Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This Christmas I Plan to Listen to ZZ Top Until I Can No Longer Function Normally In Society

Welcome to Our Annual Holiday Gift Guide!

This is our first, but hopefully we can keep it up.  Like we keep up everything so very well.

While you're shopping, listen to this tune from A Million Billion Dying Suns, one of my new favorites.  It's a little peppier than I normally like my tunes, but you're going to need that energy for all your shopping!

There.  That's better.  Now on to the shopping...

Buying a gift for the true audiophile can be super tricky because tastes in specific music and gear vary wildly, and people are really passionate about what they like.  Obvs, it's best to know something about the recipient's tastes before you venture forth, because even if you think their taste in music is completely retarded, the goal is to make them happy.  Although feel free to say something horribly derisive after they open it and are all happy.  Having said all that:

#1 Music in Every Goddam Room in the House

Everyone has their main, badass system in the room with their vinyl and other media, and this is where they like to hear their music usually.  BUT, that's no reason to believe that it's the ONLY room they might want to hear their music.  If I had the money I would have a different system in every room.  I fell in love with this little record player from Crosley a while back, and I am soooo proud to say that it was ages before they started carrying them at hipster mecca Urban Outfitters.

Take that, UO!  And hipsters, beware:  do you ever think about who the trendsetters get their ideas from?  That's right.  Middle aged mothers.  Right now I'm wearing a sweater from Lands' End and some Hush Puppies.  Go ahead and shudder.  Then go buy some stock.  Anyway, I love the idea of having extra record players everywhere.  Like the bathroom!  And I love the idea of lying on the rug with my face propped in my hands, just staring at the record while listening to it, like we did when we were kids.  Like in that Wes Anderson film about that orphan boy scout.

But if you want to seriously gift someone a system for their bathroom, I might recommend this:

I have one.  It works well, sounds fine, and you can also take it to the pool or beach and keep your phone or iPod dry.  Neat!

#2 Curate That Shit

The idea here is that you put together music with food and / or drink.  You have to know what music the person wants, which reminds me...  PEOPLE OF EARTH:  MAKE YOURSELF A DAMN WISHLIST ON AMAZON.  I personally feel it's inconsiderate in this day and age to not have one.  Anyway, instead of just chucking them a CD in what can only be a CD-sized wrapper, make it a curated event.  Here's my example.  I have had John & Yoko's Double Fantasy in every format over the years and I've lost it several times now.  I would really, really like it on vinyl again.  If you know me well, you know the story of how I came down with some horrible illness when I was eight years old and was bedridden for a couple of weeks.  My Mom kept me alive on a diet of orange juice and sesame sticks.  I didn't want to eat anything, but it was the first time I'd tried sesame sticks and I loved them.  I think the salt was a magical curative.  Anyway, she was going out and asked me if I needed anything.  I said yes, I needed Double Fantasy, which was just released that day.  Sure enough, she came home with the telltale bag from Turtle's, and I wore that record (both of them, it's a double) OUT.  And my Mom NEVER, EVER  pays retail for ANYTHING.  It was quite the event.  So to me, the perfect example would be Double Fantasy on vinyl, with sesame sticks (the little fried ones, not the big stupid ones), some orange juice, jalapeno vodka, and some of that chipotle margarita salt.  What?  I'm a grown up.  But whoever got me that would have to know me really, really well.  You don't have to be that amazingly thoughtful to make it a fun experience.  More examples:

If they ask for...Get them...
Classical musicA wheel of brie and a nice port or maybe even sherry
Show tunesSome bon-bons and Arbor Mist
Electronica / Dance / TranceA bottle of Nyquil and some carbs
Hip Hop / RapHot Cheetos and Takis
Sludge / Psych / Doom / Stoner RockBuffalo chicken sliders, tequila, weed (IJS)
Indy Rocksingle barrel scotch, a cigar, a gift card to Mary Todd's, a single speed bicycle, etc.
CountryWhite chicken and beans, some really tight pants (look for it at 1:26)
Funk / SoulCigarettes and shades and a fun hat
Butt RockBeef jerky, an energy drink, and loads of roughage
The EaglesSome Twinkies and a Bud Light.  Can you gift card a lobotomy?

