Five Essential Black Friday Releases
As is readily apparent, we are vinyl enthusiasts around these parts. As such, we’re excited about the annual Record Store Day 2.0, held as part of the retail behemoth Black Friday. Fighting off bloodthirsty mothers in search of 2012’s hot holiday toy may serve as an excellent exercise in shedding Turkey-day calories, but it proves dangerous and ill-advised. Instead, we recommend a stroll to the nearest record store for a friendlier Black Friday shopping experience. The holiday is marked by a slew of special, limited-edition releases that are sure to brighten any bookcase. Below, we’ve highlighted five can’t miss Black Friday exclusives.
Nirvana – Incesticide: 20th Anniversary Edition
Nirvana’s 1992 compilation release of demos, cover songs and radio performances has received a full remastering in honor of the album’s 20th anniversary. Incesticide is available on 180 gram vinyl at 45 RPM for the first time ever. The release features the Kurt Cobain’s artwork with lyric sheet art housed in a deluxe gatefold sleeve. Gold foiled, stamped and individually numbered. Watch a video for the album’s lone single, “Sliver” below.
Miles Davis – Miles Ahead
Miles Davis’s 1957 release Miles Ahead came on the back of his groundbreaking Birth of the Cool sessions, and represented the artist’s first foray into orchestral jazz in collaboration with legendary jazz pianist, arranger and composer Gil Evans. The duo would go on to record a string of veritable masterpieces for Columbia in the form of Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain and Quiet Nights. Listen to where the relationship drew its first breaths on 180 gram vinyl recorded in MONO. Both Porgy & Bess and Sketches of Spain are also receiving Black Friday reissue treatment.
The Velvet Underground & Nico – Scepter Studios Acetate
These rare 1966 recordings feature early, alternate versions of what would later comprise the legendary debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico. The sessions were recorded at Scepter Studios, housed within the warehouse space that would later play home to Studio 54. The album is available on limited edition, 180 gram vinyl, gold foil stamped and individually numbered.
Joe Strummer & The Mescalaros – Live at Action Town Hall
These recordings come from a 2002 live performance by the legendary Clash frontman and his backing band The Mescalaros. The concert – held as a benefit for striking firefighters – is notorious among Clash aficionados, as it featured Strummer on stage with former bandmate Mick Jones for the first time in nearly 20 years. By this time, Strummer’s musical tastes had ventured far from the Englishman’s punk rock roots, influenced heavily by the Afrobeat rhythms, jam bands and electronic music that had risen to prominence around the turn of the century.
Big Brother & The Holding Company – Cheap Thrills
Cheap Thrills was the sophomore LP from Bay Area psych-blues outfit Big Brother & The Holding Company and the band’s last with Janis Joplin as lead singer. In 1968, the album rose to number one on the Billboard pop charts, where it sat for eight weeks. The track listing features several of the songs that would define Joplin’s career, including “Ball and Chain”and “Piece of My Heart.” The album’s cover art was illustrated by legendary underground cartoonist Robert Crumb. Listen on 180 gram vinyl, recorded in MONO.
Written by Rob Peoni
Fresh Track + Video: The Bears of Blue River “MES-44”
The Bears of Blue River is a Midwest project for whom Indianapolis serves as a home-away-from-home. The Chicago band stops through Indy frequently, and our humble music scene is all the richer for it. Last week, The Bears of Blue River released a beautiful, limited edition 7″ for their new single “Flamingo”, available via Nashville’s Rhed Rholl Recordings. The 7″ features a technique that Rhed Rholl has dubbed “ice scream splatter” which gives each hand-pressed copy of the clear vinyl a unique splash of pink color.
The b-side of the release is entitled “MES-44“. Listen to the studio version below and watch a stripped-down house performance from one of The Bears of Blue River’s recent Indy visits. The release is limited to 250 copies, so act fast!
