What’s On My Shopping Radar, Part 2 (Not Actually on Current Radar)

Or: Music Part A – 80s (lots of it), “General” IndieJapanese completism, and a pinch of metal

Now we hit on my actual, notoriously intense, wishlist on Amazon. Because it is largely about “filling the gaps”, it’s pretty easy to condense some of the time, as will become obvious. It does, however, address those things that one might, perhaps, suspect I would have but be surprised that I don’t. Or, just, you know, completely bafflingly weird stuff you’ve never heard of (there’s at least a little of that).

Tommy Keene!

(Songs from the FilmCrashing the EtherTommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective, 1983-2009Excitement at Your Feet: The Tommy Keene Cover Album)







I ran into Mr. Keene (musically speaking) via a clearance item at Borders back in the day. I was very “Oh, whatever, it’s $1” and realized it was quite good. My interest was fed more and more as I realized associations and lines of respect around his music. The albums noted above are…actually not all-inclusive of the holes in my collection (newer albums I haven’t gotten around to adding, basically), but the first picture (Songs from the Film) I have on vinyl, and it’s significantly out of print so the used price tends to get jacked up. The others are newer, though the third is a retrospective that happens to include some otherwise-unavailable-on-CD tracks, which, if you’ve paid attention to me at all, I love the hell out of finding. The second is an album rapidly approaching its tenth anniversary that I just don’t run across, and the last is a cover album that isn’t that old at all.

Power pop, man.

Alex Chilton!

(Feudalist Tarts/No SexClichesHigh Priest/Black ListBach’s Bottom)

The now-late former frontman of Big Star (and also the Box Tops, but this is my list, so…). Notoriously, unexpectedly, unabashedly weird solo albums (I have the first, Feudalist Tarts, on vinyl). Most of these are out of print and command “new import” prices as a result, particularly in light of his (and his band’s) cult followings. I have compilations of his stuff and some more recent albums, but these are the ones I just don’t see anywhere and am too lazy to order, or don’t see for prices that seem reasonable enough to me. I don’t think there’s a ton of explaining here, hey?

The Church!

(Parallel UniversePangaeaSing-Songs/Remote Luxury/PersiaGold Afternoon Fix [2 Disc])

I knew the Church for the reason most Americans do: “Under the Milky Way”. But a whimsical purchase of their preceding album, Heyday, and I was interested in all the rest, too. Most of their early round of albums were re-released domestically with bonus material, but a falling out I saw waaaaay too clearly thanks to Facebook means that’s unlikely to continue, sadly. Gold Afternoon Fix, as the album to come out after the biggest, Starfish (it has that first-mentioned song on it), I found a plain copy of easily forever ago–but their native lands of Australia had the first (liner note-less) “deluxe” release of it, which is unlikely to appear over here. It, like the EP compilation next to it (Sing-Songs…) are pretty expensive as a result, and certainly rare, hence their absence on my shelves. The other two are not entirely rare, but I simply don’t run across. Being as we have EPs (not only the compilation mentioned, but Pangaea is the EP compantion to the album Untitled #23, which contains the otherwise-exclusive 17-minute EP’s closer on its vinyl release) and a “deluxe” release, this is half about having all the releases, and half about having the releases that are harder to find in the first place, and my affection for those non-album tracks, that take the “deep cut” sense of an album and make it even more extreme.

Big Country – Deluxe-ified!

(SteeltownThe CrossingNo Place Like HomeThe SeerPeace in Our Time)

Okay, so, I already have all of these albums, but, these are expanded, 2-disc deluxe editions. Yes! B-sides! Demos! Alternate versions! Big Country are most famous, of course, for “In a Big Country”, their monster hit of bagpipe-guitars and big drums, almost eponymous and opening their debut (The Crossing), but have an unexpected history of a kind–primary songwriter and bagpipey guitarist, Stuart Adamson, was previously in The Skids (who will appear in one of these eventually, too!), a post-punk band that saw the early bits of Stuart’s guitar sound. Also, it’s a part of my weird Scottish music fetish that has existed for a very, very long time (beginning, no doubt, with Mogwai in the early 2000s).

