Thursday, December 10, 2009

A small package of value will come to you, shortly.

I've always been kinda behind the loop when it comes to technology... never been one of those guys that had to have the latest thing right when it came out. So: no pager, no cell phone (not even the giant honkin' 80s model), the last game system I had before I got a PS2 was an Atari 2600 that my parents picked up at a rummage sale back when everyone ditched 'em 'cause the NES came out.

So it follows that in spite of my huge music collection on both hard copy and mp3, my only "mp3 player" was my rapidly aging desktop computer. Most of the components were hand-me-downs from a friend of mine and it works well enough for what I use it for. I've gotten used to burning stuff to disc when I want to listen to it somewhere else (like in my car) and I'm too cheap to justify shelling out the cash for an Ipod or any competing players when I already have a working burner and player. While I like the idea behind those new phones that also play music, I'm a social reject who doesn't like spending time on the phone in the first place, and wouldn't get any calls anyway from people that aren't my parents or my girlfriend. I'm old enough that I don't get the point of this constant texting that everyone seems to do these days (and my fat fingers would miss the right keys even if I did try to do any of that)...

So, I wound up with a cheap COBY mp3 player that I got free for entering in about 2,500 or so of those reward codes from Coca-Cola products. So far, for the price, I can't complain. It has 4GB of space which means it should hold about as much music as a DVD of mp3s. It has some other features that I haven't messed around with yet, like a tiny video screen and a text reader function, and an FM radio receiver.

Now, of course, the big question is which tracks do I fill this device up with? I recently read one of John Sandford's books, Broken Prey, which besides being a good book, has a nice little subplot bonus of "Lucas Davenport's Best Songs of the Rock Era," a list of songs based on the premise that Lucas' wife bought him an Ipod with an Itunes gift card good for 100 mp3s, so he's trying to fill it up with what he and his friends/partners/etc. feel are the best 'rock' songs. I passed the book along at PaperbackSwap, but actually took the time to copy down the whole list (which appears as an appendix in the back of the book) because there are some great songs on there that I'd forgotten about. There's a few on there that, in my opinion, just don't fit and of course there's certain artists/groups on there that I just can't stand (Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp, for example). I'm not copying the list on here since oddly enough, the book is missing the usual copyright disclaimer in the front that lets you quote parts of it in the context of a review.

Looking through it again, I find myself wondering what exactly constitutes "the rock era," anyway? Does that end in the early '70s with all the singer/songwriter stuff? Does punk rock bring it back, since the Ramones and the Sex Pistols (among many others) played closer to the roots of rock with their covers of older songs? And while I still like some songs off the list (The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" and Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason") I wouldn't consider those "rock songs," exactly. There's other songs listed that I'd consider to be folk or soul or blues, not rock and roll... and I'd be perfectly fine if I never heard "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers again the rest of my life.

More on this list later, once I've heard every song on there and have my own take on it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

More BS about music - Holiday Edition.

So, it's December. They're playing Xmas music where I work. It's mixed up a bit, some regular songs, then holiday stuff, then regular stuff again. When I was younger I used to get really annoyed that stores would play religious songs around this time of year. As I got older I realized that that was very hypocritical of me... along the same lines as getting pissed off hearing songs about Rudolph the Reindeer because "he doesn't exist!" I'm just glad that so far we've been spared The Chipmunks and that everyone seems to have forgotten the Jingle Cats. I can deal w/ the Muppets' "12 Days of Christmas" because Beaker is awesome.

One thing that hasn't changed since I was a kid is that no place plays the good novelty Xmas songs over their loudspeakers. I still love "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer," Bob Rivers' "12 Pains of Christmas" and "Walkin' Round in Womens' Underwear" (the song, not the act itself.) I can't remember who sang "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas" [edit: sung by Gayla Peevey in 1952 or -3]

Friday, November 27, 2009

Today is a memorable day, not because of any sales or "Black Friday" craziness, but because I finally used up the entire spindle of CD-Rs I'd bought back when I upgraded my CD burner to one that'd burn 80 minutes of music. Why'd it take so long? I had a bunch of old 74-minute blanks that my parents gave me to use first, so I used those when I had an album/bootleg that would fit. Time to start on the next spindle...

One of the problems of high-speed internet access is that I end up downloading way more music than I can organize and burn at one time. I guess that's part of the whole obsessive collector thing... whenever I do burn a disc I try to compile everything that'll fit from a band I like - rarities, b-sides, all that stuff.

