led zeppelin - houses of the holy

Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy (1973)

Sorry for the brief break. Life and new work woes got in the way, but that stress moved from “No time to write about records” to “Christ on toast I don’t care I need a break so will write about a record.” Discogs has this lovely little randomizer that picks a record from your collection and Houses of the Holy popped up. Led Zeppelin was there at the very start of my record collection – Led Zeppelin II was the first vinyl I took from my father when I was a kid so I could play air guitar along to “Whole Lotta Love” – so why not listen to something I love, push the world away for a bit go over the hills and far away, so to speak?

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all them witches - nothing as the ideal

All Them Witches: Nothing as the Ideal (2020)

My shying away from a lot of modern metal doesn’t mean I’m shying say from modern (or more accurately, current) rock. All Them Witches was a revelation to me back in 2016 when I discovered their Lightning at the Door album through some mutual friends. Over the years the band has expanded and contracted, moving in subtle directions where the emphasis can fall on multiple genres – some more successfully than others. Trimmed down to a trio, Nothing as the Ideal locks everything into place, creating am monster of a rock album that feel simultaneously timeless and of every time. It’s a banger, in other words.

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embrace

Embrace: Embrace (1987)

It’s been a long trip since first hearing Minor Threat in the back of a station wagon on the way to school in 1990. That blast of righteous fury was my intro to the DC hardcore scene, my intro to Discord Records, and my intro to the great Ian MacKaye. Since then it’s been a long and wonderful road of discovery; not only through the man’s discography, but through the incredible music the label has been steadily putting out since the early 80s. So today let’s briefly talk about the connective tissue between the early rage of Minor Threat and the more propulsive, moody rush of Fugazi – the self-titled and sole record from Embrace.

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cleveland eaton - plenty good eaton

Cleveland Eaton: Plenty Good Eaton (1975)

I wasn’t familiar with Cleveland Eaton before seeing this reissue from Real Gone Music when I was looking at grabbing the Kool and the Gang vinyl I discussed a few weeks ago. But the description – a blend of Ramsey Lewis’s soul funk and the swing of Count Basie filtered through the fusion that was riding high in the mid 70s – caught me. The fact that Plenty Good Eaton not only was a fun play on words but was originally on the Black Jazz label was another vote of confidence for a blind buy, so I took the dive…I’m here to report I am now the happier for it.

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iggy and the stooges - raw power

Iggy and the Stooges: Raw Power (1973)

Let’s be fair: there’s probably very little I can contribute to the enormity of writing on the righteous rock god status of that street-walking’ cheetah Iggy Pop and the incendiary power of The Stooges. The man and the band are untouchable in the annals of rock, stone cold classic purveyors of the form and I’m not going to dispute that. So instead I want to talk about how Raw Power, that nuclear A-bomb of ripping rock helped me to understand thats much of an album’s power comes from how you listen, as much as what is on it. So let’s get into the Bowie vs. Iggy mix…

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kool and the gang debut

Kool and the Gang: Kool and the Gang (1970)

If we’re re-booting this blog for 2021, I thought I’d start with some of my most recent vinyl acquisitions. I can’t pinpoint when I precisely fell in love with soul and funk music; I’d been exposed to it on the radio in the 70s, but rock and metal took over, and it wasn’t until high school and late nights driving around town with Parliament’s Up For the Down Stroke blasting out the windows (that’s how my friends rolled in upstate New York circa 1990) and obsessing over the wriggle of Isaac Hayes’s Shaft score that I started to identify something that spoke to my DNA. Fast-forward about 30 years and when I got the note that Real Gone Music was reissuing Kool and the Gang’s debut self titled album on yellow vinyl I was all in.

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