Category: Music

PDX LP: Crossroads Diggin’

The record hunt was hot and heavy these last couple weeks. I’ve had some great luck and some sweet scores.

First up are some recent high-lites from a bit of rummaging I did at Crossroads here in Portland. These first two I found buried in a box on the floor in the back of the store…$2 each. Unbelievable.

Out Hud/!!! – Lab Series Vol. 2 (1999, Gold Standard Laboratories)

“Dance Punk” is not a term that gets used too much anymore, particularly in indie circles. CAN, A Certain Ratio, Liquid Liquid, and ESG will always be cool. We just forgot for awhile in the wake of late 90’s rape rock and Brit rock. And after awesome, turn-of-the-century Williamsburg bands reminded us to get into the groove, shitty mall punk groups co-opted the idea in the mid 00’s and killed the term for good.

I think one other contributing factor is the fact that the influence of EDM, and dance music in general, has become so thoroughly pervasive and accepted it is now the norm. Its not novelty for guitar based bands to incorporate these elements anymore. It comes standard. In 1999 though, it didn’t.

chk out 1chk out 2

This is the first wider available release from !!! (chk chk chk) and Out Hud, a split 12″ showcasing both bands, who shared more than a couple members. The Out Hud tracks (3) are subdued and spacey. Nice enough, but nothing mind blowing. However,¬† the !!! side is RAW. “Instinct” is what you love about !!!: extended jams, heavy on rhythm, slicing trebled out funky guitars, buried attitude filled breathy vocals….a lot of folks will prolly say the band perfected their sound on their 2003 single “Me and Gulliani (Down By The School Yard)”, and they might have a point…cuz that’s a classic track. However, I would make the case that with “Instinct,” the !!! blueprint was firmly laid down in all its liquid liquidy lock groove majesty.

Mix Master Mike – Eye Of The Cyklops (2000, Asphodel)

Mix Master Mike might just be the greatest turntablist of all time.  DMC DJ Champion 3 years in a row. Co-founder of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz. And probably most famously, he served as the Beastie Boys studio/touring DJ since 1998.

“Hey yo Adam…,”

Mike also makes original albums. Eye of the Cyklops was the first recording I ever owned of his, on CD no less. I must have stumbled across it originally around late 2000…I remember it dropping like a bomb on my ear drums. I must have worn this out at every party we had at the house me and my band lived in at the time. This album is a guaranteed up-tempo neck breaker. Honestly though, I kinda moved on from it after awhile. It happens. Today’s favorite new jam gets wore the fuck out and the next thing you know its gathering dust. And then you need money for rent. And then 10 years go by. And then you happen to be thumbing through some records in a busted cardboard box on the floor of a flea market record shop and you make eye contact with this genius relic and it all comes screaming back to you like a pitch shifted wah-wah tweak scratch and you smile a smile crazy wide and say “MINE.”

Mix master 1mix master 2

And man does it hold up. Here’s the thing: when you work with old samples to begin with, especially old drum samples, your tracks will always sound good…even 13 years after the fact. If you make beats with the latest gear, they will sound dated. Everything about this instrumental EP sounds timeless. I have been jamming this record almost everyday since I got it. Not just because it takes me back, but also because it feels like its still propelling me forward.

David Bowie – Scary Monsters ( 1980, RCA Victor)

BOWIEBOWIE 2

Finally, I snagged this slightly chewy copy of Scary Monsters by David Bowie for $6. The vinyl is surprisingly clean, save for one slight gash on side B. No skipping though. The one glaring issue, and the reason it was so cheap probably, is that apparently, “early issues included a limited edition insert of 36 stamps designed by Bowie, on a one-sheet 6×6 array.”

No dice on that precious. Damn. I can deal though…anything for David.

This record is generally regarded as his last really significant record before the 80’s decline…although I suppose a definite¬† argument could be made for Let’s Dance since it was his biggest selling album. Nile Rogers produced the shit out of it after all. But even Bowie attributes the massive success of the album as a long term failure, artistically and career-wise.

Anyhoo, Scary Monsters rules up and down. Of course, you already know that…don’t you?