Monday, July 23, 2007

The Vinyl District Recommends:

A little gem of a movie with some oddly arresting songs that have lingered for weeks. Preview them here. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova also appear here on Thursday night with Hansard's band The Frames. (Why isn't this show billed as such?)

Some Ground Rules

While its easy to pine away for a time when vinyl was the norm...long before CDs and soulless downloads, The Vinyl District arrives not for that purpose. Nor is it to denigrate progress in the name of all that is digital. What we'll do here is relive a sensibility long gone in my view -- excitement.

As a kid, I'd look forward to Saturdays. Not for the obvious (no school, cartoons, Apple Jacks) but for the time I'd spend with my Dad. We'd hit the local library where each week I'd borrow LP's galore. I think Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" spent very few days actually IN the library back then, that 2-LP set being renewed and renewed by me at the time -- wide-eyed reading the stories of pimps and hustlers and the downtrodden that grace the LP's interior. Oh, and the ART!

And don't get me started on KISS Alive! I practically lived inside that thing in the summer of '77, hot on the heels of Destroyer just knocking it out of the park. That's what it was all about,, daring, eye-opening and life-affirming. Well, to me it at 11 -- a young white kid in New Jersey it sure as heck was. (That my folks didn't get it was not just a cliché, it was INVALUEABLE.) Oh, -- and the ART!

Every other weekend or so, Dad and I would also hit Two Guys -- the Walmart-like, everything-under-one-roof store. They had a killer music section. The top 100 45's lining the walls...and most likely the same for the LPs. The placed SMELLED good too - all new plastic and well, vinyl. Bought my first 45's there...Ballroom Blitz, Bohemian Rhapsody, Rock and Roll All Nite. Got my first LP there too -- a Capitol Records Beatles 2-LP reissue -- Rock and Roll Music. (Remember it? Silver, with the thumbs holding the cover? I can still smell it too. The ART.)

But can that still exist in 2007? Do kids still feel the excitement watching the bar fill up, telling them that their download's done? Do kids - or adults for that matter - feel that same thrill buying music? Is it something to look forward to any longer? Is there a thrill missing? And what OF the art? And believe me, I'm not chalking it up to getting any older with a cynic's view. I mean, it SHOULD be inherent - right? New, daring, eye-opening and life-affirming -- RIGHT? (I mean, Prince is GIVING it away in newspapers because CD sales are DEAD. Where's the rush?)

So, what The Vinyl District hopes to do is offer the same enthusiasm for the here and NOW with the "what was THEN." And happily these days, I think still IS. Vinyl - it's back. So is good music commentary via this digital age. And we'll be the, movies, books,'s all valid and informs the thrill. (And to be fair, we expect quite a few raspberries along the way too...)

Oh, and one last thing -- The Vinyl District is dedicated to the memory of my Dad. Thanks for all those rides, pop.

No Birds Do Sing

This lyric might just be Lydon’s finest:

This could be heaven
Shallow spreads of ordered lawns
I like the illusion
Illusion of privacy
The careful trees blending so perfectly
Bland planned idle luxury
A caviar of silent dignity
Life in lovely allotted slots
A token nice
A nice constitution
A layered mass of subtle props
This could be heaven
Mild mannered mews
Well intentioned rules
To dignify a daily code
Lawful order standard views
This could be heaven