Speaking of collecting stuff... There's a lot of stuff that should be for sale, but isn't. I'd love to have a leather/fake snakeskin wallet that reproduces the album art from Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies. There's hundreds of awesome album covers that ought to be on shirts, but aren't. Since I pretty much fit the stereotype of the collector geek, you can imagine my disappointment that the few shirts I do find tend to end at size Large. If I was rich, I'd start a company that would reprint classic/vintage album art shirts in the full range of sizes...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

procrastinate? maybe later...

Another day spent attempting to reorganize stuff... rediscovered my stash of spare CD cases plus some discs I forgot about from when I first had access to a CD burner.

I've been putting all my burnt stuff in those slim CD cases and labelling the edges with an embossing tape machine. Now I see why nobody really uses these anymore - it's extremely difficult to get all the letters to line up, and I keep overprinting them when the tape doesn't advance like it's supposed to. Judging from a high school-era Swans compilation I'd made for myself, I used to be much better at this, since I did the tracklist entirely in embossing tape. I'm not calling it "Dymo tape" since that company no longer seems to make it... and I'm one of those anal people that gets annoyed when brand names are used generically, like saying "Kleenex" or "Band-Aid" when you ask for a tissue or bandage.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

damn, November already?

Another awesome Goodwill score: found a signed copy of Elmore Leonard's Riding The Rap! It's a large print edition, dedicated to the Maximillian hotel, which according to Google is either in Prague, Czech Republic or Malcesine, Italy. Perhaps there's another hotel with the same name in the United States somewhere... The full inscription reads "To the Maximillian, a fine hotel, with thanks for a most enjoyable stay. - Elmore Leonard, 4-02"

At any rate, I think that's more interesting than a book that's simply signed to a random person that showed up at a book signing. "Dutch" himself either left this book there or presented it to the manager or someone who worked at the hotel, and in the years since it migrated to the shelf in the Midwest where I picked it up! I wasn't even looking for signed books, I just grabbed it because it was a hardback and one I hadn't read yet, and didn't notice the signature until I got home...

Speaking of books, I mentioned PaperbackSwap and SwapACD in one of the earlier posts on here... I can now say that I received several items successfully from these sites and can fully recommend them both. If anyone reading this decides to join, there's a "referred by:" field when you sign up for your account. Type in "obscure-reference" with a hyphen between the words, and I'll probably get some sort of credit for referring you! What you should know before you join any of these sites is that you need to post 10 books/CDs/DVDs (depending on which site you join) to get your first credit. Also, you have to pay for the shipping to mail any of the items on your shelf that other members request. When you request items, though, you don't have to pay shipping. Like anything else, you should read all the terms of use before you agree to sign up...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

like the title says, misc. rambling

Spent most of my day off reading other people's blogs about "retro stuff," like TV shows, movies and advertisements from the '70s and '80s. This got me thinking about the random things I've kept from when I was a kid... not the toys and such, which are still mostly packed away at my parents' house, but the other stuff.

For instance, I still have two green plastic bag clips that advertise Keebler's Cheez 'N Chips. All I remember about these cheese flavored snacks is that the two bags my mom bought came with their own clip to reseal the bag with. (There's an ad for them at the 8:48 mark at the link, in glorious VHS-o-vision) Even after watching that ad, I still don't remember eating them, or even if they were any good! However, the clips were made well enough to last through umpteen years of junk food consumption, despite a springless design.

I've held onto a collection of pocketknives and lighters, even though I only ever carry one of the smallest knives to work and no longer smoke. I just like keeping this stuff...

Saturday, October 10, 2009


still going through books... unfortunately, many of the ones I have are ones I can't sell since the 99-centers on eBay and have taken the profit out of it. Oddly enough, I've seen many listings on Half (by the same few sellers) that are priced astronomically high. I couldn't imagine anyone paying $120 or so for any book or movie unless it was both rare and signed... or some special limited item like that Stooges box set, or those early Beck records with the painted covers.

My guess is either these sellers listed the stuff back when they were the only one that had the item, or else they really don't want to sell them in the first place.

