Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dream Team (1988)

'Dream Team' is my favorite record label name ever. And this little logo, is it supposed to represent a basketball? It must. This is also the only record I have with both a 'superside' and a 'sonicside.'

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dunes (1961)

This one was not planned. As I was walking home from the bank this afternoon, I stopped into a small antique shop that was advertising a 50% closing sale. While I perused, the store owner, an older southern woman, first referred to me as 'beach bum', then asked me what I was looking for. I handed her a stack of sleeveless 45 singles, with this Dunes 7 inch on the top of the pack. 'This one is warped, honey', she said .'It's yours!' She ended up giving me the entire bunch. When I asked her to put aside the two pricier singles I found in a separate pile, she replied back: 'I'll keep them right here in my drawer. They'll be here waiting for you, until eternity.'

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Superstar (Unknown)

This VU collection comes with a very nice booklet featuring rare photos and a short biography written in Italian. Unless I missed something, there is no visible release date. If this was intended to be an introduction to the band, or a 'Best of', the label picked out some heavy cuts: 'Venus in Furs', 'European Sun', 'Pale Blue Eyes','Black Angel's Death Song', 'Beginning to See the Light' , and 'Sister Ray' as the opener! Superstar!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Resistance (1984)

Resistance Records was a small California label with ties to the mid-80's L.A. punk/post-punk scene. These designs are special relics from a mysterious and often overlooked period in SoCal's musical history.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

FM (1963)

FM is a great name for a record label; the letters looks nice written out in large font. From looking at the center-label design alone, you'd think this was either an old library record or something with grooves on it. In fact, The Big Three was an American folk group featuring a young Mama Cass. I would never have guessed it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

SST (1987)

A classic SST move: cram the entire track list onto side one's center-label and leave the space on side two for the artwork. Here's just one more reason to admire the supreme team that was SST Records.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hot Wax (1971)

I like this one a whole lot. There is something ominous going on here: the 'hot wax' name and the words When Will it End placed between the flame-like waves in the background. Cool stuff.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Unity (1978)

I wish I knew more about this California-based New Music/New Age label. The release is by Oakland-based minimalist composer Jordan de la Sierra and is entitled 'Gymnosphere: Song of the Rose-Music from the Hearts of Space'. The double LP comes with a thick, illustrated booklet filled with text. I will leave you with the introduction:

Greetings to all fellow members
and space colonizers
here present
in this our local universe:
It is my intention to share this offering
of pure sound with shape
with all beings who live and breathe
expressing love through the grace of music
as a form of spacial food
for our finer being bodies
with the sublime wish that we all
may further enjoy our experience.

In truth and goodness and beauty


Friday, February 19, 2010

Deram (1967)

When Decca Records off-shoot 'Deram' got the opportunity to release a tune called 'My Dream', it ran with the concept. Reinventing itself by forming the simple, yet amazing, anagram, the 'Dream' label was born!

But wait, there is more. Who in the world are 'Dave, Derek, Dek & John'? If you look close enough, the clues are there. 'My Dream' is the b-side ' of 'Love you 'til Tuesday', the first hit single by then rising mod-rocker Davie Jones, who had just recently changed his stage name to David Bowie.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sussex (1972)

This is my last post. I have Alexander to thank for my love of Mr. Withers and this Sussex design is completely amazing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snèèèllèèèr (1983)

Imagine my delight when I found this 12", Gonna Rob the Spermbank by The Ex at a tiny record shop in Italy. The cover of the record alone is priceless (given the title you can imagine) but the design of this label (The Ex's own, distributed by dutch RALBöR Releases which pressed independently operating band labels) still knocks my socks off (and maybe makes me say ewwww a little) as does the poster found in the record sleeve: "Home-taping is killing record companies,...and it's about time." !

Paula / Jewel Records (1973)

Rough Trade (1979)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

MEA (1962)

This is it. My last post here. I thought this LP by Alan Watts and friends would be an appropriate way to go out. The title, This is IT, is fitting methinks. Well, that and the obvious song title "The End." I used to have a bookstore spot where I'd consistently dig up awesome early-'70s electronic composition LPs and one day I found this gem there. The minute I saw it I knew this was going to be my kind of record. Sound-wise it's almost entirely noise and nonsense, i.e. people drumming on who know's what, chanting in what sounds like made up languages, and a motley assortment of belches, squirts and the like. The tag line on this is "a spontaneous musical happening," which I'm glad they recorded. From what I can tell, doing "IT" off-the-cuff and improvised is largely the point.

