Thursday, June 4, 2020
Well, this post took long enough to write.
I had planned on visiting a number of record stores in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. There were several that I used to frequent in the 1980s and 1990s and I wanted to see which ones were still in business.
What I remember as Hymie and Hazen's was on Lake Street in South Minneapolis and that store has morphed into this version, pictured above. It's a fantastic improvement, to be totally honest with you, and I love what the store has become. Adam is the right guy to run the place. I remember the old owners and what it was like to stop in and browse through the stacks back in the good old days. The store is a little more organized now and is friendly in a way that the previous incarnation was a bit "diffident."
A record store has to seize onto something weird in order for it to have the kind of magic that keeps you coming back. I don't know what other retail establishment could do in order to accomplish that. There has to be something in the racks that you find and grab onto and buy immediately. Every great record store that I've been in, I've found something that blew my mind and that was that.
Really, this store is now the equal of any in the country in terms of vintage vinyl. In many ways, their selection dwarfs that of anything here in the Mid-Atlantic region. It's a keeper, it really is.
I think that if you're going to survive in this game, you have to have a cafe or ready access to food and a place for people to sit down and absorb the atmosphere. I know that the trend has been to cram as much product as possible into the smallest possible footprint because of overhead and operating costs, but someone really needs to study the business model for a modern-day record store and help figure this out. Because I had other stores to visit, I couldn't stay as long as I wanted. Now I regret that.
This was going to be the first stop in Minneapolis. I had plans to move on to the Uptown area and I visited Hymie's in the early evening hours of May 26th, 2020. This photo was taken after I left. The time stamp is just after five PM.
Fast forward through one of the most harrowing afternoons I can remember. You could see crowds beginning to gather. You could see people carrying signs. You could see everything coming together and I don't think I've ever experienced that before.
When I left Hymie's, I headed down Lake Street. You could see the way that the protests were starting to emerge after the death of George Floyd the day before. I could see people beginning to assemble in the area of Lake Street and Hiawatha, another area that I remember from over 30 years ago when I lived in the South Minneapolis area around Cedar Avenue and 36th Street.
You know the rest of the story. The city, and the country exploded in protests and unrest. I missed it by mere hours, and was on the road home to Maryland the next morning.
Some day, I do promise to visit Hymie's and see if I can find a few more treasures. I hope they are still there and I hope to continue the tradition. What happened was far more important than my trip down memory lane. Social change is happening, and the events of May and June 2020 are more important than anything I could have written about here.
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
After seeing X this past summer, I was wondering about new music and, sure enough, that’s what they’ve been up to:
Punk icons X have released their first new music in more than 30 years. The Los Angeles act hit the studio earlier this year to record five new songs, and today they’re unveiling “Delta 88 Nightmare” and its accompanying video.
A rough demo of “Delta 88 Nightmare” originally surfaced on a 2001 reissue of the band’s debut album, Los Angeles. This new version marks X’s first release to feature original members Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom, and DJ Bonebrake since 1985.
Along with laying down a proper studio version of “Delta 88 Nightmare”, the band recorded four additional songs. That includes the track’s B-side, “Cyrano de Berger’s Back”, which was written by Doe prior to X’s formation. A 7-inch vinyl release of the single, due November 29th, is available for pre-order.
They are back on the road this Christmas, and if they play anywhere near where you live, do go and see them. What a show!
X 2019 Tour Dates:
11/11 – San Diego, CA @ Wonderfront Festival
11/29 – San Juan Capistrano, CA @ The Coach House
11/30 – San Juan Capistrano, CA @ The Coach House
12/01 – San Juan Capistrano, CA @ The Coach House
12/05 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
12/07 – Sonoma, CA @ Sebastiani Theatre
12/09 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
12/10 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
12/11 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
12/15 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
12/16 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
12/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
12/20 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
If you count the band's temporary disintegration in 1995, and the 2007 comeback, we're due for a third reunion by The Verve. Given that the return of Richard Ashcroft yielded a good but not great album that did not set the charts on fire, this news seems to be a pretty good indication that the band will come together yet again:
On September 9th UMC release expanded editions of The Verve’s seminal first two albums A STORM IN HEAVEN and A NORTHERN SOUL.
Both remastered by Chris Potter (co-producer of the band’s Urban Hymns) at Metropolis studios, the albums feature previously unreleased and never-heard-before tracks, E.P. and B-sides material and BBC sessions.
Both albums are presented as 3CD box sets (A Storm In Heaven also contains a bonus DVD) and both come with booklets featuring new interviews and previously unseen photos. Limited edition vinyl versions will also be released in faithful reproductions of the original packaging.
The reissue of their masterpiece, Urban Hymns, should follow shortly. In 2017, that album turns the magical age of twenty in September of that year. Having sold over ten million copies, there's a lot of incentive to give it a real celebration. If they went on a short tour of England and Europe, and played the whole thing live, it would be a huge event.
UPDATE: I went and retrieved this from the archives because it strikes me as being both possible and impossible that the Verve might get back together. I thought for certain that there would be a commemoration of Urban Hymns, but nothing came of it.
To be fair, the last two Richard Ashcroft solo albums have not set the world on fire in terms of sales or impact. At some point, the dam has to break.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
XTC's Go 2 album and the "extra" EP factored in as well. XTC were a prolific band, always laden with great songs and never at a loss for tracks or brilliance.
After Barry Andrews left the band, they carried on with Dave Gregory.
UK LP: V 2108
"Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go!)"
"Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)"
"Life Is Good in the Greenhouse"
"Jumping In Gomorrah"
"I Am the Audience"
2001 Remastered CD: CDVX2108
"Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go!)"
"Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)"
"Life Is Good in the Greenhouse"
"Jumping In Gomorrah"
"I Am the Audience"
"Are You Receiving Me?"
Go+ (Bonus disc included on initial pressing)
"Dance With Me, Germany" [dub version of "Meccanic Dancing (Oh We Go!)"] – 3:17
"Beat the Bible" [dub version of "Jumping in Gomorrah"] – 2:06
"A Dictionary of Modern Marriage" [dub version of "Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)"] – 2:27
"Clap Clap Clap" [dub version of "I am the Audience"] (Moulding) – 2:17
"We Kill The Beast" [dub version of "The Rhythm"] (Moulding) – 2:05
And there you have it. White text on a black background, courier type, but very much a send-up of the marketing of music and bands. By the late 1970s, album art was in its heyday. XTC couldn't be bothered, even thought their subsequent records came with fantastic covers.
Saturday, February 16, 2019
Friday, February 8, 2019
Sophie Ellis-Bextor ‘The Song Diaries’ – the new album out 15th March 2019
The Orchestral Greatest Hits
Pre-order the new album now & receive 5 tracks immediately including ‘Love Is You’ plus the Orchestral and Orchestral Disco Versions of ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ and ‘Take Me Home’. 19 incredible tracks including ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’, ‘GrooveJet’, Take Me Home’ plus ‘Love Is You’
The album includes orchestral versions of 6 x Top 10 hits plus many more fan favourites
“Joyous, exhilarating reinvention and reminiscence” - Evening Standard ****
Available on CD, Limited Deluxe Digipack CD, 180g Gatefold Double LP and Limited Edition Gatefold ‘Baby Blue’ Coloured Double LP
140g double LP, gatefold
1. GrooveJet (Orchestral Version)
2. Take Me Home (Orchestral Version)
3. Murder On The Dancefloor (Orchestral Version)
4. Move This Mountain (Orchestral Version)
5. Music Gets The Best of Me (Orchestral Version)
6. Mixed Up World (Orchestral Version)
7. Catch You (Orchestral Version)
8. Me and My Imagination (Orchestral Version)
9. Today The Sun's On Us (Orchestral Version)
10. Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer) (Orchestral Version)
11. Bittersweet (Orchestral Version)
12. Not Giving Up On Love (Orchestral Version)
13. Young Blood (Orchestral Version)
14.Love Is a Camera (Orchestral Version)
15. Wild Forever (Orchestral Version)
16. A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed (Orchestral Version) (Bonus Track)
17. Love Is You (Bonus Track)
18. Take Me Home (Orchestral Disco Version) (Bonus Track)
19. Murder On The Dancefloor (Orchestral Disco Version) (Bonus Track)
She has never been given her due in America, and sort of reminds me of another version of Kylie Minogue - a tremendous artist who lives in the pop/dance music/fashion world who should really be a bigger star but sort of already is.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
I don’t think a two star review for Ian Brown’s new album is going to hurt it a bit. In fact, this criticism will probably be forgotten, and soon because his records don’t seem to age a bit. The old NME doesn’t have the reach that it used to.
A new Ian Brown album is the arrival of something challenging and thought out, and it usually takes a while to hear what he’s cooked up. I remember when his first and third records dropped, and I really had to work at getting where he was at and what he was bringing into the fold. I’m glad I never gave up on him because his body of work is superb, it really is.
From what I’ve heard so far, Ripples is going to be a challenging album for the times, and that’s a damned good thing. Brown has incorporated his offspring and new grooves and new beats into what he wants you to have. First World Problems is a killer track, so I automatically don’t trust what the fucking NME have to say, as per usual. Listen to them and none of your favorite records make sense, do they?
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Fresh off the back of a world tour, Brian Jonestown Massacre have announced the release date of their 18th full-length album, Getintothis’ Mostyn Jones reports.
Coming just 7 months after 2018’s Something Else, the self-titled record was recorded in frontman Anton Newcombe’s own Berlin studio early last year, and will be available on March 15 on A Recordings.
The band have teased the album with a full track list and lead single, Cannot Be Saved, a rumbling psych-rock tune with a belter guitar solo and fuzzy production that hints at their early shoegaze-inspired work.
Having been based in Berlin for over a decade now, it’s no surprise that Newcombe has put together a roster of international talent for this iteration of the band’s ever-evolving line up.
The album features Scandinavian bassist Heike Marie Radeker, of noise rockers LeVent; the Icelandic guitarist Hakon Adalsteinsson, of Singapore Sling and Third Sound; along with fellow US expat Sara Neidorf on drums; and guest vocals from Rike Bienert, who has appeared on previous BJM releases.
I’m telling you, if all of your old bands are disappointing you, find a way to acquire some BJM and have your mind blown. They are always recording, always releasing exciting, vital music and they seem to always be on the way to your town.
Friday, January 11, 2019
Please ignore my vacant stare, but who in the name of all that is holy has been screaming for this to come out?
Recorded between Fez in Morocco, Dublin (HQ), New York (Platinum Sound Recording Studios) and London (Olympic Studios) and produced by Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite, No Line On The Horizon debuted at number 1 in 30 countries across the globe in 2009.
Lead single ‘Get On Your Boots’ was followed by ‘Magnificent’ and ‘I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight’. The album has been fully remastered with two additional remixes added to celebrate its 10th Anniversary – ‘Magnificent (Wonderland Remix)’ by Pete Tong and Paul Rogers and ‘I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight’ (Redanka’s ‘Kick the Darkness’ Vocal Version).
I can’t think of a less interesting U2 album than No Line on the Horizon. It is the dishwater cafe of U2 albums, the one I think no one would miss (apart from that whole Lemon thing where they put out seven or eight versions of it and the running time equaled an album, basically). There’s nothing on this album I would miss, but that’s just me, I guess.
Since it has been a decade, is there anything U2 have done in this century that rises to the level of being essential as far as their catalog is concerned? I would put Achtung Baby at the top of it all, and everything sort of winds itself down from there. I guess I just don’t like any of the new stuff, so take this all with a grain of salt.
Saturday, December 15, 2018
I see that the Electric Fetus, a record store in South Minneapolis, has been given a “best in the nation” rating by Rolling Stone, and it jarred a lot of memories for me.
Twenty-odd years ago, it wouldn’t even be in the top five for best record stores in the Twin Cities. It was always a good record store, in my opinion, and great for catalog titles, but definitely not one of my go-to stores.
In no uncertain order, I preferred these options:
Garage D’or in South Minneapolis. I bought so many rare and interesting things here, it’s not even funny. My double cassette version of the Church’s Hindsight came from there, and I remember how the clerk “forgot” to put it in the bag. Thanks again, dirtbag, but I still have it. Oh, wait, I had to go get it on CD as well because, hello, cassettes? Anyway, one of my favorites.
Let it Be in downtown Minneapolis. Easily, the most comprehensively stocked store in the ‘Cities. Tons of great stuff. Never had enough money to go there much, but you could get AMAZING stuff there.
Roadrunner Records in Bloomington. A regular stop on the way home and an important store. I got the Electrafixion album there, and tons of other stuff. They were great when I traded in stuff.
Oar Folkjokeopus. I actually spent more time in the co-op they had in the basement, but oh well. An incredible selection of 45s by obscure bands was had there, and I remember getting bootleg R.E.M. albums there. A must.
Tatters and Platters. A defunct gem, but essential for anyone who cares about music and fashion. This is where you could get second-hand clothes and first-rate music, specializing in British romance and new wave. Is there anything wrong with wanting obscure singles by Love and Rockets? Nope.
I thought Down in the Valley sucked, and I felt like I got ripped off any time I went in there. I remember what it was like to go into Sam Goody’s (sucked!) and I remember a pawn shop on West Lake Street where they had tons of great, great records. I used to go into Hymie & Hazen’s a lot, and that place was really for the jazz crowd who liked 78 rpm records. If you were into heroin and confusion, hey, there you go. Special mention for the store in St. Paul whose name I cannot recall, but I shopped there in the late 1990s before I left the Twin Cities for good and came back.
Positively Fourth Street in Dinkytown was where I went a few times, but, really, I can’t remember it being anything more than disappointing. Same for Flip Side in St. Paul, which, back in the day, had an outsized reputation.
Best Buy and Circuit City had a retail war in the 1990s. There was a time when you could get ten dollar albums at Best Buy, and their bins were always heavily stocked. You go in there now, and they can’t get rid of CDs fast enough. And Circuit City is long dead and buried. There was a brief heyday there, and then it all went south. It gave way to Tower Records (I shopped at the one in Annapolis, Maryland) charging $19 for the new Gomez record. No thank you, jackasses.
As I was moving on from the ‘Cities, there were Cheapo stores everywhere, and the main thing they specialized in was buying up all of the CDs no one could afford to keep. They created this underground economy for people who bought an album, taped it, and then traded it in for cash. All of that collapsed thanks to Napster. Yay!
I went to the Fetus several times, but moved on quickly because it catered to the classic rock / KQ92 crowd. I needed the rare imports and the British stuff. They just didn’t have it.
My memory is fuzzy because I just don’t think about Minneapolis anymore. Did not enjoy living there, do not have good memories, but I still have tons of vinyl, CDs and cassettes that I have never parted with. All of that was purchased in the Twin Cities. I have maybe added thirty or forty pieces of vinyl since I stopped shopping for records by 1994 or so. If never end up back there, I’m fine with it. I live within 90 minutes of standing inside of Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas and, to me, that’s the best record store I’ve ever been in. Waterloo will cure what ails you.
Oh, and this will blow your mind. I read through this thread and saw stuff I had to come back here and add. How did I forget Northern Lights?
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Record Store Day features a release by the Dead Kennedys, only it’s not Jello-approved as far as I can see.
Who in the hell releases their rehearsal studio tapes and calls it a “new” album? Good Lord, quit trying to shake the pennies out of that dying carcass.
This release comes from Manifesto Records, and here’s what we think about that:
Doctored versions of all the old releases are released on Manifesto Records. Biafra does not endorse these re-releases and suggests that anyone thinking of buying them stop and consider where the money is going first. Their live CDs are embarrassingly weak on the ears and are not recommended.
I’ll go with Mr. Biafra’s recommendation and pass on faux-Dead Kennedys merchandise. Boo! Boo! Boo!
While we’re at it, go support Alternative Tentacles instead.
Bauhaus are releasing their live LP Press the Eject and Give Me the Tape for Record Store Day and I think it would be a wonderful acquisition if you can get your hands on it. You may be underwhelmed by the quality but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter because it’s the coolest shit ever to play this stuff in the dark when you’re trying to think about your problems.
When I got this album, along with Mask, I immediately became frustrated with Bauhaus. Then, I went and got their other albums, and fell in love with everything they have ever done. This is one of those bands where I buy everything they do, up to and through all of the Love and Rockets stuff, of course. Casual fans just need their greatest hits. Some of the deep tracks get a little ponderous, but so does everyone who made a lot of music in the 1970s and 1980s.
Record Store Day is coming, and sometimes assholes ruin it by gobbling up all of the good stuff. Go fight for what’s yours and don’t let them pull their capitalistic bullshit on you.
Friday, June 22, 2018
Led Zeppelin have announced a reissue of ‘The Song Remains The Same’.
If you have ever subjected yourself to the whole film, then you know what to expect. The dreamy, almost surreal introduction, the hammering performance, and then you start wondering, "should this song really be twenty minutes long?"
Monday, April 17, 2017
U2 have decided to re-work an old song and release it in conjunction with Record Store Day. They are celebrating everything Joshua Tree related and why not? What other album kicked as much ass as this one did?
Red Hill Mining Town is a bit of a "lost" single for the band. They didn't release it in America because, well, their best stuff from the late 1980s just didn't go down with this demographic. The U2 of 1988 and 1989 was very successful touring Australia and New Zealand, and they were immensely bummed by the critical backlash against Rattle and Hum, of which, there won't be a celebration in this country in a few years when it turns 30. Which is sad because I loved that album. It gave you original songs and live versions and the film itself was an incredible testament to what they could do live. It was full of songs. What's not to love about a band that is generous with songs? Where everyone else was stingy, U2 was giving away as much of itself as it could. For that, they earned nothing but scorn.
Everywhere else, they ate it up, but this country hated that album. Go figure. There's great stuff on it, and All I Want is You is their best single of the 1980s, by far.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Stories like this remind me that there's a renaissance going on in the music business, and it is centered around making quality vinyl records that hipsters buy and don't listen to:
Down an industrial road in southeast Nashville, framed by yellowing, beige-box warehouses, is a building dressed in incongruous, deep-ocean-blue tiling. A burnt-orange sign above its steel-and-glass doors reads UNITED RECORD PRESSING. Inside is where the first Beatles record in America was pressed, where Wayne Newton was fêted as a 16-year-old whippersnapper with an unfathomable jawline. Berry Gordy, founder of Motown, was provided an apartment there. Racist hotel owners didn't want his money.
After more than five decades, vinyl records won't be made there anymore.
In a post yesterday on Instagram, United Record Pressing wrote: "Spending the last workday at the historic United Record Pressing roaming the rooms of Motown Suite before moving to the new facility." Historic Nashville, an organization that looks to preserve spaces exactly like United Record Pressing, called the news "shocking and sad."
United Record Pressing's operations may be moving to a new space -- in a statement to Billboard, a company spokesperson calls the company's new digs "a game-changer" -- the size of which can conservatively be estimated at two football fields, but the history of its original location is, probably, not going anywhere. Its owners write of having "every intention to honor and preserve it," and a recent push to save Nashville's classic spaces, in no small part owed to Historic Nashville's lobbying, has been successful.
If just one of the handful of remaining producers of vinyl records in Europe or North America was to go offline for a few months, the backlog in work would be huge. They're selling records like crazy all over the world. The question is--who's listening to them?
