3.27.2009

Everybody loves a good montage sequence

One of these days, I swear I'll get around to the massive do-electro-remixes-of-the-entirety-of-the-Real Genius-soundtrack project. Really.

Just not anytime soon. Because I'm lazy. Also, my laptop really is (even after the hard drive surgery) going to self-destruct one of these days in the near future. Really.

This post primarily exists because of the Real Genius quotes traded over dinner tonight. (By the way, I think we all held ourselves back quite admirably. That could have gotten out of hand fast.) Plus, it's always fun to post Comsat Angels songs -- especially ones that are featured in really great montage sequences from really great movies.

Also, I've really got to try to track down at least the first three, maybe four, of their records. I've only got the "I'm Falling" 12-inch, and that's just not enough -- especially since, while being a great song, it really isn't the most representative of their other stuff. All things in time.


"I'm Falling" by The Comsat Angels

3.25.2009

More things to look forward to



May 5th is shaping up to be a rather fabulous Tuesday. Sub Pop is putting out a revised version of Way Of The Vaselines, now titled Enter The Vaselines. The new even-more-definitive-than-before Vaselines collection will be a three LP affair. Not sure when this got announced, but I'm damn glad its happening. I've bid on a couple different copies of Way Of The Vaselines (as well as the nearly identical All The Stuff And More...) on ebay, but they've always gone for more than I was willing to spend. Speaking of price, here's the really good news: Insound has it available for pre-order for only $17. Happiness.

On the same day, Domino is reissuing The Kills' first LP, Keep On Your Mean Side. Definitely good news. Perhaps that means that No Wow will also get reissued in the near future. (I know its only just recently gone out of print... but I don't have a copy, dammit, so I'm hoping...)


"Kissy Kissy" by The Kills

Geekery



There are moments that define just what kind of geek you are -- and they are, quite often, based around just what you are and are not willing to spend your money on.

Was I willing to spend $18 on LP of music from The Venture Brothers? Yes. Yes, I was. Because I'm that sort of geek.

Let's put this into perspective, though. I am both a Venture Brothers geek and a vinyl geek. This purchase hit a decently major intersection of geekiness for me. (I would be horrified to see a truly complete diagram of my obsessions.) In terms of the raw numbers, I haven't spent much money being a geek about Venture Brothers -- a t-shirt, two (until tomorrow; then three) DVDs, and, just a few moments ago, I purchased this record. However, I'm not willing to say how many records I've bought this month, let alone this year. I'm also not willing to put a dollar amount on it -- at least not publicly. So, I am forced to realize that I'm more ashamed about my geekiness over vinyl than my geekiness over Venture Brothers. Hmmm.

Patton Oswalt starts a story on Werewolves and Lollipops with the phrase:
My geekiness is getting in the way of my nerdiness.
I always really liked that line. Of course I do. I'm the kind of geek that has a copy of the vinyl pressing they did of Feelin' Kinda Patton -- and I've been a little upset that Werewolves hasn't gotten similar treatment yet.

There's that great, oft-quoted line from High Fidelity, where John Cusack's character, the record store owner Rob, says of vinyl and his customers:
The fetish properties are not unlike porn. I would feel guilty taking their money if I wasn't, kind of, well, one of them.
Ugh, so true. Hobbies and fetishes are really one and the same. Especially in the sense that, be it kinks or collectibles, one's personal tastes feel normal, even cool -- whereas other people's are foreign, even gross. Funnily enough, the most vitriolic reactions are towards people that could easily be categorized as being in a similar group. Let's put it this way: if someone tells me that they're into collecting stamps or model trains, my reaction will be somewhat disinterested -- along the lines of "Huh. That's kinda weird, but whatever." However, if someone tries to talk about how they mainly listen to Italian-prog-rock, well, fuck... they might as well admit that they're a furry.

3.23.2009

I had forgotten about this



This is a short video I did a few years ago, that I recently found on one of my external drives. My friend Burke had inherited his grandfather's record player and record collection, and I decided to make a short video piece about that. This is the initial rough cut -- I never did get around to doing a final version. Ultimately, I would have liked to trim the length down by at least a third, and made the whole thing a bit tighter. Also, the title was always just a placeholder -- never did figure out what I actually wanted to title it, so its currently stuck with a name I hate.

I hope to upgrade my video set-up one of these days (this was shot on a Hi-8 camera purchased sometime in 2001), but its hard to justify the expense. However, I'd love to do more pieces in this vein -- conversational documentary sort of stuff.

3.22.2009

Reissues make me happy



There's been a barrage of cool stuff getting the vinyl reissue treatment lately -- unsurprising, given the resurgence of the format over the last several years. I'm all for it -- especially for the albums that command crazy high prices on ebay. (In this vein, I'm so glad that The Flaming Lips are finally getting around to reissuing The Soft Bulletin this summer. I knew it had to happen eventually!) Anyhow, I've noticed that there's been some really interesting 90's stuff getting repressed on vinyl -- so much so that it's hard to decide what I can actually spend my money on. Cost versus the "how many times will I really listen to this?" concern have kept me from grabbing the Beastie Boys reissues, but I'm not sure if it will stop me from picking up at least one or two of the upcoming Green Day reissues (Kerplunk!, I'm looking in your direction). It's a little strange that some of my records from my adolescence are getting to (or already passed) the 15-year anniversary mark. Definitely on the must-have list for me personally are the reissues of the first two Breeders records. I've been darn excited for these since I found out about them a month or two ago, but they're finally hitting stores in just a few short weeks. Now, if someone would just get around to reissuing Hum's You'd Prefer An Astronaut...


