Record Store Day!

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Saturday July 17th, 2021 is the second drop of vinyl goodies at independent shops.

From watching store owners and people who are passionate about Vinyl on YouTube there is a vast spectrum of opinions.

The consistency of this special day are the expectations people have for certain titles to appear on the release list.

As many people are disappointed as thrilled by the discovery each time out.

This is exactly the reason why going to record stores had always been a source of pure joy for me.

The record store is where I found my first Queen album! It’s where many now classic artists are found when they were new.

This Saturday I have the deep pleasure of going to one of the largest independent stores in the USA—Princeton Record Exchange in New Jersey with my best friend from high school.

Picture Vinyl, First time on Vinyl live albums from legendary artists, special singles, special color vinyl, box sets, and records being pressed for the first time since their original release sometimes decades ago.

This year Box sets feature a studio album set from Randy Newman; War has a 5 album set of color vinyl of their core catalog not seen on vinyl since the mid seventies!

Two E.P. titles are Queen+Adam Lambert Live Around The World including 2 tracks not found on the #1 album plus a 7″ Freddie Mercury song, Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow on pink vinyl packaged with the e.p.

A late addition to the release list, Foo Fighters Dee Gees features their covers of iconic Bee Gees hits and a side of their own.

Soundtracks are always big. This time out Aliens The Matrix, and Harold & Maude are being featured.

There are three volumes of rarities from The Monkees. Each title comes on color vinyl. You won’t know the color until you open it!

Live albums from Ramones, Suzi Quatro, Aretha Franklin and John Prine are limited editions.

Click this link for the list of releases:

https://recordstoreday.com/NewsItem/9578

Record Stores in NJ and NY:

Princeton Record Exchange Info:

https://www.prex.com/phone/

For info on NYC’s newest record store, Rough Trade, next door to Radio City Music Hall click below:

https://www.roughtrade.com/us

Happy Record Store Day!

Post Malone/Hollywood’s Bleeding

“Hollywood’s Bleeding” on Republic Records was released on September 5, 2019. The follow-up to the multi-platinum “Beer Bongs & Bentleys” has reached #1 on Billboard this week.

The Syracuse, NY born, Grapevine, TX raised rap/rocker has become the country’s top performer.

I must admit that I never expected such a personality to become so popular. He has such a disarming voice. And his tattooed appearance includes face ink, perhaps the last taboo in the pop world!

His real name is Austin Richard Post. A rap name generator gave him Post Malone. This method of name selection seems too easy. Like many a millenial idol, his music is also too simple.

The 18 tracks are diverse in style. The lyrics are repetitive. Several collaborations are featured including Ozzy Osbourne. Like the tastes of many young listeners today he is all over the place.

The title track opens the proceedings with a lament that tinsel town is bleeding from all the sex and drugs of its stars. Without naming names the vocals are strong.

If you are an older listener there is little to find here you have not heard before. Catchy melodies, boastful raps, and syncopated drum machines are omnipresent.

The strength for me are the vocal delivery of this often trite material. After all, Mr. Malone is just 24. If he lasts into his thirties as a music star he will hopefully mature into a better songwriter.

“Enemies” is all about the seeming impossibility to have real friends in a business of entourages and stringers.

“Allergic” is a catchy piece. This New wave groove pulsates with lyrics about drugs hindering any chance for a relationship.

“Circles” is the latest single in release. A basic pop track about letting go of being together. The lyrics are among the many trite offerings in this long playlist.

The chorus: ‘run away but we’re running in circles. run away. run away’. Sounds like Jack Johnson. This is the kind of track young listeners reward with multiple streams today.

The delivery of the material is good. The vocals are consistently good across the songs offered in this collection. The collaborations are okay.

For rock purists, the song “Take What You Want” feat. Ozzy Osbourne is the only dose you will find here. It’s the only track with electric guitars too.

Distilled to its basic elements this record sounds like a Kurt Cobain type singer complaining about being rich & famous.

Auto tune is what divides today’s listeners from previous generations. In my opinion there is too much of it here.

Post Malone has managed to become a star at 24. He realizes the pitfalls are many for someone in his position. Hopefully he stays around long enough to release a less commercially targeted effort.

This album worked. He is debuting this week, September 21, 2019 at #1 on the chart not just in the US but in several countries around the world.

Twenty One Pilots Reinvent Rock

Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” is a critically acclaimed play that keeps getting revived on Broadway. I saw the most recent production Starring Annette Bening and Tracey Letts.

It tells the story of an American defense contractor who knowingly sold defective plane parts that led to the deaths of 21 pilots during the war.

Vocalist Tyler Joseph took the name for his band from this play. He is the principal songwriter for the duo. His childhood friend Josh Dun is the drummer.

I loved the play. Arthur Miller became one of my favorite playwrights. Consequently, Twenty One Pilots are now one of my favorite artists in music.

The duo from Akron, Ohio did not try to sell themselves. Playing low key gigs in their home state until one fateful show with 1,200 local fans and 12 record label reps in the crowd took them by surprise.

They have recorded 4 studio albums. The third album”Blurryface” was their breakthrough to the commercial mainstream. The song “Stressed Out” went triple platinum.

I found them on SNL. Then I went to hear all of their music online. I could not stop listening. Their sound was unique. How could a rock duo seemingly reinvent the genre?

Tyler Joseph discovered for himself how to express personal struggles with depression, doubt, and survival using his voice. He plays keyboards/synth. The music has no guitar. This became revelatory to their success.

I felt strongly that no other artist reflected these times better. Exploring themes of faith, mental illness, death, insecurity and suicide on their eponymous debut, “Vessels”, and “Blurryface”, the duo took a year off to write a story focusing on the painful end of an order based on faith.

Their recent offering, “Trench”, was a concept record well received by fans and critics alike. Set in the fictional city of Dema, in a world known as Trench. Clancy, the main protagonist, takes a personal journey into this decaying culture to discover Nine Bishops control this crumbling society.

Trench Album & Josh Dun with Tyler Joseph seen above.

Dema means Towers of Silence. In Zoroastrianism the dead are placed inside of towers made of stone. Black Vultures feed on them. Ecology falters leading to the disappearance of these sentries to the eternal.

The songs tell the story well. Tyler Joseph and Paul Meaney of indie band Mutemath wrote all 14 tracks and produced the album.

‘Jumpsuit’ opens the record. A protective article of clothing needed to survive in Trench. ‘Levitate’ & ‘Morph’ describe the actions required to move around dangerous sections of the city.

The vocals vary from soft to outcries; falsetto to baritone; sometimes in the span of a single song.

‘My Blood’, ‘Chlorine’, ‘Smithereens’, and ‘Neon Gravestones’ cover more ground. The joining together to fend off enemies, cleansing away dark thoughts, and sacrificing for your community are expressed in these tracks. The music insists on our resisting old thoughts to operate in a discovery of improved life.

‘The Hype’, ‘Nico and the Niners’, ‘Cut My Lip’, ‘Bandito’ and ‘Pet Cheetah’ follow in quick order. The action moves fast; the thoughts need time to be absorbed.

This album takes more than a few spins but rewards its listener with catchy beats and introspective lyrics. The pop elements repeat a lot. I found it more soothing than irritant.

‘Legend’ and ‘Leave The City’ are about survival. Coping with new circumstances becomes the salve.

If you have not listened to this music yet start with Blurryface or Vessels. While Trench is satisfying to the duo’s now established following, it may not grab a novice.