Audio Lore

A Positive Music Blog

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Feelies - Time for a Witness (Out of the Vaults #25)

Every once in awhile ..well you know the drill

Where as most 14/15/16 year olds may have written fan letters to their sports players, actors, or pop music idols, I wrote letters to members of indie rock bands. Yeah, my music geek roots run pretty deep.

I would get the addresses of the LP jackets or cassette inserts, write out carefully handwritten letters, seal them, send them out and wait patiently for replies.

I can't remember exactly how I first heard of the Hoboken,New Jersey band  The Feelies but it probably has to do with R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck co-producing their 1986 The Good Earth album. Soon The Good Earth and 1988's Only Life, the only two Feelies records I was aware of at that time, were two of my favorite albums,always in heavy rotation.

Along with The Feelies, at the time two of my favorite indie rock discoveries at the time were Boston's Galaxie 500 who had just released the awesome On Fire album, and New Zealand's The Chills. One day I decided the three bands would be the next victims of my music geek letter writing.

I never heard back from Galaxie 500 or The Chills, I chalked it up to the
former being busy on tour and the latter's letter getting lost somewhere overseas en route to New Zealand.

But The Feelies actually wrote back. The letter was written by drummer Stanley Demeski  He said that when he joined the band it was decided he would be the one responsible for all the fan mail the band received. He said my letter was their very first one.

In the letter he expressed how thrilled he and the rest of the band were that someone had taken the time to write to them. He included a Coyote Records press release for the band. It was in the press release that I first learned the band was taken from a device in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I made a mental note to pick up a copy at the Crown Books next to the Kemp Mill Records store in town. I also had no idea the band had actually all but split up in the early 80's , playing together in various musical project, before reforming and recording The Good Earth This was about when Stanley Demeski joined on drums,

The Feelies perforning in "Something Wild"
The press release also talked about the band's close affiliation to director Jonathan Demme. Their song “Too Far Gone” had appeared on the soundtrack to his movie Married to the Mob. The band even made an appearance in Demme's Something Wild as “the Willies”, playing live during the high school reunion. They preformed a couple songs including David Bowie's “Fame”. I would go on to look for an actual recording of that song for years


One of the most important thing the press release informed  me (and plus radio stations and live venues the release was intended for) of was that The Feelies actually had another album. Their debut album Crazy Rhythms was originally released in 1980 but at the point the press release was written it was long out of print. Even then the album was considered a classic. I would go on to try and find a decently priced copy. Finally in 1990 A&M rereleased it on compact disc 

In 1991 I had the opportunity to by my first "new" album by The Feelies when they released Time for a Witness,

The music found on the disc really broke no new ground but
"Sooner or Later" promo 12"
it was by far a disappointment either. Time for a Witness has some awesome revved up songs toward in "Waiting" at track 1, with it's smooth guitar groove during the chorus, "Time for a Witness" with a slight jangle added track, and "Sooner of Later, containing one of my favorite lyrics ("I don't know what's up ahead, Don't think too much, it'll hurt your head") at track 3. 


The band also continues paying tribute to their music
forefathers with the Velvet Underground influenced "Decide" at track 5 and early Rolliug Stones inspired "What She Said", as well what I thought as their totally own sound on "Invitation", a song that would fit perfectly right on The Good Earth

One big surprise of the album is "Doing it Again" at track 6. The song sound very similar to the Jackson Browne classic "Somebody's baby". I'm not sure if this was intended buy the band or just an accidental coincidence. I'm also surprised in all these years no one besides me has ever called the band out on it. 

Continuing to pay tribute to their influence (they covered The Velvet Underground's "What Goes On" on the previous album) The Feelies close the album with a amped up cover of The Stooges "Real Cool Time", which may have been the first time I was aware of hearing the classic but at the time pretty unavailable band 

Unfortunately Time for a Witness would be the last album the band would release, The band went on hiatus, Later reforming for post 2000 to play sporatic shows (I caught them in Battery Park opening for Sonic Youth on July 4th 2008) before releasing their Time for a Witness followup Here in 2011.

