Friday, November 30, 2012

Record Store Visit: Kim's Video & Music - New York, NY - 11/21/12

The last stop on the record buying trip was to Kim's Video & Music on 1st Avenue. I'd actually never been to this particular version of Kim's before; though I am intimately familiar with Kim's. I've been going to their stores since the early 90's,

The old Mondo Kim's on St. Mark's
Place. A hell of a store that I miss.
It started out with Kim's Underground on Bleecker Street being the go to location. Then after a while they got a huge space on St. Mark's Place and became Mondo Kim's. Mondo Kims was 3 floors of wonderful chaos. CD's, Vinyl, DVD's, crazy import movies and their infamous VHS rental business that housed some of the most insane movies ever created, The fate of Kim's rental business has been well documented on countless websites, but since I didn't live in NYC, I never was a member. I can tell you that I bought an awful lot of music at the old locations and even purchased my first region free DVD player there so I could buy more British comedy DVD's. Lot's of great memories over the years.

Current Kim's is still a pretty great store. Not as big, but just as good, particularly their video section. Awesome imports, wacky exploitation movies...if it's weird, it's at Kim's. For me, Kim's was the only other location where I actually bought a record during this outing as I picked up a used Heavy Vegetable 7". All in all, not a particularly impressive haul for the day, but I was purposefully trying to spend as little as possible with the holidays coming up and all.

This will wrap up my week long record store discussion here on the website. I hope you enjoyed it, but if not, no worries, it'll be back to records on Monday. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing about all of these stores, missing closed down shops, hunting for picture of the places I spend my formative years. It all makes me a bit sad, truthfully. But I do take solace in the fact that there are a handful of stores still trying to keep the record shopping experience alive in New York City, because I'll be damned if I'm going to go all the way to Brooklyn just to buy some records.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Record Store Visit: Rebel Rebel - New York, NY - 11/21/12

Again, this particular photo isn't mine, so if it is yours and you want me to remove it, just get in touch. I forgot to grab a shot of Rebel Rebel when @swamipat and I stopped on our record store run. This is another hold out from the old Bleecker Street and is another shop I've been frequenting for a long, long time.

Rebel Rebel was always my go to store for import singles. Over the years I can remember picking up Ash 7"s and Beck remix 12"s and that sort of thing. It was never a store where I bought a lot of quantity, but certainly a good amount of quality. It was usually my 2nd stop as a youth. Coming off the Christopher Street PATH train I would typically hit up the Kim's that used to be on the corner of Christopher and Bleecker (long gone and not to be confused with Kim's Underground that was on Bleecker & Thompson). I'd then start the trek down Bleecker heading towards Generation records hitting all the stores in between.

Today, Rebel Rebel is a mess. A legitimate, cartoon character of a record store like you'd see in some bad 90's movie. Boxes of shit everywhere. It's nearly impossible to look through everything; or at least I don't have the patience for it anymore. I don't even know where they keep their 7"s these days. It's a cool store with a great vibe, a total throwback. I'm sure they still have some great records, but they could really use some spring cleaning in this place. I'm afraid I'm going to knock something over and break stuff.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Record Store Visit: Bleecker Street Records - New York, NY - 11/21/12

I don't really have as much to say about Bleecker Street Records as I do about several of the other stops on the record tour. It's not a shop that stands out, and it's not a shop that I have a long history with. Don't get me wrong, Bleecker Street Records has been around for a while, but for me it's always been over-shadowed by the other stores in the area.

First thing's first, I have to commend this store for holding out and staying open on Bleecker Street. Bleecker Street used to be one of the coolest streets in the city, but it has been completely taken over by high end fashion shops and other assorted bullshit. What was once a really interesting part of town is being turned into a mall, so the fact that Bleecker Street Records survives is to be commended,

The store itself is kind of middle of the road. They don't specialize in anything, but they have a really strong cross section of stock. You can find pretty much anything here if you are looking for bands that have a decent following. They have a huge used section and stock a lot of older records from before the 90's. I didn't buy anything on this day, and truthfully, I've never really found much here throughout my visits over the years, but I go in this store every time I walk by it. It's just one of those things that you do.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Record Store Visit: Generation Records - New York, NY - 11/21/12

The 2nd stop on my trek through New York City brought me to Thompson Street and my favorite record store in the city, Generation records. I've been going to this store since 1995, it's by far the best "punk" store in the area, though they stock significantly more than just punk rock.

