[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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your own big finds!]
Records: Black Flag’s My War (1983) on black, The Cure’s Disintegration (1989) on black, and Galaxie 500’s On Fire (1989) on, again, black.
Place of Purchase: Philadelphia’s Repo Records across the board.
Thoughts: Full disclosure: I’m wearing a My War T-shirt right now. There’s just something so satisfyingly primal in early Black Flag that I cannot deny. Even though the second half of My War goes off the rails a little bit. Even though I now see the lyrics as juvenile. Even though I should probably be listening to Fugazi or Strike Anywhere instead. My War’s title track is the penultimate “me against the world” fight song, a song so full of rage that you can hear Henry Rollins blowing out his voice and forcing the vocal track anyway.
Operating at the opposite spectrum of Black Flag, howsabout The Cure? I’ve been listening to Disintegration a lot lately. It’s just this monolithic, swirling haze of melancholy that’s ideal for autumn. Sure, it’s got one of my favorite love songs, “Lovesong,” but the tune I’ve been really gravitating towards lately is the title track. The Cure is pretty closely associated with keyboards, and the lines on that track play off of the driving drumbeat so well. It’s a little goth pop symphony in my head. Of course, hits like “Pictures of You,” “Lullaby,” and “Fascination Street” help as well. This is one of those records I can play anywhere – at work, on the road, in my bedroom – and it always carries me off.
Thanks to Venice is Sinking, I have fallen in love with Galaxie 500. I first got into the group via “Tugboat,” a Today cut which ViS covered, but it’s 1989’s On Fire that really set me off. That record frequently flits between shoegaze and dreamy indie rock. It definitely reminds me of acts like ViS, Nada Surf, and Mazzy Star. Fire is a little more rock-oriented than Today which suits me fine, opting for surreal slice of psychedelia. The band even throws in a great cover of George Harrison’s “Isn’t It a Pity,” from All Things Must Pass. The trio jams out the tune, turning such a sad song into an epic chorus rolled over and over. On Fire is a record that I can connect to a ton of indie rock material released in the ’90s and ’00s, but it outshines them all.