The Vinyl Junky Reviews Flaming Lips

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The Vinyl Junkie

 

I am a vinyl junkie. I admit it.  I enjoy looking in record stores for the perfect record, the one that somehow has slipped through the hands of everyone else.  With my superior knowledge of the holy grail of record collecting, I can spot perfection.  After more than a half century of scouring through record bins throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world (last month, I looked for vinyl in Istanbul), I know that I have an edge on at least the novice.

I guess that admission represents the first step to a cure, but I really don’t want to be cured.  From my vantage point, everyone should be a vinyl junkie.  First of all, music soothes the soul.  Those passionate collectors who search for the greatest music of all time, or the sounds of surprise in the words of one critic, should be lauded and not ridiculed.  Vinyl junkies seek truth through art, in this case music.  We hope to learn more about the human endeavor by experiencing the transcendence of sound, which has been crafted by musicians who in most cases suffer mightily for their craft.  We want to find the answers to some of the probing questions of all time through our pursuit.  We search for the meaning of life itself in seven-, ten- and twelve-inch pieces of vinyl.

Vinyl discs provide a medium unmatched by others.  Though compact discs surely have great sound quality, vinyl provides larger-sized cover art that can be framed and placed on the wall.  The vinyl record also offers a sound that cannot be easily replicated.  It has that analog hum, that buzz, which captures the very gestalt of a performer.  Moreover, vinyl provides a historical record of the music.  When you have a record in your hands, especially an original, you can be transported to a place in time, which no longer exists.  For example, hold an original Blue Note ten-inch record by Thelonious Monk and join the privileged few who experienced Monk during the early 1950s, when he first emerged on the scene and bop exploded from New York City.  Or lay your hands on a rare Stiff Little Fingers punk LP and feel the anger of youth during the heyday of U.K. punk.  With a record album, you become part of the times, which gave birth to the music.

I collect the music I consider to be great music in the genre of rock, jazz, soul, techno, funk, blues and other similar styles.  Others focus on different types of music or try to collect every extant artifact by a specific artist.  Others might collect Christmas records, big band albums or easy listening sounds.  Still others crave white-label promo records that came off the presser in the record plant first of all and have superior sound.  Yet other collectors, myself included, look for certain graphic artists who crafted the cover artwork of albums.  I collect David Stone Martin artwork which appeared on many jazz and a few other types of records from the 1950s to the 1980s.

I have agreed to write this column because I recently discovered the amount of rare vinyl housed in the three locations of Silver Platters.  Like me, you may have assumed that Silver Platters carries only compact discs and DVDs, given its name.  However, several years ago, the owner decided to offer new vinyl and then used records albums in his stores.  Within the past six months, he has bought a number of massive collections of highly collectible vinyl and placed it for sale in his three locations.  He pledges to continue to feed the habit of rabid vinyl junkies with rare and unusual items.  Of course, he also carries mint versions of all the classic rock (e.g. Led Zeppelin, Dylan, Bowie, Eagles, Doors, etc.) and jazz (Monk, Coltrane, Bird, etc.), which serve as the foundation of any record collection.

In this continuing column, I will feature one or two rare records that the store has just priced for sale.  I will highlight some very cool records that will whet your appetite to become part of music history and get you closer to the truth.

                A few weeks ago, Silver Platters bought the very first Flaming Lips 12-inch.  This record comes in a variety of pressings, but the store found the very first version, which the band pressed themselves in 1984 on green wax.

                If you collect, the Flaming Lips, you need this record. It represents the rarest piece of Lips history possible with only 500 copies ever made on Lovely Sorts of Death Records.  It also includes the photocopied lyric sheet.  As an original pressing, it comes with the black (not brown) border.  When you listen to this record, you will be carried to the early 1980s and the beginnings of indie rock.  You will be especially pleased with the steady, ominous beat of “Bag Full of Thoughts.”

Dr. Dave Szatmary

Author of

Rockin’ In Time

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Record Store Day 2014 Preview

Record Store Day 2014: Preview

By Zoe K.

Jake Bugg Live At Silver Platters

On January 20, 2014 Jake Bugg drew a packed crowd to our SoDo store for a fantastic live performance. If you happened to miss the show, or if you want to relive the experience, now is your chance! Jake Bugg is releasing a live EP of songs performed at Silver Platters on both CD and 12” vinyl.

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Mudhoney On Top

This live LP captures a truly unique Mudhoney performance atop the iconic Seattle Space Needle. Only a dozen people witnessed this event, part of Sub Pop Records’ 25th Anniversary celebration, but now the recording will be available as a limited RSD Exclusive Release.

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Flaming Lips “7 Skies H3”

It’s okay if you didn’t have $5,000 to buy the digital copy of this 24-hour-long song when it came out in 2011. Maybe you did have the money, but were creeped out by the human skull packaging. The 50 minute edit will be available on clear vinyl for RSD!

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Black Angels Clear Lake Forest

This is the follow up to 2013’s Indigo Meadow on 10” clear vinyl, featuring seven newly recorded songs from Austin’s psych-rock outfit, just in time for all your summer picnics.

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 Grateful Dead Live at Hampton Coliseum

Great news, Deadheads! Here’s a live recording of their 1979 concert in Hampton, VA on two 180g vinyl records in a gatefold sleeve. Unless you were at the show, their first time at the Hampton Coliseum, you’ve probably never heard this one before because this vinyl version is the first time this show has been released in any format.

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Velvet Underground Loaded

Loaded is an essential album in any record collection, so if you don’t have it already now’s your chance. This 12” LP is being reissued on pink, white and black splatter vinyl, which just ups the awesome factor. Loaded was their final studio album with Lou Reed, and it includes tracks such as “Sweet Jane” and “Lonesome Cowboy Bill.”

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 Dream Theater “Illumination Theory”

Have you been waiting for Dream Theater to release a picture disc? Wait no longer, for it is here. This 22-minute-long song is the closing track on their self-titled album released last year. Don’t cut yourself on the broken glass.

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Of Montreal Satanic Panic In The Attic

I can’t believe that it’s been ten years since this album was first released. Of Montreal have been quite prolific in the years since then, but this breakthrough album was where it all got started. It’s going to be great to listen to this yellow and blue 2 LP on a portable turntable outside and reminisce about how great things were in 2004, back before we lost our innocence.

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Black Friday Preview

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Black Friday Preview

By Zoe K.

This is probably the first time in my life that I have been excited about Black Friday. I don’t like crowds or consumerism, so clearly I have my reservations about the biggest shopping day of the year. This year I will not only break my tradition of hiding in my bedroom avoiding the chaos around me, but I will consider going to work early to shop this year’s special Black Friday releases before my shift starts.

Black Friday is an offshoot of the original Record Store Day held in the spring, where music lovers get a chance to buy awesome limited releases from their favorite artists, mostly on vinyl. Black Friday is a slightly different version of RSD; this time it is geared toward celebrating the holiday season by featuring some Christmas LPs and 7”s in addition to the usual offerings.

There are many awesome LPs to check out this year. Bob Dylan is releasing Side Tracks, a 180 gram, 3 LP set of rarities not featured on any studio albums. The Flaming Lips have a new six song EP called Peace Sword containing the title track, which was written for the film adaptation of Ender’s Game, as well as other songs inspired by the film. Another notable release is Family Dog at the Great Highway, which contains recently discovered recordings from an intimate 1970 acoustic show by The Grateful Dead. This album contains a mix of original songs, covers and rare tracks and is going to be available on 2 LPs until the 7,500 copies run out.

If you’re a fan of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, you’ll surely be excited about the 2 LP Live From KCRW album premiering on November 29. This live recording includes tracks from last year’s release, Push The Sky Away, as well as favorites like “The Mercy Seat” and “Jack The Ripper” from their classic albums. British band Foals are releasing a limited 12” record of six tracks recorded using CCTV. Josh Tillman of Father John Misty is releasing The History of Caves on LP, which is his soundtrack to his wife Emma’s 2013 short film of the same name.

Don’t worry, there will also be plenty of fun Christmas releases too. John Denver And The Muppets are doing A Christmas Together, which will be released on a 12” picture disc. It wouldn’t be Christmas without the Vince Guaraldi Trio playing “Linus and Lucy” from the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas, and now you will be able to own a gold 7” containing the song plus “Oh Good Grief” on the B-Side.

Go ahead and get into the holiday spirit! While you’re at it, don’t forget to join the festivities at all three Silver Platters locations.