say, they both look and sound great, and can still be had for a good price.

 

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.

copperblue

“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!

holly

“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.

jjfb

 

“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.

hips

“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.

Superchunk: I Hate Music … (Just Kidding, because no one can hate music and do it this well)

There were quite a few bands that my roommate was into that took a bit of time for me to agree on. Usually it was pretty back and forth; I introduced him to Dinosaur Jr, he replied with Urge Overkill; I put on the Lemonheads and he replies with Sugar, but some stuff didn’t really stick.

Superchunk was one of those bands for me. I could appreciate what he was hearing, but other than the odd song (“Slack Motherfucker” is a frickin’ anthem of undeniable proportion) I just couldn’t get beyond the throwing then into a mix tape. Full albums just kinda slipped by me and never stood out in the collection as more than filler space.

slack

So here we are more than twenty years later and Superchunk has me re-evaluating my attitude with an awesome frickin’ record, that even makes my kids play air guitar. Of course their excitement might have more to do with the fan made Lego video for “FOH”, but they really don’t need to apologise for that.

“Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” bursts out with ‘anthemic’ glee as Mac McCaughan sings “I hate music – what is it worth?/ Can’t bring anyone back to this earth / Or fill in the space between all of the notes / But I got nothing else so I guess here we go.”

I Hate Music is a brilliant alt-rock masterpiece that arrives twenty years after such things were ‘so-called’ fashionable. It’s fuzzed out guitars and vocals seeped in blasts to match. The overall sentiment a ‘tongue in cheek’ “screw you – I play rock ‘n’ roll because I want to, mixed with some of the darker crap that comes with… well for lack of a better term – being a fuckin’ adult.

supchunck

http://www.mergerecords.com/i-hate-music

Beyond the tunes, the vinyl packaging for I Hate Music is phenomenal. For just a couple bucks more than the standard black disc, you get 150 gram coloured vinyl with a extra 7” inch single of unreleased material… and the damn 45 is white vinyl to boot. (You also get the download card, to put the album on your device of choice.)

So now that I Hate Music has finished playing I’m looking through my old CD’s for Superchunk’s Foolish with a sheepish grin on my face.  I’m wondering if I should have been paying closer attention to my roommates pontificating about the finer points of Afghan Whigs or the Archers of Loaf or…

She danced like a ‘peanut’ – The Lowest of The Low – Musical Memories

She danced as if she was the missing peanut from the Christmas special. I’m imagining that “Linus & Lucy” is playing each time I see this dance.

Bouncing in spot with her hands in a cute chipmunk like groove that only works for her and it is a sheer joy to see. It’s a totally platonic friendship that means the world to me… her pure enjoyment of life mixed with a look that says “screw with me and you die” has me in awe. She is one of a very small group who can drag this sad “Charlie Brown” out and get him to laugh in a most animated way.

Except this isn’t a cartoon and only 15 people are in attendance as The Lowest of the Low play their songs as if to thousands. The lack of people only serves to give the lucky few more room to move… and they all do. The band seems delighted that everyone is having a great time, and so they are having a blast. At the end of the night I walk over to the ‘merch booth’ where the only thing being sold is the band’s debut Shakespeare… My Butt and slap my fifteen dollars on the table. The patrons are hanging out with ‘the Low’ and there are smiles all around.

low

http://www.maplemusic.com/product.asp?dept%5Fid=278&pf%5Fid=275%2D50&lang=EN

Seventeen songs play out the stereo. Seventeen songs play from my Walkman. Seventeen songs become part of the soundtrack of what turns into a pretty good summer. And as the fall semester begins I’m seeing the same band, at the same venue, playing the same songs, with the same power, but this time the Trasheteria is at capacity. She still stands out to me. In a sea of people who do the Simpson’s music festival dance (“Homerpalooza”), she is still a peanut.

Only difference is, this time we know all the words, and a group of us, a circle of friends, dance and sing together as “Rosy and Grey” and “Bleed A Little While Tonight” now take on meanings.

As winter begins, there are more shows, more splendid times with friends. One night you’re catching the Rheostatics another it’s Weeping Tile, and then you drive to Toronto to catch Sugar. After all, it’s the early 90’s, and there is always some cool band around to see. Still, even with all these shows and all these bands, The Lowest of the Low gets circled on the calendar in red marker.

Which makes it all the weirder as that less than a year from that first show I saw, I’m standing at the Ontario Place forum with thousands of people watching the Lowest of the Low play. However, this time it is different. The Edgefest crowd is having a good time, but she has stopped dancing, and our group of friends have begun to stare in quiet disbelief. Ron Hawkins, the Lowest of the Low’s main songwriter, singer and rhythm guitarist has begun to smash his guitar in angry spectacle. Sure, I’ve seen musicians smash instruments as part of the ‘rich rebel’ – ‘wow, did you see that’ theatrical display. Classic rock is full of that crap, but this was different… it was real… and it must have been expensive. This wasn’t some wealthy ‘rock star’ smashing his guitar. This was Ron Hawkins, who I’m guessing was just finally able to pay bills with their new found regional success.

When I asked the bands lead guitarist Stephen Stanley about it just a few days later at the Hillside Music Festival in Guelph, he kinda smirked, looked serious and hinted that I should “ask Ron”. Except his tone was saying that the last thing I should do was “ask Ron.”

What I did get is that a new album was imminent. The guys were excited as it was being produced by Don Smith who had worked with 54-40, Cracker and The Rolling Stones. In fact, it looked like everything was in place for this band to be HUGE! Of course, the idea of this is awesome; the band consisted of four great guys who had been working their asses off to get to this point.

The thing is, it was different that night at Hillside. There was no friend dancing to my imaginary “Linus & Lucy”, and the audience was more jocular than enthusiastic. The band seemed almost hesitant with material that they had played hundreds of times. It looked like colour had been bled from them and nothing remained but black and white stills with great music in the background.

Another fall semester began and ‘the Low’ had a show scheduled at the university. The new album Hallucigenia was supposed to be in the stores soon, and tickets for the concert were selling fast. My whole circle of friends would be there, either working or singing along. It was going to be a big party, and maybe… just maybe, our enthusiasm would reach the band and the colour would come back.

http://www.amazon.ca/Hallucigenia-Lowest-Low/dp/B00005B7XF/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1424024680&sr=1-2&keywords=lowest+of+the+low

 

It never happened.

The show was cancelled, the band had broken up, and I was left kinda shuffling my feet along the ground. It felt like a good friend had moved to another continent without so much as a “see ya later.” Other bands, other friends, had moved in and taken memorable places, but well, it just wasn’t the same.

The band would reunite a couple times over the years, but tickets would sell so quick, the show would be sold out the very moment I heard about it.

A couple years back I was in my favorite record store and spotted Shakespeare… My Butt on display in vinyl. The plastic hit the table and I forget how much I paid, but it did take me exactly where I wanted to be. As it spun on the turntable I lay upon my couch eyes closed and I could see, in perfect colour, a girl dancing like a ‘peanut’, a group of friends having a great time, and a band playing to a few people as if it was to thousands.

Thank You Lowest Of The Low