"I Just Want To Get Along" by The Breeders

3.21.2009

Cats and guerrillas



While house/cat-sitting this week, I spent a bit of time importing some music into my iTunes -- much of it 80's pop and rock. A good deal of that is stuff I've gotten on vinyl but hadn't until now bothered to track down digital versions. One of the things I imported was Darwin's Theory Of Pelvic Revolution by Urban Guerrillas -- a fairly obscure Minneapolis new-wave-ish band from the early-80's. My friends Kelly and Laura, who I am house/cat-sitting for, introduced me to them many, many years ago -- probably somewhat around the previous time I house-sat for them (which was, I believe, the summer of 1997). The album was not, to my knowledge, ever released on CD -- the copy I imported was a rip of the vinyl. Speaking of which, I was so overjoyed at being reminded about this band that I had to see if anyone had a copy of the vinyl on Ebay -- and indeed there were a few floating around. I managed to find one cheap one, so we'll see what the condition is like when it shows up in the mail sometime this week. Someone remind me that I need to pester my friend (and fellow midwesterner and music geek) if he remembers these guys. I'm willing to bet he does.

UPDATED: Here's the link to download the whole album.

"Repetition" by Urban Guerrillas

"Sex Beat" by Urban Guerrillas

3.10.2009

Family affairs

A few days ago, I happened to be discussing with my mother some of the vinyl I had been tracking down over the last few months. I mentioned that I had recently found nice, clean used copies of the few Sly & The Family Stone records that had been missing from my collection. My mother -- who, when I was growing up, seemed to have a collection primarily made up of Judy Collins and Tom Rush records (okay, and yes, The Beatles too) -- responded with a great deal of enthusiasm: "Oh, I used to love Sly & The Family Stone!"

Now, I know it's not like Sly records are super obscure, having as they did quite a few number one hits -- but I was still taken by surprise. Never once growing up did I see or hear a Sly & The Family Stone record, or anything else remotely similar. When I was given what was left of the family record collection (much of which had been lost over the many, many moves before I was even born) it consisted mainly of a bunch of classical records, The Beatles' White Album and Best Of: 1967-1970, Cat Stevens' Teaser And The Firecat, and my sisters' Doctor Who picture discs. It certainly didn't include There's A Riot Goin' On or Stand!

My folks have always enjoyed music, but they can at times make that fact very easy to forget. My dad -- despite having hearing troubles -- used to be a hi-fi addict, piecing together the best possible stereo equipment he could afford (basically all of which was sold during the leaner years -- much to my, and my dad's, sadness now). While living in New York City, he and a friend used to build bizarre electronic music devices and do avant performances together. (Side note: when I sent my mom a tape of the noise rock band I played in when I lived in Virginia, her first reaction was "This reminds me of the stuff your dad used to do. How fun.") However, despite living in New York, he and my mother declined to go to Woodstock "because it was raining, and that didn't seem like it'd be much fun." My sister and I like to tease them about that.

My favorite music growing up was always The Beatles. I can't even guess at how many times I listened to the White Album. I loved singing along to that record -- even if the songs didn't always make much sense. ("Why don't we do what in the road?") One of my favorite songs was "Rocky Raccoon." There's something great about thinking about the six or seven year old version of myself running around the living room while reciting lines like "The doctor came in / stinking of gin" or "Rocky had come / equipped with a gun / to shoot off the legs of his rival." The latter is especially funny to me, as my sister and I were both expressly forbidden to play with toy guns. Even pointing sticks or fingers and yelling "bang!" was frowned upon, though it was tolerated.

I remember eventually the family retired the record player when they bought, as a Christmas gift to themselves, a CD player. I have the recollection that one of the first CDs opened that Christmas morning was Genesis' We Can't Dance -- though, perhaps that one came a bit later. (I may mock now, but I do remember quite enjoying it at the time. Hey, Patton Oswalt has a whole bit about how he used to love Phil Collins' No Jacket Required, so I'd like to think I'm in good company. I was young. Cut me some slack.) I remember them re-buying a lot of The Beatles discography on CD. There was also lot of Enya. No Sly, though.

Over the years, I've enjoyed introducing my folks, particularly my mom, to new music. Some of the first successes were Low and Morphine. (There's something very satisfying about being able to say the sentence: "Yeah, I got my mom into Morphine.") Interestingly enough, when Mark Sandman, the lead singer of Morphine, died, it was my mother who called me with the news. Sigur Ros and Belle & Sebastian have also been big hits. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings also went over really well. I think Headlights and Camera Obscura were also enjoyed, but I'm not sure if they've entered her collection yet. Neutral Milk Hotel was one of the few that didn't go over quite as well as expected. ("It's interesting, but I don't know if I like his voice.") I'm thinking that the next time I have an occasion to give a gift though, it'll have to be some Sly.


"Family Affair" by Sly & The Family Stone