Record Store Day is quickly fading in the rear view mirror, and now that we’ve had a couple days to strip off the shrink wrap, listen to the loot and digest the day’s events, I wanted to share a few reactions and a few songs. In lieu of a list of acquisitions (I’m a little scared to a provide the complete inventory, as my better half reads this blog, and I may or may not have some financial splainin’ to do), I thought I’d keep the superlatives theme from earlier this month rollin’ by handing out a few RSD Superlatives. Off we go…
Most Surprising Moment
This is the first time since I started collecting records that I’ve been able to line up and wait for a store to open its doors on RSD, and Steady Sounds’ kicking things off at 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning (aka Friday night) offered a pretty wild introduction. OK, so it wasn’t quite as mob-like as the picture above, but the sense of urgency shown in the seconds after the clock struck 12:01 was surprising, even if it shouldn’t have been. Browsing through a record store’s wares is, on any other day, such a sedate and solipsistic affair, with an almost universally recognized sense of decorum that keeps other patrons at least a bin’s width away at all times. Watching (I was near the end of 50- or 60-person line when the door opened, so I was more observer than participant) multiple arms rummaging through the same box at the same time was a bit like watching your friendly, elderly neighbor turn into a zombie and devour a girl scout. Nothing like limited vinyl pressings to awaken our darkest, most chaotic impulses!
Homer Simpson would really like Record Store Day. Three of the four stores I visited offered free donuts, and the owner of Deep Groove even walked up and down the long line in front of his store handing them out. I’m convinced it’s impossible to be in a bad mood when someone is offering you donuts. Then again, you’re talking to a person who throws back sugar like it’s going out of style. Because it is. As a side note, since Matt Groening recently revealed that Homer’s hometown of Springfield is named after the Springfield near Eugene, Oregon, and since Voodoo Donuts has a location in Eugene, it’s safe to say that Homer would really, really like RSD.
Most Creative Release
With a shiny, gold-kissed cover and gear-shaped, olive-green/gold, 10-inch vinyl, Fun.’s The Ghost That You Are To Me is definitely the most aesthetically pleasing item I took home on Saturday. The copy I found at BK Music was the only one I saw all day long, so I felt pri-tty good when I got my grubby mitts on it. There was a great deal to love once I got the gears spinning as well, since these stripped down, acoustic renditions offer a fitting complement to their more elaborately produced counterparts on Some Nights. Check out this excellent acoustic performance of “Carry On” to see what I mean.
Seems like The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends was a pretty hot item, in spite of its relatively large pressing (10,000). People were actually hollering to one another across the Steady Sounds feeding frenzy about whether there were any left. Sadly, I missed out. Though I’d heard good things about the music etched into the records (I just listened to Erykah Badu’s contribution and it’s fantastic), I have to admit I was most intrigued by the dye used to color them, which reportedly, for a few special copies of the release, contains actual blood taken from the band and some of the collaborators. Wayne Coyne’s is a special kind of weirdness that hits me just right. Please don’t ever change, Wayne.
Three (Current) Favorite Tracks Snagged
Though I’m still working my way through all the fun stuff I did manage to get my hands on — Animal Collective’s Transverse Temporal Gyrus is one I’m particularly excited to dig into — I wanted to leave you with a few of the songs I’ve been enjoying so far.
Some covers make so much sense, you can’t believe they didn’t happen sooner. Wes Miles’ voice was made to climb, and Steve Winwood’s “Valerie” finds him belting out one of the best hit-it-and-hold-it high notes of the last few decades (in a bizarre coincidence, it’s the exact same note as THE best hit-it-and-hold-it note ever). Delicate Steve’s interpretation of the song’s signature synth solo also shines, with a live-wire distorted guitar sound that elevates the part by stripping away its cheesiness entirely.
Ra Ra Riot (feat. Delicate Steve) — “Valerie” (Steve Winwood cover)
Leslie Feist has a keyring that unlocks some pretty dark doors, and she’s not afraid to use it. This fact wouldn’t be immediately apparent if you downloaded “1234” without diving deeper into her catalog, but her albums are filled with a special kind of tension that stews and festers, with plenty sonic space thrown in to heighten the effect. Her cover of Mastodon’s “Black Tongue” plays to these strengths beautifully, and while you do find distorted guitar throughout, the disquiet that bubbles up via her voice is even more compelling.
Feist — “Black Tongue” (Mastodon cover)
Abel Tesfaye has the market in creepiness cornered. The small bit of the Weeknd’s Coachella performance I watched was enjoyable and startling at the same time, because his music taps into a particular feeling so completely that I’d formed this impression of Tesfaye as a metaphysical force rather than a person, like the darkness from The NeverEnding Story or the pink slime from Ghostbusters II. With his remix of “Shake It Out,” Tesfaye takes Florence’s high-flying anthem and brings it down to a menacing crawl, and I’m a big fan.
Florence + the Machine — “Shake It Out” (The Weeknd remix)