But The Feelies hiatus did not leave this now 18 year old music geek too upset because right around the same time both Galaxie 500 and The Chills called it a day too. Galaxie 50 's singer/guitarist Dean Warhem would form a new band with The Chills bassist Justin Harwood,  my old pen pal Stanley Demeski on drums. 

Years later Dean Warhem would retweet a tweet I made about an upcoming Luna concert. I consider it my long overdue reply.









The Feelies performing "Doin' it Again" on David Letterman in 1991


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Out of the Vaults # 24 - SUGAR -File Under Easy Listening (Deluxe Edition)

My wife dives into our CD cabinets (The Vaults) and randomly pull out one of the thousands of  CDs. The chosen album will then be given to me and I will talk about the CD for awhile no matter how good, bad, obscure or embarrassing the chosen disc is. Where did I buy it, when did I buy it, what was my first reaction to hearing it, do I still listen to it today etc, etc, etc

One of the things I dislike the most in the world is when people say "Thanks Obama". After 11 years it's just not funny anymore, Whenever someone says it, I cringe. It wasn't too funny to begin but when all those years ago the expression first began popping up it would always give me a little laugh, reminding me of something that happened many years before, 

It was 1992, Husker Du's singer/guitarist Bob Mould had new band called Sugar. I hated them so much. Hated them with a passion.And this was before I had even heard a single note.

The reason why I hated Sugar so much was because I wanted Bob Mould to make up with drummer Grant Hart, grab bassist Greg Norton and do Husker Du reunion. Over the past couple of years Bob Mould had released two solo albums, Black Sheets of Rain and Workbook. They were okay albums but didn't have the buzz saw sound of Husker Du, who's back catalog was always in heavy rotation on my stereo.

Bob Nould (Center) with drummer Malcolm Travis (left) and bassist Dave Barbe (right)
Sugar was going to play the 9:30 club in Washington, D.C. and they didn't even have an album out. Their 7" on Bob's  Singles Only Label (S.O.L.) may have been released already but I can't remember. I planned to go to the show but would be doing so “under protest”. I was hoping they would slip in a Husker Du song or two.

The show was so loud. I don't mind loud but this show was so loud if Sugar had released any recordings it would have been  impossible to tell what song was being played anyway. Still I was pretty sure there weren't any Husker Du songs performed that night. When the show was over I managed to grab one of the set lists. There weren't any Husker Du songs listed on it.


Usually after concerts my ears would clear up within an hour or so. This Sugar show was so loud the next day my ears still had a muffled buzz going on.


"Your Favorite Thing" single
At the time I had a summer job  at a warehouse counting maps.The maps consisted of random things from highway trucking routes to electrical systems in buildings all over the United States   A team of two people would have a list of maps they needed to retrieve ("pick") for an order. Once they had them they would bring them over to me and this other guy who would count them out, wrap them in rubber bands, and box them up to be sent out. About half the warehouse was filled with workers from the temp agency. It was a monotonous job but we made the most of it by having rubber band battles, talking about music and telling each other jokes and stories.

Each day at lunch time there would be a ring over the loudspeaker to let everyone know it was time for lunch. Then after a half an hour there was another ring  saying it was time to go back to work. The day after the Sugar show my boxing partner had called out of work so I was working by myself and honestly getting more stuff done than if I was chatting away with my absent coworker.

That day my ears were buzzing so loud from the show I missed both of the rings.
Flier from a show just a few days after the one in D.C.
When I saw the other workers coming back from lunch  I realized  I would now have to wait until the end of the day before I could get something to eat. Ten minutes later when one of the picking teams brought over an order of maps, one of them asked where I had been during the lunch break. I told him what had happened and ended the story with "Thanks Bob Mould".

Soon that became the catch phrase of the summer. Whenever something went wrong we would say "Thank you Bob Mould".

