I’m Getting Rid of A Lot of my Records, and I Want You To Have Them

Get it? Semisonic? “Closing Time?” GET IT?

In 2012, I moved out of my house in Conshohocken and into a row home in Philadelphia. Moving, it is not revolutionary to say, is a total and complete pain in the ass, but even within that context, I was blown away at how annoying it was to move my record collection. I had to jam all my records into two big Tupperware bins and, while records are pretty light when taken one at a time, those bins were heavy as fuck. I didn’t mind moving my mattress from the second floor to the first floor by myself, but schleping those records from the burbs to the city is what sticks in my head as being the end-all symbol of how crappy moving is.

Anyway, with that in mind, I’m moving again. Which means I have to move my records again. This time, however, I’m trying to cut some shit out. Maybe get from two bins down to one.

And so, the culling has begun. Herein lay the first round of cuts. These are the easiest records to part with, the ones I am least attached to. I plan to do another round of cuts and … those will be hard. If you want any of the records below, get at me. First come, first served. If you can pick them up in Philly, great. If you want me to ship them to you, we can work something out.

One more thing: all the records are in working order, as far as I know. Some of these I haven’t listened to in a while, some I haven’t listened to ever. If you’re looking for pristine shit, I can’t promise it.

7 Inch Records:

David Bowie – Absolute Beginners
This one is almost worth it for how Bowie looks on the cover. He looks like the devil in a 1940s journalist outfit.

David Bowie – Tight Connection to my Heart
This is a single from a record called Empire Burlesque, a record that I did not know existed until just this moment.

James Brown – Get Up Off That Thing / Release the Pressure
I used to think I would throw more parties than I do. CLAIMED

The Who – Who Are You / Had Enough
I like the Who, but I’ve owned this since right after college and I’ve listened to it approximately one time.

Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters Theme Song
I … I might end up keeping this one. I still might throw those parties someday. CLAIMED

Cults – Abducted
Remeber Cults? Remember this song? This is that song, except I bought it for $7 at Record Story Day because I’m not always good with money. Anyway, if you’re a blog-rock scene kid from 2011, you might like this (Editor’s Note: way to have the most literal video ever, Cults).

Surfer Blood – Demon Dance / Slow Six
I’ve reached the conclusion that Surfer Blood sucks. I’m hoping you have not reached that conclusion.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Skeletons
I really like “Skeletons,” and I’ll bet It’s Blitz holds up better than I think, but I never just want to listen to one song. There’s a live version on this single, and that’s pretty good, too.

Built to Spill – Water Sleepers
Another Record Story Day impulse buy. Built to Spill are the kings, though.

Sakes Alive! – Act 1
Back when I was unemployed, I wrote record reviews as a means to make very, very little money and get some free music. Sakes Alive! is a hardcore band from Rochester NY that sent me their record to review. It’s pretty good and I think anyone who likes loud music would like it, but it seems like a strange hold-over artifact to me now. CLAIMED

Against Me! – I was a Teenage Anarchist (single)
Studio and acoustic version. I like the song, though. CLAIMED

The Pretenders – Thin Line Between Love and Hate
My Mom likes the Pretenders. I like my Mom. I thought the transitive property would work. It didn’t.

Full Albums, etc:

Perfect Pussy – Say Yes to Love
Turns out, I’m not into Perfect Pussy at all. Bought this about two months ago, just don’t like it. CLAIMED

Algernon Cadwallader – Parrot Flies
Algernon Cadwallader are the goddamn best, but I rarely find myself in the headspace to listen to this record any more. CLAIMED

Hop Along – Get Disowned
I’m hanging on to my Wretches 7′, because I still think it’s the best example of how full-band Hop Along could work, but this never clicked for me. I’m so out of step with the scene kids.

The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
This album stinks, but “45” is pretty great.

