We have this really nice, professionally framed photo of the Grateful Dead from their recent Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago. To celebrate “Dead Day” and the 50th anniversary of the Dead’s first show, WE ARE GIVING THE PHOTO AWAY FOR FREE! We’ll pick the winner THIS FRIDAY, Decemeber 4th, which is the same date the Dead played their first show in San Jose, California in 1965 for Ken Kesey’s Acid Test.
To enter to win the photo you must post the image above on any social media and tag @endofallmusic, @gratefuldead, @rhino_records, and use the hashtag #deadday. If you come in the shop and purchase any Grateful Dead records your name will be entered 5 times instead of the one entry via social media.
***The winner must be able to pick the photo up in the store as we will not ship this item***
Good luck! and keep on truckin’!
The year is nearly over and what a great one for new music. We probably say that every year but it’s great seeing so many new records coming out on vinyl as well as tons of great reissues and represses of records we never thought we’d be able to continuously stock and play in our store. We already posted our bestsellers of 2015 so this list is made of up the records we couldn’t stop listening to. Sure there’s plenty of overlap between the two lists but our FAVORITE records are the ones we keep going back to throughout the year. They’re the records that challenge, entertain, baffle, excite us, and stay on the turntable too long. You’ve probably heard them playing in the store while you browsed, or you’ve probably heard us rave about them to other customers and friends. These are the records we think deserve to be on everyone’s shelves at the end of a great year. So come by the shop and check ’em out…we should have them all in stock.
2015 was also the inaugural year of our Record of the Month Club and we can’t thank y’all enough for supporting it. The number of members has grown throughout the year and we’ve heard from lots of happy listeners. All of the records from our ROTM Club deserve a spot on this list, so please go check those records out right here.
Our favorite new releases of 2015 (in no particular order):
– Kamasi Washington, The Epic (Brainfeeder)
If we were picking a #1 record of the year this would be it!
“To be sure, it’s a jazz album, as much about tradition as expanding it, informed by Coltranes (John and Alice), Miles Davis fusions, bebop and more; yet it’s clearly shaped by crate-digger funk and film scores, hip-hop collage and gospel.” -RollingStone
– Beach Slang, The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us (Polyvinyl)
– Jake Xerxes Fussell s/t (Paradise of Bachelors)
Jake’s debut album was not only one of our bestselling records of the year but also probably the most played record in the shop, and for good reason. Read our review right here.
“One helluva bluesman: my favorite of his generation, and in my opinion, the best young traditional blues artist performing today.” –George Mitchell
– Jamie XX, In Colour (Young Turks)
The best dance record of the year. Jamie XX came through our shop last summer and was just the nicest dude, and his debut full length (on the heels of several banging 12″ singles) is as good as we hoped it would be. In Colour is a definite contender for record of the year.
– Bob Dylan, Shadows in the Night (Columbia)
Dylan takes on the standards made popular by Sinatra. It’s much, much better than it sounds on paper. Dylan’s backing band is the best in the world and this record is hauntingly good. We’ve heard rumors that there’s a volume 2 on the way…please, and thank you.
– Max Richter, from Sleep (Deutsche Grammophone)
The full version of this record is over 8 hours, but luckily you can snag this shortened version on beautifully pressed vinyl. And yea, we actually fell asleep while listening to this record…in a good way.
– Youth Lagoon, Savage Hills Ballroom (Fat Possum)
We’re huge fans of Youth Lagoon here. His debut album, Year of Hibernation, is one of the best records made in the past decade. His latest record, Savage Hills Ballroom, is much cleaner and meaner. He’s growing up and his sound is too.
– Sir Richard Bishop, Tangier Sessions (Drag City)
The story of this record makes it that much more interesting. Read a great interview for some insight between Sir Richard Bishop and Bonnie Prince Billy over on the Oxford American site, then get lost in the guitar playing on this fine record.
– Deerhunter, Fading Frontier (4AD)
We’re under the impression that Deerhunter doesn’t make bad records. In fact, they only make good records. Case in point.
