Monday is upon us and as we get ready to straddle that beast we call the work week let’s take a minute to reflect on the weekend, oh yeah this happened…
"Siqso played a concert for about 60 people at Arkham last night. He rolled up in a stretch white Hummer with an entourage of about 15 managers, security guards, dancers, and videographers. Pretty dire scene around 10.30pm, with a crowd of ten and a mystery DJ playing a mix of 2000's hip hop standards and aggressive trap music. Then came performances by some random Nigerian dude singing dancehall and the MC from LYNX Club, apparently "Shanghai's number one MC", doing some hype EDM shit with two off-time dancers, more trap, then finally the man Sisqo came out.
His hair is still blond, and he's in great shape, running around kicking on stage. Could tell he's a nice guy. They started with a Dru Hill song and ran through a few classics from Enter The Dragon. "Let me play you some shit off my new album", he said. Didn't even make it through the first chorus. Just cut the song and laughed, "ok, I guess two people in here know that. Lemme play some shit you know." Soon he left the stage, and a confusing performance by his dancers ensued; kind of a potpourri of covers of new rap like "Coco". Finally Siqso ran back on stage to perform a medley of "The Thong Song", and then it was goodnight. The venue cleared out faster than a street corner when the chengguan come, with half the crowd rushing up stairs to a heavily guarded backstage area for a photo opportunity. Apparently they went to Downtown for an after-party. Pretty sure someone lost a lot of money last night. Enter the dragon…" - Ian L
Anyway, it's that time of year again -- Record Store Day (RSD) happens this Saturday April 18th and for the 4th annual year Shanghai is celebrating those useless plastic discs with a day of live music and a market [full disclosure: this is curated and run by the author]. For those unfamiliar, Record Store Day is a recent holiday that runs in the vein of so many American traditions born out of a need to sell more stuff. Just like Valentine’s Day to was created to pump out candy and cards and St. Patrick’s Day moves lots o’ green beer, Record Store Day was the brainchild of a few record store owners in Baltimore way back in 2007. Over the past eight years it has grown into an international event with much of the music industry – from big labels to indie imprints -- contributing yearly with special vinyl and cassette releases and and re-issues.
This year’s official Record Store Day ambassador is Dave Grohl from Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. Recently Grohl has been doing a show on HBO where he visits a different music scene around the world and does a little historical piece that is followed by a live show at the end. Will this year’s ambassador be visiting China? All signs point to no way.
One positive RSD contribution is the special releases, like when metal band Black Dahlia Murder put out a 7”of cover songs. Or a personal favorite this year is the BadBadNotGood release of an instrumental version of their Stone Sour album that featured Ghostface Killah. Below is a list of my top 5 RSD releases by genre. For a complete list of RSD releases check out this site.
It should be noted this Saturday that while there is music, records, and art at the original Uptown Record Store on Pingwu Lu as well, the main day of vendors, DJs, and live sets including Wooozy Listening Session, #VinyoftheDay Live Podcast, and Daily Vinyl record swap will be at the new Xingfu Lu Uptown location located in the warehouse space behind Dada Bar. Record Store Day runs Saturday, April 18th 1–9pm and is free for all. The after-party starts at 9pm and is provided by Love Bang who are celebrating their five year anniversary
Let’s kick off this year’s release review with a little DFA1979 song titled "Trainwreck" that is being released on a special 7” picture disc record. The hipster-to-the-core rock band recently reformed and this teaser track is a preview of the forthcoming album due out later this year. Following that my next pick is the 1960’s album R.I.P. from The Zombies. This album was never officially released and includes some of their most classic songs previously only available on bootlegs. That’s right, these Zombies were telling tales of the undead way before it was cool. Then onto a personal favorite in the form of a Black Dahlia Murder 7”that features three covers of bands Left for Dead, Sedition, and Guyga. Even though it can be just a cheap promo trick when a band releases a cover album, when done by solid trash metal like Black Dahlia it’s alright by me.
