“Go scratch a rock on some congealed oil and tell me what it sounds like”

I’m either getting old or conventional, ‘cos I bought something I said I would never have enough time or space for: a turntable. I won’t forsake my beloved MP3s, but there are somethings you just can’t get electronically. One of them being the 1981 Stampfel & Weber album “Going Nowhere Fast”, which I snagged from Etsy from a west coast seller.

I bought an elderly Technics from Ring Audio, and set it up with a USB phono preamp from Phonopreamps.com. It sounds good, I guess. It certainly sounds different from MP3s, but better …? Dunno. My two cynical theories hypotheses of vinyl snobbery are:

  1. The more you have invested in your system, the more confirmation bias tells you it sounds better.
  2. Vinyl is the record industry’s last-gasp attempt attempt at relevancy, because you can’t home-cut your own discs. As there’s always analogue loss in ripping from vinyl, it’s self-policed rights management by the sound quality snobs. Imagine that: DRM conditioned into the listeners themselves!

I have not got a lot of records:

Albums

  1. Going Nowhere Fast — Stampfel & Weber
  2. The Holy Modal Rounders
  3. The Holy Modal Rounders 2 (are you sensing a pattern here?)
  4. Acedia — Black Walls

Single-ish Things

  1. The Television Tells Us / Freeing Song by Reindeer — The Music Tapes (Julian sent me this in 1998, and I think this is the first time I’ve played it. For a few days, it was the only record I had, and it was merciful that Catherine was away, as she only has a normal human tolerance for this sort of thing)
  2. Ghetto Kitty Island Split 7″ – featuring Chicken on a Raft, Of Montreal, Bart Davenport and The Minders.

Speaking of which, I understand that the latter EP is not exactly widely known, is totes OOP, and completists might dig Of Montreal‘s ”Epistle to a Pathological Creep (demo)”, so here it is ripped for your listening pleasure:

Ghetto Kitty Island Split 7" (2004)I recorded it with arecord, and edited it with Audacity.  The arecord command line (more for my reference than your interest) was:

arecord -D 'hw:CARD=CODEC,DEV=0' -V stereo -c 2 -f dat -d 900 ghettokittyisland.wav

which records 900 seconds of audio at DAT quality to the file ghettokittyisland.wav, while showing a simple text meter on the screen.

don’t overcomplicate your sloth party …

David Barnes’s new book What’s Weird? arrived today. It’s lovely.

David has an — unsurprisingly — unusual youtube channel and an etsy store. One of his prints hovers above my desk, and an original runs on my work desk.

Artwork by David Barnes

Artwork by David Barnes / thebeewithwheels. Medium: pen on index card, 3x5" (76 x 127 mm)
Artwork by David Barnes / thebeewithwheels. Medium: pen on index card, 3x5" (76 x 127 mm)

David Barnes does all the artwork for Of Montreal. He’s recently opened an Etsy store under his thebeewithwheels moniker. I bought his print of the Aldhils Arboretum cover, and inside he included a little drawing. Keep running, finch-headed man!

a serious omission

Yeah, so I got to age 38 before I ever heard Neil Young’s Harvest. Sue me. And all because Nichol is teaching me The Needle & The Damage Done on guitar.

And I can add Old Man to my list of “Songs I thought were recent originals, but are in fact old covers”. Thought it was a Wailin’ Jennies original (I know, I should read liner notes). I thought the same of Disguises (original: The Who; cover: Of Montreal) and Waterloo Sunset (original: The Kinks; cover: Robyn Hitchcock).

clipping

Dang, but did my Of Montreal recording from last night come out clipped. I blame it on:

  1. naïve user
  2. no level meters on the iRiver H120
  3. no ability to change the recording level in mid record with the iRiver H120
  4. my oldish Sony ECM-909’s odd habits

What I really need is a Reactive Sounds Boost Box; pricey, but nice. I wonder if Church Audio can do me anything cheaper?

But anyway, for now, here’s The Lollipop People‘s Fort Jesus [MP3].

of montreal, rightful rulers of the universe

I’m just back from hearing Of Montreal play at Sneaky Dee’s. My, that was a fine show.

The support was, uh, interesting. The first, The Lollipop People. They’re your usual art-rock chamber ensemble; fun enough if Grade-A Canadian Beefheart is your thing. If the second support band’s name Better Than Everyone is true, everyone is in real trouble. They had their troublesome cheapo electronic equipment turned up (and stuck at) suck.

So, Of Montreal; beautiful, melodic, loud pop with just a hint of disco. They pretty much ran through their current album The Sunlandic Twins, but it was a stellar performance. It’s still too soon — and I’m still too deaf — to be articulate on this show. The floor at Sneaky’s was jumping, everyone grooving.

More later. It’s early.

And I nominate the late b. p. helium as 2005’s Carnaby Street Scarecrow.