– Jim O’Rourke, Simple Songs (Drag City)
We’ve tried to figure out what this record sounds like. I keep hearing the Cat Stevens influence, which is weird and good. Jim O’Rourke gives us new songs where Eureka left off and this may be his strongest (normal) record yet.
– Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love (Sub Pop)
Glad these girls are back. This past year saw the reissue of their whole catalog including a career-spanning box set. It was a great year to be a Sleater-Kinney fan. We just wish they’d come play a show down South.
– Leon Bridges, Coming Home (Columbia)
Coming Home was selected in our Record of the Month Club and was also on our bestsellers list. Read our review here.
– Plume, Resting on My Laurels (EoAM)
This was our third release on The End of All Music “label”–a labor of love. Read lots more on this release right here.
– Craig Finn, Faith in the Future (Partisan)
This release was another “Bill’s Picks.” Look out for the review on our blog later this week.
– Built to Spill, Untethered Moon (Warner Bros)
Built to Spill continues it’s indie-rock dominance with their latest. Untethered Moon was also a selection in our Record of the Month Club. Read more here.
– Little Wings, Explains (Woodsist)
“His new album and first on Woodsist Records, though, secures his position as one of the prime examples of the Northern California sound. Explains is not a departure for Field, but a delicious entrance into his world structured in a way that’s easy for newcomers to grasp.” -Consequence of Sound
– Destroyer, Poison Season (Merge)
Destroyer’s last album, Kaputt, may be his best but Poison Season continues that trend and gives Kaputt an excellent follow up. It was also in our Record of the Month Club.
– Hop Along, Painted Shut (Saddle Creek)
“Unfortunately for some, Painted Shut signals the end of Hop Along’s tenure as a little-known buzz band. For everyone else, it’s the sound of being welcomed to the party.” -The A.V. Club
– John Carpenter, Lost Themes (Sacred Bones)
“Lost Themes naturally conjures such slasher-film associations, but it also evokes the milieu in which Carpenter rose to fame. This is thoroughly ’80s-sounding music, and understandably so; Carpenter wisely sticks with what he knows, leaning on his trademark synth sound rather than forcing his aesthetic into an awkward modern update. Paradoxically, the dated nature of Lost Themes gives it a timeless aura. At 67, Carpenter can still make something frozen in time feel eternal.” -NPR
– Joanna Newsom, Divers (Drag City)
“Most artists on their fourth album settle into atrophy, or at least comfort, Newsom delivers such complex, nuanced music, filled with arcane constructions, that she is only her own yardstick.” -Pitchfork
– Dave Rawlings Machine, Nashville Obsolete (Acony)
“There is so much on Nashville Obsolete that impresses, but what lingers longest is rare and persuasive ability to tap into the ageless mythos of true American folk.” –Uncut
– Andrew Bryant, This is the Life (Sleep)
Bryant is known by many as the drummer in Water Liars, but he’s a damn fine songwriter and has released several records under his own name. This is the Life was on our bestsellers list this year as well. A.B. continues to impress us with his singing and songwriting. We’re glad he’s our pal.
– Pops Staples, Don’t Lose This (Anti)
Produced by daughter Mavis Staples and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Don’t Lose This, is an impressive addition to the Staples Singers cannon. Unfortunately the vinyl has been out of stock since this record was first released earlier in 2015. Hey Anti!!! Press more of this record. It’s great!! This release was in our Record of the Month Club.
– Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (Mom & Pop/Marathon Artists)
“An ease surrounds her music, a looseness: Even at their most clever, her songs glide from line to line and thought to thought, a stray observation about cracks in the walls leading to something about the wrinkles in Barnett’s own palm, propelled by rock’n’roll that seems to find itself plenty serviceable but nothing to stop and fuss over. “I just know what I know,” she recently told The New York Times; “I think I’m shit some days, and some days I think I’m pretty good,” she told Grantland. To paraphrase the composer and philosopher John Cage, Barnett has nothing to prove and she’s proving it.” -Pitchfork
Our favorite reissues of 2015:
– Ork Records Story (Numero Group)
Our favorite reissue of the year!
