Monday, April 18, 2011

Record Store Day 2011

--On Saturday April 16th Vortex Records Posted on their Facebook page:  "Looks official: God hates RSD. Whatever! Put on your lucky Record Store Day underwear and dig! Good luck, people. Remember to keep calm--it'll all work out."

Nice Signage!!!
And how. The weather was cold, wet, stormy with blowing rain. The Rev Jred was there, partly ashamed partly proud, as he stood at the front entrance guarded from the rain and wind. He had about two hours to think about the goodies that were spread about the shop. He already had an idea of the scene up there as an email was sent out to the specialty mailing list that gave an idea of what was where.
For anyone who ever wondered what Vortex looks like a 6am!

Feeling like quite the crazy person, he was relived as the crowd built up and kept an elite circle of 4 or was it 5 dry and talking up who was there for what. One was fellow blogger and hardcore collector DBD, also a guy who drove in from St-Catherines - he had mentioned that upon some internet research and some email correspondences  he thought that Vortex was going to be his best bet based on the great customer service and detailed updated website.

Once the crowd built up to about 30 people it was just about go time - the buzz of talking about great finds with other collectors and discussing numbers a bit can range from someone with 500 to 4,000, and they can all also admit to wanting more and not seeing an end number in sight... As the door opened to interrupt the great conversations that were being held we were welcomed up the stairs and all headed in separate directions, diving for the sought-after RSD items.

Although there was no buyer's regret in the Rev. Jred's choices, there was a case of frugal regret - upon leaving the store without blowing the entire budget found just about enough for one more... Mind boggling when thinking about all the items he had passed up... In any case there is always tomorrow - who knows? The sun may even come out tomorrow because the decision to go back to Vortex an hour upon returning hame was initially kiboshed by the thoughts of going back into the cold nasty weather. And yet he did go back for one more...

Grinderman Evil 12" Limited 1000 SPARKLE RED! as well as a CD of the tracks for those times the Questers get stuck in Evil traffic. The remixes on the two 12" are more like covers of the songs - the "Silver Alert" remix Featuring Matt Beringer is possibly the scariest song ever, next to the First Evil track which sounds like a crazy biker ritual that you just want to either run away from or take part in.

Grinderman Palaces of Montezuma ANTI- 12" Limited 1000, Super Duper Multi colored vinyl, first like it in the Questers' collection. The Barry Adamson remix is epic and sounds like a religious experience, as well there is a hauntingly beautiful cover of When My Baby Comes by Cat's Eyes.

Gorillaz The Fall Virgin LP Limited 2000 (#0697), Neato album - quite a few instrumental jams with some melodic dancy songs as well. They recorded this on the Road during a North American tour using a mix mash of portable instruments as well as apps on the iPad.

Bibio/Clark Willenhall/Baskerville Grinch - Split 12 inch Warp Records 12 inch Limited 500, Grimy electro-goodness, making the teeth clench slightly and nose furl with a steady head bob, the Rev.Jred will be wanting more of where this came from.
Flying Lotus Cosmogramma Alt Takes Warp Records LP Limited 750, this goes well will the Cosmogramma album already in the collection and having this will reduce the amount of time it will take to wear it out. This was also the only copy at Vortex and he happily brought it home knowing he was the only person in the line up there who got it. The offset label on the vinyl looks real "warped" while spinning!

Label is askew.
Syd Barrett An Introduction To… Capitol 2XLP Limited 1000, RevJred has a few Syd Barrett records in the collection and had second thoughts on bringing this one home. Upon opening it he was quite pleased he hadn't passed on it.
The gatefold looks great and the inner sleeve art with lyrics is well laid out. Even though is not actually an introduction to Syd for the Questers, it's nice to see new interest in such an underrated artist.

There was a lot more released this year that would have liked to find its way into the collection. Had the Questers investigated the list of RSD items more carefully the list of wants would have far exceeded the RSD budget.

We hope that RSD 2011 was a good thing for Vortex and all the other record stores that took part. Breathing life and new interest into these fine institutions. Also the beauty of Vinyl and that it is not a dead form of media.

Did you have a good RSD? What were your favorite releases this year?  Let us know in the comments below. Love to hear it!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

God Save The... King!?

