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Re: OOP music and the illusion of access

OOP music and the illusion of access
April 08, 2018 06:59PM
When I was in high school (between 1984-1988), bands like Can and Wire were legends, but it was almost impossible to hear the music that made them that way. (Wire were alive and kicking during that period in their New Order-wannabe incarnation, of course, but I wasn't exactly thrilled by it beyond a few songs.) I had to wait till Wire's first 3 albums and the entire Can catalogue were reissued on CD by Restless to get what all the fuss was about. I was actually able to find used copies of two Capt. Beefheart albums, CLEAR SPOT and DOC AT THE RADAR STATION, while in high school, but I certainly didn't have access to his whole body of work (although I believe TROUT MASK REPLICA has never gone out of print and I was probably just looking at the wrong record stores - there's a 1982 interview with Beefheart by Lester Bangs where he says that apart from REPLICA, none of his albums sold more than 60,000 copies and all went out of print in about 2 years.) There was a used record store in Providence I went to around that time which offered to make people cassettes of various classic albums that were then out of print (apart from Can, Beefheart and Wire, this also included Iggy Pop's THE IDIOT and LUST FOR LIFE and every 1970s John Cale solo album, among others.)

Now iTunes and Amazon have made the entire catalogues of artists like Can and Beefheart available to a young person who learns about them and has a credit card. But there are still lots of vast gaps, especially a fair amount of '80s indie rock (as well as other music.) And the Internet used to be a space where one could enter the name of an album followed by "mp3 download" into Google and quickly download it from Megafire or a similar file-sharing site, but the music industry has cut down. Individual tracks from rare albums - and, often, the albums themselves - are available on YouTube, but it's very frustrating to learn that every track Breaking Circus ever recorded is up on YouTube; however, if I wanted to download these tracks, convert them into MP3s and assemble their 2 EPs and album into their original form, I'd need to do so individual song by song.

Just off the top of my head: where are MX-80 Sound's OUT OF THE TUNNEL and CROWD CONTROL, Snakefinger's albums for Ralph, the aforementioned Breaking Circus catalogue, Slovenly's albums for SST, the Plastics' album for Island, Trouble's 2 albums for American Recordings or the second solo album by Ruth Copeland, a white Englishwoman who did songwriting and backing vocals for early Parliament-Funkadelic and used them as her backing band? There's a lengthy compilation by the Bizzaros on iTunes, but I am not sure if it includes their album for Mercury or just demos and their work for their own label Clone. I have not searched for these on YouTube apart from Breaking Circus, so perhaps they're available on that site, but the illusion that all the music ever made is one click away is just that.

Additionally, the resurgence of vinyl has led to reissues that are only available in that format. Blast First just put out a Michael Chapman album recorded in 1971. As far as I can tell, it's not available on MP3. The Light in the Attic site is full of such releases. This would bother me less if vinyl wasn't so overpriced these days; back in my high school and college days, it was the medium of choice for people with less money, and now it's targeted towards upper-middle-class hipsters (no offense to anyone here who collects new vinyl issues, but look at the prices for Record Store Day!)
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 08, 2018 08:30PM
Quote

it was almost impossible to hear the music

All I can say is that having to personally scour the record stores of the world lookin' fer rare and esoteric music(instead of DOWNLOADIN' it from a ... a cozy armchair ... in a some kinda ... POSH ... IVORY TOWER) builds character, DAMMIT!
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 09, 2018 05:53AM
"Hardly anyone listens to terrestrial radio anymore" is a myth:

[qz.com]

[www.newsgeneration.com]



Post Edited (04-09-18 03:01)
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 08, 2018 08:50PM

Joe Strummer once said when he was a teenager he listened to Trout Mask Replica and nothing else for a year.......I'm not sure why but I assume that's just where his ears were attuned.

Regardless that experience had to shape his artistic sense in some way. Whether that limitation was forced on him (i.e. lack of money, lack of availability) or chosen (he doesn't seek out other Beefheart maybe) it causes interesting intersections in life - as an artist or a fan.

Those vinyl records are necessary to be so pricey if only so kids can understand how Jagger-Richards felt buying Chess imports in 1960. Sometimes the access to so much makes me think a kid today is almost destined to grow up as a heard it all dilettante.

Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 08, 2018 10:24PM
> Sometimes the access to so much makes me think a kid today is almost destined to grow up
> as a heard it all dilettante.

That notion brought to mind the opposing view, expressed by Mr. Reno in a different thread:

"There's a generation coming up that, even though they've had greater access to actual classic movies, television and music than people my age ever did, have had the ability to completely evade being exposed to actual classics."

In my college days, I made a lot of friends who were into the newer music, and eager to share the cool new artists they were discovering, by one means or another. And I also met no shortage of people whose attitude was summed up by a girl I worked with, who had gotten into the habit of checking out the cassettes in my Walkman and eventually asked, in all earnestness, "If these bands are so good, then why haven't I ever heard them on the radio?"

I suspect, if you could compare these two generations in some scientific, statistical way, you'd probably find about the same proportion of people who want to explore the wide range of available listening options, old and new, and about the same proportion of people who simply couldn't care less.

Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 08, 2018 11:10PM
Quote

And I also met no shortage of people whose attitude was summed up by a girl I worked with, who had gotten into the habit of checking out the cassettes in my Walkman and eventually asked, in all earnestness, "If these bands are so good, then why haven't I ever heard them on the radio?"

Yeah. If your mother's cooking is so good ... why can't I get it at McDonald's?

...

Crucial Fallacy: Assuming that anything that's on the radio *must* be good.
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 09, 2018 01:56AM
OK, that post was coming from a place of entitlement where I thought "I want to own OUT OF THE TUNNEL, Trouble's MANIC FRUSTRATION and Slovenly's THINKING OF EMPIRE right now, and it sucks that I can't." There really was a period where download blogs proliferated and it seemed like everything ever recorded was on Mediafire. But I remember finding Pere Ubu's TERMINAL TOWER in a Halifax mall when I was 14, loving it and taking almost a year to find a copy of THE MODERN DANCE. I couldn't find DUB HOUSING till I was 16, and I paid $13 for it then, which was more than I'd ever paid for an album at that time. There was something special about getting the band's music doled out to me in installments. But I don't think I benefited from hearing cover versions of Wire from bands as different as Minor Threat and R.E.M. but not being able to get PINK FLAG, CHAIRS MISSING and 154.

Yes, there is a sense of too much music being out there, both an accumulation of history and an endless amount of new releases which you can stream for free (or $9.99/month.) I learned about new music as a teenager through college radio and fanzines (or even Creem and Spin at their most adventurous.) I suspect streaming playlists now serve the purpose college radio did in the 1980s.

In response to the above post: hardly anyone listens to terrestrial radio anymore, and practically every new release made available for streaming is playing on some format that has come along to replace what radio used to be. Perhaps it helps that kids that if they click on a Sonic Youth song on Spotify, the next three bands that come up will probably be Big Black, Mission of Burma and Pavement: music history is readily accessible in a way that it wasn't 30 years ago (college radio almost never played music made before 1980 when I listened to it). It makes me feel really old to constantly meet millennials who were introduced to the Ramones, Patti Smith, Suicide, Talking Heads, Pere Ubu, etc. by their parents, who were fans of those bands in the 1970s and got to see them live then.
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 09, 2018 05:18AM
I've got a Snakefinger best of that is most of those two albums plus The Spot.
The one I really want is The Passions' Sanctuary. Somewhere in here there's a massive OOP thread from a couple of hundred years ago.
zoo
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 09, 2018 11:21AM
I'm sure I missed the greater point of the original post...I got hung up on the frustration of some music not being readily available on CD back in the '80s when CDs were still a new format. Here's what I did...bought used vinyl! And I did this as a teenager, not an adult with a steady income. When I just had to have that copy of Roxy & Elsewhere or Sheik Yerbouti, I had to buy the vinyl. And the prices weren't crazy back then, either.

Anyway, I concur with Kay's comment, even if it was made half in jest...it DOES build character.



Post Edited (04-09-18 13:05)
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 09, 2018 01:46PM
> I don't think I benefited from hearing cover versions of Wire from bands as different as
> Minor Threat and R.E.M. but not being able to get PINK FLAG, CHAIRS MISSING and 154.

Oh, I dunno ... It showed you that there was a band out there called Wire, who was cool enough for both R.E.M. and Minor Threat to cover. It probably struck up your curiosity about that band, the same way hearing Joy Division's cover of "Sister Ray" on Still and R.E.M.'s cover of "There She Goes Again" on the B-side of "Radio Free Europe" made me curious about the Velvets.

Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 09, 2018 06:30PM
What good did that curiosity do me if I couldn't actually hear Wire's '70s music until it was reissued on CD several years later? I learned about the Velvet Underground by reading a review in Rolling Stone raving about Polygram's reissues of their first 3 albums and release of VU, but then I could actually go to a record store and buy THE VELVET UNDERGROUN & NICO afterwards (quickly followed by their other three studio albums.)
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 09, 2018 06:43PM
Those Polygram reissues lagged a couple years behind the R.E.M. single, and four years behind the Joy Division release. My curiosity remained with me enough to get the reissues and the album that was exhumed from the vaults, VU ... along with a copy of Loaded on Cotillion (at $30, the most expensive record I'd ever purchased -- still pretty high on the list).

Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 10, 2018 04:58PM
Speaking of the VU, my 1st copy of the 1st album was purchased in a Cambridge, MA record store in 1981. It was in pretty beat condition. Recently I attended a recycling event where you could pick up books & other media for free. I actually found a still sealed copy of the 1st VU album there.
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 10, 2018 05:06PM
Wow! How much was it?
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 10, 2018 08:41PM
It was actually free! I already have 3 copies (box set, deluxe version, super deluxe version), so I gave it to a friend
I'm certain I'm missing the original point of the thread, but you had to be a bit of an elitist to discover the music being mentioned here back when it was released. Especially if you were a kid in a small town. I was never going to hear say X's 'wild gift' on the radio. I saw it mentioned positively in TP or creem by critics ...if I saw it in a record store I had to spend my sparse $$ on something I'd never heard before.

That's a lot riskier than buying the journey album that you've already heard 4 singles from and that all your friends own. But of course the greater the risk, the greater the reward (usually.... you hope).

Fighting the ease of 'internet discovery' of new music is futile and akin to fighting the GPS vs your trusty foldable road map. (and I've fought in favor of that stupid map more times than I'll admit).
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 12, 2018 01:03AM
Welcome Bip,

Quote

I was never going to hear say X's 'wild gift' on the radio.
Again, I doff my cap to all you hard-working music fans who had to WORK to get hep. All my lazy ass had to do was turn on KROQ, and by the '80s, a slew of college stations. I would pop in blank tapes and record stuff. Kudos to you all.

Quote

fighting the GPS vs your trusty foldable road map. (and I've fought in favor of that stupid map more times than I'll admit).

*raises fist* Stay strong, my brother!
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 12, 2018 02:03PM
For me, it was a combination of record store clerks whose taste and advice I came to trust, magazines whose reviews proved reliable, and a college radio station (and late-night TV) that cranked up the noise.

Before I had any of those things, though, I had a completely different motivator: a bad attitude. Seeing Devo, Talking Heads and The B-52's on SNL, and later hearing "Pop Muzik" on the radio, I'd listen to my high school classmates in Louisiana smirk and taunt and laugh at those artists. And although I kept it to myself, I ended up thinking, "Well, my classmates dislike those bands, and they're all assholes. So those bands must be cool."

Thanks MrFab. You were indeed lucky to have KROQ! Funny about that--- I used to really build that station up in my small-town mind, and think that Rodney Bingenheimer had to be this wild, out of this world dj. Then I heard some audio tape from his 'Rodney on the roq' show recently.... he was surprisingly mild-mannered and non-descript (but with good taste in music!) NOT what I expected!

Ah, anyone with our taste in music probably had to deal with idiot classmates. I'll never forget in 9th grade sherry oatman telling me that I listened to 'fag' bands instead of real men like rob halford and Judas Priest *sigh*. Freekin' sherry oatman.
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 13, 2018 01:43AM
I like Judas Priest, actually, but that's hilarious. Reminds me of Julian Cope's story about Queen fans calling Teardrop Explodes "fags" when they opened an arena show for Freddie Mercury and co.
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 18, 2018 05:29PM
Getting back to the original post:

>Additionally, the resurgence of vinyl has led to reissues that are only available in that format. Blast First just put out a Michael Chapman album recorded in 1971. As far as I can tell, it's not available on MP3. The Light in the Attic site is full of such releases. This would bother me less if vinyl wasn't so overpriced these days; back in my high school and college days, it was the medium of choice for people with less money, and now it's targeted towards upper-middle-class hipsters (no offense to anyone here who collects new vinyl issues, but look at the prices for Record Store Day!)<<

