Monday, April 23, 2012

The Trypes - Music For Neighbors


I wanted to give you a heads up about an exciting looking reissue coming out tomorrow. The Trypes' Music For Neighbors is being released on LP and as an MP3 download on the Acute label (sorry CD lovers, your time has passed).

I posted about this Feelies related act and their lone release, The Explorers Hold EP, six years ago. Music For Neighbors collects all four songs from that EP, adds "A Plan Revised" from the Coyote Records Luxury Condos Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon compilation LP, and tacks on six previously unreleased tracks. The MP3 includes an additional seven rehearsal and live tracks (a free download card for all 18 tracks is included with the LP).

My buddy Peter grabbed a copy of this on Record Store Day at shop in Philly (I guess they put it out a little early). He tells me the LP sounds excellent, and is packaged nicely with a booklet that features extensive liner notes that shed some light on the history of the mysterious Trypes.

I'll post more on this when I get a hold of a copy, but I wanted to pass this exciting (for Feelies fans) news on right away. With the excellent reissues of Crazy Rhythms and The Good Earth, last year's wonderful reunion album, numerous live dates, and now this release, the last few years have been good ones for Feelies fans. Let's hope there are more good things on the horizon.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Record Store Day 2012: Best Album Cover Ever

George Jones - I Wanta Sing

I found this gem in the basement of In Your Ear Records in Warren, RI while helping set up for Record Store Day tomorrow. As if you don't already know, George Jones' 1977 album, I Wanta Sing, features the best cover art in the history of the long playing record album.

I found a lot of nice records down there that will be going out specially for Record Store Day tomorrow, including some really desirable records by James Brown, Miles Davis, The Dead Boys, Pentangle, Metallica, The Sex Pistols, Blondie, Django Reinhardt, Talking Heads, The Velvet Underground, Sun Ra, Sly & the Family Stone, Madonna, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Meatmen, The Who, Iggy & the Stooges, Otis Redding, Funkadelic, The Clash, and many others. Also, in honor of the late, great Levon Helm I pulled a whole bunch of records by The Band (check out Moondog Matinee, it's truly under-rated).

Of course, In Your Ear also got a bunch of Record Store Day exclusives (all of which look really nice) as well as some very impressive (non RSD related) free swag that you will have to see to believe.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Record Store Day 2012: David Bowie

But where can I buy the outfit?

Speaking of David Bowie, Virgin Records will release a limited edition 7" picture disc single of "Starman" in honor of Record Store Day 2012, and also to mark the song's 40th (!) anniversary (it was originally released on April 28, 1972). The a-side features the original single version of the song, while the b-side features a live version recorded for the Top of the Pops television show.

This release is limited to 2,000 copies, and I'm sure the RSD eBay flipper brigade are drooling at the prospect of the profits they can turn on this one.

Additionally, Virgin will release a David Bowie "Mick Rock Tins" 7" + book set. The colored vinyl single will feature "Starman" and "Suffragette City" and the book will feature 128 pages of Mick Rock photos. This release is not exclusive to Record Store Day and will be released to other retailers at some point in the future. It's also listed as limited to a pressing of 2,000, though it's not clear to me if it is "limited" only for Record Store Day, and then will be re-pressed later.

New York Times: Enjoying Turntables Without Obsessing

TO BE PLAYED AT MAXIMUM VOLUME

There was a pretty good article in yesterday's New York Times on buying a turntable and listening to vinyl records called "Enjoying Turntables Without Obsessing." Of course, considering the article covers relatively esoteric, audiophile-dweeb issues like moving magnet vs moving coil cartridges, and belt drive vs direct drive tables, I can image some might question the accuracy of the headline. But here was the least surprising part of the article for me:
"There is a fuller sound to it, and more depth to the sound," said Ryan Holiday, the New Orleans-based marketing director for American Apparel. He’s a new devotee of jazz and David Bowie, thanks to LPs. 
Having heard some of the David Bowie CDs that have been released over the years (from Rykodisc and Virgin) it's not surprising to me that it would take LPs to convert Ryan into a Bowie fan. The old RCA Bowie LPs are not perfect (they were often pressed on dodgey oil crisis era vinyl), but they really do sound much better than the CDs. Fuller and with more depth is a good start to describing the difference between the LPs and the CDs. The Ryko CDs are also unnaturally bright, and the Virgins have the added deficit of having had all life sucked out of them with noise reduction. The Ryko CDs at least have some interesting, occasionally essential, bonus tracks to recommend them.

Yeah, they're occasionally a little noisy, but those Bowie RCA LPs beg you to crank the volume and rock out, while the CDs are pretty tough on the ears at even moderate listening volumes. I think it would be a lot harder to be Bowie fan if all you ever heard was the commonly available CDs, they simply don't do the music justice.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Record Store Day 2012: Freakwater


Thrill Jockey is reissuing Freakwater's third album, Feels Like The Third Time, on LP in honor of Record Store Day 2012. I already own this one on LP, and according to the press release, I guess I'm kind of lucky:
1993 : Thrill Jockey releases Freakwater’s Feels Like the Third Time, an undisputed classic of the alt-country/Americana scene. In print on CD since its release, the vinyl version has been sadly unavailable since the early 90’s, as the record plant burnt down after our initial order of vinyl arrived. Also included for the first time is a free download card.
With stone-cold classics like "Drunk Friend," "Crazy Man," and an unforgettable cover of the late, great Conway Twitty's "You've Never Been This Far Before," this album really is essential listening for any fan of Americana/alt-country/whatever. Actually, it's worth it for any open-minded music lover who just wants to hear some fantastic music. This will sound great in any format (I'm listening to it at my computer right now), but there's no doubt in my mind it's music that was meant to be heard on LP.

Levon Helm

Legendary musician Levon Helm's daughter Amy and wife Sandy have released the following statement on his website:
Dear Friends,  
Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey.

Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration... he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage...
 Helm is best known as the drummer for the legendary rock band The Band, but his recent work putting together "Midnight Rambles" may be just as important. The Midnight Ramble was an attempt to reconnect to older performance traditions like the medicine show and featured a number of performers including Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Pinetop Perkins, Allen Toussaint, Gillian Walsh, David Rawlings, and many, many others. For years Helm has been an important fixture in the artistic life of Upstate NY, and I am sure he will be deeply missed by all those who knew and loved him. My best wishes go out to them at what is I am sure a difficult time.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Record Store Day 2012: Here's Little Richard!


There have been many, many recordings released on a variety of formats in the Rock and Roll idiom since Here' Little Richard was released on LP in 1957 by the Specialty label, but I'm not sure any of them are better. Different? Sure. Better? Not in my opinion.

In honor of Record Store Day 2012 Specialty (now owned by the Concord Music Group) is re-releasing this album in its original vinyl LP configuration. Sure, the songs have been reissued many times since 1957. I own a CD with all of them plus many more Little Richard classics. But look at that cover! Don't you want to hold a full size copy of it in your hands so you can clearly see the sweat beaded up on Little Richard's brow? Don't you want to hear the needle of your turntable make a gentle pop as it settles into the LP groove just before that earth shaking, paradigm shattering, "A-wop bop-a loo-mop, a-lop bam-boom!" Damn, I know I do.

This reissue was "remastered from the original session tapes" and I bet it sounds great. The only problem with it I can see is that bringing home the music of this flamboyant African-American will most likely no longer have the power to shock uptight parents. Perhaps if the original lyrics were restored it still might. If for some reason there is a pressing problem with this LP and the spindle hole is too tight, just remember to follow Little Richard's original advice: "If it don’t fit, don’t force it / You can grease it make it easy."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Record Store Day 2012: Ryan Adams Does Bob Mould


Ryan Adams will release a limited edition 7" single covering two Bob Mould songs ("Heartbreak A Stranger" and "Black Sheets Of Rain") with a cover that looks like a Hüsker Dü album in honor of Record Store Day 2012. Memo to Ryan Adams, there were three members of Hüsker Dü: Bob Mould, Grant Hart and mustache bass player guy.