A couple month later Sugar released their first album Copper Blue. Although it was a very good album I still wasn't over my desire for a Husker Du reunion. Almost immediately after Copper Blue Sugar released a mini album called Beaster. This was more like it. Buzz saw guitars all over the place. Then in 1994 Sugar released their final album File Under Easy Listening before Bob once again decided it was time for the band to call it a day. F.U.E.L was more of a continuation of Copper Blue. Good music with full of hooks under Bob's guitars.


 But it still wasn't Husker Du. 

Eventually I traded the discs back to a used CD store. They also released a collection of b-sides called Besides which I am pretty sure I never picked up. 

File Under Easy Listening Deluxe Edition
In 2012 Merge Records released two deluxe Sugar CD collections. The first was a triple disc containing Copper Blue, Beaster, and Live at the Caberet Metro.The second  a double disc containing File Under Easy Listening with some b-Sides, and The Joke Isn't Always On Us, Sometimes, a live disc which was originally included with the first 25,000 copies of Besides.

On a whim I picked up both of the reissues and discovered a new fondness for the band. I guess I had finally come to terms with the idea there was never going to be a Husker Du reunion. To this day both deluxe disc sets remain in my regular rotation. It's also great to finally be able hear a Sugar live show without my ears buzzing for days. 

Thanks Bob Mould






Here is the video for F.U.E.L.'s "Gee Angel"


Friday, July 15, 2016

Beatles (For Sale)

 Over the years that I owned a record store in Historical Ellicott City, Maryland, there were a few regular customers that stood out. The first one would be the kid who worked as a dish washer across the street  at the Phenix who would come in every other Wednesday to order a tape so it would be there when he was paid the upcoming Friday. Then I would put it on the store stereo for him and together we would bang our heads (not literally of course) through a few songs. The tape was always the heaviest of the heaviest Christian bands such as the 80's thrash metal band Believer or Barren Cross. The kid told me he did not necessarily believe in the Christian stuff the bands were singing about but it was the only way his parents would let him listen to such loud music.

The second would be the Pappa John's pizza delivery guy who worked
around the corner on Route 40. Every couple weeks he would stop
at the store while making a delivery and order tapes by Jazz Fusion artists. I would see him in his convertible stopped at the light on Main Street while he delivered a pizza; he would be blasting whatever Chock Corea, Stanely Clarke, or other tape he had recently purchased,, When he saw me he would give me a thumbs up, turn the music up even louder, and continue on his way.

I  have to say my favorite regular customer was the Beatles guy. The guy was  probably in his late 30's to early 40's. The second time he came in we got to talking. He told me how when he 

was young he had been a patient at the mental 

hospital Taylor Manor (now Sheppard Pratt) up 

the street. He had“graduated” and officially 

released but ended up living nearby, so he went 

back later and got a job working in the cafeteria.

The guy told me how he just recently discovered the Beatles, falling instantly in love with their music. He said he did not get paid a lot at his job but would put away a little of each paycheck so at the end of the month he could purchase one of The Beatles albums on CD, The catch was he wanted to make sure to pick them up in the order they were released and would need my help in achieving that.

In order for the guy (and myself) to not become too confused with all the different UK versus US versions of each album, I decided we should concentrate on the North American discography. In 1998 Introducing The Beatles and  a few of their other early releases were  not yet available on Compact Disc so Meet The Beatles was going to be the designated starting point. When he picked up his copy the smile on his face went from ear to ear. He told me how he could not wait to give it a spin.

A month later when the guy showed up I had a brand new shrink wrapped copy of the next album that was available on compact discovered; Hard Days Night, waiting for him. Before he left with his CD the guy told me how he played Meet The Beatles over and over again at home and while at work. At one point he even had the whole cafeteria staff singing along to “I Saw Her Standing There”, “It Won't be Long”, and of course “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
Every month the guy would show up like clockwork
to claim his prize for month of hard work he put in just up the street at the Taylor Manor cafeteria just up the street from my store. It was HelpRubber SoulRevolver, Sgt Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, which he confided in me was not his favorite of the Fab Four's recordings, The White Album, and so on.

