Thursday, December 30, 2010

Amoeba Records

Record Shopping!

I bought CDs today because I am sick of having everything on vinyl and unable to upload onto my ipod.  I got some weird ones, and ones I used to have.  The Jesus and Mary Chain Psychocandy (awesome), Iggy Pop Lust For Life (I totally love "The Passenger",  Pylon Gyrate (These guys are amazing!  I heard them at Issues), The Clash Sandinista (I know, it's a weird choice, but I love them and am really into the odd parts in Combat Rock lately), Echo and the Bunnymen Crocodiles (their first one), and Sonic Youth Daydream Nation (I'm like the only person on Earth who never got into Sonic Youth, but I think I'm going to like this one).

Despite a cash shortage, today I went to my favorite record store, Amoeba Records, in Berkeley.  I have been really feeling a serious music shortage.  It makes me sort of old fashioned, but checking out music online seems so lacking and insufficient in the proper tactile details.  I want the thing, that I can hold, and use and play in my car or on my turntable.  After a futile attempt the other day to find stuff on itunes, discovering new music was proving daunting since I am shut off from the MTV circuit;  everything seems so happy and twee or Lady Gaga.  I have been asking myself, where are the melancholy or angry new bands?  What's my problem, and why can't I ever find anything to listen to?

So, I went to the same Berkeley stop for my music fix that I have been going to since I was a teenager.  When I was old enough to drive, Berkeley was the destination of choice for our weekend adventures from Nevada City for a few reasons; with Gilman's venue open to all ages, and the sublime combination of vintage, record, and book stores all upon Telegraph's filthy and thrilling street, we made the pilgrimage as often as possible.  And, since this was back in the days before the internet's blazing trail, I had to stock up on anything musical or fashionable I could find.  

Those days are long gone but it's always weird to drive down the street to what seems like a far away destination; Amoeba is still there, and still carries all kinds of rare things I've come to expect.  As I leafed through the piles of plastic today, I thought about all the changes I've gone through and how my musical taste has somewhat evolved but in many ways stayed the same.  I still own many of the records I have purchased over my lifetime, mostly from Amoeba.  My hair and fashion has definitely evolved, and move after move I have slowly sloughed off most excess belongings, but I still have my records to remind me of how it all used to be.  

The beginning:  Yes, I shaved my head my Senior year.  It was an unfortunate decision.  My transition into anything cool came with Fugazi and everything else on the skate style mixed tape my friend, Camille, made for me.

I can't even tell you how many '90s photos I have of me hanging out like this in diners with people in cardigans.  Jets to Brazil (and Jawbreaker, of course) was my Bay Area pop-punk-indie fetish for years.

It happened one day:  I made friends with people who liked Crass and other crusty bands, and I got bi-hawks, but I was a nerd punk at heart.  The Misfits were the perfect accompaniment to my Thundercats sweatshirt style.  This, my friend, Casey, can attest to.

I had an all-girl band and an unfortunate rockabilly phase for awhile.  The band, however, was cool and we played funster girl stuff like we were Joan Jett and the Go-Go's.

I met a cute boy and dyed my hair black.  I also fell in love with Elvis Costello.

My BF, Mandy, and I, have been through equal numbers of hair transformations and musical choices together.  We listened to The Faint all the way down to LA on one adventure and hearing them always reminds me of driving through stinking cow fields.

My boyfriend and I stayed together through all kinds of changes, probably partially thanks to our mutual love for Nick

Art school dorkery begins, with the pains of growing out more black hair and an introduction to the amazing voice of Chan Marshall as Cat Power.

The end of school marked the end of an era.  Hipster hair and the Scottish-dance-goth of Sons and Daughters sums it up.

 I might not look like it, but guess what? I'm a goth! I finally embraced it, and my friend, Hilary, accepts it.  Bauhaus's single, "Bela Lugosi's Dead", has one of the best intros ever.

Now, as we move into the present, my face tells you a bit about what grad school is like.  The Cult is fucking cool and keeps me sane.

 And here we are, in the Now.  I found one amazing new band to add to the mix:  Gang Gang Dance is ridiculously weird and awesome.

Here's to more good albums and silly haircuts.

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