Look-wise I just love the color on the label, such a great yellow. I'm startled every time I pull this LP out of the sleeve because the brightness is so unexpected in relation to the covers. The text is clear and to the point -- unobtrusive. And at the top there's that lovely bit of squiggly going on inside a circle. If you have a moment it's worth doing a bit more investigating about the cover and the background. This site seems to have a decent take, as well as some scans of the actual cover, which you'll see has a curious look -- a mishmash of courier font/typewriter text and Japanese-ish titling.

I'll leave you with two things: 1) A bit of philosophizing from Watts: "No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time," and 2) A download link for the last mixtape I made, which unfortunately was about four years ago, but I think it's still worth a listen every now and then (tracklist is in the comments).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bert Tenzer Productions (1963)

Interesting word choice here. I guess having the secret to immortality would be kinda dope, but "perpetual" life? That just doesn't have quite the right ring to it. Visually there's nothing mind-blowing with the stark black and white look. What I dig is the concept embedded here. The record is actually an extended advertisement for cameras and the technology of capturing images on film, which gets to be an interesting sort of cultural and/or marketing idea, i.e. trying to convince people that they can live on perpetually through celluloid. On that note, here's my secret advertisement, go see Bill Morrison's Decasia.

A quick story about digging this one up: I chanced on it in a stack of 10-inchers at an Orlando thrift store and couldn't help but get interested what with the title. I pulled the vinyl out to check the condition and came to find there was a second record in the sleeve. No, it wasn't a double, instead it was another Tenzer production entitled: "THE INVASION OF THE MECHANICAL MEN" (see below). Robots. They're always after that elusive secret for perpetual life.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roche Laboratories (1972)

I'm pretty much a sucker for any sort of oddball spoken word or instructional recordings, especially from thrift stores and flea markets where you never know what you'll find. This is one of my favorites from those digs and I'm guessing you'll immediately see why. Visually this just looks dope. Great design work with the soundwaves emanating from the spindle hole. I also like how this is immediately recognizable as a '70s joint with the doc's glasses and pallor. That dude has some hairy wrists. On a second look, there is something a bit strange going on with the spindle hole. That is, if you think about it, it's like this subject is actually missing his heart and the doctor is listening to a blank white spot with his stethoscope. I wonder what's he's hearing in the nothingness.

Listening-wise this is a curious recording. There's a guy talking some standard medical jargon, but what's interesting is the heartbeat sounds. It's set up so that whoever is using this to study or learn or whatever gets to hear the beats at a regular speed and then at a slowed down speed, which the narrator says should allow listeners to better understand what it is they're hearing. The accompanying booklet has all sorts of info on prescribing Valium, adverse reactions, relieving psychic tension and overdosage.

For those in the market: "Single copies of INTERPRETING HEART SOUNDS kits may be purchased for $2.30 each." Unless you happen to come across five parts of Part A at your local thrift store, which can be purchased at a price of 50 cents each.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Magic Touch

The only piece I scored out of a big ole box of 45s at a Salvation Army store that used to be on the south side of Richmond, Va. I figured 25 cents for a track with the hardass title "Kill the Pain" on a label that had a bow-tie-wearing rabbit performing his own trick (he is holding the wand after all) from a top hat wasn't a huge gamble. I'm not sure what sort of sleight of hand this wascal is up to -- he doesn't appear to be pulling himself out of the hat like Bugs Bunny would do.

I tossed this in a big ole box of booty (which was mainly kids' records, old Casio keyboards and satin Starter jackets) from my day of scouring the thrift store circuit. I got home that night, flipped my wig over how raw and good this scratchy single sounds, and then, for what it's worth, flipped my wig again when I recognized the "Oh baby you got me hurting / I want you to kill / Kill the pain" lyric from, strangely enough, a Depeche Mode remix. Well, maybe it's not such a koinky dink given that the remix was done by one DJ Shadow. Anyhoo. This baby is a blarer with some knocking drums, bouncing bass line and James Brown-ish inflections. Junior is the sort of guy that gives orders, but at least he's nice about it. The non-plug side is another blunt plea: "Please Make Love to Me."