My father-in-law gave me his vinyl collection a couple years back — the boxes that weren’t ruined when the Susquehanna River flooded and filled their basement when my wife was a kid. He gave me lots of really great stuff, so I’m still making my way through it all. I put sticky notes on the albums I wasn’t familiar with so I’d have a visual reminder to check them out at some point, and one I recently pulled the sticky off of is The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands.
Steady Sounds posted a picture of a patron holding it a little while back, and when I went in shortly thereafter, I saw the album in the used section and asked Marty what he thought of it. He said that it really was made to sound like a battle of the bands, with varied tracks and styles. I gave my father-in-law’s copy a spin this week and enjoyed the whole thing, but it was the last track, “Earth Anthem,” that stopped me. Literally — I stopped what I was doing (I think I was folding laundry), went over to the turntable and played it again. Then I played it again. It didn’t just feel like a different group — it felt like it was from a different time. Like something recent that was supposed to sound like something old, if that makes any sense.
Check it out below. It’s simple, but it packs quite a punch, I think.
The Turtles — “Earth Anthem” [Spotify/iTunes]
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]
I picked up a copy of collector/producer Chris King’s latest project (pictured above) at Steady Sounds two Sundays ago. While I was there, I also picked up King’s signature (pictured below), a completely delicious slice of baklava, and a copy of the Anthology of American Folk Music: Volume III, which I learned about from Amanda Petrusich’s book Do Not Sell at Any Price, which I bought at a signing that was hosted by Steady Sounds and DJ’d by… Chris King. Pretty sure the universe folded in on itself. But in a good way.
I decided I’d wait to play Why the Mountains Are Black until Mrs. YHT and I could whip up a proper Greek feast. Could not recommend the full experience highly enough. Made sure to snap a few crappy iPhone photos:
Beginnings of a Greek salad
Baked feta with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and a bunch of olive oil
Marinated shrimp, grilled halloumi, pita
Mythos, which someone who won’t be named drank lots of while traveling in Greece with Mrs. YHT
I’ll spare you the selfie I took while wearing the Kosta Koufos jersey I bought while we were in Athens. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find on Why the Mountains Are Black:
“Kalamatianos” (“Dance of Kalamata”) [Spotify/iTunes]
Another new feature for 2016! I always end up with posts I didn’t manage to finish throughout the week, so I’m going to make a list each Friday of stuff worth hearing/seeing/looking out for. Really hoping I can keep up with this one. We’ll see.
- Landlady posted to their Facebook account about Adia Victoria, who has a debut album coming out later this spring. The first song to hit the interweb is “Dead Eyes,” and I’m digging it. Especially this morning, thanks to Baby YHT’s pre-dawn wake-up. Because why not loudly list the names of all your daycare friends at 5 a.m.? Really, it’s the best time for that.
- I found a really neat Jimmie Rodgers album this week — The Unheard Jimmie Rodgers Vol. II. A bunch of unused cuts from country’s first superstar. Remember the scene from O Brother, Where Art Thou? where the Soggy Bottom Boys sing “In The Jailhouse Now”? A version of that is on there, along with a bunch of songs about how he’s the saddest person on planet Earth. Sample lyric: “I’m lonely and blue/I’m downhearted too.” Yeesh. Great stuff though!
- Doug Nunnally of Sound Gaze alerted me to a fantastic version of Miguel’s “waves” that turns the song into a duet with Kacey Musgraves. It’s perfectly assembled, and fits in a really interesting place between a remix and a cover. Well worth a listen. Shouts to Mrs. YHT for finding the best comment on the video: “Kacey is LOVE, Kacey is LIFE. #country”
- A big YHT high five to Lucy Dacus for her Pitchfork review today. So excited. Here are my thoughts about the album, in case you missed Wednesday’s post.
- Some great shows going on this weekend. Clair Morgan’s Good Day RVA video release at Hardywood and Wood Brothers at the Broadberry tonight, Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins, and Anaïs Mitchell at the Modlin Center tomorrow night, and Son Little at Strange Matter on Sunday. That Patty Griffin one is sold out, so I guess I’m just bragging at this point. Really psyched about it.
