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Friday Full-Length: Free, Free

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Free, Free (1969)

A long couple days behind me and a good garlicky meal bubbling around in my belly, I wanted to cap the week with something that had that classic groove all over it, and the 1969 self-titled sophomore outing by Free hit the mark just right. This is one of those records where even the ballad grooves. I dig it. I hope you dig it. I hope if you haven’t heard it in a while or if you’ve never heard it, you take the time to check it out and enjoy, even if you put it on and then go do something else. That’s what I did. I’m doing this.

Right on.

I had thought maybe I’d take next week and try and get on some record reviews that’ve been waiting to get done. I’ve got a whole bunch of albums people have been kind enough to send my way — actually send, not just email — that I want to get written up. Two shows next week though, so probably I won’t get caught up immediately. Monday, I’m gonna go see (and hopefully be fortunate enough to have a photo pass waiting for me to shoot) Black Sabbath at the Comcast Center up here, and then Wednesday will be my first time at the Great Scott. Elder and Second Grave are playing, and I’ve been here for more than a week and it’s high time I got out. I barely left the condo this week. At all. Last night I went to buy some groceries and it was a fucking revelation. All of a sudden, it’s Thursday and I’m going, “Holy shit, I haven’t been anywhere since Saturday.” It was like that.

So clearly I’m still figuring out the balance when it comes to the whole working-from-home thing. Need to give it a while. I’ll get there. I’m most definitely not there yet. Lots of stress, lots of anxiety. Tonight though my plan is to relax, watch the ball game, regroup my brain and come back fighting on Monday. Or if not fighting, at very least not feeling like I’m getting the crap kicked out of me.

And even though I’m going out twice and will have reviews of those shows, I’ll have a full-album stream from Primitive Man on Tuesday and a review of the new Admiral Browning record, which is killer. Maybe another album review too if I can get my head in it.

If you’re still reading this, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. And if you clicked off too, anyway. Go get ’em.

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Buried Treasure: Redscroll Records on Black Friday

Posted in Buried Treasure on November 26th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

When I worked at KB Toys store #1051 in Morris Plains, New Jersey, they used to call it “Green Friday,” and as I started there when I was just turned 16, that was how I came to know Black Friday, which is what most people in the US call the day after Thanksgiving — the busiest shopping day of the year and the “official” kickoff of the holiday retail season.

Black Friday takes its name not from the shadow that consumerism at large casts on American culture, but from the simple fact that it’s the day that moves most stores from the red into the black for the year. It’s when they start turning a profit. Seeing an opportunity to continue their mission of promoting independent music culture, the fine folks behind Record Store Day got involved this year, bolstering the event with special releases and other initiatives. I’d expect more of that kind of thing next year.

Late last month, when I was at Redscroll Records in Wallingford, Connecticut, on my apparently annual autumn pilgrimage, I was given a flyer for their Black Friday specials, and knowing that I was going to be in the state for the Thanksgiving holiday, kindly suggested to The Patient Mrs. that I might like to wake up early and hit up the sale, which was 25 percent off everything in stock except for turntables.

So it was. My alarm went off yesterday at 5:35AM, and when I walked into Redscroll at 6:02 or thereabouts, the place was already full. Outside, the sun was just starting to think about rising. As I suspected I might, I had the CD racks mostly to myself (at least as compares to vinyl — LPs are by far the priority for the shop), but it was easily the most crowded I’d ever seen it. People were friendly, though, making way for each other and handing off releases to other potential buyers. I used the 25 percent discount as an excuse to pick up a few odds and ends, most of which I’d already heard, but hadn’t gotten full copies of, and other discs I’d wanted to grab this year that I hadn’t gotten the chance.

For example, I long since own Sovereign by Neurosis, but a quarter off the price was enough for me to grab the 2011 reissue, and stuff like CandlemassAshes to Ashes live record and Place of SkullsAs a Dog Returns had just kind of slipped through the cracks in terms of getting a physical copy. I bought The Body & Braveyoung‘s Nothing Passes to include in the next podcast (no big surprise: it sounds totally fucked), and was hoping to nab The Atlas Moth‘s An Ache for the End for the same reason, but they were out of it, and I drowned my sorrows in some cheap George Carlin, Goblin and Free instead.

Now that I’ve heard the low-end centric mega-grooves of Saturnalia Temple‘s Aion of Drakon, I’m officially stoked to check them out at Roadburn next year. And because I haven’t been able to leave there without doing so the last couple times I’ve been, I picked up a Cable CD, this time the 2008 reissue of their first album, Variable Speed Drive, the original version of which I’ve been hunting on eBay for a bit with no real success.

It was just over $100 for 10 discs, which wasn’t bad and was enough to earn me a free Redscroll t-shirt that I’ll wear proudly. I went back to the motel and crashed out for a couple more hours before getting up and heading south back to Jersey to go to work, and after that, on the way further south to Maryland, I requested yet another stop from The Patient Mrs., this one to Vintage Vinyl, to pick up that Atlas Moth record and settle the matter once and for all. I also got a full copy of Invisible White by Ancestors. Both at full price, and neither with any regret.

Vintage Vinyl in the evening was empty compared to Redscroll in the morning, which was troubling, since that’s pretty much the only shop in New Jersey where I can do something like stop in and pick up an Atlas Moth or an Ancestors CD and be confident that they’ll actually have such a thing. I know they had stocked some of the Record Store Day Black Friday special releases, but hopefully they come around to the sale stuff too, because god damn, I’d hate to lose that place as a resource.

In the meantime, a package showed up in the mail yesterday from All That is Heavy with a copy of Master Sleeps by Hills, which is jammier than I thought it would be, and the Rise Above reissue of NecromandusOrexis of Death, which Tony “I Have Excellent Fucking Taste and Stone Axe is My Band to Prove It” Reed recommended a while back I make mine. Altogether, this probably represents the bulk of the music I’ll buy through the end of 2011, so it was good to send the year out with a bang. I should have plenty to keep me busy until January comes.

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