The 3 For $10 Bin at BMV
Every time we go to Toronto, to BMV on Bloor, they have this awesome 3 For $10 bin downstairs. A few things are constant with it:
1) it’s full of a lot of stuff I’ve never heard of (which is its own kind of awesome).
2) the Legendary Klopeks CD is still there (how long has it been, now?).
3) it’s impossible to dig through and find nothing I’d want to bring home.
And this trip was no different. They had re-stocked it since our trip there in May, and I found some cool stuff. I even had to leave a bunch behind – I have to draw the line somewhere! Anyway, here’s what I found on this trip:
1) Sloan – A-Sides Win (CD/DVD)
Yup, a pristine copy of this amazing hits set (with all the videos!) for $3? Sold! I already own it, so this was simply a rescue mission. I couldn’t leave it behind. I told Mike about it, he said the DVD alone was worth it. He was right, but this whole set is worth waaaaay more than that! Also, we joked I oughta send it to Scott. Haha.
2) Platinum Blonde – Seven Year Itch: 1982-1989
I don’t know how much our overseas Readers will know about these guys, but they were a (fairly) big deal here in Canadian pop music in the 80s. They had a bunch of hit songs here. Anyway, like many others I’m sure, I grew up on these guys’ tapes. This Hits collection is really cool, and has most of the songs you’d want. Of course, I knew the albums in full, so I can think of stuff I’d have wanted added, but most of their CDs are long out of print (though LPs and cassettes are cheap). I have to think that’s because they sort of straddled the transition from cassette to CD in the late 80s and there probably weren’t too many CDs made. While in Toronto, I saw that their first record was recently remastered onto CD, but just that one (so far).
Anyway, this 16-track disc (from 1999) covers a lot of the main bases, and for $3 it was a total nostalgia score.
Track Listing: It Doesn’t Really Matter / Holy Water / Automatic Drive / Animal / Not In Love / Sad Sad Rain / Crying Over You / Contact / Chaperone Sally / Somebody, Somewhere / All Fall Down / Lost In Space / Situation Critical / Standing In The Dark / Hungry Eyes / Cinderella Story
3) Quincy Jones – Q’s Jook Joint
I was very curious about this album. In celebration of his 50th year in music, Jones got a bunch of people together and made an album of classic tunes and standards, a sort of survey of the styles of his career. I’m not gonna re-type the impressive list of guest stars (it’s extensive, including everybody from Ray Charles to Tone Loc, Stevie Wonder to the cast of Stomp), so if you’re curious you can just CLICK HERE. Oh and of course Bono is here. That d-bag is on all of these things. Is that a default setting, in the biz? Hey we’re making a various artists tribute album to somebody important, somebody call Bono so he can prove how in the know he is again! Seriously. Bono. Ugh.
My lovely wife and I tried this one in the car on the way home from Toronto (we had plenty of time, what with the traffic and the fog), and… it was fairly underwhelming. It’s very dated-sounding, just listening to it screamed mid-80s even though it was released in 1995. To be honest, we lost interest before the mid-points of most of these songs. I dunno, it just didn’t click.
The liner notes were the best part about this. From his recalling playing with Billie Holiday at 14 years old and Cab Calloway at 16, through to notes on every song, with portraits of each guest… there’s a lot going on in the booklet. Shame the music didn’t impress me as much.
So it wasn’t love at first listen. I’ll try it again later, with the good headphones on, since it won a Grammy award for Best Engineered Album. Maybe we missed something. Maybe it just wasn’t road trip music. Ha, I’ll probably play it again next week and it’ll make sense. So much for first impressions thffbbpt.
Like I said, I left a bunch of other stuff behind in the 3 For $10 bin, but these three seemed like good bets. One I already own, a blast of nostalgia, and an R&B disc on spec. And that was that.
Platinum Blonde – No Regrets b/w Hey Hey You (7”)
Last September, my lovely wife and I got away for a couple of days for our wedding anniversary. Sharp-memoried KMA readers will recall we went to Mike’s town and saw Big Rude Jake play a fantastic set in a pub. While in town, we went to Orange Monkey Records, and the man there played me a these Platinum Blonde tracks, as we’d been talking about them (their CDs are on my Grail list – see top of page for everyone’s lists!). I love d the tracks straight away. The 7” is hard to find, he said.
Time passed, it’s now January. I recalled hearing those songs, wanted them again. Found them on the Youtubes, they’re still fantastic! I sent it to a few friends, and so far responses are positive! Of course, the search is still on for the 7”. I found one online, $10, not bad. But it’s a UK seller and shipping is same as buying the thing. $20 for one 7”… I dunno, it is rare, though… Anyway, point being if you’re reading this and haven’t yet heard these tracks, hie thee to the Tubes Of You (if not buy the 7″!) and check them out. They’re great fun!
Roots – The Tipping Point*
A needle hits vinyl and we’re in. A delicious record from one of rap’s premier acts. It isn’t in a hurry, but it flows like nobody’s business. It’s smooth, funky, a record where a real 70s feel can flow into spy theme music and then into a sweet soul jam with ease, and an old school speed rap like Boom! makes sense in the picture too. I read complaints about it being bland, commercial, too short, lacking an overall vision… fools. This is The Roots. They do what they do, and never once have they disappointed.
Roots – How I Got Over*
The Roots roll back with another sweet soul excursion, each track proving they are inventive and superlative players. I really felt this one, the songs going deep into all the threads that make up life, love, and everything. Lots of guest stars here, including Monsters of Folk, Joanna Newsom, John Legend and so on. This was so good, I played the thing twice in a row!
Ani DiFranco – Swing Set EP*
EP for the track from To The Teeth (1999). Love the funky jazzy sax of Swing (Radio Set). It’s there on the album version too. Next is To The Teeth (Shoot Out Remix), gunshot noises leading into a version with drums and funky effects on the guitar. Woody Guthrie’s Do Re Mi (live) is next and it’s brilliant (as you can imagine it would be). When I’m Gone is a gorgeous late-night contemplative track with great guitar. And finally it’s Ani’s cover of the classic Bob Dylan song about Hurricane Carter. I think I paid $0.99. Shame, it’s worth a ton more.
Ani DiFranco – Like I Said: Songs 1990-91*
Collecting tracks from her first two records, this is a mindblowing compilation of brilliance. More remarkable, since we basically expect excellence from her now, is that this early period was when her future wasn’t so ensured. Of course, going back knowing what we know we can say ‘of course it was,’ but when she boldly struck out, it was hard work, fearless intelligence, talent and her own wits and determination against the world. I can’t recommend this disc enough.
* Bought during last year’s trip to Toronto with Mike.