Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011- A Year in Vinyl Music

Best New Vinyl: Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
For sheer kitchen sink bravado this record is the clear winner of the year. Strong in every category, plus great packaging and cool freebies. The only bad thing was having to wait to get our greasy mitts on it. Full review here.
Honorable Mentions:
Crocodiles - Summer of Hate
Dum Dum Girls - Only in Dreams
Tom Morello the Nightwatchman - World Wide Rebel Songs

Best Used Vinyl: Big Brother and the Holding Company - Cheap Thrills
What really sets this record apart from the pack (and it was a pretty large pack this year!) is a hard to describe quality that is very rare in records these days. I'd call it the wow factor. On every song it sounds like every facet of the music is just going full thunder. Positive and soulful with a realness that is unmatched. Nice that a record that is as famous as this earns every touch of praise it has garnered over the nearly 50 years since its release. Full review here.
Honorable Mentions:
Kurtis Blow - Party Time?
Devo - New Traditionalists
Queen - Queen II
Peter Tosh - Mystic Man

Best 45: Rage Against the Machine - The Ghost of Tom Joad
No contest, this record was found almost by accident at the Idle Times Bookstore in Adams Morgan. We didn't even know they sold vinyl at all! Frankly, the VVers rarely go out of the way to find 45s, but this one was just sitting by the counter in glorious translucent purple vinyl. We'd only just recently seen Tom Morello, the Nightwatchman, perform this Bruce Springsteen cut as a faithful to the original cover. These two versions couldn't be more different. In this case the RATM assault version is superior. Why? Well, for one Tom Morello's atomic riffage will quickly incinerate any doubts. Did that guy learn to play guitar on Mars or what? Two, the earnest vocals from Zack De La Rocha give a different kind of snarling urgency to the tune that neither Tom nor Bruce can match. Awesome woodcut artwork adorns this beauty; the 45 cover art is even bigger than a CD cover. Vinyl wins again!
Honorable Mentions:
Beastie Boys - Pop Your Balloon
Dum Dum Girls - Coming Down
(Both were freebies that came with the full album releases. Both on white vinyl. Classy!)

Best Concert (yes, it's not vinyl, but it is a big part of our musical lives): See-I @ U Street Music Hall
This show was incredible! Featuring the local reggae luminaries in all their glory. The VVers had seen See-I as side men for Thievery Corporation on multiple occasions and were extremely excited about the chance to see the duo command an entire show. The Jamaican rhyme splitters dominated the venue and had everyone dancing from the moment they took stage. Ironically, this is the only band listed here that we have no vinyl by . . . get it together See-I.
Honorable Mentions:
Tom Morello, The Nightwatchman @ the Birchmere
Patti Smith @ Merriweather Post Pavilion, Virgin FreeFest
Devo @ the State Theater
Sleigh Bells @ 9:30 Club

Best plan to deal with all the crappy vinyl we went out on a lark to try out: Turn them into bowls to use as centerpieces at our wedding.

Hope everyone had a quality musical 2011. 2012 is already off to a good start. The year kicks off with the VVers heading out into the world to acquire new and expanded shelving for all these records that seem to be multiplying exponentially. Expect upcoming reviews of DEVO, Queen, and yes . . . more Kurtis Blow.

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