I have found a possible solution for those books and CDs that are too common to sell or trade in elsewhere... there's a couple of sites for swapping paperbacks and CDs that sound almost too good to be true. The same people have another one for DVDs, but I haven't bothered with that one since I don't have a ton of movies just sitting around. So far, both sites have only a few "catches" that I can see. Everything you post to your account has to have a UPC and be in their system... which some of my older books and random CDs aren't. If other people want stuff you've posted, you pay shipping to mail it to them. That part isn't that big of a deal since I've gotten used to mailing stuff on eBay... I'll update this once I get the few items I've requested through these sites.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

too much time/not enough time

...for what I have to do/for what I want to do...

Not much to report... attempting to clear out/reorganize stuff with the goal of making room for the scanner. Next, learning to use scanner and imaging program so I can finally add images of the artwork of any music posted here. Plan to have more written in days to come.

Unrelated: Turned in the empty crushed cans I was saving for scrap... got enough back to pay for a pack of cigs (if using mfr coupon). Am limited since have no garage to store them in, so stuck with what will fit in car's trunk while leaving room for other stuff (groceries + whatnot). Feels better than just throwing away, anyway...

I'll probably write more on here if I don't try to make everything perfect... while I can't understand the appeal of "twitter"-style constant updates since my life is not exciting or eventful, I remember reading somewhere that the way to become a good writer is to write, not to obsess over every word and scrap everything b/c you hate it later - all you get with that is blank pages (or no posts, in this case).

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Johnny was a joker..." (Bird Dog demo(?))

...popped in my old CD of Sex Pistols' "Never Mind the Bollocks..." It's funny how something that was so controversial at the time it was released now sounds like classic rock. Speaking of, the first time I heard anything by this band was on a radio station that usually played oldies/rock. I still remember having to explain to my mom (at age 14 or so) that part of the reason the band was called "the Sex Pistols" was to perplex and outrage people like her! "Well, it got your attention, didn't it?" Yeah, I don't think going into the details about Malcolm McLaren/Vivienne Westwood's little shop would've helped my cause any, either. I still like this album... keepin' it.

OK, I promised some more unknown-type stuff, so here goes. These songs come from a tape entitled "Bird Dog 3 Song," Bird Dog seems to be the name of the band. There was a folded-up piece of paper with a name and address on it for Bill Santen, from Portland, Oregon. Could be the artist, could've just been left in the tape case by someone else. No dates on the tape, but it's on a TDK C-60 that looks to be from the early-to-mid '90s. Enjoy, and comment if you d/l.

Update! Did some searchin' and found a coupla archived pages about this group! While the record label seems to be defunct now, I was able to determine that Bill Santen was indeed the main artist behind this tape. Oddly, it's not listed on the discography.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"I'm a lazy sod"

I can't believe it's partway through August already. It really seems like time passes more quickly the older you get. As the years go by do you decide to give up on your dreams, or do you keep putting them off until one day you wake up and realize you're out of time, too old, whatever?

I've got more tapes and stuff to post here, coming up. Thank goodness I don't write for a living, I'd be out on my ass.

If anyone is interested, the CassetteCulture forums are up. If you like these "underground" tapes that people are posting on their blogs, you might want to join up there. It's not just for the musicians or bands that were involved, and if everyone that knows about a little bit of the "scene" adds the info they know, eventually we'll all be able to say more than just "hey, this is a band from such-and-such, or at least that's the address on the tape." Even though these tapes were traded for free back in the 80s-90s, the people that were involved probably would like some credit, especially if we want this music to live on past the life of the tapes!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

dusting more crap off...

The GF is at work, so I can actually get away with listening to Led Zeppelin without hearing her bitch about it. I haven't actually heard anything from them for a while, since while she likes to listen to the radio in the car, she'll switch the station as soon as she recognizes a snippet of one of their songs.

Led Zeppelin III. I bought the CD of this back in high school. After re-listening, I've discovered that there are two good reasons to keep this. Firstly, Immigrant Song! This was why I picked it up in the first place, and I still love that song. The second reason, which you purists should appreciate, is to learn Atlantic Records' preferred alignment of the spinning part of the vinyl version. The black star should be just slightly off-center in the top hole next to the zeppelin's tail fins. Yes, I'm enough of a dork that I just did that to my copy.

Led Zeppelin IV. One of the first tapes I ever had was a cassette of this album that I'd found back when I was 11 or 12 at a rummage sale. I listened to it constantly on my Walkman. Eventually the tape broke, but I got the CD later on. Listening to it now, I realize that an awful lot of people have sampled the beats from the intro to "When The Levee Breaks"... I knew that sounded familiar.

