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The Haul: Amoeba Records 12/12/2008 Prequel

Wire's Object 47

I'm starting a new feature called The Haul in 2009 in which I document all of the music I purchase during the year. It should help me keep Record Collection Reconciliation alive with my already existing records, which was the original intent, and help me keep track of just how much music I purchase in a calendar year. (Must block access of this meme from my wife.) While the following records won’t count for the 2009 tally, I’d feel amiss if I visited Amoeba Records in Los Angeles (which I did two weeks ago) and didn’t recap my finds. Even though I’d tempered my expectations for visiting Amoeba, it was hard not to be excited to enter such a huge record store and then feel a bit disappointed when I encountered the picked-over stock. Nearly every artist I looked for had their own plastic divider but no LPs to earn it. Granted, I didn’t have the necessary time—a half day, perhaps—to fully go through all of their seven-inches and their dollar-bins, but my educated guess is that their employees and patrons don’t let too many great finds slip through the cracks for long. I still need to go to the more heralded Amoeba locations in San Francisco with a weekend to kill, but that’ll have to wait for another cross-country flight.

Wire - Object 47 2LP: While this album was a slight let-down after the excellent Read & Burn 3 EP, my Wire fandom compelled me to buy this 2LP package that contains both releases. If the entire album was as good as its bookends—the overwhelmingly catchy “One of Us” and the thrashing “All Fours”—I’d sing a different story, perhaps one about how revitalized they are after the departure of Bruce Gilbert, but the blunt truth is that Object 47 is somewhat more listenable than Send, but far less challenging.

Matthew Robert Cooper - Miniatures LP: My copy of the Eluvium box set should arrive shortly into the new year, but it does not contain a copy of Cooper’s “solo” debut from this year, which I’d put off mail-ordering direct from Gaarden Records. I assume that it was grossly overpriced at $20, but I opted to buy it anyway since I’d never seen it in a store. Amoeba was exceptionally good at having recent releases in stock, even if they were a buck or two more expensive than I expected.

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead LP: After trying out the Festival Thyme EP, I found myself revisiting some of Trail of Dead’s earlier songs. I realized just how good the lengthy, drifting Jason Reese songs like “Novena Without Faith” and “When We Begin to Steal” from their self-titled debut were. Even though it was released on the now-defunct Trance Syndicate imprint, it doesn’t look like this LP is particularly hard to come by, but I was still excited to see it. I’d rather pick up old Trail of Dead albums than new ones.

Mekons – I Love Mekons LP: It’s frustrating when the main Mekons LP that I see (Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll) is one that I purchased on eBay earlier in this year, but I was fortunate to also find I Love Mekons at Amoeba for $7.99. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I’m willing to trust most albums that they put out between 1985 and 1995, unless it’s Mekons Teen Pop or Hitler Loves Mekons. (I lie; I’d buy those if they existed.)

M83 – Run Into Flowers LP: Despite their presence on year-end album lists, M83 works best as a singles band and “Run Into Flowers” was their first great single. The three remixes on this LP are all excellent, taking different approaches (glitch-pop, cresting shoegaze, vaguely hip-hop) to reworking the song. If only they’d put the three or four good songs from Saturdays = Youth on a 12”.

What I Left Behind: I mainly passed on new LPs that I thought I could find at Newbury Comics or order from Parasol, like Gregor Samsa’s pricey 2LP for Rest and the reissue of Low’s Songs for a Dead Pilot EP, but I think there were a few other notable declines. Rapeman’s album and EP were both there, although neither is particularly hard to track down, and an EP for the Mekons’ “Empire of the Senseless” was there, although a bit too expensive for my tastes. I was surprised to see a copy of the Comsat Angels’ Sleep No More on LP for $4.99, but I already bought mine from Mystery Train earlier this year.

Next up are visits to two Reckless Records locations in Chicago later this week. I am foaming at the mouth in anticipation.