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Daily Records: Getting Up to Speed

In Rich's House of Vinyl on January 5, 2011 at 12:34 am

I recently got back into the habit of randomly choosing one album or CD each day and giving it a listen, with an eye toward posting an entry on the random choice here. I posted earlier about today’s selection, Sesame Disco!, but have not posted about the other albums I’ve listened to over the last week. Rather than post individual entries on each of my previous entries, I’m just going to cover them briefly here and then get back to my daily entries tomorrow.

So here we go:

12/29/10–The Pope of Mope-The Smiths/Morrissey (1980s-2000s). This is a compilation made by a work colleague, nicely balanced between Smiths tunes and Morrissey’s solo work. I guess Smiths purists would dislike the even balance, but it works for me. I never really got into any particular albums by the Smiths or solo Morrissey, but I enjoyed everything on this, though I missed a personal favorite, Morrissey’s “Sing Your Life.” And, while many listeners might find Morrissey’s lyrics depressing, I actually think he’s pretty hysterical.

12/30/10–Sandinista!-The Clash (1980).  Again, I enjoyed what I heard on the radio by the Clash, but it wasn’t until Combat Rock that I went out and purposely bought a Clash album. I caught up with the amazing London Calling album long after it had been hailed as a classic and, even though I’ve owned Sandinista! for years, I feel like I’m still getting caught up with it. Triple-record sets are hard to take in at one sitting. In fact, this was album of the day on my Dad’s birthday, so I only got through half of it, since I was also listening to music Dad liked that day, and I’m not sure if Dad was that big of a Clash fan. But I will say that I love the huge, sprawling, messy nature of Sandinista! They just don’t make ’em like this anymore.

12/31/10–Sunday Market-Gontiti (1986). Gontiti was a collaboration between Gonzalez Mikami, a nylon string guitarist, and Titi Matsumura, a steel guitarist. I’ve had a promo copy of this album hanging around my collection ever since I brought it home from Record Bar, the record store I worked for at Granite Run Mall in the late-’80s. It’s a little bit nondescript for my tastes, but Sunday Market has survived numerous purgings of my collection because I really love the first track, “Coconut Basket,” which has a nice neo-Exotica feel to it. The fact that George Harrison owned a villa in Hana, Hawaii, is mentioned in the liner notes, which is interesting because my next random pick was…

1/1/11–Cloud 9-George Harrison (1987). I’m sure most people would agree that All Things Must Pass is Harrison’s masterwork, but I think Cloud 9 might be more fun. And it’s a more concise listen, of course, since All Things Must Pass was the Sandinista! of 1970, a huge three-record set. Some people might find Jeff Lynne’s sparkly production or the perky pop hit “Got My Mind Set On You,” but I am not one of those people.

1/2/10–All In Good Time-Barenaked Ladies (2010). Perhaps in good time, this album, BNL’s first without singer Steven Page, will be considered a transitional work for the band. Listening to it now, the references, veiled and unveiled, to Page seem all too apparent, which is probably one reason you won’t be finding this album on any 2010 “best albums” lists. A lot of what was good and fun about BNL is still part of the band (strong pop melodies, a sense of humor, etc.) but I think BNL will need to cast Page aside as a topic of their songwriting if it wants to move forward as a band. Though there is a sort of melancholy appeal to hearing the guys in the band try to figure out what Page’s departure means to them.

1/3/10–Live at the Olympia-R.E.M. I make my choices for the Daily Record through a random process that is so geeky that I’m not going to attempt to describe it. You’ll just have to trust me when I say these choices are random.

Except…

Every third day, I’m going to intentionally pick something that I like very much. Such as Live at the Olympia, R.E.M.’s 2009 compilation of live songs recorded during a five-night stand in Dublin, Ireland. The concerts were billed as being “not shows,” because they were working rehearsals during which the band worked on songs that would be released the following year on their Accelerate album.  However, each night R.E.M. also stormed through classics dating all the way back to Chronic Town, their legendary EP debut. This means that the shows, and the subsequent live album, featured setlists that were fanboy’s/fangirl’s dreams: not necessarily huge hits, but deep album cuts and the chance (f0r those at the shows, anyway) to hear new material before anyone else (which, in R.E.Mville, is a really big deal.).

That would bring us up to speed.

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