Sunday, January 31, 2010

TIM BUCKLEY -SERFONIA




Sleeping tablets seem like such a good idea at the time: A sure-fire fool-proof good nights sleep. What you tend to forget or push to the back of your mind when popping that 10mg white wonder is 'the morning after', the sleeping pill comedown. I was out of bed for about 11.00am this morning and finally woke up about twenty minutes ago. The interim was spent bouncing around my apartment like a confused and slow motion pinball scoring points off the toilet, sofa and kitchen surface. Ugh...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

VIP RECORD FAIR - KENSINGTON, LONDON





'Is it a spiral or a spaceship label?'

'I went to school with Graham Bond, he was a nice chap...yes that's right threw himself under a train at Finsbury Park tube station.'

'I fucking hate you!... I am not a rich man, I live above a hairdressers, here six hundred quid, now give me the fucking record. Thankyou.'

'I have one of the best 'Apple' label collections in the world and I have an acetate of 'Freak Out'... nearly.'

It's official, it would appear that as test subject 1.b so eloquently put it, we truly are all 'cunts'.

COIL - SCATOLOGY

This record would appear to be massively apt for the current climate and matching mood. This morning it was minus 14, I opened my front door and was assaulted by the kind of cracking and concrete like air that says 'death if you wear the wrong hat'. I have been in colder but it has always been for positive 'happy happy' recreational reasons: Chicago - record shopping, New York - record shopping, Amsterdam - three guesses?

But to be face-raped by this kind of weather not through choice but necessity, fuck if that doesn't ever make me miserable. Not even the weekends spoils (VIP record fair - review to follow) can detract from the fact that right now I am at a psychic low of below-freezing. Right now I am not just questioning my buying habbits but my very leaving the house, nay my bed. The office is shit as ever, two thirds empty and utterly silent. I could be at home listening to 'Scatology' really loud.

So the sound of 'Scatology' is not exactly what you might call 'cheery'. Quite why I put it on last night when I knew I was having trouble raising even the most enigmatic of smiles I don't know, but I did. I suppose after a car journey to Berlin last week that saw Starship's 'We Built This City on Rock n' Roll' played three times I am pretty much impervious to anything.

'Scatology' is integral to Coil's mythology, an important part of their Crowleyesque quasi-non/religious poop and blood worshipping synthesiser based insanity due to it being somekind of beginning. When I first heard of the group it was in association with 'Wax Trax' (Ugh) records and in retrospect I don't know if their brief period with the label was a genuine attempt at selling themselves to the RevCo/Ministry crowd or not. I imagine they had every chance of having a fan base to rival that of Skinny Puppy (musically parallells can be drawn with all three previously mentioned bands) and conquering Canada but it didn't happen. Now was it something to do with releasing a concept album about shitting? About shitting and then playing with it? About squeezing it through your fingers and smearing it on your face? Now I don't know for sure but if ever I felt safe in an assumption it would be now...

Yes you can hear toilets, melancholy 80s keyboards and a very angry John Balance but it's never as base as you might expect. It stops a long way short of anything too toiletty and is wonderfully deadpan throughout. Now unlike their peers (Death in June, C93, NWW etc) Coil actually managed to build on their manifesto of muck rather than falling short in later years. Sonically they became more powerful and visually more exciting but as starting points go this is a good one.

Unrelated: I run the risk of incurring the wrath of Angela Merkel and the German tourist board in saying this but seriously, if you can avoid ever coming to Bavaria ever as long as you live, please do so. It is the black, black heart of a very ugly place and that in mind track one, side two: 'Solar Lodge' - 'Watch the black sun rise.'

Slightly more related: Sadly no, my copy does not have the 'anal staircase' post card pasted on the front sleeve.

UPDATE 20/4/2011: It does now.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

TEST SUBJECT 1.b - SEFTON BLATHER OF LONDON, ENGLAND





Find below second test subject responses:

1.) Why do you think people become obsessive about records?

Some people are just obsessive, aren’t they? Some people watch porn, some people buy records. Some people do both.

2.) Would you class yourself as obsessive about records?

Yes, but I’m in recovery.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

BALTIK - BALTIK


The snow is melting like the wicked witch of whereverthefuck and with this the week starts a new. A weekend of nothing aside of the usual is behind me: drink, slouching, being kept away by roudy Germans leaving the night club opposite, pasta and this...

To be honest my motto of 'Always judge a record by it's cover' has a pretty low success rate, I have no idea where it came from but it's my motto so get your own. Take Baltik - Baltik for example. It looks incredible, important, like the missing link between Nordic Prog and Black Metal. It isn't.

BEYOND ALL HOPE - EXCERPT FROM 'VINYL' DOCUMENTARY

video

Every record shop in every town has at least one total nut-bag and I would pay money to know which shop this particular punter calls home. I could quite literally watch him all day long... From a safe distance of course, say fifty feet back and from behind a protective barrier.

What makes this guy so special aside from his quest to own a copy of every single song ever made, is that he combines the whole obsessive 'record collector' thing with the multiple murderer look so well. It's flawless. I quite literally would not blink if he pulled a cheer leaders severed head from behind his back and began singing 'Heartbreak Hotel' to it.

I do wonder if I still worked in a record shop whether I would be brave enough to observe and document this man's character or if I would just panic and call the police every time he widened his eyes in my general direction. Still, knowing that he exists (or existed) makes me feel like my shit is not far off being together and for that Mr 'K-Tel Memory superstar' I thank you.

 

TEST SUBJECT 1.a - SELF (CONTROL SAMPLE)





1.) Why do you think people become obsessive about records?