Notes of interest? Both these discs are the first remasters... got 'em cheap when the so-called "digital remasters" came out in the '90s. They sound fine to my tin ears.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Foetus - Limb

Just got this the other day. This is a good example of how to do packaging right. If you're a fan of J.G. Thirlwell's red, white, gray and black artwork, you get a slipcase and booklet full of it. Some of the music on this CD was previously released, but that doesn't bother me since I only had one of the songs already from the bonus record that came with my copy of Hole. The liner notes go into great detail about the songs and how they were created, which is something else I enjoy in CDs. Sick of buying CDs that are only half-full of music? There's a 20-minute Mp3 as a bonus, bringing the total time to 71 minutes and some change! There's also a DVD with a documentary on it (will edit here once I've watched it).

Granted, all this good content comes with a price - but it's a reasonable price when you consider that most major record labels would have you fork over that much just for a DVD of a band. Besides, this way the money actually goes to the artist. I've bought the last few Foetus/Manorexia/Steroid Maximus discs from and have been extremely happy with the service, shipping time and cost, packaging, etc.

Hear some of Limb here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The "words" part of this blog .

I've mentioned "books" on here a few times, but never really wrote anything about them. While I haven't visited a music store in a while, I find myself irresistably drawn to second-hand book shops and the local Goodwill. The thrill I used to get by spending an hour or so looking up and down the shelves of used CDs and records, I now only seem to experience in the book stores.

I think part of the problem is that I've already bought most of the music I wanted that was available commercially. Too many instances of "Cool, I'd buy that... if I didn't already own it." It seems as if that'll never happen with books, though. For me, part of the fun is finding something unusual or hard-to-find mixed in with "the usual suspects." Despite knowing that many of these books are available at the local libraries, I still insist on owning them. I'm a quick reader, so you'd think I'd continue getting stacks of books at the library, as I did when I was younger, and have them all done days before the due date... but instead I spend my money on "my own copies"... even though my existing books are stacked two deep and my shelves are bowed.

Goodwill appeals to me the most, since I can "trade in" the books I don't want to keep (that I couldn't sell anywhere else) for a discount coupon and bring home another bagful for close to what one new book would cost.

So, today I took a break from listing books on and listing some of my grandmother's vintage cookbooks on Etsy to take another bag full of stuff to Goodwill. I returned with another bag of books. Already, I can hear my significant other groaning: "Why'd you buy more books?"
But there were some great finds today! A copy of Harlan Ellison's Angry Candy, which I hadn't read since I'd checked a copy out of the library when I was younger! A paperback by one J.D. Ratcliff that proved that Chuck Palahniuk wasn't making up that bit from Fight Club about the Reader's Digest stories that were narrated by human organs! (The title is I am Joe's Body, in case you were curious.) Two more John D. MacDonald novels I haven't read (Slam the Big Door and Nothing Can Go Wrong)! A copy of Isaac Asimov's Murder At The ABA (which, according to Wikipedia, has a protagonist inspired by the aforementioned Mr. Ellison. At any rate, the book is dedicated to him.) The list goes on...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mudhoney - "Mudbath" 3/20/89 Manchester England

Mudhoney is one of the bands I've always loved ever since I first heard them. I've made it a point to buy all their albums, even the deluxe re-re-release of Superfuzz Bigmuff that Sub-Pop put out last year. This is the only bootleg I was able to find, back in the late 90s when used CD stores had tons of them for fairly cheap. I paid $5 used for this, you get it for free. I have a clean conscience posting this since it's not an official recording, and the packaging listed an incorrect date (3/3/89) and setlist which I was able to fix thanks to this very informative Mudhoney website. The back cover lists 8 songs, the disc itself lists 10, but there's actually 12! Sorry Aussie bootleg guys, having great artwork on your CD packaging doesn't make up for wrong date/only half a tracklist! Sound quality is very good, IMO.

Mudhoney - "Mudbath"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Packrat tendencies finally paying off...

Sold some stuff I really had no use for anymore, made a decent profit on the extra John D. Macdonald books I was keeping, made a few people happy with some CDs I'd been holding on to but didn't really like much anymore.

Some quick reviews of same:

Television/Marquee Moon
I picked this up in high school after reading some books on "the origins of punk rock" that I found at the library. At the time, I liked it, but as I got into other types of music, I pretty much forgot about this one. When I revisited this disc a month or so ago, I wasn't exactly blown away. While I didn't think "This sucks," I really had no reason to hold onto it.