Take a trip back to 1987 with this re-issue of the classic Pulp second album titled Freaks. The album originally tanked on the charts but has held up against the test of time artistically and become a cult classic. Then finally I’m going to go with a little friend by the name of Johnny Cash who did a concert in Soviet Era Prague circa 1983. The album comes on a sweet red 180 gram disc and really makes you feel that Iron Curtain coming down on you.
Death From Above 1979 -- "Trainwreck" (7" Picture Disc)
Zombies, The -- R.I.P. (12" LP)
Black Dahlia Murder Covers (7" Single)
Pulp - Freaks （12” LP)
Johnny Cash – Koncert v Praze In Prague Live (12" LP Red 180G)
One of the most anticipated albums of this week is the Stone Sour Instrumentals. The jazzy Toronto experimentalist's recent album with Wu-Tang's Ghostface was an eclectic mix, with killer guest spots from DOOM and Danny Brown, amongst others. Then our flossing friend A$AP Rocky is dropping a new 7” titled Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2. The Harlem rapper is dropping two tracks, "LPFJ2" and "Multiply", which are expected to be on his second album later this year. Not to be outdone, our friends Run the Jewels will be releasing a 4 song EP titled Bust No Moves on 12” vinyl. The main track "Bust No Moves" is a new one but also features three previously released songs such as "Love Again" and "Pew Pew Pew".
Taking it back to the old school is an old fool who goes by the name of Sugarhill Gang. The people who brought you the foundations of hip hop are releasing a double 12” of their best jams. I just bought like 40 Sugarhill Gang 12”s and there is not a bad one in the bunch. Finally we will end with the man himself J Dilla. Out of print for nearly 10 years, the classic track "Funk the Police" will be back on vinyl in the form of a limited edition 7” single.
BadBadNotGood – "Stone Sour (Instrumentals)" （12” LP）
A$AP Rocky - Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (7" Single)
Run The Jewels – "Bust No Moves" (12" EP)
Sugarhill Gang – Best Of.. (Double 12”)
J Dilla – "Funk the Police" (7" Single)
From the electronic side of the fence is a long overdue release of the first Goldfrapp album Felt Mountain. The original vinyl price has been going for way more much money then I can afford. Felt Mountain is my favorite album by Goldfrapp before she went the way of upbeat electro pop bangers. Next up is an album from the classic soundscape synth artist Brian Eno titled My Squelchy Life. This album was shelved by his label and not released in any format so it will be fun to see what’s on tap for this 1991 release that never happened.
A very special 10” release from John Hopkins of the song "I Remember", which is a cover of a Yeasayer song and destined to be a collector’s item. For a taste of the 12” electronica we have a Warpaint remix of the Daughter track titled "Winter". Elena Tonra's svelte, haunting vocal proved perfect fodder for a Warpaint's winding corridors of sound on this remix. Now it's on 12", backed by Daughter's remix of their 'Feelin' Alright'. Finally I’m going with a guilty pleasure of French downtempo stars Air who are releasing a special colored 7” version of their song "Playground Love" from the Virgin Suicides sound track.
Goldfrapp – "Felt Mountain" (12" LP)
Brian Eno – "My Squelchy Life" (12" LP)
Jon Hopkins - "I Remember" (10" Single)
Daughter - "Winter (Warpaint remix)" (12" Single)
Air - "Playground Love" (7" Colored Single)
While China hasn't jumped on the bandwagon of doing special releases for Record Store Day, this Saturday's event will feature independent Chinese record labels selling their vinyl and cassettes. We're talking Chinese labels such as Genjing Records, Groove Bunny, Maybe Mars, SVBKVLT, and more.
I'm going to leave you today with a new release from Shanghai noise legends Torturing Nurse. The song is called "Midnight, The Stars, & You". Pretty sure it's a love song. But go ahead and decide for yourself.
Torturing Nurse – "Midnight, The Stars & You"