Sundowner – Neon Fiction
I’m going to keep supporting Lawrence Arms projects, because we have to protect the Lawrence Arms at all costs, but I can do without this one. CLAIMED

The Flatliners – Dead Languages
“Resuscitation of the Year” and “Birds of England” are total crushers, but I’ve cooled on this record significantly. That said, people really seem to dig it, and I recommend it to someone trying to find some new punk to get into. CLAIMED

Hardeman – Scream!
As you can see by this Google image search, Hardeman probably considers himself quite the lover.

Dinosaur Jr – I Bet on Sky
The least of the three Dino Jr full length reunion records.

Gen X – 4
This has “Dancing With Myself” on it, so it’s automatically worth whatever I paid for it.

Big Country – Peace in our Time
The only person who is going to accept this record is Joe Pelone.

Bruce Spingsteen – Born in the USA
I’m keeping Nebraska and The River, but since those cool-guy record parties I had in my head never really happened, and because I’m aging faster than one of those inbred, purebreed dogs, I really don’t think I need to hang on to this in the hopes someone wants to dance to “Glory Days.”

Van Halen – Van Halen 2
I … might hang on to this one too.

Twin Shadow – Confess
Twin Shadow looks fucking absurd on this record.  CLAIMED

Jethro Tull – Aqualung
SITTING ON A PARK BENCH / EYEING LITTLE GIRLS WITH BAD INTENT CLAIMED

Charlie Brown – A Charlie Brown Christmas
I’m not having ugly sweater parties anymore. Time to pass the torch.

Mitch Ryder – All Hits!
With this record, you too will be able to let everyone know that you went through a High Fidelity phase.

Randy Newman – River of Dreams
I found this and Neil Young’s American Stars in Bars at the same time. I’m keeing Stars in Bars because, though I think everything on that album is pretty bad outside “Hurricane,” my Dad really likes the album and I think it’d be poor son work if I just tossed it to the wolves. However, there must be a balance, and so Randy Newman has to go.

Bob Segar and the Silver Bullet Band – Night Moves
Doug, take your hat off, “Night Moves” is playing. I shouldn’t even be giving this away. This was always truly Brett Cumbo’s.

38 Special – s/t
I used to think that, because “Hold on Loosely” and “Caught up in You” are awesome, all 38 Special songs are awesome. I now think differently.

Band of Horses – Cease to Begin
Good record. Great songs on it. Record is in good shape. I don’t know, it just feels like it’s time to let go.

Say Hi – Um, Uh Oh
Used to spin this all. The. Time while I did work from home. It’s a great thing to just put on and let run. Since I don’t work from home anymore, not much reason to keep it.

Fucked Up – Let Likes Be Cured By Likes
Bought this for way too much money, listened to it way too few times. True fact, this record came from Mystery Train in Gloucster, MA, a record store that remains beautiful, perhaps because it continues to exist and be excellent despite living in a fisherman town. CLAIMED

The Special AKA – Racist Friend
I was in Baltimore with Meagan and I saw a record called Racist Friend. There was no way I wasn’t going to buy it. Chicks dig dudes who buy albums called Racist Friend.

Wild Man Steve – King of Them All
Wanted garage rock, ended up with a comedy album. The cover is fantastic, though.

Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
Dude has an incredible voice.

Bomb the Music Industry! – Album Minus Band
I have this band’s whole discography in physical form, but I’m letting this one go becuse A) I’m no longer trying to be a completest and B) this is my least favorite, despite “Busy Day of Sleeping In” and “Panic Bomb” being VERY IMPORTANT songs. CLAIMED

Okkervil River – The Stage Names
Great, great record, yet it never seems to get its number called. Come for “Unless it Kicks,” stay for “John Allyn Sails.” CLAIMED

Hot Water Music – Live at the Hard Rock
Great record, but I’ve already got Caution and Fuel for the Hate Game. I’m good here. CLAIMED

The Offspring – Ignition
My days of being an Offspring apologist are over. Good songs here though. I especially like “Session,” “Dirty Magic,” “No Hero,” and the reminder that this band wasn’t always a joke. CLAIMED

The New Hotelier Song (AKA, A Grown Man Talks About Emo)

A lot of digital ink has been spilled regarding the current wave of semi-credible indie rock bands with obvious emo leanings, leading many to say that we, as a youth culture (ha, a 27-year-old writing about “youth culture”) have a full-blown emo revival on our hands.

