Thursday, December 25, 2008

Misfits Box Set...

I'm taking a break from the 'best of '08' thing, although I guess this would count, so I guess I'm not. I've had this little 'wishlist' on my site far awhile, so long it's outdated and Julie thinks a little tacky, like I'm begging for shit. Since I don't really update it I thought I had de-linked it from the site. So what do I fond from my wonderful wife under the tree this morning but a little item I had placed on there, The Misfits' Box Set. I secretly was thinking I might buy this for myself this Christmas but wasn't sure how to do it and stick to my 'buy local' resolution. And here it is, staring right at me...about the last thing I expected to get from Julie.
This set compiles four discs, about 100 songs, from the bands whole punk-fuckin' rock career. I haven't heard the Misfits since high school, when I borrowed Jason Goodrich's copy of Walk Among Us and eventually got my own. I loved that horror-rock stuff, brilliantly simple and crass comic book lyrics blasted over rudimentarily simple (in the best way, think Ramones here) three-chord punk. What makes this music is Glenn Danzig's amazingly tuneful/melodic/powerful voice. I doubt it was multitracked in the recordings but he has some amazing way of harmonizing with himself in real time. I had most of my cassettes swiped from my car in my senior year of high school, so it's been 17 years since I've popped this on. I just pulled a workout to Disc One, and this shit hasn't lost anything. Highly recommended.

Oh go
Possession of the mind is a terrible thing
Its a transformation with an urge to kill
Not the body of a man from earth
Not the face of the one you love, cause

Well, I turned into a martian
Woah oh oh
I cant even recall my name
Woah oh oh
Times I never hardly sleep at night
Woah oh oh
Well, I turned into a martian today

I walk down city streets
On an unsuspecting human world
Inhuman in your midst
This world is mine to own, cause

Well, I turned into a martian
Woah oh oh
Well, I cant even recall my name
Woah oh oh
Times I never hardly sleep at night
Woah oh oh
Well, I turned into a martian today

Go go

Well, I turned into a martian
Woah oh oh
Well, I cant even recall my name
Woah oh oh
Times I never hardly sleep at night
Woah oh oh
Turned into a martian
Woah oh oh
Cant even recall my name
Oh, wont you tell me what the fuck is my name, martian
Woah oh oh
Woah oh oh

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More 2008 tunes

Here's some more stuff that I listened to this year:

Equipment, two items of note:
I picked up this fancy car stereo, a JVC KD-PDR80 this summer that plays mp3s right off a USB flash drive. High fidelity? Hardly, but neither is the listening environment in my eight year-old civic. Convenience? Amazing, I can fit some 40-50 albums in high-rate (VBR-0, roughly 200kbps) form on a 4 gig drive. No more shuffling cd's in the car, and I can listen to a lot of older stuff easily without feeling like I'm wasting a cd-r. If only it used SD memory (so I didn't have a thumb drive sticking out of the dash) and played flac files. Ohwell, it's pretty sweet anyway.

I have this old turntable, a Dual 506, that has this ultralight tonearm that's fussy about cartridge mating. The Ortofon OM series is preferred, but they are becoming discontinued and you really want a higher-level stylus (OM 20 or greater, starting at $100 for the stylus) alone to make it sing. I've had a cheapo OM-3e on here since I got it, but the kind folks at gave me this little tip. There's this cat on eBay selling these new old stock 'Digitrac 200 NE' cartridges for $20 including shipping. Turns out they were an OEM Ortofon 20 from the 80's that had a crappy motor setup, so most of them are missing a channel. Turns out the stylus is a nude elliptical, grey market vesrion of the OM-20. So for $20 and using the old OM body I had, I have a $180 cartridge that takes this 'table to another level. I've got it set up in the den/workout room and actually put more hours on it than my main rig, a Music Hall mmf-5. No inner groove distortion, smooth highs, solid lows, and decent midrange. Amazing.

Dave Holland Quintet- Burned a bunch of his stuff from a buddy of mine (I know, bad, BAD). This guy is a hell of a jazz bassist and composer but even better bandleader. All these recordings (late 80's to mid 90's stuff) feature player that just fucking rip that shit up. This is rocking jazz, but definitely not jazz-rock. Killer stuff.

Delta Spirit- My Brother and I went to finally catch the Old 97's back in October. Too bad they sucked. They just didn't want to be there, acting and playing all aloof, guitarist out of tune, slack solos, no energy. We were right in front of the stage so I could see the
setlist, which was shrinking with every song change. So they ended the show early and bro got us into the show in Higher Ground's smaller room. This place was packed with college kids, and this band Dr. Dog was playing. I've seen the name around, figured they were some jam band crap. Their 'look' was pretty horrible; fedoras, Ray Bans, white shirts and skinny ties. Why do these kids born in the 80's (90's?) feel a need to relive that era that they never really knew? Anyway, I soon learned that if you shut your eyes and listen to the music that these kids played some killer indie pop, sort of a Guided by Voices by way of Apples in Stereo/Elephant 6 sort of thing. Checking out the merch table I saw this record by Delta Spirit, who I heard of in a promo email from Pure Pop. I guess they had opened for these Dog kids (horrible name, horrible).
Plopping that platter on at work the next day I was amazed. This was rootsy, Americana-sort of folky rock, with great songs. Turns out the members used to be in some up and coming emo outfit but smartened up and moved to the back porch. So to sum it up, bro and I went to the
wrong show that night, and this is easily one of my top 3 records this year.

The National- Okay, sometimes I'm late to the party. I often make new music choices based on 'best-of' lists from the previous year. I kept seeing The National's Boxer listed for 2007, so picked it up along with its predecessor Alligator. While I prefer the earlier record, I really dig these guys in general. Really downbeat stuff with somewhat complex/mid-tempo instrumentation, right up a Wilco fan's alley.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 recap, first post

Yeah, I don't write here too much, and often when I do it's not much of
note. Oh's my little recap of tunes I was interested in in
2008, as well as some sidenotes:

Pure Pop : I love this place, and support it
whenever I can. Great but smallish selection of new records, and these
guys make their picks so well it's like a snapshot of my dream
collection at any one time. Classic hip college town shop with way cool
disaffected clerks and grating tunes playing just a half-notch too loud.
Since my 2008 New Year's resolution was to buy my music locally, I went
here a little more often than previous, and they tend to get my business
over other Vermont shops.

Metal: Neither of these came from Pure Pop; 1) I loved my rediscovery of
these shitty low-rate MP3's I bought back in '00 or '01 of Sacred Reich
and Mercyful Fate. Killer metal, the latter is pretty proggy/heady
stuff while SR are just straight up thrash, nothing pretty. 2) I've been
digging those Warner reissues of the first four Metallica records. Some
people bitch about the sound quality, but it's friggin' thrash metal,
people. For fifteen clams you get a really good copy of some classic
shit. Bought mine at Exile on Main Street in Barre. Given their rockin'
blue-collar roots it only seems right.

Sun Kil Moon, Ghosts of the Great Highway. I went to a garage sale
this spring and got a bunch of pretty mellow but slightly left-field
stuff; Nick Drake, Jem, Kings of Convenience, Ray Lamontagne (blah...).
This record was to best of the bunch. "Carry Me Ohio" rattles around
the dusty corners of my head a lot. Spooky, shattered Americana from an
artist (Mark Kozelek) I need to learn more about.

Alejandro Escovedo, Real Animal. I've dug this guy for a long time,
and got a chance to catch him last November at a corner bar in Austin.
He played a bunch of the songs that would come out on this record, and
their strength lies in that they sounded like classics then, and again
on first listen to this. Al is at the top of his game right now; just a
solid rock-oriented songwriter with wisdom to offer. Not as deep at
Boxing Mirror but after that reflection on near-death it's good to let
down and boogie a bit.

More to come.......


Thursday, December 11, 2008

WBKM...what the f@#?

Ray Davies is coming to town tonight.  Yes, the leader of the Kinks, my all-time favorite band.  This is going to be pretty killer.  What's the problem?  The show is being put on by WBKM, and internet-only station  based out of Burlington.  Click the link to see their really bad website.  Just don't click on the 'listen  now' icon lest it totally fuck up your browser as it did mine, after installing the crap plugin required.   If you're an internet-only station, don't make it hard to listen to your streams you friggin idiots. 
Apparently tickets haven't been moving too quick, no shit, these guys have done pretty much zero promotion on it, and their on-air promos go out to a tiny listenership.  They have tried hardballing local media outlets for a shot at an interview with Ray, when in the end they couldn't even get him into their studios for an on-air. I actually listened to The Point on my ride in to see if they were running promos, but of course not; it's not their show and WBKM isn't smart enough to buy time to promote on the station that actually matches both the target audience and the quantity of customers needed to pull this off. With the expected snowstorm the Point was actually encouraging people to stay home tonight and watch Christmas Cartoons rather than go to this pretty amazing show. Unfortunately this will leave a bad taste in Ray's management's mouth and we'll be lucky to see him set foot in Burlington again.
I expect that WBKM will have a hard time covering Ray's guarantee and can only hope that it bankrupts them out of business.  Thanks for getting Ray to town, but no thanks for the botched promo of the gig, you tools.