X-Ray Spex/Germfree Adolescents
Another band I'd heard of but never had the chance to hear until recently. The main thing I remembered reading about them was that singer Poly Styrene wore braces and was an example of how punk rock was rebelling against the 'traditional' roles of women in music. As great as it is that women no longer have to fit into the molds of slick, choreographed 'girl group' or as 'sexy band ornament that plays the tambourine while the men in the group write all the songs,' that doesn't change the fact that to my ears, Ms. Styrene's voice sounds shrill and annoying.

Godspeed You Black Emperor!,A Silver Mt. Zion/Everything
Again, more music I listened to a lot back when I first got it, but haven't played for years. Better to try to sell these to someone who'll appreciate and enjoy them than to hold on to them just in the offhand chance I might decide to dust 'em off and give them another spin. Money triumphs over any attempts at coolness, every time. I have no music snob friends to impress, and nobody reads this anyway!

Captain Crawl is mysteriously down again, so instead of looking for more downloads, I'm gonna try to burn the stuff I have already.

Suggested listening: Living Legends - Artsy
MC Frontalot - Indier Than Thou

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tar - Toast

The first I'd heard of this band was when I found a copy of Jackson in the $5 bin, which I picked up since it was from AmRep and I liked some of the other stuff I'd heard from that label. This is a later one that I found on vinyl and liked just as much as their other one.

This is going up temporarily, since I'm not trying to get sued or anything. I really liked the album, the band is defunct, I had to rip this from the vinyl copy I bought so I could listen to it away from home. If someone from T&G Records gets pissed in the comments, I'll gladly remove this. Until then, enjoy.

Tar - Toast

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Promotional CDs

Odds are, if you're taking the time to read this, you've acquired a few promo discs or records or tapes in your lifetime. Maybe you found them at a used record shop, sitting in the racks in blatant violation of the sticker or stamp that appears on them. You may have been lucky enough to win them in a radio contest. Or perhaps you just bought them online as a "limited edition."

One of the reasons I'd wanted to publish a music 'zine back in the day was that (in theory anyway) I'd be able to receive free music from labels. I was also fed up with how mainstream music magazines were starting to turn into a rock 'n' roll version of People, complete with glossy pics of your favorite pop stars in a "sightings-" style column. Needless to say, my youthful anger couldn't overcome my laziness and cheapness (self-publishing anything on paper is prohibitively expensive) and so this here blog is the closest I've come and the closest I'll ever get to that old dream. At least it's free...

Most of the promo material I've come across had next to nothing in the way of copy protection. The only things keeping me from uploading it are that I like the bands and want others to buy their music, and that I'd usually find these after the official album had already come out. The only exception to this was a promo of Queens of the Stone Age's Songs for the Deaf that I found in a (now-defunct) used shop several months before the CD came out.

I got a promo copy of Unsane's Blood Run that had the most clever copy protection I'd ever seen. Each of its 11 songs were split up into 9 gapless tracks each. While this does nothing to impair your listening, you'd have to go into an audio editor to merge the tracks together, then convert to your preferred file format, if you wanted to share these tracks or load them onto your mp3 player!

Obligatory post about my girlfriend <3

This post is dedicated to my girlfriend, to prove that she doesn't have to be into any obscure or indie rock bands in order to get a mention here. If anything, she deserves a shout-out on this for getting me into a lot of underground hip-hop that I probably wouldn't've heard otherwise. Extra points for going with me to various shows for bands I like that she's not that into (Sonic Youth, the Melvins, Mudhoney, the Brian Jonestown Massacre are the ones that stand out) and not bitching about how she's not that into them.

If I'd known her when I was younger, I probably would've loaded her up with lots of mixtapes or burnt CDs with songs by these bands that I thought she'd like, to try to "convert" her. I've since realized that there's no good reason to do this. It's better to enjoy the music you like together, discover new stuff together, and try to be open-minded. There's a give-and-take that you learn here that is useful in other parts of the relationship, too.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Early Screamin' Popeyes!*

This was an earlier self-released cassette by the Screamin' Popeyes...

Ah, Squid!

Five songs on one side of the tape. I would have broken it up into tracks, but even in Audacity it's hard to tell just where some songs end, so rather than cut anything off, I'll leave that to your discretion.

