Jack's Picks Vol. 9
Man, this week's picks are so chill. So psychedelic. So relaxing and overwhelmingly full of solid tracks for your eardrums. Surprisingly, we are on Volume 9 (!) of these weekly record selections. If you're not having any of the nonsense below though, definitely browse our back catalog of vinyl picks on the blog.
Mac Demarco - Another (Demo) One
I didn't think I'd hit the streets and go record digging on Record Store Day. We had a really killer promotion running on Saturday, but "new release" type crowds usually aren't my thing. Overcome by my own hypocrisy and the betrayal of the personal standards I have only just divulged to you, I ended up at Chicago's Reckless Records and purchased this Record Store Day exclusive.
This is a sweet album. Another One came out less than a year ago in August of 2015. With just 8 tracks, the original release clocked in at just over twenty-three minutes. I didn't realize it at point-of-purchase, but Another (Demo) One is sort of an expanded release featuring eight more previously unreleased demo tracks. The Record Store Day exclusive version is also pressed on red vinyl, giving it that extra tinge of specialty.
This particular album feels a lot more contemplative than his previous releases. To me, the entire record feels like one long track—which I like. It's definitely an album about love, but the songs don't bash you over the head with mushy-gushiness or ham-fisted lyricism. This is the album you put on after meeting that next someone, breaking it off with a longtime lover, or daydreaming about the person you don't really have.
It's also funky. Super funky, and filled to the brim with Mac Demarco's trademark twang and dream pop jangles. You should listen to this album, just give it a try.
The verdict: Give it a go, you might just like it.
Price: $20 (They only pressed 1000 copies, but maybe there is a non-RSD LP?)
Where: Ask your local record store—they may have leftovers.
The Grateful Dead - Live / Dead
This is one of the best albums in my collection. I don't even play it that often for fear that I'll spill something on it or drop it out the window at the end of some Rube Goldberg calamity. It's basically my holographic Michael Jordan rookie card.
The Grateful Dead, among everything else, were pioneers in the audio recording industry, eons ahead of most of their contemporaries. The improvisation the band employs on this album is quite literally amazing. These are tracks that, after listening to this album, you couldn't pay me to listen to again on a traditional studio album. An over-exaggeration, but live Dead, to me, sounds so much better than the restricted studio material. There are some songs ("Scarlet Begonias", "Casey Jones") I still really enjoy in studio format, but for the most part, I'll take the Grateful Dead live any day of the week.
This album...is...amazing. There are only six tracks, but the album still manages to be seventy-five minutes long. This LP is a compilation of concert recordings from 1969, just before the release of Workingman's Dead (1970). My favorite Dead track of all time, "St. Stephen," kicks off the album alongside a twenty-three minute version of "Dark Star." One of the best parts about the Dead is their ability to skyrocket off into an unfamiliar tangent, only to land seamlessly back into familiar territory and straight into your favorite refrain.
I think this is what puts a lot of people off about the Grateful Dead—that the songs are too long, or it just sounds like nonsense. Try it like this, though: think about one of your favorite songs. Most of the time, that song is just going to sound the same. No permutations. But with the Dead, I feel like you get a different version each and every time—even if it's just a small departure.
The verdict: If you like the Grateful Dead, even a little bit, definitely give this album a shot.
Price: $15-$50 (based on condition / availability)
Nite People - p.m. 180-Gram Reissue
I've mentioned this before, but I love digging through the psychedelic / prog section in the record store. What a bunch of strange selections. The album art never disappoints, and most of the time you can discover some pretty solid, hidden gemstones.
Enter Nite People's p.m. I wouldn't say I'm enthralled by this album, but I am definitely not disappointed. Reckless always types up these nice little descriptors on the album's label, so I bought this LP because it was "dominated by heavy organ and guitars." Nite People definitely bring out some crunchy guitar, and the organ does not disappoint. It's very underground sounding, and there's a couple tracks that could easily be additions to the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack.
"Reach Out I'll be There" is probably my favorite track. It starts out with an awesome marching drum anthem, followed by that signature soaring guitar prominent in only the best of prog rock. The bass is cranked up real loud, and there's a pretty sweet harpsichord-esque organ interlude before the song's triumphant closure.
This is a super diverse album. .p.m. shifts gears from psychedelic rock, to prog, to funk, and even features a Zappa Cover, "Peaches In Regalia," on the B-side. I picked up my copy for $15 at the local record store, but it may prove hard to find.
The verdict: If you're feeling adventurous, pick it up.
Condition: Used or New
And that wraps up this week's picks. If you have any comments, lay it down in the comments below and let’s start talkin’. I’d also be curious to see what you picked up this weekend, or what you’re planning on playing first on your Floating Record when it arrives. Until next time.