Tag Archives: Record Store Day

Feist

One more dispatch from the moving/unpacking process:

I mentioned in my Tommy James post that it was fun filing away records I hadn’t seen in a while. This is one I’m not sure I’d even heard yet, so I gave it a spin. Feist covering Mastodon. Mastodon covering Feist. A tidy and memorable portmanteau serving as the title.

As you might have guessed, given the quirky pairing, this was a Record Store Day release. 2012, to be exact, which seems like ages ago, until you consider that Feist’s most recent LP, Metals, came out a year before that. Even crazier is the fact that The Reminder came out four years before Metals, which puts us all the way back in 2007. The irony here is that she’s a near-daily part of my life, thanks to my daughter, whose love of “1234” hasn’t wavered since I posted about it last August. It’s astonishing how well The Reminder holds up. I don’t know what I would have said if you’d told me in 2007 that, ten years later, I’d still be listening to this album regularly and that Donald Trump would be president. I probably would have just stared at you blankly.

Speaking of Donald Trump, here are a few lyrics from “Black Tongue,” the Mastodon song Feist covers on this 7-inch:

You own the darkness
Have taken my sight
You buried the stars underground
You’ve stolen the night

You can run to the sea
You can run to the forest
You can hide
But you’ll never escape

Really the whole thing can be read as a clairvoyant rendering of Trump’s media omnipresence and anti-Democratic tendencies. Except for the line later on in the song about running out of lies. He seems to draw from a bottomless well there.

What we were talking about? Oh yeah — unpacking records is fun! (And yay for new Feist at the end of April!)

Feist — “Black Tongue” (Mastodon cover) [YouTube]

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Record Store Day

So this may end up being the earliest I’ve woken up to wait in line at BK Music on Record Store Day. The sun will not be out. The birds will not be chirping. The Mennonites won’t even be making donuts at the South of the James Farmer’s Market. I’m talking oh dark thirty. (The time, not the movie in which Andy from The Office kills Osama bin Laden.)

Why so early? Mostly because of this:

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit — Welcome to 1979

Let me count the reasons:

  1. I’m not sure which I heard first, the studio version on Here We Rest or the live version on Live from Alabama, but Isbell’s take on “Heart On A String” put Candi Staton on my radar, and it represents a crucial part of his own personal history, given that Staton’s original version was recorded at Fame in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The phrase “full circle” comes to mind when I hear Isbell perform “Heart On A String.” It makes clear that he both remembers and understands where he came from.
  2. I haven’t gotten to see Isbell do The Stones’ “Sway” live, but setlist.fm tells me that the cover closed his 2008 set on Brown’s Island here in Richmond, which is neat. I have seen him do “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” however, and he does a great job. It’s one of those “Man, that dude knows how to get just the right guitar tone” songs.
  3. John Prine, y’all. No need to for elaboration there.
  4. 400 Unit renditions of Isbell-penned Truckers songs make the world go ’round, and “Never Gonna Change” was the song with which he ended his outstanding 2016 Altria Theater performance. Man, was that show good. I said on Instragram at the time that he “pitched a perfect game,” and the experience has only gotten rosier in retrospect.
  5. What can I say about “Atlantic City”? It’s on a very short list of “All Time” favorites on Spotify and I wrote a mini-essay on the song after spending time in the city for the first time, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard Isbell perform it. I’m sitting here trying to think of a combination of artist and cover that would make we wake up earlier in the morning… Thom Yorke singing “Hallelujah”? Donald Trump singing “2 + 2 = 5”?

There must be something in the water, because four of the other titles I’m most hoping to see at BK are also live sets:

Would also be neat to snag the Lumineers’ Song Seeds 10-inch. As someone who’s contributed parts to music written by Wes, I like the concept of the album — hearing songs at different stages of fruition. It’s the same reason I was so psyched to hear the episode of Song Exploder that featured “Ophelia.”

I better stop there before I get carried away. See y’all in line on April 22nd.

