Saturday, May 7, 2016

Word Up! New From Eric Clapton, Mari And Other News.

I had tweeted this earlier, but it's worth noting and even adding a little more to it.  Eric Clapton was profiled in the Wall Street Journal for a new single that he kinda released ahead of his 23rd studio album due out later this month.  The crazy thing about this single, Spiral, he improvised the whole damn thing.  Check it out when you can.  It's the WORD!  Obviously, I'll be buying the hell out of this album when it hits the street Friday, May 20th.

In other news, I just wanted to post another apology for the lack of updates.  Simply put, I've been really preoccupied with everything except enjoying my free time.  You should know however, that what little free time I do have, I've been spending it inside of a bunch of record stores.  Since my RJD2 post back on April 9th, I've managed to increase my vinyl collection by about 33%.  I bought a new Pioneer turntable from the awesome folks at In Your Ear Records.  I acquired new speakers from a good buddy and augmented them this past weekend.  Why I have a 7.1 surround sound system in a room that's roughly 150/sq is anybody's guess, but damn.  It's fantastic!   Try listening to Tame Impala's Currents on a 7.1 surround system and tell me that doesn't make you hot.  All of that has contributed to me settling into a newer space and getting more comfortable with my surroundings which are things I haven't been able to do since the holidays.  

Over the next few weeks up through late June:

  • I have a lot coming up and going on.  I'll be traveling in, around, through, and back and fourth about CT for a while, so look out, I'm going to Red Scroll Records to do some damage!  I'll also be in and out of Exile On Main Street to soak up something new.  
  • My birthday is coming up and there's no better way to celebrate than buying myself that new Clapton record.  
  • I have a few concerts in June down in NYC and my long awaited vacation whereupon I'll definitely get some writing going on. 
All that said, this time last year it looked as if I would be blowing through all of the vinyl that I owned posting once a week, now, if I actually were to stop collecting, I could run this blog weekly for another 2 years and you'll never see the same record twice!  

Of course, I missed a lot by not posting, and that's not because I couldn't, it's because I made a conscious decision not to.  I purposefully didn't post for Record Store day because the original post that I made, I did so out of anger.  I actually condemned RSD because of its effects on music, record stores, indie artists, and the lack of quality releases.  I still have a draft of it, and perhaps I'll revisit it, until then I choose to stay positive.  Besides, I did end up supporting a few local record stores, and that's what's really important.

I also didn't post regarding the death of Prince mainly because what I had written devolved into an angry post about vinyl flippers and how they were seizing the moment and profiting off of the genius that was Prince.  Frankly, owning 2 of the greatest albums that he ever made, (IMHO), knowing that I'll never sell them nor be tempted to makes me happy.  I think that there are quite a few people out there that just don't give a fuck about music and too many fucks about money to appreciate music and vinyl.  So to that end, when I clean up that post, if I clean up that post,  and make it 98% about the artist and his music, I'll post it.  

I also had 2 other posts that I had started and subsequently shelved because I wasn't happy with the pictures that I took!  Needless to say now that I have a better sound system in place, with really bad lighting, I'll do a little more work and get those posts in the cannon over the next few weeks.

Finally, I do need to answer one of the comments that I had received over the past few months.  Someone had messaged me glowing over the success of my RJD2 post.  Which again, thank you all for the love.  It was by far the biggest post in this blog's history.  The indictment was that I spend too much time focusing on bands that nobody's heard of hence why those other posts don't get anywhere near the views and reactions that this one did.  Ouch.

In response, that's kinda the point.  I would get on my own nerves if I wrote about music that everybody's heard on the radio or a passing car.  There's a trove of outstanding music out there that many have never heard of.  it just happens to sound great on vinyl, and that's why I'm here.  The whole point of what I'm doing is in celebration vinyl culture.  Which in itself is an indie hobby.  If I didn't love indie music and bands that weren't widely known, I wouldn't be doing this.  So to all the indie groups, and those following me on Twitter, play on !  Let me know about your vinyl drops and I'll keep spinning.  That said, when you get some time, check out Mari who's released a flurry of music and remixes recently.  If you are a fan of Mozez, and by extension Zero 7, and yes, even Sia, you may enjoy Mari immensely. 

