Scoville Units Unite

31 Jan

CPRW Vinyl Challenge January 2021

I tend to avoid these thing a day events as I usually am not motivated by them. I’m conscious though that I spam pictures of records but generally before I’ve heard them so can’t really say much yet. Something to motivate me to look back at some music and write about it is probably good, as I normally just do 1 line at the end of the year if it fits. So, here’s a rundown of what I picked for the #cprwvinylchallenge2021 organised by Colin on Instagram who runs a great blog as well as other online stuff.

So I tried to set some groundrules for myself:
1. Try to stick to the letter of the rules as much as possible
2. Try to stick to the spirit of the rules as much as possible
3. Each artist once only
4. Well actually real punk is
5. Vinyl Only
6. Try to avoid records I have gushed about a lot (I break this once I think)

Ok, number 4 is a joke, based on gate-keeping arseholes. I would argue my pick for day 2 is very punk. I’m sure others would insist it has to be a band of musicians who conveniently look like them and play music they like. And music they dislike is what makes the not-punk list. But no-one cares about those losers opinions.

I listen to lot’s of types of music, it just so happens it’s mainly punk acts who I go to see live, and the challenge is run by a punk blog so that’s what’s gonna dominate but not be exclusive in the list.

The method of picking artists was steered by my discogs catalogue though, which forced me in some picks. I am trying to go through and re-listen to everything I own and grade it so I can then decide what to keep etc. They store an integer 1-5 rating so I use these as:
5: could listen to this any time
4: really good
3: ok and listenable
2: poor, unlikely to re-listen
1: garbage

So when a day asks for “best album of x year” I sort by rating and look for 5-star in that year etc. There are some complications though. I have a huge chunk of music on CD and not Vinyl including things I would have picked in this list. As I am re-listening there are things I haven’t got to yet. And worst of all, I have a bunch of re-issues and discogs is poor at showing you “your record is from 2020 but the original was 1991” etc. As my backlog is so large I also have music which came out last year which I haven’t listened to yet which then skips the yearly round-up post etc too.

Jan 1: Debut Album

Luniz – Operation Stackola.

So I decided to just completely break the rules on day 1. First the justification, and then the explanation.
The alternatives I had were chosen for days 8, 9 and one I posted about a lot very recently. I include I think 4 rap records and this is the first of them.

As a kid I didn’t really listen to music. The first stuff we listened to I think were a Best of Rap compilation, Snoop Dogg Doggystyle and then this. Next up was Method Man – Tical which was mind-blowing and if I had on vinyl would have immediately grabbed this spot. So I have always had a soft spot for this album.

On a re-listen there are parts which definitely have not aged well. Particularly Pimps, Playas & Hustlas, She’s Just A Freak etc. But when you listen to 900 Blame A N**** about harassment for racist cops in league with white supremicist. Fuck sake. After the 2020 we just had and this was 1995 and it could have just been written last year.

Jan 2: Concept/Themed Album

Citizen Bravo, Raymond MacDonald And Friends ‎– Return To Y’Hup The World Of Ivor Cutler.

I struggled with this one as I don’t think I have many concept albums except Deltron3030 which I had re-posted a few days before the challenge began. Then I remembered this, and struggled to find where I had filed it. I mentioned in my 2020 In Music round-up that this was one of the first releases of last year coming out in January.

I had found Ivor Cutler through a workmate who was obsessed with the bizarre and surreal lyrics of the genius.

This is a collection of most of the big indie artists in Scotland covering or re-interpreting his work. It’s really really good, especially the cover of Women Of The World Take Over

Jan 3: Three Colour Vinyl

De La Soul ‎– 3 Feet High And Rising.

Another I really struggled with. There’s categories for splatter vinyl coming up etc, but it’s the closest I could get with 3 colours. This is the Vinyl Me Please remastered reissue.

In the rap world at the end of the 90s there were 2 important movements. One towards the gangsta rap of NWA etc, and one towards the more conscious rap. This album was instrumental in birthing that era. Mostly written and recorded when the group were teenagers at school, it contains so many samples that it very rarely gets repressed due to the issues trying to clear them all. So as well as the beginning of an era it also really marked the end of that era of hip hop which took music from everywhere and reforged it into new art freely.

