August 11, 2008

The Best Records You Can't Buy In A Record Store (Part 1).

Here in South Bend, Indiana, things are just a bit lacking in the record sales department. Granted, iTunes and the MP3 craze in recent years has taken a huge and undeserving bite out of mom-and-pop record store sales (we'll ignore the many good things the digital revolution has brought to music, for the moment), and while that's true everywhere, it's just all the more devastating to a music and art-deprived city such as the Bend. At least one of three of our biggest local new and used record stores has closed down, and selection has become limited. Regardless, even if South Bend's record stores thrived like our next door neighbor's (Chicago), here are some excellent albums I can almost guarantee you'd never find (and who's mention will more than likely evoke a beaded brow and awkward, nervous twitches from the poor sap behind the counter who thought he knew everything about music already).

1. This Heat - Deceit: This Heat was Charles Hayward, Charles Bullen, and Gareth Williams, and somewhere around 1975, the trio began experimenting with what has now become the modern independent method of sound recording: cut and paste. They looped tracks, used otherwise non-musical objects as integral parts of their songs, and somehow managed to craft one of the finest (and what's more, listenable) experimental rock records of all time.
2. Pram Sargasso Sea: Very much one of my favorite groups, Rosie Cuckston's ominous British whisper mingles much too curiously with the sly, retro kraut-pop they create, and Sargasso Sea is perhaps one of the most blatant examples of this. Ten songs that bring up the best qualities of early Sea and Cake, and some unwanted love child between Low and Stereolab (though Damo Suzuki is never entirely innocent-looking).
3. King Black Acid Royal Subjects: A mysterious space rock quintet from Portland, Oregon (their music matches their presence). The first time I heard this record, I could not believe I hadn't heard it sooner; true perfection, I tell you. It's long and sprawling slowcore-meets-space rock, so if it's not your bag, it's probably just genre-clash.
4. 8 Bold Souls Last Option8 Bold Souls, a collective of jazz musicians originally assembled to perform Thursday night concerts at the downtown Chicago Filmmakers venue, create a very specific brand of jazz that simultaneously mimics everything good about free jazz artists such as Dave Holland while searing their name into the jazz scene with their unique blend of quiet, low-resonating reeds and strings.

Those are only four, I know - consider this "Part 1". Bed time guys.

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