1. Ah, Squid
2. Big Squid Boogie
3. Sweet Lucy
4. I Never Knew Your Mother
5. Undersea Overture

There were no dates anywhere on the tape or j-card. I'm estimating this as an older release since the cassette label's handwritten in blue ballpoint. I wish I knew more about this band, but all I have is the music.

If all you've heard are the tracks from Pop-Icon this may not be what you'd expect.

Not a lot of vocals, more experimental. When I first heard this I was reminded of the last few songs on the Mothers' Freak Out! since there's a lot going on at once, but it's not a mess, not bleeding together. This was recorded really well on the original tape...

If I can get a scanner to work, I'll post the j-card art sometime later.

*This post dedicated to waterface, who got a Blogger account just to tell me to do this.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Not much happens...

Tried listing some stuff on the no-fee listings seem too good to be true, so I'll see how this goes...

So far, the main thing I've learned about eBay is that it's very nerve-racking waiting for bids as a seller. I've bought enough stuff on there that I should've realized that anyone bidding on my listings would do the same thing I do, which is to wait until as close to the end of auction as possible to start bidding.

Odd things I've noticed about the spell-checker:

"Cd" and "CD" are correct, "cd" isn't. For some reason certain contractions keep having the red line underneath them when I type them. "Ebay" shows up wrong, which makes sense since the trademark is "eBay," but then how are you supposed to type it if it begins your sentence? "EBay?" I guess so, since there's no line under that one.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Good news for Cop Shoot Cop fans...

The Dig Dat Hole demos that were taken down from the official website years ago have resurfaced!

Also, the Kneejerk test pressing has been found and made available.

For me, this is a big deal. Cop Shoot Cop has been one of my favorite bands ever since I found a battered copy of Ask Questions Later in the "Budget" section of the local used record shop back in high school. In the years since, I managed to track down most of their other releases. While I never had a chance to see them live (and a reunion tour is out of the question) the two live discs offered here are great!

But I always wondered what they sounded like before... and since the sample tracks were taken down before I got to the site, and even the Internet Archive didn't have them, I thought I was s.o.l.

Now it can be told... Dig Dat Hole sounds pretty much like you'd expect. A noisier, less polished version of Cop Shoot Cop. I'd still like to hear some more live stuff from both bands, though.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Finally took the plunge...

...and listed some of my stuff on eBay. Nothing really rare or exciting that's worth mentioning on here... but I feel good that I was able to follow through with something, for once.

Am I likely to become one of those success stories you hear about, quit my job and do this full-time? I'm not counting on it... but anything's possible, right?

Friday, April 10, 2009

George Carlin was right...

It's all about a place for your stuff. One of the only annoying things about records (other than the inability to play them in your car) is the amount of space they take up once you have a decently sized collection. My parents were not "into music," so the only good LPs I got from them were John Williams' Star Wars soundtrack and my dad's scratched-up copy of Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

However, one lucky day at a local thrift store meant I got to inherit someone else's parents' record collection. (more on that when I go through them)

One thing I haven't seen yet on anyone else's music-related blog/website is a good way to store records. I've got most of them in two old wooden fruit crates. While milk crates are perfect for books, records are just a bit too tall to fit inside them unless you cut one side off. Besides, the weight of the records will eventually break the other two sides if you try to fill it up.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Battle of the formats.

The good thing about not having a (known) large audience for this is that I don't have to wrack my brain trying to come up with a creative excuse for when this gets away from me, like the past 2 months... No pressure, and I don't have to find a new way to say I've been too busy/too lazy to write on here.

I'm in the laughable position of being a music enthusiast who's hard of hearing. I really can't hear a difference between the same song on CD, record, cassette, or Mp3. I've read the arguments about the "warmer" sound of vinyl, and how compressed formats like Mp3 are supposed to be "lossy" in quality. I'm not calling bullshit on that, but I can't tell, myself.

My main reason for buying stuff on vinyl is either the price is right, or it's out of print on CD. I've got some early Foetus records that were never put out on CD... and the first thing I did after listening to them? Yeah, I ripped the individual tracks and burned 'em to CD-R. It is good to be able to see the cover art clearly, too...

I'll buy cassette tapes, too. My car's got the "premium sound system" from the mid-1990s, which was better speakers and a tape deck with auto reverse! Some of my tapes are kinda old, so I'll rip all those eventually, too.

