Sunday, May 31, 2009

Album Cover Gallery: The Mod Squad

This cover make you wonder whether "A Dedicated Follower of Fashion" is really a satiric song.

What could be more mod than playing a sitar while riding a moped and chatting up a chick in a bucket hat? Nothing, that's what.

This cover makes you appreciate the restraint of the costume designers for the Austin Powers flicks.

The Tremeloes dressed to do battle with Sgt. Pepper's band. May the grooviest uniforms win.

The late sixties was the only time in modern history when it was socially acceptable to wear a vest sans shirt. This album cover almost makes it seem all right.

Swedish Pop Music Break

A day with Swedish pop music is a better day, especially if it's a Swedish all-girl band.
Sahara Hotnights - Visit to Vienna

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Recent Acquisitions II: 5/30/09

The rest of the May haul outside of the Record Man parking lot sale:

Sammy Davis, Jr., Sammy Steps Out (Reprise, white label promo, $5). Bought for all the wrong reasons.

Carl and the Passions, So Tough (Brother/Reprise, 2-LP, $12). This is actually a Beach Boys album under a pseudonym. The second album is a mono pressing of Pet Sounds, which after several listens, I've concluded is the first chamber pop, twee album.

Camera Obscura, My Maudlin Career (4AD, US pressing with mp3 download, new, $14). I loved the title of this album until I realized it was to be taken seriously. This album has none of the self-deprecating humor that made their previous albums so enjoyable. Not a line in it that comes close to "I should be suspended from class/I can't tell my elbow from my arse."

Sigur Ros, Agaetis byrjun (Fat Cat, UK DMM pressing, new, ???). This is a limited edition reissue that for some reason isn't available in the U.S. I had to order it from a record store in London. It cost 24 pounds plus 4 pounds for shipping. Expensive, but it's the one SR album I didn't have on vinyl. I think the title refers to a place in Middle Earth inhabited by overly earnest gay dwarves.

The Fall, Totally Wired: The Rough Trade Anthology (Earmark, Italian pressing, 3-LP, new $33). This album just goes to show you that Pavement is really a Fall tribute band. 

Sonic Youth, Goo (Geffen, German pressing, new, $20).

Dexter Gordon, Go (Blue Note/Analogue Productions, 45rpm, 180 gm pressing, 2-LP, new, $50). There's a series of classic Blue Note titles being remastered by the top remastering engineers in the business (Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray) from the original master tapes. Rudy Van Gelder reportedly rolled off the highs and lows of the recordings for the original pressings for playback on the stereo equipment of the era, which couldn't handle the frequency extremes of the master tapes. These new reissues are supposed to be more faithful to the master tapes. The sonic advantages of a 45 rpm pressing also contribute to make these the definitive pressings of these Blue Note albums. Each title is limited to 2,500 copies.

Sonny Rollins, Vol. 2 (Blue Note/Analogue Productions, 45 rpm, 180 gm pressing, 2-LP, new, $50).

Hank Mobley, Hank Mobley (Blue Note 1568/Music Matters, 45 rpm, 180 gm pressing, 2-LP, new, $50). I think the first three albums Hank Mobley recorded for Blue Note are all titled Hank Mobley. And they don't have cool nicknames like the "Scratch" album.

The Vince Guaraldi-Conte Candoli Quartet, s/t (Premier, $5).  Safe, enjoyable jazz--not to be confused with smooth jazz.

John Coltrane, Om (Impulse!, orange-and-black label, Capitol Club edition, $15). I'm convinced this isn't music. I'm still figuring out what it is. I don't know how Coltrane can make a saxophone sound like a refrigerator sliding on a tile floor. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Randy California

While digging through information about the band Spirit, I was struck by the incredible biography of the band's lead guitarist. On the two Spirit albums I've heard, California's songs seem the strongest.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Swedish Pop Music Break

Won't you celebrate life with Swedish pop music?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

News for the lone follower of this blog

The next record show in Minneapolis is June 6. Happy hunting!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Recent Acquisitions I: Record Man on 5/16/09

The Record Man parking lot sale is a great way to load up on basic records for cheap. A dollar per LP, $2 for a double LP and $3 for box sets of 3 or more LPs. Most of the records are common, but there are some uncommon gems mixed among the tens of thousands albums for sale. The Record Man wasn't wearing his usual wife-beater shirt even though it was a beautiful, sunny morning in Redwood City. This is what I came away with for a total of $21:

Spirit, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (Epic, yellow label, 2A stamper). With the large stack of unlistened-to records waiting for a spin, I rarely play an album twice in a row. After two listens, I'm thinking this is one of the greatest rock albums ever. It's crazy good.

Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here (Columbia, Quadraphonic, 1A stamper). I was looking to replace my current copy, which I discovered had some groove distortion on side 2. It wasn't until I got home I realized this was a quadraphonic pressing. If it were mint, it'd be worth a benjamin, but alas the cover is worn.

Aerosmith, Toys in the Attic (Columbia, Quadraphonic, 1A stamper). This one I knew I was buying a quad pressing, which can be played on a regular stereo system. "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion" are the hits on this album.

ZZ Top, Deguello (Warner Brothers, custom label). I've had an irrational urge to buy a ZZ Top album even though I hate every song I've heard by them. It'll be worth a dollar to kill that urge.

Boz Scaggs, Boz Scaggs (Atlantic, 1841 Broadway label, textured cover). The music, recorded at Muscle Shoals, kind of reminds me of Van Morrison, except instead of a white Irishman thinking he's a soul singer, it's a white Californian. The gatefold cover has a nude photo of Duane Allman inside, not that that's a selling point. Later pressings don't have the gatefold cover.

Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pendulum (Fantasy, blue label). The last LP recorded by the original line-up with "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" and "Hey Tonight".

Violent Femmes, Hallowed Ground (Slash). I recall this album is horrible except for one song. I'll gamble a dollar to find out if that song still sounds good to me.

Simon and Garfunkel, Parsely, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (Columbia, 2-eye mono pressing).

Neil Young, On the Beach (Reprise, RE-1A stamper). For a long time, I never saw this album for sale. Now this is the third copy I've seen this year. Could be because it's been released on cd for the first time recently. It's worth picking up a second copy.

Fleetwood Mac, Future Games (Reprise, yellow cover). For a buck, this is another album I'm buying with the hope it's cleaner than my current copy.

Fleetwood Mac, Greatest Hits (CBS, UK pressing). "Hits" from the Peter Green era. It looks like a dog chewed the corner off the cover. Hopefully the previous owner didn't use the album as a frisbee.

The Untouchables, Wild Child (MCA/Stiff). So far, I haven't heard a ska album I haven't liked. Will the streak continue?

Various, This Is Reggae Music, Vol. 2 (Mango). Old school reggae.

Various, The Now Sound Reggae (Island, radio station promo). Some newer reggae.

Perez Prado, Hits By Prado (RCA stereo, deep-groove black label). Is it possible to mambo while reclining in a chair? I'll soon know the answer.

Schubert, Symphonies 2 & 8, Munchinger, Vienna PO (London blue back, FFSS UK pressing). A powerful performance of Schubert's 8th "Unfinished" symphony.

Mahler, Symphony 2 "Resurrection", Abravanel, Utah SO (Vanguard, 2-LPs). I can't pass up a Mahler recording of the Second I don't have.

Beethoven, Complete Piano Sonatas, Kempff (Deutsche Grammophon, tulips label, German pressing, 10-LP box set). All of Beethoven's piano sonatas by one of the finest Beethoven interpreters for only $3. That's what I call a Ludwig von Bargain!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kinetic Art

Another use for turntables: