Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vinyl Vednesday 11/11

[Vinyl Vednesday is a weekly feature about three favorite vinyl finds. It’s not meant to be a dick-measuring contest, but it kinda is. E-mail with your own big finds!]

Records: The Action Suits’ Cancer Father seven-inch (1996) on clear teal, Jets to Brazil’s Perfecting Loneliness (2002) on clear orange, and Prince’s Sign O’ the Times (1987) on black.

Place of Purchase: Cancer Father was purchased from Fantagraphics, one of my favorite comics publishers. Perfecting Loneliness was an eBay find. Sign came from good ol’ Siren Records in Doylestown.

Quality: I feel like this is the super fanboy edition. I took a chance on the Action Suits based solely on the fact that underground comics maestro Peter Bagge plays drums in the band. Dude’s got interesting, if slightly unreliable taste that ranges from The Hollies to B*Witched. Plus, he wrote Hate, so I figured I’d check it out. The result is catchy, sloppy ’90s indie rock. Think Pavement, Sebadoh, or Built to Spill without the awesome guitar pyrotechnics. I’ve picked up two AS seven-inches, and am hoping to find more stuff in the future. Cancer Father had a limited run of 2,500 copies.

I’m a diehard Schwarzenbach acolyte. Jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil are two of my favorite bands, and new project forgetters might be joining that ranking soon as well. I feel like Jets to Brazil got better with each album, culminating in the amazing Perfecting Loneliness. I didn’t fully appreciate its intricate rhyme schemes and images until college, but now it’s hard to imagine a life spent without songs like “The Frequency” and “Cat Heaven” at my side. Jade Tree usually does a pretty great job with their pressings, and Perfecting Loneliness lives up to that reputation. The colors are bold and beautiful and the sound quality is great. Not sure how many Jade Tree pressed, but its out of print now.

I write about punk and its assorted sub-genres a lot, but I’m also a huge Prince fan. Not necessarily to the point that I would or could justify his ’90s period (Oh how I tried to love Emancipation), although I thought Musicology and 3121 were great. Sign O’ the Times has been my favorite Prince record ever since I first heard it. It belongs to that rare echelon of stellar double-albums that only true classics like London Calling or Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me could occupy. While it doesn’t contain Prince’s most well-known hits (that would be Purple Rain), it does feature his best work. You’ve got the infectious “U Got the Look,” the emotional “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” and the guitar-laden rocker “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man,” and those are all on just one side of the record. Prince kind of went crazy after his band The Revolution broke up, and Sign captures every little wayward thought he had while trying to sort his shit out.

Later records became parodies of this sort of far-reaching songwriting, but Sign O’ the Times briefly housed and focused all of that creative potential. God, “The Cross” is such a good song… I also love this album because the original owner was clearly a super fan. He/She saved the packaging, which featured a huge Prince sticker, and a postcard for the Prince fan club. I don’t know why, but I’m always tickled by fan club cards. I have sign-ups from Michael Jackson’s Bad and David Bowie’s Low as well.

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