The Questers have been seeking out new artists, and most of all, variety. If entertaining and the topic of polka music comes up it's fun to have at least one representative of any particular genre. Some say variety is the spice of life, but the Rev Jred says Music can be that Spice that adds variety to Life!

Admittedly Whimzy has read more about the Sex Pistols than both Questers had ever listened to them. Legacy, scandal, and outright blueprint for punk rock kids. It was a treat to find an original copy of #41 on the list, 1977's Never Mind the Bullocks, Here's the Sex Pistols THE SEX PISTOLS.

It's in great shape for an original - the vinyl is sans scuffs/scratches with inner sleeve intact, only a small tear in the cover on the top right and a hole punch in the bottom right  - for some reason a punk rock record seems to have more opportunity to get damaged than, let's say, an original copy of Barry Manilow Live also released in '77. With very little punk in their collection it's a nice angry addition and an interesting part of music history.
The Rev.Jred, quite ignorant on the Punk scene, was surprised to learn that this is the Sex Pistols' one and only album. Short lived in one sense, and long lived in another, as the Sex Pistols fans seem to find themselves at some point in high school being initiated into the scene and rebelling against the man as if they were first to ever do so under the leader of the growly angry pack, Sid Vicious. 

Not kidding on the variety here. Recently acquired and thoroughly enjoyed was an offer through Vortex Records' specialty mailing list. If you live in Toronto or make frequent digging trips here it's a great way to find out about new pressings and possibly discover new music through and have your fingers on the pulse of one of Toronto's finest stores for diggin'.

It's always a pleasure to get into a record and then wonder - hey, this is something else, wondering if it's on the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. #141 Live at the Regal B.B. KING was snatched up from such mailing list.

It had been out of print for a while and the Questers were actually working on expanding their Blues collection. It is no wonder this is on the list and it's always a pleasure to luck into a new pressing of something that may have been hard to hunt down. The blues sounds downright fun with B.B. laced with a great sense of humor - the best medicine to get through any tough time. This is also an amazing sounding Live record - rich stereo sound and clarity for a show that happened in 1964!
That's about all for now. The Questers are looking forward to Record Store Day on April 16th - check the site and find a store near you and support the Hell out them, not just on RSD but any chance you get! 

After that May 29th marks the FIRST Mid-Town Toronto Music Collectibles Show, put together by DBD. Hope to see a lot of you there!

Serious Spring-Time Vinyl Fever going around over here!
This is the part where we ask for comments and suggestions and what have you....

-Health and good digs for all!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Well that was amazing! The Questers got to the Toronto Downtown Record Show at 10 am and were quite lucky to get a parking spot (it may have been the only one at the time). This came as a surprise because when they arrived at the door there was no one waiting. The set-up was this: 5 dollar entrance after 11am or 20 dollars to get in early starting at 9am. The next time we will no doubt be early birds and avoid the HUMUNGOUS crowd.

To start, #9, #9, #9, #9, #9, #9, #9, #9, (a lil' White Album humor) #9 on the List Blonde on Blonde BOB DYLAN was procured for 40 bucks, 2LP Simply Vinyl UK reissue - Whimzy's choice pick of the day. The needle drop on this was lots of fun - hearing Bob's laugh through the first track, Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35,  along with hoots and hollers of the crowd going along set a nice tone for the rich bluesy folk greatness to follow. No denying this record's place in the top ten. The downright cool-guy swagger style of lyrics alone demands that respect, with a grin and a snicker.
 The Rev.Jred had three of his picks come from the same dealer "always seen in a Tie-Dye shirt" Larry. His selection is amazing and priced to a point where the Questers walked away satisfied and the Rev.Jred was ready for take off, destination Mind Blown!   First off, Frank Zappa's Hot Rats is well and comfy in its new home, among the other favorite Zappa records in the Questers' collection.                                                              
   This is one that has been seen around upwards of 50-80 dollars and the music on it does vary from beautiful compositions with a wide range of instruments and also into the grungy Willie the Pimp with the great Saint Captain Beefheart.

     Hawkwind - Warrior On The Edge Of Time. This is the one with the gatefold fold out into the "Shield of Chaos"!!! That alone is epic and the music therein delivers equally. a treat!

