Friday, 4 April 2008
"Grab-Bag"- Results of Record Shop Impulse-Buying Spree.
"Always go shopping with a list."
"Set a budget before you go shopping."
Repeat after me: The above rules of accepted wisdom do not apply to buying music.
And this does not include downloading (legally or illegally). Just as vinyl and the analogue cassette still endure, the record shop remains. Buying your music off the Net tends to diminish the pleasure of drifting into a shop and thumbing through the racks of CDs, asking the assistant, "Hey, what's playing now?" and testing the CDs.
To hell with browsing and testing, some consumers may say, that's why we prefer to download, and skip going to the noisy shop, getting ripped off and ripping off our fingernails while trying to unwrap CDs when we get home. We like it fast, easy, cheap (or gratis) and straight into our Ipods.
Well, before you turn into a complete Pod-person, i.e develop potato-like 'eyes', rhizomes and put down roots in front of your PC, try the following experiment: Walk into the record shop and buy 5 records that quickly (within 10 minutes) catch your attention. 'What if I don't like the records?' well, you don't know until you've listened to them, right?
Here are my findings:
1. The Complete Adventures of The Style Council (1998-boxset)
I could not resist the glossy white embossed cardboard packaging, it resembles the posh packaging of gloves or ties from a high-end haberdasher or menswear shop. On paper, The Style Council should suck like one of Stephen Hawkins' theoretical mega-blackholes: ex-Jam frontman and Rickenbacker aficionado Paul Weller doing politically-tinged soul, jazz, funk and more soul? The music is stellar, and after all that new-wave shouting and mod guitar-crunching of The Jam, who knew that Paul Weller could really sing lovely haunting summertime ballads such as 'You're The Best Thing.' and 'Long Hot Summer'?
2. James-The Best Of (1998)
The quasi hippie/kindergarten class coverart intrigued me. James are best known for their Student Union jukebox staple 'Sit Down', and this compilation of 18 tracks spans their career from Smiths jingle-jangle contemporaries to baggy marginalised indie group. For an impulse buy, sheer value for money.
3. Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Trip The Light Fantastic (2007)
Say what you like about Sophie Ellis-Bextor, but eight years is a long time to have lasted in dance-pop. It may surprise you that I don't already own this. Don't let the pseudo-Tamara Lempicka artwork put you off, it is not a case of style over substance with her latest album.
4. Gotan Project
La Revancha Del Tango (2001)
The album cover seemed like a most cringeworthy visual pun, (puh-lease! 'Go tan' project? Tattooed on some model's chest!) then I realised that this was the debut album of the French trio's tango dance/ambient hybrid. You get ten eclectic tracks, which will put you in the mood for a sensual pas de deux along Pont Neuf, without getting arrested by any passing gendarmes.