B-Sides in the Bins #55 – Around Memorial Day Weekend 2011

Over the long weekend, I was hoping to get in on some of the sales that were going on– specifically Guitar Center in Cedar Rapids, and the full-weekend 20% sale at Half-Price Books. While I didn’t actually get over to Guitar Center, I did hit HPB, but also managed to see David Lowery and Johnny Hickman tape a Java Blend session in Iowa City with my friend Erik, which also resulted in a great trip to The Record Collector. I also visited Moondog Music in Dubuque on Thursday and picked up some “missing titles” and hit a Half Price Books in Chicago on Saturday (whew!)

Record Collector, Iowa City:

Bob Mould – Workbook (LP, Virgin Records 91240-1, 1989)($8.00) HUGE SCORE! Found in the “Recent Arrivals” bin (much to Erik’s dismay). Promo-stamped and notched cut-out with a “When You PLAY IT, SAY IT!” sticker prominently on the front cover. The record is in overall good condition, but there was a very visible scuff on tracks 3 and 4 on side 2. It doesn’t affect the play a lot except for a slight tick. I heard this album being played at a party in college and went out and bought it the next day. The first time I ever heard Mould, incidentally. Though I was a fan of Minneapolis bands like Soul Asylum and The Replacement, I hadn’t dove into the Husker Du catalog. I started getting into their catalog posthumously after this album. This is still my favorite Mould record, though Black Sheets of Rain is a close second.  (Note to self: add Black Sheets of Rain to my vinyl wishlist).

Van Morrison – Moondance (LP, Warner Brothers 1835, 1970)($12.00) Also in the “Recent Arrivals” bin. Amazingly clean copy and early pressing! Well worth the slightly more expensive price. Not much to say about this release other than it is probably the most consistent record in Van the Man’s catalog. Nice mellow jams for early evening consumption of red wine.

I had also grabbed a collection of Talking Heads records which were on my wish list, however, when I got to the counter to check out I spotted a copy of Neil Young’s Zuma in the glass case for $20. Realizing that this is a tough one to find, I put the Talking Heads back…

Neil Young with Crazy Horse – Zuma (LP, Reprise Records MS 2242, 1975)($20) Brilliant record all the way through. Of the “bigger songs” in Neil’s career, this has “Cortez the Killer” on it. First album following the “Ditch Trilogy” of Time Fades Away, Tonight’s the Night and On The Beach. I guess it is a little crazy for me to pay $20 for a record that will allegedly come out on the next Neil Young Archives LP box (cue laughter from die hard Neil Young fans). Cover in good shape with some slight staining which is typical of the matte covers of this vintage. Includes lyric sheet.

Big Star – Radio City (LP, Stax/Concord Music Group ADS-1801, 2009)($13.00) New. Wasn’t planning to pick this up, but I entered into a conversation with Kirk about the $50 original pressing of Big Star’s #1 Record that has been on display for a while. I mentioned the reissues that had come out and he went back to the bins and came back with this. I’m a big fan of Big Star and had been planning to pick these up at some point. This is a reissue done by Concord Music Group which owns the licensing of the Stax and Ardent catalogs. Interestingly, aside from the very small “Licensed By Concord Music Group” at the bottom of the back of the jacket, you couldn’t tell easily that this was a reissue. Recorded and mastered at Ardent Studios in Memphis and mastered by Larry Nix whom I worked with on the vinyl pressing of The Right Now’s 2010 album Carry Me Home. Nix told us stories about working with Big Star and how Chris Bell nearly destroyed the plates for the vinyl version of #1 Record! I’m thinking I need to get that #1 Record

Moondog Music, Dubuque, IA:

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (LP, Columbia PC 33453, 1975)($12.98) Hot stamped with “For Demonstration – Not For Sale” on the back cover. Sleeve in VG condition with some slight ringwear and the LP is VG condition– no scuffs or scratches, but seems to need a thorough cleaning as it has a some crackles. The recording sounds great other than that. BL 33453-3F 1T matrix information on both sides. Also came with original “Monosee Lake” postcard!

R.E.M. – Murmur (LP, IRS Records, SP 70014-1, 1983)($5.98) According to the internet, this is a later repress as the catalog number changed and it has a barcode on it. Vinyl just needed a quick brush with the anti-static brush and a wipe with 91% isopropyl alcohol. Cleaned up with no surface noise! Sounds great and reminds me why I loved them so much back then. R.E.M. has always been a band that changes its sound every few albums, and the Chronic Town, Murmur, Reckoning set of albums defined that Southern jangly sound that so many bands that followed emulated.

Greg Brown – Freak Flag (LP, Yep Roc YEP 2244, 2011) ($19.98) 180g vinyl! Cool that the man who lives analog would get his new album on new label Yep Roc pressed into virgin vinyl. Produced by Bo Ramsey and recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis after a lightning storm destroyed the original recordings done in Minneapolis! Read my review of Freak Flag in Little Village Magazine.

New Order – Movement (LP, Factory FACD 05, 1981)($12.98) Still sealed! Was in the bins there since 2004. Has the light blue cover indicative of the non-US Factory Records versions. Looks like a Canadian pressing I guess, but the matrix information looks like it is based on the original UK pressing. I need to look into this a bit more. Not my favorite New Order album, but still worth having in the collection.

Simple Minds – Sparkle in the Rain (LP, A&M Records SP-6-4981, 1984)($4.99) This is one of my favorite Simple Minds albums, second probably only to New Gold Dream. Sparkle in the Rain is considered Simple Minds’ breakthrough release in the US. Side A has a fantastic procession of songs– “Up on the Catwalk,” “Book of Brilliant Things,” “Speed Your Love to Me,” “Waterfront” and “East At Easter” most of which are on the excellent live album Live in the City of Light.

Steely Dan – The Royal Scam (LP, ABC Records ABCD-931, 1976)($5.98) This is an “upgrade” from a later MCA Pressing I had of this. Great record, though it doesn’t have the big hits on it. It also seems to embody the snideness of Steely Dan. Sometimes Steely Dan hates the subjects and characters in their songs, and never more than they seem to on The Royal Scam. Classic Dan songs on here, though. “Kid Charlemange,” “Don’t Take Me Alive,” “The Fez” and “Haitian Divorce.”

Half Price Books, Village Crossing, Niles, IL

Derek & The Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (LP, Atco SD 2-704, 1970)($14.99) While Sherry was doing makeup for a wedding in Chicago, I busied myself with a trip to the closest Half Price Books. They had a lot of “essential” titles in the bins of varying quality and I nearly picked up a couple of Who titles, but ended up finding this really clean original pressing of the classic Derek & The Dominos album.

On Endtroducing.com

I think that the best way to start any endeavor like a new website, is to examine previous efforts. If you read my Introductory statement you know that I used to run a website for DJ Shadow called Endtroducing.com. It started out in 1997 mostly as an excuse to run a website. I met a guy through a consulting gig who hooked me up with an account on his server mostly as a way to ftp some software to me. It also had the ability to display web pages! For a couple of weeks I searched for a reason to use a website. I started a couple of lame pages with links to other sites. I bought an HTML reference.

One day I was driving around Eagan, MN– I was probably going to work in the Cities. I remember this pretty clearly. It was early 1997. The sun was out and the radio, tuned to REV 105, was playing the opening strains of “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt.” I was immediately enthralled. I waited in my truck to hear the name of the song and artist and immediately headed to The Electric Fetus in downtown Minneapolis to see if they had it in stock. They did. This disc- DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing… stayed in my player constantly for weeks it seems. I started to do research on this enigmatic artist. There was a very noticable lack of information on him. At least, none of it was in one place. So, I thought that it was a good thing to write about and would be helpful. I’ve always been a content first person when it comes to the internet. I made a decision right at the start that I was going to do this only up until the point when the site becomes redundant. That is, when another site does a better job than when I do. It is kind of the Open Source mentality. Rather than two sites trying to outdo each other, the maintainers should combine efforts to make one really good site.

I logged my link on Yahoo and UBL (The Ultimate Band List) as well as CDNow (who incidentally did a banner exchange with me!). The rest is history, as they say. A guy named Mike Beam offered to host a ListServ that we called InFlux which helped to gel the community by giving them one place to interact. Shadow’s girlfriend (now wife) joined the list anonymously enough but reached out to me to tell me that he liked the site. He didn’t have a computer, but she did, and she read his e-mails for him. We stayed in touch, and she got me hooked up with the label A&R person for A&M/FFRR/Mo’Wax, Alison Pember. I helped her get the word out for the mini-tour surrounding the UNKLE Psyence Fiction project. Mike Beam and I pulled together a couple of moderated “Internet Chats” with DJ Shadow via IRC. Talk about old school!

At some point in that timeline (October 18, 1998) I picked a domain name for the website. I chose “Endtroducing” because it was the first album and a word that DJ Shadow used to mean the end and the beginning at the same time. I thought it was suitable. I also didn’t want to register djshadow.com– although it was available at that time– because I wasn’t the “official site” and thought it would be confusing. I should have registered it because Shadow had some negotiating to do with the guy that did register it!

In 2000 Shadow finally registered and put a site up on djshadow.com, but initially it was only used for some label contests. Shadow admitted to me that he didn’t have the time to keep it up, so he wanted to keep using endtroducing.com as a vehicle for collecting all of the news, etc., and would give me the scoops. This relationship stayed pretty much this way until August 15, 2001 when Shadow got serious about his web presence and hired someone to design it in Flash. Shadow asked me to come on board and help with getting the content done. I was flattered and very excited at the prospect of this. This was what I thought should happen. I had previously negotiated with a company called MusicFans to sell endtroducing.com to them and signed on as a consultant to run that site. Everything was in place. I was working directly with an artist that I considered to be very important and vital. On the side I was working on the primary fan site for the artist as well– kind of a cake-and-eat-it-too situation.

Unfortunately, things didn’t stay this way. In the middle of the UNKLE release, MCA bought A&M and that messed up the management of things. Shadow got lost in the shuffle as far as the label was concerned. MCA started taking over the content of the website. Shadow started working on his next album and the essential communications that were needed to keep me in the loop so I could work on djshadow.com stopped. At the same time the dot.com boom busted and MusicFans filed for bankruptcy. They alerted me that they wouldn’t be renewing the endtroducing.com domain name, and they had no plans of transferring the domain name back to me. I was paid, so I couldn’t complain. According to “whois” endtroducing.com was going to expire in October 2002. There was another person who was running solesides.com– which was becoming a very good site in its own right. His focus was more on the stable of Quannum artists that DJ Shadow was part of. I explained to him what was going on and asked him if he’d maintain an archive of endtroducing.com on his site. He graciously agreed. Soon after I posted what was to be my last words on the subject to the InFlux Mailing list:

It’s time for me to move on. It has been a pretty great ride, and I got to do some pretty good things. I made *the* website for DJ Shadow and I ran it for over 5 years. I saw Shadow come from being someone who didn’t use a computer for e-mail to getting his own site up and running. I saw the generation of In/Flux and the follow-on Hindsight mailing lists, a couple of really good mixoffs, I hosted 3 Internet chats with the Man Himself. I paid for Josh’s lunch when I met up with him during the 2000 tour. I got credit on the Private Press.

Today, I run the official website for the band Pell Mell http://www.pellmell.org/ . Although they are on hiatus, I have been in touch with three of the members. They are pretty excited about a site about them, and I get some updates from them. I am also starting a website for Dave Spalding, one of the guitarists from Pell Mell http://www.davespalding.com/

It’s time to play b-sides

And so it begins again from how it ended…