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Written by Rob Peoni
Why I Love Vinyl: A Collector’s Confession
I have been a collector my entire life. You name it: baseball cards, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, starting lineups, wrestling figures, ticket stubs, etc. In many instances I have taken this collector’s mentality to ultra-obsessive measures. I am completely aware that this is self-incriminating, but during the seventh year of my life I had my mother scour the aisles for over a year to find me The Nasty Boys tag team dual pack from Hasbro. I would not stop until the Nasty’s were mine. Ten months passed and with the help of a dedicated mother my gems were found at Children’s Palace (now Best Buy). Looking back, this was the collector’s pinnacle in my life. So much hard work, I should haven given them the tag team titles, started reading books and ended this sick obsession right there. Unfortunately, those are not the next steps of a self-diagnosed addict.
Music has always been my first and most important obsession. I give my dad credit for this. When I was a youth we would listen to the oldies radio station and he would always name the song, band, and year of any song that were to blast through the ’88 Oldsmobile factory speakers. My dad’s obsessive attention to historical detail made me think that this was how everyone was supposed to be introduced to music. Knowing that Spiral Starecase’s “More Today Than Yesterday” was the best one-hit wonder of 1969 at age 12 was normal, right?
My obsessive compulsive relationship with music coupled with my collecting, for many years, caused me to refrain from starting to collect vinyl. It was like opening the door of the local brewery on free sample day to a broke, deadbeat, recovering alcoholic. My dad enabled. He offered me his collection with the understanding that they would not be sold. The downward spiral into the deep, dark, grooves of the record began.
My dad’s collection was the fantastic beginning to my digging journey. Chicago, Beach Boys, America, Barbara Streisand, The Guess Who, The Grass Roots, early disco, Motown, I could not ask for a better foundation. I took these 70+ records and decided to build a vinyl skyscraper that I hope is never finished.
I love digging for vinyl because it is always an experience. If you are a dedicated digger, then you have the opportunity to discover something as rare as the Nasty Boys every trip. I love that most record stores give you the chance to dig through boatloads of 99 cent bins. Sure, a bad back and sore knees might result but it is completely worth it when you are on a mission. The justification for buying new releases on vinyl is elementary. It gives you a tangible item, cool sleeves, and a digital download along with your purchase. Why would you buy Dum Dum Girls latest release ‘Only in Dreams’ on iTunes when you can get a kick ass record along with it?
Playing a record is more intimate. All my attention is focused on the artist and their songs when I am spinning. Listening to songs in iTunes has become the norm in this new listening era. While it is convenient, easy, and the shuffle feature is fun, it does not completely suck me into the artist’s work like vinyl. The digital listening experience is flawed because of that very convenience and functionality. We are an impatient society and iTunes makes it to easy to expose this human flaw. The skip, shuffle, and search features enable us to enjoy what we already know we like, however, it does not challenge us to explore new listening opportunities. Listening to a 12″ LP forces us to hear it all. This is why I love vinyl.
This forced engagement has given me an expensive, but satisfying new hobby. I knew my addiction was in full force when I stepped off a U.S. Airways jet in LaGuardia airport. Instead of looking for directions to my hotel I pulled out my iPhone and searched “record stores + Manhattan.” My initial experience in the Big Apple was not visiting Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, or visiting my hotel. No, it was spent walking 30 blocks to a store to talk and buy records. John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, I needed this record. I needed it not because it was one of the greatest jazz albums of all time, but because I needed to bring back a piece of NYC with me. Vinyl currency is always the most valuable. Thank you Academy Records & CDs. You guys were great and feel free to reach if you ever follow through on your planned excursion to Richmond, Indiana.
A collector will always be a collector. I have met new friends, expanded my musical interests, and enjoyed many lonely nights since I began collecting records. While it can be an expensive obsession it rewards the listener. Why not pay for something that will last forever? If you’re on the fence I would recommend you to hop over to the other side. The hours will pass along with the soreness in your knees, and the grooves will get you. The recovery from your new nasty addiction will not be easy. I’m okay with being your enabler. Jump in.
Written by Brett McGrath