Tuesday, March 22, 2016

For The Record

All Things Must Pass is a recent documentary on Tower Records, I'm anxious to be able to rent a copy of it on DVD.   They started out in California, and grew into just about every metro area of the U.S.A. and even Japan.  The closest one to me at the time was in Austin or Dallas.  I'd been to both stores, and they were huge warehouses catering to any taste.  One of the things about that era of brick and mortar stores was that they had listening stations, where you could hear several albums before purchasing them.  This may not seem like a big deal during our computer age, but back then it was a innovative way to sell music.  If nothing else they were a good place to just go kill some time, sample some tunes, and people watch, but if you were a music fan it was like Nirvana.

Below that is Armadillo World Headquarters, it was a venue in Austin, Tx which showcased live bands.

I saw Frank Zappa and Captain Beefhearts play  there when they were on their Bongo Fury tour, and they taped all of that album there over several nights.  Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen also taped their live album there. That album cover by the way was created by Jim Franklin, a local Austin artist.  I have one of his posters at my wall at home, which I got free from one of the local record stores there called Inner Sanctum Records.

I wish I had taken in more shows there while I live in Austin back in the mid-70s.  One of the bands that I wish I had seen while I was still there, but missed, was the British band, Gentle Giant.   It has since closed, which is too bad.  There are still many venues there where bands can play, but there was something intimate about Armadillo World.  If you've ever seen the PBS show, Austin City Limits, that is taped at the Moody Theater there as well.

I've always been a big music fan.  I started out listening to things as a small child and it just naturally bloomed from there.   The first 33 1/2 records I got were The Beatles '65 album, and the odd selection of Roger Miller's second album, The Return of Roger Miller.  That may seem like an odd juxtaposition of musical taste, but Roger Miller was popular at the time.

Here lately I've been listening to the Mile Davis album, A Man With the Horn, and the British guitarist, Allan Holdsworth's IOU album.  Both are sort of fusion-y.  I've been listening also to an Electronic/ New Age duo, a husband and wife team known as Emerald Web, the album titled, Aqua Regia. By the way they've also done soundtracks for Carl Sagan, some soundtracks for TV,  NASA,  and Planetarium shows.  They do a nice job of fusing synthesizer to flute and other instruments.
I've also been listening to this very odd progressive jazz album by Wolfgang Dauner, along with bassist Eberhard Weber entitled, Output.  If you are into Sci-Fi you might try to seek this one out.  For some oddball reason it reminds me a bit of George Lucas' film, THX 1138.  I know back in the day when I was buying more jazz and picking up some ECM albums the cover to this album always intrigued me by its weirdness.  One of the fascinating things about album cover art is that a lot of the times they could almost give you a slight indication about what the music might sound like, and Output is mostly jazzy with keyboards and synths, but there's some weird futuristic soundscapes at the beginning too.  Overall though it's a pretty cool album.  You can hear some of this on Youtube.    But I believe it's just one cut from the album.  The song though is representative of the ECM label at the time, rather evocative, experimental, and introspective.

Also lately here on Youtube, I've watch several videos from the vinyl community or VLOGs, which are just vinyl collectors talking about what they have picked up in record stores, or used outlets, or what they've been listening to lately.  They come from all different places in the world and have all sorts of taste, but they can be interesting to hear if you are a music fan.  Here are a few of those:

This guy lives up around the Chicago area and goes by the name of Gorvo31.  He has unusual taste that runs the gamut of jazz, free jazz, new age, space synthesizer, tranquillity, peace/taoism type music and a bit of everything in-between.  I enjoy his Vlogs.

This guy goes by the name of Cosmic Pickle, and I believe he's up around the NYC area.  I've listened to a few of his videos and he gets pretty detailed about the bands and the different discography that they've released.  But if you are in the mood, he can be pretty entertaining.  I believe he used to DJ radio shows.

This guy (el bicho feo) lives up around the Santa Fe, NM area, and is also a drummer.  He has very broad taste in music, but generally centers around the jazz/progressive genre.  I really like listening to his videos and generally grab a notepad and pen because I'll want to take notes and jot down some of the titles he mentions.  Very informative.

Dereckvon lives up in the Omaha, NE area, and also is a musician.  His taste gets pretty broad too.  He likes anything from classic rock, jazz, funk, independent, hip hop, synth, and all things in-between.  With his Vlog he'll also just make a video about any old thing on his mind that day, but he's pretty interesting.

There are several more, and I since I have a pretty broad musical taste myself I really like hearing these guys talk about music.  Oh by the way I ran across a new music festival I'd never heard of called Big Ears Festival.   The currently lineup for 2016 looks like it's broad in scope and is up in Knoxville, TN.  Take a look at their lineup of music.  It would be great fun to attend, but it's already getting close to being sold out. 


At 4:53 PM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

"All things Must Pass" sounds like a really good one. One of the managers at my dad's video store used to run a Tower Records and did a bunch of their ordering for them back in the day. he said watching the documentary was a total trip back in time for him. Then we both start waxing nostalgic for the old video store days. But man that guy still has a brain for music, what album had what version of what song and when it came out. He was great with movies too, but music was his forte.

At 9:37 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

Tower was iconic on Sunset Boulevard: even I was there and I live in NJ. I can see plenty of source material for a documentary on that location alone.

I used to watch Austin City Limits. Some really good stuff aired there.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yes, I streamed All Things Must Pass, and really enjoyed it. I can't imagine how cool it must have been to have worked there back in the heyday. I've always wanted to work for a record or video store. Now the closest thing to that might be Half Priced Books, which has several stores in certain metro areas. (I think their home office started in Dallas.) There's a similar type store here in town, called Hastings, but it doesn't have quite the coolness factor. There's also an Amoeba Records in the California area that I'm sure is fun as well. If ever I'm in the area I'd have to stop in and browse.

Yes, Austin City Limits is still an ongoing PBS series. I'll generally tune in even if I don't know the band or even if I'm not particularly drawn to the genre of music. Hearing live music is hard to beat. There's a new cable channel called AXS, which has sort of taken on some MTV type formatting. They'll have live concerts, so far, I've seen an Alice Cooper concert (great fun), and recently a Pat Benatar concert. They also have interviews with some musicians as well.


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