 

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Frank Ocean

frank-ocean

I tend to overrate coincidences — or worse, imbue them with meaning — and Black Friday’s got me all twisted up.

I woke up early this morning to line up outside a record store in hopes of landing a copy of The Lagniappe Sessions — the Aquarium Drunkard-facilitated covers compilation I wrote about on Wednesday. Those hopes were dashed, unfortunately; the store I chose to wait outside had disappointing Record Store Day policies that involved letting regulars in earlier than everyone else in line and not letting customers browse the exclusive stock themselves. It was weird, but hey — I am a visitor here.

It wasn’t a total loss. I multitasked during the chilly, hour-plus wait by listening all the way through Frank Ocean’s Blonde for the first time. Before I left this morning, I saw that Ocean has opened up a one-day window to order Blonde on vinyl, and because I had, for months, incorrectly filed it under “Albums I can’t listen to on Spotify and will wait to buy on vinyl,” I hadn’t gotten to know these songs very well.

After listening once while in line and a bunch more while driving around Northern Virginia, I was still on the fence. With shipping factored in, the price point is pretty high, and I’m not sure I’ll end up connecting with Blonde the way I did with Channel Orange. I reread Pitchfork’s glowing review to see if that would help me decide, then remembered I’d saved the link for a recent New York Times interview with Ocean, and that’s when I saw it: lagniappe. The titular word I’d waited faithfully for this morning. The word I’d uttered timorously to a clerk at the record store just after 9 a.m. and just as shakily to two other area stores over the phone later on.

Ocean used lagniappe — which is defined as “An extra or unexpected gift or benefit” and pronounced “lan-yap” — to describe how it felt to release Blonde after maneuvering out of unwanted business entanglements:

With this record in particular, I wanted to feel like I won before the record came out, and I did, and so it took a lot pressure off of me about how the record even would perform after the fact. Once the goal is met, everything else is lagniappe. It’s not essential for me to have a big debut week, it’s not essential for me to have big radio records.

Seeing that word again brought my day into sharper focus. How much of what we buy on Black Friday is extra? A bonus? I can certainly live without that Aquarium Drunkard compilation, just as I can carry on if I’m forced to keep listening to Frank Ocean via Spotify. And I promised myself, in the wake of the election, to slim down to a leaner, meaner version of myself. More exercise. Less excess. I bet there are a zillion ways I could use my record budget to fight the oncoming storm of discrimination and shortsightedness our government is set to unleash in the next four years. Austerity suddenly feels righteous. Political, even.

Then again, records make me happy — listening to them, reading about them, writing about them, keeping them organized. Is turning away from that happiness wise? And the monetary reward I’d send Ocean’s way by buying a vinyl copy of Blonde is greater than I’d ever be able to send via Spotify; is denying him that money helping in any meaningful way? I really don’t know. I’m scared about the future, like a lot of people are, and I’ve built up this particular decision to the point where it seems like there is no right answer. Things feel very hazy right now.

How’s this for a coincidence: The first song of Ocean’s I could find to embed (after failing to find anything official on YouTube) was “Self Control.”

Frank Ocean — “Self Control” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Record Store Day

record-store-day

The YHT crew is heading up to Northern Virginia for Thanksgiving, which means I won’t be making my semiannual early morning pilgrimage to BK Music for Record Store Day festivities. I haven’t decided if I’ll seek out a participating store near Alexandria. Previous attempts to celebrate RSD out of town have been haphazard, but if you have suggestions, I’m all ears.

That said, uncertainty hasn’t stopped me from drooling over a few of the limited releases that will be hitting shelves on Friday…

Angel Olsen/Steve Gunn — Live at Pickathon

angel-olsen

Two people I admire and respect tremendously, both of whom I’ve gotten to see live — Olsen at Strange Matter and Gunn at Steady Sounds. Sign me up for this split live LP, which features some seriously snazzy cover art.

