Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wednesday (ish) Vinyl

This is the first attempt at Wednesday vinyl, made on a Thursday. Initially, I wanted this to be a blog about DFW music. In particular, I wanted it to be about my subjective experience of that music. I still do, but I think that category can be expanded beyond just the local gigs I happen to catch. In addition to scouring Deep Ellum, lower Greenville, and Denton for the best local sound bytes, I'm also very often pent up in my too trendy loft, sitting cross-legged in front of my new turntable, digesting bits of my own vinyl collection I still have never heard.

I started buying vinyl in the last five years. The majority of my 12" collection comes from lazy afternoons at Half Price Books and is not very large. I may have 30 full albums in total. But I also came into owning several dozen 45s very quickly. The biggest portion of that cache I got from a friend named Gary who gave them to me in a vintage 45 carrying case. The rest I found in a secondhand shop in Kanab, UT on a trip to the Grand Canyon. It was like the depleted copper-rich veins of Arizona metamorphosed into vinyl deposits to the north. I dug through it like a greedy prospector: Tears for Fears, The Go-Gos, Falco, R.E.M., most of them scratched to hell, but quite a few were salvageable. Whoever dropped all that stuff off was the coolest girl in her high school.

Still, the best stuff comes from that vintage mystery box, because I have no idea what's in it. I pulled this little number out just a few days ago and rocked out in my boxers. The real tragic thing about Elton John is that people my age know him as the paunchy sell-out who gave us the Lion King soundtrack. That's an object lesson for any current pop singer: don't sell your rock n' rollin' soul to Disney. Phil Collins did it to, though the prior existence of his soul is debatable. But anybody under the age of 45 is liable to forget that Elton John was capable of smacking you in the face with stuff like "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting." Elton does all the stuff here that the Arctic Monkeys, et al wish they could do. It's riff, Elton's growl, the hyperactive hi-hatting, everything about it is iconic rock and roll. Use the link below to download the track, strip to your undies, punch a Chelsea fan in the face, and enjoy "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting." The crackle and pop is mine, the rest is Elton's.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another Mulligan for the Despot

The absence was shorter this time around. I'm attempting to teach myself that this is a blog and that sprawling essays need not be the order of every day. Today was supposed to be the day that I began something new. My best intentions were to post a ripped vinyl track to reward all you laborers who successfully scaled the week's hump. Alas, the necessary technical measures have not yet been taken. But look for this early next morning, or perhaps the next week.

And only one addendum for now. It turns out my mother's childhood was not nearly as music-deprived as I supposed. The truth turned out to be much more interesting. First, my mom availed herself of the latest pop hits whenever she could: at the houses of friends or in the back seat of a boyfriend's car. Yes, I was unaware that my mom had such boyfriends. The music wasn't explicitly prohibited by her folks either, though certainly not encouraged. Whatever their stance, my mom found it necessary to listen to the hot 100 through her pillow, the portable radio murmuring beneath it, just loud enough to hear in the dark. Unfortunately, my mom left the radio on one day and went to school. 1960s electronics being what they were, the insides melted from the lack of ventilation beneath the pillow and my mother's late-night music appreciation sessions were canceled thereafter.