Archive for October, 2010

Record shopping is pretty much my favourite hobby. Wherever I go in the world, you will always find me browsing the shelves of used record stores looking for gems. While in the USA last year, out of the 110 records I bought, I managed to secure around 80 records for $1 each. This is what I love about record shopping. This post pays tribute to 10 great albums (in no particular order) that I have found in record stores over the years that cost me no more than $1. Enjoy!

1. RUSH – “Moving Pictures” (1981)
I have to be hoest, I bought this album purely for the fact it had the track Tom Sawyer on it. Probably the most popular of all RUSH songs. I personally think it is a damn good track, I love that whole bass and drums bit and then the guitars come in and go sonic as fuck. Yeah, rock! Now, I am by no means a diehard RUSH fan. In fact, my whole RUSH collection includes a whopping 3 records. This album, though, I needed to have. If you know the song, you know why it’s cool. I wouldn’t say Prog Rock is my thing at all although I do dig the sounds of Hawkwind and Uriah Heep. Yep, this RUSH album was $1 well spent (even if side B does have a scratch half way through it cos I never listen to that side anyway. Tom Sawyer only!) and here’s proof…

2. KISS – “Rock N Roll All Over” (1976)
I made a vow to never buy KISS merchandise brand new cos I don’t want Gene ever getting a cent of my hard earned cash cos a) he has enough money, and b) most KISS albums are about 50% great and 50% filler. This album though was a total score purely cos the cover art rocks and it has the songs Hard Luck Woman, I Want You and Makin’ Love on it. Those 3 tracks are defintely worth the $1 I spent on them. Yep. For those who thought it was a Paul song (and so many do), here’s the voice behind the sweet tunage…

3. CHEAP TRICK – “Dream Police”  (1979)
You’d be hard pressed to actually find a second hand store in the USA that will actually charge you more than $1 for a Cheap Trick used LP. They were everywhere. Especially this album. In fact, this album is so damn good, I actually own 3 copies of it (actually, i think it could be 4, but who’s counting?). Each copy bought for $1 each. Why so many? Have you sat down and listened to this thing? It’s incredible. Robin’s voice is amazing and the guitar work is just flawless. On top of that, these guys know how to always write the perfect tune. Always. Just listen to the songs I’ll Be With You Tonight, Voices or the album’s title track. Sheer perfection. So many bands sneakily wish they were this good. That’s not me making it up either, that’s a fact. Cheap Trick are one of the finest melodic rock n roll bands to ever grace the planet. Make use of their awesomeness while they are still around creating some of the best tunes you will ever hear. You need to own this album. It’s kinda illegal not to. Enjoy the video…

4. THE WILDHEARTS – “Endless Nameless” (1997)
Technically, this album didn’t cost me $1, it actually cost me 49pence when I was in the UK in 2002. When I work out conversion rates and a percentage of the train ticket I bought to get to the city of London that day, it works out to around $1 so suspend disbelief and play along with me here. This album is pretty much the most ignored Wildhearts album in their catalogue. People just don’t seem to like it. Beside the fact the white noise that was put into all the tracks makes the album unlistenable, this heroin induced mess of a record, I believe, is one of their best. Why? Cos the songs are there. Hidden in the mix, they are there and they sound fuckin’ great! How can you honestly say that Urge, Pissjoy, and Anthem are not instant classics? Or what about their reworking of the Dogs D’Amour aptly titled, Heroin? This album is sheer audible bliss, especially in headphones. Highly recommended, especially if you’re suicidal.