I remember the very first time I went to Generation. It was before the big crackdown on stores selling bootleg live CDs. I bought a Beck bootleg here called I'm A Schmoozer Baby that still sits in my CD collection to this very day. It's also been a key store to buy some of the best punk around. I remember back when they kept the 7"s on the front counter and you had to stand right next to everyone checking out to browse through them.
Picture of Kim's Underground
Generation used to be the best store in an area PACKED with great record stores. Kim's Underground used to be right at the end of the corner on Bleecker Street. That was another store that I spend countless hours in, combing through the stacks, sometimes buying albums based purely on artwork. They mainly had an indie rock lean, but I bought so many things by so many different bands over the years that I couldn't classify them as indie exclusively.

Right around the block on Sullivan Street there was another store called Second Coming. This was another big booleg store, though on my very first trip there I found the 2nd pressing of the Beck 10" A Western Harvest Field By Moonlight (Notice I was really into Beck in the mid 90's?), so it is a store that also will always hold a special place in my heart. Both of these have long since shuttered their doors and the village is a worse place because of it.
Old entrance to Second Coming Records
I wish I had a picture of the old awning
That was right outside this shop.

Back to present day Generation records. Now the 7"s are downstairs with all of the used CDs and they are still absolutely worth digging through. I always find something of interest and on this day I picked up a Midway Still 10" and a Spatula 7". @swamipat did even better and picked up a several LPs and a rare Hot Snakes Tour 7" that was hanging on the wall.

For me, no trip into NYC is complete without a trip to generation. it's still the best store in the city and one of the best stores I've ever had the privilege of going to.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Record Store Visit: Other Music - New York, NY - 11/21/12

Full disclosure; I didn't take this picture. While I was pretty good about taking pictures on this outing, I forgot to take one at Other Music. This was found using Google. If it is your picture and you want me to take it down, just let me know.

My friend @swamipat was in NYC last week so I went in to the city and we did some good old fashion record shopping. Even though the village is a shadow of what it was back in the 90's, we still managed to hit up 5 stores and I figured it might be interesting to take a week long break from posting about records and spend 5 days talking about the 5 stores we were able to go to. If this isn't something that interests you, no worries on Monday it'll be back to business as usual.

The long gone Subterranean records.
One of my favorites back in the 90's.
If anyone has a picture of the old store
on Avenue A called Adult Crash, please
send it along.  I want to get an archive
of all these old stores together.
1st on the list was Other Music. Back in the day it was across the street from a gigantic Tower Records (where I saw Rocket Fron The Crypt do an in-store appearance once). The Tower is gone, but Other Music is still there chugging away. This was always one of the indie rock stores I would stop at (along with the now closed Adult Crash and Subterranean records). These days, indie rock is a little weird and so is the store's selection. I'm sure the kids love it, but there's not as much here for me anymore. I just never got into the bleep bloop indie electronica stuff. On this day I almost bought a Booker and the MG's record, but decided it was a bit too expensive.

The closed Tower records
on 4th & Broadway
Going back in time, one of the more notable things I can remember buying here in the past was the first death Cab For Cutie record. It was recommended to me by someone I knew from my college radio station. Other Music was the only store anywhere around that was stocking it at the time. Who knew that the band would end up as famous as they are now (and that their first record would pretty much be the only one that I really liked all that much). But for me, that band started at Other Music.

I hadn't been to Other Music in a really long time, so it was interesting to go back. While not really up my alley anymore, if you're in NYC and are looking for some current indie rock or wacky world music or electronica, this would probably be a good store to hit up.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bangers / What-A-Night's - Split 7"

Snuffy Smiles / Drunken Sailor (2012)

What you are looking at is the Snuffy Smiles version of this split 7", though still delivered to my door via the greatness of Drunken Sailor records. They put out some top notch records, folks really should check them out. I did have to get the Snuffy Smiles version of this record as it keeps my collection of (now) 120 Snuffy Smiles 7"s complete. It's one of the collections I'm most proud of.

Starting off with Bangers, I have an older split 12" of theirs that I wasn't particularly impressed with, so I wasn't really expecting much out of their songs on this split. Much to my surprise, these tracks are significantly better than anything that I have on that other record of theirs. I still don't totally love the singers voice, but these songs are much catchier than anything I've heard from the band previously.

What-A-Night's are probably the best kept secret in Japan right now. Even though Your Pest Band is far from what I'd call a well known band, I feel like they have fans in the right places and I do hear them being lauded. I never hear anyone talking about What-A-Night's and it's a damn shame. Combining elements of all of the great Snuffy Smiles bands of the past, it just thrills me to listen to songs this great. Did you ever like Blew or Lovemen, or Three Minute Movie or The Urchin? Take the best parts of each and that might give you an idea of how great this band is. Buy immediately.

Bangers / What-A-Night's - Split 7":

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sister Kisser / Rumspringer - Split 7" - Purple Vinyl (/100)

Dead Broke / Different Kitchen (2012)

I picked this up for Rumspringer, but let's start off with Sister Kisser. I'm sure there are plenty of people that will really enjoy this, but these songs are not connecting with me. They just scream a bit too generic heartfelt punk, with vocals that seem kind of heavy handed. It's not bad, but it isn't something I can imagine listening to with any sort of frequency.

Rumspringer, on the other hand, is definitely for me. Two absolutely killer songs that are equal parts catchy & dynamic. If you're a fan of that old East Bay sound, Rumspringer is going to be right up your alley. Pretty sure these guys are recording a new full length and I can't wait for the opportunity to continue to buy every single record that this band is on.

Sister Kisser / Rumspringer - Split 7":

Monday, November 19, 2012

Low Culture - Georgia 7"

Low Culture - Georgia 7" by Tim PopKid
Low Culture - Georgia 7", a photo by Tim PopKid on Flickr.
Dirtcult / Dead Broke / Drunken Sailor / Rad Girlfriend (2012)

So while the 2 guitar guys from the Marked Men started up their side projects (Mind Spiders, Potential Johns, Novice, etc) I figured it was only a matter of time before we heard something out of Joe the bass guy. We he's teamed up with folks who were in other bands like Shang-A-Lang and Gypsy and now we have a Low Culture 7". This actually came out a few months ago, but I was waiting to order it with something else to save on shipping. Then I ordered it with another record on pre-order. Basically I totally, unnecessarily delayed myself getting this record.

Well, it's here now and it's fantastic. Fast and hooky, good melodies. Enough pop punk to appease that side of my taste, but enough garagey influences to keep it sounding rough and exciting. In particular the songs "Georgia" & "Travel Song" are out of this world. The only thing I didn't like on this 7" was "Nervous Wreck" which was a bit too shouty for me. The band is going to be putting out an LP on Dirtnap next year, and if this 7" is anything to go off of, 2013 should start off with a bang.

Low Culture - Georgia 7":

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Odd Numbers - Holiday 7" & The Easy Life 7"

Side 1 (199?)
Detour (1995)

The odd numbers were a snappy little combo that played Jam influenced mod pop back in the 90's. They've got a good number of singles out there, most of which were compiled onto the absolutely stellar Jazz Cigarettes LP (A must own). I have a few of their 7"s, but am always looking to add more on the cheap if they're available. Once again thank you Discogs.