“In August of 1975, the world’s first punk record label was born. Ork Records: New York, New York is a tale of Terry Ork, a film-obsessed fugitive of Warhol’s Factory set. Ork’s impresario ear would pull damaged, literate new rock music from the pregnant Bowery grime of CBGB, resulting in debut 45s by Television and Richard Hell, as well as landmark recordings by the Feelies and Lester Bangs. It’s a tale of Charles Ball, who’d steer Ork Records through solo exploits by Big Star’s Alex Chilton and the dBs’ Chris Stamey.” -Numero
– Bob Dylan The Cutting Edge: Bootleg Series Vol. 12 (Columbia)
Another year, another Dylan Bootleg Series ends up on our “best of” list. They’re always good. Some sage advice; just always buy the new Bootleg Series.
– Chris Knox Seizure (Flying Nun)
One of the best records in the Flying Nun catalog, which is saying A LOT. Thank god they finally reissued it on vinyl. This was the November selection in our Record of the Month Club. Read our review here.
– Son Volt Trace (Rhino)
This year was the 20th anniversary of the debut album from Son Volt. Jay Farrar’s first new music after Uncle Tupelo split. Trace is an alt-country/Americana classic–practically inventing the genre–and we’re glad to have it back in print on vinyl and on our shelves. “May the wind take your troubles away…”
– Pavement Secret History Vol. 1 (Matador)
Read our review over on our blog RIGHT HERE!
– Beale Street Saturday Night (Omnivore)
Beale Street Saturday Night is a Jim Dickinson masterpiece. It was also in our Record of the Month Club, which you can read about right here.
– The Stone Roses LPs (Light in the Attic)
“Some albums hold the blueprint for something bigger than can be contained on twelve inches of vinyl; the self-titled debut album by The Stone Roses is one of them. Despite clocking in at less than fifty minutes long, it’s a record that shaped the next two-and-a-half decades of British music.” -Light in the Attic
– Trojan Records reggae compilations (Trojan)
All the best reggae cuts in bite size compilations from the BEST reggae label in the world. These have made our lives, and ears, better.
– Modest Mouse early records (Glacial Pace)
One word on these releases: FINALLY! Now you don’t have to fork out $200 for a copy of Lonesome Crowded West. You can just walk right into the store any day of the week and buy it for $23.99. This is what life is all about.
– Harmonia Complete Recordings (Groenland)
This set is probably the most impressive of the year–packaging wise. It even comes with a pop-up book, not too mention these records–up until now–were impossible to find and extremely expensive. Krautrock fans rejoice! Check out our write up on the year’s best box sets right here.
– The Beta Band The 3 EPs
We all know the High Fidelity joke…and it’s true. We sold a copy of Champion Versions every time we put it on the turntable.
– Sun City Girls Torch of the Mystics (Abduction)
This reissue gets a 9.0 on the Pitchfork Best New Reissue scale.
“Torch of the Mystics is replete with moments like that—nuggets of hypnotic tunefulness stretched into songs that feel as classic and well-worn as the dusty cassettes the band uncovered on their travels around the globe (later mined for compilations on bassist/singer Alan Bishop’s Sublime Frequencies label). You can actually whistle along to most of Torch’s songs—one even starts with Bishop whistling the melody for you—and even the farthest-out tunes have discernible shapes that quickly burn into memory.” -Pitchfork
– Spooner Oldham Potluck (Light in the Attic)
You probably don’t know Spooner’s name but you most certainly know his songs. This reissue was in our Record of the Month Club. Read more here.
– The Meters Fire on the Bayou (WEA)
This reissue was the inaugural pick in our Record of the Month Club. Read about it here.