5. GRAND FUNK RAILROAD – “Closer To Home” (1970)
Another gem found in the $1 bin and will always be unknown to me as to why it was sitting there in the first place. This album is all killer, no filler. I got turned onto Grand Funk’s awesomeness back when the movie The Spirit of 76 (starring Redd Kross, Devo and the hot chick rom the Wonder Years) was released and they raved about them in the film. I instantly became a fan and snapped up everything but I couldn’t seem to find this LP though and then one day, BAM! There it was, staring me in the face and needing my hard earned $1. I parted ways, brought it home and was blown away. Songs like Mean Mistreater, Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother and the finale, I’m Your Captain, were instant faves in the Damo files of rock. Do I need to mention the live photo in the middle of the gatefold sleeve? Probably not but I will… it made me jealous that I never got to witness Grand Funk’s live shows back in the day. Total rock n roll complete with possibly the second best white man’s afro ever seen to grace a stage (the first goes to the MC5’s Rob Tyner). Do yourself a favour and love this band cos you are doing yourself a great disservice by not.

6. AEROSMITH – “Live! Bootleg” (1978)
This album was a score on so many levels. Let’s look at this one in detail: a) It’s Aerosmith, b) it’s a double LP, c) it sounds fucking amazing, d) it still has the poster! and e) it’s motherfucking Aerosmith! Got it? Good! This album rules so much. The performances on this LP (that I will also throw in that it looks in mint condition, like it was never even played once!) are all tops. The choice of cuts on this album includes all the hits and more. Yeah, really, they’re all here: Back In The Saddle, Sweet Emotion, Toys In The Attic, Mama Kin, Dream On, Walk This Way, etc. It’s an incredible live album. Which is something else considering how much I usually hate live records (except this one is from the 70’s – I should confirm that I don’t like many live albums after about 1985. Once technology got better, I found that live albums started getting boring… except Iron Maiden’s Rock In Rio… that’s heaps rad). And for this to still have the poster inside, that’s like gold! I was super happy with this gem.

7. THE OUTFIELD – “Play Deep” (1985)
Okay okay, I know this is cheesy 80’s pop rock but I love it. I found this LP at a record fair and bought it cos a girl I used to know was in love with a song on here called Your Love so I got it for her as a present but someone had already found it for her. So I kept it for myself and I’m glad I did cos it’s great! So many cool and catchy tunes on here. See, if you search long enough, you will strike gold. For $1, this album was so fun and happy sounding that I found like I was ripping the dude off at the record fair by only paying the $1 for it. Score! If you don’t know the song Your Love, then click this link below. You’ll probably hate it.

8. VAN HALEN – “Van Halen” (1978)
We don’t really need to say a lot about this album cos I am sure you all own it anyway. This album is one of THE greatest rock n roll records of all time. It just is. Hey, don’t get mad with me, I don’t make the rules, history has spoken. Everything about this album rules; the songs, the solos, the vocals, the production, etc. it’s all good! Nothing to fault here. Just brilliance right the way through. I don’t need to write anymore. You know it already and for $1, this album is without a doubt not one you would pass over. I expect you’d do the same, even if you already owned 15 copies of it, this is just one of those albums. I am gonna put this on right now. Yep.

9. HOODOO GURUS – “Stoneage Romeos” (1984)
Found this on my trek to the USA last year. I already owned the Aussie version but this is the Big Time Records release and has the different cover so I figured I needed it just in case it sounded different. It doesn’t. But that doesn’t matter cos it’s still a sweet record. If you have looked over the Hoodoo Gurus then, plain and simple, you’re an idiot. You’re an even bigger idiot if you claim to like rock n roll and still overlooked this record. Why? Cos it’s awesome. Like, heaps awesome! Hell, I’d even write in capitals to show how awesome it is but internet ettiquette tells me that typing in capitals means shouting and I don’t like shouting at anyone, let alone the many strangers who will read this. Still, you need this record. Listen to these killer tunes: I Want You Back, Let’s All Turn On, Tojo, Leilani, I Was A Kamikaze Pilot, etc. The list goes on. This album has no dull moments. It’s just all good. If you don’t own it, please rectify this situation immediately then we’ll talk.

