BLAG. Vol. 11 Dear Santa,
Prompt: Our Record Wish Lists
As I’ve mentioned before, I have an admittedly middling record collection. Throughout my life, I’ve surrounded myself with close friends whose collections dwarf mine: rooms filled with nothing but record shelves and a door, with prized trophies encased in glass. These are high value hunters, with bloodthirst far more predatory than mine. Tell me a record is fifty bucks, and my face will contort with the reasoning of how many delicious sandwiches that could buy. The valuable ones I do own, have been acquired simply by being at the right place at the right time.
Reviewing my Wish List, it’s absurdly dated to a very specific time. Most hold nostalgic value from when compact discs were the more dominant format, and at the time, convenience won over collectability. That nostalgia also shows that the stories I’ve attached from my time in punk hold as much meaning as the music itself.
The Temptations, “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today)”
This never made it onto any Temptations album, just singles and Greatest Hits compilations, but it’s an angry track that’s always buried in their canon – at least from a mainstream perspective. Pandora will always point towards earlier hits like "My Girl," but The Beatles taught us that the better songs of a musical legacy are fueled by drugs and disillusionment.
For most that know me, know I'm an obsessive David Simon fan, and I got hip to this song via a promo for Season 4 of The Wire.
Team Dresch, Personal Best LP
Nevermind this MJ vs. LBJ nonsense, Team Dresch is the GOAT. Much of punk is conforming to well-tread templates, Team Dresch whittled down a diverse range of genres into this infused fury. The one-two openers of pop jam "Fagetarian and Dyke" followed by the moshtastic "Hate the Christian Right!" could have sounded scattered and disjointed, but Team Dresch's confidence and smart songwriting created this broad and powerful voice that still sounds great over 20 years later. Nostalgic attachment: This record always seemed to be playing in the background of many 1990s house shows on Columbia St. in Chapel Hill, including a memorable massive "Freewheel" sing-a-long while bands were breaking down.
Bonus Track: C.R. "Hate the Christian Right!" split w/ Milhouse 7"
C.R. also recognized how beastly "Hate the Christian Right!" was, and this cover is fantastic.
Assfactor 4, Sports LP
There’s no reason why I shouldn’t have this, as I was working at Crooked Beat Records (Raleigh’s best record store at the time) when this waaaay posthumous record came in. My boss, the well regarded Bill Daly, was opening the Ebullition shipment and checking in the new stock when he doubled over in laughter.
Why U LOL, I asked. He showed me the cover, where the band just defaced a copy of Huey Lewis and the News’ Sports LP and called it a day. Those copies went pretty fast, and I never snapped one up. Anyways, I see the eponymous record in used bins all over the Carolinas, but never see Sports.
Vintage footage of Dillinger Four at Chicago's Fireside Bowl, Solid joke at 1:25
Dillinger Four, Midwestern Songs of the Americas LP
As written about before, I liked this band, but didn’t fully understand them until I moved to Chicago. The city’s punk scene had a passion and protectiveness for D4 that rivaled that of Bulls fans and Derrick Rose. The live shows were a testament to that love. My first “real” job up there included free gym access, and this provided an upbeat workout soundtrack during my first Chicago winter. I know that means little to anyone outside of the Midwest, but let's just say those winters were a masochistic exercise in brutal oppression to my snowflake Southern ass.
Lords of the Underground, Here Come the Lords LP
Obviously, there’s plenty of albums that take me back to middle school and feel of a specific time and place. Souls of Mischief's '93 Till Infinity certainly takes me back to eighth grade, but that youthful wonder is also muddled with pre-pubescent awkwardness. It's not the greatest feeling. Here Come the Lords was released the same year, but instead of feeling like an aging artifact of pure nostalgia, this record feels consistently fresh. Here Come the Lords warrants a few listens a year, and I catch something new with each round.
Local NC fact: While they're often regionally linked to the golden age of East Coast rap, the group actually met as undergraduates at Shaw University in Raleigh.
Karp, s/t LP
Daniel’s probably screaming, “But we have one hanging right behind the counter, and it’s been there forever!” It’s also $100, and I could eat for a week at Randy’s Pizza with that money. "Bacon Industry" reminds me of getting my driver's license, and that initial release of newfound freedom from suburban malaise. Until that one day when I’m feeling a little reckless, that record with the most perfect opening riff will just mock me at Sorry State.
Cry Babe, Picard / Glasses demo
Maybe I'm old, or haven't adjusted to college town transience, but so many North Carolina bands blip brightly on a radar, then vanish. I get it: young people move on because life is unpredictable, etc. Such was the case with Greensboro, NC's Daddy Issues. Their bassist up and moved to Portland, OR and now has this band with a promising demo.