Saturday, 11 May 2013

LOOK AT ME, I OWN RECORDS! #15 - Lee Adcock (Soundscape Memoirs)


That's right, Jack. The long lost and much adored (lol) "LOOK AT ME, I OWN RECORDS!" feature is back! Join us as we trawl through the record collections of the handful of people stupid enough to buy titles from the Audio Antihero catalogue. The schmuck this time? Why it's The Scream Queen of Georgia blogging, Miss Lee Adcock of Soundscape Memoirs/GoldFlakePaint. Keep up with her exploits over on Twitter.

‘Ello, everyone!  Perhaps you know me, but I’m sure you don’t. I’m Lee, the writer/editor/creator behind a lil’ hype machine known as Soundscape Memoirs. The concept’s simple: I find obscure artists that strike my fancy or steal my heart, and introduce them to the world with a review and all the links I can muster. It’s a happenin’ place.

Oh, yeah – and I’m also a 23-year old chick from Georgia. Y’know, in the US. That state with a beer belly that’s above Florida.

But, anywho - how did I become a self-proclaimed arbiter of aural taste? Great question, really. Story time, kids…and I warn you, I’m awfully verbose…

First record that I plucked off the shelf: Pokémon: The First Movie Soundtrack.

Erm…yes. This was back when I was twelve or so, and still ensconced in oldies radio stations and my parents’ record collections. I had NO concept whatsoever of what was new, hip, or tasteful; in truth, the mere prospect of an actual full-length Pokémon movie was the only reason I bought this at all (and probably also because Mew was on the cover). Don’t ask where; I honestly don’t remember. At any rate, this soundtrack is just what you’d expect from a kid’s anime film: sunny and bland pop, sung mostly in Japanese. Oh, I loved it at the time – danced around, bounced on my bed with it, and so forth - but I’ll never forget the time my dad came into my room and advised me to listen to real music…

First (and probably only) album that I memorized the lyrics to:  The Police – Every Breath You Take

Admittedly, I didn’t buy this one; my mother slipped this into my Easter basket as a surprise. And – well, I could’ve also titled this section “Best. Easter. Gift. EVERRR.” Sure, it’s not a “real” album, but it did its job – I was inextricably hooked to the Police. Around the time I received Every Breath, I should have been reading this book and designing a panorama for my English class; instead, I spun that CD over and over again in my stereo, lyric booklet firmly in hand.

Game Changer: It wasn’t until college, really, that I experienced major paradigm shifts in my musical taste. Now, the first album that smacked me in the face was Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief, which to me seems unfairly overshadowed by the rest of their discography – but I snagged that from a friend’s copy, and so thus doesn’t actually count in this history of discs. No, the album I bought that turned my world on a dime was…  Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures

I KNOW, RIGHT?! Yes…this was the tail end of my junior year, and I had recently plugged in to this Pandora radio station that was CHANGING MY LIFE. Or at least, re-charting the realm of music I thought I knew so well. And I heard Joy Division, man…and I knew, like a gut feeling, that I needed this album. And, my God, so I did. Twas the first CD I bought in my 20s, really! But not the last – oh, no, not by a long shot…

Most Lovely Gatefold: Yes – Close To The Edge

Gatefolds like this make listening a real experience. Imagine opening up the sleeve to this fantastical landscape, and hearing the lush, exotic ambience that opens the title track…it’s amazing. Mind, that first track encompasses the entire A-side – but, hey, this is early Yes. They were actually quite good at 18-minute tracks back in their heyday! Besides, how could you NOT be moved by that celestial organ solo in the middle of the song?

Most Intriguing Gatefold: Emerson, Lake, and Palmer – Tarkus

Here’s another gatefold that enhances the listening experience…but in a more bizarre way! Y’see, the whole A-side of this album is one huge odyssey of sound, divided into six movements. So the cartoon inside the gatefold depicts each movement as a scene in the life of this tank/armadillo fiend. Curious, eh? Now, whenever I look at this, I wonder why these various creatures must always duel to the bloody end every time they run into each other, or why our protagonist (?) needed to drive himself into the ocean. And while we’re at it, is he/she/it committing suicide, or just embarking on a new submarine crusade?

