Record Rip-offs & Wax Trax Dance Parties: AKA Your Mind Belongs To The State (The lost posts pt.1)

I’ve noticed a very alarming trend. Hopefully I am just having really bad luck, but of the last ten or so vinyl purchases I have made, all new, none used, only one of them came with a download certificate. It’s bad enough that I used to be able to purchase records for, oh I don’t know, certainly not what is being asked for them now, but now I am not to be given my rightful download for an album purchase as well? These guys are like drug dealers, telling you ‘hey, come buy this vinyl please, we’ll give you a digital copy with it, pleeease.’ Now that they’ve given everybody a taste, and for whatever reason, buying vinyl has amassed widespread appeal like it is a new thing or something, all the prices are going up in ridiculous increments as well as these pushers getting all Orwellian on us.

“Here’s the vinyl you must have. We have now decreased the price to $34.99 (previously $20 but all records have been committed to memory holes) for your pleasure.”

“…and the download?”

“There was never a download comrade.” (As he calls in your thoughtcrime.)

“Thank you INGSOC” (I’m already dead.)

Now I find myself shaking my head in disgust when I catch myself saying things like, “Hey, this is only $15. That’s cheap.” When compared with the preponderance of them going for well over $20 or even $30 for a single release, and it’s not unheard of for some of them to be as high as $50, a fifteen dollar album is cheap I suppose. Anyway, I will try to be happy despite the increasing prices, that due to the growing popularity of vinyl that now even old releases that were hard to come by or never saw a vinyl release at all, are becoming more widely available. Take for instance SlowdiveSouvlaki, I was very excited to find this recently, but to my dismay it was thirty-five dollars! This has gotten more than a little out of hand in my opinion. I reluctantly purchased it because, well, I really wanted it. After getting home with it and tearing into my purchase I found myself once again empty-handed where a download was concerned. Alex just laughed at me while retrieving the download certificates from her purchases. Thanks Alex.

Now that I have vented my spleen about something that I clearly paid for willingly, I can write about something hopefully less spiteful with the caveat that it is entirely possible that I will relapse into complaining. I have a predisposition toward seeing the world as an execrable heap. I just put on my happy face for you guys.


 

So, while on the same record store excursion that robbed and confounded me, I found some wonderful little gems in the new arrivals used bin. Apparently someone had dumped off some of their old DJ vinyl to my pleasure. Amidst the dust and crap records I found Meat Beat ManifestoStrap Down 12″ the sound defence[sic] policy remix (the original Sweatbox release from 1988.)

This is pretty cool since as far as I can tell it isn’t really on any of the proper releases that I have other than my old Wax Trax Storm The Studio double 33 12″ (which happens to still have the old mail order sheet listing all of the vinyl LPs for $8 and 12″ singles for $5! If only I could still order from it.) and in yet another incarnation on Armed Audio Warfare as Give Your Body Its Freedom.

Happily after listening to all of them again recently, they are all definitely different and I think I prefer the Sweatbox single version that I just got. Yay me!


 

Something else that I grabbed out of the bin, and this is funny because I just wrote about them in the Soap&Skin post, is Front 242Headhunter v1.0 b/w Welcome to Paradise v1.0.

“I’m looking for this man to sell him to other man”

Hahaha, you can’t beat that. Now if only I could find the Bigod 20 single for The Bog with Jean-Luc De Meyer of Front 242 lending his voice to the track. They’re almost a pair, they fit together so well. Both are dance-floor favorites that you are sure to hear if you ever find yourself in the darker recesses of the dance clubs of 1989. If you are confused as to how you should move to the music you can either do some ‘dodge the bats’ moves or, and this is more appropriate for both of these tracks, the militant stomping in place to the beat dance. Now that you are EBM ready, put on something black and let’s hit the floor! Just leave the cloves at home, I will not tolerate those things.


 

Another single, also from the late 80s, that I got was Severed HeadsHot With Fleas.

