With tracks from Bomarr, Copy, Meanest Man Contest and Roman Ruins, Designed Entropy stands as a work of art, in both the music and packaging – a piece that Gold Robot says “explores the relationship between design, structure, and humanity.”
What better way to examine the structure of a song than by breaking it down and rebuilding it via remix? Hunter was kind enough to give me a first crack at posting the Fancy Mike remix of Bomarr’s Exchanges Among Systems, a reworking that isn’t shy about introducing some low end. Turn up the bass.
The Shadrach 12-inch contains two Paul’s Boutique tracks – Shadrach and Car Thief – and four non-LP goodies, including And What You Give Is What You Get. In the insanely thorough 33 1/3 book on Paul’s Boutique, author Dan LeRoy writes of the track:
The instrumental version of “Shadrach” boasts a laundry list of new samples, including the riff from Black Flag’s hardcore anthem “Rise Above,” soundbites from various dancehall records and an interjection from comedian George Carlin. Yet although it only appears at the tail end of this mix, the snippet of the Jam’s “Start!” that gives the track its title is the most intriguing lift.
It’s a classic Paul’s Boutique-era cut – just a wild orgy of samples and scratches pieced together perfectly. Makes me wanna revisit the album.
In the early to mid ’90s, buying the hip-hop I loved in any format – vinyl, cassette, CD, whatever – was a bit of an obsession … and an expensive one, at that. Still, all these years later, I’m pretty proud of the collection I’ve amassed, from cassingles to imports and everything in between.
I spent plenty of time and money at Swell Records back in the day, hoarding anything I could with those fancy dreams of being a DJ (haha … yeah, right). One vinyl gem I plucked – marked down to $10 from $18.99 (the price tag is still on it) – is a 1994 promo import from Pete Rock and CL Smooth, the Never Coming Out EP (1994).
It must have come out after the release of The Main Ingredient because it features one of the tracks from that album (In the House) and a remix of another (Take You There). Even better, it features a demo mix of the classic joint, They Reminisce Over You, from the 1992 debut Mecca and the Soul Brother.
The 7-inch – produced on brown/orange-colored vinyl – was created and designed as a full experience. Gold Robot details it:
“The first entry in the Designed Entropy series features exclusive tracks by 4 different artists inspired from a common starting point. As a cohesive unit, this EP explores the relationship between design, structure, and humanity. Suggested reading to accompany the listening experience: ‘Atlas of Novel Tectonics’ by Jesse Reiser.”
Stream the tracks below and pick up the vinyl for five bucks. You can also go the digital route at eMusic, iTunes, Amazon, etc.
Strong as the San Diego Street Scene lineup was, there was little doubt that seeing the National was my main event. (Side note: After Black Crowes canceled as the Saturday headliner, why not bump the National into that role instead of adding an old, withering Devo? Seriously, now. Devo?)
There’s really little doubt at this point — my fourth time seeing the National (though not once in my own home state) — that this is my favorite band, though I take some exception to the group all but abandoning pre-Alligator songs in its live set. At least give me Murder Me Rachael.
For what it’s worth, singer Matt Berninger looked like your college geology professor when they took the stage in San Diego — dark-rimmed glasses, navy blazer. It all looked very studious, until, of course, he became a tad unhinged during Abel.
For a more composed picture of Berninger, check out these performances from the Bandwidth podcast (via Stereogum). Here, Berninger remains calm — perhaps because he’s in a kitchen? — wearing dark glasses, like he’s singing himself out of a hangover.
Here’s a brief (seven minutes or so) but thoughtful look at Paul Mawhinney, who owns an astonishing record collection, allegedly the largest in the world. One million albums and 1.5 million singles? “Astonishing” doesn’t even do that justice.
This is inspiring and heartbreaking in its own way, a story that earned press earlier this year when a sale for the collection fell through. Mawhinney appears to break down a bit while listening to John Miles’ Music: “It’s my life’s song.”
From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I love the vinyl popping sound near the end when the credits are rolling. Nice touch.
Another record swap meet came and went on Saturday, which can only mean I spent far too much money adding to a vinyl collection whose weight I will curse if I ever have to move it.
Nevertheless, I’d call Saturday’s haul a success. Included in the bunch (list below) was a 7-inch by former Phoenix band Trunk Federation, whom I’ve written about before here and here. If I were you, I’d do my best to track down Trunk Federation’s 1998 record The Curse of Miss Kitty.
Anyway, this 7-inch (for low price of $3!) is called Winnie, and credits show it was recorded in the fall of 1994. Holy moses: That was 14 years ago. Doesn’t matter: Trunk Federation’s unorthodox pop probably would be better appreciated in these times than in the early ’90s.
Here’s the tracks converted from the vinyl:
Side A: Trunk Federation | Beanie’s Soft Toy Factory
Side B: Trunk Federation | Jello
Also purchased at the record swap meet (all 45s … Side A / Side B):
Salt-N-Pepa: Push It (remix) – same both sides; label says ‘Side A’ on both sides. Fred Wesley and the JB’s: Doing it to Death / Everybody Got Soul Harry Nilsson: Coconut / Down The Turtles: You Showed Me / Buzz Saw (picture sleeve … Buzz Saw sampled awesomely/famously here) Cat Stevens: Morning Has Broken / I Want to Live in a Wigwam Ike and Tina Turner: Please, Please, Please Pt. 1 / Pt. 2 a-ha: Take On Me / Love is Reason (picture sleeve! with story board pages like the video!)
Without a doubt, when I get a record from Gold Robot Records in the mail, my mood enhances significantly. Vinyl + mp3 + good music. What’s not to love?
The latest Gold Robot 7-inch release, the fifth with more fast on the way, comes from Sweetie, a gem of a pop-rock band from San Francisco that I knew literally nothing about until this red-colored piece of wax showed up on my doorstep.
That’s right: Four songs on a 7-inch. How is it done, you ask? Well, Sweetie’s longest song of the set (Saturdays) is 3:03. These are charming two-and-a-half-minute bursts of pop that have left my smudgy fingerprints all over the record as I constantly keep flipping it over to go from one song to the next.
Order the vinyl at Gold Robot Records, which includes a coupon for digital downloads of the record. Or, if you don’t have a turntable, you can get the four tracks at eMusic as well.
ALSO: Please join me in wishing good luck to Hunter, purveyor of Gold Robot and Macktronic, as he raises money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in the Marin Metric Century bicycle race on Aug. 2.
Hunter’s brother recently passed away while undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Here’s part of an e-mail Hunter sent out:
“I’m hoping that the money I raise for the LLS will help find a cure for these diseases that affect so many families.
“Each donation helps accelerate finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. More than 823,000 Americans are battling these blood cancers. I am hoping that my participation in Team In Training will help bring them hope and support. On behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, thank you very much for your support. I greatly appreciate your generosity.”