Staff Picks: April 30, 2020

Staff Picks: Daniel

I’ve been working around the clock for the past few weeks so I’ve had no time to play music. Thus, my staff pick for this week is something a little different: meditation. I'm not talking about a band or even a book or a film, but the activity.

I started meditating last year, and the practice has changed my life. Like many people, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life, and I’ve tried plenty of different medications and treatments like counseling and CBT. However, nothing has ever done the trick for me like meditation. It’s the one thing that can stop the rush of bad thoughts, that gives me the peace that, for most of my life, has felt like a distant dream.

I usually meditate for 20 minutes once per day, but longer or shorter than that is fine too. If you’re trying to establish a meditation routine, it makes sense to do it at the same time every day, but I’m all over the place. I find there are benefits to doing it at any time of day. If I do it in the morning, I’m calmer and more focused throughout the day. If I meditate in the middle of my workday, it clears my head and makes the latter part of the day more tranquil and pleasant. If I do it when I finish work, it helps me disconnect from that part of my day and enjoy my evening, and if I meditate just before bed, it helps me get to sleep quicker and to sleep more soundly.

It’s also easy. I use an app (I think it’s the most popular app, so I’ll avoid plugging them since they have plenty of money), which worked for me, but a book or a youtube channel or an in-person training session might work better for someone else. You should not have to spend any money to get started meditating or to maintain a practice. You should just do it. It’s easy, and it’s not unpleasant in any way. It feels good, and it keeps you feeling good long after you’re done.

Not only has meditation helped me navigate my way through the stressful and difficult situation we’re all living through, it’s also helped me to enjoy the things I already love. It makes listening to and playing music a deeper and more rewarding experience. It also shapes my relationships with people, allowing me to listen to and empathize with them. I still get overwhelmed and cranky sometimes, but now I recognize when that’s happening and I have strategies in place to deal with it.

I’ll stop here because I know this is a weird fuckin’ staff pick, but I just wanted to throw it out there in case anyone is curious. Whether or not this works for you, I hope everyone out there is staying healthy and sane.

Staff Picks: Jeff

What’s up Sorry Staters?

During quarantine, I’ve spent a good amount of time familiarizing myself with songs that resonate with me and make me feel joy. It also doesn’t hurt that when I’m discovering my deep connection to these songs, I’m usually already a few beers deep. More often than not for me, those songs tend to be early UK punk bangers. I remember some time last year discovering a Buzzcocks sleeper hit that I had maybe heard, but if so, I didn’t pay close enough attention. I tend to be more inclined to dig Steve Diggle’s songs over Pete Shelley’s (no disrespect, I like both). Next to “Harmony in My Head”, “Why She’s A Girl From The Chain Store” has become one of my all-time favorite Buzzcocks tracks. It makes sense that I wouldn’t have heard it a lot, because it’s not on any of the albums or Singles Going Steady.

To me it’s got everything: it starts off with a melancholic, sorta single note guitar intro and then launches into a classic, catchy Diggle melody with “ah-ah” back up vocals, and it has a big key change! Also, the structure is interesting because it’s not really verse-chorus-verse-chorus. It’s more like the main section is the chorus, and the song alternates between the main section and a short bridge. The lyrics really do it for me too, because rather than being self-analyzing, they’re more observant. The recognition of a character that on the surface is simple, ordinary and not usually noticed, but underneath is lonely and hopeless is quite poignant. It’s also relatable, because aren’t we all “down at the discotheque waiting for someone to bite our neck”?

Anyway, I was blasting this track the other night and it really got to me. So because Sorry State doesn’t have a copy and I can’t find one in the wild for the foreseeable future, I bought one on discogs for too much money. Those few beers probably didn’t help matters.

