This Saturday, April 22, is the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day, where we get together and celebrate the evolution of recorded music beyond the wax cylinder. Vinyl is a special thing; the ritual brings listener and sound together in a way that no other listening experience can. So, to celebrate, this week I’ll talk about five releases that I am excited to get my greasy little grabbers on, too.
David Bowie, “Bowpromo”In 1971, David Bowie was in the midst of riding the wave of art rock to becoming the enigmatic starman. The mix of songs on this release is part of what caused that propulsion. These tracks, including “Eight Line Poem” and “Queen Bitch” helped get the major record labels’ collective attention, and ended up being some of the defining parts of the classic “Hunky Dory” album. Demo recordings are important for a couple reasons, especially in regard to a mind such as Bowie’s: They allow a valuable insight into the creative process and how ideas change over time. With Bowie, we can also see exactly what it was that got a label like RCA to embrace a new type of music.
Vangelis, “Blade Runner OST”With a maybe unnecessary but still unreasonably exciting sequel coming a mere 35 years after Ridley Scott’s original adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s story, it seems as good a time as any for a vinyl reissue of the soundtrack. The original run of vinyl for Vangelis’s soundtrack is still fairly easy to find, but a picture disc is always fun. Vangelis gets a bad rep for being cheesy, noodly synthesizer music or whatever genre you would call that “Chariots of Fire” song, but the man has made some iconic music over the years. I blame “Blade Runner” for getting me into synthesizer music, and yeah, its vision of the future is kind of dated. But that’s part of the charm.
Venom “At War With Satan”This is the Venom album that most ignore. It came right when Metallica started to gain a foothold in thrash and Venom was losing their own. But this one is supremely underrated. The first track is a 20-minute epic that blew away conventions at the time. Though it is a bit bloated, it is so epic and ridiculous that I couldn’t help but love it. The record is another really cool insight into a band trying something bold, and while it didn’t quite grab their audience at the time, I think more people can appreciate the attempt at something beyond a genre nowadays.
Danny Brown, “Ain’t It Funny”I talked about this track a bit when I reviewed “The Atrocity Exhibition” a few months ago, but that was before the release of the amazing music video for “Ain’t it Funny,” by Jonah Hill. Seriously, go watch it. If the theme for these releases is “insight,” this is an astounding look into what most consider “drug rap.” We watch a man self destruct and laugh and even fund it to an extent. The suffering artist is an all-too-real stereotype that is glorified so much it baffles me. Just go watch the video. “I’m [effed] up and everyone thinks it’s a joke”.
Pink Floyd, “Interstellar Overdrive”Another bit of insight into one of the biggest groups of musicians of all time, “Interstellar Overdrive” is, according to one of their biographies, one of the first improvised psychedelic rock recordings, and the first foray Pink Floyd had into space rock as a genre. It is 10 minutes long and sounds like a circus slowing floating into the sun. It is bonkers, even for Floyd. Though not the triumph that “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” is, it is still a rocking bit of music, and a really cool piece for fans that want a bit of history beyond the first Pink Floyd album.