– Joe Bussard Presents: The Year of Jubilo: 78 RPM Recordings from the Civil War (Dust to Digital)
“Legendary collector, Joe Bussard is putting records out once again! After running the last 78rpm label in the US (R.I.P. Fonotone Records 1956-1974), Joe had relegated his efforts to promoting old-time music by making cassette tapes for people hungry to hear his rare treasures and producing his radio show Country Classics for stations in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. But last year, Joe and his daughter Susannah Anderson had the idea to produce a compilation of Civil War tunes and they rang the office of Dust-to-Digital to gauge interest in distributing such a compilation. It was an easy decision for DTD, mainly because Joe’s always been there for us so it was time to partner together once again.” -Dust to Digital website
“Bussard’s got s**t that God don’t have. It is one of the great glory holds, probably the finest in the world. He was canvassing earlier than most, and he’s been at it longer, and he took everything: He recognized stuff that he really didn’t even like at the time, but he recognized it as being good, and he kept it.” – collector and musician Tom Hoskins, an authority on pre-World War II Delta blues, for the Washington City Paper
– The Replacements Twin/Tone Years (Rhino)
“Despite this long-standing lust for chaos, The Replacements managed to pen an all-time classic in Let It Be. The Twin/Tone Years vinyl boxset tells how a band of hardcore wannabes became some of music’s most celebrated misfits. If you’re already a fan of Paul Westerberg’s gang then you’ll know these songs have been out of print for some time. If not, then settle in for one hell of an origin story.” -Drowned in Sound
– Not the Same Old Blues Crap Vol. 1 and 2 on vinyl (Fat Possum)
THE BEST blues compilations if you’re looking for that raucous North Mississippi Hill Country sound. These remain some of our bestsellers and now they’re both available on vinyl. Volume 3 will drop next year along with tons of blues reissues from our brothers over at Fat Possum.
– Built to Spill There’s Nothing Wrong with Love (Sub Pop)
The second Built to Spill record on this list. They’re latest record, Untethered Moon, is one of our favorite new releases of the year, and this reissue is a much welcomed catalog piece. Long out-of-print on vinyl, this could be Built to Spill’s best record. It’s definitely the one that started it all with classic songs like “In the Morning,” “Car,” and “Dystopian Dream Girl.”
– Beat Happening Look Around (Domino/K Records)
“We are Beat Happening and we don’t do Nirvana covers. They do Beat Happening covers.” – Calvin Johnson
– Denny Lile Hear the Bang (Big Legal Mess)
Denny Lile was a local legend in Louisville, KY — a gifted songwriter, singer and guitarist who seemed poised for fame, but his once-rising star sputtered out in a tragic spiral that ended with his death from alcoholism at age 44 in 1995. The new CD-and-DVD set Hear the Bang: The Life and Music of Denny Lile blends Lile’s brilliant and visionary unreleased debut album with a documentary film that tells his ultimately tragic story. Within its fabric lie 16 songs that foreshadow the arrival of the Americana genre and were recorded at the same time as Neil Young’s foundational Harvest album. Lile’s story also stands as a broader fable. It parallels that of many other formidable regional talents who lived and died in obscurity within the sprawling landscape of American popular music.
Here are the Record Store Day Black Friday releases we’ll have in stock on Friday. These are all official Black Friday releases and are limited to 1 copy per title per person on a strictly first come, first served basis. There are no holds on these titles. We’ll sell them via phone or online starting Monday, November 30th.
We will open at 11 a.m. on Friday. So come early, browse the records, buy some ribs or chicken from Brad’s BBQ stand, which will be out front all day, and hang out with us! We’ll also have a few specials on used vinyl throughout the weekend.
