Monday, September 11, 2006

The score at Revolution Records (RIP?)

This weekend Revolution Records on Connecticut in DC shut down, which is quite a pity. I can't genuinely say I was a fan, as I went there for the first time Saturday. I'd driven by that stretch hundreds of times and never seen it, even after seeing promotions and knowing its general location. Even as an obsessive-compulsive vinylphile, that place was easy to miss, sandwiched between the genetically modified KFC/Pizza Hut hybrid and some generic chinese food joint. I still had trouble finding it on Saturday.

I talked some with the owner (Nayan of the DC band Gist), and there's some chance they'll open again at a bigger location with a performance space and coffee house or something, which would be great, since we've already lost Capital City Records down on U Street.

But more importantly, I dropped $120 on music while I was there (after the clearance discounts), scoring many a vinyl and compact disque, of which I'd like to share a few. The real bummer is, I've been waiting to pick up a real record player and can't savor the selections just yet.

Tiny Desk Unit - "Naples" - I swear it was last week I was reading Wikipedia's entry on DC's 9:30 Club, which notes that the first and last band to play at the 9:30 Club's original location was Tiny Desk Unit. That's a name no one would remember, I thought, expecting it to dissipate into trivia oblivion. Until Saturday, when I see this vinyl by Tiny Desk Unit for $40. With only four songs. They were on a local DC label called 9 1/2" x 16" Records, and I'm damn curious to hear what they sound like. Having a soft spot for local record labels, I had to pick it up.

The Beatles - "The Beatles Again" - Um, let's commend the marketing dynamo who dubbed this record "The Beatles Again". Such a challenging, provocative title for a collection of singles that kicks off with "Can't Buy Me Love", rolls through "Revolution" and concludes with "Ballad of John and Yoko". Oddly enough, the spine of the album notes the title as "Hey Jude". What a fantastic spread of artistic evolution on this disc - including "Rain", which is widely regarded as Ringo's best bit of drumming. Can't wait to hear it on the turntable.

The Beach Boys - "Endless Summer" - Again, another compilation disc, but I don't have any Beach Boys on vinyl. I'm really getting into picking over their harmonies with a fine-toothed comb, even the pop baubles of their early hits.

Donald Fagen - "The Nightfly" - $4. Half off. I know nothing about the title, but Donald Fagen is half of Steely Dan. Really, I'll gamble $2 on just about anything that's on vinyl, short of Joyce.

Steely Dan - "Katy Lied" - This album's got "Bad Sneakers" and "Doctor Wu", and it was $4, probably because it has Walter Becker on it too.

Bruce Springsteen - "Darkness on the Edge of Town" - again, $2 for an amazing vinyl title. Bruce recorded this dark, moody album after a couple years of legal battles with his former manager. This is to Bruce as "Mutations" is to Beck - deeper followups to huge commercial successes. In Bruce's case, it was "Born To Run", and while "Darkness on the Edge of Town" didn't have much success at the time, it's now listed in various all-time best-of lists. For whatever those are worth. Try wrapping your head around a song like "Candy's Room" with the perspective of today's music and songwriting.

Monty Python - "Monty Python's Previous Record" - 1972 Monty Python on vinyl is gold.


I picked up Matisyahu's "Youth" EP and a 45 single of "King Without a Crown" - free, as well as a free Ben Folds 45, which includes his cover of Snoop Dogg's "Bitches Ain't Shit". And on CD, a long-sought-after Dead Milkmen album, two by At the Drive-In, and "Trans-Europe Express" by Kraftwerk, which will answer a lot of your questions about Beck's "Midnight Vultures".

Now this, I feel, is the heart and soul of the weblog: like anyone cares what records I scored this weekend. I just want to trumpet it to the world because I did.

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