Category Archives: vinyl

Destroyer: Madame Butterflies

Hopefully, you made it out to your local independent record store on Saturday for Record Store Day.

I hit Stinkweeds and was encouraged by the crowd and the general hustle and bustle of the store. Yes, every day should be Record Store Day.

Thankfully, I made it in time before some of the exclusive 7-inch records were all gone. I managed to pick up a Built to Spill 7-inch that contains live versions of Don’t Try and The Source. I also grabbed the free Merge offering, a split 7-inch with unreleased songs by Destroyer and Wye Oak.

Before any dust could settle on my virgin vinyl, I converted the Destroyer track, Madame Butterflies, into mp3 format. It sounds like it definitely could have come from recording sessions for Trouble in Dreams with its loose guitar coloring.

Remember: Destroyer plays the Rhythm Room on May 18. (Buy tickets.)

The Parish: Storm Driven Bird EP

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Thanks again to Hunter at Macktronic and Gold Robot Records for (a) sending me vinyl (always welcome) and (b) introducing me to another great Bay Area band in the Parish.

The latest goodie from Gold Robot – the label’s fourth 7-inch release – is the four-song Storm Driven Bird EP from the Parish. The group is led by husband-wife tandem of Zac and Kim Stanley, but they brought in a full band for this EP, including Graham Hill (aka Roman Ruins) on drums.

I want to say, upon my first few listens, that the Parish sounds something like a cross between Magnolia Electric Co. and and some of the more Southern-influenced ’70s rock. I may be totally off base. But I do know it’s nothing like Gold Robot’s previous two releases from Meanest Man Contest and Panther. Hunter appears to be building a wonderfully diverse catalog.

Check out Dummy in Trouble, a track that follows a catchy organ line into a wash of guitars and cymbals and (my favorite) pedal-steel guitar.

As an added bonus, if you buy the (yellow!) vinyl, you receive a coupon with a code for digital downloads.

  • The Parish | Dummy in Trouble

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT, visiting Gold Robot, check out Quarterbar (one-half of Meanest Man Contest) remixing all of Panther’s Secret Lawns LP into one track.

Pete Rock (feat. Jim Jones): We Roll

I’ll be honest when I say I haven’t kept up much with Pete Rock since he and CL Smooth went their separate ways after 1994′s The Main Ingredient (man, I love that record).

But that doesn’t change the fact that Pete Rock is responsible for some of the best hip-hop production of our generation: Look no further than The World Is Yours by Nas.

Pete Rock returns Feb. 26 with his first solo record in four years, NY’s Finest (Nature Sounds). Guests include Raekwon, Masta Killa, Redman, Little Brother and Jim Jones, who shows up on the lead single We Roll, which features some classic Pete Rock-style horn samples. And though I’ve never been much of a fan of PR on the mic, I think his verse here at least shows a steady, tempered flow – perhaps taking a cue from CL Smooth after all these years.

  • Pete Rock (feat. Jim Jones) | We Roll

BONUS:

  • Pete Rock and CL Smooth (feat. Lil A) | They Reminisce Over Your (demo mix)

(Ripped from import vinyl, Never Coming Out EP.)

Maroon and Gold

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Happy Thanksgiving.

If you’re a football fan, today is a great day. If you’re an Arizona State football fan, today is even better than great. My Sun Devils, ranked sixth in the BCS standings, go up against Southern California on ESPN tonight, a break from the usual tradition of playing Arizona the day after Thanksgiving.

A berth in the Rose Bowl is at stake, and ASU has the tiniest chance still of the BCS title game.

In the spirit of football, here’s the ASU fight song as performed by the Sun Devil marching band. I ripped this from a record I bought at a thrift store some time ago: Sun Devil Marching Band presents Fight Songs of the West.

Go Devils.

  • Sun Devil marching band | Maroon and Gold

Run-D.M.C.: You Be Illin’ (remix)

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I’m not sure what I’d do if I ever lived near an Amoeba Records. I imagine going broke would be a possibility.

My latest trip to the Hollywood location wasn’t as fruitful as I would have liked, but how can I argue when one of the pieces is an original 12-inch of Run-D.M.C.’s You Be Illin’? First side has a remix — albeit a somewhat conservative definition of a remix – and the second side has Hit It Run and the You Be Illin’ instrumental.

The remix doesn’t stray too far from the original save for some additional horns and substituting the third verse (“The other day around the way I seen you illin’ at a party”) in favor of a more traditional instrumental bridge. Regardless, whenever I listen to this song it reminds of how much I listened to the cassette as a kid. Though I’ll likely go to my grave claiming Tougher Than Leather as a desert-island disc, there’s no denying what an influence Raising Hell had on me, a cornerstone of my collection … still.

And where the hell do I get one of those dookie rope chains with a gold adidas charm?

  • Run-D.M.C. | You Be Illin’ (remix)

Emma Pollock Acid Test 7-inch giveaway

For reasons far too boring to go into here, I have two copies of the 4AD-released Acid Test 7-inch (b/w non-album track A Temporary Fix) by Emma Pollock, formerly of the Delgados.

The powers that be at Beggars have given me the OK to give the extra away.

I don’t want to make anyone jump through hoops or answer questions or whatever. Just leave your name with e-mail address in the comments and I’ll throw the names in a hat (my sweaty, yellowing Chicago Bears hat, to be exact) and pick a winner. (I’ve turned off the option for which I have to approve comments … bring on the spam!)

I’ll leave entry open for about a week.