#3 More More More!

If your recipient is truly a garbage disposal of music, then there are some very inexpensive and / or high value ways to get music thrown at him or her on the regular.  Well, there's really only one way, subscription services, but there are several of them.

The Music Box is a subscription service that sends out either several CD's and loads of merch for $10 a month, or a mix CD for $5 a month (or $13 a month for both) of music from unsigned bands.  It's basically a kind of promotion vehicle, but a really good idea nonetheless.  However, of the 6 or so CD's he got over 3 months, my own personal garbage disposal of rock only liked one CD.  They give you a questionnaire at the beginning to try and figure out what you might like, but I think they just got it all wrong for Poor Kevs.

Jukebox is a similar subscription service, except it is $14 a month plus shipping & handling, and they appear to send out more music and merch per package.

Vinyl Me, Please - For $25 a month, the recipient gets a limited edition LP pressed exclusively for Vinyl Me, Please members, an original 12” x 12” art print and a custom cocktail pairing (suggestion, not the actual cocktail), access to The Standard, a weekly music & gear digest (which you don't need because you can read Rawk Talk for free), and special members-only pricing on additional records & gear.  I can't decide if this would be worth it or not.  Definitely check out their archive first and see if the kind of music (aka All Over the Place) is the kind of thing the recipient would be into.  The potential bonus is that one day the record could conceivably be worth more money.

The Pairings Box from Turntable Kitchen is a combination of #2 and #3, but seems pretty much geared to the Indy loving type.  For $25 a month, the recipient gets an exclusive 7" vinyl, a digital mixtape, three seasonal recipes, 1-2 premium ingredients, and tasting notes.  The idea is to make and eat a meal (with or without other people) while listening to the vinyl and mixtape.  Beware:  one month the premium ingredient was a little packet of fancy salt.  So your recipient could end up standing there with a 45, a packet of salt, and a confused look on his or her face.  But again, the records are special edition and could end up being worth more than the value of the subscription.

All of these subscriptions can be done as gifts and can be for anywhere from 1-12 months.  So if you want to go cheap and just do one shot, go for it.

#4 Expensive-Ass Box Sets

Do you really need to prove your love to someone?  If that someone is a music nerd, there is a very easy way to do it.  Just look up the crazy expensive box set for their favorite band and enter your credit card information.

If you really need to prove your love to me and Dawg, go buy Zaireeka and four of those Crosleys so we can play it properly!

That would actually set you back way less than this little gem from the Beatles...

At the risk of sounding like an oldster, I cannot conceive of spending $500 for a used box set of music from a video game.  What the fuck is this?  Does anyone know?

You could spend $8K on the Rolling Stones.  You could spend $5K on Elvis.  You could spend $4K on Nine Inch Nails, for Christ's sake.  But I'm clearly getting carried away.  Here are this year's crazy expensive new boxed sets:

Beethoven for $104
Lead Belly for $100
The Go-Betweens on Vinyl for $168
The Grateful Dead for $50 (yeah, that's expensive for the unpteenth box set from these guys)
Daft Punk on Vinyl for $120
Sun Ra & Arkestra on Vinyl for $70
The Kinks Anthology on CD for $70
Sinatra + DVD for $60
Lenny Kravitz for $70
Rainbow on Vinyl for $140 (wut)
Destroy All Monsters for $105

I could go on and on, but there are way, way too many of them to list.  You get the idea.  The one on my wishlist for this year is Wilco's Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1984-2014, preferably on vinyl, because I am a smart girl from Gen X and this is what we need to have.

If you're looking for the box set bargain of a lifetime, though, seriously, it's this beauty from ZZ Top.  10 CD's for $45!!!  Kevs just got it recently and we are making our way through it one sleazy step at a time!  It rules!

(and yes, all the hipsters will be rolling around with their wizard beards, listening to ZZ Top soon, mark my words)

Consider Leveling Up When You Shop This Year

For old vinyl, always go to Once Possessed in Lilburn.  Bonus - they do gift certificates!  So easy and hassle-free.

For new vinyl, Criminal Records is your best bet for having it in stock.

When shopping on Amazon, instead of going to, go to  You pick a charity, and every time you buy something from them using that URL, they donate a portion of their sales to that charity.  Bonus points if you choose Noah's Ark Rehabilitation Center in Locust Grove, GA - I will love you for that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

SKOGEN BRINNER: diggin that viking rawk!

So, in the not too distant past, Subliminal Sounds posted up on fb about this band Skogen Brinner having new songs and all. I took the bait and am so glad that I did! I really been diggin their heavy sound....

The first song that I heard was off their new EP, and I guess I dug it enough to reach out and buy their last album- and it rules! My first inclination was to say that it sounds like a cross between Sabbath and Dungen, but then I realized the only reason I said Dungen was because they are singing in Swedish and Dungen is the only other band Ive really listened to that sing in Swedish. So maybe they just sound like Swedish Sabbath. Either way, they rule. 

Here's what is, obvi, the "hit single" off the last album:

It wouldnt be a rawk talk review if we didnt talk about how cute they are.  

 they are lawng haiyuhed and agreeable looking

 mysterious, yet approachable

 theyre cute, but not too cute. just the way i like them. 

Finally, this one song on the old album makes me wanna do the Bankhead Bounce whenever I hear it (not to date and locate myself...the BB was a dance style that originated in the SWATS back in the 1990's) Here it goes layered over the original video for the Bankhead Bounce-its syncs up eerily well:

heres the original if you are not familiar ;-) 

now you will never look at skogen brinner the same again!

Friday, November 21, 2014

And now, a word from your hosts

There's only a handful of y'all who are not our real life friends, acquaintances, consorts, or what have you, so it's time to get to know us better.  We could do this with a bunch of endless words, but why when we have the magic of facebook insta-video hacking?  We made 'thank-you' videos for each other on FB, but you know what really pisses us off?  When the music sucks.  Which it did.  So behold, our lives, our friendship as FB sees it, but with killer audio.  As it should be.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mama Rocks the Fox: SPeCiaL GueST BLoGGeR!!!!


Mama Rocks the Fox!!

Thanks for the invite to guest blog on my recent concert filled week. I hope the vast reading audience will like it so much they clamor for more. About the blogger, I am mother of one half of rawk talk and I have a long history of concert attendance. In fact, my very first concert was September 16, 1964. As a sixth grader I traveled by Greyhound bus from High Point, NC to Baltimore, MD to see the Beatles on their first American tour, but that story is for another episode of Rawk Talk. 

Saturday November 8, the spouse and I attended the Aretha Franklin show at the grandly beautiful FoxTheater in Atlanta. This was the day after my birthday so as a part of the festivities we splurged on orchestra seats and dang, scored second row, center. The crowd was mainly silverbacks, like us, but there was a sprinkling of 30’s and 40’s as well, which always makes me happy for some reason. I also noticed those pathetic few who wanted to introduce the grandkids to classic soul. Sad for all of them. They had the poor little urchins dressed in their starched khakis, mini Brooks Brothers, Sunday dresses and hair bows. I guess just to make sure the evening was an unforgettable trip into the fires of hell for the little ones. The groups were the usual mix of single ladies, gay couples, multi-cultural, mixed race, and plain vanilla like us. Hats were a frequent fashion statement as were bald heads. But unlike most Atlanta events, people dressed up. They were here to see a Queen.

The deservedly named Queen of Soul was looking good. She has experienced undisclosed health issues and whatever it is has not damaged her voice one bit. She has, however, lost a shit ton of weight. Her breasts, previously the size of large watermelons are now down to the size of large cantaloupes. 

She danced, played the piano, and sang like it was 1971, never missing a high or low note. She opened with a Jackie Wilson tune (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) and the crowd stood and moved their (mostly) arthritic bones in excitement. Arriving center stage she shed the first of 3 fur coats that eventually landed on the grand piano. I was kind of hoping she would get carried away and toss one to the crowd but no such luck. 

 She was backed by a 19 piece band and three great backup singers. The classics mixed throughout the show never failed to bring the crowd to standing while singing along and finger shaking, fist pumping and dancing in place. Chain of Fools, I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Loved You) Freeway of Love, and she closed with the requisite RESPECT. But there were some great surprises. Her rendition of Sam Cooke’s You Send Me was flawless and left me wanting a much longer version. And she really delivered on Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, a song that is perfect for her strong, powerful voice.

