So I’m sitting around waiting for civilization to fall into mass chaos and a chasm of insanity we have not seen before and I thought to myself, “Hmm, what should I write about this week?” This is something I do every Sunday(not the whole mass chaos/chasm of insanity jag), I work out what I’ll be writing about during the week. I usually get a handful of reviews ready, as well as a couple of personal pieces. Not reviews, but me talking about something from my life that’s usually music-related. Or maybe not even music-related.
Anyways, that’s the Sunday routine.
Today though, I’m having a hard time getting geared up to write about music. I just got finished reading an article in The Atlantic about the Covid-19 horror show hospitals in New York are dealing with and I gotta say, it freaked me the fuck out. I was taking this seriously before, but after reading that I now know just how serious I should be taking it. I feel for the doctors, nurses, and all the medical staff that are combating this virus. I feel shame when I think of officials not taking it seriously and the true, apocalyptic damage it will surely cause throughout the entire country if we don’t get our shit together and do what needs to be done.
But after reading that article I realized just how important it is to keep writing. To keep living and giving and throwing your thoughts out into the ether for others to find some solace or escape in. I’m still looking for articles to read or videos to look at that aren’t about the destruction of mankind; guitar instructional videos, old live clips of bands, stories about favorite artists, and old album reviews just for shits and giggles.
So you know what? We’re keeping the train rolling over hear at Complex Distractions. Reviews, personal anecdotes, favorite records, and even a movie review or two. I want to contribute to taking your mind off the obvious shit show outside your window. And today I’m starting with my top five RSD finds.
So I’m sure like some of you, April for me has become synonymous with Record Store Day. Usually the second Saturday of April has been set aside for vinyl fans across the world to get together in front of a storefront and wait till 8am. At that time, the door opens and we all make our way to limited edition vinyl releases of our favorite artists. At the beginning of all this it was a way to celebrate the independent record store. Give em a spot in the limelight and keep them relevant. It worked, and now this thing called Record Store Day is a behemoth of an event. Maybe a little bloated and big for its britches nowadays, but I’m still going and I’m still spending cash on cool vinyl goodies.
Well this year it’s not going down in April thanks to Covid-19 and social distancing. Bummer. But hey man, I’d rather be safe than sorry. So it’s happening in June of 2020 this year. In celebration of the vinyl head’s favorite day of the year(next to Halloween of course), I’m going to post about my top five finds on Record Store Day. Seemed like a fun thing to talk about. Take your mind off of the quarantining and isolation blues. And if you feel like letting me know what your favorite finds have been, drop em in the comments.
5. RSD 2012/The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends
I was in the throes of a Flaming Lips fever the first part of the 2010s. Since the release of Embryonic those Oklahoma freaks were putting out some truly mind-expanding music, hitting up Can and Electric Miles vibes. The Lips were also big fans of the limited edition release. RSD had become a sort of litmus test for how far the FL fan would go in order to own a piece of Lips absurdity. Gummy skulls, gummy vaginas, USB drives in gummy vaginas, and 24-hr long songs were all part of the Coyne and company fun. 2012 was the release of the collaborative Heady Fwends record. A hodge podge of pop stars and underground freaks coming together with the Lips in order to make some forward-thinking music.
The record came across like an acid-tinged arts and crafts hour. Ke$ha, Neon Indian, Bon Iver, Prefuse 73, and a host of others joined in on the druggy fun. It’s been awhile since I threw it on the turntable, but at the time I totally dug it. Not sure if its aged well, but the hunt was half the fun with that one. Glad I snagged a copy(found at my third and last stop that morning.)
4. RSD 2013/Buit to Spill’s Live
I discovered Built to Spill late. I bought Keep it Like A Secret in 2008 and never looked back. I think I may have mistaken Doug Martsch and company as some Pacific Northwest emo band and never gave them a second glance. Happy to say I made up for lost time and quickly fell in love with his guitar-centric indie rock. By 2013 I was a huge fan, having seen them live in Chicago in 2009 I became a worshiper of the extravagant guitar noodling, existential wanderings, and Neil Young worship BtS made their name on.
Built to Spill’s Live is a beautiful and exquisite representation of what those guys do in a live setting. The record sounds phenomenal, and there’s a cover of Young’s “Cortez the Killer” that will knock your goddamn socks off. Seriously.
3. RSD 2014/Medicine’s Part Time Punks Session
By the time 2014 rolled around I felt like I was a grizzled RSD veteran. I knew exactly what I wanted, I was going to find it, and that was that. Tame Impala, Spoon, Flaming Lips, and the true prize was Medicine’s Part Time Punks Session. I’d discovered Medicine back in early 2011 thru Captured Tracks Shoegaze Archives. I bought their album Shot Forth Self Living and was completely blown away. I thought I’d never heard them before, but then realized they were a prominent fixture on the The Crow soundtrack with “Times Baby III”.
Anyways, I immediately became a fan of Brad Laner and company. In 2013 the original line-up got back together and released their comeback record To The Happy Few, a beautiful shot of noisy pop that sounded as if it could’ve been released in the mid 90s, as opposed to 18 years after their last release. Their Part Time Punks Session was a coveted RSD release for me, and I was thrilled to find a copy at Neat Neat Neat Records in Fort Wayne, IN.
If you aren’t familiar with Medicine, I implore you to, umm, take your medicine.
2. RSD 2016/Lush Box set
2016 was a strange one, as I was still very much in the healing process after a back surgery I’d had just two weeks prior. I wasn’t even sure if I’d make it in that day as I was still sore and rather worn down. I did make it in that morning(later than I usually would’ve gone) and found an amazing 7 inch split with METZ/Mission of Burma. But the real prize on that sunny Saturday morning was the Lush box set. It contained all of their studio records, compilations, and unreleased and demo tracks.
I was a huge Lush fan in high school. This was before I even realized what a shoegaze band was. I was into Lush and Straitjacket Fits before ever realizing what I was listening to. I didn’t get into the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and Chapterhouse till years later. Lush was just this amazing pop band that made songs that made me feel sad and happy at the same time. “For Love” is still one of the best songs of that genre and period.
And number is from RSD 2017, Metavari’s Metropolis.
What Nate Utesch did with his Metropolis re-score was push the limits of both his own creative well, as well as show how far an artist can go with re-inventing the familiar. I’d talked to Nate about this when he was performing it live in his hometown of Fort Wayne back in 2016. It was a rousing success, so he set to release the album with One Way Static Records. Everyone with an ounce of musical taste were chomping at the bit to get a copy of this coveted piece of vinyl goodness. I was thrilled to have gotten a copy of the album, as Nate is not only one of my favorite local artists, he’s one of my favorite artists, period. Metavari is one of the most forward-thinking electronic artists working today, so to have him musically interpret such a monumental piece of film history was mind-blowing to say the least.
Metavari’s Metropolis Re-Score is one of my most prized vinyl possessions, not to mention my favorite RSD find.
Honorable Mentions :
Spoon : Loveways EP from RSD 2014
Eric Dolphy Box Set from RSD Black Friday 2018
The Cure : Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me Reissue from RSD 2013
Burning Witches Records Presents Communion from RSD 2018
Survive : RR7400 from RSD 2018
The Flaming Lips : 7 Skies H3 from RSD 2014
High On Fire : Surrounded By Thieves from RSD 2015(not an RSD release, but it’s High On Fire, so who’s complaining?)
Deadly Avenger : Your God Is Too Small from RSD 2019