This. Not to mention said reissues sometimes seem to be repressed in fewer numbers than the original pressing ("Only 500 made". "Only 200 made"). So either you have to make "revisions" to your budget to get the reissue, or you wait and then watch as it goes OOP (and then said reissue ends up going for even more on eBay/Discogs, etc.).
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 18, 2018 05:52PM
Going to where the thread drifted: I freely admit that it was the Trouser Press guides (as well as zines like MRR and books like Hardcore California) that were my main source of info for "New Music" (or as my classmates liked to call it, "weird shit"). Radio stations like KUSF and the MRR radio show (and, to a lesser extant, The Quake and Modern Rock-era Live 105) were similarly helpful in revealing what said bands actually sounded like. And while I might be biased, I daresay college/community stations (at least the ones that don't try to enforce playlists or homogeneity on the DJs) still have a place for more adventurous listeners out there.
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 18, 2018 07:44PM
> And while I might be biased, I daresay college/community stations (at least the ones
> that don't try to enforce playlists or homogeneity on the DJs) still have a place for more
> adventurous listeners out there.

As badly as it pains me to say it, my old radio stomping ground, KRCC in Colorado Springs, has gone to something along that route. It received a drastic revamp last year. It now focuses on news and NPR-type programs (such as "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me"). Music programming is reduced to 7PM to midnight, seven days a week. Only the 10-to-midnight slot is open to volunteer DJs.

Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 28, 2018 12:20PM
All that music is still out there to be had. And yes its a little more difficult to find but if you google the artist, album and blogspot, rar or zip after it, you shouldn't have trouble. Also the bigger music download blog sites have tons of stuff. I just downloaded Slovenly's catalogue within 2 minutes of reading your post. On a side note I stayed pretty far away from alot of the more Metallic SST offerings (Other than Ultramega OK) back in the day. But having listened to bands like Slovenly and Screaming Trees nowadays, I am surprised how much Proto-Grunge was on SST.
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 28, 2018 10:34PM
I did find MX-80 Sound's OUT OF THE TUNNEL for $5 on Bandcamp last week. Also, Trouble's MANIC FRUSTRATION, their second album for American Recordings, can be downloaded from Amazon for $6 though used CDs start at $25 on the same site. Weird how iTunes doesn't carry the Trouble album, since it's on a major label.
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 30, 2018 01:09PM
> Weird how iTunes doesn't carry the Trouble album, since it's on a major label.

They had to devote quite a lot of effort to getting AC/DC and The Beatles on iTunes. But Trouble? Probably lost under the negotiating radar.

Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 30, 2018 05:42PM
Plus any Trouble albums on American have some legal hurdles to overcome. It's why they've never been reissued.
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 30, 2018 07:26PM
What are they? I found it weird that their indie albums are more readily available.
Re: OOP music and the illusion of access
April 30, 2018 07:55PM
Anything that was on Def American (later American) that's fallen out of print - or, worse, never come out at all, like Unida's second album - is trapped in that special hell in which the label owning the masters wants more money for them than other labels are willing to pay and the band can afford. There's demand - the two Trouble albums, two Raging Slab albums (plus one unreleased) and Unida album would probably all get reissued by a smaller, specialty hard rock/stoner/metal label in a heartbeat. But that demand is limited - none of these would be bestsellers for said specialty label. Thus the reluctance to pay American's price. And if the labels can't do it, the bands especially can't afford it - especially Slab, since they essentially no longer exist. (I guess - they disappeared off the face of the earth a decade or so ago.)

The two Slab albums are easy to find for cheap on the secondary market - ironically, Dynamite Monster Boogie Concert, their finest album, is cheaper than Sing Monkey Sing, their worst (and a big, deliberate fuck you to Rubin and American). They're probably the lowest in demand, too.

I recently bit the bullet and paid about $15 for the self-titled Trouble album (the only Eric Wagner-era Trouble album I was missing), which is more than I like to pay for a used CD. But better that than pay $30 later. The CD era may be coming to an end, but that's driving up the prices of OOP disks that appeal to specialty tastes.
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