Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Vinyl Vednesday 5/11/2011

[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 with your own big finds!]

Records: Elvis Costello’s My Aim is True (1977), Miles Davis’ 12 Sides of Mile (1980), and The Mr. T Experience’s Big Black Bugs Bleed Blue Blood (1989), all on black wax.

Place of Purchase: My Aim is True came from Philadelphia Record Exchange while Davis ‘n’ T came from Siren Records in Doylestown.

Thoughts: While it’s not his finest moment (That would be either Get Happy!!! or Blood & Chocolate or Armed Forces or…), My Aim is True announced Elvis Costello as an angry young man who was a little more literate and indebted to traditional pop and rock ‘n’ roll than the punk revolution allowed. “Alison” was the big hit, but I prefer the bitter pills like “Welcome to the Working Week,” “Miracle Man,” and “Waiting For the End of the World.” These tunes are snotty, but even this early in his career you can hear the blues and country underpinnings Costello had brewing, especially on “Blame It On Cain.”

I’m a total novice to jazz overall – I have only just recently become an old man – but I really, really like Miles Davis. I had a fair amount of store credit with Siren, so I put $50 of it towards 12 Sides of Miles, a six-LP boxed set containing Sketches of Spain, Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, Kind of Blue, and my favorite Miles release, Bitches Brew. Spain has touches of flamenco, which I dig, as well as the cool jazz of Miles, Porgy, and Blue, although each has the occasional big band leaning. None of them compare to Bitches Brew, though. A cacophony of funk, jazz, and noise, Bitches Brew is a dissonant masterpiece in a league with other disorienting, loud records like My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless or Jesu’s Conqueror. It’s just all over the place, and gloriously so.

Can I just say it’s really weird shifting from Miles Davis to The Mr. T Experience? Because it is. Bugs contains a solid set of Gilman St. style pop-punk. Basically, it sounds like early Green Day. Side 2 has the big hits, first with the rocker “Dictionary Girl,” then with the pretty Ramones-y “End of the Ramones.” It’s an ode to Ramones concerts, which I hear were pretty fun. It was meant to be cute at the time, but now I just feel nostalgic for a life I never had. Better put on some Teenage Bottlerocket.

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