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Since 1999’s ‘Brand New Day’, Sting has recorded albums of lute music, classical music and Christmas carols, as well as reforming The Police for a two-year tour and writing Broadway musical The Last Ship.
The new album includes ‘Inshallah’ about refugees travelling to Europe and ‘One Fine Day’ about climate change. Sting said: “The biggest engine for migration will be climate. Millions of people will be looking for somewhere safe. I’m still in a bit of a depression about Britain leaving the EU for no good reason. At least the EU has a program to tackle climate change.”
The album will be out before the end of the year, and its guests include Jerry Fuentes and Diego Navaira of Tex-Mex band The Last Bandoleros as well as drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and guitarist Dominic Miller from Sting’s live band.
You know what this means, don't you? It means that Don Henley and Rod Stewart have to put out albums, too. Something tells me that Phil Collins is going to drop something on an unsuspecting public as well.
And, for the record, it's not a "pop" record if you've got a song about refugees on there. It's a political statement and you should probably just call it a concept album.
I vaguely remember this being a pretty good collection of BBC session tracks:
Led Zeppelin are to release ‘The Complete BBC Sessions’, which includes a song not heard since it was first broadcast in 1969.
The 33-song album features a three-song session from March 1969, which had been unheard since it was first broadcast the following month. A fan who taped it from AM radio in Europe has come forward with a recording, which has been restored to releasable quality by guitarist Jimmy Page.
The session features the only performance of ‘Sunshine Woman’, which Led Zeppelin never otherwise recorded, as well as ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ and ‘You Shook Me’.
They've expanded this set to make it more "complete" after putting it out about twenty years ago. What's changed is that there is a market for the vinyl release, and so they're going to go after that without regard for anything else. I'll probably acquire it by default, but, really--there are a slew of great Zeppelin shows that have only ever been available as bootlegs. Why not put those out instead?
Still missing is a complete accounting for everything that the Police did on the BBC (several concerts, numerous sessions, things of that nature) and an official release of BBC sessions by the Verve. I am a huge fan of the Ride and the House of Love releases, so we need more of this to come out. If you don't have the Jam or XTC at the BBC, you should probably get all of that, too.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
You know, if I had it in me, I'd open up a record store and try to get involved in things like this:
Radiohead have announced a huge streaming event, releasing a web page with a few intriguing details.
Put up on the 'A Moon Shaped Pool' website, the page features a large map with a title of 'Live From A Moon Shaped Pool'. The description reads:
A UNIQUE RADIOHEAD EVENT TAKING PLACE ON FRIDAY JUNE 17 AT RECORD STORES GLOBALLY. FEATURES AN EXCLUSIVE DAY LONG AUDIO STREAM FROM THE BAND, COMPETITIONS, INSTRUCTIONAL ARTWORKS AND MORE.
To me, it makes obvious sense to try to tap into a network of similar record stores and try to organize everyone for promotional purposes. To stream the music into select stores--not a bad idea. You can count on increased traffic in and out of the stores if you're also offering physical product or a guaranteed slate of releases, similar to what they do for record store day.
It would be a good idea to continue to organize and establish a network like this so that other bands can promote releases in this way? What record store is going to say no to Radiohead? Who's going to say no to a chance to increase foot traffic through the store? Once you establish this network, look at sales--do they make a difference or are people going to your online store to buy your music?
Selling vinyl is still problematic because there are only a handful of pressing plants in the world and they are working overtime to keep up with demand. We're a couple of industrial accidents away from having little or no production capacity in the entire world.
I mean, open a record store or build, from scratch, a vinyl record pressing plant with modern technology? Where would you put your money?
Thursday, May 19, 2016
In order to show some appreciation for the reformation of Belly, 4AD have put together a re-release of their debut album Star. They're putting it out on white marbled vinyl and it includes updates and all of that. A classic! A really, really good album that should have been the foundation of a long and illustrious career that ended up being cut short just a few years later.