Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bad Album Covers - The Real Dirt

Today I heard from Paul, the man behind the original Museum of Bad Album Covers

According to him, AM NY isn't the first person to piggy back of his vinyl fanaticism, it happens all the time, all over the world. Who knew there was such an interest?

"We spend ages sifting through bargain bins, ebay and record dealers all over the world, paying money, making images, writing about the albums and generally doing all the hard work"

True. True.

So, if you want to support the REAL zany collectors check out these ORIGINAL sites:

Museum of Bad Album Covers
Show and Tell
Bizarre Records

and forget all the phoneys!

Update Update: (further clarification from Paul)
"While we all cross over quite alot, I'm more pure bad album cover designs, Nick Di Fonzio (Bizarre Records) tends to be more bizarre old kitch, and Ron Dante's best ones can be completely mindbending in all kinds of ways! While he has plenty of unbelievably awful covers, he's more into weird and wonderful music and bizarre album concepts such as old corporate records, home made "vanity" albums and that kind of thing. He has a huge collection of jaw dropping American weirdness at it's very finest! He still sells stuff on ebay from time to time."

why are we vinyl people so misunderstood?

Worst Album Covers = Laziest Journalism ?

Hoping to evade the boredom of my commute, I picked up a free AM NY newspaper at the entrance to the subway. On the top right corner there was a feature that caught my eye: "The Worst Album Covers of All Time." The 3/4 page feature on page 24 was credited to staff writer Emily Hulme.

That's funny, cause I've been aware of a website for at least 4 years called the Museum of Bad Album Cover Art.

And guess what, 4 of the album covers in the printed feature were lifted straight off this site with no reference or credit to the website. You can see in certain cases where it's the exact same image, with the same creases and price stickers.

The Frivolous Five
The Many Facets of Roger
Alla Pugaljova - Superman
Ken - By Request Only

And then I found a couple other sites:


That accounted for almost all the other album covers in the story and in the online article.

Oh yeah, one more funny twist: One of the album covers (Cody Matherson) is probably phony and most likely a Simpson's homage.

The feature also ran in AM NY's sister papers, the Chicago Tribune and the Sun - Sentinal

It bothers me that the whole concept was taken whole-hog off the internet and hacked into space-filler for a profitable newspaper with out any reference or credit to the sources. Its enough that these papers regurgitate the AP feeds, why do they have to steal our own dorky web content?

Bloggers take stuff from everywhere too, but at least we're honest about where we take it from.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

St. Louis Record Stores - pt. 2 Euclid Records

Euclid Records
601 East Lockwood
St. Louis, MO 63119

Euclid Records is another great resource for the St. Louis music community offering large and well-organized CD and vinyl inventories. The store’s history goes back about 25 years with separate vinyl and CD stores that eventually merged into their current Webster Groves location. Vinyl-wise, Euclid is the destination for rare and collectible vinyl. They are also one of the top dealers on eBay for in-demand classic jazz albums.

Hunting strategy: I usually start with new arrivals for a taste of the offerings and move onto specific areas of interest to see what’s floating around. If I find things that fill in some holes at a fair price tag then I’m happy. There will be many things that make my heart a-flutter and then sink upon seeing the price sticker. If you’re in the mood to treat yourself to something special, this is the place to come. Interesting compilations and reissues are a bit easier on the pocketbook and they have plenty of clean staples too.

Large inventory, impressive rarities, amazing jazz LP selection, extremely well organized both in the store and on their website. New arrivals are added to the website almost as soon as they come in.

Weaknesses: I couldn’t imagine a crummier turntable to audition $50 records. Prices are overall fair but certainly not cheap, on par with NYC and eBay.

In Summary: The shop in St. Louis for experienced vinyl people but does having everything you ever wanted take the fun out of it?

St. Louis Record Stores - Vintage Vinyl


St. Louis is my hometown and where all this record nonsense started. Either by instinct or simple economic discovery that a used record was cooler and cheaper than it's CD counterpart, I started buying vinyl in high school. I soon made a second discovery: The records that got me exited seemed older, heavier and mustier. Every time I opened the sleeve of a Columbia Miles Davis LP and looked at the label, there were more eyes staring back at me; first two, then six! A record nut was born…

Let me begin with Vintage Vinyl as this is the store that I am usually at within 3 hours of my plane landing and the place where these early music discoveries were made...

Vintage Vinyl
6610 Delmar
St. Louis MO 63130

hours: Sun - Thu 10AM - 10PM
Fri and Sat - 10AM t0 12AM

Vintage Vinyl has been an anchor of the U-City loop for over 20 years and does a lot for the music community: creating big window displays for current releases, hosting in-store performances of local and touring bands and serving as a general magnet for grungy loopsters. There is a permanent but mild and comforting smell of incense that seeps into everything in the store. I can still smell it on some of the records I've dug up here. The reason this is a good place to shop for records is that interesting stuff floats in with the common stuff and it all gets priced about the same.

Hunting strategies: Delve into the deep x-factor of the store.