...More later.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The music vs. the packaging...

Last night, I was finally able to listen to something I'd been searching for for a long time. Someone was kind enough to post all 7 discs of The Complete Fun House Sessions online. I had the day off from work, and spent most of it on the computer, downloading this. It took me back to when I first discovered free music via FTP, back when the username and password combination "leech/leech" was all you needed (well, that and good virus detection software, of course)...

Eventually I'll make my own "best of" compilation from these tracks, once I've spent more time listening to them all. That'll be in a later post.

As I type this, someone is selling the set for $150 on Ebay. I have no doubt that within a week or so, the bids will pass the $200 mark, like what happened when my girlfriend tried to get me this for my birthday. $200 was the most she was willing to spend - and she never admitted to me that she went that high on it until I told her how I spent my day off (waiting for the downloads).

Here's where I throw a wrench into the RIAA's arguments.

See, even though I basically got this great music for free, minus the cost of Internet and blank discs and a CD burner, I wish I had been able to buy this for $119.98 back in 1999, to get all the artwork and linernotes and stuff... I don't want to pay $250 or more on Ebay for it, numbered limited edition or not. I still plan to buy it eventually, but it's gonna be a while before I do. It'll be my reward to myself for getting rid of all the books, albums and junk I have now that I don't use all the time. Yep, even though I already have the music, I'm still willing to pay money for the rest of it. If this makes sense to you, you've got the same disease as me.

(update: that set on Ebay sold for $358.87. Looks like I'll be waiting longer for this than I first thought.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Process of weeding out, part 1.5

Apocalyptica/Plays Metallica by Four Cellos

I don't know when I got this, but it must've been pre-1999, since that was when Metallica's "S&M" CD came out, and I remember thinking "That's been done" since I already had this. It's a cool idea and all, but after listening to it a few times, I left it alone. The artwork is unintentionally amusing, especially the booklet picture of four arms holding four cello bows through four square holes in a wall. I also like the Reservoir Dogs -esque shot of the musicians walking four abreast, each carrying a cello case, wearing sunglasses and all black. Serious musicians. I'd do the same damned thing if I could play an(y) instrument.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Process of weeding out, part 1

Most people bitch about Mondays, what with having to go back to work after the weekend. I've always hated Sundays more... mainly because most things are closed, or have shorter hours.

Alice in Chains/Sap EP, Facelift

Kept both of these since I was in high school. Haven't listened to either in years, mainly because the local radio stations keep AIC on heavy rotation. How many times can you hear "Man in the Box," "Bleed the Freak," or "Got Me Wrong" and not get tired of them? After dusting off both discs and playing them all the way through... I still like them, but not to the point that I'll miss them if I trade them in. I'll still keep their self-titled one, though.

Aphex Twin/Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2

Something else from the same period. I forgot I even had this... at some point I actually took the time to write out a tracklisting for both discs (probably from the Warp Records website) since nothing was named in the packaging other than "Blue Calx." There were a handful of tracks I liked the sound of, but most of this just sounds like generic background music to me now. Into the trade pile you go.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Laundry day is a very dangerous day.

I look around my room and all I can see is "stuff"... books and records and lots of random junk. I know I probably won't use up seven mugs worth of pens, for instance... well, maybe I will, in my lifetime, but not all of these pens that I have right now. I've already thrown out a few that've gone dry, earlier this year. Is it ironic that I'm typing about this on a computer keyboard instead of writing in a notebook with one of those pens?

Then again, I wouldn't 've gotten this far on paper, since admitting I have more pens than I can use would make me want to test them all out and toss the dead ones. The rest of the page would be covered in those spirally marks that tear through onto the next sheet if the pen doesn't write...

Nevermind the damned pens, I need to do something about all these books. I'm keeping the Mickey Spillanes and the John D. Macdonalds, but I could do without some of these others. I could say the same thing about a great deal of my music collection. I guess I have a hard time letting go of things. I think I'll start listening to more of it, write something here about it and whether I'll hang on to it or not...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More content to follow, hopefully.

I'm gonna try to use this to do something constructive with my free time, and actually post meaningful stuff. I've spent hours looking at other blogs about music-related stuff, so maybe I can try to give something back (hokey as it sounds) with one of my own.

In the meantime, here are some links until I can put together something.

WFMU's Beware of the Blog

HG's Blog

The Evolution Control Committee

Monday, February 9, 2009