10. ZZ TOP – “Eliminator” (1983)
Around 15 years ago, back when I lived in Adelaide, there used to be this amazing second-hand record store down at Glenelg. They had thousands of second hand records, multiple copies of most and it was a haven to the vinyl junkie. I was super happy shopping there. One of the albums I picked up there for a measly $1 was a mint copy of this ZZ Top classic. I mean, let’s face it, this album has the hits on it and is a great rock n roll record from that little band in Texas who have managed to keep their original line-up in tact for their entire 20+ year career (a feat matched only by those boys from Ireland known as U2). Yep, you know these songs: Legs, Sharp Dressed Man, Gimme All Your Lovin, Got Me Under Pressure, TV Dinners, etc. This album is perfecto. A good time record with great guitar riffs. Those in the USA can find ZZ Top LPs for $1 all over the place. For some reason the American’s think this is all their homegrown Texan’s are worth. Such a shame for them but great for us record junkies. Sweetness!

So there you go. I could continue this on for a long time as I left out notables like Bruce Springsteen, Journey, Foreigner, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Bob Seger, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, and countless others. Still, this is a great start and hopefully you have enjoyed reading this little trek through the best from the bargain bins. Thanks for reading.

 

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One time I was in Missing Link Records in Melbourne and was flicking through their Drone / Stoner Rock section and I discovered the band Kylesa. I immediately liked them cos they had awesome cover art. Yeah, I know, pretty lame but what can I say? I am into cool looking record covers. I had no idea what they were like musically, I just knew that they were awesome. The same can be said for a band like Pig Destroyer… they always have cool lookin’ record covers so you know you’re gonna dig it. And even if you hate grindcore, you still find yourself owning their albums. And why not?

I never did buy any Kylesa stuff though cos their records were always expensive here and I don’t like buying CDs so I was in a bind (yeah, I am one of THOSE guys… the ones who still buy vinyl). But then this turned up in my mail. I put on my heaps excited face and got into it straight away. Better sooner than later cos if I listened to it tomorrow, that’d be one day of missing out on it as we get closer to their show at the 2011 Soundwave Festival. I’ll be there, front row centre as Kylesa tear up the stage. Anyway, I got this album and have played it repeatedly and in doing so, I have come to this conclusion: If Neurosis had sex with High On Fire (I am talkng metaphorically), Kylesa would be the offspring (as in baby, not to be confused with the band, ok? You got to keep them seperated). Big call, and probably setting myself up for a barrage of hate mail but this is what I am hearing and you know what? That’s a heaps good compliment. If some dude who likes Danger Danger told me my band was similar to the likes of Neurosis and High On Fire, not onlywould I say they were wrong (cos we actually steal everything from Motorhead… just sayin’) but I’d still thank the dude for knowing good music and paying me a heaps wicked compliment (and then make him listen to Motorhead’s Another Perfect Day and check out the riffs in Shine and Rock It and then listen to our songs… actually, I am probably revealing too much there. We don’t sound like Motorhead at all. Yep.) Trust me on this one, if you are into the likes of Neurosis, High On Fire and hell, we’ll throw Torche in there as well, then you are gonna freakin’ love this. I am now on the hunt to find the older stuff on vinyl. I hope Relapse or Hydrahead re-issue them or something. Fingers crossed.

Spiral Shadow is experimental and atmospheric, yet full of riffs, pounding drums and interesting vocals. The song structures are huge and really intricate, yet not self-indulgent. A really talented bunch of songs have been served up here for you to endulge in. To be brutally honest, I was a bit hesitant to put this on cos, like, I mean, I had put this band on a pedalstool and praised them without even hearing a single note… what if they sucked? What if the awesome record covers didn’t match their sound? So many what if’s… But low and behold, luck was on my side and this band just dished up a complete winner. I was all over this album like the rash I heard my ex-girlfriend got from banging some stranger after we broke up (that’s karma!). This album stayed on repeat for ages and is still being played all the time. Like even now, it’s on and probably annoying my housemates who are no doubt fuckin’ sick of hearing it. And the cool thing is, when I listen to this in headphones on the way to work, I find I hear new things in the music all the time. It’s kinda like paranormal activity but audible. Crazy stuff! Ghosts n shit inside the music. Woooo! Scary!

