Thursday, April 26, 2012

Record Store Day 2012

I had always been a CD person.  Unless you count my cassette listening days of the mid-nineties, I've always bought CD's.  I never liked the idea of buying music digitally, and yes, I buy my music.  But over time I've started to make the switch over to vinyl.  Within the last year or so in particular, I started going for vinyl whenever possible.  Something about playing a real record is amazing and I now believe that nothing beats it.  Depending on where you shop, it can be the most cost efficient method as well.

Between that last paragraph and now, I've walked over to my turntable and switched records.  From Chaka Khan to Eurythmics, if you were wondering.

Record Store Day was last Saturday, and this vinyl habit made it mandatory that I attend.  With it being my first year, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  I could either go to DC or Richmond, seeing as they had the best distance to record store count ratios.  I chose Richmond out of convenience and after discovering that many of the DC stores had closed their locations.  You see! Go out and support your local record stores!

On the morning of RSD12, I headed out to three stores.  With an overly optimistic "Most Wanted" list in hand, I scoured the shelves.  Two of the three stores had lines that wrapped the building, and I missed out on several of my most wanted titles (I'm looking at you, David Bowie picture disc), but overall, I'd say RSD12 was a success.  The Feistodon vinyl pictured above is one my favorite purchases.

I'll have you know that it's extremely difficult to photograph black etched vinyl with minimum glare, so don't cringe at the upcoming photo.  I also picked up a ton of other records, but I'm only posting pictures of the RSD12 exclusives.  I'll feature the other vinyl in future posts.  Keep reading for the remaining pictures of my haul.

Garbage "Blood For Poppies" White 7"

Florence + The Machine "Shake It Out" 7"

Regina Spektor "Bulat Okudzhava" White 7"

Katy Perry "Part Of Me" Pink 12"

Lana Del Rey "Born To Die" 7"

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros "One Love To Another" 7"

M83 "Mirror" Etched 7"

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Aiden Grimshaw - Is This Love

There was once a time when I watched American Idol regularly and kept up with all of the reality singing competitions.  Yes, every week I waited in suspense to see which contestant would get the boot and which would "win".  These "winners" would then have the possibility to move on with new skyrocketing careers.  I put quotes around "win" because most often the "winner" would fall off a cliff like MDNA's second week sales and never be heard from again.  Over the last few years, I lost interest due to the overall lack of unique artists.  I still keep an eye on a few of the major label names, such as Adam Lambert and Kelly Clarkson, but that's about it.

Anyways, through all of those years, I never watched any singing competitions from other countries.  I never knew Leona Lewis as an X Factor product.  She was just that new UK girl who sang "Bleeding Love".  Seeing them on television and only knowing that they were once on television are very different things.  I try to keep up with names that pop up on Twitter and blogs, just in case there's a gem mixed in.  I casually followed Cher Lloyd up until "Swagger Jagger" came out, so that didn't end well.  There's One Direction, who are quickly becoming Bieber multiplied by five.  Being American, I feel like I'm seeing most of them in a different light.  There's no media coverage and they're definitely not seen as public celebrities in this country.  A national barrier does exist.  Ask the average passerby who Cheryl Cole is and you would probably get a blank reaction.  I feel like this general outside view lets listeners judge these musicians as real artists instead of reality contestants and that's where the guy that this post is about comes in.

Aiden Grimshaw just released his new single, "Is This Love", earlier this week and it's quite spectacular.  What I love most about it is the disregard to what's currently the "in sound" on the charts.  The drum 'n' bass beat is a relief after so many clones.  It's still dance pop, but pop isn't a synonym for generic.  I mean, you know that everyone thought "Domino" was a new Katy Perry single.  I'm not saying that these songs are of lesser value than others, I enjoy both Jessie J and Katy Perry.  It's just nice to see a splash of surprise.

All rants aside, you can listen to "Is This Love" below.  The single gets an official release on June 3.  Aiden Grimshaw's album, Misty Eye, will be out on August 13 in the UK.  We can only hope it gets a US date soon.

Monday, April 16, 2012

St. Vincent - KROKODIL (Live)

If you were on the internet at all last weekend, then you probably witnessed a mass of blog posts, pictures, and tweets about Coachella.  Sadly, I was not present to witness the events in person.  However, I did keep up with the festivities through the power of live video feeds, and holograms aside, one of the most spectacular highlights was St. Vincent's set.  And the highlight within this highlight was her new song, "KROKODIL".  Annie Clark performed the new track and simultaneously crowdsurfed across an ecstatic pit.  It's better to just watch it and see for yourself.  Skip to 37:45 for the craziness.

"KROKODIL" will be available April 21 alongside another new release, "GROT", on an exclusive 7" for Record Store Day.  It's red vinyl, so make sure to pick that up as you grab your record haul later this month.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Marina And The Diamonds - Primadonna

Marina's gone through some changes since her debut album.  The Family Jewels was a catchy, yet intriguing, album.  The centerpiece of the music was always the distinct ups and downs of Marina's voice. And who didn't love to sing along to the "'Oh my God, you look just like Shakira! / No no, you're Catherine Zeta!' / Actually, my name's Marina." line in "Hollywood"?

In the two year gap of then and now, Marina has experienced a complete image overhaul.  She's now a strange vintage, but still futuristic, girl with melting blonde locks.  Beginning around August of last year, several new Marina And The Diamonds tracks trickled across the internet.  All of these songs will be on her upcoming album, Electra Heart.  The most recent is "Primadonna".

If you haven't heard any of Marina And The Diamonds' new work, then be prepared for a slight shock.  Yes, it's very club friendly.  Maybe it's an attempt to break into the mainstream radio market, or maybe she just felt like dancing, either way the music will probably rake in new fans and push away others.  I love both incarnations of Marina Diamandis.  This twisted beat driven Electra Heart feels like a new era.  The visual elements, such as music videos and artwork, really add another aspect to "Primadonna" and the accompanying tracks.

"Primadonna" was produced by Dr. Luke, but wait!  It's not what you think.  Sure, there are a few standard formulas and patterns, but it's full of personality and original ideas, too.  Remember Britney's "Hold It Against Me" and how the chorus had no beat, while the verses were unbelievably heavy?  That's the case with "Primadonna", except for the final chorus when everything comes to a close.  It's the style that sets this song apart from the crowd.

Unfortunately, Electra Heart won't be out in the US until July, while the UK gets it April 30.  I know, that sounds like forever.  Patience.  In the meantime, check out the music video for "Primadonna" below.