Monday, January 31, 2011

Faust - "Faust IV" (Virgin Records, 1973)

One of my favorite records of all time. I love this mythical psychedelic Virgin Records label design - they don't make 'em like this anymore.
From Wikipedia: "The original Virgin logo (known to fans as the "Gemini" or "Twins" logo) was designed by English artist and illustrator Roger Dean: a young naked woman in mirror image with a large long-tailed serpent and the word "Virgin" in Dean's familiar script. A variation on the logo was used for the spin-off Caroline Records label."
Actually, I don't remember where I picked up this one. But this reissue was "researched, spearheaded, and co-ordinated" in 2009 by Tom Recchion (of the Los Angeles Free Music Society/Poo-Bah Records)...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thee Oh Sees - "Help" (In The Red Records, 2009)

Thee Oh Sees (a.k.a. OCS, The Ohsees) have been consistently delivering several nuggets every single year - almost always on colored vinyl. This LP, one of their strongest, had particularly nice art and design, all by regular collaborator William Keihn. Purchased Spring 2009 at Vacation Vinyl in Los Angeles.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bar-B-Q Killers - "Comely" (Twilight Records, 1987)

Athens, Georgia wasn't just R.E.M. in the 1980s -- the BBQ Killers were punk as fuck, as evidenced by their performance in the documentary "Athens, GA: Inside/Out." I buy this, their only LP, every time I come across it. Purchased Summer 2009 at Freakbeat Records in Los Angeles.

Friday, January 28, 2011

John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band - "Sometime In New York City" (Apple Records, 1972)

John <---> Yoko. Purchased Summer 2007 at Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis, Missouri.

George Harrison - "Electronic Sound" (Zapple Records, 1969)

A mostly familiar label - this recording of George's experiments with a Moog Synthesizer was the second release on the Beatles Zapple Records. Zapple was envisioned as an avant-garde branch of Apple records. The only other Zapple release was John and Yoko's "Unfinished Music No. 2". Purchased Summer 2010 at Joe's Record Paradise in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Lambsbread - "Stereo Mars" (Ecstatic Peace!, 2007)

Some of the best stoner basement noise of 2007. Whatever happened to these guys (and girl)? I think this was their largest release, a limited edition of 500 on Thurston Moore's label. Purchased Spring 2007 from Ecstatic Peace!.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Man or Astro-Man? - "Is It...Man or Astro-Man?" (Estrus Records, 1993)

From the first (and best) Man or Astro-Man? record. I used a cut ("Clean-Up on Aisle #9") on this record as the theme for my college radio show on KWUR 90.3 FM. Purchased Fall 2010 from the band in Washington, DC - yeah, it's a repress.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Velvet Underground - "(And So On)" (Plastic Inevitable Records, 1982)

From a VU bootleg LP issued by the Velvet Underground Appreciation Society. Purchased Summer 2009 at Freakbeat Records in Los Angeles.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jack Van Impe - "The Coming War With Russia" (Jack Van Impe Ministries, 1973)

Dr. Jack makes such convincing arguments on this record. I can’t believe this war never happened. Does that mean he’s wrong about homosexuality, abortion, and the pending return of J.C. too? ...cause that would really shatter my world.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Turbonegro - "Ass Cobra" (Bitzcore Records, 1996)

For side one we have a shitty Xerox copy of the label from an old Zambian rock record and how bout a Tom of Finland-esque well endowed hitch-hiker drawing for side two? Why not, huh?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dead Moon - Strange Pray Tell (Music Maniac Records, 1992)

Dead Moon just might get my vote for the coolest, rawest, realest band of all time. Led by a couple, Fred and Toody Cole, who’ve been married since ’67 and playing in bands together since Toody took up the bass in 1980, they’re a true inspiration for all couples, artists, or anyone else trying to make their way doing their own thing. They record their own records in their house and cut them right there on the spot using the very same mono record lathe that cut the beyond classic grooves of Louis Louis. They built their home and the building that houses the guitar shop they run from the ground up with their own hands. I suggest watching the doc about them called ‘Unknown Passage.’ When it’s over you’ll be inspired to get off your ass, make your art, and do your thing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lucifer's Friend - Lucifer's Friend (Billingsgate Records, 1970)

