My Record Collection from A–Z
A few years ago, I started posting my vinyl on facebook. The idea was to listen to the record, post some pictures of the artwork and share my thoughts about the album. When I started, I actually did a record a day for a month or so but that became unsustainable. Gaps started to form. I started to do multiple albums in a post and then…ran out of steam. I've wanted to revive the project for some time and this blog seems like a great place to do it.

So, look forward to posts about my record collection. Just the vinyl. Maybe we'll get into the CDs and cassettes (!?) at a later date. I'll drop in links and references where appropriate. The images aren't going to be super great—mostly for documentation and speed in posting. Those of you who followed this the first time around will have to endure some repeats (at least up until the Js) but I'll do my best to make reading the posts worth the time and effort.


Algiers
I first heard this band on an “in studio performance” at KEXP (http://kexp.org/). They sounded good and had interesting things to say during the interview so when I saw it at the record store, I picked it up. But whenever it comes on in the car during shuffle, I seem to skip to another track. That first impression I had on hearing them live was really strong but, overtime, I haven't responded as well to the album.
1_Algiers_cover

Listening to it again, there may be some limitations to the MP3s. The vinyl sounds a bit fuller, richer with the electronics and instrumentation pulling the voice into the overall context of the song. For the record, not one of those, "everything sounds better on vinyl" people. Like many people with a turntable, I'm not listening to the records under ideal circumstances. My speakers are cheap, the amp is ok but old and has some background noise. In most cases, the difference between digital file and analog music is pretty negligible. So, I could just be thinking it sounds better…but analog does tend to help compensate for music that really pushes the limits of the channel and some of these Algiers tracks do seem to hit an intensity that would probably get clipped by the digital file.


2_Algiers_Gate

3_Algiers_Back

And Algiers is pretty popular right now. Their latest album, The Underside of Power has received good reviews and lots of radio play. But it doesn't resonate with me so much and I still can't quite put my finger on it. It could be an ongoing concern with contemporary bands that reference too many musical touchstones. As the review on Pitchfork describe and album with, “familiar record-collector reference points”. Some of the tracks feel a bit like reworking of similar ideas. I've read them described as gospel/punk and lots of other interesting mergers. Maybe it's that fire and brimstone style of gospel singing? I hate to blame the singing but I wonder if I just don't care for the overall throaty, breathlessness, with its attendant mannerisms that seems to dominate a lot of the tracks. As one record review said, "While their messaging can sometimes be overshadowed by pulpit-thrashing theatrics…" I feel that in the live performance, the singing had greater range and wasn't always so intense and raspy. Maybe it's as simple as that.

4_Algiers_Insert-Image

But don't let me influence you too much. Listen for yourself. And check out some of the interviews, articles. The music isn't frivolous. The band has important things to say and their music is fully committed.

5_Algiers_Insert-Text

The album artwork is also pretty cool. A gatefold with a single pocket for the disc and poster. Nice two-color printing in black and red with plain black record sleeve. Instead of printed sleeves, it has a large poster, quarter folded with a big painting reproduced in red and black on one side and a nicely laid out grid of images by Sam Campbell and the collection of Brad Feuerhelm and track lyrics on the reverse in a warm black on white. Interestingly, the band name wasn't part of the cover design. Instead, it was printed onto a heavier gauge plastic wrap that sealed the record for retail. The cover color is a nice ink blend of red and black with the image printed black on white with a spot varnish. The poster painting and album cover paintings were done by Nicola Morrison (http://nicolamorrison.tumblr.com) while the overall design was done by Lamb & Sea (https://vimeo.com/lambandsea). 

6_Algiers_Record

Here’s a review of the album at pitchfork
An interesting interview with the band:

And here’s the KEXP performance:
and a more recent one:

And the band's website:

7_Algiers_Cover-title



Comments

Popular posts from this blog