When I would order the CD's for the guy I would also make sure to order a few copies for the store

too. Soon I realized as I was ordering the Cd's for the guy to discover, I was listening to them too,

gaining a whole new appreciation for these albums I had not listened to in full since I was in my

teens and my parents lent me theirs.

Sure I remembered all the hits but this was the first time in years I was hearing so many of the great Rubber Soul, “And Your Bird Can Sing” and “I've Just Seen a Face” as well as “For No One” off of Revolver.
album cuts like “I Need You” and “Another Girl' off of Help.
When we reached The White Album. I totally forgot about such great songs like “Happiness is Warm Gun”, George Harrison's “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and the wacky out of nowhere songs like “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” and “Rocky raccoon”.

But then it happened. After months of coming in to pick up compact disc copies of Meet The Beatles to Abbey Road , the guy came in to pick up his copy the last  Beatles album: Let It Be. He had his usual ear to ear smile on his face. As he was about to leave with the final piece of the Beatles puzzle, the smile briefly left as he turned to me and said, “I guess that's it”.

I said back, “What do you mean”. 
The guy shrugged and said, “ That's all their albums”. Then he looked at the ground and said, “There are no more to get”.

There was a brief moment of silence.

Then I said, “Now you can work on getting all the solo albums”

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why 24 Hour Revenge Therapy is my least favorite Jawbreaker album

Last week JAWBREAKER's 1994 album 24 Hour Revenge Therapy celebrated it's 175316 Hour (20 Year) Anniversary with a brand new remastered version on drummer Adam Pfaler's Black Ball Records and of course everyone was reminded of how so many music journalists, including just last week Pitchfork's Brandon Stosouy, call 24 Hour Revenge Therapy their "most beloved" album by the fans.

Well here is a very big fan that would place 24 Hour Revenge Therapy all the way at the bottom
Jawbreaker's four album. Here is why:

The first thing is the album has no strong song to kick off the album. Jawbreaker's previous album Bivuac kicks off with the powerful "Shield Your Eyes" and their 24 Hour Revenge Therapy  follow up begins with the almost equally powerful "Save Your Generation". These two songs, along with the classic "Want" that leads off the Jawbreaker's debut (and my first introduction to the band) are all awesome songs that really get the listener psyched for the following tracks. All off them make you think " This is the moment I have waited for. Drop the needle or press "play" on the CD player.sit back and get psyched.

24 Hour Revenge Therapy doesn't have that song. Instead it's lead off track "Boat Dream From the Hill", although in no way a bad song, sounds like it should be located a few tracks in. When the needle is dropped on the album and the listener sits back all bundled up in anticipation, the song is already going, leaving the listener thinking they need to play catch up.

24 Hour Revenge Therapy also has a very awkward ending. The other three albums have very triumphant and satisfying endings. Unfun's final track "Drone" ends in a fury of riffs and samples before closing out with feedback, Bivuac's closing title track has similar various noises ended finishing the sounds of guitars being laid against the amps, drum sticks winding down on cymbals,  like Jawbreaker may have down at the end of one of their concerts, and Dear You's finale, the almost all acoustic "Unlisted Track" ends the album perfectly.

24 Hour Revenge Therapy lacks that triumphant finale. It's last track "In Sadding Around" just sort of ends. No satisfaction is given.

The second thing weighing 24 Hour Revenge Therapy down in the order of my favorite Jawbreaker albums is the songs kind of a little too similar. In fact has anyone else noticed that the second and third tracks "Indictment" and "Boxcar" are pretty much the same song? Even their subject matter is very similar. I totally understand that both songs were written by the same person, are being recorded by the same band on the same album meaning obviously there are going to be similarities between the tracks but still . Maybe this would not be as noticeable, to me at least,  if the songs were a little more separated on the album. "Indictment" would have been great replacing "Boat Dream from the Hill" as the lead off track, with "Boxcar" near the beginning of side two, or  right before "Ache" (track 7) for the folks who have it on Compact Disc or Mp3.