First CD Bought Overseas: Editors – In The Back Room
Interpol fans, you can Turn On The Bright Lights all you want – this means so much more to me. I bought this the first time I strolled through HMV, partially because I’d heard a bit of it before, but also because of that big red sticker in the corner. What a steal. I confided all too often in this album when I was tucked away in my room, alone and bummed; back home I’ve carried it with me in car rides and on cycling runs. Editors craft a thick gloom, but a vibrant and pulsing one. There is hope and beauty alongside the bleak darkness. “She fell from grace / but she fell with such grace.”

(By the by, this was certainly not the last CD I bought. In fact, I think I bought at least 40% of the CDs I now own in Wales!)

Most Expensive/Most Distinctive Packaging/Most Serendipitous Album: PiL – Metal Box

Phew. Well, this album marked a pivotal evening during my visit at Swansea. And acquiring it was, indeed, serendipitous. Y’see, I was riding a bus from the City Center to nowhere in particular (as I often did while I stayed in Swansea), when we passed by the local record store…and a camera crew was setting up just outside the door! And I thought, “Oh, man, maybe I could be on TV buying records!” So I mashed the red button by the seat, dashed out the door, and bolted into the store. This tin must’ve cost at least £16 or more – I pondered over it for at least 10 minutes – but I snagged it in the end. As I paid for the album over the counter, the clerk casually asked, “You know there’s a PiL gig coming up in Cardiff, don’t you?” And that led to another story in itself…but, at any rate, this was a monumental album. A fast favorite, too. Bass lines from this would fill my head for weeks.

Or was THIS the most expensive Album?: The Chameleons – Script of the Bridge

Come to think of it, this may have cost even more, since I imported it from the UK. It deserves its own section anyway, because the Chameleons are BRILLIANT. Plus, I love the booklet in this deluxe edition – for every song on the LP, Mark Burgess explains how he cooked up his enigmatic lyrics.
The Rarest Thing I Own: David J. and Ego Plum – The Chartreuse and the Devil’s Muse; Temple of the Id/Indelible Blue 7”

I earned this glorious bundle of goodies after contributing to David J’s production of The Chartreuse and the Devil’s Muse on Kickstarter. In addition to his latest LP (which, by the way, has my name in the booklet), I received two CDs of music from the play, this wicked single, and a little packet containing multiple miniatures of David J performing. Only 100 copies were printed for each of these items, soooo…yeah. Rare. Quality, too.

Also Rare: Cactus World News – Background Details Change

Well, probably not AS rare as the package above, but this album deserves a mention anyway. Cactus World News were a seriously solid alt rock outfit in the mid-80s, whom I discovered whilst digging through 120 Minutes’ video archives. And then, out of the blue, someone on asked me if I wanted to buy his copy of this outtakes album for CWN. Of course I agreed! And it’s been on heavy rotation in my car ever since. Someone on BBC6 recently dismissed them as U2 knock-offs – but they sound better to me!

The Feel-Good/Yes, I Still Care About the Beatles album: The Beatles – Rubber Soul

Is it just me, or has everyone else forgotten about this era in the Fab Four’s career? They were maturing a tad above their crazy chick fan base (which, ironically, is what many new Beatles fans still cling to), and yet still not in their drug-addled experimental phase (which the critics praise endlessly). I adore Rubber Soul, even when Ringo dares to sing on “What Goes On”.  It’s more accessible than St. Peppers or Abbey Road, and frankly more earnest too. Not implying that it’s “better”, of course – just dearer to me.

First Audio Antihero EPs: Jack Hayter – Sucky Tart; Paul Hawkins & The(e?) Awkward Silences – The Wrong Life

I came late to the Audio Antihero party. Mark Whitby of Dandelion Radio was raving over and over again on his shows last year about Jack Hayter’s subscription series, and laying out one intriguing track after another…and at some point, I realized that this Hayter fellow was the very same Hayter that had stolen my heart (and the cutty sark, of course) on Dandelion’s “Five Years – Vol. 1” compilation. Subscribing was a monumental decision – but in the end, the promise of lovely tunes and extra swag (Sucky Tart, a bonus EP, and one badge) compelled me. Granted, as an American buyer, I waited over two weeks for those goodies…but imagine my unbridled joy when I finally tore open the slim little package and found, among all the promised prizes, a handwritten note from Jamie (which I still have, by the way). I was completely enamored.