Mari - Free

Lastly, this post unofficially begins the countdown to #100.  The 100th post needs to be something special while I have an idea or two in the works, you just need to know that it'll be something kinda cool.  Like the 50th post, it'll also usher in a format change.  I'll be jumping to Wordpress and refreshing things a bit.  That project begins today.

That's all for now.  I'll be back Wednesday, where I'm going to get my immolation on.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Sublime - Jah Won't Pay The Bills - 2016 (1991) RSD2016

The year was 1991, I was in junior high, gas was cheap, and music subcultures were trying giving rise to all kinds of new heights and identities.    The 80's ended on a really high note compared to the way it soared throughout that decade.  A lot of that had to do with the strength of film during that decade transition, and to an even larger degree subculture.  With pop music beginning to become annoying having been consumed by R&B and  "Boy Bands", hip-hop becoming regional, and rock bands becoming less hair and more power ballading, music in the 90's was set up to become really strange.  All the while there was an awful lot of music that had been considered underground or alternative to whatever was popular.  That was starting to take shape amidst the changes.  One of these "underground" genres, Ska, really came into its own with some awesome hero's and gained astronomic popularity with a set of fans that still wanted their music happy, but not necessarily defined.

Enter Sublime.  Sublime in 1991 certainly wasn't new, they just release a demo tape that launched them into a wider audience.  From their inception in 1988, they were relegated to playing small venues and clubs like a lot of local indie bands.  At some point in 1990, they were fortunate enough to be invited to literally break into a recording studio, record a collection of songs overnight and create one of the most popular demo tapes in the history of music that night.

Jah Won't Pay The Bills, the cassette, was released, or should I say, sold, from the trunk of their car for a while.  It's that kind of self-promotion that gained them some real popularity in southern California and enough to parlay them onto the national stage as leaders of the "Third Wave" of Ska music.  The Third Wave of Ska meaning that Ska wasn't even new.  Jamacia has been pumping out Ska since the 1950's.


Wait.  What?  "I though Jamacia had been known for its Reggae and that Ska was an American  copy of that."  Nope.  However if it wasn't for that western influence that America was known for around WWII, there's an above average chance that Ska wouldn't have become what it did.  Simply put, Ska is essentially Reggae music with Blues/Rock influences.  Whereas true Reggae is more Jazz/Blues and less dancehall.  Ska has also changed and evolved over term adding new era-specific ingredients to its sound as the music shifted through the years.  

First Wave Ska, which was defined by Bob Marley & The Wailers and the Skatalites had heavy influences from the 1960's America.  Second Wave Ska was made popular by bands like The Specials and Beshara and had all of the influence from the late 60's with some more Rocksteady vibe built in.  It wasn't until the 1980's when The Third Wave Ska groups like Sublime and No Doubt infused it with Dub and heavy Calypso influences, that it became hugely popular as a genre again.  Sublime's demo album, really showcased these qualities.

Let's Go Get Stoned

As a group, Sublime was one of the early underground success stories of the 90's.  They were emerging during an era that was so crowded with subculture music it literally seemed as if the popular thing was to be unpopular.  1991 gave us everything from Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten to Massive Attacks Blue Lines and Prince's Diamonds & Pearls. That's pretty wide ranging.  Who would have thunk that by this time the following year Sublime would be so popular that their official first release, 40oz To Freedom, would go down in history as one of the biggest Reggae/Ska albums of all time?  It all started with this simple demo tape, illegally recorded, and sold from the trunk of a car in Long Beach California.


For the first time ever, Jah Won't Pay The Bills was released on vinyl this past Record Store Day,  (A bright spot on an otherwise dreary promotion), and it sounds as good as I remember it back with I was in junior high.  Hell, it sounds a little bit better.  You really appreciate just how strong a singer that Bradley Nowell was.  You can hear how true Sublime was to the sound of Ska and years later you really get the message that they were sending through their music.  

If you were lucky enough to get one of the 420 of these albums that were pressed on green vinyl, you'll have to take a picture for me.  I really wanted one of those.  I am really fortunate enough to own this again in any variation though.  Sometimes I miss my tape collection.  If you were ever into real Ska or amped Reggae, you need to own this one.  Check it out anywhere tapes are sold, or if you can, venture into you local record store and grab this RSD release.  It's more than worth the $20 you'll spend.  

If you really try hard, you might make out a tip-off about the next vinyl pick somewhere in this post.  Hint, it's kinda obvious.