B-Sides in the Bins – #1 – Minneapolis 11/3/06

I thought it would be a good idea to keep track of my music purchases, and where I found them as a kind of diary. A friend of mine from the early days of endtroducing.com and The InFlux Mailing list John Book used to post to his website his record purchases from thrift stores and garage sales around the Greater Pasco, WA area. John’s deep and extensive knowledge of music always made for an interesting read. It is from this that I take my inspiration for these articles. I would like to have guest contributors to this section of my site, and have been talking to a couple of people who might be interested.

As you may have read below, my wife and I were in Minneapolis for the Lyrics Born/Cut Chemist show around 11/2. The next morning after the show, Sherry seemed to have come down with the flu and we ended up cancelling our plans with her sister and aunt. We hung out in the very small hotel room at the Millennium for most of the day. Sherry told me I didn’t need to stick around with her and suggested that I should go out for a while. So, I decided that I’d visit the Cheapos in Uptown. I’d been there for a couple of minutes a while back, but ran out of time before I could really dig. My favorite Cheapo’s location is usually the one on Snelling in St. Paul. That one works for us because there is a Whole Foods in that area as well, so we can do something for Sherry, too. She likes to go to the Electric Fetus more than Cheapo’s because they have other things besides records.

This Cheapo’s is set up pretty similarly to the other locations in the Twin Cities. It has an Applause in the basement, which is all vinyl. I didn’t have time this trip to go down there, but I will plan to go next time. My favorite thing about Cheapos is the way they arrange the last week’s worth of Used CD’s by the day of the week that they arrived. I always start there before looking into their other bins that have new and used mingled together by genre and artist. This was a good run for me as I picked up some new stuff that I’d been meaning to get.

Songbird – Willie Nelson ($9.99): Wow! This one was released on that Tuesday! (10/31). This is Willie’s new album produced and performed by Ryan Adams with his band the Cardinals with which he recorded his trilogy of albums last year. Pitchfork didn’t know what to do with this one. I believe that the review called Adams’ production “gloppy.” But, they gave it a 7.4. I think it is well-known that Pitchfork doesn’t like Ryan Adams so probably Willie was penalized a bit due to association. The album is a good listen all the way though. This album is the best that I’ve heard Willie’s voice sound in a long time. I like the choice of the Christine McVie song from Rumours “Songbird,” and I like Gram Parson’s “$1000 Wedding” as well. I question– as the reviewer from Pitchfork does– whether the world needed another cover of “Hallelujah” but it is done with care. “Amazing Grace” is a good wrap-up choice, too.

The Outsider – DJ Shadow ($9.99): Another relatively new release. I’m finally deciding to buy this one to give it a fair shake. I will probably post a review much later. If you’ve been following my blog for long, you are probably aware of my past with DJ Shadow and might be surprised I hadn’t purchased this one, yet. Frankly, I missed the $9.99 sale at Best Buy when it was released and what I’d heard of the album at that point I wasn’t sure I liked. BTW: There were no less than three copies of this CD in pristine condition in the bins this week. If you haven’t purchased this yet, take a look for it used if you are interested.

The Audience Is Listening – Cut Chemist ($8.99) : Another one I missed for $9.99 at Best Buy when it was released. This copy is a stamped promo. A very good effort. It amazes me that Mr. Macfadden waited this long for his first solo record. He has been a mainstay in the Bay Area HipHop scene and has participated in some very notable collaborations over the years: “The Number Song Remix,” Brainfreeze, Product Placement, his own “Lesson 4,” Ozomatli’s first album, Jurassic 5. My favorite tracks are “The Garden,” “What’s the Altitude,” and “The Audience Is Listening Theme Song.” The first two have been singles, and the last one is the new iPod commercial with the guy “painting” with the light of an iPod. A fun album that demonstrates the production and turntable skills of Cut Chemist and doesn’t take itself very seriously. That last part might be the advice I’d give DJ Shadow. Sometimes records need to be fun to listen to.

4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up – The Gift of Gab ($8.99) : This is one that I’d wanted to pick up for a while. I wasn’t sure what I’d think of The Gift of Gab without Chief Xcel on production, but this album is great! Vitamin D and Jake One take turns producing tracks for Gab, and turn out a fantastic record. I really like what the Quannum “old school” is turning out these days. As they approach their Forties, they seem to be improving. While The Gift of Gab isn’t braving new ground on thie record, his familiar flow and rhyme work on this record.

I hadn’t planned on buying so much HipHop on this trip– or so much Quannum-related for that matter, but I was pretty happy for the haul. At one point in the browsing, I had so much stuff in my hands that I needed to go grab a shopping basket because my back was getting sore! I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money– I gave myself a budget not to exceed $50.

What I put back The Red House Painters 2 CD Retrospective, and Mark Kozelek’s tribute to AC/DC What’s Next To The Moon, The Gorillaz Demon Days (for some reason I haven’t bought this yet– there were many copies of this one), Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere (I’m waiting on the expanded edition of this one), Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels (waiting on buying the Deluxe Edition), General Public’s All The Rage, mint copies of the reissues of AC/DC’s For Those About To Rock and Back In Black.

Title I would have bought if I didn’t already own it: Tortoise Standards

New titles to become bin fodder include the new one from Courtney Love (many copies!), DJ Shadow’s The Outsider, anything Coldplay (I still haven’t picked up X&Y, but I could have had many copies of that), Tom Petty’s Highway Companion (there must have been five mint copies of this one), either album from Jet sadly. Scissor Sisters. Phish is hitting the used bins. I saw lots of titles that you wouldn’t have seen three or four years ago during the peak of their popularity.

Stay tuned for another action-packed episode of B-Sides In The Bins!

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