Shopping for records #1...

To Whom It May Interest,

Lately, I’ve been hitting the record stores with a fury, partly because I’ve been offered a couple opportunities, mostly because I’m constantly on the lookout for music to write about here. Since January, I’ve picked up a fairly eclectic selection of CDs and vinyl, a lot of which dates back before 2007, but still may intrigue music fans. Some of these records could be old news to you, or some of them could peak interest. Either way, I thought I would start documenting my record store purchases and share whatever grabs my attention.

A.K.A. Music, Philadelphia, PA:

Various Artists
American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986
12” Blue Vinyl
Rhino
Released 10.10.06

Once I got this home, I listened to it probably 5 times in the space of an hour and a half. It’s an awesome collection of songs, released as the soundtrack for the documentary of the same name. It includes Black Flag, Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Articles of Faith, D.R.I. and Flipper.

Albert Ayler
Bells
E.S.P. Disk
Recorded May 1, 1965
Released May 16, 2002


1 track: 20-something minutes of saxophone power. 1965 is the same year John Coltrane did away with traditional structure and blessed us with Ascension. Apparently, Ayler was on the same page, espousing free form madness with his brother, Donald, in this live recording that apparently both offended and inspired legions of jazz critics and fans alike. Ayler is definitely an acquired taste, but his work drips with a sense of determination so honest it has to be acknowledged.

Amazon Purchase:

Various Artists
No New York
Antilles/Lillith (Russian Import)
Originally released 1978
Released February 16, 2006


Producer/musician Brian Eno assembled this 4 band/16 song collection in 1978, giving exposure to New York’s late-seventies No Wave movement. No Wave was a scathingly biting musical happening wherein artful nerds and post-punkers were painting sullen pictures with garage prowess and sometimes ear-splitting dissonance. This is considered to be THE definitive No Wave record despite being a compilation and, to me, should have a place in every music fan’s library.

A couple years ago, I happened upon a movie called Downtown ‘81. Jean-Michel Basquiat, then an up-and-coming fixture in the NY art scene, spends the movie walking around New York City looking for a way to pay his rent and find an elusive model that he had met during the movie’s opening couple minutes. While en route, the movie shifts into small “tell-all”s featuring these No Wave bands and their performances. Basquiat, himself having been in the band Gray with Vincent Gallo, acts as the perfect tour guide through that vital period in New York’s music and art scene.

Anyway, I only brought up the movie because some of the bands in the No New York compilation are featured. Plus, the movie offered me my first exposure to the No Wave movement. It’s worth checking out. I’d recommend trying to find a copy of the soundtrack as well, but it’s out-of-print and very expensive. It features a couple rare tracks from Gray, who were apparently very under-recorded.

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead
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