 Aretha was the first female artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She grew up singing gospel like so many of her peers. Her career includes 112 charted singles and she has won a total 18 Grammies. The show we saw reflected both her otherworldly talent and the beauty and assuredness of a woman who knows she is loved and revered.

Contrast that with Wednesday night, November 12, 2014. Again we are out of the house and off to the Fabulous Fox Theater. This time to see an all-star tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Because we spent so wildly on Aretha tickets we had decided to pass on this show but then slow ticket sales forced them to reduce prices. I think they needed a crowd since this concert was filmed. Anyway we bought tickets the week before the show and ended up 10th row orchestra. Our seats were on the far right aisle which turned out to be a great thing. Due to so many artists participating in this show the side door of the Fox (facing Ponce) was turned into stage door for the night. So here comes all the stars, standing beside us, posing for photos with fans and looking rough as hell.

The crowd was so interesting that I randomly noted sights seen on the Facebook for all to enjoy. Let me share.

As for the demographics? A few folks our age, no people of color, mostly 40 and 50 something from (I hope) far, far OTP. They stood for most of the show and raised one arm in the air, either pointing to the sky or fist pumping. This was the pretty universal audience stance throughout. And really, people did yell Free Bird. Of course it was kind of legit and not a joke. 

The entertainment started early, 7:30 and went until almost midnight.

The show opened with Randy Houser rocking Whiskey Rock a Roller. Every act following delivered flawless versions of Skynyrd classics. Blackberry Smoke (from Atlanta) tore up Working for the MCA and Jason Isbell killed I Know a Little. Trace Adkins rocked What’s Your Name. A duo of Charlie Daniels and Donnie Van Zandt energized the tiring audience with guitar solos on Down South Jukin. The spouse and I loved Peter Frampton’s wild bluesy Call Me the Breeze. 

Rickey Medlocke and Johnny Van Zant crank up the “Free Bird.” Photo: Getty Images/Blackbird Productions

We saw also saw Cheap Trick, Gov’t Mule, moe, Alabama, John Hiatt, Robert Randolph, O.A.R., Warren Haynes, but I’m saving the best for last. Greg was there. If you have to ask Greg who, stop reading now. He played organ and sang in a vaguely gospel style, Tuesday’s Gone. 

  Gregg Allman offered a lovely version of “Tuesday’s Gone.” Photo: Getty Images/Blackbird Productions

Then of course as you would expect it was time for Lynyrd Skynyrd. First every single performer in the show for full stage, rousing, Sweet Home. This nearly drove the crowd to frenzy. And as you would expect, they closed with the redneck anthem, the southern siren song, the heckler’s chorus, Free Bird. 

The evening was one of hair whipping and amazing guitars. It was late and we had to work the next day but we stayed until the lights were up and Roy Rogers was singing Happy Trails to You. 

Reflecting back on this stunning week of concerts I am amazed that I have been lucky enough to see some of the most influential musicians of all time. Their talent and inspiration has been a constant with me as I grew up, raised a family, and worked hard. It has put me to sleep and helped me wake in the morning. And now I am sharing with you gentle Rawkers. Rawk on. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

vinyl roundup: chattanooga, tennessee!

so i made a short trip north to Chattanooga and Nashville a few weeks ago, and FINALLY: merc retro is over, so I feel like I can write about shit again. its about damn time.

i brought some jamz along, since michis car only has cd capability. now personally, my (previous vehicle- i have since purchased a new car with all kinds of new fangled technology) car only has the radio, a tape deck, and luckily, also a cd slot. thank god for the tape deck- i have successfully used my tape deck to transmit all kinds of sounds since before i drove a car with a CD player. when i had nought but a tape deck i just used my tape adapter to hook up my portable CD player. with the wagen i just used the tape adaptor to hook up my ipod, ipad, and even my phone now that the interwebs is available by phone. i also purchased a satellite radio receiver that totally played thru the tape adaptor. i was fully connected up in there, but unfortch the actually driving mechanisms of my poor little old wagon were starting to devolve and really do some far out shit, which I am not going to go into here. im just saying that to say that we had to take michis wagon because it was more reliable despite its stark disadvantage in the tuneage department. so with only cd and radio capabilities in mind i selected a few discs (and burned like two of my playlists to disc) so we would not be stuck listening to country and talk radio once we got too far out.

i brought along these selections:

 Well Hung: a hungarian psych/funk mix rerelease off finders keepers, a fave

difficult to actually find on the innerwebs to share. this was michis "jam"on the journey, and he still has my mf'in cd...

