Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vinyl Vednesday 2/3

[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. When I noticed I had already selected two splits to discuss, I tossed in a third. So… this is another themed entry. Woot. E-mail with your own big finds!]

Records: Bouncing Souls/Anti-Flag’s BYO Split Series Volume IV (2002) on purple marble, Burning Airlines/Braid’s split (1998) on black, Ted Leo/The Pharmacists/Zach Galifianakas’ split (2008) on clear yellow.

Place of Purchase: The Bouncing Flags album and the Burning Airlines/Braid split came from my favorite store in the world, Repo Records. The Leo/Galifianakis split was purchased Chunklet Records as party of their charity auction for relief in Haiti.

Thoughts: I’ve always had a fondness for the Souls/Flag split. I fell in love with How I Spent Your Summer Vacation in 2001, and spent the remainder of the year collecting the rest of their discography. I was up to speed by the time this 12-song split came out. My buddy Tim and I drove out to Sam Goody at the Plymouth Meeting Mall when the album came out. Since they only had one copy on CD, Tim ceded ownership to me, as I was the bigger Souls fan, which was awfully cool of him. Later on I doubled up with the vinyl version because, well, I loves me some Bouncing Souls. “Punks in Vegas” is one of their best songs ever, although their covers of Anti-Flag’s “That’s Youth,” Cock Sparrer’s “We’re Coming Back,” and Sticks and Stones’ “Less Than Free” are pretty good too. The split also turned me on to Anti-Flag – their criticisms of America sounded so angry and defiant, especially so soon after 9/11, although I thought adding the ef bomb to their take on the Souls’ “The Freaks, Nerds & Romantics” was unnecessary. Regardless, this is essential punk rock listening.

I have way less to say about the Burning Airlines/Braid split, since there are only two songs. I’d already been a Braid fan thanks to their Movie Music rarities collections and knew that their take on Burt Bacharach’s “Always Something There to Remind Me” was solid. I mean, I’m a super freak for the Naked Eyes version (there’s another Vinyl Vednesday story for you…), but this slow, slinking, dissonant interpretation is good too. While I love everything J. Robbins has done (Government Issue, Jawbox, Channels, producing Against Me!’s Searching For a Former Clarity), I’m still pretty ignorant of his work with Burning Airlines. Best I can say is it’s an oversight; I’m working on it. The group’s cover of Echo & the Bunnymen’s “Back of Love” sounds about par for Robbins’ songs. It’s definitely in that late-period Jawbox/Channels vein of polished post-hardcore that manages to be super intense without sacrificing fidelity.

The Ted Leo/Zach Galifianakis split takes two amazing artists that I don’t associate with each other and somehow brings them together. Leo and co. cover “Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams Come Through” from The Best Show on WFMU’s Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster (of fuckin’ Mountain Goats fame) in their traditional Celtic punk style, and it’s so unbelievably peppy. Like, I was already in a good mood before I put it on today, and I’d say it augmented my pleasure centers by at least 15 percent. I went from “I like food/food tastes good” to “time to save the whales… with my bare hands!” levels of joy and inspiration. Galifianakis follows with a rather dirty electronic dance floor ode to clubbing, obviously filtered through his uncomfortable humor style. “Yeah! Suckin’ it off 2006 style!” Galifianakis declares early o. Later, he promises to “get on up in them guts,” which is the grossest/best way to talk about sex ever.

Also, seriously, how scary does Zach look in that photo above?

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