While not my favorite track by Mr. Ellard, I quite enjoy them and will always pick up a Severed Heads single when I happen upon one. (Apparently he is of the opinion that making electronic music has become far too easy, unlike when they started in the 70s, and is focusing most of his attention into making video games. I am inclined to agree with him.)

That video has absolutely nothing to do with the single that I purchased, but it is one of my favored Severed Heads songs. It’s from the 1994 album Gigapus, I think I was one of about five people who purchased the album. If you are interested there is a Sevcom bandcamp website with almost all of this stuff and Tom Ellard solo. Most of the albums can be yours for just $5 US and a few of them are ‘name your price.’ I am definitely going to be getting a few of them. I pretty much burned up my cassette copies of Come Visit The Big Bigot and Rotund For Success back when I could fill up my little red Geo Metro for six dollars and then drive all over the country avoiding life. I really miss that car. While I’m at it, I really miss gasoline for under a dollar too. The tracks Harold and Cindy Hospital, Legion, and Propellor/FM Stations Blow Up in particular were my jam. Check them out here:

You should go to the site and look around. I particularly enjoy Tom’s commentary on each of the albums.


 

 

I also picked up the Chris + Cosey – Obsession 12″ single (Play it again Sam Records.) The artwork is only mildly NSFW. I think you’ll be okay.

This is not an official video, there probably isn’t one. This is just some video that someone has added to the music track, but it is probably more entertaining than staring at an image of the album cover, that was the other option. Plus it’s very weird and kind of fitting, sort of misogynist, but fitting. It’s actually far more NSFW than the artwork. Oh well.

For anyone unaware of this, Chris + Cosey (Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti) were a couple of the somewhat lesser known members of Throbbing Gristle, of which other members went on to form Psychic TV (Genesis P’Orridge) and COIL (Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson.) I don’t have much from Chris + Cosey. I do have a Carter Tutti (basically the same thing with a different name) recording from a live radio show in 2004 that I think I enjoy more than any studio releases I’ve yet heard. This has no direct relation to the previous statement other than Cosey’s involvement but, Mrs. Tutti lends her vocals to one of the more haunting versions of Idumæa on Current 93 – Black Ships Ate The Sky, although you don’t get to the Idumæa portion of the song until around the nine minute mark. It’s very dark, I like it a lot.


 

I have really got to make a list of what I own to prevent any unnecessary duplications from such compulsive purchases as to which I alluded in the Severed Heads section above, and looking at all of these singles has me thinking about it. It has happened more than once that I got home to find that the vinyl I just got, I already owned. Although, if I might be allowed to complain a bit more, I used to intentionally make duplicate purchases back when people didn’t buy records like they do now. During this time frame I would occasionally go to shops like Starship Records, which appeared from the copious overstock to be the graveyard of vinyl deemed no longer useful and therefore culled from the ever evolving DJ stacks, to peruse the tombs. It was rare that I ever paid more than a dollar or two for any of it and if I would happen upon something that I already owned and knew to be good, I would most often purchase it since the prices were so low, for the purpose of handing it over to a well deserving friend or someone desirous of it and not having the fortune of coming across it as I had. I guess that that is not so much complaining as it is lamenting a past never again to be. (Damn kids. Back in my day… hahaha)

Oh, I didn’t mention this before, but it is relevant. I had to pay about five dollars for every one of those singles. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but considering I could have bought the same thing only a year or two ago and I know this for a fact because I did in fact purchase several very similar releases at the same location, for maybe a dollar or two at that time, it’s obvious that the logic that the stores are having to pay more for the new releases and therefore having then to pass that expense on to the consumer isn’t wholly true and they are very clearly taking advantage of the growing appeal of vinyl to demand more for items that aren’t costing them any more to acquire than before. Those were the cheap ones. There was a Revolting Cocks single that I wanted, but it was $9. I just couldn’t do it, not for an old 12″ single. (I eventually picked it up on a later trip. I just couldn’t help myself.) I have one or two other Revco singles, probably purchased at Starship, that I likely got for a dollar. Go figure. I think that in the past most sellers would almost just give it away just to get it out of the way, and very few people really wanted it, so they were only asking a dollar or so because it was better than just slapping ‘FREE’ on it while having nearly the same effect. I know that some particular items are slightly more valuable, but having seen the change I can clearly tell that there is definitely a blanket increase that is happening now not based on any research toward an item’s collector’s value.

