Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Birth Control

Artist: Birth Control
LP: 7" single
Song: "Gamma Ray - Part 1"
[ listen ]

Okay, so now flash forward five days into the future—past my train trip to Figueres, to Girona, and past the death of Aretha Franklin. I had returned to Barcelona on Friday morning and found 10,000 Records locked inside an inaccessible storefront. But there was one other shop called Daily Records that I'd tried to visit the previous Monday in the same neighborhood as Discos Revolver and Revolver Records, but on Mondays they're only open 4-8pm...and that's when I was at Discos Impacto and Discos Paradiso! On Saturdays, however, Daily Records is open 11am-3pm and 4-8pm, so I got there early in the day on Saturday, August 18th. 

Daily Records is a cute little shop with a small red portable plastic listening station that the clerk set up for me on the counter right next to the register. They seemed to specialize in rock, punk, new wave and stuff like that, but they still had a really good variety and I found some cool and amazing stuff...including this 1975 single by a German prog rock band called Birth Control. 

I'd never heard of them before, but they're apparently still going strong today. Well, sort of. Birth Control formed in Berlin in 1966, but by 1971 none of the original members remained. They've evidently gone through numerous lineup changes since then; Wikipedia includes a list of 27 people who have at some point been members of the group. 

 [ Birth Control ]


[ Daily Records — Barcelona, Spain ]

Monday, September 17, 2018

Vanessa

Artist: Vanessa
LP: 7" single
Song: "Dynamite"
[ listen ]

I finally made it to Discos Paridiso, which I'd been told was a record store I shouldn't miss. It's a serious place, catering to DJs and hipsters, with not one, not two (not three), but FOUR listening stations available for people to test drive their prospective new records on...and they were almost always all in use the entire time I was there. I made my way to the back room again (used vinyl tends to collect in back rooms in Spain) and found a bunch of 45s all dumped helter-skelter into several large boxes back there. (I also found two rather sensational LPs at Discos Paradiso. You'll likely be seeing those here soon.)

With only a little over an hour to browse, I didn't quite make it through all of their 45s, but I managed to find some treasures, while organizing a little over half of their singles stock into neat rows and piles while I was at it. This explosive 1982 ditty by Dutch model-turned-pop-star Connie "Vanessa" Witteman is one of the things I found. I only wish the cover of my copy was in color. You can read more about Vanessa in Dutch here (favorite line: "Behalve als zangeres trok zij in deze jaren ook de aandacht door het formaat van haar boezem" or, in English, "As a singer she also attracted attention in these years due to the size of her bosom") and the whole thing is in English here. Vanessa's abridged bio is available at her Discogs page here, where you can also buy more of her singles. 

[ Discos Paradiso — Barcelona, Spain ]

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Los Diablos

Artist: Los Diablos
LP: 7" single
Song: "Mi Talisman"
[ listen ]

After leaving Revolver Records and strolling along Carrer dels Tallers on my way toward Discos Paradiso, I passed by a shop called Discos Impacto that I realized was also on my list of stores I needed to visit. At first I only found lots of used LPs in a very large room in the back, but just as I discovered about 20 bins of used 45s right by the entrance of the store, the friendly proprietor announced that everyone had to leave. He needed to use the restroom and so would be closing shop for about five minutes. I waited patiently outside.


When the store reopened I spent several hours flipping through their singles bins. They were sprinkled with vinyl treasures from all over Europe! One of them was this 1973 release by Los Diablos, a group that formed right there in Barcelona back in 1968. They disbanded ten years later, but have reformed in various incarnations ever since. For a brief period in the late '90s they joined forces with members of Formula V to make music under the name Formula Diablos. You can read more about these handsome diablos in Spanish here and here, and go here to find some info in English.

[ Discos Impacto — Barcelona, Spain ]

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Kerouacs

Artist: Kerouacs
LP: 7" single
Song: "Cancion de las Mil Voces"
[ listen ]

I took the train from Girona back to Barcelona early on a Friday morning, arriving at the Sants railway station at about 10:00am. I'd decided to walk back to the apartment, stopping at 10,000 Records on my way. I relaxed with a cool lemon beverage in Parc de Joan Miro for a few minutes, since I was on track to arrive at the record store before it had opened for the day. 

All my planning was in vain though, because when I did arrive, the store was still closed! Someone had stuck a sign on the door saying they were on vacation and wouldn't be open again until the following Monday, my very last day in town. Thank god their vacation wasn't even one day longer.


