by Mat Weir
Black Friday has come and gone once more. This year we didn’t have as large of a turnout as in previous events, but the people who did camp out in front of our store were there for hours. And their labor paid off!
We received multiple copies of almost every Record Store Day release and the first in line always get the first crack at the section.
However, a week later and we’re shocked at some of the gems still hanging around our shelves! Here are a couple you’re going to want to pick up before it’s too late. Afterall, Santa already has a lot on his plate.
The Sonics – 50
Ok, we know you can already get reissues of Boom and Here Are The Sonics, but this beautifully assembled box set is not to pass up. Included are those two albums along with a third disc of rarities and outtakes. Thrown in are a 18”x24” poster and a 5,000 word, 36 page history of the band complete with detailed pics of the boys. Pretty much the end-all-be-all on a great band in rock history and a great gift for any collector.
The Buzzcocks – Another Music in a Different Kitchen
The debut album from a quintessential band in punk rock lore. In 1978 a 23 year old Pete Shelley would write some of the most surreal and dreamy music from the time. By blending these elements with the burgeoning punk scene, the Buzzcocks helped create a sound that would later gain momentum in the 1990’s, giving them the well-earned moniker the “Godfathers of Punk.” This reissue come on translucent orange vinyl, putting a fresh face on a classic album.
The Zombies – BBC Radio Sessions
It’s not unusual to see the Zombies on the RSD list, since there always seems to be at least a 7-inch reissue coming out around the holidays. However, this year they bring us a beautiful, two LP set compiled by Zombies expert/archivist, Andrew Sandoval, featuring previously unreleased tracks, interviews, and versions of classic songs. An obvious must-have for any Zombies fan, but it doubles as a great intro for newbs because of the BBC’s impeccable recordings and journalists.
It’s been a long time since Gillian Welch and David Rawlings have released an album; eight years to be exact. But, that’s OK. We don’t mind waiting because these two are masters, and masterworks take time. That being said, a handful of us around the store are bubbling over with the anticipation of hearing, loving and learning, word for word, a whole new album of material.
Tuesday, June 28 is the day. That’s when The Harrow & the Harvest comes out, and we have a special treat for you. For the first two hours of the day, we’re going to be having a listening party so you (and we) can check out the new album. We have some posters to give away and some cool little postcards and it should be a nice morning. So if you’re around tomorrow at 11am and want to give the new album a listen, come down to the store.
I didn’t see any videos up of their new material, but here’s a cool one of them doing “Look at Miss Ohio” at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur last month.
by Mari Stauffer
I had heard the name Little Dragon mentioned here and there in the past year or so, always in a very positive light. When I decided to check out their live show here in Santa Cruz, none of the great things I was told about them could have prepared me for the amazing performance that was to come.
Hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden, Little Dragon is a four-person electronic music band made up of Yukimi Nagano (vocals & various percussion), Erik Bodin (drums), Fredrik Källgren Wallin (bass), and Håkan Wirenstrand (keyboards). They are all former school-mates who decided to join forces in 2006.
Their musical sound is definitely electro-80’s influenced-pop/soul, but with a very serious, pensive, and slightly darker undertone including some heavy bass lines…even on the more uptempo dance tunes (which, by the way, are a challenge to NOT dance to!).
Nagano is a charismatic and mesmerizing tour-de-force to watch live. Don’t get me wrong, they are all great musicians, but the amount of heart, soul, energy and amazing dance moves that Yukimi Nagano displays, along with her soulful & ethereal voice, is immediately captivating.
Little Dragon was featured on the latest Gorillaz album “Plastic Beach”, and they accompanied the band on tour.
Since touring in the U.S. the past couple of years, they have developed quite a large and dedicated fanbase here, and I hope their path will lead them back many, many more times!
Check out their newest album, Machine Dreams for a unique new sound that somehow also feels familiar and nostalgic at the same time. And, if they ever play in your local area, seeing their live show will take your experience of their music to an entirely new level. Here is a small taste…
There’s a new Lucinda Williams album out today. It was made with a bunch of different covers, randomly shipped to different stores. We have the cd and lp versions.
Here are some accompanying videos, all celebrating and exploring the notion of what it is to be blessed. Nice one, Lucinda. Again.
M.I.A. – XXXO
Her third album has been slowly growing on me and has been my go-to this week. It’s loud and aggressive and at times completely un-danceable, but, it also has pockets of sonic and lyrical brilliance. This song is my latest sing-along jam.
Black Angels – Telephone
These guys came crashing onto my radar with their latest release Phosphene Dream. Their nod to garage music has been creeping closer to the mainstream and this one is more radio-friendly than their previous albums, but it is still raw, noisy, energizing and groovy.
Pantha Du Prince – Stick to My Side
I grabbed the Pantha Du Prince album Black Noise on a whim and it almost immediately became my new favorite album. Think chill electronica with bells. Lots and lots of bells; perfect for dreamy nights and creative endeavors. Also: that tree suit is fabulous.
Can Light In The Attic Records do no wrong? They brought it hard to the folk-rock fans with Jim Sullivan’s U.F.O. and now they bring us the Vagrants.
Who are the Vagrants you ask? Is the band that lit the rock ‘n’ roll fire for the Ramones a good answer? The New York-based band was popular in their home state for their soul-influenced rock and heavy use of the Hammond organ. One of the few rock bands signed to the Vanguard label that was known for folk artists, they were later signed to Atco where they had a semi-hit with a cover Otis Redding’s “Respect.” Unfortunately Aretha Franklin’s version was released around the same time and kept The Vagrants’ version from reaching the rest of the U.S.
Luckily it also ended up on the famous Nuggets collection which introduced the Vagrants to garage-rockers outside of the east coast. After a couple more Atco singles they called it quits due to guitarist Leslie West forming Mountain, known for their hit “Mississippi Queen,” but thanks to Light In The Attic Records we can enjoy the Vagrants with the release of I Can’t Find A Friend: 1965-68, available on both CD and LP and filled with extensive liner notes by Mike Stax of Ugly Things magazine, an interview with Johnny Ramone and unseen photos of the band.
Thanks again Light In The Attic!