- There’s also the Chris King DJ set happening at Steady Sounds on Sunday. They’re celebrating the release of Why The Mountains Are Black: Primeval Greek Village Music (1907-1960), and King will be spinning original copies of tracks he included on the album. A genuinely unique opportunity. Shouldn’t be missed.
That’s all for now — happy Friday, y’all!
Team YHT is on a grandparent visit in Florida this weekend (I believe this is the first time anyone’s gone to Florida to ride out a hurricane), but I have a “What I would be doing” recommendation for all you wet and wild Richmond folks: Anything and everything Diamond Center.
I’ve written at length about Daniel Bachman before, but I’d like to mark the release of his new album Orange Co. Serenade by sharing a slightly different impression of his playing, along with a sample track off the new record.
I’m sure you’ve heard people who are confronted with an adorable baby or puppy say something to the effect of “Oh my god, [he/she/it] is so cute I just want to eat [him/her/it] right up!” Everyone knows they’re not cannibals or puppy eaters — it’s just an expression that spills out as a result of overflowing enthusiasm. (Then again, cuteness has been shown to activate the part of our brains that regulates aggression…) You hear similar language in book reviews. Prose is “gobbled up” when it’s particularly enjoyable. Some things are so good you just want them to be a part of you — to be absorbed, so you can go about your daily life with the elevated level of joy you felt when you first encountered them.
There’s a close cousin to this type of enthusiasm, and it’s another book review mainstay — “I just want to crawl inside it.” When a writer builds an especially vivid and inviting fictional universe, the words pull you in, and before you know it, you’re wishing you could cross the page’s divide and join the world the characters get to inhabit. (It happens in movies too — you might remember that a number of movie-goers were swept up in a wave of depression after seeing James Cameron’s Avatar because they couldn’t cope with the fact that the idyllic Pandora wasn’t a real planet they could emigrate to.)
That — minus the delusional depression bit — is how I feel when I listen to Daniel Bachman play the guitar.
OK, so I may or may not have just listened to The Ride of the Valkyries to psych myself up for Record Store Day. Is that crazy? It is, isn’t it.
Whatever, I’m excited.
Hey RVA folks — you should go to Steady Sounds at 6 p.m. this evening. A guitarist named Daniel Bachman (pictured above, in the art for his new album, Jesus I’m A Sinner) is performing, and it’s absolutely, positively worth your time. How do I know? He did an in-store at Steady Sounds back in January that knocked my socks off and launched the 1,100-word essay below, on open tuning and focal points and why I might owe the Goo Goo Dolls an apology. I’ve been excitedly waiting until just the right moment to publish this, so I hope you enjoy it and then join me at 6 at Steady Sounds.
I want to thank Daniel Bachman for undoing something The Goo Goo Dolls did 18 years ago.
In August, I found out about this Buzzfeed list of “27 Breathtaking Record Stores You Have To Shop At Before You Die” from a tweet posted by the proprietor of one of my favorite music blogs, AnEarful. At that point, I’d been to two of them — Mississippi Records in Portland, OR and Grimey’s in Nashville — which, as I confessed at the time, made me feel like some sort of low-grade jet setter. Really, what it makes me is the kind of person who, when exploring a city for the first time, disappears for a few hours to feed a habit that’s already overfed back home. (Quick plug: I can think of a few Richmond shops that deserve to be on the sequel to that Buzzfeed list, if’n one’s ever assembled…)
I knew about Reckless Records before that list came out — I’ve gotten my brother-in-law a Reckless gift certificate or two in years past via the interweb — but reading about the store on that list gave me the nudge I needed to make seeing it firsthand a priority, and I got the opportunity to check out the Milwaukee Ave. location last weekend, when Mrs. YHT and I were in town for a wedding.
Between the high of No BS! Brass Band’s record release show on Friday and the low of the Toots & The Maytals incident on Saturday, I spent a fair amount of time this week talking about the Richmond music community. I still consider myself somewhat new to that community, and I definitely don’t make it out to as many shows as I’d like, but the musicians who call Richmond home have come to mean a great deal to me, as have the bloggers who work hard to shine a light on the city’s amazing pool of musical talent. This coming Wednesday, May 29, at The Camel, we’ll have an opportunity pause and say thank you and happy third blog birthday (Blirthday? Yeah? No?) to a blogger who truly understands the meaning of the word “community” — Andrew Cothern of RVA Playlist.