Jan 4: Favourite Album Of 2020

Charmpit – Cause A Stir.

Probably no surprise to anyone who has heard me talk about this record. I don’t think it was even close and never even considered another candidate. I have a kind of weird interaction with new music/live acts. I try not to listen to music by a new band before I see them live due to a couple of poor experiences (one of which will come up later) where the recorded music was excellent but the live show poor. Similarly if I am sent a download code for a purchased record I don’t listen to it before the physical one arrives, which gets the first listen.

I had known there was a record coming out due to receiving the download code but hadn’t listened to it yet. Due to lockdown, Specialist Subject started a series of live-streaming events. I turned in just in time to catch the start of Charmpit. I quickly checked, yeah that’s the act I hadn’t heard anything by yet.
They then started doing covers of pop songs with costume changes during and between the songs just full of infectious energy. That carries over into their own music which was a breath of fresh air when it arrived.

Seriously, I can’t wait to get to a gig again. And I cannot wait to see this band live.

Step 1: Find a friend, JUST ONE, and they’ll have a friend
now that’s 3 of you, in a band
of course you can!

Part B: Pick a name, CUZ THAT’S FUN
have a vision and run with it
to open arms and ears.

First Time ya step on the stage
the right time, to make loads of mistakes
cuz that’s being a punk, and BEING A PUNK IS tons of FUN!

We couldn’t do it ourselves so we’re doing it together!

Dreams you’ve been holding onto forever and ever..

We couldn’t do it ourselves so we’re doing it together!

Oooooo if your first song smells it’ll just get better…

We couldn’t do it ourselves so we’re doing it together! (x2)
Weeeee!

Jan 5: 12th Album On Your Shelf

Paris ‎– The Devil Made Me Do It.

Another hip hop act in the list, and here due to the spirit and letter of the law. “shelf” implies one. I currently have 5 shelves of records plus the boxes of 7s etc. When I checked 12 in on each shelf, there was an artist who I had to include later due to the few choices I had (although the pick for them would have been preferred). The other candidates were records I had very recently posted about or just singles which were meh.

Another conscious act, with political lyrics influenced by the Black Panthers and Nation of Islam.

The first single was banned from MTV, because of course it was.

Jan 6: No Members Identify As Men

Cayetana ‎– Nervous Like Me.

I later realised this sadly counts for Hiatus too :(.

This category I struggled with for a bunch of reasons, I’m not gonna excuse that but will try to contextualise/explain it.
Firstly punk-rock is a total sausage-fest. I mean there’s no denying that, and it means most groups are 3 men. So yay for this category to try and promote others.
But the biggest is that I’m pretty ignorant of who is involved in music I listen to. One of the reasons I spend time on Discogs catalogueing stuff is to try and learn some info. But I have albums I love and I couldn’t tell you the names of the artists involved, or what they looked like. For this (and another later) I had to scour through albums I loved and then look at the names/photos and make a judgement over if they counted. For many there were no photos, or website links, or more importantly – statements from the band saying what their pronouns were etc. There are some albums I considered but when checking I saw that although it was a woman singer and guitarist it was a guy on drums etc, and I didn’t know beforehand. Other groups had large lists of members and some groupshots showed all women, but others had men, and I had no idea the line up on the record I had as it didn’t credit the performers.

If you also struggled with this category please go watch So, which band is your boyfriend in?. I’ll be honest that I started with some acts from it, but the ones I had music of had men involved.

Jan 7: Stunning 7″

The Bombpops – Dear Beer

I very briefly said at the time, but I was pretty underwhelmed when I saw the band live. I hinted at it earlier, partially because I saw some videos and heard the album first. And Fear Of Missing Out was very good, I considered for debuts. But the live show I saw them at really soured me on them a bit. It was about 50% music and 50% stage banter/talking about drinking. I know nothing about the band though so could be they were just super excited to be on a European tour and were thrilled at being able to drink under the US age or something? I would definitely go see them again to see if it was a one-off.

Jan 8: Pretty Vinyl When Spinning

Save Ends ‎– Warm Hearts, Cold Hands.

One of the few albums I have briefly taken the time to write about. This album is incredibly good. But top tip: buy their music direct from the band, there were reports of the label they released some stuff on not paying artists properly.