Angel Olsen — “Acrobat” [Spotify/iTunes]

Otis Redding — Live at the Whiskey A Go Go

otis-redding

I know that, when I need a live Otis fix, I can turn to one of the Stax/Volt Revue albums, or my copy of the Historic Performances Recorded At The Monterey International Pop Festival album that features Jimi Hendrix on the other side. But I seriously doubt I’ll be able to put Live at the Whiskey A Go Go down if I pick it up. (I’m just realizing how fitting it is that Redding and Hendrix share that Monterey album — both would be very, very high on my list of acts I’d travel through time and/or raise from the dead to be able to see live.)

Otis Redding — “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (live) [YouTube]

Aquarium Drunkard — Lagniappe Sessions Vol. 1

lagniappe-sessions

This is the one I’m dying to find a copy of. I’ve followed along with Aquarium Drunkard’s Lagniappe Sessions, and Matthew E. White has done two now. One of those featured a cover of Randy Newman’s “I’ll Be Home,” and that’s the track that was chosen for this compilation. Given White’s prominent role in helping me find my way to Newman’s music, this feels like the nexus of something important.

Matthew E. White — “I’ll Be Home” (Randy Newman cover) [Aquarium Drunkard]

 

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Friday News and Notes

devon-sproule

Lots of fun stuff going on this week — including a ticket giveaway below!

  • I picked this past week’s Off Your Radar album — Devin Sproule’s I Love You, Go Easy — and I want to thank the other writers for taking a listen. I’d also like to officially and publicly cop to not knowing that “Runs In The Family” was a Roches cover. Doug Nunnally may never forgive me. Click here to read this week’s issue.
  • Speaking of Doug, I can’t wait to read the RVA Magazine article he wrote about Andrew Cothern and his efforts with Virginia Tourism. Might have to go hunting for a copy after work today.
  • It has begun — the Record Store Day lust started welling up last night when I saw that this collaboration between Light in the Attic Records and the Aquarium Drunkard blog will be released on Black Friday. It collects Lagniappe Sessions — informal covers recorded for the blog — including Matthew E. White covering Randy Newman.
  • I picked up a copy of Nels Cline’s Lovers album last weekend, and it’s an absolute monster. I listened to it around when it came out in the summer of last year, but I guess I wasn’t listening intently enough, because it is so broadly and consistently brilliant.
  • Lucy Dacus did a Take Away Show. Lucy Dacus did a Take Away Show. [tries to catch breath] Lucy Dacus did a Take Away Show.
  • Just got my ticket for Helado Negro’s show at Strange Matter on 11/7 and was surprised to see another band listed as the headliner: Kikagaku Moyo. Checking them out now, both their album from this year — House in the Tall Grass — and this Revolt of the Apes profile.
  • Speaking of tickets, remember how I interviewed Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre? Exciting news — Richmond Navigator is giving away two tickets to tomorrow night’s show at The Tin Pan! Be the first to comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook and they’re yours!

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CD Monday

Record Store Day

Rolling around this week with this sampler I got on my way out of BK Music on Record Store Day. I haven’t listened all the way through yet, but I already love it, because it serves as a reminder of a very fun and fruitful Saturday.

What I got:

Matthew E. White — “Cool Out” B/W “Maybe In The Night”

Matthew E. White

This was my one must-get item this year. Y’all’ve already heard me freak out about the A-side, but I’m just as psyched for people to hear the B-side, “Maybe In The Night,” which has a fantastic singalong chorus that climbs right into White’s falsetto wheelhouse. And it was mixed at Abbey Road, which is neat. I’ll update this post whenever that one makes it online.

Matthew E. White — “Cool Out” (feat. Natalie Prass) [Spotify/iTunes]

Charlie Parr — I Ain’t Dead Yet EP

Charlie Parr

This was a leap of faith, but given how much faith I have in Phil Cook (who recorded a cover of Parr’s “1922 Blues“), I shouldn’t be surprised that it paid off. Parr has such a great, whip-smart writing voice, with a dry humor I’m really enjoying. You can get a taste of that deadpan humor at the start of this video of Parr doing the EP’s title track.