The Rest of the Audio Antihero Catalogue. 

Yes…ALL OF IT. Granted, ‘twas a gradual process. But a seminal moment arose when I heard Wartgore Hellsnicker and Benjamin Shaw (and, though I didn’t realize it at the time, Jamie himself) briefly on The Wrong Rock Show – and another one when I discovered the two for-charity Christmas singles and cherished them both while cloistered away in the laundry room. And THEN Jamie proffered that generous sale in January…which is when I snapped up those two glorious LPs there at the top. These are all special, personal albums, music I could claim for my own. I’m proud to include my Broken Shoulder compendium in that spread– I’m completely addicted to his contemplative racket!

The Obscure Artist/Album That I Won’t Stop Raving About: Extradition Order – Since the Bomb Dropped

If you’re not awash with joy in the first five seconds of this album, then we can’t be friends. (All right, not likely. But you will be judged.) This is the album that inspired me to start writing blurbs on the music I loved, and it’s probably the one that I return to the most. Mark Whitby (yes, I look up to this dude often) declared that this was “one of the best bands out there” last year, and I stand behind that statement. (Editor's shameful note: listen to this lovely song they gave our 2011 "Bob Hope would." compilation - BOOM)

The Album I Can’t Stop Drumming To: The Police – Outlandos d’Amour

Steve Copeland is a master of drums. And the Police’s debut is a prime showcase of his awesome power. “Hole In My Life”, “So Lonely”, “Masoko Tanga”…but “Peanuts”, without a doubt, was my JAM. Never could nail that blistering solo – but I spent hours trying!

Most Disappointing Album: The Moody Blues – Long Distance Voyager 

Don’t get me wrong – I’m enamored with the Moody Blues. That’s precisely why this album was so disappointing. It’s not…moody. Many of the tracks sound woefully ELO-esque – which, y’know, works for Jeff Byrne and the crew. But not for a band whose strengths are mystique and grandeur! The drums sound too bland, the tunes too bright and jerky. Before Long Distance Voyager, the Moody Blues could transcend time and space…but this LP is so grounded in the 80s that it’s pathetic. To be fair, though, this was the best vinyl I could find amongst the cruddy selection in the antique shop.

(Delayed) Teenage Angst Album: Nirvana – In Utero

Delayed, because I didn’t actually pick this up until I was in Wales, i.e when I was 20 (going on 21). Might as well be, though, because I wasn’t even that angsty as a teenager. Seems I’ve had more steam to blow off as an adult! Had more than a few frustrating days abroad – In Utero was the soundtrack for my frustration. ESPECIALY “Very Ape”.

One Completed Discography: Bauhaus – In The Flat Field, Mask, The Sky’s Gone Out, Burning From The Inside

Boom. Very certain that this is the only discography I’ve managed to complete…although I’m so, so close from collecting all the Police albums…but, I digress. Love these suckers to death. When I first heard In The Flat Field and Mask back-to-back, I had to play them both again to soak in all the awesomeness.

THE Local album: Tunabunny – Genius Fatigue

Yeah, bro. Weird name, awesome music. Two chicks from Athens that know how to rock and rock well. I picked this up just last Record Store Day at the legendary Wuxtry Records downtown. Very inventive, very fresh. If I ever kick off my DJing debut, I’ll have to spin a sample for ya!

And tons others, besides…in case you’re curious, here’s a whole box of CDs I burned from all the MP3s I’ve bought and/or downloaded. Haven’t filled it yet – but vacancies ARE limited! A discussion of ITS contents would be yet another full-length article…


Thanks Lee. Thanks for saving this husk of a 'regular' feature.

Again, keep up with Lee's exploits through the following avenues:
Soundscape Memoirs

Go back and read all the other LOOK AT ME, I OWN RECORDS! features: HERE.