Thanks for reading the ramblings,

Staff Picks: Eric

This week I found myself really digging some stuff from our bargain bin:

Kim Wilde: S/T 12" ... Jeff had played this for me before and I obviously recognized "Kids In America" but I suppose I wasn't paying very close attention at the time. The other day a copy of this record was in our bargain bin pile and it is probably the best 3 bucks I have spent in a while. It has hardly left my turntable the past couple days. The whole thing front to back is a great new wave album. Someone could argue it's synth-poppy but I wouldn't call it that. Great hooks and melodies the same way Blondie or Go Go's pull it off. I love it, if you see this record floating around it is so worth it. My current favorite track is "2-6-5-8-0", which is one of the more reggae/ska influenced tracks (so typical of UK artists of the time).

Badfinger: Straight Up 12" ... I mentioned to Dominic that I finally watched all of Breaking Bad (I'm either at the shop or at home, I got nothing but time). He asked if I liked the song in the very last scene of the series finale, and to be honest I remember thinking that song was fine but I was more focused on Walter White's body lying on the floor (sorry for the spoiler if you haven't seen it but it's been a long time since that show ended). Dominic handed me a copy of this record and said that that song "Baby Blue" is on this record and I should check it out. The copy he gave me from the bargain bin is pretty beat, so it crackles a bunch but that hasn't stopped me from jamming it. You can hear a lot of Beatles and Byrds style influence; they fit right in with many of the other greats from the 60s and 70s. But to me there is something a little bit different about this band that draws me in. The melodies and songwriting style are more reminiscent of early power pop. I did a little bit of reading about them and their story is pretty sad and involves deaths as well as label disputes and other nasty stuff. A super interesting band with great tunes. I can't wait til I can score a better copy!

Staff Picks: Dominic

Hello everyone and how are you all?

Going to get right into it this week with another addition of Dom’s Digs, where I pull out ten records each week from our Bargain Bins that I think are worthy of your attention. We have so many good records priced $5 and under that need good homes. You can check previous newsletters for other picks and also look at some quick flip videos that we have posted on our Instagram to give you an idea of the things on offer. See something that you like, get in touch to order and/or add to other items that you want from our webstore.

So here in no particular order are this week’s digs.

  1. Casino Royale Soundtrack. Great soundtrack to this spoof Bond movie. Includes music composed by Burt Bacharach plus Dusty Springfield doing The Look Of Love and the title theme by Herb Alpert. Cool cover art too. $5.
  2. Various Artists: Invictus’ Greatest Hits. Invictus was the label Holland-Dozier-Holland formed after leaving Motown. This is a nice collection of some of their best sellers. Includes Freda Payne, Chairman Of The Board and The 8th Day. My favourite on here is Ruth Copeland with The Music Box. $5.
  3. Booker Little: Victory And Sorrow. A 1977 pressing of Little’s fourth and final LP for Bethlehem from 1961. Real nice Jazz this and a great way to get classic era albums at a fraction of the cost. $4.
  4. The Lovin’ Spoonful: Do You Believe In Magic. Fun sixties pop album. The title tune is a classic and there are some other nice songs on this one such as Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind. Both questions, interesting. $3.
  5. Paul Revere & The Raiders: Greatest Hits. Cool original collection of their sixties hits. This copy even has the colour photo booklet. Forget the goofy outfits, these guys could play and have a bunch of cool pop garage tunes. $5.
  6. John Kongos: S/T. 1972 album on Elektra. Not a bad record and features some good players such as Caleb Quaye on guitar and was sampled by Happy Mondays for their song Step On. $4.
  7. The Rolling Stones: Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! Their infamous 1969 tour recorded at Madison Square Garden. A great sounding live record and worth every penny of $3.
  8. 10cc: Deceptive Bends. Great pop album from 1977 recorded at Strawberry Studios. The hit was The Things We Do For Love and there are a bunch of other good songs on this record. $5.
  9. The Shangri-Las: Collection. 20 Greatest Hits. No frills package of the girls’ best moments. Worth it for Sophisticated Boom Boom alone. $5.
  10. Rod Stewart: The Rod Stewart Album. Rod’s early solo records along with those by The Faces and Jeff Beck Group are all good records and worth checking out. Just fun records with good tunes and great players. Before the leopard skin pants and blonde hair dye era of later. $3.

So, there you have it, another ten records that will provide you hours of listening pleasure without breaking the bank. Happy collecting.

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