Here’s the list:
-Gang of Four Songs of the Free splatter-colored vinyl
-The B-52’s Live 8.24.1979 gold vinyl
-Buzzcocks Another Music in a Different Kitchen orange vinyl
-Lush Ciao! Best of LP
-Carl Perkins Dance Album color vinyl
-Nine Inch Nails halo I-IV Vinyl Box
–True Detective soundtrack LP
–High Fidelity soundtrack orange vinyl
-Jesus and Mary Chain Barbed Wire Kisses red vinyl
-Trespassers William Different Stars LP
–Circles Around the Sun: Interludes for the Dead by Neal Casal LP
-Green Day American Idiot red, white and black vinyl
-Sunn O))) Kannon limited LP
-The Clash s/t split-colored vinyl
–Garden State soundtrack orange/yellow vinyl
-Outkast Stankonia multi-colored, splatter vinyl
-Nick Lowe & Los Straightjackets The Quality Holiday Revue Live LP
-William Onyeabor vinyl reissues from Luaka Bop
-Neko Case Blacklisted violet colored vinyl
-Spoon TV Set 10″ vinyl
-B.B. King The Thrill is Gone 10″ vinyl
-Big Star Jesus Christ 10″ vinyl
-Jeff Buckley / Sly and the Family Stone Everyday People split 7″ single
-Bobby Rush Chicken Heads: A 50-year History CD set
-Beck Dreams 12″ single in puffy jacket
–Two Sides of John Lee Hooker LP
-QUEEN Bohemian Rhapsody 12″ single
-Roscoe Holcomb San Diego State Folk Festival 1972 LP
-The Zombies BBC Radio Sessions LP
-Ty Segall Ty Rex LP
-Ben Harper Fight for Your Mind colored vinyl
-MGMT Time to Pretend glow-in-the-dark vinyl
-The International Submarine Band Safe at Home colored vinyl, mono LP
-Howlin’ Wolf The London Sessions LP
There may be a few titles that show up late, so we’ll try to update this list accordingly.
Lastly, and this is not an official BF release but one we’re really excited about…We’ll have copies of Fat Possum’s excellent blues compilation Not the Same Old Blues Crap Vol. 2 on limited, splatter colored vinyl!
Wednesday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. for Black Friday
Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. for Small Biz Saturday
Sunday noon-5 p.m.
Here are the top 20 best sellers from our shop! What a great year full of great records.
We’ll roll out our year-end lists of favorite new releases and reissues in a few weeks…stay tuned!
1.) Barry Hannah I have no idea what tradition I’m in. Don’t Care (The End of All Music)
2.) Jake Xerxes Fussell s/t (Paradise of Bachelors)
Read more on Jake’s record here.
3.) Black Keys / Junior Kimbrough Record Store Day split 7″ single (Fat Possum) THIS TITLE IS SOLD OUT
4.) Alabama Shakes Sound & Color (ATO)
5.) Leon Bridges Coming Home (Columbia)
Coming Home was selected in our Record of the Month Club. Read more here.
6.) Sturgill Simpson Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (Thirty Tigers)
7.) Andrew Bryant This is the Life (SLEEP)
Read more info on This is the Life right here.
8.) Sufjan Stevens Carrie and Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty)
9.) Jason Isbell Something More Than Free (Thirty Tigers)
We threw a great release party for Something More Than Free. Read about it here.
10.) Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly (Interscope)
11.) Courtney Barnett Sometimes I Sit… (Mom & Pop)
12.) Young Buffalo House (Votiv)
Oxford’s own, Young Buffalo, released their debut album this year. Read more here.
13.) Beach House Depression Cherry (Sub Pop)
14.) Modest Mouse Strangers to Ourselves (Sony)
15.) Bob Dylan Shadows in the Night (Columbia)
16.) Modest Mouse Lonesome Crowded West (Glacial Pace)
17.) D’Angelo Black Messiah (RCA)
18.) Father John Misty I Love You, Honeybear (Sub Pop)
19.) Tame Impala Currents (Modular)
20.) Al Green Greatest Hits (Hi Records)
We’ll announce the list of titles we’ll have in stock for RSD Black Friday early next week.
We will be closed on Thursday, November 26 for Thanksgiving and we’ll open at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 27.
“We are Beat Happening and we don’t do Nirvana covers. They do Beat Happening covers.”*
The December ROTM Club selection is coming early! We’re pleased to send you a copy of the new career-spanning compilation Look Around by Beat Happening!