Jan 9: All-Time Classic

Jurassic 5 ‎– Jurassic 5.

Another consideration for best debut. When this was released I had started to lose interest in hip hop. There were a few artists I still followed but others I later loved I hadn’t found yet (The Roots etc) and some I had loved had started releasing really poor records (thanks No Limit Records), and others were now dead (rip 2Pac).

Then this album came out and sounded like a fusion of conscious and old school hip hop opening with In The Flesh

Cause it’s the J-U-R-A
Capital S another S-I-C
5 MC’s in the flesh

And the absolutely genius Concrete Schoolyard

I live in America but fuck this Government

I have so many memories tied to this album, from constantly playing it in college and uni to tracks from it being played at Coalesce.

Jan 10: Album That Turns 10 in 2021

Juffage ‎– Semicircle.

I really struggled for a pick here with only this category, only other candidates were 2 Miles Davis and a Deftones covers album making the grade.

I saw him live around the time the album came out with Esperi and was blown away by how great he was.

Earlier this year I re-listened to this, having forgotten how good it was and checked out the rest of his catalogue. The Juffage bandcamp had a bunch of stuff including some physical releases. I ordered everything and received a wee note from him thanking me and including a bonus copy of his earlier bands work. Shows the real human interactions you can have with musicians and how much they appreciate you supporting them.

Jan 11: Splatter Vinyl

Shit Present ‎– Shit Present.

Opens with amazing vocals from Iona who appears on some Great Cynics releases too. Some contenders had been Rungs – Rungs EP, Stöj Snak – ScreamerSongwriter, Milk Teeth – Vile Child and The Offspring – Self Esteem

Jan 12: Live Album

Miles Davis ‎– Live-Evil.

Another category I struggled with, I ended up searching for albums with Live in the title which may have missed some with live tracks. I think most of the Live music I have is digital or CD only. Miles Davis has long been a favourite, and I’ve given out a fair few copies of Kind of Blue over the years to curious folks.

Jan 13: On Hiatus/Split-Up Band

Fugazi ‎– 3 Songs. I think the 13 Songs compilation is my favourite of their releases but without it on vinyl, I’ll go for their next EP.

Again, I struggled to pick a band on hiatus, some haven’t released music for ages (including one later which I originally had here til I checked) but finding info about their status is hard.

Jan 14: 10″

Broken Stories ‎– It’ll Be Alright.

Kevin and Gillian are geniuses and this EP is incredible. I still can’t believe they have only released 2 EPs, some of it being a rework of Kevins solo record. Incredible folk punk music. This record contains probably their 4 best songs. Hearing Playing On Repeat in a packed room, a week after the death of his friend it was written about and more of his friends in the room was heart-breaking. Track 1 Cabin Fever sums up the lockdown energy we’re all experiencing.

Isolated from the world,
Sitting here at home,
Vegging out all day

Jan 15: Split Record

Calvinball / ONSIND / Apologies, I Have None ‎– Calvinball / ONSIND / Apologies, I Have None.

I have so many split records, but this had to win just because three artists were all covering each others music, not sure if that sneaks into the concept category too. What made it weird for me was I only knew 2 of the bands so the tracks were a band I don’t know covering two tracks I know, then 2 bands I know covering a track of each other and of the new to me bands. Great way to hear music by a new artist and appreciate some tracks by bands you like.

Jan 16: Favourite Album Artwork

Flying Lotus ‎– Flamagra.

This had to win, no question. Pop up artwork – you don’t get that with your MP3 downloads. As much as I rave about how great vinyl is as a format, when it comes to art saying “it’s bigger” sounds a bit trite, so it’s amazing to see someone make full use of the format.

The Kamasi Washington ‎– The Epic boxset might have been a contender if one of the LPs in it wasn’t sealed behind perforated cardboard and cutting it out hadn’t splattered the record and everything else with shards of cardboard. Still furious.

Jan 17: Collection From One Band

3 Colours Red.

This was a difficult choice, as there are a bunch of artists I try to collect the catalogue of. For some of them the vast majority of the stuff I have is CD, or is not available on vinyl. I also considered picking them for the “3 Colours” challenge, cos puns are good and clever.

Although they have 4 albums, only 2 are on vinyl and I have them both so that definitely counts enough, especially as the later 2 aren’t anywhere near as good as the first 2. I have all their singles bar one which was CD only.