The funniest thing I'll say is that the Holiday 7" is that it's on a label called Side 1. I have no idea what year it came out, but I think (think being the operative word) that this might have been an early incarnation of what became Side One Dummy. I could be totally wrong, but boy, that's wacky if it's so.

Found a version of Holiday being performed in a parking lot...check it out.

The Odd Numbers - Holiday (Live):

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Obits - Refund 7" - Purple Vinyl

La Castanya (2012)

New single from Obits. This was expensive. I had to order it direct from the label in Spain, so right away I was paying in Euros, so I'm on the wrong side of the exchange rate. 2nd, shipping is preposterous overseas these days. As someone who mails out a lot of records, I get that, but geez. But lastly, the label won't sell you one 7", they have a two 7" minimum. All in, this record cost me $34.53. Kind of crazy for 2 songs.

Now the songs. Refund is stellar. Fast, loud, Rick Froberg wailing away. Argueably better than anything on Moody Standard & Poor. A really great song. The B side, Suez Canal is a song sung by the-guy-in-the-band-that's-not-Rick-Froberg. It just doesn't move me. I'm just not into his songs on any of their records. It's probably me, not him. I just feel if Rick's in your band, let the man sing! I don't love that one Hot Snakes song that John sings as much as the rest of their songs either. Worth $34.53? I don't know, it's hard to put a price tag on keeping your collection complete...

I can't find these songs streaming anywhere, but as I was searching I found a link to listen to them in Spotify. I don't use Spotify, but I know some folks do, so you can check the songs out there if you like:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Various Artists - Punk Rock Disc 7" - Yellow Vinyl

Speedowax (2001)

Ah Speedowax, the great label with enough variants to make you give up record collecting all together. They've been around for a long time and although they have been putting out an awful lot of new records lately, I first fell in love with the label back in the 90's when they were putting out Travis Cut and Broccoli 7"s.

This record here is a relic from the early days. A six band compilation 7". All UK bands I believe. And while I have records by some of these bands (Southport obviously for the Snuff tie in, Fishtake eventually turned into The Take and I have a split 7" with Scarper and another great band called Lithium Joe), others I'm not as familiar with like Luna:Suit and Scuttle. All good tracks, crammed onto 1 disc for maximum punk rockness. Though in a perfect world it would have been cool if the Southport song had been unreleased.

I can't find anything online to share, unfortunately, but just know that in the late 90's and early 2000's, there were still some fantastic little bands kicking around in the UK.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Zebrassieres/ Funfuns - Split 12"

Ptrash (2012)

So this is another exclusive from being in the Ptrash Club. For most folks, this was released as two 1-sided 12"s, but the Ptrash club got everything on one. Pretty neat. I've had the Zebrassieres side for a while as I have the original version on Going Gaga records. Still like it. Fast, new wave-y pop, keyboards, rapid fire vocals. All check. Funfuns were a aband that happened before Zebrassiers and have some of the same members. They sound remarkably similar really. I think the Zebrassieres songs are more fleshed out, and frankly better, but both sides of the record are definitely worth a spin.



Monday, November 12, 2012

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Hard Promises LP

Backstreet (1981)

I've been trying to amass the Tom Petty collection on vinyl, slowly but surely. I picked up the Record Store Day versions of the 1st two Heartbreakers albums a couple of years ago and I also grabbed that super fancy edition of Damn The Torpedoes. Right now there don't seem to be reissues planned for the rest, so I'm trying to secure copies.

I'm sure it would be easy to find them all in a used bin for a dollar or two, but then I'd probably end up with scuffed up records. I can't have this. I found Hard Promises on Discogs for $7. And it was still sealed! It's a promo, so there is a gold stamp in the upper left hand corner, but I'm OK with that. To have a brand new copy for so little money was a deal I couldn't pass up. So many great songs on this album, maybe not as many as are on Damn The Torpedoes, but still a hell of a record. I'm keeping my eyes open for more deals like this and I'm hopeful to find a nice copy of Full Moon Fever pretty soon.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - The Waiting:

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Letting You Go:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pinback - Information Retrieved LP - Smokey Blue Vinyl

Temporary Residence (2012)

Pinback is a band that I can always count on. Every few years they get together, record a batch of fantastic songs and release them out into the wild. 2012 is one of those years and Information Retrieved is one of the very best records they've released to date. Unlike a lot of the bands that I tend to gravitate towards, Pinback doesn't subscribe to the louder is better theory. They craft mellow, intricate songs with some of the most unique guitar work you'll hear in my record collection.

