Monday, April 12, 2010

It's Chris Grier's Vinyl District | The Record Store Day Interviews: Allison Wolfe

For the uninitiated, Chris Grier is a Washington, D.C.-based musician who has been making brutal and beautiful music here and abroad since 2003, with results that skitter along that rarely glimpsed border where "wildly seductive" meets "what the hell?" He has collaborated, recorded and performed with some of the planet's most interesting and inventive musicians, including Thurston Moore, Mike Watt, Andrew W.K., Tom Smith, Don Fleming, Matthew Wascovich, Hugh McElroy, Ian Wadley, Little Wings and Little Howlin' Wolf. He is also a member of the long-running avant-garde collective To Live And Shave In L.A.


Hey there,

Records changed my life, and if you're reading this, if you've somehow meandered over to this corner of the digital whatever, you undoubtedly feel the same way. By records, of course, I mean vinyl - LPs, EPs, 7"s, 10"s, &c. Sorry to be so bloody obvious about it, but I just read the "artist testimonials" on this thing a few minutes ago, and The Boss was waxing poetic about CDs, for eff's sake. Who let this guy in? Reading comprehension, Mr. Springsteen, look into it. This thing is called RECORD Store Day.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of these anti-digital wingnuts that gets his pantaloons knotted up over CDs and downloading and MP3s and "odd-order harmonic distortion" and blahblahblah. Spare me already. I use vacuum tubes like freakin' packing peanuts, and I even bought a goddamned 500-pound vinyl-cutting lathe a couple years ago for the purpose of learning how to cut records my own self, but the phrase "analog-vs.-digital" still gives me hives every time I hear it. CDs are just fine, so are downloads and MP3s, "lossy" or not. Sure, they're not as good as a well-recorded analog thing, yadda, etc., but if this is what you're spending you're time worrying about, I advise you to cancel the Stereophile subscription, lose 40 or 50 lbs., and move out of mom's basement/the crappy group house and get some semblance of a life.

No, records are just better.

I mean, empirically better. It's not subjective. Not even close. They sound better. They look better. And they're just plain cooler. We all know the reasons. Preaching to the choir is lame anyway, and I wouldn't want to be a member of any congregation that would hire someone like me anyway.

All of this irritable late-night rambling is just a way of setting the context for what's in store for you - I've been asked to take over this blog for a few days by Jon. Why? Who knows. But what you do need to know is this: I am far too damn lazy to type these days, so I'm taking the easy way out and interviewing friends and acquaintances about vinyl. It's easy for you, too; you won't even have to read, just click on whatever MP3 thingie Jon's webmonkeys set up with my posts, and you'll get all the goods.

As for Record Store Day itself? I love it. Just don't do what I did last year and decide to queue up only a half-hour before the starting gun goes off. You won't get jack-shit. Everything I was looking for was gone in femtoseconds, snatched up in twos and threes by a smelly herd of pudgy Mojo-reading beardos, the bastards.


Chris Grier - Untitled (katzenjammer) (Mp3)

Our inaugural installment of the Record Store Day Interviews features Allison Wolfe - radical provocateuse, founding member of Bratmobile, Cold Cold Hearts and Partyline, and, of course, one of the women who started the whole Riot Grrrl thing. (She's also a rather hilarious cartoonist, and a first-tier partyer.)

I had a whole other thing on tap for today, but my interview subject sort of disappeared. And, as it happened, Allison was a stone's throw away in Williamsburg - drinking foam cups of beer from the Turkey's Nest in McCarren Park with about a half-dozen mutual friends. She agreed to drop what she was doing, and we moseyed on over to the benches by the softball field, away from the Wayfarer-wearing frisbee-throwers and that goddamned ice cream truck that marauds the neighborhood, playing a mangled version of the theme from "Cletus The Slack-Jawed Yokel" at 120 dB, constantly.

As always, Allison was hilarious. Topics covered: Quasi-criminal record-buying behaviors, an ex-boyfriend and his risible taste in music, Kurt Cobain's love of rare Vaselines vinyl, Malcolm McLaren, Bow Wow Wow, the pain of losing records to ex-bandmates moving out, and, as many of us have done, deriving a ballpark estimate of the size of one's LP collection by counting the number of 12"x12" spots taken up in one's IKEA Expedit bookshelves. Among the things you will learn from this interview: Duran Duran was what converted Allison from a listener into a record collector.

Chris Grier Interviews Allison Wolfe - The Vinyl District Podcast (Mp3)
Chris Grier Interviews Allison Wolfe (...extra!) - The Vinyl District Podcast (Mp3)

TVD's Ten Weeks of Record Store Day Vinyl Giveaways - Week 10

Where does the time go? It seems as if it were just yesterday—amidst the sky high drifts from Blizzard #2 of the 2009-2010 Winter season—when we launched the first in our series of Record Store Day 2010 Giveaways.

Since then, Spring has sprung and we're at the culmination of our 10 weeks and need I remind you that Record Store Day is, uh...this weekend?

We're planning on going out with a bit of a bang in regard to our giveaways this week - of which we have quite a few (as well as some RSD exclusives to toss at ya.) But first up for the week, our friends at Friday Music have compiled a reissue set to truly have you asking - where does the time go?

One lucky winner will receive all four of the 180 gram reissues below: Hall and Oates' 'Abandoned Luncheonette,' The Doobie Brothers' 'Minute By Minute,' Jeff Beck's 'Blow By Blow,' and Carly Simon's 'No Secrets.'

TVD Time Machine, indeed.

The rules can't be any simpler for our last RSD2010 Giveaway. All you need to do to enter to win is to leave a comment in the comments section to this giveaway letting us know why you deserve to win this week's vinyl.

Be creative, funny, incisive—whatever it takes to grab our attention to deem you the winner. Most important however is to leave us a contact email address! You can be brilliant as hell, but if we can't track ya' down, you're out of the running.

All winners will all be notified on Monday, 4/19!

TVD's Alternative Ulcer | Radio CPR's Third Annual Record Sale

If you read this blog, chances are you love vinyl. And music. And the chance to purchase music recorded on vinyl. Well, it would be great if you put that love of spending your hard earned bucks on expanding your record collection to support a good cause. Like your local community-powered radio station.

In DC we have Radio CPR which is, and has been for over a decade, a volunteer-run radio station doing amazing things like giving a voice to the marginalized members of our community and providing thought-provoking programming mixed with a fantastic array of music- all without the help of evil money-driven corporations. Unfortunately, being an awesome volunteer-run, community radio station means funding is hard to come by, which is where you, dear TVD reader and lover of music, come in.

On Saturday, April 24th, Radio CPR will be having its third annual Record Sale from 2 to 6 pm at La Casa, located at 3166 Mt. Pleasant St., NW (between Kenyon and Kilborne). You can hoof it from the Columbia Heights Metro or take the bus (H2, H4, H8, 42, S2, S4, 52, 54, or the DC Circulator). It seriously could not be easier for you to go to this thing, find some great records, and help fund an amazing community-run radio station.

Now, you, lovely reader, being a lover of all things vinyl and music and awesomeness probably have one or two (or ten or twenty) records lying around that you don't want but have been too lazy to put up for sale on Craigslist. Why don't you take those records and BOOKS and CDs and MOVIES and CASSETTE TAPES (yes, I said cassette tapes) and donate them to the Radio CPR's THIRD ANNUAL RECORD SALE.

"BUT KRIIIIS" you're whining, "if I'm too lazy to put them up on Craigslist, what makes you think I'll want to drop them off somewhere. I still have a pile of clothes sitting in the trunk of my car I've been meaning to donate to Good Will for 3 years. And all I have to do is get in and drive!" Well, have NO FEAR, my friends, because Radio CPR will PICK UP your donated items from you! How easy is that?

Donations this year seem to be running much lower than the previous years, which is just UNACCEPTABLE, District of Columbia! (and you! Greater Washington Metro Area!). So seriously if you have anything that you can donate, like that Bruce Willis Return of Bruno album you've been hanging on to since 1987 (I just can't bear to part with mine) or hopefully more amazing things than that, then e-mail and help your local community-powered station fight the good fight!