My take: people are kind of right. Ernest, swelling, embarrassingly personal bands are certainly in vogue right now (especially in Philadelphia, which is itself having something of a moment on the national punk stage), and while that brand of heart-on-sleeve emotion was relegated to the world of new-folk and folk-revival a few years ago with bands like Frontier Ruckus and (to a lesser extent) Okkervil River, feelings have indeed come home to roost with emo-inspired rock bands.

Still, it’s not a true revival to me, because it only reflects on aspect of emo music. Many of the bands getting blog bylines about emo revival play what I think could charitably be called “midwestern emo” or, more snarkily, “Kinsella-emo.”  While I don’t want to take anything away from stalwarts like Into It, Over It or Pentimento, but this new wave of emo music is missing that east coast sound that bands like Saves the Day (yay!) and Taking Back Sunday (…) broadcast to a generation of children going through puberty.

In other words: it’s cool that you can play in an alternate tuning and discovered that one American Football album in college like the rest of us, but have you ever just written a punk song?

Anyway, this is a very long preamble for me to tell you about Hotelier’s new album and, more specifically, the first track off that album.

The band formerly known as The Hotel Year has released it’s first album in three years, Home, Like Noplace There is, and it’s pretty great because it reaches across all of emo[s subgenre’s for it’s sound. The record reminds me of Saves the Day and Taking Back Sunday in spots, but one can also hear fragments of Braid, Motion City Soundtrack, Bright Eyes and Cursive in it’s nine-song nu-emo opus. I recommend it to anyone who has a soft spot for this kind of feelings music.

That said, I recommend the opening track, “An Introduction to the Album,” to anyone and everyone.

Musically, it’s a four-minute long story. When I say that, I’m not talking about the lyrics at all (which are fine, if a little overwrought): I mean that the instruments and how they are played tell a story. It’s almost like a post-rock song that someone threw some lyrics on to. The whole things hangs on a simple-yet-clever guitar progression and subtle developments on the main theme, before exploding, as all punk songs must, into a blaze of drums and group vocals. It’s a pretty great accomplishment in emo-ship, and easily the best rock song I’ve heard this year outside the Lawrence Arms.

Jared Adams is a Lie

I did not plan to spend two hours talking about one rap song with my cousin.

I heard “The Devil is a Lie,” the latest single off Rick Ross’s forthcoming album Mastermind, twice in two days while driving around Philadelphia. I like the song and thought I might see if it had a music video.

Does it ever have a music video.

Continue reading

The Three Shoes You Meet in Heaven

Stock photo of a businessman enjoying shoes, you are my only friend.

I’ve never really gotten into sneaker culture. The closest I have ever come to dipping my toes into that world occurred when I was 16 and my mother accidentally bought be a pair of Funkmaster Flex Streetwalkers for Christmas (at least, I’ve gone my whole life thinking this was an accident. It could be my mom was listening to Hot 97 and dropping bombs on particularly well-balanced books at the end of each fiscal quarter). This is not to say that I do not see the appeal of being a sneakerhead. Truth be told, I’d happily drop five-figures on a series of dope-ass shoes if things like “rent,” “groceries,” and “bills” didn’t exist.

I bring all this up because Respect has a list of the three hottest shoes to get on a budget in the coming year. The most expensive shoe comes in well under $200 and the cheapest option sits in the mid $80s. That’s still a lot to pay for what is, ostensibly, a foot-condom to keep gum off our soles and stink out of our noses, but it’s not like they’re telling us all to buy Red Octobers or whatever.

So, yes. Good list, Respect. Those are very likely three shoes you SHOULD buy this year. In response, I’m going to tell you about the three shoes you are GOING to buy this year.