Things show up in the used racks that are truly magical - nice James Brown records on King, original Dixie Hummingbirds on Peacock, Don Covay records on Atlantic, Etta James on Argo - all with prices averaging around $10-15. I don’t ever look for anything particular, I just look. You never dip your toes in the same Vintage Vinyl twice.

Strengths: grungy community fixture, takes it’s role as a record store seriously without taking itself as a record store too seriously. Rasaan Roland Kirk serves as their spiritual leader and mascot. Open late.

Weaknesses: no easy way to preview records: gotta hand them to a guy behind a DJ booth, I’ve never bothered. ****UPDATE**** John from VV wrote to tell me that there is now a turntable for private listening, so there you go.

In Summary: grimy, homey musical Zen

coming soon: Euclid Records and Record Exchange...

Friday, May 23, 2008

R Stevie Moore at Cake Shop 5/20/08

I returned to the scene of the crime to catch up with R Stevie Moore and his loyal entourage. This week's fashion report: wizard hat, 50's album cover, pajama bottoms with the Monopoly Man on them, not quite big enough clip on shades, tacky plastic American flag necklace. Illustrating that nothing has really changed in the last 20 years, the set featured 'Show Biz is Dead'. Oh, and you missed an impromptu cover of Mariah Carey's 'Touch My Body'.

RSM has one last show of his Cake Shop residency on 5/27 and word is he's got a great studio album in the works...

check out the photo gallery!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ponderosa Stomp no. 7 2008 Photos

Hey kids, I've posted these links in a couple of places but hey, why not on my own derned blog?!

7th Annual Ponderosa Stomp at the House of Blues, New Orleans

Night One featuring Buckwheat Zydeco, Barbara Lynn, Tony Owens, Wardell Quezergue, Dr. John aka Mac Rebbenack, Sonny Burgess, Betty Harris, the Bo-Keys, Mary Weiss, the Collins Kids and Travis Wammack


Night Two featuring the Green Fuz, The Hi Rhythm Section, Syl Johnson, Spencer Wiggins, Henry Gray, James 'Sugarboy' Crawford, The Mighty Hannibal, Ronnie Spector, Roky Ericson and the Explosives and ? and the Mysterians.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

NYC Record Stores - Rockit Scientist

Rockit Scientist Records
33 St. Marks Place

Rockit Scientist is one of the few remaining original East Village record stores that do a good job of covering a bit of everything from the 50’s on. It's about as much record store as you can cram into a basement level nook on St. Marks place with records on the floor, every inch of wall space and all over the ceiling. This place is a good resource for the now out of print UK and Dutch imports on Charly, Ace, Mr. R&B, etc. that cover early rock ‘n roll, rhythm and blues, soul and blues. The collectable albums skew a bit more towards rock and psych but I’ve also seen good soul records on the wall. This is also a good spot for CD buyers looking for reissues of out-of-print material.

Where to look: Up! (and also the 50’s Rock n Roll and Blues crates)

Best recent find: Original Riverside Mono pressing of ‘Monk’s Music’, a little water damaged but played great - $20

Strengths: well-versed on a wide spectrum

Weaknesses: a little cramped

Arbitrary Rating: 7.5 / 10

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

R Stevie Moore @ Cake Shop 5.06.08

R Stevie Moore appeared tonight at Cake Shop in his large glasses, a horrible tie, a mylar balloon that read "I'm Sorry" tied around his neck and a 'Visitor' badge peeking out of his pocket. That he played for an enthusiastic crowd of about 20 is and isn't surprising. Plagued by his own obscurity, RSM embraces his image of strangeness while throwing it back in your face along with everything else that is false and absurd about our culture. Imagine an approach blurred along the spectrum of Daniel Johnston and Frank Zappa.

I admit I had never heard of this man before tonight, but I was immediately pulled in by the directness and craft of his music. R Stevie Moore's music rocks hard is really quite approachable with very logical pop structures and hooks. Although I already played the Zappa card, I think there are also valid comparisons to Beefheart with the lyrical free associations and plays on meaning combined with a soulful beat underneath all the layers. RSM is no crazy old coot - he is a sharp observer of society with genuine musical skill.

R Stevie Moore is playing every Tuesday this month at Cake Shop and his performance is well worth seeing - go check it out!

For more info I would check out the enormous amount of info on his website.
And here's an awesome video of his from the early days of MTV

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Wall Street Journal - Ponderosa Stomp and Dr. Ike

The Wall Street Journal did a nice profile on Dr. Ike and the Ponderosa Stomp in last week's Weekend Advisor section featuring a portrait I shot of him at his house.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hanging With Rabbit Factory at the Ponderosa Stomp

Stepping outside my hotel in New Orleans I came across Ralph Jackson and Hermon Hitson , who along with Roscoe Robinson came to play the Ponderosa Stomp this year with thier management and protectors Rabbit Factory out of Chicago.

Impose Magazine shot some video and has a blog post
, check me out snapping photos off to the side.

Friday, May 02, 2008

LA Times features the Ponderosa Stomp - Ronnie Spector

I've been in New Orleans this week with the Ponderosa Stomp for the third year in a row. A photo of Ronnie Spector (who was awesome) was featured in a very positive review in the LA Times

many many many more photos to come...