Formed in the early 1980s at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington by Calvin Johnson, Heather Lewis and Bret Lunsford, Beat Happening combined modern primitive pop sound with the DIY ethos of ‘anyone can do it’ and inspired countless bands and labels along the way. The community that rose around the band and their label, K Records, was in many ways, the sonic antithesis of their Seattle neighbors (and friends) but was no less influential.
Look Around is a double LP worth of music picked by the band to represent their career. Record of the Month Club members will receive a copy of Look Around as well as a limited, 7″ single featuring “Indian Summer” backed by “Froggy Eyes.” This will be the final Record of the Month Club selection for 2015. Any new subscriptions purchased during the month of December will start with the January 2016 selection.
Lots more info on Beat Happening and K Records below…
-Pitchfork chose Beat Happening’s “Indian Summer” as one of the best songs of the 1980s
-Ben Gibbard, lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie, called “Indian Summer” the indie-rock “Freebird”
“The biggest thing ever to happen to indie pop in America… Most of what’s written about this band is all about that sweet pop and those childish affectations, but that misses the substance at the core: Their music was dark, damaged, full of fright and sex and death and vulnerability– just like any real childhood…their hopscotch stories felt punker than Black Flag tattoos ever could.” – Nitsuh Abebe, Pitchfork
From Domino records:
The legend of Beat Happening, and of K, the label that Calvin Johnson founded, is full of big names they worked with before they were stars (Beck! Modest Mouse! The Gossip!), and big names they influenced (Kurt Cobain! Sleater-Kinney!) Less acknowledged, however, is that Bret Lunsford, Heather Lewis, and Calvin Johnson created some of the most original and surprising music to come out of the often deliberately weird American punk rock tradition.
Working from a sonic template of the Cramps, Trouble Funk, Young Marble Giants, and messianic blues, Beat Happening confounded and often incited violence from audiences weaned on hardcore punk. In the place of macho aggression, Beat Happening confronted the all-ages scene with Heather’s low-key delivery and Calvin’s fey theatrics, topped off by his trademark dance move: rubbing his tummy. For a supposedly cutesy band, Beat Happening was adamant about asserting its right to exist, carrying itself with a punk as fuck attitude that would become a key inspirational lodestone for the generation of D.I.Y. bands that followed, including Bikini Kill and the Nation of Ulysses.
In Calvin’s own words: “This idea that Beat Happening was popular in some way was never true. And in fact, I don’t think people understand the level of animosity that Beat Happening attracted through most of our time performing live. This concept that we were this performing group that were some kind of—I don’t know—shy pop… our performances were clearly confrontational.” (Interview with Magnétophone fanzine #3, 2001)
Fans only familiar with Beat Happening’s self-titled first album of 1985, or just the cat in a rocketship line-drawing on its cover, or the much-covered “Indian Summer” from 1988’s Jamboree, will be surprised at the band’s range and musicality. In the absence of a bass player, the guitar and drums had to carry more character in the songs, and alongside the de rigueur post-punk and indiepop moves, Beat Happening omnivorously shifted from go-go to surf to Shaggs-esque outsider pop to Krautrock. All this was accompanied by a sexual energy thinly veiled behind the band’s nostalgic celebration of childhood. The band’s final album, 1992’s forgotten classic You Turn Me On, was a gorgeous lo-fi dream-pop opus co-produced by bedroom pop legend Stuart Moxham of Young Marble Giants.
Look Around is a chronological survey of Beat Happening’s remarkable arc, from its deliberately amateurish debut, produced by Northwest punk legend Greg Sage of the Wipers, to its fluent and stunning 1992 finale, appended with one stray track: the lovely “Angel Gone,” a one-off single recorded in 2000 with then-K wunderkind Phil Elverum (the Microphones, Mount Eerie) to accompany the band’s now out-of-print career-spanning retrospective box set Crashing Through. At the turn of the millennium, we weren’t quite ready to rediscover Beat Happening. But in our age of omnivorous music consumption enabled by social networking, the story of Beat Happening, the band that helped create an international network of underground pop and then had the gumption to bring everyone to sleepy little Olympia, Washington for 1991’s epochal International Pop Underground Convention, makes a lot of sense.