Larry could deliver some more also in this grab; Hawkwind - Hall Of The Mountain Grill was taken in. Both Hawkwind were 30 and the Zappa was 20 bucks - all great deals and they were all in great shape.

 Also delving into the depths of Jred's personal murky nostalgia of his prime teenage years, the 1994 debut album from Method Man, Tical was bought in superb shape and it turns out interestingly enough to be a Reissue, "Unofficial Release" according to Discogs. A cool 30 duckets was released as the grimy underground hip hop sound was strong with this one and it had to be had.
The day at the show came and went quickly and the crowd was building tremendously after the hour and a half the Questers were there. Having learned a few things for next time, they left excitedly waving good bye to friends, some old some new, off for a Sunday lunch of soup, sandwiches and SpaceRock.  

...Next Stop RECORD STORE DAY 2011!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Record Shows!!!!

It had been 10 years since the Rev.Jred had been to a record show, but when DBD asked for his assistance in running a small table on a Sunday afternoon in Oshawa and excited hell yes, and admittedly a restless night sleep on the eve of the show.

The show was a lot of fun just listening to dealers help out people looking for those gems, stories of live shows and recommendations of artists and bands you may have missed out on.

Not very much shopping was done at this show other than #493 All The Young Dudes MOTT THE HOOPLE. Aside from the title track this is an unknown for both our Questers and the band name itself seems so absurd, as though it's an invite to do something you wouldn't want a picture taken of while doing it. Well it's some great stuff if in the mood for a classic rock sound that seems to ooze out from the Dazed and Confused 70's scene. The album was produced by David Bowie and All The Young Dudes is one of his own. So it's a bunch of fun, laden with just the right amount of cowbell, for the era.


If there's one thing I learned quickly it's that if there is something you are considering buying, do it as the next time you walk by it may be snatched up. Some of the best fun helping out had to be the level of joy a cool record can bring a fan. The enthusiasm of one young blood and his wide eyed smiles for a Rage Against the Machine colored 45 was priceless. Then to see the same excitement in DBD when he got the Necrophagist: Onset of Purification was just as fun!.

    Tomorrow is the Toronto Downtown Record Show and both Whimzy and the Rev.Jred plan on dropping in and will most likely be in the line up when it starts. Here is a cool article with The Record Guys .

This is the first outing to a Record Show together and this show gets up to 45 dealers. We hope a few of the tops on the list can to be crossed off after this show; however, who knows? The variety available may detour the Questers from the list entirely.

.....The Quest Continues!

Do you have any good advice for a couple of "new kids on the block" going to a Record Show? Any cool stories about great finds at Record Shows?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Now With Over One Thousand Titles To Choose From!

As the records come in The Rev.Jred takes a moment during the first listen to document the addition in a good ol' spreadsheet. This also easily keeps an eye on the running total - something about seeing that 1000 line coming so quickly was an added excuse to do some extra digging.

Last Friday's date of burritos and digging at Vortex (in lieu of dinner and a movie as they can't seem to find much worth seeing that they can both agree on - the only thing they were easily in agreement about was the need for just a few more records...), overheard dialog between the Questers would be something like this...
"Hey Whimzy... I'm thinking of a number between one and one thousand... any guesses...?"

Well they did break 1000 and these 5 made the list!

Among others, #221 Nebraska BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN was found. This record sounds so simple - how can one guy and a guitar be so poignant? We were hanging on the words of the stories in his rugged Americana hard edge folk songs.
He vividly tells these stories of real criminals from different perspectives and people stuck with tough situations. It's funny to have this beside the other Springsteen record in the collection (which is Born In The USA); this simple, scaled back, sans E Street Band is slicker than one might think, if only having been exposed to the pop back pocket red ball-cap bearing Boss. 

         #119 Sweetheart of the Rodeo THE BYRDS- A lot can be said upon listening to this record - for one, good country music is always a welcome addition to our collection and if it's a GAAT, well, all the better. 'Sweetheart' was one of the three LP's that broke 1000 in the pile. It was acquired at Sonic Boom a cool store if you're looking for brand new records. The basement is a mecca of different new vinyl - the kind of place tourists take the time to visit and take a few pictures, possibly due to the store's cameo appearance in the 2010 already cult classic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
This is, without out a doubt, a Country album - well executed and classic sounding. This genre of music has been through the ringer a few times but this kind of Country music is the real deal. New pop country is disgraceful to claim this sound as its roots. The Byrds are more well known for their covers of Bob Dylan tunes and the band has undergone line-up changes a few times. Without being there they are a hard band to wrap your head around. This comment is no insult to the Byrds, but it seems to be a major stepping stone for house favorite Gram Parsons to break out.

