Radiohead – OK Computer

By: Kevin Feagin

This is Radiohead’s third record.  I consider the first record “Pablo Honey” to be relatively mediocre and the second record “The Bends” to be very good.  “The Bends” is the first record that pairs the band with Nigel Godrich.  This partnership took things to the next level and the trend continues on “OK Computer”.
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I’ve heard “OK Computer” many times before, but never on vinyl.  I hurriedly peel off the shrink wrap and toss it on the turntable.  The opening notes of “Airbag” sound amazing; the heavily gated and sometimes flanged out drums; the late entry of that awesome bass line.  Things are going great as I listen intently through the first three tracks.  Paranoid Android: “From a great height!”.  Subterranean Homesick Alien: “They’d think that I’d finally lost it completely!”.  I flip the record.  This record, like many from this time period, is not a double album, but still takes 2 records.  While I’m sure they labored over the order of the tracks on the CD, I think I’m safe to assume that very little (if any) thought was put in to record flips.  That said, I am now perfectly greeted with the quiet opening of Exit Music (For a Film): “We hope your rules and wisdom choke you!”.  “Let Down”.  “Karma Police” closes out the side.  This was originally my favorite song on the record.  I saw Radiohead at the Hollywood Bowl once upon a time.  At the risk of sounding like a ridiculous pun, I quite literally lost myself at the end of the song.  It was just the right time, the right song….   I swap records and things continued on in this fashion.  “Fitter Happier”; More productive.  “Electioneering”,  “Climbing Up The Walls”.  Really, really great.  The side closes out with “No Surprises”.  I remember reading somewhere that this track was recorded in a single take.  I flip the record one last time and it closes with “Lucky” and “The Tourist”.  “Hey man, slow down. Slow down, idiot”.  For real.  It dawns on me that it has been some time since I have listened to the entire record in a single sitting.  I kind of feel dizzy.  I turn it up a bit and do it all again.

we hope that you choke

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Delaney & Bonnie and Friends – Motel Shot (1971)

By: Matt Wilson

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My first spin of this record was somewhat of an introduction for me. While I was superficially familiar with the earlier works of Delaney & Bonnie – this recording represents a clear and intentional departure from the group’s southern-soul, swampified-Stax movements that seemed to dominate the duo’s earlier records. Motel Shot is a return to something more terrestrial and wholesome. The album is almost exclusively acoustic and mostly devoid of the big horn arrangements and gospel revival feel that I always associated with the D&B sound. This was, indeed, a pleasant surprise.

Knowing this, I suppose it’s not a coincidence that the record includes an impressive guest roster: Leon Russell, Duane Allman, Dave Mason, John Hartford, Clarence White and Gram Parsons, among others. And much like the album’s guests, Motel Shot is an overlooked, yet most-deserving, masterpiece that certainly appeared before it’s time. Debuting just as the alt-country, roots-rock wave was beginning to garner critical attention and acceptance, this Americanized stew was probably not quite ready for prime time. From where I sit, however, the record capably set the table for all that will follow. Capturing a wonderful amalgamation of gospel, blues, country-rock, roots and folk music – Motel Shot deserves recognition among the era’s absolute best – from Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs to American Beauty to Sweetheart of the Radio. To me, this record reflects the unadulterated soul of an accomplished duo, seeking purity and simplicity in a time of want, with a timeless honesty and sincerity that remains apparent with each listen.

Gram Parsons and the Fallen Angels: Live 1973

By: Shonxi
First I must explain my total undying love of Gram Parsons and even moreso Emmylou Harris.  To explain my credentials for Gram I own not one but two homemade fake Gram Nudie Suits.
As to the combination here is a picture in my music listening room.
Now my love for emmylou goes a little deeper.  Years ago a stupid sitcom or movie, I can’t remember exactly, had a couple who each had one person they were allowed to cheat on their spouse with.  Well when Sam and I got married 10 years ago I got one free pass and that person was the 60 year old Emmylou Harris. Her voice sounding to me like the great Music of the Ainur. We will not get into specifics of my plans just know that I am a total wimp because I sat next to her once following that and Sam just laughed and laughed that I couldnt even muster the ability to say a single word to her.  Just the feeling of her near me made my knees buckle and my face turn red.  (Imagine the feeling of a high school freshman sitting next to the prom queen)
On to Gram Parsons and The Grevious Angels: Live 1973
How does an album so amazing slip through my knowledge?   I chalk it up to the spectacular wormhole that is music fandom and its infinite possibilities. Upon first opening I got the feeling of I don’t believe this is real but here it is in my hands so it probably is.
The record is a recording of the touring version of the Fallen Angels on tour after the release of GP but before the release of Grevious Angel taped live in a radio studio on Long Island.   It is some of the earliest recordings of a featured Emmylou Harris and her first live recording.  As you would hope for from an “official” bootleg made in a studio the sonics are great.  There is also interview/banter, but unfortunately no Cook’s Pest Control commercials included.
Gram qualude-ily announces emmylou harris 2 minutes into the first song, We’ll Sweep Out the Ashes in the Morning, as if to say hold on to your oh shit handles because this woman is going to blow your mind for the next 40+ years.
Country Baptizing, the second track makes me think that was what is was like when Cris Hillman discovered emmylou in Baltimore.  Also contains my kind of bass solo.
The whole album seems so fresh to me because though I knew many of the songs, the band is not the one that plays on Gram’s two solo albums.  So songs like drug store truck driving man have a whole new feel.  And as most live shows this is much more upbeat than Grams albums.
Oh, the banter from Gram, especially after New Soft Shoe.  “is it true you are a Harvard university scholar” “no, I am a Harvard drop out”
The Love Hurts on this album must be the one that floats around the radio and maxell XL-II mixtapes because it is so familiar to me.  Clearly the definitive version of one of the great covers of all time.  PS any covers mixes on spotify that do not contain this specific version of this song are not to be trusted.  CW
It’s so clear by the tempo, song choices and timing that Gram Parsons just had the most perfect taste.  Must be the orange juice.  Never more perfectly proven than the closing medley.
A big thank you to the person who sent me this album.  It was like a fortune cookie saying sometimes the most amazing things are hiding right in front of you.  So less research and spend more time opening your eyes.

