Archive for the ‘Awesome of the Week’ Category

Record Store Day: Black Friday 2017 Top Ten Vol. 2

November 23, 2017 Leave a comment

by Mat Weir



  1. Sonny Clark Trio — The 1960 Time Sessions

Been getting into Jazz lately and this particular record caught my attention. Not only was Sonny Clark a master but his death at 31 from a heroin overdose helped to create a mythos around him. Featuring greats Max Roach and George Duvivier, the 1960 Time Sessions is a treat in pure, soulful jazz. Of course it’s just a remastering of the Sonny Clark Trio, but this pressing also contains alternate versions of the album and takes giving the listener a true recording experience.




1967 was a crazy time for America. The Vietnam War raged as people fled to the streets in protest, the Monterey Pop Festival was held and Leonard Nimoy recorded his debut album as Mr. Spock. This highly illogical move produced a cult gem filled with eerie, 1960’s sci-fi sounds and out-of-this-world noise. With the popularity of Star Trek, the album reached number 83 on the Billboard charts and earned Nimoy his only hit single, the Emo-Before-Emo named, “A Visit to A Sad Planet.” Definitely a fun piece to add to your collection and a great album to test on new people to see who’s cool.




I love The Kills. LOOOOOVVVEEE them. Every release they’ve done is unique while remaining within their signature sound. Over the years they’ve come to evolve and grow their style, adding more layers and production in lieu of their original, gritty start. Black Rooster is a reissue of their debut EP of the same name, which is the same songs they first recorded for a demo tape. A first issue of this 10” can cost some big bucks so I was stoked to see this on the Black Friday list.




The man. The myth. The legend. Bill Hicks was a comedian’s comedian. Highly prophetic, he tapped into the same cosmic river of George Carlin and called bullshit on everything in the society we’ve built around us. Like any guru, he received relative success in his lifetime–selling out major shows– but after his untimely death his popularity soared to saintly heights. This double LP is the full special of his final, 1992 recording, Revelations. If this is on your list–and it should be–put it on the turntable and see how many things the sage got right about who we are today.



  1. BLUE OYSTER CULT — RARITIES VOL. 1 1969 – 1976)

Finally, number one! This spot goes to the one and only, Blue Oyster Cult, another band I absolutely love to the point of getting their logo tattooed a couple times as filler on my sleeve. This special, double LP on white vinyl contains their original, Columbia demos under their short-lived name, Soft White Underbelly. If you’re like me, you’ve never seen the originals and any that you might find online will cost rent for the month. Here’s a great, cheap way to experience the magic that is early Cult. The rest of the album contains live cuts from the band’s archive spanning their self-titled to Agents of Fortune, basically their best material minus Spectres. Feel the tyranny and mutation blasting at you from the height of these heavy metal godfathers this Friday!



November 23, 2017 Leave a comment

by Mat Weir




         Okay, I’m kicking this off with a gimmicky picture disc. But for all you purists, cynics and elitists out there: GET OVER IT. After a decade of RSD releases, you need to accept the fact that gimmicks are part of the fun. So don’t be a wretched ol’ White Walker. Why not buy one of the best soundtracks from one of television’s hottest shows, and have some rad art in the process?




    Death From Above (re: Death From Above 1979) has earned themselves a bit of a cult following over the years. In 2002, Canadian duo–Sebastian Granger and Jesse F. Keeler–released their debut release, Heads Up, to minor success. Two years later they began recording their debut album, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, and released it with major, underground success. Their minimalist sound is thick as gravy and boiling hot with blues riffs covered in post-rock music. But in 2006 they disbanded, leaving fans to cling to their record. In 2011 they reunited but it wouldn’t be until this year that they would drop a second album, Outrage! Is Now. This 7” is the single and B-side to that album.


  1. high

    Every stoner has their 420 playlist. Music sites and apps like Spotify, Pandora and iTunes have made it easy to throw hundreds of fire tracks into a playlist that will keep you lit all night. But for those of us who like to spin wax, making a playlist ends up with a stack of records and constant flipping or changing, totally harshing the vibe. Thankfully, this Black Friday, High Times Magazine has released a comp of sweet, stoney tracks to keep the party going and the smoke floating featuring Damian Marley, Action Bronson and more.

  2. hooker


  2. I love me some John Lee Hooker. He was one of the first blues musicians my dad got me into and one that remains near and dear to my heart. This is a killer live recording from the Rising Sun Celebrity Jazz Club (Montreal) in 1977 when Hooker was still cookin’. Featuring staples like “Boom Boom” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” this is the perfect LP for Hooker fans to spin AND for noobs to check out to get a taste of the blues master.




    For almost two decades Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has breathed new life into American blues, country and bluegrass. With a voice as thick as mountain mist, the Reverend, his wife–”Washboard” Breezy and drummer, Max Senteney, bask themselves in the rays of all blues genres and cultivate original tunes chock full of wholesome goodness. This Black Friday, don’t miss out on their cover of Tennessee Ernest Ford’s classic, “16 Tons,” for a rootsy sound about Capitalism’s exploitation of the working class. What’s more American than that?

ICYMI: Bowie’s Stunning Farewell Video

January 13, 2016 Leave a comment


November 9, 2015 Leave a comment

by Mat Weir. 

