Archive for December, 2011

Mission: Immersion 8.0 – California by American Music Club

December 29, 2011

Frontier 1988

Thank heavens for Love Garden Sounds and Kief’s Music. Thanks to these amazing record stores, I am able to live in Kansas without having to buy my CDs and vinyls from Hastings (OK, I bought one vinyl from Hastings ONCE, but it was a copy of one of my all-time favorite records – Meat Puppets II – for fifteen bucks, so sue me). Both stores always have all sorts of awesome stuff, like this American Music Club record I acquired at Love Garden. I can’t imagine there are tons of Kansas folks who really dig on AMC, since head songwriter Mark Eitzel is so stubborn about making his songs as slow and depressing as possible. (more…)

Mission: Immersion 7.0 – History by America

December 28, 2011

Warner Bros 1975

I’ve heard tons of America songs over the years, but I never even realized it. That’s always cool to me, when you’re just casually listening to some record and a song pops up that you know. It transforms the whole experience and makes you listen a little closer, and in my case makes me want to look up a bunch of info on Wikipedia and the like. It was a domino effect with History, America’s greatest hits record – I put it on thinking I would only know two of the songs, realized I knew more like five or six, started looking at the album cover more closely and realized it was produced by George Fucking Martin, looked up the Wikiness and realized late SNL great Phil Hartman did the album cover, and BOOM! Now I’m kind of in love with it. (more…)

Mission: Immersion 6.0 – School’s Out by Alice Cooper

December 28, 2011

Warner Bros 1972

The Alice Cooper records in which Alice Cooper was still a band, and not just the one dude, were pretty sweet. I don’t know them all that well, and I’m not even very familiar with many AC songs other than the well-known ones and a few others, but I have listened to records like Billion Dollar Babies, Easy Action and Killer, and I greatly appreciate and observe the difference between the two eras. If you’re bothering at all with Alice Cooper, it had better be the group era, or you’re either a glutton for punishment or you just enjoy wasting your time. (more…)

Mission: Immersion 5.0 – Rocks by Aerosmith

December 27, 2011

Columbia 1976

Aerosmith may have descended into self parody over their 40+ year career, but how could that be avoided? The longer your band is around, the longer you have to pay to keep it around, and eventually, some aspect of it is going to get cheapened. Name me one band that’s been together longer than 30 years that hasn’t cheapened themselves in some way. Aerosmith definitely falls into this category, but before they met this fate, they were a pretty kickass band. (more…)

Mission: Immersion 4.0 – Cuts Like a Knife and Reckless by Bryan Adams

December 26, 2011

A&M 1983

My record collection is full of the most random stuff. One of the main reasons for that is the fact that here in Lawrence, every year there’s this big music and equipment expo out at the fairgrounds, and you can get a whole huge bag of records for $5. This is the only scenario in which I would ever end up with a Bryan Adams album. I was poking through these thousands of vinyls looking for ANYTHING at all that I might even remotely enjoy, and upon seeing Reckless I said to myself, “It has ‘Summer of ’69’ on it. That’s a great jam. It has to at least be worth it to own that tune on vinyl, right?” And Cuts Like A Knife was right there, so I grabbed it as well. It was the same story with the Abba records, although after listening to Bryan Adams, I can say I definitely value the Abba records more…and I didn’t even like them all that much! (more…)

Mission: Immersion 3.0 – If You Want Blood…You’ve Got It by AC/DC

December 24, 2011

Atlantic 1978

AC/DC have been getting unfairly lumped in with a lot of inferior dumb rock bands recently, and younger generations are seemingly starting to devalue them. I am here to reiterate the importance of AC/DC. Sure, they are a dumb rock band, but only in the most organic and unpretentious sense. If they weren’t the first of their breed, they were certainly the first that really did it right and set a solid precedent for what good, hard rock and roll should sound like. If You Want Blood…You’ve Got It is the band’s definitive album because it’s the only solid live portrait of the Bon Scott era – the best era – and the live setting is so important to the AC/DC experience. (more…)

Mission: Immersion 2.2 – Voulez-Vous and Super Trouper by Abba

December 24, 2011

Atlantic 1979

I decided to lump these last two Abba albums together for a couple reasons. First of all, it’s true what most say about Abba – you really only need the greatest hits collection (in the case of Abba there are several, but the consensus seems to be that Gold is the best). Secondly, after three Abba albums, they all start to kind of blend together anyway. As I’ve stated previously, they have a formula they do not deviate from too often – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. (more…)

Mission: Immersion 2.1 – The Album by Abba

December 22, 2011

Atlantic 1977

Thanks to my recent undertaking of listening to and reviewing every album I own, I now have three Abba albums to get through in the next three days. That’s a lot of Abba, and it kind of worried me at first. But after checking out The Album, I’m actually pretty excited. It also helps that I read Chuck Klosterman’s brilliant article on ABBA fairly recently (from his book Eating the Dinosaur), in which he deconstructs their distinguished formula and explains why they are one of the greatest groups of all time. It’s a great read, and you should check it out. (more…)

2012 Preview: The Return of the Indomitable Field Music and Then Some

December 21, 2011

Memphis Industries

After years of documenting 365-day periods of music releases and listening to anything I can get my hands on, it is starting to become apparent when a good music year is on the horizon. For instance, 2011 started very mildly, and it took me a few months to find a handful of albums to which I could wholeheartedly commit. Twenty-ten wasn’t like that at all, though – right off the bat in January, there were three or four records I adored, a couple of which ended up making my top 10 for that year. As of now, 2012 is looking even more exciting than that.

Almost a month ago, the new Field Music record, Plumb, leaked to the internet, and I nearly shit myself. Not to gross anyone out, but I really love this band and can’t help but revert back to 2-month-old excitation whenever they release something. (more…)

Mission: Immersion pt. 1 – Blind Man’s Zoo by 10,000 Maniacs

December 20, 2011

Elektra Records

A short explanation – Mission: Immersion is my attempt to listen to and write short reviews of every record I own (500+ vinyl, 1,200+ CDs). I will attempt, with all of my might, to refrain from buying new music until I have completed the task. I realize this idea is not an original one, as many fellow writers I know have undertaken similar challenges (the best example is Ian Hrabe’s hilarious and spot-on Why Are There So Many Records in My Life?), and in a way, this is inspired by them. But, it’s also a reflection of me wanting to accomplish three things:

1) Keep up my writing chops,
2) Save more money,
3) Learn about and hear firsthand all the random shit that has accumulated on my shelves.

Again, I’m sure the reasoning for people who have done this before was fairly similar. It has simply become a personal goal. (more…)


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