The Byrds' move towards this sound shows that a bunch of hippies can hold country music in their souls. To a lot of people country music hasn't any context - maybe it all sounds the same to some, as if every country song ever was recorded by the some guy all in one day in a shack some 50 years ago and that's it. Well, this record is a  great way to shed some ignorance and appreciate true country music... Even if you have to call it Rock-Country, err uhm Country-Rock.
 #137 The Chronic DR. DRE- Another acquisition of brand spanking new vinyl from Sonic Boom. There some considerations that go into selecting new vinyl to add to our collection. For one, have we ever seen it used? Two - is it on the list? Three - is it something we once owned on CD or stole in MP3 and enjoyed the hell out of? And, of course, sheer driving want want want that. All of these together mean a record that will satisfy for many many plays.

This album surely gets in there - the Cali gangsta rap has never been more appealing and marketed to the suburban kids, teaching em' all kinds of lingo and attitude that may have never reached them otherwise. 1992 - Dre has split from mega rap group NWA and has a new talent to let loose on the world: Cordozar Calvin Broadus -AKA Snoop Doggy Dogg.
 Opening the album with The Chronic [Intro] intro we have Snoop set the score straight and remind us to forget those other guys (NWA)  in his effeminate imitation of Eazy-E. With Snoop's appearance on The Chronic and Deep Cover soundtrack (video link above) there was no stopping his second album 93's Doggystyle from becoming an instant classic.

The Chronic has the party anthems with Gin and Juice, Nuttin but a G thang, chillin' out tracks and even a track expressing sentiments of the 1992 LA riots on The Day The Ni***z Took Over. It even has a bit of a Cheech and Chong homage with the comedy skit The 20$ Sack Pyramid, absurd and fun, showing that gangstas like to laugh it up when not out on the streets dodging bullets.

#436 Criminal Minded BOOGIE DOWN PRODUCTIONS - This was the last record in this grab from Sonic Boom. It had a nice price on it, 14.99, and was also on the list which was a bonus. 
It is hip hop education time and today's lesson is the Boom Bap! It's 1988 - the big controversy is who can lay claim to Hip Hop? Who is the originator? Beef between crews, gang violence - not so much to glamorize, but more to educate which seems to be front man KRS-One's main goal. Simple drum machine beats along with some recognizable samples and story telling raps put you back in the time of the first wave of rap music.

#462 Document R.E.M. - "It's the End of the World as we know it" is about the extent of what the Rev.Jred knows about this band, fortunately Whimzy knows enough about her indie to know that this one had to be on the list.
Good to know that, if given the chance, we can blast this song in the event of the world ending as we know it. It's clean cut, college rock Alt rock before it got real loud and real ugly. It's got that jangle pop. Snip from Wikipedia -"marked a return to the chiming or jangly guitars and pop melodies of the '60s" bands such as The Byrds, with their electric twelve-string guitars and power pop song structures. The whole album plays threw easily with no overwhelming urges to jump the needle over tracks.

The record was a steal at Vortex for 2.99 - the album cover and original liner seemed to have suffered slight moisture damage, however the vinyl plays like new, and a repress new copy was seen at Sonic Boom for about thirty dollars, so it is quite nice to find 'em previously loved. Equally nice to get a hard-to-find repress and enjoy the hell out of it personally.

 As always, we welcome comments from the seasoned pros with advice, or the newbie with the comments. 
Again, just a hello or a where you are hailing from or what you love about Vinyl or what's the latest in your collection - let's talk - we'll put on a pot of coffee, or tea if you'd prefer..... 

-We Love Vinyl and we also love you for your interest and support.
Go ahead now, leave a comment...
-Until Next Time! 
Get your Dig On!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

20 Dollars without going over....

Back so soon? Well, we couldn't stay away from the Vortex once it sets in the mind... how quickly their used vinyl comes and goes - the mind can go buggy if you think about what may be sitting there now waiting for a new home in your collection, or someone else's!