Besides those two back to back songs, there are a few more remarkably similar songs on the album. Every song on Unfun, Bivuac (including the Chesterfield King 12" songs) and just about all on Dear You, I can recognize within the first few seconds. "Do You Still Hate Me" (Track 8) and "Jinx Removing" (Track 10) and "Boat Dream from the Hill" all sound very much alike and take until half way through the first verse, sometimes even  the first chorus, for me to be able to distinguish which is which

The third, and for me in 1994 the most disappointing aspect of the record is the production. When I first read ex Big Black (and future Shellac) singer/guitarist Steve Albini was going to be recording the next Jawbreaker album I was ecstatic. Albini has "engineered" (He always stated  how he hates to be called "producer") so many great albums. Some up to that point they included The Pixies' Surfer Rosa, Jesus Lizard's Goat, The Breeders' haunting debut The Pod, The Poster Children's excellent Daisychain Reaction, Superchunk's best album No Pocky for Kitty, of course Nirvana's In Utero, and Failure's much underrated debut Comfort. 

But 24 Hour Revenge Therapy just does not have that sharp, sound, or as Michael Azerod puts it in his awesome book Our Band Could Be Your Life: "The recordings were both very basic and very exacting. Albini used few special effects, got an aggressive, often violent guitar sound and made sure the rhythm slammed as one"  that you expect and enjoy in a Steve Albin engineered album.24 Hour Revenge Therapy sounds very murky Singer Blake Swartzenbach's voice sounds very buried in the mix, making his voice not sound so original and distinguishable from other band's singers. The ironic thing is that when I first heard the Michael James recorded Unfun, I thought is sounded very much  like and Albini "engineered" album.

I can;t stress enough that  I do not think 24 Hour Revenge Therapy is in any way a bad album. In my opinion it actually contains some of Blake's best lyrics while in Jawbreaker and future bands Jets to Brazil and Forgetters. It just has two very good (Bivuac and Dear You) and one incrdeible (Unfun) album just a little bit, at least to my ears, better.












Monday, December 16, 2013

My Favorite Albums of 2013: One Blogger's Opinion ( No Arcade Fire or Daft Punk inside)

1- Warm Soda “Someone for You” (Castleface Records) - In 2011 I had the 70’s AM radio sounding Power/Pop band Bare Wires on my list. Guitarist Mathew Melton’s new band Warm Soda makes the jump to the FM dial with a fuller sound and even sharper hooks. This was definitely my favorite release of the year.


2- Mixtapes “Ordinary Silence” (No Sleep) - Punk guitars playing pop hooks with crystal clear male and female vocals singing tongue in cheek sarcastic lyrics. Plus they like to curse a lot. Why have I never heard of this Cincinnati band before?





3- Palma Violets “180” (Rough Trade) -
While The Vaccines inherited The Libertines guitar hooks, it seems The Palma Violets inherited their drunken swagger. Throw in a bit of a Lloyd Cole and the Commotions influence and you have a great debut album.



4- Iceage “You're Nothing" (Matador)- In 2011 everyone put the Denmark band Iceage's debut album “New Brigade” on their Best of lists leaving me scratching my head wondering why. Sometime within then and this year's ‘You're Nothing” I finally got this (Early) Cure meets Christian Death inspired band. Anxiously waiting what they do next.

5- The Maine “Forever Halloween”(Rude) - The Goo Goo Dolls started out as a fun thrash band. Somewhere in the middle of their transformation into the hugely successful rock band of today, they released the very good Power/Pop "Superstar Carwash" album and most people missed it. Thankfully The Maine did not. This Brendon Benson produced album is literally a million times better than The Maine’s previous releases.


6- California X “S/T” (Don Giovanni) - There are only two things in a song I like more than loud driving guitars. Anathematic vocals and strong hooks. Luckily this Amherst, Massachusetts band posses all three. I can’t wait to see them live in February.