*quote from Calvin Johnson taken from a 1992 Beat Happening show in Norman, OK
This may be my favorite record picked so far in this first year of our Record of the Month Club. We’ve been waiting on this record since Captured Tracks began reissuing classic titles from New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records catalog. AND IT’S FINALLY HERE! The November selection for the Record of the Month Club is Seizure by Chris Knox. I’ve been trying to track down a copy of this record for years to no avail and now we can not only snag a copy but we get to pass copies along to all of you, and that makes us really excited. Club members will be getting a super-limited, screen printed by hand version of the record featuring the original artwork. We’ll also be throwing in a little surprise with this record…so heads up on that.
Chris Knox is considered the grandfather of New Zealand music. He’s responsible for many of the early Flying Nun recordings and his bands Toy Love and The Tall Dwarfs made tons of great records, but his solo record Seizure may be his greatest work.
Seizure, originally released in 1989, was certainly not the start of his story, but it is often considered his first ‘proper’ solo album. Though in fairness there is nothing proper about it, exploring the surreal, the political, the satirical and sometimes simply the crazy, all of which had never been seen on the hit parade. Yet, musically they should have been, packed with brilliantly skewered hooks and humorously scathing lyrics, Seizure is a lo-fi mix of punk, indie rock and pop that works perfectly.
From the simple pop of “The Face of Fashion”, through to the driving force of “Wanna!!”and the strangely uplifting brood of “My Dumb Luck” – all that without mentioning “Not Given Lightly”, the love song to end all love songs – Seizure, despite our dislike of the word, is a legendary release in the Flying Nun catalogue.
You can tell it’s getting close to the holidays each year when all the vinyl and CD boxed sets start showing up at the record store. It can get a little overwhelming and even over saturated at times with all the reissues and repackaging of the same demos and outtakes of the same classic records, so we strive to track down the cream of the crop…the releases we actually listen to and rave about. This year is particularly strong with some of the most interesting releases we’ve seen in the three and half year life of the record store. We’ve compiled a list here of a few of the highlights, and we’ve included a few that came out last year but we feel are still just as cool. Enjoy.
1.) Numero Group’s Ork Records Story
In August of 1975, the world’s first punk record label was born. Ork Records: New York, New York is a tale of Terry Ork, a film-obsessed fugitive of Warhol’s Factory set. Ork’s impresario ear would pull damaged, literate new rock music from the pregnant Bowery grime of CBGB, resulting in debut 45s by Television and Richard Hell, as well as landmark recordings by the Feelies and Lester Bangs. It’s a tale of Charles Ball, who’d steer Ork Records through solo exploits by Big Star’s Alex Chilton and the dBs’ Chris Stamey. And it’s a tale told across 2 CD or 4 LPs s in scorching sides by Richard Lloyd, Marbles, Prix, Mick Farren, Cheetah Chrome, the Idols, the Erasers, the Revelons, Student Teachers, and more. Our deluxe 190-page hardback book features evocative, unseen imagery, a portal opened by on-the-scene photojournalists as crucial to documenting punk’s conception in the squalid Lower East Side as the walls of CBGB itself. Ork Records: New York, New York is a visionary glimpse of punk and new wave as invented, nurtured, feted, and forgotten by the street-level artisans who attended the genres’ arrival.
2.) Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge
It wouldn’t be the holidays without a new Dylan release, and this one is top notch! Between 1965 and 1966 Bob Dylan recorded three albums that many believe changed the course of modern music: Bringing It All back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde.
The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Volume 12 takes you inside the studio during the recording of those three albums. With a staggering wealth of unreleased songs, outtakes, rehearsals and alternate versions – The Cutting Edge provides a unique insight into a legendary icon’s creative process.
3.) The Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs
Due to overwhelming popular demand, Merge Records has reissued The Magnetic Fields’ epic 69 Love Songs on vinyl. The limited-edition 10-inch box set includes six records housed in a sturdy slipcase along with a full-size, 24-page color booklet featuring liner notes written by author Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket. We have the super-limited, colored vinyl version.
