Record Store Day

Record Store Day

OK, so I may or may not have just listened to The Ride of the Valkyries to psych myself up for Record Store Day. Is that crazy? It is, isn’t it.

Whatever, I’m excited.

I’m especially excited because tomorrow will be my first trip to the new BK Music in the Stratford Hills Shopping Center, just across the James River from where I live. It wouldn’t have felt like Record Store Day without BK, so I’m thrilled that the new store came together so quickly after it was forced to close its Midlothian Turnpike location in February. I’m somewhat tempted to tell you the wrong opening time so bandmate 4eva Doug and I can get closer to the front of the line, but I’ll do the honorable thing and tell you they open at 9 a.m., and you can bet I’ll be there. And then at Steady Sounds. And Plan 9. And Deep Groove. And Monument City. And then I’ll probably take a nap, because fiscal recklessness can be exhausting.

You can check out the full list of releases here. In a fit of uncharacteristic organization, I compiled my own list of the stuff I’ll be gunning for, and I split it up into 3 categories: Want, Need, and Exigent. Here’s how it breaks down:

Want

The Allman Brothers – Selections From: Play All Night: Live at the Beacon Theatre 1992
Charles Bradley — I Hope You Find the Good Life
Dan Croll – Hello My Baby 10-inch
Death Cab For Cutie Featuring Magik*Magik Orchestra — Live 2012
Dessa – Castor the Twin
Fun. — Point and Light 10-inch
LCD Soundsystem – The Long Goodbye
William Onyeabor – What?!

Need

Doug Paisley – “Growing Souls” 7-inch
Outkast – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
Villagers — “Occupy Your Mind” 7-inch

Exigent

Drive-By Truckers — Dragon Pants EP
Donny Hathaway — Live at the Bitter End 1971
Hamilton Leithauser — “Alexandra” 7-inch

I should come clean and admit that I didn’t know what “exigent” meant before working on this post, and I’m still not sure I’m using it correctly, but I’m really hoping those last three will be spinning at YHT headquarters before tomorrow’s all said and done. Especially the Donny Hathaway — I have two Donny live records, and they’re both incredible, and even though I think one of them might have some of the same material as what’s being released tomorrow, I don’t care one bit. The more live Hathaway, the better. Besides, BK’s new address is 2833A Hathaway Road. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

I just love the smell of limited edition vinyl in the morning, don’t you?

Donny Hathaway — “Jealous Guy” (John Lennon cover) [Spotify/iTunes]


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Black Girls

Claire Sinclaire

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it differently — there’s a distinct, elevated echelon of songs and albums that manage to both entertain and offer up new perspective on something you thought you had a handle on. For me, it usually happens in relation to words. Most recently, Jason Isbell’s Southeastern took the word “down” and turned it on its head via some gorgeous, wilting guitar work and an overarching narrative of hard-earned serenity. I’ll never look at the hierarchical relationship between “up” and “down” the same way. Black Girls’ new album Claire Sinclaire gets to that transcendent point, proving enjoyable in the extreme while bringing on its own haunting redefinition.

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Arthur Smith

Dueling Banjos

I found out yesterday that the man who wrote “Dueling Banjos,” Arthur Smith, died last Thursday at the age of 93. It was one of those moments in which you realize someone has made your life better in a specific and meaningful way, yet you never even knew that person’s name. Now I do, it’s Arthur Smith, and even though it’s too late, I’d like to say thanks.

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Animal Collective

It's A Girl

So I’ve been keeping a secret from you guys and gals, but I can’t hold it in any longer — Mrs. YHT is pregnant! Knocked up! With child! And not just any child — a girl child!

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Tournament Album Coverage

cat couch

If you’re a YHT regular, you might have spent some small portion of the last few weeks asking yourself “Hey, why hasn’t he said anything about March Madness? He loves the tournament…” You’d be right! Last year I did a two-part “Tournament Album Coverage” post, and the year before that I celebrated a VCU win by creating a crude mashup of six “Black And Yellow” remixes playing simultaneously. (It still makes me cringe, then laugh, then cringe some more. There’s treble, there’s too much treble, and then there’s my “Black And Yellow” mashup.)

It’s not that I haven’t been watching. On the contrary — I got to binge-watch on the first Friday of the tournament — aka Basketball Christmas — and like last year I listened to records the whole time, but it wasn’t quite as upbeat this time around. My billion-dollar bracket was knocked out of contention by the very first game on Thursday, then Duke was upset by 14-seed Mercer in the very first game on Friday afternoon, killing my personal rooting interest and taking my bracket out of contention in my family’s pool (I had Duke losing in the final game). Just like that, my hopes were dashed, and the weekend hadn’t even started yet. I wondered whether I’d feel like watching at all on Friday evening.

Then I came up with a plan.

Instead of letting my disappointments ruin Basketball Christmas, I decided to put my vinyl collection to good use by throwing myself the most comically depressing pity party I could muster while rooting for every favored seed — no matter how far my bracket had them going — to lose. It was way more fun than it should have been.

Here are the covers to prove it:

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EMA

EMA

I’m sequestering myself by not reading about an album I’m primarily interested in because of one of my favorite music writers. And I’ve written a blog post about it. The Internet is a weird place.

I love reading about music. I love the descriptions, the debates, the cultural contextualization, the personal preferences — there are so, so many songs and albums I never would have heard had I not read about them online. (I really think this interweb thing is going to bring people together, ya know?)

That said, every once in a while, it’s fun (important, even?) to listen in a vacuum. To dive into a lake knowing you’re the only one making ripples in it. That’s what I’ve been doing yesterday and today with EMA’s new album, The Future’s Void.

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Punch Brothers

I’m not sure that American Beauty is my favorite movie, but I’m pretty sure it has soaked deeper into my brain than any other. Certain images and episodes come to mind all the time — the fight over the beer that was about to spill on the couch, the “I want to look good naked” line, the phrase “Lawrence Welk shit” among them. The idea that comes up most, however, is the plastic bag thing — the scene in which we watch two characters watch a video of a plastic bag blowing in the wind. As he takes in his videographic handiwork, the creepy but ultimately awesome next door neighbor kid delivers the movie’s best line:

“Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I just can’t take it, and my heart is going to cave in.”

Later, Kevin Spacey tells us from beyond the grave that in situations like that, he’s learned (omniscience is quite handy) to let the beauty flow through him “like rain,” instead of trying to bottle it up. They’re talking about the sublime, which I wrote about just a few weeks ago, but they’re also talking about the part of human nature that makes us want to contain things. To corral them. To own them. Last Tuesday, I ran headfirst into this impulse thanks to the Punch Brothers show at the National.

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