So Kylesa, if you’re reading this (and I’m sure you are, cos, like, my blog is the most awesome blog on the net and everyone rushes to read its wisdom and insight on an hourly basis), you’ve done well. And for you fans, this album, I should let you know, has been released in a couple deluxe editions. First up is the vinyl edition: Pressed on 2 LPs at 45rpm and comes complete with a poster and a slipmat. Yeah, you know it! Hot! And for you CD digital fiends, it is available in your format too and comes complete with a bonus DVD that has the making of the album. I love watching those things and this is one I want to see (as it unfortunately did not come with this promo… yes, I have a sad face) because the songs are so bizarre and interesting that I’d be keen to see how it all came together.

This, my friends, is highly recommended listening. Yep. Now, if you’re in Australia, don’t forget to see them at the 2011 Soundwave Festival. It’s gonna be pretty awesome.

Those in Australia can order it through Riot! Distribution.
Overseas peeps can order it through Relapse in many different formats and packages.

Season of Mist website is here.
Kylesa’s website is here.

Back in the day, like the mid-90’s, I had this little distro thingo and I could order records in on the cheap and sell them to the people. Well, while doing this, I was ordering from a company called Mordam Records and one of the labels they looked after was Mans Ruin. I became hooked on Mans Ruin’s releases quite fast as they always had awesome cover art and had that “collectable” feel. I like well packaged stuff and since the artist behind the artwork of Mans Ruin was none other than San Francisco lowbrow legend, Frank Kozik, I tried to buy everything that I could from his label. I did alright, managed to score a good chunk of releases but there’s still a few I am missing.

One release I did get though was the 10″ record by a band called Acid King. I mean, let’s be honest here, the cover has boobs and pentagrams. Who would pass that up? I had no idea who Acid King were but the packaging sold me. I know, I’m such a male… but you get that. Anyway, I liked everything else that Mans Ruin had released so chances are I would have loved it anyway. And I did. I became engrossed in the slow doomy sludgey sounds of Acid King and then followed through and bought their 10″ record on Sympathy For The Record Industry. The hunt began to find more of Acid King’s music. The craziest thing of all is that when you listen to bands like this that are relatively unknown anywhere else in the world, you start thinking to yourself “there’s no way I will ever see them play” and you just go about your business, albeit uncomfortably, and live with the fact you can’t see every band that you want. Or something like that. So imagine my surprise when I look in the gig guide during the week and see that Acid King are touring Oz and playing Melbourne. Yeah, I was totally like “what the fuck?” and I had to see this band play. So today rolled around and off I went.

The band got on stage and began rockin’ at 8:30pm and played a good 90 minute set of ear damaging volume space travel rock n roll. This shit is trippy. It’s slow, it’s loud, it’s brutal, it’s sludgey, it’s Acid King. Think Kyuss but slower and a thousand times heavier with a female singer. Something like that. Crazy eh? It’s hard to get an understanding of it unless you experience it for yourself. I was right up the front to begin with but had to force myself back due to the severe ear damage I was no doubt putting myself through. Yeah, weak. Still, I did brave the 90 minutes and lived to tell the tale. Although the eeeeeeeeeeeeeee noise that’s in my ear is gonna make for fun times as I try to sleep tonight. Mind you, it coulda been worse but thankfully I wore ear plugs.

Acid King are pretty darn rockin’ for a band that doesn’t play fast. It doesn’t matter though cos they still have hooks and stuff to keep people diggin’, front row centre, swayin’ back and forth, just gettin’ into the vibe, know what I mean? It’s groovin’. I was pretty blown away just cos for a three piece, the sound freakin’ HUGE! Which is ironic considering vocalist, Lori, is about 5 feet 4 inches tall (not that I was measuring or anything). But for a short gal, she really let’s the audience have it. Sheer brutality. You love it.

