Friday, December 2, 2011

New Tune Tuesday: Black Friday 2011 & the Christmas stocking stuffer phenomenon

Beautiful Melodies telling you Terrible Things Vol. Black Friday Record Store Day '11

It's not Tuesday, nor are most of these releases of new music nor were they even released on a Tuesday. However, it's still an important day that recently passed concerning musical releases for the year 2011. Every year (at least for the past few) in Spring there is a day called "Record Store Day," where thousands of artists release special items, usually of the vinyl variety, that may be new or unreleased, maybe a reissue, or who knows what else. This is helped organized and put on by a group called, who would have thunk it, Record Store Day, and is to get people out and shopping and supporting local, independent record and music stores. This is important, if you're a fan of music, you should make it important to you too and quit downloading all your stuff on itunes, or worse yet, for free on torrents.

Anyhow, here in 2011, for the second straight year, they've also put together a Black Friday RSD, this year titled "Back to Black," which featured some solid releases. The RSD sort of let the various record labels know exactly what they're sort of looking for release wise, for instance this year they felt that singles and EP's (of the 45", 10" or 12" variety) box set type releases would be nice stocking stuffer type items. Well, everyone delivered, and here for you to delve into are some of my favorite releases you just may want to find in your own elongated sock this year. But first, a quick trip to the news blender...

TicketBastard, er, Master pays up, TO YOU:
Ticketmaster owns a bonified monopoly on the concert going experience. From the fact that almost any decent venue is a ticketmaster exclusive site and with their fees they hold everyone hostage. This has caused a backlash, from Bob Dylan trying an experiment of a "ticket only sold at door" no-fee show in San Francisco in 2010 to a number of smaller promoters and smaller venues bucking the ticketmaster trend. TM themselves have tried a "no fee Wednesday" approach before to make you think you're getting a deal, or even hiding their fees better, by not hiding them at all but asterisking that "their included in your ticket price." Well, back in 2003 a suit was brought against them and it's finally looking to pay off. If you've paid their fees, expect to get paid: a whopping $1.50 per ticket on up to 17 orders. If you got screwed by their deceptive UPS ploy, expect up to $5.00 a ticket. For a concert enthusiast like me, that adds up to a couple blu rays I can buy, thanks guys. Of course, it's the lawyers who are really gonna get paid up, but hey, whatever, hopefully this will be a could kick in the face to TM.