Charlie Parr — “I Ain’t Dead Yet” (live) [YouTube/Discogs]

Allen Toussaint — Live in Philadelphia 1975

Allen Toussaint

Gonna have to report back about this one. I’m waiting for just the right cooking situation — something that involves lots of chopping — so I can get a good listen.

Allen Toussaint — Live in Philadelphia 1975 [YouTube/Discogs]

BONUS: Ryan Adams — Live at Carnegie Hall

Ryan Adams

So BK does a raffle before the store opens on Record Store Day, and by some glorious stroke of luck, Bandmate 4eva Doug and I had the first two numbers, giving us first crack at a bin full of box sets, t-shirts, and other fun stuff. My adrenaline was off the charts when I was walking up to see what the choices were, and it reached Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction levels when I saw this 6-LP Ryan Adams set was there. I love these big, career-spanning live albums — Doug actually got something similar, the one Drive-By Truckers put out last year — in part because they function as greatest hits albums as well. I’ve listened to Ryan Adams a fair amount, but I don’t have physical copies of many of his albums, so Live at Carnegie Hall fills in gaps that would have gone unfilled for who knows how long.

This particular situation feels almost star-crossed, because the album of his that I’ve listened to more than any other isn’t an official release — it’s just a download of the live set he did before his 2011 Letterman performance. I love Adams in that setting, where he can tell discursive stories and jokes and jump between eras of his career. Many have said that Adams needs to self-edit more, but the flexibility of the solo acoustic environment suits him well, I think, and I love having two full nights of his music and storytelling at my fingertips. One hell of a raffle prize, that’s for sure.

One more note before I go — BK Music continues to amaze me with their customer service, from the good-natured way they approach the chaos of Record Store Day, to their willingness to go above and beyond to help you find what you need. If you haven’t been to BK, I recommend going and getting to know the nice people who work there. Such a great place.

Ryan Adams — “New York, New York” (live) [Spotify/iTunes]

 

 

 

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Friday News and Notes: Record Store Day Edition

RSD16

These aren’t your usual Friday News and Notes — tomorrow is Record Store Day, so let’s get some special edition, limited pressing, hand-numbered (OK, so they’re not actually numbered) bullets going…

  • As per usual, I’ll be starting the day where so many of my RSD wishes have been granted: BK Music. I have a gig at McCook’s tonight, so waking up early and getting close to the front of the line tomorrow will involve an extra degree of difficulty, but Bandmate 4eva Doug is giving me a ride, and a 7-inch copy of the Matthew E. White/Natalie Prass/DJ Harrison collaboration “Cool Out” is on the line, so there’s plenty of motivation for getting out of bed when my phone’s alarm tells me to. Also I’ll be having bad FOMO dreams all night, so that should help.
  • That “Cool Out” single is the only item I’m dead set on, but there are a few others I’m interested in taking a closer look at: There’s the Etta James At Last reissue, the Allen Toussaint Live in Philadelphia 1975 album (with “Southern Nights” on it), J Dilla’s lost vocal album, Charlie Parr’s releasing an EP (got into him thanks to Phil Cook), the Hamilton Leithauser/Paul-Maroon EP… I love Hoist, but I just want Phish to release twenty-something dollar reissues of some of these albums. I’d still be up for, like, holding it for a few minutes, maybe?
  • Lots of fun stuff happening around town in addition to BK’s celebration: Steady Sounds has DJs and an attractive mention of pizza on the FB event page, Plan 9 is hosting performances by Ohbliv, Lady God, and Zgomot, Deep Grove will have Sugar Shack donuts and a raffle for a Music Hall Turntable, Vinyl Conflict will be continuing their self-styled oppositional Customer Appreciation Day, featuring a Parking Lot Party and a Simpsons arcade game tournament… so many options, so many ways to support stores that bring you closer to the music that you love, past and present.

Hope you find your ideal spot to cool out tomorrow.

Matthew E. White — “Cool Out” (feat. Natalie Prass) [Spotify/iTunes]

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