After the show, the band casually hung around and talked with the punters about anything and everything. A nice cool vibe. Lovely people. Kickass band.

www.acidking.com

Yeah, so this review is a week old. What’s up with that? Well the story goes like this: I wanted to add a youtube video of the song “Jawa” that I filmed at this show but my housemate downloads heaps of porn and went over our monthly download quota so was unable to upload it. NEWS FLASH!!! You can now find that video under the photos below but firstly, to the review.

I remember the first time I ever saw BUDD play, around 1995, I think. My mate Tim plays in this band called Screamfeeder and he told me his mate’s were playing in Adelaide (which is where I lived at the time) and that I should go check them out. So I did. They were playing at this place called the Mad Love Bar which was down some side street off Rundle street. They were supporting the band The Mark Of Cain and my mates that were going were big TMOC fans so I was happy to go along. When we got there, the place was packed and Budd were just about to go on. This was when they had just released NAF, yeah I know, I was a bit late to the table but still, I got there.

The line-up in Budd at this time was Jeremy – Guitar and vocals, Narko – Bass, DD Meanie – Guitars and Skiddles – Drums. Once the band kicked in, let’s just say, I was extremely blown away. I had never heard something so heavy yet perfectly crafted. Like it was loud, noisy and insanely brutal yet there was clarity there. And the energy levels for a band playing sludgey groove riffs was incredible. When the Mark of Cain came on, I felt an anti-climax. Finally, I got to see one of Adelaide’s best be shown the door. And that’s not to dismiss TMOC’s greatness. They are indeed a top band but this night was BUDD’s night. It has been implanted on my brain ever since and still remains as one of the heaviest and grooviest shows I have ever seen. So much that I was in this band called Undertone at the time and I went home after the gig and stayed awake til 4 am writing this song called “Shut Off” (which you can hear at this website) that had shades of BUDD throughout. Mainly the stop/starting drums thing. I will always thank BUDD for the inspiration behind that song.

ANYWAY, so let’s fast forward about 15 years to the Old Bar last weekend. BUDD are celebrating a new release titled “Jawa” and since BUDD just don’t ever play enough shows, I had to get along. I mean, really, when a band hardly ever plays a live show, you start wondering if they’ll ever play again so you attend the shows just in case they get sick of it and call it a day. Cos, like, you just never know, right? So me and a couple mates headed out to the show…

Now I have to make a special announcement here…

I have to give my apology to the 3 other opening bands who I missed all the sets of cos I was busy about 20 metres down the road at the Burlesque Bar watching half-naked hot women drench their bodies in caramel sauce and then cover themselves in feathers. I think that warrants as a perfectly acceptable excuse for my missing your sets. I know what you’re thinking: Chicks = Trouble. Yes, you are right and I am guilty as charged. Now, back to the review…

So at midnight, I left the Burlesque Bar and skedaddled my way down to the Old Bar just before BUDD started and upon arriving, I was greeted with my favourite pedal board for any band ever. Purely cos of the confusing factor.

Opening with “Bocci” off their Prana album, I knew what was coming and it was gonna be huge. Luckily for me, I am smart enough to wear ear plugs these days. Yeah, weak but I like being able to hear stuff besides the constant ringing I have in my ears. The line-up is different these days featuring members of Christbait (Craig Westwood on the bass) and Ricaine (the drummer, Tom, I forgot the rest of his name, sorry dude!) but it’s still just as powerful. BUDD are in a genre all of their own. A band that should have been huge but never quite got there which still seems weird to me but I am a little off centre so that has no basis for anything, anyway. If you like heavy goove and listen to the likes of Pelican, Keelhaul, Baroness, Shellac, Boris, etc. then you should be all over this band. As the band continued playing their set, it was a good reminder that this band really are on their game and should be playing more often, making a lot more noise than 1 gig every 2 and a half years.