7- The Strokes “Comedown Machine” (RCA) - Sometimes you just have to hear an album in the right place before it clicks. When this album was released in March, I thought it sounded weird, kind of disco-y and a bit unlistenable. It wasn’t until July when I was in Vancouver’s Zulu Records and heard this album playing throughout each room that I realized how good it was.


8- Oblivians “Desperation” (In The Red)- There is no arguing this Oblivians "reunion" album is tamer then the raucous garage rock/demented blues of the Memphis, Tennessee band's nineties output. But Jack, Greg and Eric Oblivian are a decade older and calmed down a bit. Even at the lesser intensity the Oblivians would still blow most of the bands playing this genre today right off the stage

9- Crystal Antlers “Nothing Is Real” (Innovative Leisure)
You could look at
Crystal Antlers as having been unlucky because Touch and Go folded shortly after releasing their 2009 debut or lucky enough to have a released an album (and a EP) on such a great label at all. Either way, after a short stint on Recreation Records, Innovative Leisure picked up the reins and released this album full of Sonic You influenced noisy guitars and Trail of the Dead psychedelica.



10- Vampire Weekend “Modern Vampires in the City” (XL Recordings)- I really wanted to like Vampire Weekend after lead singer Ezra Koenig sang the Descendents “Parents" during F*cked Up’s 12 hour show a few years back but could not get into the “trying too hard to be The Police” fake reggae of their first album. The super annoying song “Cousins” on their second album “Contra” almost made me give up on the band forever. Luckily on “Modern Vampires of the City” they have replaced most of the reggae sound with a cranked up bass and loud drums. Great album that has me dancing all the way to the train.

With so many of the same bands ending up on peoples lists year after year, I try to keep my list to ones that have not been on my before. But there are two which have been who that deserve at least a mention:

11- Milk Music – Cruise Your Illusion (Fat Possum) - On the new album this Olympia, Washington band further expands on their Dinosaur Jr/Neil Young/ (early)Buffalo Tom style buzzing guitar hooks that made their 2011 debut album “Beyond Living’ so special. Only this time because of Fat Possum’s RED distribution, this one you can actually find in a store.


12- Wild Moth “Over Again” (Asian Man)- This San Francisco band follow up their two “Revolution Summer” influenced 2012 EPs with a louder and more mature full album, 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How I Got Through My M.R.I. or Josh "Vicious" and Ativan Rewrite The Sex Pistols

Since I have been having some problems with my eyes, my ophthalmologist wanted me to get and M.R.I. done of it. Because I am semi claustrophobic it took me a little while to get it done. There was even a failed try a little while back.

Today I finally got the M.R.I. done all the way through and even wrote this song in my head (with a little help from Ativan) while taking the test. 

If you are not familiar with the original song, check it out on Youtube, Spotify, iTunes etc 

“M.R.I. “

By Josh "Vicious" Greenbaum (to the tune of “E.M.I.” by the Sex Pistols)

(guitar intro)

I was having problems with my eye. And there was no reason why. 
There were so many possibilities they could name. They said it could be because of my brain . What?

M.R.I. M.R.I. M.R.I.

So many people had this test. Then why was I so anxious and such a mess?
Too many minutes in that tube. My mind is what I might lose. What?

M.R.I. M.R.I M.R.I. 

And certain friends said I have to try. They said if "you don't do it you could die". I tried once but left and it never got done. Never ever never!

(awesome guitar solo)

And you thought that I was a baby. Because of this test I wasn't taking. You do not believe my panic attacks were real. Or you would understand just how I feel

Then my doctor gave me Ativan for a panic cover. He said that if one wasn't enough to 
take another. 
And I took this test of mine. When it was done I was just fine. What --

M.R.I. M.R.I. M.R.I. 

Now I know what's going on with my head. Now I know what's going on with my eye.That was the only reason I had to take an MRI

Problems with my eye (M.R.I.)

No reason why (M.R.I.)


Many Possibilities to name (M.R.I.)


Could it be because my brain? (M.R.I.)


Problems with my eye (M.R.I.)

Hello M.R.I.