Just kidding, I have tons of respect for Greg Norton. But why cover Bob Mould solo material and slap a faux-Hüsker Dü cover on it? Probably because all of Bob Mould's solo albums feature visually undistinguished artwork, unlike the iconic images that grace the Hüskers' albums. That's no doubt because Grant Hart, the other great songwriter in Hüsker Dü, designed the groups' album covers.

Record Store Day 2012: London Calling (Remix)

Sony is releasing a 2012 remix of The Clash's "London Calling" with an instrumental version of the same song for the b-side on a limited edition 7" 45 RPM record in honor of Record Store Day 2012. I believe the remix was done by Mick Jones, but I could be wrong about that. This might be interesting, or it might be a disaster. I like the artwork.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Record Store Day 2012: Rhode Island


Even though we hail from the littlest state, Rhode Islanders will have quite a few options to choose from on Record Store Day this year. Okay, technically some of these shops are in Massachusetts, but you barely even have to cross the border to get to most of them.

In Your Ear (Warren, RI): Like the Big Blue Bug, Coffee Milk, Del's Lemonade, and Buddy Cianci's toupée, In Your Ear is a Rhode Island institution. I was just in the store yesterday (because for me it's pretty much always record store day), and they had some free RSD swag kits they were assembling, as well as a big RSD sign in the window. Owner Chris Zingg told me he still wasn't sure what limited edition releases they would get. He usually puts out a nice selection of $1 records and brings up some crates from his super secret basement stash in honor of the day as well. After battling your fellow Rhode Islanders to score the Afrika Bambaataa/MC5 split 7", stop into Del's for a refreshing iced lemonade (they're once again open for the season on weekends).

Olympic Records (Providence, RI): Olympic will be getting some of the limited RSD special releases, and their pinball machines will be operational as well. Just down Wickenden Street, Round Again Records will not be officially participating in RSD, but Steve will be there selling records just as he has nearly every Saturday since opening the store in 1979.

What Cheer! Antiques (Providence, RI): This funky little antiques and record shop in the Wayland Square neighborhood is right across the street from my old apartment. Be sure to pay your respects (note, the plaque commemorating my four year residence at the location is currently being refurbished). They usually mark everything down in honor of RSD and they'll be getting some limited edition RSD releases.

Newbury Comics (Providence, RI and N. Attleboro, MA): I just can't see heading to the Providence Place Mall for RSD, but I have no doubt that local independent chain Newbury Comics will get a good selection of limited edition releases.

Armageddon Shop (Providence, RI): This is the place in Providence for punk rock, heavy metal and other assorted forms of rock and roll mayhem. It's actually a rather sedate little shop on Broadway with a super polite owner who won't toss you out of the store if you're shopping for Pointer Sisters records. They will be getting some of the limited releases as well. Analog Underground is just down the street, and while they are not on the official RSD list, I'm sure they have something planned as well.

Luke's Record Exchange (Pawtucket, RI): I could swear I've read four or five articles in the Providence Journal about how the closing of Luke's Record Exchange marks the end of an era. But there they are on the official RSD 2012 list. Are they still there? Kinda, sorta, not really. Luke's retail shop has been closed for a while now, but I spoke to Luke and he told me he'll be open at the old location this Saturday, April 14 to sell off some of his remaining stock and personal collection. However, he doesn't think he'll be open on RSD, and is not participating this year and will not have any of the RSD limited edition releases. Got it?

The Time Capsule (Cranston, RI and Seekonk, MA): Both Time Capsule locations will be participating in RSD this year.

Sunset Records (Somerset, MA): Sunset is a tiny shop that is little off the beaten path, but it's a terrific spot for fans of 60s psychedelia and garage rock.

Update: Music Box in Newport, RI and Looney Tunes in Wakefield, RI are also participating in RSD 2012. Another "border shop" close to Rhode Island that is participating is Mystic Disc in Mystic, CT. Willimantic Records in Willimantic, CT is not too far from certain parts of Rhode Island as well.