Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vinyl Vednesday 4/21/2010

[Vinyl Vednesday is a weekly feature about three favorite vinyl finds. It’s not meant to be a dick-measuring contest, but it usually turns out that way. This week’s installment is part two of a two-part series on Record Store Day. Here are three vinyl finds from RSD 2010. Viva la vinyl and, as always, e-mail with your own big finds!]

Records: Against Me!’s “I Was a Teenage Anarchist” seven-inch (2010) on black, Deftones’ “Rocket Skates” seven-inch (2010) on white, and Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band’s “Wrecking Ball” ten-inch (2010) on black.

Place of Purchase: You best believe AM! was pre-ordered from Repo Records, while Deftones was an impulse buy. I found out about the Springsteen exclusive too late to reserve a copy at Repo, so my girlfriend and I jetted over to a.k.a. music on 2nd street when she overheard someone saying they had a huge stack of “Wrecking Ball” records. Good thing too, since it’s going for up to $70 on eBay.

Thoughts: While I’m not too keen on Against Me!’s video for “Rapid Decompression,” I’ve been coming round on “I Was a Teenage Anarchist.” Sonically, it’s very much in keeping with New Wave’s rock leanings. I relate to the lyrics in a somewhat backwards way. The song is about frontman Tom Gabel’s attempts to reconcile his anarchist political leanings with how his life is turning out (like on “Beginning in an Ending!”), and realizing that the people he thought he was aligned with politically were actually fascists. I’ve never believed in anarchy, but I do agree with the song’s general message: If you get too consumed by your ideology of how freedom should work, you might end up becoming more oppressive and unforgiving than any of the political stances you claim to oppose. Anyway, the song is catchy and the acoustic version on the B-side is good too. I just wish the digital EP of the same name was the one getting a physical release – two tracks from upcoming album White Crosses and two non-LP B-sides sound mighty fine to me.

In a way, the Deftones single was my favorite RSD purchase. “Rocket Skates” hearkens back to the group’s White Pony heyday, combining metal with more ethereal elements as is their trademark. M83’s remix of the song on the B-side took some time to grow on me, though. At first it sounds like Anthony Gonzalez couldn’t figure out what to do with the song, so he gives it this awkward stuttering rhythm that threatens to derail the track until he finally goes, “Fuck it; I’m just going to transform this into an M83 song.” The song’s closing section shifts towards M83’s strengths – shoegaze, synths, loud drums – which happen to overlap with Deftone’s style nicely. These guys should work together again.

I was pretty devastated by Working on a Dream last year, to the point that I questioned if Springsteen would ever make another good album. While he hasn’t dropped a new full-length to assuage my doubts, I have three mediators to talk me down from my position:

  1. The record was forced out to coincide with Barack Obama’s inauguration.

  2. The record was also forced out because organ player Danny Federici was dying of cancer and the whole band wanted to play with him one last time.

  3. Later in the year, Springsteen debuted a live number called “Wrecking Ball” to commemorate the demolition of Giants Stadium. It’s pretty freaking awesome.

While I’m still wary of the Boss’ future artistic endeavors, I can’t deny the catchiness and intensity of “Wrecking Ball.” It’s a fitting tribute, a stellar sports anthem, and just a plain great song in the E Street tradition. Also of note is the B-side, “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” with Tom Morrello (who’s also covered the tune with Rage Against the Machine) doing a duet with Bruce. This version is pretty long at nearly nine minutes, but there’s no denying the song’s ghost story sobriety. Morrello pulls some weird sounds out of his bag of guitar tricks later on, and it gels better with The E Street Band than I would have thought.

1 comment:

Paul Tsikitas said...

Nice record store day gleanings. Twas delightful to bump into you. My final purchases was the Mastodon Blood Mountain special edition and the Charlotte Gainsbourg 7" of "Heaven Can Wait" and "IRM" live from Morning Becomes Eclectic. Also picked up Pavement's Wowee Zowee to finish my Pavement on vinyl collection and King Crimson's "Larc's Tongue in Aspic", a pretty nerdy and amazing prog record.