Goodbye Cat-Scan

(Yes. I know “baby” and “taking” do not really rhyme”)










Friday, April 19, 2013

Why I am not at all upset about the closing of Bleecker Bob's House of Golden Oldies Record Store


On Saturday April 13th Bleecker Bob’s record store closed its doors after 46 years. The location will soon be taken over by a frozen yogurt shop. Frankly I could not care one bit. Bleecker Bob’s is probably one of the worst record stores I have ever been to.


First of all they had one of the worst record store staffs. Bleecker Bob’s staff would not even look at you when you walk in the door. Then when someone did strum up enough nerve to ask a question they were met with the minimum amount of a response as possible, always delivered in an obnoxiously demeaning tone.

Even though the “holier than thou” attitude displayed by Bleecker Bob’s staff is a record store employee stereotype I greatly tried to dispel during my days as a record store owner outside of Baltimore, I could probably disregard it in order to pick up some new or long sought out records. The only thing is Bleecker Bob’s had the worse selection of music of any of the many record stores located in New York City.

Even though the rock section had some bigger named acts written on the dividers, try finding most of those acts actually in the bins. With the exception of some of the extremely big named band, what was usually found was an act somehow connected to that band. But even then it would usually end up being a “Limited Edition European Promo” pressing or some other title only a completest could possibly want.

Picture Courtesy of Turntabling.net
Even if you did manage to find something you were looking for, you just knew the record would be extremely overpriced. Bleecker Bob’s had the most ridiculously high prices around. In 2003 after reading an article about the 60’s garage band The Count Five in a collection of writings by rock critic Lester Bangs, I was set on acquiring a copy of their "Psychotic Reaction" album. I found a copy at Bleecker Bob’s in far from mint condition. With creases over every edge, dinged corners, a few spine splits and even a rip where the original price tag had been located, Bleecker Bob’s price tag displayed across the albums cover read $75 dollars. I soon located a copy elsewhere for much less. Today, ten years later, the record can still be picked up for around only 40 bucks.

Picture Courtesy of Flaming Pablum
The CD section was even worse. The rock section had a very small random selection of titles, heavily made up of badly recorded “European Import” bootleg live discs. The separated New Wave, Punk, Kraut rock etc. sections had a small amount of totally random titles, most of which were inaccurately placed in the category Bleecker Bob’s chose to place them.

When the store’s closing was announced, huge amounts of people took to the web declaring how much of a tragedy it was to be losing such a long standing historic New York City institution. I am one of the biggest offenders when it comes to being upset when something historic or traditional in New York City becomes closed or torn down, only to be replaced by something more cold and modern. I still get a little irritated when I think about the old Penn Station that was torn down and replaced by the dirty crowded structure which stands there today, asking myself “Why would they have ever had wanted to do that”. And that was ten years before I was born. This time I ask myself, “How did Bleecker Bob’s hang on for so long”.

People say one of the things that killed Bleecker Bob’s was online music markets. I think this is entirely not the case. During the early 90’s so many Saturdays were spent taking the train into the city and hitting all the record stores before going to see shows at CBGBs and other New York City clubs. Even back then, long before iTunes or even the internet altogether, Bleecker Bob’s selection was very sparse, leaving me wondering how the store was still able to survive.

Picture Courtesy of Tripwithmarty.com
So to Bleecker Bob’s “Golden Oldies Record Shop” I say "Good riddance".The next time I go record shopping at the nearby Generation Records where whenever I go there I chat with a clerk for twenty minutes about  everything from Australian noise bands to mutual people we know in punk bands, or House Of Oldies where when I first moved here the clerk held a copy of the Bo Diddley’s  “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover” 45  until I found a job, or Rebel Rebel Records where I watched a clerk stunned and impressed by the knowledge of The Beatles recorded history by a fourteen year old kid that was shopping there, or even Bleecker Street Records where they may not be the nicest people, they do keep a steady flow of new merchandise and a large stock of used CDs to browse through, I will definitely make time during the day to enjoy some nice refreshing frozen yogurt.