Talk Talk, Laughing Stock 5\3\16

By: Will Sims

Let me start by saying that prior to this record showing up at my door, I didn’t know Talk Talk existed. I refrained from looking them up before listening and with zero expectations, I dropped the needle.

The album took me by surprise as I was expecting something at least slightly heavier. Instead I was taken on a dark melodic journey. On the first listen I heard various influences from an array of genres but didn’t quite feel like I got it. I pulled up the lyrics on my second listen and feel like I got a slightly clearer picture into the world of Talk Talk. Between reading lyrics and doing a little research on the album it began to come together for me.

This album is a cool journey into a dark, semi religious, improvisational mind fuck. I completely understand why this album has been so influential in the indie world. I’m listening to side one for the 4thtime as I type this and I’m hearing more each time. I personally love albums that I continue to get more from each time I sit down with it and Laughing Stock absolutely falls into this category. For me, the album requires focus and is definitely one of those albums you need to be in the mood for.

Overall, I love it and when that mood hits, it’s on my radar for sure. I totally get why this album has such a cult following and I can see myself getting closer to that bandwagon with every listen. I will definitely delve further into the world of Talk Talk. I have no doubt that it will take me to places I haven’t been before.

Thanks to whoever sent the album. It has definitely opened a door into a world I had yet to enter.

Deer Tick – Born on Flag Day

By. Kevin Feagin

I first saw Deer Tick open for Deerhunter (no shit) at the Drunken Unicorn.  I thought they were fine, but not a band I would ever listen to again.  Over the next couple of years, they were brought up again and again by people I trust.  I was told this was a band I would be in to.  After hearing John McCauley on an awesome John Prine tribute record, I ended up giving both this record and “War Elephant” another try.  After a few listens, I loved both of them.  While I already have this in iTunes, I was super excited to open my package and find out that I’m now the proud owner of the vinyl.

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I would definitely recommend this record to anyone who hasn’t heard it.  I suspect they are considered “Americana”, but they have more edge and grit than most of what’s out there.  The other big takeaway is that there really isn’t a bad song on the entire record.  That’s a rarity these days.  Check it out.

Lou Reed – Transformer (1972)

By: Matt Wilson

Transformer, produced by the power duo of David Bowie and Mick Ronson, is Lou Reed’s seminal post VU release . This record gave the world its first real glimpse of Lou turning full throttle toward his Bowie-glitz-glam-ambitions. From the first note, it’s clear that Reed was able to capture and project what Mick Jagger could not (which, I believe, is rooted in his hard-edged, gritty, NYC pedigree set ablaze by the white lights that cooked his adolescent brain). Where Jagger just wanted so badly to spend the night together to assuage his narcissistic-self-indulgence, Lou actually lived the “Satellite Love” life – in the gutter and the stratosphere. With Harry, Mark and John. Lou was a transformer. Too his core. I believe him.

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Side A

Vicious calls to mind the driving, heroin-laced, rhythms of the Nico era, with a sightly odd, Neil Young meets Jim Carrol metered vox track.

Andy’s Chest. Bass lines. Storylines.

Perfect Day is one of those tunes that seemed destined to be the title track to a motion picture. Still, like most Lou tunes, I always look for the cynicism and darkness that lay in wait. I guess that I know that this a positive song, but I can’t help but look for the hidden evil.

Hanging Round is a classic rock ditty with slight rockabilly hints. A space filler if there is one on side A.

Walk on the Wild Side. No description needed. The colored girls go.

Side B

Make Up could have easily been penned by Syd Barrett from the inner sanctum of some from rubber room in Oxford. Tuba lines dancing around circus-themed melodies. “We’re coming out of our closets.” Indeed.

Satellite Love. The opus.

Wagon Wheel. A little bit mama’s got a squeeze box, a little bit Chuck Berry. Throw in some Beach Boy melodies and we have the album’s outlier, and yet a perfect late album track.

New York Telephone Conversation. Broadway show tunes fit for Tim Curry.

I’m so Free bleeds Mick Ronson guitar riffs sheltered and tamed within a feel-good Stoneramic shuffle. The track aptly leads us off the cliff as we close with the record’s final track.

Goodnight Ladies. More tuba coupled with a curious r-rated “Goodnight Irene” vibe.

Thanks team. See you next month.

 

Welcome to Needle Therapy!

We, the needle therapists, are a group of guys (all male as of now) that recently started a vinyl record club. Demographically, we are 100% middle-aged, white dudes. We are using this site to post our thoughts, praises, criticisms, musings and general reviews relating to said records as we share. While it’s safe to say that we are mere amateurs with respect to the pen, I proclaim with confidence that we are giants among men when it comes to all things music. Mark it, read on, enjoy and share your thoughts with us.