INXS – Expanded!

(Kick [25th anniversary], X [Expanded], Welcome to Wherever You Are [Expanded])

My love of INXS couldn’t be considered a secret by anyone. Some are still surprised, sure, but I think that’s on them at this point. Frustratingly, they’ve never done a comprehensive or meaningful re-release of most of their material. And there are b-sides for days! My copy of, say, “Every Day But Sunday” (from the 1983 Dance EP) is a pretty terrible vinyl rip. The first two albums (INXS and Underneath The Colours) got a nice re-release (which I have!) but everything after that, from Shabooh Shoobah through Elegantly Wasted has received pretty minimal attention. Kick there is the only one that does what I want: all the b-sides and stuff! And even more! The others have 3-5 (…tops) bonus tracks, and often neglect the unique b-sides, for reasons I can’t fathom. As a result, Kick 25 is pretty overpriced in its 3 CD/1 DVD “Super Deluxe” form, and the other two are pretty bare-bones for expansions. Ho-hum. Maybe one day.
(Probably not, as we approach the end of physical releases faster and faster)

Madness – More Fanciness!

(One Step Beyond7)

I guess it’s just another chunk of my fetishization of just-under-the-biggest pop bands from the late 70s and 80s, being as “Our House”, if nothing else, was nothing short of monstrous, but Madness were pretty well thought of quite beyond that anyway, and I’m curious. Give me–as these are–deluxe editions and my curiosity is not only piqued, but pretty much peaks, too. The second wave of ska I find significantly more listenable than the monotony of most third wave. Deliberate horizon-expansion, this. I have the rest of these re-releases already, actually.

Honourable Mention

(All This Useless Beauty [2-disc], Split Enz – [Various])

Wasn’t sure how else to group these, so, whatever!
This is one of the only not-incredibly-recent Elvis Costello expanded releases I don’t have. I’m honestly not even sure at this point whether it was a “deluxe at time of release” or re-release. I’m obviously not that invested, but I feel like I should complete the set, you know?
Split Enz–ahhh, “Hard Act to Follow”, what a damn fine song. I have a handful of the expanded releases from the box set pictured, and haven’t gotten around to removing it in favour of “whatever is in it that I don’t already have”, so, oops. I have, for the record, Corroboree/WaiataDizrhythmiaConflicting EmotionsMental Notes, See Ya ‘Round and the Rootin’ Tootin’ Luton Tapes. I don’t know what the other five albums are off the top of my head, I’m afraid. Oh well, let’s see: they’re The Beginning of the EnzSecond Thoughts, FrenzyTrue Colours, and Time & Tide.

Weird Branches (or: “Indie Rock”)

(Travis Morrison – Travistan, Perfect – Once, Twice, Three Times a Maybe, Parts & Labor/Tyondai Braxton – Rise, Rise, Rise)

Man, this crap is a lot harder to group.

Travis Morrison is the frontman for The Dismemberment Plan. The Emergency & I (a D-Plan album) is one of my favourite albums. The record he did as/with “The Travis Morrison Hellfighters” is also incredibly good. It seems logical to follow that, right? Right.
Perfect was a brief sideproject of Tommy Stinson. Tommy Stinson, that is, of The Replacements. And of himself, solo. And of Bash and Pop, whose Friday Night Is Killing Me is also one of my favourite albums.
I’ve mentioned Parts & Labor before. I always forget this exists. I stopped looking for stuff from a band on probably-permanent hiatus a while ago, thinking I had everything. Oops? As mentioned: Mapmaker is one of my favourite albums, too.

Whiskeytown Has Obscurities! Kind of!

(Faithless Street (original tracklist), Rural Free Delivery)

Faithless Street was later re-released, some tracks were moved around, dropped, added–the usual nonsense. Ergo, there’s stuff on here I don’t have. Strangers Almanac is one of my favourite albums. More material is welcome. Rural Free Delivery is even earlier, never re-released, and hits that awful spot of rare/obscure/out of print. I saw a copy at Ed Mckay in Raleigh once. They wanted like $35. Blech.