1) Shitty brown flip-flops

Hello darkness, my old friend.

It’s currently about 25 degrees in Philadelphia, but it isn’t always going to be. Someday, it’s going to be very hot outside. So hot, in fact, that you will likely want to let your feet air out in public, stinking up a park with your toe funk.

To that end, you are going to buy a pair of shitty brown flip-flops. These flipflops will be faux-leather. The will be thong sandals, not the kind that Geordi-eyes over your feet, because you are not showering in a college dorm.

You will wear these sandals at every non-professional occasion between June and September because the heat makes it okay for all of us to walk around like we’re high school lacrosse players. By the end of the year, your shitty brown flip-flops will be black and smooth from where your foot jucies have eaten away at the crummy external coating. They will hurt your arches, dig into the top of your foot and smell like three months of toe-reek. You will throw them away, vowing next year to grow up and not wear sandals any more. You will buy the same pair again in May. This process will proceed for the rest of your natural life.

2) Some Kind of Dress Shoe From Payless

So fun! So hip! So You!

You will discover, at some point this year, that you do not have any of a specific kind of dress shoe. If you need black, you will be without. If you need brown, you will realize the only brown shoes your have are those shitty sandals (which you would still wear if this wasn’t your sister’s wedding). If you need blue, you are likely in the Navy and you are fucked because the Navy doesn’t just give out news shoes, that’s going to be three weeks PT duty and 50 push-ups, sailor.

You will discover your shoe deficit anywhere from 24- to 3- hours before you actually need them. You will curse, then you will use your computer, smart phone or brain to find the nearest Payless shoe store. You will then drive / bike / public transport / walk to said Payless, with the express goal of spending no more than $20 on these goddamn dress shoes for this goddamn wedding that you don’t even goddamn care about, darn it.

You will navigate the packs of unattended children who are always, ALWAYS roaming the shoe-racks of payless until you find dress shoes that fit you. They will be ugly, but what the hell did you expect? You’re at a Payless in Huntington, WV for your sister’s wedding. This isn’t Paris and you aren’t the queen. You will, as politely as you can, turn down the offer for a Payless membership card at the checkout, because, jesus christ, who in their right goddamn mind would ever want a card proving their alliance with Payless?

These shoes will bend, but never break. When the rivers boil with blood and the sky falls from the heavens onto the screaming masses of earth, only these shoes and Twinkies will remain.

3) Socks

When you tell me “socks aren’t shoes, Nate,” all I’m hearing is “I have never hit bottom.”

Go get more socks. You can always use them. I like to splurge and get three fancy pair from Sears or wherever, something with argyle or pinstripes or the like. This makes me feel better when I inevitably buy a 12-pack of cheaply-made feet washcloths for 7-Eleven.

Happy shoe hunting.

Hear a Stream of Beck’s New Album, Because You Are Someone’s Dad / Uncle

NPR is hosting a stream of Beck’s forthcoming album, Morning Phase. You can listen to it here. The album is scheduled for release on Feb 25.

A few thoughts:

  • Morning Phase is Beck’s first album in just over 5 years. Modern Guilt came out in 2008, and The Information, which is the last Beck album that I paid any real attention to, came out while I was a junior in college (2005).  Not to turn into a Buzzfeed article, but I didn’t realize Beck had been gone so long.
  • The initial buzz around  this forthcoming album is that it sounds like Sea Change, Beck’s sad-sack album released in 2002. I happen to like slow Beck more than most (it is, by far, my favorite kind of Beck). Listening to the album stream, I can understand why people are drawing a comparison to the two, but Sea Change sounds a little more like a traditional folk record, and Morning Phase reminds me of 50s America-pop most of the time.
  • If you like Beck, you are either A) someone’s kid brother, B) a Dad, C) a “cool” uncle, D) a person who has, at the very least, considered donating to NPR, or E) all of the above.
  • Beck headlining a night at Pitchfork fest is some real hot bullshit.

Check out the stream here.