Also, there should be rare vinyl releases of this band all over the place but there’s not, which is just so retarded. I always wanted to hear this band on vinyl, granted I do have the double 10″ released on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label and the single sided etched 7″ on Fellaheen but their vinyl releases stop there. Ovit should have been on wax as should have both NAF and Yakfat. So why weren’t they? Well, when they were released, back in the day, it was at the time in the early 90’s when labels were thinking the CD was the coollest thing ever and that nobody was buying records. HA! Not the case. But anyway, talking with Jeremy after the show, it appears that the new album Jawa may just be released on wax after all. Yep, now you’re talkin’! I await this release with anticipation. So much that I didn’t buy the CD on the night cos I want the better format. Yeah, I’m that guy.

I must say, seeing BUDD again was damn exciting. Have always been a huge fan and it was good to see that they are still out there doing it. The crowd digged it and it appears people did miss their absence. Let’s hope it’s not another 2 and a half years before we catch them live again.

http://www.myspace.com/buddmethanol

This album just appeared on my doorstep one day. It was weird. Like nobody ever sends me vinyl to review and then there it was. I was stunned. Glorious vinyl from a band I have never heard of… from Adelaide! What the fuck? Bands in Adelaide still believe in vinyl? This was a good sign. I put the needle on the record and began listening. And listening. Again and again. I sat back, lit some incense, and pondered. Now, have you ever heard the likes of M83 or the Japanese band Mono? Well, if you have, there’s shades of that stuff all over this. I love Mono’s music. It’s really something on its own. Like a psychedelic experience as you listen to each record. The songs take you to another time, another place, or you could be just wasted. Regardless, Mono are freakin’ awesome. But this isn’t totally like Mono. No, this is something else entirely. So much that it took me over a month to write this review. Why? Cos I was lost for words. Trying to get my head around something like this wasn’t something I could do overnight. It takes time. And in my busy day to day schedule or making my team at work guess which 1 out of 3 statements I told was a lie, there just wasn’t enough time to put pen to paper and jot this down. But fear no more, my friends cos we’re here now and better late than never, right? Well, that’s what my ex-girlfriend used to say.

Steering By Stars play atmospheric sounds which they manage to twist, turn, unwind and repeatedly belt with a stick so that what you eventually hear is aural bliss. It’s melancholic, it’s bright, it’s sad, it’s dark, it’s lonely, it’s a mixture of emotions and feelings that somehow have transcended from wax to my brain. A band whose music makes you feel something… and with minimal vocals. Like really, most of this is instrumental and the occasional vocals you do hear remind me of the one and only, Lisa Gerrard (of Dead Can Dance fame), which is weird cos like she’s a woman and the singer here is a guy. Well, I think he is. His name is Lachlan but after the 80’s glam rock explosion sprouting names like Traci Guns, Jani Lane and Nikki Sixx, names seem to have lost their gender somewhere along the way. Still, I am thinking it’s a guy. Just a hunch.

So this album, it reminded me of a soundtrack to some fucked up Japanese movie that has lots of wind blowing in it and quite possibly lots of images of Wata from the band Boris walking along lonely streets as we see her reflection in puddles of water. How art student does that sound? Well yeah, you know what I’m saying. Yo La Tengo would be all over this shit! I really dug it. It was something different. I am never sent bands like this. I have been sent lots of rock and some really bad Nickelback type shit recently but nothing like this. Am diggin’ it. Bigtime. Would be heaps keen to see a show by these cats t0 see how the music transcends from the record to the live setting.

You want a copy? Sure you do. Head on over to www.steeringbystars.com and pick one up. And if you’re one of ‘those’ guys, it comes with a digital download card also so you can blast it on your iPod. Just sayin’.

Here’s a video for the song “Closer” so you can get a closer feel for what I am writing about.