Every week, vinyl workgroup dives into the deepest depths of the labyrinthine world of WOBC’s vinyl vault. The collection, stretching back to the 60s, is of a rare kind – it doesn’t just have the hits and the classics, it has the albums singles companies wanted to be hits, the double albums they wanted to be classics, the strange compilations, the complete musical failures that quickly went into obscurity, the undiscovered gems that never saw much light. Here are some particular interesting ones we picked out – and DJs, if you want to play these on your show, you can find them on the “best of vinyl” shelf in the public affairs room.
“Daydreamers” by Nelories, off of Daisy (1994, Sugarfrost) | Japanese alt-indie-ACCORDION-pop duo from the 90s. Weren’t expecting that part, were you.
“Elephant Stone (7″ Single Version)” by the Stone Roses (1988, Silvertone) | An acid indie rock jam.
“Holotelani” by Nelcy Sedibe off of The Indestructible Beat of Soweto (1985, Shanachie Records) | An important compilation from the 80s of a wide variety of South African artists – never disappoints!
Soul to Soul (1971, Atlantic) | Soundtrack from a film of a 1971 concert in Ghana of American soul, R&B, and rock musicians – Wilson Pickett, Ike & Tina Turner, Santana, Roberta Flack, The Staples Singers and more.
Not a clear win by any means, but The Durutti Column‘s original version is flawless. The intro seems to drag on forever, but it totally works. Sort of goes by the idea of just enough, no more + no less; sparse strings, sparse vocals + the overall being deserted on your honeymoon in a cabana vibe. Compare this to Espers‘s take — the wind pipe or whatever… very nice. Psychedelic, airy, but a bit too “emotional”. I prefer the original — super melancholic but not too burnt about it. That said, the wooden chimes at the end are pretty cool too.
Bill Callahan. What a man. He gives us inspiration. He feeds us our bread and butter. Perfect for setting an intimate mood for conversation, pondering about life, or just crying. His melodic voice mellows us into a depressive state, reminiscent of Leonard Cohen’s older moods, before he fell in love with the shifty francophone lifestyle. Billy’s congas and classic use of the Wurlitzer coupled with his soothing, earl grey tea-vocals add a unique undertone to his melancholia. If you’ve heard of Sam Amidon but felt that it made you want to cry your eyes out and your eyes ran dry, try Bill Callahan. Billy straddles the fence between depression and utter bliss.
Hello world! We’d like to introduce ourselves–we are Pop Workgroup.
Pop Workgroup meets in WOBC station HQ twice a week (T+TH 7-8pm) to listen to the music the station receives which is “Pop” songs. All are welcome! We have fun do dancing and make memories that will last our whole lives until we die. This week we added the following CDs to the WOBC Pop Vault.
Tim Kasher – Adult Film (Saddle Creek)
Washed Out – Paracosm (Sub Pop)
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City (XL)
Jacuzzi Boys – Jacuzzi Boys (Hardly Art)
Porcelain Raft – Permanent Signal (Secretly Canadian)
James Siegfried is better known as James Chance or James White–one of the seminal figures of late-70s/early-80s New York No Wave, along with people like Lydia Lunch and Arto Lindsay. In the early days, he had two groups and personas going on–James Chance & the Contortions and James White & the Blacks. Both were bizarre amalgams of free jazz and R&B, the former a little more funkier, the latter a bit more disco. And so, we found ourselves with a great vault find, the 1982 album from the White & Black side of things called “Sax Maniac.” ”James White & the Blacks,” “Sax Maniac,” songs with titles like “Sax Machine” and “Irresistible Impulse”–too good to be true, right? It features, rather than a bunch of No Wave people, some actual R&B session musicians and singers of the time. Compared to his earlier work, it’s a bit less wild, a bit less disorienting, a bit less rough. But don’t worry, it’s still revolutionary and transgressive and all of that good stuff.
from Ryan Jennings, workgroup member:
I found the first four Robbie Basho records in the vault yesterday at vinyl workgroup. It’s sweet to imagine WOBC being sent the records upon release, but who knows how all four stayed intact since they’re pretty rare and expensive on e-bay. Robbie Basho was a cool dude on John Fahey’s Takoma Records, and he and Fahey went to college together (wow, just like us!) And the record’s mostly 12-string solo guitar American Primitivism and, like, folk music I guess, but he studied with Ali Akbar Khan, the #1 sarod master of the world, and changed his name in honor of the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho. He sings on a lot too, but my favorite Basho record, “Falconer’s Arm I,” which is in the vault right now, is a masterpiece and completely instrumental. A very detailed and coherent record, each song represents a unique and beautiful story. “Babs” is a favorite track but I seriously recommend everyone to check out this haunting album on par with any Fahey and more accessible than a long winded raga!
Basho died in a freak chiropractic accident in the 80s.
from Olivia Simuoli, workgroup member:
This semester, I found in the vaults German progressive and space rock group Nektar’s concept album, “Remember the Future.” Recorded in 1973, the album features one song divided into two parts and tells the tale of the evolution of man through the eyes of a bird. The story begins with life originating in the sea and touches on other major milestones, such as man’s discovery of fire and invention of the wheel. The climax of the album occurs when mankind starts to wonder whether he is alone in the world or if there is some “Supreme Being” out there as well. Despite what may seem to be clichéd and at times bizarre subject matter, the album on the whole is pretty unique and interesting and has a good space rock feel with some nice funk undertones.