4.) The National A Lot of Sorrow (seriously…a lot of “Sorrow”)
Must be seen to understand this packaging! A true piece of art.
ON 05 MAY 2013 THE NATIONAL PLAYED THE SONG ‘SORROW’ FOR 6 HOURS AT THE MOMA PS1 VW DOME IN A COLLABORATIVE PERFORMANCE WITH THE ARTIST RAGNAR KJARTANSSON. THIS PERFORMANCE IS NOW BEING RELEASED AS A LIMITED EDITION 9 LP BOX SET. ALL PROFITS WILL BE DONATED TO PARTNERS IN HEALTH, AN ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF IMPOVERISHED PEOPLE WORLDWIDE.
5.) David Bowie Five Years 1969-1973 (pictured below is the CD version, but we have the vinyl version which is massive)
13-LP vinyl set ($249.98), and digital download each feature all of the material officially released by Bowie during the nascent stage of his career from 1969 to 1973. The boxed set’s accompanying book,84 pages in the vinyl set, will feature rarely seen photos as well as technical notes about each album from producers Tony Visconti and Ken Scott, an original press review for each album, and a short foreword by legendary Kinks front man Ray Davies.
6.) Goodbye Babylon (the amazing CD set from Dust-to-Digital remains always on our list of best boxed sets ever made!)
Compiled by Lance Ledbetter, Goodbye, Babylon was Dust-to-Digital’s first release. The five CDs feature 135 Songs (1902-1960) and one CD featuring 25 Sermons (1926-1941). Accompanying the CDs is a 200 page book with Bible verses, complete lyric transcriptions, and notes for each recording.
“I recently got a gift from Bob Dylan, a good old friend of mine. He gave me a gospel collection of great old American music and early country roots from old 78s. It’s the original wealth of our recorded music; it’s the cream of the crop and has the history of each recording. It’s a great old set called Goodbye, Babylon, and it’s incredible. It’s in a wooden box and everything, and it’s just so beautiful.” — Neil Young on Weekend Edition
7.) Charley Patton Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton (this is a used item as this set is long out of print from John Fahey’s Revenant Records)
A 7-CD primer on Mississippi Delta blues with Charley Patton as the central, generative figure, this set features 5 CDs with all issued and unissued recordings by Patton and sessionmates Son House, Willie Brown, Louise Johnson, Henry ‘Son’ Sims, Bertha Lee, Delta Big Four, Buddy Boy Hawkins, Edith North Johnson, and even talent scout HC Speir; a 6th CD of artists in Charley’s “orbit” like Ma Rainey, Howlin’ Wolf, Poor Boy Lofton, Kid Bailey, Walter Rhodes, Rube Lacy, Blind Joe Reynolds (newly discovered track!), Tommy Johnson and Pops Staples; and a 7th CD of interviews with Patton associates Staples, Wolf, Speir and Patton protégé Booker Miller. All tracks are fully remastered and pitch-corrected from the best possible sources, resulting in the definitive versions of this material.
“If I made records for my own pleasure, I would only record Charley Patton songs.” – Bob Dylan
“Best Box Sets of 2001: a museum calibre set.” – New Yorker
8.) The Replacements Twin Tone Years (this poster sums it up…)
9.) Fela Kuti vinyl box curated by Brian Eno
Of Fela Kuti’s discography, the early 1970s was when Fela’s Afrobeat went through its most dramatic changes musically and politically. Eno’s selection presents four from this period Shakara, Fela’s London Scene, Afrodisiac and Gentleman. Also included is late 197’s Zombie, a vicious skewering of the Nigerian military and Fela’s biggest hit record to date, and finally 1980’s classic ITT. It was on these albums, Fela began to compile Afrobeat’s signature rhythmic patterns and interlocking twin guitars. Says Eno himself “The sheer force and drive of this wild Nigerian stuff blew my mind”
Stay tuned for our holiday gift guide coming in a few weeks…it’ll have a lot more than just boxed sets on it!