I know, I know. It’s already been a week. That’s a horrible time to write a concert review because in our up-to-date-by-the-minute society, a week might as well be a year. But if you’ve ever read anything I’ve written here, you know that frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. Besides, after a week I’m still trying to fully digest the awesomeness that was King Diamond in concert.


On November 2, 2015 I felt like death. October had been a rough month on my physical and mental state and by November everything had revolted. But, I also had a ticket to King Diamond and Exodus at the Warfield in San Francisco with a couple of fellow Streetlight, metal warriors. With my head in a daze and my legs weak from weeks of constant work, I clearly saw the only thing I could do was dose myself with LSD and make sure my ticket didn’t go to waste. Obviously.

I would write about Exodus since they are a favorite, Bay Area thrash band and one I’ve been wanting to see for a while. However, by the time King Diamond finished, I had almost completely forgotten there was even an opening band. The King and his band were just THAT good.



With the stage decked out in gargoyles, upside down crosses and a giant second story deck with stairs on either side, King Diamond opened with “Mother’s Getting Weaker” off Them. The 59 year old artist didn’t disappoint with the theatrics and had a female counterpart dressed as an old woman, rolled out on stage. Of course, this was mother.

Mother's Getting Weaker

Mother’s Getting Weaker


Throughout the next hour Diamond and crew blasted through a bunch of fan favorites like “Eye of the Witch,” and “Halloween” before diving into some Mercyful Fate territory. “Evil” and “Melissa” were personal favorites with a priest burning a witch and a giant, light-up goat-headed pentagram in the background. Oh yeah, and at one point. As Streetlight metal-aficionado, Dayan, pointed out, during “Come to the Sabbath” the female performer was acting out the Satanic ritual Diamond was singing about.

Hail to the King, baby!

Hail to the King, baby!

Burn the witch!

Burn the witch!

I mean, does it get any more METAL than THAT?!?

Then the lights went up and we realized the band hadn’t even started what we all came to see, the complete Abigail album from start to finish.

The classic 1987 album was King Diamond second solo and first concept album. It’s the story of Abigail La’Fey, a stillborn baby “birthed” through the murder of her mother, whose spirit haunts the unborn child of her future relatives. If that doesn’t make you want bang your head with joy, we can’t be friends.

The lights went out in the building and by this point I was completely drenched in the world created before me. Then, the familiar haunting bells and a spotlight appeared on King Diamond standing above a child coffin repeating the words, “We’re gathered here to night to lay to rest, Abigail Avail, who we now know was first born dead on the seventh day of July, 1777. . .”

July 7th, 1777.

July 7th, 1777.

And the crowd. . .well. . .the crowd exploded into a chaos of moshing, cheering and headbanging.

Watching King Diamond mesmerize the audience with his insane voice and high energy made it hard to believe he had a near fatal heart attack only five years ago. The heavy metal legend appeared in full-form, blasting through the classic 1987 album without missing a note and enacting the entire drama of Abigail. At one particularly fun acid moment, I realized we were witnessing the modern evolution of the  musical. Give it one or two more generations and you’ll see King Diamond-inspired sold-out shows on Broadway. I’ll be the old man saying “Back in my day, we had to stand to see musicals. And we called them metal shows back then, dammit!” Could be fun.
At the end of the night, King Diamond and his band came out for a second bow. He even stuck around for 10 minutes or so to shake hands and thank the crowd. I actually saw several metal heads leaning as far over the second story railing to bow and blow kisses at the man. Then again, don’t take my word for it, I was on drugs. Next time he tours your town, make sure you buy a ticket. And for god sake don’t tell your mom, or she might just drag you to church after.

Bonnie Raitt Waxes Lovingly About Record Stores

February 19, 2014 Leave a comment

“I don’t know if I’d ever have had the exposure to the roots and world music…folk, blues, classic jazz, gypsy, celtic, African, Latin, had it not been for combing the racks of the local independent record stores in the Cambridge/Boston area when I was in college and the years since.

Those ‘mom and pop’ stores and small chains, like radio, provided the rich soil from which so much of my passion and education sprang. Having the ability to linger and talk about selections with a staff person who really knew their stuff and was able to illuminate why certain albums by a given artist were better than others or steer me to new exciting finds I never would have discovered without their help, is another reason why preserving these independent record stores is so crucial.

It’s the personal connection, the vastly more extensive collections, and being part of the community of like minded music fans, that makes such a difference. I loved striking up conversations or just spending hours reading notes on vinyl record covers and having the visceral experience of being surrounded by so much history and variety. Nothing like it.

So much of what I love about music of all kinds and eras was hatched by just this kind of discovery and choice. The decisions about what to carry and the overall service of these stores is what has made so many of us who we are as musicians and people. Indelible, irreplaceable…and a treasure to protect.”

– Bonnie Raitt

I’m the Guy Named Kurtis Blow and Christmas is One Thing I Know

December 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Awesome of the Week: The First Song Recorded in Space

January 2, 2013 Leave a comment


Over the holidays, astronaut Chris Hadfield sent, from the International Space Station to earth, the first song ever recorded in space. As one might expect from someone hovering high above our small blue dot, the tune contains lots of references to love, peace and goodwill.

Categories: Awesome of the Week