Oh well, I have caviled enough about this. It’s just the going rate now.

Yes, I know that I basically just referred to my own complaint as trivial— It is. I’m happy that there is new life in the record store market that I thought was all but extinct only a short while ago. I do understand that the records now are of a higher quality than they used to be, most on 180 gram vinyl, as well as a lot of gatefolds and fancy deluxe packaging. That’s all cool, but forty and fifty dollars a piece for individual releases is a bit extravagant. What is likely to happen is that the prices might begin to soften a bit if they find that their audience, like me, doesn’t feel the marked increase is warranted, or simply begins buying much less than we did before. We do all still have other avenues for acquiring the music, it’s why the record stores started going down the tank in the first place. And as far as the downloads are concerned, they should be included period, there is no defensible excuse for that.

We could all take yet another step back and actually start using tapes again, this is the Cassette Club after all. I’m sure there are plenty of hipster d-bags out there that are doing it anyway for other reasons (I don’t think I can possibly be that cool though.) So if you are that cool (read: hipster d-bag), send me your blank tapes and Omnibot will make a mix for you, he’s good at that, he’s from the eighties it’s all he understands.

max-omnibot-headroom

But as for now this means that all of you are going to need to start sending money to me so that I can afford to continue buying the musics to type about to you here.

I will take monetary donations of any size, or records. Whatever works.

 

As always, buy the music when you can, but enjoy it either way, it’s why we have it.

 

— JS

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Sugarbread

So I have something else for you.
Soap&SkinSugarbread
It’s just an ep, but it gives a pretty good idea of what the music is all about. I really like ep’s.
You have really got to watch this video for the title track, it’ll scar you, and if you are anything like me (lazy and sad?) you will have that interminable phrase running through your head until your death.
When you close your eyes to sleep,
“Try to break one’s heart in perpetuity”
On your drive to work,
“Try to break one’s heart in perpetuity”
When you lean in to kiss your wife,
“Try to break one’s heart in perpetuity”
It will be there.


Seriously though, I don’t have a wife or a job nor do I sleep, but if I did I’m certain that that song would plague my thoughts at those moments. Maybe this song will finally unseat that Yaz song Situation that has been inexplicably invading my thoughts for the last decade or so.
Anyway, I don’t have a lot of info to give you about Soap&Skin that is going to mean a whole lot to you. It’s another one of those bands that isn’t a band at all, basically just a young weird talented Austrian girl named Anja Plaschg, and that this release is on PIAS (Play It Again Sam Records). Funny enough I had seen PIAS listed on other releases in the recent past and did not realize that it was in actuality Play It Again Sam, I had no idea that they were even still around. I can’t help but think of Front 242 and Wax Trax every time. Maybe it’s that tenuous connection that made me presume that they had gone the same way as the two aforementioned now defunct institutions. (Actually I think Front 242 might still be around surprisingly) Sorry, I tend to go off on a lot of tangents. So, she has two full LPs, Lovetune For Vacuum, her first, which is where I first discovered her while reading about it’s release on The End Of Being website (theendofbeing.com), and Narrow.
I probably shouldn’t type these horrible words for fear that they will turn everyone away from Soap&Skin forever, but it kind of reminds me of Tori Amos (God know why), with one very very important distinction, I like Soap&Skin. There is a hint of Miranda Sex Garden thrown in there, but that just might be because it is a bunch of weird German women.
You can just forget everything I just typed and listen to the music, draw your own conclusions. You probably won’t read this anyway.