Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cub Koda and The Points

Have you ever looked for a record for 30 years?  I have.  Sure, you can order anything you want on the internet.  But you always could just pick up the phone and call a few dealers in Goldmine and get anything you wanted.  Especially if you’re me and you’re really not looking for some gonzo rarity that’s gonna set you back a few hundred bucks.  Well anyway, one of those records I’ve been looking for since high school showed up at some pathetic excuse for a record store in Medina, Ohio the other day.  These dipshits actually have their records displayed to browse the way people store them in their homes.  I mean, you can’t flip through them, you have to try and read the spines like books because they put them on shelves, and they’re packed so tight, there’s no flipping whatsoever.  Assholes.

Anyway, I was waiting on a part and a customer for work, so I had a few minutes to kill and this was right around the corner.  I looked for like ten minutes and then was just going to leave when I noticed a very small section marked “Specialty Records.”  That used to be the euphemism for bootlegs, but these guys considered albums with all their inserts and booklets specialties, as well as colored vinyl.  So there were only about thirty records to sift through and I was already on the floor, so I figured I’d look.  One of the last records I saw was Cub Koda and The Points.

I about pissed my pants!  I heard his version of Cadillac Walk back in 1980 (I was still in school) and I never could find that record.  I don’t keep a real list, but I have a few things in my brain that I just always look for, and this was right there on my list.  I wanted a pink one, if possible (I think it’s the original, there seem to be lots of red ones on the internets), but I’d have bought the first decent one I came across.  Which was this pink one, with a cut corner just like the picture I found.

Anyway, you might think that I would be utterly disappointed that the record I wanted for 30 + years wasn’t nearly as good as I thought it would be, but you’d be wrong.  The amount of ass Cub kicks on this album looks like a Chuck Norris movie body count.  If you like your Rock N’ Roll straight with no chaser, this is the shit.  Cub doesn’t make any mistakes here.  There’s one ballad, Crazy People and it’s completely okay and holds its own against some killer Rock N’ Roll.  Welcome to My Job kills it.  The cover of Moon Martin’s Cadillac Walk stomps the original (which is killer).

Everything here is fantastic.  I know this is the kind of record I’ve built up in my head over these thirty years so it couldn’t possibly measure up, but this is absolutely the Rock N’ Roll record I knew Cub could make.  I mean, Brownsville Station brought the Rock in spades, but Cub’s enthusiasm and his mainline into the soul of Rock itself is what made them good.  If you find this, you should buy it.

The record itself is pink, midweight and flat as a republican’s head.  Sound quality is perfectly acceptable, but you won’t lose your shit over it.  It’s a Rock N’ Roll record, and that’s what it sounds like.  Mine has some weirdness to it.  There’s a small staple in the upper left hand corner.  There’s the cut corner on the right, and there’s some writing on the back that says WABX
next to Pound It Out and Jail Bait.  Did this copy come from WABX in Detroit?  I don’t know.  It has a Record Revolution sticker on it ($1.99 – are you kidding?  None of you bought this for that?  You’re crazy), and a weird gouge that looks like they were gonna cut the bottom right corner instead of the top.  I don’t care about the cover condition.  It obviously has a history, but I may be the only one that ever tossed it onto a turntable.  Which is cool by me.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lydia Loveless - Indestructible Machine

I  try to write about albums I’m pretty familiar with, so I tend to put older stuff on here, but that’s not all I listen to.  I like a lot of new bands and I don’t understand what it is that makes people go from really caring about music and new music in particular, to either not caring and just switching to the country top 40 station and never buying any music again, or saying something dumb like, “There’s been no good music since 1982 (or 91, or 2002 or whatever).”  So Lydia Loveless’s Indestructible Machine is one of those newer records I didn’t think I’d talk about here for at least a year or two, if I liked it that much.

Well, I liked it way more than that much.  In fact, I think it’s one of my favorite albums I’ve ever heard.  I play it almost constantly weeks after having bought it, and I’ve bought new music since I got this, and I’ve barely listened to those albums.  Not because they’re disappointing (on the contrary, they seem terrific!), but because Indestructible Machine is just as good as it gets.  Like Punk?  It’s here.  Like real country?  It’s here.  Like rock n’ roll?  Lydia might have taken all the rock n’ roll and not left any for anyone else.  She just throws it all together with a cocky attitude and a killer band.What she’s got is an album that’s as addicting as crack.

Right off the bat the record kicks off at a breakneck pace with Bad Way to Go.  it’s a ripping song with plenty of electric guitar, stand up bass, banjo and lyrics of unrequited love.  But Lydia doesn’t pine, she calls the guy out on it and flat out calls him a pussy.  That’s what I like about her.  She’s funny, she’s blunt and she’s sure of herself.  I think the next song, Can’t Change Me sums up a lot of Lydia’s outlook on things in a song.  She’s happy who she is and she’s not changing for anyone, even Jesus.

She’s also got two slower songs on here, and I think those are where all the reviewers have decided she’s Loretta Lynn or Neko Case.  She can flat out sing, and Crazy is a terrific little love song that seems completely heartfelt and genuine.  I can fall for perceived sincerity in songs (it’s probably what works best on me, but I realize she’s a professional and sincerity is her job).  The other slower song, How Many Women really doesn’t do it for me.  It’s a fine performance all the way around, it just doesn’t interest me like some of the other songs.  I’ll say this, though – it’s a straight up real Country song of the sort you just don’t hear anymore.

I’m not usually a fan of the novelty song, but Steve Earle is one of the funniest songs I’ve heard in ages.  Steve should ask her to go on tour with him just so he can hear it every night.  I think my favorite song on the album is More Like Them.  I think it’s her strongest song lyrically, and I can really relate to a lot of it.  Which I suppose says a lot about me that maybe I should be working on, but towards the end of the song when she sings, If you think that I’m so fucking emotionally dense, it’s cuz I am, I know where she’s coming from.  One of the other lines I like in this song is really just because of her delivery.  When she sings, I know you want your money back, well I’m sorry but I still don’t have it she kind of quits singing the last part and just says, “I don’t have it.”  It’s kind of funny since it’s not my money.

The record is nice and flat and sounds really good.  Bloodshot is nice enough to include a download card, so I can listen to it in my car without having to record it myself.  My only complaint is that I’d have liked a lyric sheet.  This is one of the few times I’d actually like one, and that’s a pretty minor complaint in my book.  All said, if you’ve never heard this, you really should because it’s one of the most consistent and terrific records I’ve heard in years.