Dig that awesome logo. This label is from the fist album by the German proto-metal prog band Lucifer’s Friend. I’m guessing that English was not the native language of the author of Billingsgate Records’ ass-kicking slogan.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Melvins - "Lysol" (Boner Records, 1992)

Purdy, ain't it?

I love everything about this record. Sonically it’s the granddaddy of all that sludgy metal stuff the kids are eating up these days. The minimalist and pretty much info-less layout is just lovely and fits the sparse, creepy sounds perfectly. No tracklisting anywhere. I only know the names of the two covers on the record. Buzzo and co. lay down amazing versions of Alice Cooper’s Ballad of Dwight Fry and Flipper’s Sacrifice. The album cover features that famous painting of an Indian atop a horse with his arms spread out and head to the sky that you record nerds will no doubt recognize from the Beach Boys’ Brother Records label logo. The painting is flanked on both sides by black bars with ‘Melvins’ to the left, and until they found out it was trademarked and were forced to cover it with a piece of black tape, ‘Lysol’ down the right side. The back cover simply lists the band members, King Buzzo, Joe, and Dale in pink letters on a black background, and the inner sleeve features the same roses from the label I posted.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

fIREHOSE - "If'n" (SST, 1987)

Words of encouragement from John Fogerty to Mike Watt.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Public Image Ltd - "First Edition" (Virgin Records, 1978)

This iconic P.I.L. logo was designed by British photographer/artist/musician Dennis Morris. Johnny Lydon and Dennis Morris had been working together since Morris was a teenager and Lydon was Rotten. The Sex Pistols hired Morris on as there official photographer in 1977 after Johnny saw his portraits of Bob Marley. Johnny and Dennis became good friends and after the Pistols called it quits Dennis ended up being Johnny’s go-to-guy for design work with his new band Public Image Ltd. Morris designed several of their album covers including First Edition and the amazing Metal Box.

Johnny paid his friend well giving him a huge chunk of the band’s recording budget for First Edition before the record was even finished. P.I.L. ended up running out of money halfway through the recording process and had to move from the classy Wessex Studios into a series of cheap-o demo studios to complete the album.

Dennis Morris went on to be the art director of Island Records, signing The Slits to their record deal and designing album covers for Bob Marley, Marianne Faithfull, and Linton Kwesi Johnson among others.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Roger Miller - "Oh, Guitars Etc..." (Forced Exposure, 1988)

Who doesn’t love the ole center hole right between the eyes trick? I found a bunch of these mugshot-esque portrait labels while I was digging through my records looking for good stuff to post. Love ‘em! I actually had to whittle a few off of my list in the interest of variety. I’m also a bigtime sucker for children’s doodles so I figured this Roger Miller record would be the perfect way to kick things off.

These examples are from the 5th solo record by Roger Miller of Mission of Burma, not the ‘dang me, dang me, they oughta take a rope and hang me’ country novelty singer Roger Miller. Oh, Guitars Etc.. is a very personal record and supposedly one of Roger’s favorite examples of his own work. It’s d.i.y. all the way from the 4-track recording to the custom spray painted back cover. Is side one the portrait of a 6 year old Roger? Is side two 6 year old Roger’s artwork? That’s my guess.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hobo Blues Band - Vadaszat (Favorit, 1984)

Here's something from the dark side of the iron curtain. Five years before it became okay for the Easterners to interact with the rest of the world, the Hungarian government permitted a group of dudes to rock. The label even seems to indicate that there was some hope that the English-speaking part of the world would notice this contribution--there are references to Shakespeare and Kerouac, there's some attempt commodifying the recording through copyright or trademark, and--oh yeah, they're called Hobo Blues Band.

