Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vinyl Vednesday 6/16/2010

[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. With Against Me!’s White Crosses due June 8 and their Philadelphia show with Silversun Pickups and Metric June 28, Vinyl Vednesday will be doing a month of AM! records… plus some extras in July. Yeah, I’m a super fan, even though Tom Gabel made fun of me on Twitter. E-mail with your own big finds!]

Records: Against Me!’s As the Eternal Cowboy (2003) on black, “Cavalier Eternal” b/w “You Look Like I Need a Drink” seven-inch (2004) on pink marble, and “Sink, Florida, Sink” b/w “Unsubstantiated Rumors” (2005) on blue marble.

Place of Purchase: Hoo boy lemme think. Eternal Cowboy came from Repo Records. I scored “Cavalier Eternal” when I saw the band play with Blood Brothers at the Starlight Ballroom. I think I got “Sink, Florida, Sink” from the bargain bin at Hot Topic, but it might have been Repo again.

Thoughts: I was among the Against Me! fans who felt a little let down by Eternal Cowboy when it came out, so much so that it felt weird hearing people swear it was their highlight in the years to come. In the last year or two I’ve come around, but for a while it was the one AM! album I rarely played. I only kept about half of it uploaded on my computer/iPod. A lot of the songs are so short and rapid fire that they’re easy to miss, so in that sense Eternal Cowboy is their punkest album. Yet it’s also their most acoustic – “Sink, Florida, Sink,” “Unsubstantiated Rumors,” and “Cavalier Eternal” all function as folk numbers. That they would translate so easily to an electric format o the following singles is a testament to frontman Tom Gabel’s knack for anthems. Plus, this record has got “Cliché Guevara.” That song rules.

The singles for Eternal Cowboy put out alternate takes. “Cavalier Eternal” remains acoustic, but this version is a little less freewheeling, so I can see why the band chose the Original Cowboy take instead. “You Look Like I Need a Drink” is a different story, though. It’s one of the most furiously played songs on the album, but here it sounds so fucking ominous. Pulsing cello opens the track before the band settles into a midtempo strum reminiscent of the “Acoustic EP” era. Note to the kids: If you wanna enjoy the show you’re at, buy the vinyl at the end of the show. Yeah, the line will be longer, but you won’t have to worry about every person you bump into in the pit breaking your lovely multicolored wax.

Ah, who am I kidding? The merch table is always the first thing I check out.

The “Sink, Florida, Sink” single goes electric, thrillingly. “Sink” can also be heard on the Rock Against Bush compilation, but I heard it here first (well, minus every time I’ve heard them play it this way live). The artwork for this seven-inch is nuts – a gingerbread guy stabs another one, and when you pull his arm out to open the vinyl, candy guts shoot everywhere. WHY?! WHY GOD?! Steak Mtn handled the art. “Unsubstantiated Rumors” turns into a crazed rocker, crammed with gnarled guitar lines and handclaps and Warren Oakes trying to hold everything down on drums.

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