Bob Dylan - Can YOU Please Crawl Out Your Window? 4 7" Singles Box Set
A very cool set, that from what I saw from my own experience out and about on Black Friday, was attracting even those type of Dylan fans that shun re-releases of material. This features four of Dylan's mid-60's 45" singles (including non-album singles "Can YOU Please Crawl out your Window?" and top-10 radio smash "Positively 4th Street") with their original B-sides re-mastered in original mono mixes, including original picture sleeve art for each 45, with the artwork coming from various countries original releases of the singles. I like how detailed the set is, including making the "Subterranean Homesick Blues" single a faux radio station promo copy, from a faux stamp on the sleeve art down to the records sticker being made to look like a white label promo. Comes with a little sticker too. Limited to around 6,000 from what I understand, I am away with a sub-400 numbered set.
The Black Keys - Lonely Boy 10" Single
Can't wait for the new Black Keys album, El Camino? Well, get a head start here with this 10" single featuring two tracks from the upcoming LP. This is the one the hipsters came out in droves for on BF. I saw some even wearing those fake non-prescription eyeglasses and bow ties. I'm not sure how I was able to not punch them, however, pick this up and enjoy "Lonely Boy" b/w "Run Right Now."
Nirvana - Nevermind - The Singles 4 10" Singles Box Set
A record store owner friend of mine suggested that this will probably be worth the most in the long run of all of this BF's record releases, and he's probably right as it's already selling on ebay for more than you can pick it up for in stores. Old-school Nirvana fans will recognize the (rather awesome) various 10" artwork on the four different 10" sleeves if they ever picked up the original CD versions of these singles, which were also later packaged in a same artwork CD box set that still sells for quite a lot. This is perfect for those Nirvana fans who didn't want to buy any of the Nirvana Nevermind 20th anniversary remasters who maybe already had the LP on vinyl, as the B-sides collected on these 10"'s make up for a lot of the bonus tracks found on either the 2-CD or 4-LP vinyls. All together you get four 10", with the four lead singles of the classic LP and 11 B-sides either live or from studio sessions. Limited and numbered on the back and Highly recommended.
Justin Townes Earle - Slippin' and Slidin' 45" Single
JTE is about the tops of current Americana type music artists, and if you like that style or even REAL country (meaning, not failed pop stars with a banjo, but the type of mostly acoustic music driven by great, mostly melancholic storytelling) you may dig this. He released a 45" of "Harlem River Blues" (off of his latest LP, Harlem River Blues) earlier this year for the real RSD, this here is another single ("Slippin' and Slidin'") off that same album plus a cover of Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927."
Wilco - Speak into the Rose 10" EP
Four alternate tracks to their latest LP offering, The Whole Love, with two of the tracks being completely unreleased in any form prior. I like that album (which I reviewed in a NTT a while back), so I look forward to checking this out.
Pink Floyd - The Wall 3 7" Singles Box Set
This is a good release for hardcore Pink Floyd fans, as well as for someone like me who doesn't listen so much to a complete (post-Barrett) Floyd album but more or less my favorite tracks here and there. These are 3 7" singles housed in a limited box set with B-sides, the first vinyl remasters of that classic LP.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Kiss my Amps Live 12" EP
Perfect for a fan of Petty's live stuff, or who happened to check out the 2010 Mojo tour. Gathered here are 7 live tracks, including a song never released before. Nice back cover art (as in a really nice live picture shot) on this one.
The Civil Wars - Tracks in the Snow 10" Single
I should be reviewing a recent live show of theirs, but it was postponed until January. Here are two holiday tracks as well as two live tracks on (appropriately) white vinyl. Also, check out this band if you haven't, if nothing else their interesting (single only release) take on Leonard Cohen's "Dance me to the End of Love."
The Rolling Stones - No Spare Parts 7" 45 Single
Individually numbered with an outtake ("No Spare Parts") from the Some Girls LP and a re-mastered cut of "Before they Make me Run." Interestingly, just as with their Exile on Main Street themed 45" release for RSD in 2010, these is the only place you'll find that outtake on vinyl, as even the super deluxe re-release of Some Girls only features the outtake material on CD.
Kings of Leon - The Early Vinyl 4LP Box Set
The best part of Kings of Leon is earlier Kings of Leon, which is exactly what this set is about. This bring together their early albums (such as Because of the Times & Youth & Young Manhood) along with a 4th LP of unreleased and live material, plus a booklet and poster.
Brendan Benson - Upstairs at United Vol 1 12" EP
Four songs, all covers, recorded live in August of this year, cut at 45RPM though it's a 12".
The Beatles - The Singles 4 7" Singles Box Set
I'm not so big on the Beatles these days, maybe I've outgrown them, but I just don't listen to them much anymore. This is a really nice set, with some wonderful picture sleeves for the various 7"'s, perfect for those mop-top fanatics.
Iron & Wine - Morning Becomes Eclectic LP & CD Set
LP and a CD of tracks recorded on the rather well known "Morning Becomes Eclectic" radio show.
Syd Barrett - Mick Rock: the Photographs of Mick Rock Photo Book & 7" Single
An interesting RSD release, especially for Barrett fans. A rather incredible book of photographs by Mick Rock of the rather enigmatic Barrett, plus an exclusive 7" single on yellow vinyl.
Plus a variety of Sundzed single releases from the Yardbirds & the Lovin' Spoonful
I love both the Lovin' Spoonful and especially the Yardbirds, so I was glad to see these three releases were among (the always impeccable) Sundazed's BF RSD releases. Pick them up and enjoy a mixture of blues guitar gravity defilement and harmonica honking mayhem

One last Hawk, er, Thought: If record store day ISN'T cool, then why is Tom Waits sending in hand-drawn notes to be used as encouragement to visit your local independent record store?

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