The music on this record (double-album!) is not actually blues. It sounds sort of like the Mothers' 'King Kong' album, and maybe even more like Gong. Zappa was kind of a hero in Hungary--he spent some time there trying to legalize music, so I doubt this influence was accidental. The cover art is great--it's roughly the quality of an 80's hardcore 7" cover (kind of reminds me of a record I had by a band called Ass Fort), and has cut-out photocopies of pigs and bucks. 'Vadaszat,' it turns out, means 'hunting.'

That's all I have to contribute, both today and for the rest of time. This is my last post on this wonderful blog. Let me know if you want to borrow my Hobo Blues Band album. I probably have the only copy in Chicago.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Aorta (Columbia, 1969)

This label isn't too interesting to look at, unless you're interested in looking at the words on it. This band has a passion for the cardiovascular system. It seems that prior to recording the album, the band swore strict adherence to this theme, with deviations only permitted for discussions of magic or sleeping.

Aorta was from Rockford. Peter Cetera* was actually in this band, but left to join Chicago Transit Authority. This record came out at the same time as the first CTA record, but unfortunately 'Main Vein I,' 'Main Vein II,' 'Main Vein III,' 'Main Vein IV,' and 'Heart Attack' were not as commercially successful as '25 or 6 to 4.' Aorta's next record, Aorta 2, was sadly their last. Chicago, on the other hand, recently released 'Chicago XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus.'

This record is pretty awesome. It sounds kind of like Vanilla Fudge, if Vanilla Fudge had been marooned in the cultural desert of Rockford with some hematological textbooks. Or, given the lack of technical biological reference to the heart's operation or the function of blood in the body, maybe just a copy of 'I am Joe's Heart.'**

The lyrics are included on the record sleeve, printed in the form of poetry. I would like to share an excerpt from 'Main Vein II':

Everyone's thoughts couldn't be
what they are,
Even tho' they all know what they
Isn't far, it's your main vein,
It's your main vein.
Have you ever wondered what it is?
It's your main vein!

I have never heard 'Aorta 2,' but Wikipedia informs me that it was recorded 'in a radically different style, leaning more towards country rock with Christian overtones.'

That's all I have to say about that. My life on this blog is nearing the end, as this is my second-to-last post. Although it's only been 13 days or so, I'm about 95 in Collector Not Completist years, and my heart is beating faintly. I will return tomorrow to say goodbye to you all.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Kinks - Arturo (PRT 1980-reissue)

This is what 'Arthur' looked like if you bought it in Spain in 1980. Which makes me wonder--who were the Spaniards who bought 'Arthur' in 1980? This record had been released 11 years prior, which seems like it puts it in the category of too old to be current and not old enough to be interesting. This record is also extremely British, so it seems like that would further limit the appeal. Possibly it sat on the shelves for years, the record store went out of business and sold its stock to Amoeba, where I bought it in 2005. Something we'll never know, I guess. Anyway, the record has a pretty neat logo, so after all its land and sea travels it ends up here, in the digital universe.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother (Harvest, 1970)

This Harvest label is pretty cool. Kind of like if the Oakland A's started putting out records.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bob Welch - "French Kiss" (Capitol, 1977)


This was Bob Welch's first solo album after leaving Fleetwood Mac. Actually he was briefly in a band called Paris, but Fleetwood Mac is a better reference because no one has ever heard of Paris. This album opens with a re-recording of 'Sentimental Lady,' a Fleetwood Mac song originally released on 'Bare Trees.' This version is okay, but doesn't really add anything to the song.

