Record Shopping Is Always Better When Drunk

Drunk record shopping is a special pleasure best reserved for a few occasions each year when pocketbook and pocketwatch both are giving a hearty thumbs up to your endeavors. Like record shopping while blazed, the drunken cd spree tempers one’s natural skepticism with an open heart and an open mind; unlike weed-driven browsing, shopping while soused will not take three hours and result in no purchases. Exuberance can be hard on the pocketbook, but even enjoyable indecision leads to a non-buyer’s remorse hours later.

You know the time was wasted, if not exactly how.

What cannot be recommended, however, is shopping with a loving heart while under no (natural or artificial) chemical alterations, because you just stone cold make poor fucking decisions about everyone and everything involved. Good intentions are a vampire that takes the great things from life and replaces them with nonsense.

This is one of those stories.

I like used record shopping at two places in Manhattan – Other Music and Kim’s Underground. People like to bag on both, but in my experience the staff at Other Music is – if anything – overly friendly, and the staff at Kim’s is relatively nice. I remember when this wasn’t true, but that was many years ago. Some folk may be confusing it with the other location that mostly rented videos and was apparently staffed with mean, opinionated cinema types. That place is now closed, so those of you who are inclined to hold retail grudges can breathe a sigh of…relief? I don’t know what to call the emotion you feel when someone you don’t know makes fun of a movie rental choice, because the dictionary definition of “apathy” doesn’t have “tormented by cool kids” in there.

Anyway, a little while back I sauntered into Kim’s completely non-drunk to run through the used section after failing to find a new copy of the new Jesu EP; in a fit of loving the world with an open, engaging heart, I came home with a mostly useless pile of crap.

Out of all the classic drum n’ bass stalwarts, Photek has been the only one really worth my time. I was never heavily into the genre, obviously; I think Timeless is criminally boring and I still feel bad about trying to pawn off Reprazent on my best friend back in ’96. It’s one thing to worry about the judgment of random store clerks, but another entirely to worry that your oldest friend thinks you may like Roni Size. Predictable, dull, lifeless, snoozy and – worst of all – phenomenally lazy.

Photek, on the other hand, was never flamboyant. Cold and precise, evocative of driving through a futuristic city late at night, perhaps doing nameless drugs with a young woman with poorly-wrapped dreds and an exposed midsection that hypnotizes with lies. That’s a good Photek track. The collection Form & Function has some earlier tracks and some remixes. The remixes are boring for the most part; dancefloor workouts of BOOM TWAP BOOMTWAP, too long on loops and little spirit.

“Rings of Saturn” and “The Seven Samurai” are both classic cuts, sans bullshit or filler. As an artifact of a long-dead era, you could do worse by far. They’re not this song:

But they’re also not this, thank goodness:

The originals on here are a great example of how hectic and chill can coexist, even…flourish. However, a middling-quality nostalgia sandwich is still 30% shit.

I really love the shit out of mu-ziq or u-ziq or however you want to spell Mike Paradinas‘ recording name. In Pine Effect is easily the best thing I bought on this trip, but compared to his later works it’s simply a taste of things to come.

On the positive side, In Pine Effect is outrageously upbeat, with every song coming from a particularly cute and naive part of the mid-90s. Maybe I’m projecting more than a bit, but the whiny 8-bit serenade of “Within A Sound” nails that feeling stone cold, even if the sound quality is more or less shit. In fact, almost none of these tracks – horn samples aside – are bad.

But they are also just fragments of what later u-ziq turned into – a frenetic, happy-paranoid mess that has matured as Planet Mu expanded. It’s criminal how little money actually goes to those guys, at least judging from interviews I’ve read, and my buying this cd used didn’t help matters any, but I’ve dropped a lot of money on him so I think I’m in the clear.

Trans Am has a serious sense of humor, but I lost track of them after Futureworld way back when; this was not the album to reconnect with. I know 2002 saw a lot the continued spread of the goofy tentacles of electroclash and a general love of 80s synth-rock and all that sort of stuff, but that pan has flashed and died.

My dearest love made me watch The Breakfast Club late last year; if you liked that, you may like this. I did not care of it at all. “Afternight” is a perfectly good post-rock anthem about high school parking lots and milling about in those parking lots with the gnawing cougar of youth. Great. Fine.



Filed under music

2 responses to “Record Shopping Is Always Better When Drunk

  1. ancient_warrior

    Ever since I walked out of a music store with Winger and that Metallica album with the symphony in my bag I vowed never to shop drunk again. However, the floor polish I sniffed when I was fourteen got me into Chemlab after I was finished being violently ill so I guess that’s what I should have stuck to.

  2. chemlab is still touring, apparently. i find that truly baffling. even in the lukewarm field of “industrial rock” they were always half-cold.

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