Bad Brains – I Against I
Clinic – Internal Wrangler
Japan's a weird place to go record shopping. It's also an awesome place, with a seemingly bottomless selection, but I'm talking about price here. Most stuff is comparably priced to the US used market, some a little more, some a little less. But if you look through the bargain bin at any shop (and they all have one), you come across stuff that's way undervalued for no clear reason.
I found the first two Clinic records for the equivalent of about $3 each. I actually found their first three, but I didn't buy the third. Why? No idea. I guess Clinic just never caught on over there. Maybe they never toured the far east (Far East?).
The Decemberists – The Hazards Of Love
Not sure why I'm not head-over-heels for this one. I think Meloy's a terrific songwriter, and I love the conceit of the album-length story, the songs flowing together, etc. I just think the individual songs aren't his finest work. Sometimes it seems like the lyrics are being forced into measures and melody lines where they don't quite fit, which I suspect may be the result of trying to make the story hang together. Still, solid enough to hold up to multiple listens, just not enough to keep me yearning for more every time.
Bob Dylan – Bringing It All Back Home
I realise that it's total filler, but "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream" is one of my all-time favourite Dylan tracks. Great performance by the band, and some of the punchlines in the lyrics never get old. I think it just shows that in this period Dylan was so on-fire as a writer that even his tossed off afterthoughts are brilliant.
Fugazi – The Argument
I was never wild about Fugazi in their heyday, and I regret that now. I never saw tham live, and they probably top my bummer list of acts I actually could have seen (unlike, say, Hendrix). Them or the Grateful Dead.
Guns N' Roses – Use Your Illusion I
At our fantasy football draft a few weeks back we listened to Dr. Dre's The Chronic in its entirety for, for me anyway, the first time in many years. The music holds up remarkably well, but what really struck me was the appalling misogyny of the lyrics. I really don't think hip-hop is nearly as bad now, as a whole, as it was twenty years ago in that regard. One would expect something like that to grow steadily worse, but it hasn't. Sure, most of my favourite hip-hop albums of the past few years have their token explicit sex rhyme, but it's not nearly as bad as "Bitches Ain't Shit". Even the Ying Yang Twins' (admittedly awesome) "Wait" was shocking when it came out precisely because we don't hear lyrics that explicit as often as we used to. And I don't think that track would have cause nearly as much of a stir had it come out ten years earlier; it would merely have been one of many.
I felt the same way listening to "Back Off Bitch" which, it bears mentioning, is musically excellent, with top-notch lead guitar work. But the lyrics are just awful, in a way that, again, you just don't hear these days. Of course, metal's evolved even further from this point that hip-hop, mostly because no one's written a metal song about women in the past ten years, let alone recorded one with coherent vocals.
My point is that I don't think this is just a matter of me getting older, or having daughters. I think lyrics like this are more shocking nowadays because we don't hear as much of them anymore. And not to sound like a prude, but good riddance. Of course, younger-me would tell now-me to relax and not take it so seriously, but fuck him, what did he know anyway?
Jesu – Conqueror
Makes great bedtime music for the girls, but only when Mommy's not around to complain about it.
Henry Kaiser – Those Who Know History Are Doomed To Repeat It
Not only did Henry Kaiser record a Grateful Dead cover that takes up one whole side of a record, he also got SST to release said record. Not all that surprising if you're familiar with some of the more "deep catalog" items in the SST annals, but pretty weird if you just know it as Black Flag's label.
Kaiser may have the most interesting where-are-they-now story out of any 80s American indie musician. He's a SCUBA diver doing scientific research in Antarctica. Or was as of a few years ago, when he (barely) appeared in Werner Herzog's Encounters At the End Of the World. And scored it to boot.
Love & Rockets – Seventh Dream Of a Teenage Heaven
Mercury Rev – Snowflake Midnight/Strange Attractor
The Misfits – Walk Among Us
The girls weren't as taken with this one as I expected them to be. They seemed a little agitated. Maybe in a few years they'll be more susceptible to the charms of the young Glenn Danzig.
By the way, if you haven't read "Henry + Glenn Forever" yet, go buy a copy before Danzig sues it out of print.
Out Hud – Let Us Never Speak Of It Again
Rage Against the Machine – Renegades
I was never into these guys in their heyday, but I bought this one on a whim when it came out after hearing the lead single and kind of liking it. It's their covers album, and was released shortly after they broke up. I hadn't listened to it in a while, and it's not much different than I remember: great song selection, inconsistent execution. Still, enough high points to make it worth a listen every few years or so.
Royksopp – Melody A.M.
The first time I listened to this I was surprised to hear a commercial jingle on side four. The GEICO ad where the caveman is on one of those moving walkways in an airport.
Underworld – Oblivion With Bells
Meh. They weren't very good before Karl Emerson joined, they weren't very good after he left. Ah, but those glory years...
The Velvet Underground & Nico
Do I have the bolding right in the title? Is this a self-titled album by a band called "the Velvet Underground & Nico" or is it an album of that title by a band just called "the Velvet Underground"?
The Who Sell Out/A Quick One (Happy Jack)
Said it before, I'll say it again: love those cheapo reissues. Just give me the music, I don't care about the packaging.
By the way, I turned on B—, who's a big 'Oo fan, to Patra Haden's full-length a capella cover version of Sell Out a few weeks back. He's into it. You should be too.