After 'Sentimental Lady,' we get into what this record is really about--scuzzy disco. There are some pretty great hooks on this album, but it seems like Bob brought a bunch of songs into the studio, and some dude named Carter (who has the production credit) told Bob the songs weren't 'now' enough. The label image fits really well with the production of the album, but it's not clear why Bob Welch was the chosen medium for this type of music. His singing on this album is painfully torpid, where his singing with mid-period Mac seemed perfectly laid-back. When he flatly chants 'Hot love, cold world--gonna make ya cry' with the mysterious Carter trying to have a party on the backing tracks, it kind of makes me feel bad about myself. Especially if I happen to glance at the album cover at the time, which has the full image of the picture on the label. Just supremely icky.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery (Atlantic, 1973)

This label reminds me of that movie Alien vs. Predator. I think this album art, along with Predator, Predator 2, Alien, Aliens, Alien [cubed], and Alien Resurrection may have been an inspiration for that film. I have just decided that I will have a party where we will watch Alien vs. Predator with the sound off and listen to Brain Salad Surgery. All are welcome.

Monday, January 3, 2011

V/A - "Happy Daze of Harmony" (QCA, release date impossible to determine)

I have to be honest with you--if this record doesn't say 'LEATHERLUNGS' on it, it doesn't get posted on here. But it does, and here we are.

One of the great things about buying records is you get to make a lot of low-risk purchases that represent weird ideas people had a long time ago. For example, when I saw a classically psychedelic-looking cover with a bunch of pink and yellow flowers inside one another that said 'Happy Daze of Harmony,' I was perfectly happy to exchange 99 cents for it. Things got even better after I got home, pulled the record out of its sleeve, and saw 'LEATHERLUNGS,' with song titles like 'Guitarzan' and 'The Interstate is Coming Thru My Outhouse.' It was a dream come true, if that's the sort of thing you dream about.

As great as the record looks, it doesn't sound very good. It was a live recording of a barbershop quartet festival* in the suburbs of Chicago sometime in the 70s featuring five groups: Elgin Chorus, Saturday's Heroes, Stereo Set, The Valley Four-gers, and OK-4. As bad as I expected 'Guitarzan' to be, it's even worse when there's no guitar involved. Another amazing factoid about this record is that on the sleeve, it says "we have carefully edited 2 1/2 hours of performance to bring you these two sides of music and fun." I thank the 'we' from that sentence for easing my pain, because the stuff they included is still not very good music. I'm almost curious to hear what the Elgin Chorus' deep tracks sound like, but I'll probably forget about it once I stop typing this entry.

The music on this album isn't really my jam, and I may never listen to this record again. But the knowledge that there were still barbershop quartets in the 70s, and there was enough enthusiasm to organize them for an event and make a record is something worth having. Even if it's not worth any more than 99 cents.

*I am not joking around about this.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stories - About Us (Kama Sutra, 1973)

I noticed Alexander has posted a couple of Kama Sutra labels, one from 1967 and the other from 1970, so I posted this one from 1973. The two earlier labels had imagery similar to each other--a logo of a statue with several arms, I guess consistent with the Indian theme, likely related to the association with Buddah records. By 1973, Kama Sutra had apparently converted from Buddhism to Christianity. Here we've got a modest Eve sharing evil with Adam, representing Kama Sutra Records' new, more fearful view of sexuality.

This was the first of two records from Stories, a band started by one of the songwriters from the group The Left Banke, who were best known for their single "Walk Away Renee." The record is overall pretty great--the harmonies are still there, and many of the songs are more dynamic, possibly just by virtue of being a product of 1973 rather than the mid-60s. Low points of the album are when the band resorts to boogie-woogie. That, of course, can be said of any record relying on a boogie-woogie element, e.g., 98% of the rock albums recorded between 1971 and 1977.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Nektar - Down to Earth (Passport, 1974)

Happy New Year's from NEKTAR. Of the posts I've done so far, this is the first label I chose primarily because I think it looks cool. This is a proggy concept circus funk album with some pretty great song titles, which otherwise might warrant more discussion. However, today is New Year's and my ability to contribute is limited. Enjoy the pretty picture. Happy New Year's from NEKTAR.