Monday, December 14, 2015

2015 - Vinyl - (My) Year In Review

...

As this year draws to a close, and in light of lack of regular updates, I submit for your approval, my version of the vinyl truth.  It certainly differs greatly from the actual truth, but in my head, it makes a lot of sense.
As seen above I picked some vinyl this year of either great significance to me, or great importance.  All of which I own, and for whatever reason can't get enough of.  Obviously, this isn't representative of everything that I've bought or featured here.  There's been some awesome music out this year.  Unfortunately, there wasn't enough to combat the ever-present bullshit pop music littering the airwaves, but for what was released it sure was quality.  Put it this way, if an album was released 7 months ago and you're still listening to it, because you choose to and not because it's the only choice you have, it's something special.  Even better, if I go back to some of the vintage albums that I featured here that have stood the test of time, and put any one of them up against Meghan Trainor.  

I'll skip the whole talking about the same vinyl that I have already.  You can go back and read those.  Instead, I'll summarize the year that was superlative style with the data that matters, and perhaps a look into the future.

Best (New) Album I Purchased This Year:

Tame Impala - Currents
  

This album was simply the best in class.  It had elements of damn near everything I love in music.  For an admitted psychedelic group, they somehow managed to cover many genre's of music.  From trippy instrumentals to some raw in your face "Fuck the popular culture" lyrics, they hit every well-produced point of what an album should be.  If my pick here was TV On The Radio's Seeds, this year it just had to be Tame Impala.

Unexpectedly Good Great Vinyl

Johnny Marr - I Feel You


Sure it's a cover of the old Depeche Mode song, and lord knows that I hate samplers and unoriginal music.  I also hate buying vinyl singles because I feel that you never get your money's worth.  I'll also admit that I almost fucked up by even thinking of passing this up back in April.  This is the first record that I ever had to buy twice because I literally wore it out!  I played it to death on a crappy record player long enough to destroy it.  I couldn't live without hearing Johnny's work on the hook of this DM classic.  This single solidifies Johnny Marr, so far as I'm concerned, as the best alternative guitarist in music today.

Favourite Blog Post This Year:



Selling over 22 million albums worldwide, it's ranked at #69 on the list of highest selling albums of all time.  The post took me the better part of 6 months to write and it ushered in version 2.0 of this blog.  Thank you all for your support.  This album is like a quotable movie, it's got music that you can apply instances of your daily life too.   It's another gem that you just need to own on any medium, including 8-Track if you can find it because, funk.

Most Expensive (Officially Declared) Vinyl Investment 2015:

Dresden Dolls - The Virginia Monologues


The picture doesn't do this album justice.  I'm still trying to come up with a way to show this off.  At $45 this past RSD, I really didn't care about the price.  I knew that I had to have it, not only because of the aesthetics but because I fucking love this band.  I only wish I respected them more than I listened to them back in High School.  I say "officially declared" because I have stuff that I picked up in what I'm affectionately calling my "Silent Period" of blog inactivity that you haven't seen yet.  (Garbage 20th Anniversary anyone)

Cheapest Most Valued Album Purchased 2015:

 Depeche Mode - Delta Machine 


I haven't even put this one up yet because I have a well thought out, finely structured plan around posting in the upcoming year ahead and this is a rather big part of it.  Scored at the infamous Urban Outfitters at $10, I managed to get Depeche Mode's best bounce back album period.  Much more on this later, but, if you're willing to look past a minor imperfection that isn't even on the record, sometimes it's worth getting that uncut diamond in the rough.  Also, don't buy vinyl at Urban Outfitters.  I'm sure that every time you do, a bunny hits its head.

Favorite Record Store 2015:

Redscroll Records Wallingford CT

During my transient period earlier this fall, I spent a lot of time in Connecticut.  While there, I had the luxury of being able to visit Redscroll records weekly for 2 months.  Their selection of used vinyl is ever changing and quite deep.  You'll more than likely come out of there discovering something that you want and need as opposed to walking in there with the intention of buying something specific. As a shop manager for a brick and mortar shop, and a firm supporter of all things small market, I cannot recommend buying vinyl from an actual record store with real knowledgable cool as fuck people.  When in Connecticut, please visit Redscroll Records.  I assure you, you won't be disappointed.  Redscroll Records 24 N. Colony Rd. Wallingford CT, 06492

Favorite Place To Buy Awesome New Vinyl 2015 or Any Year:

Newbury Comics


I've gotten some of my most favorite and prized pieces of vinyl from Newbury Comics.  My favorite store along with its group of people are up in the Natick mall, the best selection of vinyl is over on Newbury Street, and some of the most amazing releases are found online at their website.  Follow them on Twitter for some of the most amazing exclusives and damn decent sales.  Frankly, they're about as close to a regional version of Tower Records that you're going to find.  Somehow they manage to stay local while being national.  Even if it's only in the northeast.