Strange Little Gaps!

(Red Red Meat – There’s a Star Above the Manger Tonight, Luna – LunaThe Best of Luna [UK 2-disc], Ringside – Lost Days, Compound Red – Mr. Microcosm, Minus the Bear – Bands Like It When You Yell “YAR!” at Them, The Dangerous Summer – Reach for the Sun)

This here is a great big bunch of everything.

I stumbled into Red Red Meat when Sub Pop re-released Bunny Gets Paid, and quite liked them. This is the last of their albums.
I last talked about Luna in reference to an upcoming box set of their first half-decade-ish. This EP is the only CD I lack, and that compilation includes–in its UK version–a second disc titled Luna-Fied, which compiles all of their covers, inevitably done in the band’s own style. It works quite well.
Ringside had a great self-titled album I bought on a whim working at Wal-Mart ten years ago. I wanted to get another album from them, they released this one–to CDBaby or some such drivel, where it’s POD. I’ve never seen it in a store as a result, because those don’t go to stores. Dammit.
Compound Red were once produced by J. Robbins. Hint: if you want me to take interest in your band, convince J. to produce your stuff.
I have a boatload of Minus the Bear stuff. I don’t have this EP because it has 2 unique songs, and a demo of one from their debut (and 2 tracks…from their debut). I only ever see it new, and $10 is crazy for that ratio. Sorry, guys! (I also didn’t buy your fancy pre-order of Infinity Overhead because you used TopSpin, and their shipping is fucking ridiculous)
This Dangerous Summer album has the song and art that introduced me to the band. Stupidly, I don’t have this album and have the other and an EP. Search me. I don’t get it either. (Well, really, I just don’t see it in stores)

Japanese Things You’ve Only Heard of Because of Me!

(Bazra – Futosamasu, The Elephant Kashimashi – Sakura No Hana Maiagaru Michi Wo [Deluxe single, version B], Seikatsu)

Bazra I know because…they covered The Elephant Kashimashi (on Hana Otoko, a tribute album, which also introduced me to Husking Bee, Potshot, Straightener…). This is the last release of theirs that I don’t have. They’re super awesome, though.

Sakura no Hana… was the single that told me to stop sleeping on Elekashi releases. It was released in an unlimited, standard single and two limited ones with bonus material. I missed both. I got one for Christmas that year, the other’s been sitting on this list for six years. Its only just gotten pretty reasonably priced (for a Japanese import). Seikatsu I meant to buy and confused myself and bought a second copy of…Ukiyo No Yume, I think it was. Dammit. I still don’t have it, though.

Metal or Otherwise Heavy Stuff!

(Harvey Milk – My Love Is Higher Than Your Assessment of What My Love Could BeThe Pleaser, Behold…The Arctopus – Skullgrid, Kylesa – No Ending / 100º Heat Index)

Harvey Milk are one of the many great Athens bands, but also one that most people probably won’t like much, to be honest. Still, if you’re anything at all like me, read this article of self-review from them, and you’ll probably be interested, too. Strange, heavy, fun, and self-deprecating in the extreme. I have both records on vinyl, but I like my digital copies, especially digital hardcopies.

Behold…The Arctopus is one of my few avant garde indulgences. Weird, technical, and confusing to most ears, I just…like them. The name helps. So does the art. Whatever, I almost bought a copy once, I think, but didn’t. Instead, I have all their other albums. Dumb!

Kylesa–ahh, home to one of the most metal women I can think of, and to the best use of two drummers around. This is a 7″ “converted” to CD (that is, the tracks from it released on CD) with extra stuff! The last CD release from them I don’t have.

There you have it: some insight into what the hell makes me want some of the stuff in my seemingly endless wishlists. Find some neat stuff to listen to, or read. Or do nothing. Whatever.


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