Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vinyl Vednesday 5/26/2010

[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. E-mail with your own big finds!]

Records: The Beatles’ “White Album” (1968) on black, Fugazi’s Repeater (1990) on black, and Portishead’s Third (2008) on black.

Place of Purchase: I inherited the “White Album” from my mother (notice her maiden name, Ferris, is written in the top right corner of the cover), while the ’Gazi ‘n’ P-Heads came from Hot Topic.

Thoughts: The “White Album” has almost always been my favorite Beatles album. Maybe it’s because it’s the only Beatles studio album my parents owned when I was a kid (the rest of their collection consisted of the red and blue singles compilations). Maybe it’s because it’s the first Beatles album I ever owned on CD (first rock album in general, for that matter). Or maybe it’s because of the album’s sprawling double disc format. As much as I love Rubber Soul and Revolver, they’re much easier to explore and live in. “White Album” still drops the occasional new doorway to me. And it’s packed with my favorite Beatles tunes: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Julia,” “Back in the U.S.S.R.”, “Dear Prudence”… and that’s just the first record. I haven’t even gotten to “Helter Skelter” or the “Revolution” tunes. For the best evidence that this album rules, let’s see how many people point out that I haven’t even mentioned “Blackbird” yet.

Also it has the best Ringo tune (“Don’t Pass Me By”), which I would take over “Yellow Submarine,” “Act Naturally,” or, uh, “Octopus’s Garden” any day.

Totally switching gears, let’s talk about Fugazi. I like Fugazi a whole dang lot, and Repeater remains one of my favorites from them. I love it so much that I stopped writing about it for the last like 30 minutes and just listened to the tunes. In my world, these are the biggest hits of 1990: “Reprovisional,” with its deliberate, punchy rhythm, “Blueprint,” because it’s just as much of a slow burn, and “Repeater,” because it’s totally hardcore, drenched in feedback, and pissed off about the job market (sounds like me ‘n’ my friends) but features such an insanely catchy guitar line. Tons of bands have tried to incorporate pop elements into hardcore music and failed. Apparently they just need to rip off Fugazi, ’cause those dudes pulled this shit off 20 years ago. BRING FUGAZI BACK TO LIFE.

I’ve got two stories about Portishead’s Third. It was the album that got me into them. A lot of my friends were obsessed their plaintive trip-hop sounds, but I couldn’t get passed all of the DJ scratching, which I found to be gimmicky. Apparently, the band felt the same way, as Third manages to fulfill everything Portishead’s could want while sidestepping trip-hop clichés. And it sometimes it even sounds like the music from Terminator! Hells yeah!

But not everything about Portishead is great. Their record label, Mercury Records, is run by wieners who don’t support digital downloads. I bought the album on vinyl about four months after it was released, by which time the label had already stopped honoring the download codes included. What I find bitterly funny about this is that most indie labels (No Idea!, Dirtnap, etc.) honor those codes for years. DICKS! Dicks forever! I’m still bitter about this two years later.

But Third is still pretty great.


Paul Tsikitas said...

A few things here:

1) I still haven't forgotten about Vinyl Vednesday. I'm a dick, I know, but life has been kind of a whirlwind. I will write that ess and get those pics to you, I swear.

2) The White Album is amazing, obvi. I totally agree that "Don't Pass Me By" is the best Starkey track in the entire Beatles universe. I will claim foul that the White Album contains one of (if not) the worst Beatles song ever in "Goodnight" but I know that the worst Beatles song is always up for debate.

3) Portishead's Third is a revelation.

Joe said...

Super false! I'd go with "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" as the worst. But I'd have to think about it.