I’m sure I’ve shared this story before, but when seeing them at T in the Park it was absolutely sweltering. Starting to dehydrate a bit levels of hot. Then as soon as they started the first notes of Beautiful Day a rain shower started. Ending just as the song did. It’s probably the closest I’ve ever come to understand when people talk about spiritual moments.

Age Of Madness is an incredible song, and I love it. But just due to the story above:

Jan 18: Blue Vinyl

Muncie Girls ‎– From Caplan To Belsize.

Another contender for debut. I have a massive pile of blue vinyl (it seems a common choice), but this album is really really good punk. Being colour blind, blue is one of the few colours I can identify many shades of, so I appreciate nice blue vinyl in a way those of you with good eyes probably view most other colour variants. It’s also why I like splatter, because it’s easy for me to tell what’s happening apart, even if what I think is a red bit is a green bit :).

Jan 19: Signed Album

The A Forest / Mercury Tilt Switch ‎– Dialogue 4.

Ok, I admit this one is a bit of a stretch. It’s in the spirit but not letter of the rules. It’s not an album, and is a split where I have it signed by one band. But look how many of them there are – I have three copies. And I could tag some members of the band and make them laugh. 500 were made, no idea how many are signed, but I have 0.6% of the total pressings.

Jan 20: Album That Turns 20 In 2021

Roots Manuva ‎– Run Come Save Me. To be honest I think I prefer the Dub remix album (but only have it on CD), and posted recently so felt bad but wow. Unless discogs data is lacking, 2001 was a poor one for music. I had some CDs which would count, some re-issues and some compilations but this one kind of stood alone in my collection. Musicians 20 years ago – get your fingers our and make better music I like please.

Jan 21: Record Received As Gift

Dunderfunk ‎– Brick Cat EP.

Another category I struggle with. I’ve swapped tons of records. I’ve received tons of CDs as gifts. I’ve given away loads of records. But I couldn’t think of many I had received as gifts.

Jan 22: Hidden Gem

Kaddish ‎– Thick Letters To Friends.

What else could it be other than the best record ever to come out of Dundee, and limited to 300 pressings. They released a self-titled before this otherwise it would have been a snap inclusion for debut.

Jan 23: Band With POC Member(s)

Bullyrag ‎– Jump Up In A Fashion.

Another difficult one, I ended up scouring a bunch of artists profiles trying to see what they looked like. Another couple of contenders I queried friends as from photos it looked like they may count, but I wasn’t sure. Didn’t want to take the easy route and pick a hip hop group etc.

Jan 24: Picture Disc

Fun Lovin’ Criminals ‎– Scooby Snacks

I really, really don’t like picture discs. So only had a couple of candidates. Given the choice of inclusion the band which bridged me from hip hop to rock it was a no-brainer.

100% Columbian (their best album) was 12 in on my shelf, but had to be dropped to include this here. I’ve seen this band 20+ times live and every time their show has been great. Probably embedded from the first time I saw them live – on my 18th birthday. From Dundee to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth I’ve followed them round seeing them on almost every tour.

Does their live show always contain this song, their one hit wonder? Yes. Is it their best song? Not by a mile that would be Southside. They always had bizarre, amazing and original warm-up acts. The best of which was a busker from New York they brought on their European tour.

Jan 25: Your Favourite Lyricist

Rainer Maria ‎– A Better Version Of Me.

I thought they were a contender for hiatus (they reformed and then released nothing since, so not sure on status), and their Look Now, Look Again album is probably my favourite but the lyrics in Artificial Light, this albums opener, and the delivery are incredible.

No one defies artificial light. Simultaneous sitting ‘til you atrophy. Maybe you try to be pretty instead of kind. Why is this technology an anathema to me? If I could just breathe it out… I could always breathe back in. I’ll cut all your wires. I never cared. Cut all your wires. What can be there? It’s dead. And all the invisible arcs are caught in my head.

Why is this technology an anathema to me?. Are you kidding me? Beautiful.

Whilst chatting about music at work, we had the topic of favourite live set. I chose this Rainer Maria one as it was what I found after they had been on hiatus and let me know they were back. Someone replied that they would be watching it because they had been at the gig! The lucky sod.