I also felt inspired by hank 3 for the whole nashville journey so i brought along one of his albums, and we played it like twice before michi got crotchety about it.

hank 3 is such a damn cutie, behold:

man so the trip to nashville was actually for a wedding of friends, but you know i gotta werk in some vinyl time. if theres anything i feel like i am a master of, its planning a trip. so for this like two day trip i totally made a fucking pinterest board of where all the record stores are along the way, as well as other points of interest. u gotta maximize your journeys, man.

well my chattanooga pin board was pitiful because i only tagged one place. but it turned out to be a super awesome record store full of great selections and great prices. it was especially weird because it was located in a shopping mall, sort of outside or one the outskirts of Chattanooga. that didnt deter us because we are always down for a scenic drive thru the hood. the place turned out to be awesome- just my kinda spot- a little bit of new stuff, a ton of old stuff, and even some fun merch and gear. they actually had a ton of books and coffee mugs and all kinds of ephemera. turntables and soundsystem components and the like. and the lady running the spot was super friendly and allowed us to play some of the records we wanted to hear.

i really like chattanooga, its just seated in a pretty part of the state and they seem to keep it nice there. thats not to say that it doesnt have a grimy, industrial side, but i like it all. they also have like the fastest, bestest, govt run innerwebs in the universe, and its way progressive for a southern city. we actually went to see jack white perform there a few years ago when he put out blunderbuss, it  was his first tour stop. and he hadn't played out in like ages. we saw him play there and it was pretty kickass, but i digress.

For the Record was the shop we popped in:

view inside (sweeeeet! feelin panicky yet?)

wall of fame

picture discs

fancy display

bunch of cool stuff i didnt get, per usual:

michi ended up with probably the best score of this venture: the wattstaxx soundtrack

whenever he has something cool he gets all smug about it and i can hardly stand it, but this really is great. in fact i became completely obsessed with it there for a few good weeks. totally. fucking. obsessed. so wattstaxx was this big ass black music festival in watts california back in the 70s. an award winning documentary was made about it and this is the soundtrack. which is totally killer. and also totally diverse. it is in fact so killer that i had to include four different songs from it, that i love. (you can also stream the entire documentary right on youtubes. peep the hotlink above!)





so heres what i eneded up with :

i got this used copy of the Graveyard album . we heard graveyard for the first time at the psych fest, although i had read lots of great things and was totally pysched out to hear them .. they really wailed. so i was happy to get this.

next up a cheap lil spooky toof album, to be such a fucking great band from that era, i sure do find their albums everywhere all the time. love them.

so this is probably my most favorite score from that day. im pretty sure its a leftover from their record store day event (not sure actually). but it is a live album from this deep blues festival, and every fucking song on it rules. i picked it up cause it looked cool and it was 20% off ( a new vinyl). then i saw that it featured performances by the buffalo killers and radio moscow and i felt myself getting all hot, like i found some shit i wasnt supposed to have, or like they didnt realize how fucking cool it was and it shouldnt srsly be 20% off. so i got the panic, and it wasnt unwarranted: his album rules. 

omg that alive at deep blues is the shit and a half. its actually impossible to find the versions of these songs off this album online. like i have really tried, and i would just upload it myself to youtube, but im not sure i feel like doing that- i mean who even knows how to do that shit,  right? and what if i get sued? i have no idea. so youll just have to enjoy these versions of the songs, and know that the ones on this album are way better. this album was great because it did come with the mp3 download code, which i think all new vinyl should include. new records are so fucking expensive and even with all my tape adaptor wiazardry i couldnt listen to a record in my car. although they did make those at one point. i have heard from my mom that my dad at one time had one. anyway to mp3 download was way cool because it came with bonus tracks! right awn!!