But, let's not forget they're from San Diego, so you'll still hear echoes of the scene that inspired some of my very favorites like No Knife, Jehu & others. The vinyl itself sounds amazing. The artwork & packaging is incredible. And although not immediately apparent, the vinyl is pretty cool looking too. You can't really see it when I take my normal picture, but I've included a 2nd shot where I hold it up to the light. Pretty neat stuff. Go buy this. Top 10 of the year for sure.

Pinback - Information Retrieved (full album stream):

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pluto - Failure 7" & Deathstar 7"

Shake (1994)
Mint (1994)

Pluto was a band that came across my radar via a self titled major label album on Virgin records. Another king of the used bin find. Even though I know they have other records, that was the only one that graced my collection over the years. I recently placed an order over at Green Noise records and saw these 2 7"s in their used section for a dollar each, so I had to grab them.

I can't find any of the band's music online to share, so you'll have to take my word that Pluto is cranking out the big guitar, big melody kind of guitar rock that every major label thought they were going to make money with in the mid 90's, even though none of them did. The band writes tremendous hooks and the songs on these 7"s are every bit as good as the one's I have on that lone CD. I know the band has at least 2 more 7"s, and I think it may be time to hunt down their other full lengths as well.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sundials - When I Couldn't Breathe LP - Green Vinyl

Asian Man (2012)

Sundials play some pretty catchy indie rock. I picked up the band's first album when I heard them compared to Archers of Loaf, though I don't really agree that the bands sound similar, I do see that Sundials certainly have a love of 90s indie rock in their music. I pre-ordered their latest release on Asian Man right away and was rewarded with green vinyl. Not so sure about the pressing info on it though.

As far as the album goes, it's good. In particular the first half is really strong. The first half definitely exceeds what the band accomplished on their debut. However on the second half of the record, I just start to lose interest. it happens every time I put the record on, I just start zoning out. There's nothing bad on it. but just nothing that continues to hold my interest. Worth checking out, but maybe not essential for everyone.

Sundials - When I Couldn't Breathe:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Plow United - Narcolepsy LP - White Vinyl (/100)

Square Of Opposition (2012)

I have power again after Hurricane Sandy and am able to post. We didn't have power for 8 days. No heat, no nothing. It was incredibly annoying but I am very grateful that I did not have to endure the type of catastrophic problems that many others in my state have suffered. I just want to say thank you to everyone that sent an email or said something nice via twitter during this. It meant a lot. Anyway, back to the rock! I have a pretty good backlog of records from before the hurricane, not to mention I haven't gotten mail in over a week, so who knows what's still floating around out there for me. Hopefully it arrives safe.

The final Plow United record finally released on vinyl. I don't really have many memories of when this CD came out on Creep Records in 1998. I remember people saying it was no good. As much as I loved Plow II and the bands debut, for one reason or another I just never bought their 3rd album. Here we are 14 years later and it's out on vinyl. Time to give it a chance I think.

I will say this, it is not as good as the band's 1st 2 albums. However, it's still pretty good. About half the songs are very good and there's only a couple of duds. Listening to the record it kind of feels like a band breaking up, a bit darker than before, but I absolutely think this is worth a purchase, especially considering it's the only Plow United record that's currently in print (I don't count that best of comp, it is a silly thing).

Check it out before you buy it, the label has made the whole record available for download. if you download it, you should donate a few bucks to the band, it's only fair. Or, go buy the vinyl if you like it.

Plow United - Narcolepsy: