RSD 2014 Preview: The Good, The Bad, and The Expensive

(There is no bad)

Officially founded in 2007, Record Store Day is a celebration of the community, pride, and hard-work that goes into every independently owned record store. In the past few years, Record Store Day has grown into its own holiday, where artists small and large deliver a limited supply of releases old and new. Record Store Day Ambassador Chuck D, from the legendary hip-hip group Public Enemy, remarked on the impact of record stores, “The record store made musicians listen beyond themselves. It both complemented and supplemented the radio, in fact the best radio stations in the past followed the vibe of the record stores of their regions, thus growing and nurturing each other.”

I’m here to point you in the direction of my favorite releases, some of which my entire life savings ($164) on. This Saturday, thousands will gather at their local record store and indulge in the essential need that is music. Where will you be? Enjoy.

RSD 2014 Logo

The Vinyl Warhol’s RSD Picks (feel free to send me any of these)

??? – Side By Side Series 7″ : Always a fun, cheap way to get a unique RSD tradition. Two artists, an original song by one, with a cover by a different on the back. Last year I got The Stooges’/The Black Keys’ renditions of “No Fun,” on red and orange marble vinyl.

Cage the Elephant – “Take It Or Leave It”: A solid single from the band’s latest album, Melophobia. The B-side features an unreleased track called “Jesse James.”

CHVRCHES – Recover EP: One of last year’s hottest new acts, CHVRCHES has dominated both underground and popular music. They’re also playing at Bonnaroo!!

Haim – Forever: Another new giant from last year. Seriously infectious pop rock hits!

Jay Z/Linkin Park – Collision CourseOddly charming mash-ups of songs from both musical giants (See: “Big Pimpin’/Papercut”).

RPM Turntable Football – A Two Player Game Played at 33 1/3 RPM: Just look.

The Velvet Underground – LoadedA classic from a band where all of their albums (I don’t count are classic Squeeze) are classic. “Rock & Roll,” “Sweet Jane,” and “Cool It Down,” come on?

Liars – “Mess on a Mission”: Great tune from this band’s latest release, Mess. And just look at that! I did a blog talking about it.

LCD Soundsystem – The Long Goodbye Box set: Saving the best for last. This five LP set is a remastered recording of the band’s final concert at Madison Square Garden. The price is $130, but I’ll be damned if I’m not leaving RSD without it.

View the complete list here! So, whatcha want?


My Eulogy of Lou Reed

If you’re unaware, rock n’ roll great Lou Reed died yesterday at the age of 71. He was a revolutionary musician, singer, and songwriter, and his work with The Velvet Underground, along with his solo albums, continue to influence artists of all genres. This is my depiction of how I knew Lou Reed, and the affect he had on my life. Enjoy.

Lou Reed: March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013

We’ll start in New York City during the mid-60’s, The Velvet Underground comes under the management of art phenomenon Andy Warhol. Led by guitar player/singer Lou Reed, The Velvets become the house band at The Factory, Warhol’s art studio, and hangout of New York’s outcasts. They release a few poor selling records, and disband in 1970. Fast forward to 2010, a young music lover hears “Heroin” for the first time. I was instantly transfixed by the vivid imagery and compelling vocals. I’d never heard anything so dark, so real. I thought to myself, “This was made in the 60’s?” My vision of the 1960’s until that point was the hippie stereotype. What still amazes me to this day was that this music was coming out at the same time, but no one had heard it. It was the counter-culture to the counter-culture. “I guess, that I just don’t know” resonated with the isolation that I was feeling at the time, and “Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life” was more honest than anything I had ever heard.

It wasn’t until my freshman year of college, when my roommate Kevin MacKenzie really showed me the prophet that was Lou Reed, or as we put it “Lou Motherfucking Reed”. You’ll never find a bigger Lou Reed fan than Kevin, we listened to all of The Velvets’ records, and he got me into Reed’s solo albums, namely Street Hassle and Transformer. But, Reed’s presence left an even bigger impact on me. He was so fucking cool. The leather, the sunglasses, his mannerisms during interviews, he didn’t give a fuck. He was punk before punk was a thing, and he was everything I wanted to be.

Everyone knows, or should know, that The Velvet Underground & Nico is one of the most influential albums of all time. Brain Eno said it perfectly, ““The first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years, but I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.” Everything that came after in rock n’ roll was influenced by The Velvet Underground. Their lyrics paint a portrait of the grimy underbelly of New York City, a place where freaks and weirdos reigned supreme. Lou Reed was a journalist of sorts; the words he wrote were his direct perception of that New York scene. Lou Reed is New York City. When I listen to The Velvet Underground & Nico, or any of The Velvets’ or Lou Reed’s albums, I’m transported right into The Factory with Warhol, Reed, and a bushel of transvestites and drug dealers, and I’m home. Reed’s description of that 60’s New York scene led me to delve deeper into the fashion, the art, the feeling of that time period. Without Lou Reed, I can confidently say, there wouldn’t be The Vinyl Warhol. There may be a music blog, but it wouldn’t be called The Vinyl Warhol.

Lou Reed was an artist. He made art that everyone could relate to. He practically invented the underground music scene. And I’ll never forget him. Thank you.

Do yourself a favor and listen to everything by Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground.