The National turn Black Friday Violet.


According to the The National they’re going to turn Black Friday violet this year with a special edition release of this years critically loved release “High Violet” If you’re as big a fan of The National as we are, this reason to celebrate. You can watch the video above for all the details, but if you’re adverse to the you tubes i’ll give you the long short of it here.

2 New Songs: Wake up the Saints & You were a kindnesss

2 New Bsides: Walk Off & Sin Eaters

3 Live Recordings: Bloodbuzz Ohia, Anyone’s Ghost & England

Alternative Version of Terrible Love

all for a paltry 7.99

High Violet Expanded Edition will be available at Pure Pop exclusively in this area in limited numbers, if you’d like to reserve a copy, you can click here or on the link in the sidebar! For more information on the release go here.

Black Friday at Pure Pop

So if you haven’t heard, the Record Store Day folks have encouraged the record labels to provide some special limited releases on Black Friday.  Here is a rough list of what will be released.  Almost all these items are very limited & we start selling them at 10 am on Friday.  We will also have a bunch sales that will only be active for Friday thru Sunday.

33% off all used cds/tapes

20 % off all used lps

15 % off all regular priced cds

10% off all regular priced lps & gift certificates

Hope to see you down here this weekend pos-turkey hangover.


Turn, Turn, Turn

It’s been known since, well, at least the start of the postmodern era that cultural trends tend to repeat themselves and come in circles.  One thing that I don’t think is often explored though is the size of those circles (in terms of length of time between trend and re-trend) and the reasons why. My very non-scientific calculation:  about 25 years.  Why, you may ask?  Well, for several reasons.  Here are a couple.

1)    Popular culture is defined by 15-25 year olds.

It’s well known that the 15-25 year old demographic is huge when it comes to consumption of creative culture.  They’re also key to defining it as well, as youth is marketed to young and the young-at-heart alike. There has always been this strange desire by people in this age range to embrace the popular culture that existed right before they were born.  The 25th anniversary of Woodstock had kids in my high school wearing bell bottoms and tie-dyes and listening to Jimi Hendrix back in ’94, just like the high school kids of today are wearing neon pink leg-warmers, boxy, oversized sunglasses and listening to Depeche Mode ripoff groups.

2)    The groups that established the initial trends as 15-19 year olds have become nostalgic.

As a 30-something myself working the corporate grind, I understand the power of nostalgia more and more these days.  While I’ve tried to keep myself relatively hip and current, I still realized that my days of free youthful rebellion are beyond me and that it’s kids half my age who will be defining the culture.  The 25 year trend circle works well in that old fogeys like myself can say, in a condescending and patronizing tone, “oh you kids think you’re so original; we were dressing like that 25 years ago”.  And beyond the simple snark, it’s also a way for the older generation to feel their youthful cultural contributions appreciated and re-evaluated.

I think a good example of this phenomenon is the film Dazed and Confused.  Released in 1993, it captured the styles, sounds and imagery of the spring of 1976.  This film was a hit for not only the demographic that lived through that era, but also high school kids twenty years later, who found themselves both intrigued by the era’s difference, as well as the similarities, to their own.  I can remembered more than a few kids in my high school who looked a heck of a lot like clones of Randall “Pink” Floyd, Slater or Jodi.  There may have even been a Wooderson or two riding around the parking lot…

"Fixin' to be a lot better, man!"

From a musical perspective the film was a hit too, with two soundtracks that were both huge sellers, introducing a whole new audience to songs like Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone and War’s “Low Rider”.  These CD’s were probably the most frequently played albums at parties during the ’94-’95 school year, more so than albums of many of the new groups that were popular at the time.

Which brings me to the present day: we’re obviously on the tail end of the 80’s revival (much to the dismay of American Apparel, I’m sure), so what comes next?  Early 90’s hip hop and R&B revisitations?  Possibly; I think we’re starting to see that already.  A return to early twee pop?  Maybe, if this video is any indication of where the trends are heading.  My personal theory—a revised version of grunge.  Guitar based music hasn’t been hip for about a decade now (everyone’s “axe” these days seems to be a Casio keytar or MiniMoog), and I think that with the recent angst brought on by the economic downturn, a return to angsty lyrics, pounding drums and fuzz guitars might be in order right about now.

In that spirit, here is a rarity—footage of the first ever “music video” shot of the band Nirvana.  It reminds me of local basement noise shows that I’ve been to around here, and is a nice reminder of the classic phrase, “plus ca change, plus c’est la même chose”.  Enjoy!


New Releases

Brian Eno w/ Jon Hopkins & Leo Abrahams – Small Craft on a Milk Sea
This concept is not a new one, not even for Eno, whose 1978 album Music for Films and its 1983 sequel were borne from identical insight. If not for the sheer amount of time that’s passed, or his new collaborators– electronic music composer Jon Hopkins and guitarist Leo Abrahams– he might easily have christened this Music for Films 4. And the truth is that, although much has been made of the trio’s working process and how it relied equally on improvization and computer editing, Small Craft on a Milk Sea sits surprisingly comfortably alongside the records from Eno’s ambient and experimental golden era. Others might argue that fit is a little too comfortable. Read full review at Pitchfork

Ceelo Green – The Lady Killer
“The Lady Killer,” the latest solo album from Cee Lo Green, sounds like something Don Draper would put on the hi-fi, if he’d been raised in Detroit on equal parts Motown and head-bobbing hip-hop. For every swanky old-school touch, there’s a glassy modernity that makes the album a sexy sonic adventure of loving and leaving. Read the full review on LA Times

Elvis Costello – National Ransom
Boasting a roster that includes Costello’s recent bluegrass collective the Sugarcanes, members of the Imposters, along with high profile visits from Leon Russell, Jerry Douglas, and Vince Gill, National Ransom is arranged like an Elvis Costello choose-your-own-adventure. Over the first three tracks Costello dabbles in propulsive Americana, folky balladry, and slinky, stormy weather jazz. These are the colors that Costello will intermittently paint with throughout. All that’s missing is a map that guides listeners to the follow up track that best suits the sort of Costello experience they’re looking for. Read the full review on PopMatters

Feeding Brains, Post-Dilla, and the Los Angeles Sound: Part II

Flying Lotus‘s third full-length, Cosmogramma, was released in May of this year. FlyLo’s personal sphere of inspiration while making the record reportedly gravitated around his own mother’s untimely death, and it’s probably now appropriate to mention the Los Angeles beat-maker’s blood connection to Alice and John Coltrane, as their astral inspired brand of free jazz seemed to be an important musical signpost Steven Ellison aspired to channel on the record (Cosmogramma refers to a lecture Alice Coltrane gave). Trane’s son Ravi can even be heard with a tenor sax on two of the seventeen tracks. With this in mind, it’s a good guess Cosmogramma is much more inspired by the Coltranes or even Sun Ra rather than FlyLo’s contemporaries. The new exploration of sound was a bold move, and one that more than paid off. Flying Lotus has managed to transcend the sound and scene he helped create by completely stepping into a realm beyond the general approach of electronic music.

Cosmogramma itself flows as a singular experience. It creates a context that lives up to it’s astral-based name, born from a place that feels more connected with spiritualism, psychedelia, place and time. Something to fall into. The scene from which it was born still remains though, it’s just hard to imagine anything like this coming from something built upon a collective. It boasts Flying Lotus’s vision as a producer and musician. There’s a moment with some records where you feel the music is really only a means to an end. Where the musician’s voice is alluding to something deeper and bigger instead of just pulling back a curtain to show you a couple songs they made, which in most cases could describe (however fantastic) the sound that’s come out of LA in the wake of Flying Lotus’s Los Angeles. Or even electronic music as a whole. It’s something historically relegated to high concept music, definitely not hip-hop inspired beats.

As I mentioned in Part I, J Dilla‘s Donuts was a sort of opus for his experience and memories. And feels like that in how cyclical and fleeting it is. Dilla is known for aesthetics, but it’s that element of Dilla’s musical voice that lasts, especially as a statement right before his death. Flying Lotus has built that into his own music, starting with Los Angeles and making it completely his own with Cosmogramma. It’s easier to talk about how Dilla’s “submerged” bass lines or FlyLo’s off-beat programming helped create something new in electronic music (it’s definitely important) than how these guys have brought something unique and highly affecting in regard to their personal outlook and perspectives, communicated through their music. But, oh well, I guess. In the end the musical experience speaks for itself. What’s the point of trying to force it into words (like I’m doing right now)? Listen to the records.

With all that said, in 2010 Los Angeles still stands and Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder record label is in a prolific infancy. More than a few talented producers have come out of the city or are making their name as apart of the Brainfeeder crew. Here are a couple of my favorite records out of that scene from this year:

Continue reading Feeding Brains, Post-Dilla, and the Los Angeles Sound: Part II