Most Disappointing Album Featured 2015:

The Dead Weather - Dodge And Burn


I tried really hard.  I just couldn't.  Like a basic chick, I literally couldn't even.  Sure there were 2 or 3 songs I was really into, and after listening to the album multiple times on a few really long commutes to work, (Seriously for a while I had a 2+ hour commute to and from work every day for 2 months.), I just couldn't rank it as a must own.  It's not even really a for fans only album.  It's more like, buy it if it's on sale somewhere because you really like modern alternative music.  Jack White really succeeded in making the Kills suck.  That's a pretty shitty thing to say, but, I love Jack White, and I love the Kills.  I can't love what they do for each other.  Given how awesome the Dead Weather's previous  albums have been, I'm hoping that this was a giant fluke.
...

Finally, There's a lot to look forward to in 2016.  David Bowie should see a follow-up to 2013's awesome yet highly underrated The Next Day.  Tricky's new album, Skilled Mechanics sounds really different.  Really throwback to his Wild Bunch days.  Soul Asylum, Gorillaz, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, The XX, and the Last Shadow Puppets.  There's Record Store Day 2016 Saturday, April 16th.  While the outlook isn't as promising this time this year as it was this time last year, it looks to be another quality release year for music in general.  Vinyl especially.  Fun fact, vinyl record sales have outsold digital streaming by 2:1.  So for anyone saying that vinyl is silly, or a dead technology, it's bigger than Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, Google Play Music, or any of those other so-called popular streams all the cool kids are listening to.  Numbers don't lie folks.  Vinyl ain't slowing down anytime soon.

As for the blog, Since I've moved back to the area, and have begun the arduous task of settling down.  I miss not having all access to a real record player to the point where I was spoiled for 2 months.  I now have a new turntable, albeit (begrudgingly) on loan, that's in dire need of a receiver.  I refuse to spin on my old reliable portable turntable in protest of the brand.  To that end, expect that when I do get that spinning hotness hooked up, you'll see all the stuff that I've been picking up over the past 3 months all over the great northeast. Also, I now have a new proofreader/editor hopefully you see that this blog now has 90% fewer errors in grammar and spelling!  Unfortunately, she's European so you'll have to deal with favorite being spelled with a "u".   I hope you had a great year in music, and that you learned a few things here.  Like the music, I won't stop.  See you in 2016 with some of the best stuff vinyl has to offer.  (Maybe I'll get another post out after Christmas.)  Happy holidays wherever you are.

Huey Lewis And The News - We're Not Here For A Long Time (We're Here For A Good Time)

Friday, December 4, 2015

RIP Scott (Richard Klein) Weiland 1967-2015

The 90's will go down in history as another transition in music.  There were 3 main genre's that rulled the decade.  Rap & Hip-Hop, European Electronica Invasion, and Grunge. From all of those there were sub genre's that grew more popular in their circles, and by all rights helped shape and separate the good from the bad.  While much of the music was forgettable, a lot of it was necessary.  If it wasn't for Grunge and Electronica, we would never have had Nine Inch Nails.  If it wasn't for the rise of east coast/west coast rap we would never have known Biggie and Pac.  In a time known for Generation X and their coming of age angst, we would never have had Nirvana.

Somewhere in the middle of all of that were the bands that just didn't give a fuck.  The Sublimes, the Pharcyde's, the Soundgarden's, and notably, The Stone Temple Pilots.

video
Plush (Core) - 1992

Releasing 4 albums in total beginning with 1992's Core, STP was one of the quickest rising alternative acts of their era.  They played in the same park with all of those aforementioned groups.  In some circles to this day, many may even consider their music classic.  As a matter of fact, their psychedelic sound and grunge era popularity may have cemented them as one of the only groups ever to have singles released and upon those releases, their music is was considered classic rock.


video
Sour Girl (No. 4) - 1999 

True to form in the music world, genius is often cut short by a wide range of factors.  Death, among the biggest and worst.  STP lead singer Scott Weiland who was plagued with, and subsequently plagued his band(s) with his demons at the hands of sever drug abuse was no different.  Sadly, December 3, 2015 Scott Weiland passed away in his sleep leaving behind a legacy of  great music, and even more pain.

video
Fall To Pieces - Velvet Revolver - (Contraband) - 2004

I guess that's how it goes.  From Hendrix to Winehouse to John Melvoin to Dee Dee Ramone to Rick James.  Brilliant artists who couldn't live without dying too soon because of their addictions.  As unfortunate as it is, at least their music lives on.

video
Creep (Core) 1992

If you can find it, and I know you can catch the re-release like now at Newbury Comics, grab a piece of history before vinyl flippers jack up the price for STP's first album, Core.  It's fucking incredible, and necessary for anyone who experienced that era first hand.  RIP Scott Weiland.