Jul. 10th, 2013

[identity profile] cabaretlights.livejournal.com
128 theme:

USED CD STORE


go to a used record store
pick an album from an artist you have NEVER HEARD OF
listen to the album
post a song.
[identity profile] amethysting.livejournal.com

The Fall of Little Summer
Telstar Ponies
Voices From the New Music
1996

The first used CD store I went to was C'Dement--across from Sam the Record Man on Ste. Catherine.  I loved hitting Sam's for the Tuesday new releases and then making my way over to C'Dement to flick through the rows of used CDs.  My music-related knowledge wasn't as extensive as it is now (I use extensive, but like geez, I still have A LOT to learn--and always will have more to learn) and was limited to female-fronted bands and singer-songwriters.

It was in excitedly talking about C'Dement in grade 10 art class that I found out about Mont-Royal and its string of used CD shops.  After initially checking out places like L'echange and Le Fox Troc with my Dad in tow, I would visit the shops regularly with Erin or on my own.  I loved the feeling of finding something I had been searching for--I remember stumbling upon Tori Amos's Little Earthquakes with a squee of elation.  Alternately, I liked discovering new artists and bands--buying a CD just because I liked the album art or because it had been released on a familiar label (Sub Pop or Barsuk, for instance).

I stopped going to the used CD shops when I stopped buying CDs.  I've said it before, but I often miss CDs (physical albums in jewel cases and with liner notes to page through).  In spite of the fact that I would not be exposed to as much music as I am now--what, with almost anything at my fingertips, I miss buying albums; peeling off the cellophane and dropping the disc into my stereo, listening to the album from start to finish--without skipping a track; trying to find something redeeming about it even if it wasn't all that great.

The task of re-visiting those used CD stores to find an unknown album was harder than I thought it would be.  Used CD stores are not dead--though, one of my Mont-Royal favourites has closed down (as has C'Dement AND Sam the Record Man)--on a humid and sticky Saturday afternoon, L'echange was crawling with people. As I ran my fingers over rows and rows of tightly-packed CDs, it was hard to find something I hadn't heard of already.  I wanted to stumble across something completely unknown to me.  I pulled out liner notes--reading the list of contributors and squinting at where the album was recorded.  I paced back and forth with a few CDs in my hands, finding it difficult to make a decision--I wasn't all that excited about any of my potential choices.  My eyes landed on a kind of pleasing font and the word "PONIES" in all-caps.  In the context of our relationship, this made me smile.  I pulled the CD out--Telstar Ponies, Voices from the New Music. The album art wasn't anything to write home about, but I was intrigued.  I flipped open the liner notes--recorded in Glasgow, summer 1996.  The list of instruments played was eclectic--tin whistle, tin can, hairbrush, gong, bottle-opener, glove.  It looked like this was going to be something...different.  Unfamiliar.  Potentially amazing.

Unfamiliar, yes.

Amazing, no.

Hahaha.

This is a very strange album (the gong and hairbrush might have been a dead giveaway, BUT).  It's all over the place and the songs run kind of long (something I maybe should have taken note of when reading the liner notes).  The voices of both singers--Rachel Devine and David Keenan--are a bit uneven; they frequently falter and I am not sure that that is intentional.  The song I've posted, "The Fall of Little Summer" features Keenan...and an increasingly irritating militaristic whistle-solo.  Keenan's voice, in its deepness, is sometimes pleasing, but often incomprehensible; reminiscent of a drunken turn at an open-mic night.  "The Fall of Little Summer" runs in cycles...slowing down before launching back into that spinning whistling (if whistles can spin...I don't know, but the sound of it in this song makes me dizzy).  Whistles aside, I like the marching beat of it; the drumming lends the song a certain sense of urgency.

Despite the fact that this album is a bit of a throwaway, I loved the experience that surrounded coming across it--the physicality of touching and thumbing through stacks of CDs (that didn't come out quite right, but hopefully you know what I mean) and reading liner notes; establishing some kind of more real connection.  Following my trip to Mont-Royal, I've made my way back to my own CD collection, which is pretty wonderful.

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