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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fruits Of My Labor...That Labor Being Hours Digging Through Used CD Bins

On my recent trip to San Francisco, I made a point of visiting Amoeba Music. Amoeba is famous for being "The World's Largest Independent Record Store". I haven't been to their Hollywood or Berkeley locations, but the SF store used to be a bowling alley, so you can imagine just how massive their collection of music for sale is. One can quite literally get lost in there for hours digging through the used and new CDs and vinyl. My basket became so full at one point that I simply had to cut myself off, return a few items to the shelves and go get in line for checkout before any further damage to my wallet was done. But of course even the escape to the checkout line ended in some impulse buys as right next to the beginning of the checkout queue is a couple racks of used vinyl. I wound up adding vinyl copies of Phil Collins' Hello, I Must Be Going and Styper's To Hell With The Devil to my basket before finally getting in line. I'm telling you, this place is dangerous for music enthusiasts, but mostly a little slice of heaven on Earth.

Of the 19 CDs I purchased that day (and that number either sounds incredibly high or modest or a little low depending on your point of view), I wound up only being "meh" on one of them which is pretty impressive. The other 18 all wound up being purchases I was happy to add to my collection and a healthy chunk of them have been ones that begged for repeat listens. Some of my favorite finds:

Having been on an Accept kick recently, I had done some research about what, if any, albums by their original vocalist Udo Dirkschneider's post-Accept band U.D.O. were worth getting. The general consensus seemed to be that Timebomb was well worth tracking down. The album is hard to find for a reasonable price as it is only available as an import or used at very high prices, but low and behold, Amoeba had it for $10. Turns out that it was worth every penny. Being a huge fan of the Accept classics Restless And Wild, Balls To The Wall and Metal Heart, this albums fits in nicely with that trio of classics. If you are an Accept fan and have never heard this album before, then I highly recommend you hunt it down.

Don't remember Nightstick? Don't feel bad because I doubt many people do. If memory serves, then I first heard this band on a Relapse Records sampler in 1999 on which their song "In Dahmer's Room" was included. I loved, loved that song, so when I saw this album for $1.99 at Amoeba, well that song alone was worth the money. Turns out the rest of the album is pretty fun too. They were sort of a space rock, sludge, stoner rock band that never really found an audience with any of the aforementioned  genres' fans. If they came out today, then I wouldn't be surprised if it worked out a little better for them, but maybe they would fall upon deaf ears again. Who knows. Either way, I'm very happy to have this undiscovered gem in my collection.

Blood Duster was another Relapse band from the late 90s, but I had never actually heard them before although I had always been curious. They are from Australia and supposedly played grindcore with groove. When I saw Brutal Truth earlier this year, their singer was wearing a Blood Duster t-shirt and that reminded me that I should check them out. I had their Str8 Outta Northcote album on my Amazon Wish List, but found it in Amoeba right next to Nighstick in the cut-out bin for $2.99 and immediately snatched it up. And what a great find this turned out to be! Definitely grindcore and definitely groovy. Apparently the band never tours outside of Australia, so I'll most likely never see for myself if they can pull this off live (unless my much hoped for journey to Australia ever happens and they happen to be gigging at the time), but at least I have this album to enjoy.

Not particularly hard to find or expensive if you do find it, this was definitely an impulse buy. I own three Descendents albums and had two more that I wanted to add to my collection of which I Don't Want To Grow Up was one. Nothing particularly special about this album except that it is the Descendents proving once again why they are so highly regarded in the punk genre. All killer, no filler and a fine addition to my Descendents collection.

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