Jan 26: Favourite Colour Vinyl

Franz Nicolay ‎– To Us The Beautiful.

Seeing Franz solo is always amazing. His recorded music is the opposite of the issue I mentioned above. I never find it enraptures me as much, maybe it’s the random skits, or full band or something. I don’t know. This was the first splatter vinyl I ever got so it feels right to give it pride of place here.

Jan 27: Future Classic (Last 3 Years)

Please, Believe! ‎– .​.​.​In Potential.

Live or recorded, this band are just amazing. This is an album I will be playing for years to come.

Some contenders – Muncie Girls – Future Ideals (above), Kaddish – What World Was Still? (above), Poverty Bar ‎– Vive La Bagatelle, Charmpit – Cause A Stir (above), Misfortune Cookie – Heavy Seas

Jan 28: Soundtrack

The Last Poets ‎– Right On! (Original Soundtrack)

Again, a bit barren, and many of the soundtracks I have I bought recently so didn’t want to post again (Dune etc).

But given the inclusion of a bunch of hip hop and jazz it felt fine to include a group who were a huge influence on many rappers.

Jan 29: Most Recent Purchase

Lande Hekt – Going To Hell.

This skirts the rules a wee bit. She appears in another act picked – Muncie Girls, and also another parcel arrived today with 2 records. But this came out this month, the other 2 were a 20 year old repress of People Under The Stairs and the much delayed vinyl release of Eminems latest. And unlike Lande, Eminem didn’t write a note thanking me for the purchase, not even as his Stan alter ego.

It’s something I mentioned in the entry about Juffage before too, but I love the connection that loads of the artists I enjoy have with their fans. Sometimes it’s some stickers chucked in, or a note, or like Deeker of MTAT sometimes scribbled messages checking you’re doing well on the record stiffeners etc.

Other records in the new pile, waiting to see which arrived last were Hamburger, some Michael Marra 7s and a big pile of Senser singles.

Jan 30: Album That Turns 30 in 2021

Green Day ‎– Kerplunk!.

Unlike some later years picks, this one was tough! This edged out over NWA – Efil4zaggin, Ice Cube – Death Certificate and The Jam – Greatest Hits. An amazing album, and is probably their second best. Behind Dookie. Obviously behind Insomniac

Jan 31: Band You’re Looking Forward To Releasing Music In 2021

Alldeepends.

I struggled with this just because I have no idea who is planning to or will release music this year. The first purchase of the year was Queequeg’s Coffin – Cú Beag about a minute after it went on sale but is not on vinyl.

But, I really anticipate another release by Alldeepends and hope one happens. Their Hello My Name Is is so so good, and if it wasn’t for the album part of the criteria on the 4th it might have slipped in. A 4 track EP they made videos for each track on. What the fuck. Cannae wait to be at one of their shows.

This is like how they make Star Wars now

This is Dundee

This is a park in Dundee (it’s a good park, go there)

This is the back of every show you’ve ever been to “we have merch thanks for coming, this is our last song”

Wait, how could you miss?

Due to the people who invented our terrible calendar that left me 31 artists to choose from (ok I broke that with the menagerie on the Cutler record) which meant a bunch are missing. Some I wanted to include, some people might expect me to include so I’ll mention a few here.

2Pac

So out of collection I considered 2Pac obviously. But at the time I collected most vinyl was disappearing from shops, and hip hop vinyl was even harder to find in the UK. So the massive collection I have is mainly CD, and I don’t have anywhere near as much on vinyl with some huge gaps. A physical collection doesn’t really do justice either given the various editions of the unreleased tracks, and the later re-edited tracks which came out etc.

His exclusion is one of the reason I included Paris though, to cover the same sort of genre of hip hop.

Jesus & His Judgemental Father

I really wanted to include these in the hiatus band, but Fugazi just won out due to the massive influence they had, and the impact their return would have.

Billie Holiday

If there was a category for best singer she would be a snap inclusion, I have maintained for almost 30 years that she’s the greatest singer to have ever lived. Even now, listening to Strange Fruit still sends shivers down my spine.

Leave a Reply

© 2021 Scoville Units Unite | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

Powered by Wordpress, design by Web4 Sudoku, based on Pinkline by GPS Gazette