So after dinner Friday night the Questers headed on out with a small budget to get into some more of the Groovy Goodness that is Vinyl.

 With bins looking quite unfamiliar they get flipping. The RevJred tends to be a casual slow flipper looking at records he's never seen before, checking the year of release that sort of thing... that said, others that the Diggin' Duo have witnessed flip through at neck-breaking speeds, massive amounts of dexterity needed to manipulate the bins at such speeds and then the rate that their brain is picking up the cover and assuming a mental check of 'got it/want it/need it'. Both Whimzy and the RevJred take a giggle and an unhurried browse in the case of said quick diggers who hover over, waiting to tornado through a bin that they may be currently checking...

This was a particularly good outing - without breaking the 20 dollar mark they pulled home 6 records for their listening pleasure! A good variety of "genres" keeps the collection vibrant and alive and this haul is a great example of that!
East Coast VS. West Coast from 1988 - this compilation includes some well known Rappers from the late 80's. Is that East Coast/West Cost thing still happening?

The Rev.Jred has a great time breaking some tracks down like a history professor examining the beef between Kool Moe Dee and LL Cool J clearly heard on the Kool Moe Dee track 'Let's Go' which clearly disses LL over and over again.

Weather Report's 1975 release Tale Spinin' - Jazz Fusion for everyone! This record is an easy listen. The synthesizers stand out and sound like music most likely being listened to and appreciated more in the future. A few Weather Report albums currently reside in the collection - they vary in sound quite a bit but always different and eye opening for your ears.

Queen's News Of the World is added into the collection where 5 of their 14 albums now live. This record is a bit of a surprise in that it's not a GAAT. Containing 'We Will Rock You', and 'We Are the Champions' - possibly rock and roll's greatest anthems? GAAT or not, it's great and always fun to get to know another Queen album.

Artwork on this record is geeky and sci-fi, and rightfully so. Artist Frank Kelly Freas did many covers for sci-fi books and magazines in the 50's - most noted are Astounding Science Fiction and later covers of Alfred E. Neuman for Mad Magazine... you can't get much sci-fi and geeky than that.

It must be noted that sometimes records find their way into the collection that were free and well loved before their arrival. In this way the Questers get to hear new music and if it's that good and appreciated enough, attention in the digging may go to replacing them with more pristine copies for a heightened exquisite listening pleasure. The record in question in this catch was Steely Dan's Aja in great shape for 3 dollars. The cover is fairly dinged but the vinyl itself plays nice and clear, and at #145 on the GAAT it is a well deserved spot for this masterpiece of funky jazz fusion - a guaranteed good mood maker!

Ry Cooder's Showtime is a live album and the first of his records in the collection. For the one dollar it cost it's quite the bargain to discover a great artist who seems to hide in the background, with credits ranging from Captain Beefheart's Magic Band to the Buena Vista Social Club and a whole lot in between. This record is a lot of toe tappin' folk/country/blues/gospel/americana Tex-Mex goodness.

Last but not least of this spectacular outing was one GAAT aquired - # 256 Crosby Stills and Nash's self titled album that Whimzy happily dug out of the bins.

  The harmonies and overall sound of it seems to capture that hippy sound the of easy-going folky blues which made kids run off to California. South Park's Eric Cartman would have a serious problems with everything to do with this record.
Oh Ooops And Also!!!

   Meticulously as the collection is kept, it seems a few albums made their way to being filed away into the collection without being recognized as GAATs!!! One is #378 More Songs About Buildings and Food by The Talking Heads.   When listening to this record the other day the Rev.Jred was surprised it didn't make the list when, upon a double-check, in fact it did. He also thinks that of other Talking Heads records in their collection and most likely thinks all of their stuff should be on the list...

The other is # 216 Look-Ka Py Py by The Meters. 
This is without a doubt one of the funkiest records in the collection to date. If you need an education in the funk investigate this band further - so many recognizable grooves for many fans of hip hop - said that the Meters were sampled 74 times. 
 So it's  been a wonderful start to 2011, look forward to the next dig! Until then and if you want more for now here's an article!
So until next time Keep Spinnin' and  Happy Diggin'!