I think it takes a 'special' type of person, somebody who is maybe obsessive/compulsive in other parts of their life. It could also have something to do with man's need to hoard, to gather. As for why specifically records? Is it that different to books? Not really, although there is something marginally more acceptable and less 'trainspotty' about somebody who buys a lot of books. I don’t think there is any one single thing that makes a 'record obsessive'. I have looked for a common denominator amongst friends and ex-colleagues but nothing really stuck out aside of a love of music from an early age. I was hoping to find a repeat pattern: torturing neighborhood cats or collecting the hair clippings of female classmates, no such luck. At this point my career as a record collector profiler has hit a brick wall.





Friday, January 15, 2010

BOOKER TO AND THE MGS - UP TIGHT



'Wont somebody help me please.'

I know Fredrick Knight has nothing to do with this record, (although I think they are both on Stax) this was actually more of a genuine cry for help.

I got rid of my copy of 'Up Tight' less than two months ago. It was a reissue I bought on holiday in Spain, again with my mate Nathan. On this occasion the event sticks in mind not because of the record shop but because of the fact that we ended up getting stuck in the town of Gerona after somebody misread a bus time-table. Anyway. 'Up Tight' goes out... Then yesterday, guess what? 'Up Tight' comes back in. So that's great but can I ask why? Yes, because this time it's a shiny U.S First press with a nice pasted on back sleeve and it smells great.

PRECURSOR TO A DISSECTION

Above: Stamford Prison Experiment (The actual experiment, not the band)

I have decided it is time to try and take things to the next level, to go some way to explaining away man’s fascination with vinyl records in more scholastic terms. In order to do this I have approached various people and asked them to answer a series of questions in a loose interview format: The idea being that this examination or dissection if you will might reveal enough about ‘us’ to piece together some kind of rough behavioural study.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GRIMEY'S RECORDS - NASHVILLE. TN


It’s my wedding anniversary today and once again I am too far away from home to celebrate with anything more than a wank and a bowl of ravioli (not necessarily in that order). I really need to get my personal geography sorted before I loose the gift of communication with other human’s completely. If only I had the patience or brain capacity for a second language maybe then I would turn into an honest to God social butterfly and flitter my way to a planet sized promotion not just at work but also in my social life.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

DOROTHY ASHBY - THE RUBAIYAT OF DOROTHY ASHBY


So I have decided to risk being struck by purist lightning and review a reissue. Why the change of heart?  Have I gone soft and handed in my Record Shop Fascist membership card? Not exactly although there was a moment of realization a few days ago following a conversation on the subject. There are gaps in the records that I own, some of which will most likely never be filled because I have an idiot 'no barcode'/first press only policy (It swings from one to another to suit). This record for example - 'The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby', never seen a decent copy for less than a couple of hundred dollars and that is for me crossing a line - the used car line. Shit as it might be, you could buy a used car for around the same sort of money.

Monday, January 11, 2010

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA




Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

A: Record shop?

So in alcoholic terms, it has been four days since my last purchase.

Yes the weekend saw the briefest of browsings but nothing more. How do I feel? I just hope my local is still open by the time I am done at work. If the weather hadn't been such a headline hogging whore (Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow!) I might have made it to one of several new and un-sacked (at least by me) record shops. Unfortunately, as it is I had to make do with the kind of scraps you might feed a dog: A novelty LP bin on the corner of a TV memorabilia stall at Spitalfields market, a dog-eared pile of 80's fayre outside an antiquest stall in the East end. Nothing that was ever going to be even remotely fruitful. Still, it kept my fingers busy, the craving at bay however temporarily.

Friday, January 8, 2010

THE MISFITS - WALK AMONG US

Challenge to self: Review this record without mentioning the weather once.

The Misfits back catalogue is a mess, endless live albums, re-released live albums, best of compilations, E.Ps and this 'Walk Among Us', the bands only real full length record. Yes there have been others since the re-apropriation of the name courtesy of the cartoon antics of which ever surviving members ill-advised attempt at a resurrection we are talking about this week: Point missing, post-event foot notes, the kind of records that make you squirm when you casually flick through the 'US Punk' section. But enough of baiting Jerry and Doyle and back to the glory days...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

POSSIBLY THE GREATEST RECORD SHOPS IN THE WORLD (# 2 in an occasional series) COB RECORDS PORTHMADOG, WALES

Copy of PIC00008.jpg (19324 bytes)
It has been far too long since I last visited Cob Records but I just googled it and it would appear that they are still very much there http://www.cobrecords.com/

In the absence of a first hand trousers down drop and cough style examination I cannot really review it in the present tense, although I looked at their on-line catalogue and they do have a copy of Yoko Ono's 'Fly' for twenty quid which is a steal (as long as it has the poster - with or without post card, fluxus eye thing) so I feel that it is safe to assume that at least some of the magic that made Cob (First opened in 1967) so incredibly special is still there.

FRIPP AND ENO - NO PUSSYFOOTING


So, another year, another review.

Although the modern calendar dictates that my surroundings are a year older than they were last week everything looks pretty much the same. It's still snowing and I am still spending far too much time record shopping.

'And what did the festive season bring?' I hear you ask. Despite the record snowfall and drifts I did manage to squeeze in a brief flying visit to Record Collector in Sheffield courtesy of one particular brave taxi driver. Was the journey worth the cab fair? Hells yes. There is always something in that shop worth having a punt on. It's just a massive shame there are no listening facilities - That said, guy with the 90's indie hair that works there is more than happy to play stuff for you. I just didn't want to take the piss.