Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vinyl Vednesday 8/24/2011

[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. As always, e-mail with your own big finds!]

New York Dolls’ Too Much Too Soon (1974) on black, Zombie Zombie’s Plays John Carpenter (2010) on black, and the To Benefit Petra Haden seven-inch compilation (2003) on grey.

Place of Purchase:
NYD came from my recent trip to Shore Things in Ocean City, N.J. Zombie Zombie was snatched up unheard from Repo Records in Philadelphia specifically because it involved John Carpenter. The Haden comp came from defunt shop Spaceboy Music in Philadelphia (I’d say R.I.P., but the clerks there were always wieners).

Thoughts: I’ve been trying to find New York Dolls’ Too Much Too Soon on compact disc for years, but I finally caved and bought it on vinyl. I decided to go with Shore Things for this particular item because one summer prior, a clerk there harassed the bedickens out of me about buying it, much to my consternation. I’m glad I finally bough it though. It’s such a fun, funny glam rock/proto-punk collection, a bridge between Ziggy-era David Bowie and later ’70s acts like Kiss and The Ramones. It’s deliciously raw despite all of its ’50s doo-wop inclinations. Best revelation of all: I finally understand that Voodoo Glow Skulls song “Stranded in the Jungle,” for Punk-O-Rama 5, was actually a Too Much Too Soon cover.

John Carpenter had a string of brilliant genre flicks in the ’70s and ’80s, and he’s something of a DIY icon to me, if only because he was able to create so much of his movies on his own, from scripting to directing to scoring. French DJ duo Zombie Zombie acknowledge just how important Carpenter’s synth scores were by covering some of his biggest “hits.” Yeah, the A-side’s take on the Escape From L.A. theme is weird, if only because no one wants to talk about Escape From L.A., but the B-side packs two of Carpenter’s best compositions. First off is his most well known piece, the Halloween theme, a simple piano piece that I think might be impossible to ruin. It’s just so haunting and intimidating. Closing out the EP, though, is the theme from The Thing. That movie relies more on tones to create atmosphere, and Zombie Zombie pack it with all the dread they can muster.

To Benefit Petra Haden is one of the first records I ever bought. I’ve gone through phases as a record collection. I’m just now coming out of a compulsory need to double up on all of my favorite bands, like Jawbreaker and Discount. When I first got a record player, all I wanted to do was pick up rare, vinyl-only stuff from my favorite bands, which was probably a better idea than rebuying every album I liked. As a benefit comp, Petra Haden seems like a bad idea – it’s a limited edition seven-inch, created after the original Rilo Kiley live album recorded to benefit Haden was ruined, meant to help pay for Haden’s medical bills after she was in a hit-and-run. This comp is worth way more now than it was in 2003. But if you were all about the power-pop like I was at the time, you were obsessed with this double-seven-inch. You get Weezer playing a Pinkerton cut back when they never played those songs, a new Ben Kweller tune, and one of Phantom Planet’s better tunes from their self-titled record. Also, AM Radio shows up. While I’m not the Weerez/BK obsessive I once was, I still treasure this set.

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