Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Vinyl Vednesday 2/2/2011


[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 pelonej1@gmail.com with your own big finds!]

Records: The Cars’ The Cars (1978) on black, The Extra Lens’ Undercard (2010) on black, and Franz Nicolay’s St. Sebastian of the Short Stage (2009) 10-inch on black.

Place of Purchase: Cars came from Disc World in Conshohocken (R.I.P.), Repo Records in Philadelphia, and Franz was a promo sent my way for review.

Thoughts: The Cars’ self-titled debut plays like a greatest hits package. Hits include “Good Times Rolls,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Just What I Needed,” and “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight.” While it’s a littler slower than what Elvis Costello was doing at the time, this might be the best power-pop record of all time. It’s jittery enough to appease post-punkers, but catchy enough for pop fans. The band fizzled out during the ’80s, but this record is just inhumanly good. I know I’m getting repetitive here, but got-damn. These dudes spat out “Just What I Needed” and buried it in the middle of the album like it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Undercard took a while to grow on me. The last time that happened to me with a John Darnielle release, it was The Sunset Tree and I was being an idiot. I suppose I could connect it to The Cars in that while neither record is particularly heavy on an emotional level, both crank out infectious hits with ease. “Rockin’ Rockin’ Twilight of the Gods” is my jam. I regret missing out on The Extra Lens’ intimate show at the Tin Angel, because I don’t think Darnielle is going to play a venue that small in Philly for a while, but then again, I was in Europe. My life rules.

I love how instead of labeling the sides of his 10-inch [That sounds weird out of context], Franz Nicolay opted to use pictures of gnomes smiling/crying to let you know what kind of songs you’re going to hear. I’m not too keen on the depressing side, but the fun side has a cover of “New England” with The Dresden Dolls that’s giddy and silly and awesome. The other track is a song written about Hollis Wadsworth Mason Jr. from Watchmen. NERD ALERT!

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