Meanest Man Contest 7-inch

goldrobot.jpgIt’s time for a little honesty: I’m on the take. Yes, my man Hunter at Macktronic just hooked me up with a T-shirt from his 7-inch label, Gold Robot Records. And now I’m going to post on the label’s latest release with Meanest Man Contest, due out Sept. 1. It’s shameful, but I’ll do anything for a free T-shirt (a pretty cool one at that).

But seriously, I’d already done posts on Gold Robot’s previous two releases – Panther, Roman Ruins – and I have a little fetish for 7-inch/45 records anyway.

To be honest, I’d never heard of Meanest Man Contest before Hunter tipped me off. The duo consists of Noah Blumberg (aka Quarterbar and formerly of Jim Yoshii Pile-Up) and Eric Steuer (aka Ericsolo). Maybe you’ve run across Quarterbar’s stash of remixes.

Anyway, this 7-inch’s focal point is Throwing Away Broken Electronics (love the title) with a B-side remix by COPY, which can be heard at Gold Robot’s MySpace page.

Broken Electronics balances a dusty, old-school beat with the fractured edge of experimental sampling, a contrast that seems to fit the theme of the chorus: “I’m throwing away broken electronics.” Basically, it’s a jam.

Pre-order the 7-inch here, which has two cover options and includes a code for digital downloads of all four tracks.

Read Hunter’s contribution to Circa 45.

  • Meanest Man Contest | Throwing Away Broken Electronics

The Pharcyde: Pork

I had quite a day on Sunday stumbling upon old 12-inch hip-hop gems. A DJ must have unloaded his collection at Zia Records (on Indian School and 19th Avenue in Phoenix), and I came in like a vulture to pick it apart.

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Of the seven 12-inches I grabbed (list below), I listened first to the Pharcyde Passin’ Me By single for the B-side I’d never heard: Pork. I already own one Passin’ Me By 12-inch, but it’s an import with three remixes and a Ya Mama remix. So I was more than happy to snag this one for $1.49.

I can’t believe this is from 1993 – 14 years ago. The hip-hop I grew up listening to is feeling very vintage these days. Sigh. Nevermind that I’m turning 30 in less than a month.

Anyway, Pork (it’s what’s for dinner) might not be Pharcyde at its best. For starters, it’s about a six-minute track and the guys seem far less animated than they do on Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. And instead of the witty interplay on Bizarre Ride, Pork (produced by L.A. Jay) follows more of a verse-verse-chorus-verse-verse pattern.

Still, I can have a collector’s/completist’s mentality, so I’m happy to have it in my library now (though I still haven’t figured out the difference between the OG version and the Cosby edit).

Note: Dusty Groove has the cover image of this Pharcyde single.

  • The Pharcyde | Pork (OG version)
  • The Pharcyde | Pork (Cosby edit)
  • The Pharcyde | Pork (instrumental)

My Sunday haul:

The Pharcyde, Passin’ Me By 12-inch b/w Pork (1993).
Ultramagnetic MC’s, Give the Drummer Some 12-inch b/w Moe Luv’s Theme (1989).
OutKast, Player’s Ball 12-inch b/w remix and instrumental (1994).
Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, Straighten It Out 12-inch b/w T.R.O.Y. (remix) (1992).
De La Soul, Me Myself and I 12-inch (three sided) with three “but-out bonus cuts” (1989) (I already owned a copy, but for $1.49, I wasn’t about to pass it up).
The Pack, I’m Shinin’ 12-inch b/w Candy (2006, marble vinyl).

And the grand daddy of ‘em all …
MC Hammer, Turn This Mutha Out 12-inch (the Mutha Mix) b/w Ring ‘Em (two mixes), (1988).

Camp Lo: Black Nostaljack (Kid Capri remix)

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Recent posts by Gorilla vs. Bear and Passion of the Weiss on the return of Camp Lo got me sorta amped about the good ol’ days, which always means digging through a little vinyl.

I have two Camp Lo 12-inches from the great Uptown Saturday Night – one for Black Nostaljack (Come On) and the other for Luchini aka (This is It). I’ve yet to listen to In Black Hollywood – Weiss calls it a contender for hip-hop album of the year – but damn if Uptown wasn’t just one of the dopest, if not criminally underrated, hip-hop albums of the 90s.

Here’s the flip side on the Black Nostaljack 12-inch, a Kid Capri remix that features Run and cops Run-DMC’s Beats to the Rhyme.

Roman Ruins

grr001_cover_front_web.gifBig ups to Hunter at Macktronic, who introduced me to Roman Ruins, the one-man project otherwise known as Graham Hill to family and close friends. Hunter, who operates Gold Robot Records, was kind enough to hook me up with his label’s first two 7-inch releases (my favorite music medium) – one from Roman Ruins and the other from the inimitable Panther (holla!). Trust me, nothing beats getting vinyl in the mail. HANDLE WITH CARE!

My Roman Ruins 7-inch, numbered 472 of 500, has gotten serious rotation on the turntable. There’s something so wonderfully contrary to this – sampled electronic beats set to the pop and crackle of analog warmth. Hill takes the edge off electronic sampling. His is not cold, repetitive and barren; it’s incidental and inviting. The sampling isn’t the point of the music – it’s just another part of it.

Computer-based sampling and home recording makes everyone an artist, but Hill doesn’t abuse the privilege. There’s a responsible effort here to create songs, molding samples to shape his mood and emotion. (The subtly used loop of crashing waves on Familiar and Serene proves the point.)

Go to Roman Ruins’ MySpace page for links to buy his recordings and to hear two new demos that, I think, were posted within the past week.

  • Roman Ruins | Your House
  • Roman Ruins | Familiar and Serene