[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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your own big finds!]
Records: Big Black’s Songs About Fucking (1987) on black, The Glove’s Blue Sunshine (1983) on clear blue, and The Promise Ring’s 30° Everywhere (1996) on white.
Thoughts: Sometimes I wonder why I listen to Big Black. I mean, I love frontman Steve Albini for his production work, but man is this a hateful album. I’d call it misogynistic if Albini’s goal hadn’t been to just spew as much hate, directed both inward and out, as possible. Yeah, the songs get poitical at times, like on “Colombian Necktie,” but the tune that sticks with me the most is “Bad Penny,” a self-lacerating number about being a shitbag. It packs these baiting lines: “I think I fucked your girlfriend once / Maybe twice / I don’t remember.” That shit’s raw.
On the opposite side of that spectrum is The Glove’s Blue Sunshine. Robert Smith and Steven Severin were both insanely prolific in their respective bands The Cure and Siouxsie and The Banshees. Smith even worked with The Banshees on and off during the ’80s (and helped them craft their big hit, a cover of The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence”). The duo also collaborated on this one-off album that’s very much in keeping with The Top and Hyæna, which is to say it’s super drugged out and blissful pop music. One of the things I always loved about Smith is that no matter how many drugs he consumed, his music never became so psychedelic as to be unintelligible. He still conveyed whatever emotion he needed lyrically and musically (Nihilism on Pornography, euphoria on Blue Sunshine). Smith wasn’t allowed to sing more than a couple of songs on the record due to contractual obligations, but Jeanette Landray fills in nicely with a voice reminiscent of Siouxsie herself.
30° Everywhere captures The Promise Ring before they were, ya know, the fucking Promise Ring. What I mean is that the production is a little too grainy and the hooks aren’t as big and awesome as what frontman and lead songwriter Davey von Bohlen would craft just a year later on Nothing Feels Good. But it’s still a solid indie rock collection (or emo, if you must). Besides, how catchy is “Red Paint?”