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.
By Mat Weir
It’s a rainy day here in Santa Cruz and the only thing better than cozying up with some coffee at the buy counter in the store would be to cozy up under the blankets with some hot cocoa and a fresh bowl of Cali’s finest. Regardless of which way the day takes us, nothing beats a great soundtrack to compliment the gray skies and we have just the one for you.
Once again our friends at WaxWork Records have reissued a previously hard-to-find horror soundtrack, this time choosing 1979’s Tourist Trap. Stephen King once called the film an obscure classic because it “wields an eerie spooky power.” No doubt partly thanks to it’s eerie soundtrack written by Pino Dinnaggio.
Utilizing woodblocks, slide whistles and shrieking violins, Dinaggio summons the spirit of Hitchcock’s films with a timeless creep. From the almost kooky beginning to the crescendoing orchestra, Tourist Trap sets a bizarre and supernatural tone for the dreariest of days.
As with all Wax Work issues, this one features beautiful artwork, 180 gram vinyl, limited gatefold design and a gorgeous, fold-out poster perfect for any record or horror nerd to frame.
by Mat Weir
“Have you heard the new Big Grams album?” my buddy, Thomas Dawson, asked from the other room. “It’s the new collaboration from Big Boi and Phantogram.”
Wait, what? I didn’t even hear about this, let alone know it was already out.
When we last left Big Boi–aka ½ of Dirty South hip hop legends, Outkast–he dropped a 2012 solo album Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors which also featured the electronic duo, Phantogram.
Apparently the three really enjoyed working with each other because last month they dropped the 7 song, self-titled, full-length.
Big Grams is a curiously infectious album from two equally talented artists, even if their combination might seem strange at first. The psych pop rhythms and spacey beats of Phantogram complement the street knowledge delivered with Big Boi’s signature smooth flow.
The futuristic sound allows the listener to be an introvert, providing an ethereal plane to dive deeply into one’s thoughts and feelings.I haven’t tried it yet, but something tells me this would be a great soundtrack on a long drive in the black of night. Running from the past, heading into a great unknown, guided only by a few twinkling sparks of golden hope. Just like the chorus on the second track, “I hope you keep your lights on for me.”
Check out Big Grams this year at the Treasure Island Festival Oct 17-18
PICK UP YOUR COPY OF BIG GRAMS IN-STORE AT STREETLIGHT RECORDS SANTA CRUZ OR SAN JOSE!
by Mat Weir
Can you believe summer is already halfway over? For most of the country it means only 45 or so remaining days of bikinis, barbeques and sun. Luckily, living in Santa Cruz equates to nine months of sun. However, no matter what time of year it is, nothing compares to a California night. Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno of Los Angeles rock duo, Best Coast, know it’s true and proclaim it proudly with their third LP, California Nights.
Formed in 2009, Best Coast has been known for their double-edged love and heartbreak songs dipped in candy-coated garage pop. With Cosentino’s sweet voice singing lyrics like,
Every day’s the same
I feel like I’m losing my mind
All I do is think about you all the time
I don’t even know why I care as much as I do
They brought a sense of masochism wrapped in innocence. The kind only a teenager or 20-something can feel, the rest of us old folk can remember with a tepid nostalgia. Maybe more like a patronizing pat-on-the-head.
California Nights finds Bruno and Cosentino falling into the same trap most of find ourselves–growing up–however they prove it can be done without losing yourself. In the opening track, “Feeling Ok,” Cosentino sounds fresh and ready to take on the world with a new confidence absent on previous recordings. I mean, two albums ago I wouldn’t imagine the duo even writing a song called that, especially with such clear and bubbly production.
“Jealousy” is another favorite that also serves as a change of pace for the band. Previously, a song with that title would probably be about Cosentino’s feelings about her lover hanging out with another woman, or possibly her own jealousy/envy over a friend. However, maturity has the singer/songwriter holding the upper hand asking “Why don’t you like me? What’s with the jealousy?” presumably to a lover or possible family member.
Of course, not everything is different in the Best Coast world. Fans know Cosentino’s love for the Cali green and she’s still blowing smoke on the album’s title track.
I stay high all the time
Just to get by
I climb into the sky
And my eyes, they cry
Make me feel so happy I could die
But I try to stay alive
However, Cosentino once again shows her maturity in life and songwriting, later on, even if she still questions it.
Fading back and forth
I fly through my mind
I take the way I’ve known
But have I really grown?
By the end of the record, it’s clear: California Nights is the Best Coast sound fans love apart from the angst of previous recordings. The band has matured, putting on their adult pants and maybe substitute the morning wake-’n-bake ritual for a cup of coffee and the morning news. Maybe. One thing’s for sure, this is an album that will be in regular rotation on my turntable for years to come. Call it a guilty pleasure, but nothing quite compares to some good weed paired with pop tunes on these warm California nights.