can you even imagine how much that would suck? skipping for one, then that its like a fucking 45? i guess it was like witchcraft back in the day, but fuck that shit. 

anyway, heres the version of the song that i love on that deep blues fest album, but not that version:

we drove on towards nashville

it was a righteous journey

along the way there were ribs, and sample ribs and a smoke shop with awesome hippy rings.

who has sample ribs?! like that dude brought us over each a rib, then they had an array of dips to try! Shout out the Michis friend, Jerry, our Viethick representative, who recommended this spot .Jim Olivers Smokehouse in Monteagle, Tn- kinda like a real deal Crackerbarrel, but with a buffet.

that sounds horrific, no thanks.

the smoke shop next door was also so intriguing we had to stop in. Also we were so full and miserable we had to move around before we could just get back in the car. The Amish Hippy had an array of junk, vintage shit, custom hippy ass clothing, and pipes, but nothing we really gave a shit about (except awesome hippy rings, but we left those too)

at last! nashville!

it was like pulling teeth to convince everyone to go down to the honky tonks, so by the time we managed to herd ourselves over there it was full of sloppy drunk party mom hen party types and Michi called it "party hell" and that was an accurate description.

the record store open late.. so my pintrest board for record shops in nashville was better, but still teeny. we hit up this one down by the honky tonks at night which was cool because it was saturday night and stil open, we just cruised thru, because i have not yet entered the phase of my life where i am into country and western music, but that may or may not be bubblin up inside me as I blaze on into the years. it was kinda sad in there because saturday night at those honky tonks is like utter tourist Party Hell. so many assholes. so drunk. im talkin frat brothers, hen parties, white pants all night long. people yelling slurring staggering. it could be accurately described as a hot mess. and heres this lil records shop in the middle of it all: big spacious caverous inside, not a lot of selections, and not hardly any customers, while the outside just raged on. it still looked cool with the neon lights though, and i like to think they do a brisk business during the daytime, when people who are actually interesed in that kind of thing are able to get in there.

honky tonks even later. full of assholes on a weekend tho

next day did some records shoppin before we took off to the wedding out in the countryside. we actually hit up jack whites third man records first , a pilgrimmage of sorts i realized once we got there and the shit was BUMPIN.. i dont know why i didnt think that it would not be a total clusterfuck up in there on a weekend. but it was so damn jammed full of hipsters that it was hardly worth going in. but im glad we did. he has a lot of cool shit in there. its a teeny little space in this warehouse complex kinda spot down in the homeless district. it appeared to be the shop, and a venue, as well as maybe recording spot? really a cool space. the inside of the shop was teeny and he had like a system where you could purchase tokens and play with all this little shit in there, like a record your own song booth, like a photo booth but of music. viewmasters, and all sort so of little fun stuff- candy machines full of merch or whatever. but like i said people were jammed up in there and it was irritating. there was also a small selection of records but honestly i think i have everything i want from third man for the time being because i follow them on  facebook and therefore sort of have an idea of whats coming out. the last time dungen came through (four years ago, ahem) they played nashville the night after they played atlanta, and the venue was Dawg's uncles venue. so we drove up there to see them a second night. johan holmegaard told us they were there to record with jack white, which utterly blew our minds. so when i saw that come out i totally snapped us each up a copy. i noticed that it was on the wall in the record shop in nashville and that pleased me greatly.

here that goes (id love to be able to share the song for the b-side of this- its great- and its FUCKING NOWHERE TO BE FOUND ON THE GODDAMN INNERWEB):

scopin out the door at the vault

the next stop was at this grimeys spot. it seemed like a good spot and it WAS but i still didnt buy anything. lots of kickass re-releases, but i thought many were priced high, but honestly a kickass selection, and shit you really dont find all the time. kinda worth it, but left with nothing.

travel buddy

So thats the end of the vinyl bit of the journey. you can only do so much in a weekend, so my pinterest board will have to wait til my next trip up to Music City!
finally: a lovely wedding, of lovely people, in a lovely place!

well i guess that was all of the short weekend trip. but it was fun as all shit, and amazing to see old friends and make new ones, and git dressed up, and see some good southern scenery. always love tennessee!!