Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vinyl Vednesday 8/18/2010

[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: Black Flag’s Damaged (1981) on black, The Go-Go’s’ Beauty and The Beat (1981) on black, and Propagandhi’s How to Clean Everything (1993) on black.

Place of Purchase:
and Clean were purchased at Siren Records (I really only shop at like two places…). Beauty and The Beat was inherited from my parents.

Thoughts: There are a handful of ’80s hardcore bands I stand by. Minor Threat, Husker Du and early Replacements have been running through my ears a lot in the last few years, and while a lot of ’80s stuff doesn’t hold up as I get older (sorry Adrenaline O.D., most of the bands on Dischord 20), I still come back to Black Flag over and over. Damaged is primal, at times deceptively simpl. Fourteen of the 15 tracks focus on hate, directed both internally and externally. The other song, “TV Party,” is a joke track about getting shitfaced and watching That’s Incredible! and The Jeffersons. Guitarist Greg Ginn got such a gritty sound of his instrument; mix him with Tony Iommi and you get grunge.

It’s weird to think that I.R.S. released amazing albums from acts like R.E.M., Concrete Blonde, and The English Beat, and also The Go-Go’s, but it happened. Then again, the gals from that group came from a punk background – lead singer Belinda Carlisle was even in The Germs. Each side of the record opens with the band’s biggest hits, “Our Lips are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat,” although there are some other pretty good pop rock numbers like “This Town” and “Can’t Stop the World.” Yeah, some its embarrassing (“Skidmarks on My Heart.” Yeah…), but overall it’s a way better album overall than most ’80s pop releases.

My girlfriend is primarily a fan of sensitive lyricists and ’90s rockers. Tori Amos, PJ Harvey, Postal Service, and Smashing Pumpkins were her favorite bands when I met her. Then I found out she had a punk side when she put on Propagandhi’s How to Clean Everything. I’d heard of the band before, but I’d never heard their songs until that fateful car ride. It blended goofy, abrasive humor (“Ska Sucks,” “Stick the Fucking Flag Up Your Goddamn Ass, You Son of a Bitch”) with NOFX-style riffs and political insight (“Head? Chest? Or Foot?”). Bassist/back-up vocalist/future Weakerthan frontman John K. Samson seems a little out of place – his poetic lyrical and musical style does not mesh with frontman Chris Hannah’s more abrasive spit takes at all – but their duet on “Showdown (g.e./p.)” is still pretty awesome. Propagandhi and Weakerthans both went on to release better albums, but I still come back to How to Clean Everything all the time.

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