I made a note to return on Monday, since it looked like a pretty neat shop...and how could I possibly leave Barcelona without browsing through 10,000 more records?

So now I've just discovered I've got a chance to revise history, but instead I'm going to set the record straight. Remember those two records stores near each other, both called "Revolver" something-or-other? And I'd been to Discos Revolver, but not yet to Revolver Records? Well, when I was putting my record bags in chronological order by date of purchase, I thought I'd returned to check out Revolver Records and two other stores in that same neighborhood after returning to Barcelona and finding 10,000 Records closed. But according to the order of the photos in my camera (and the receipts in my bags of records), I actually went to Revolver Records and the other stores on Monday, August 13th, the day before taking a train to Figueres.

So time-traveling back a few days, I went to Revolver Records on Monday afternoon, two days after visiting Discos Revolver and Kebra Disc (all Barcelona record stores are closed on Sunday) and back when Aretha Franklin was still alive. 

There was mostly new stuff for sale on the ground floor at Revolver Records, but after heading up the stairs at the rear of the shop I found low ceilings and bins upon bins of used 45s...and a listening station! I ended up with two bags full of singles, including this one by Kerouacs from 1970 or '71. (I love a chorus that everyone can sing along to.) There's not much info about this group online, but I think they may have been from Venezuela. Some hip and handsome shopper with a man-bun ended up photo-bombing all my Revolver Records pics...or did he. :-P

[ Revolver Records — Barcelona, Spain ]

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Aretha Franklin [1942-2018]

Artist: Aretha Franklin
LP: The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging
Song: "Don't Cry, Baby"
[ listen ]
Song: "Without the One You Love"
[ listen ]

It was while I was in Girona that my friend Eduardo in Seattle texted to tell me that Aretha Franklin had died. As you probably know, she was The Queen of Soul! There's really nothing more to say, except maybe Who's Zoomin' Who. I picked up this lovely 1962 LP at Bay Sound, a little shop across the bay from Mobile, Alabama, on my road trip through the South back in 2014. It's Franklin's third album, from when she was still just an incredible gal singer, before she was a queen, and it was her first to appear on the Billboard charts, peaking at #69. You can read all about Aretha here and go here to find her obituary in the New York Times.

Aretha Franklin
[ March 25, 1942 — August 16, 2018 ]
We will miss you, Aretha.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Seventh Avenue


Artist: Seventh Avenue
LP: 12" single
Song: "Armed Robbery"
[ listen ]

The armed robbers made off with Seventh Avenue's clothes! This is one of the few things I picked up at Moby Disk, the sole record shop in the lovely town of Girona, where I spent a day and a night after taking a very early train out of Figueres. 

[ Girona, Spain ]
 
During my stay in Girona I visited the Museum of Cinema and then had a late dinner at a neat old restaurant called Café Le Bistrot. And then I got lost wandering the streets on the way back to my hotel. It was wonderful.

[ Museum of Cinema — Girona, Spain ]

[ Café Le Bistrot — Girona, Spain ]

But anyway, back to Moby Disk. Two nice young fellows were working at the shop, and though I finally worked up the guts to ask them for a photograph...I forgot to turn my camera's auto-focus on, so they're vague.

 
I don't know much about Seventh Avenue, except that they might be British, they may have previously been a little more disco, and they often end up wearing hardly any clothing...sometimes just towels.


...and they shouldn't be confused with the German Christian metal band nor the Latin Christian rock band (based in Atlanta, I think) that are also called Seventh Avenue. Unfortunately, I was unable to find photos of either of these other bands in the shower. More Seventh Avenue record covers here and here and here.

[ Moby Disk — Girona, Spain ]

Friday, September 7, 2018

My Bloody Valentine

Artist: My Bloody Valentine
LP: Isn't Anything
Song: "No More Sorry"
[ listen ]
Song: "(When You Wake) You're Still In a Dream"
[ listen ]

After five glorious days in Barcelona with my friends, I took a train up to the little town of Figueres by myself to spend a day or two. It's the town where Salvador Dalí was born and spent a lot of his time, so of course I visited the museum there that is dedicated to his work. 


I also made a point of dining in the luxurious restaurant at Hotel Duran (Duran?), which is reportedly where Sñr. Dalí frequently spent time hanging out with friends. 


The service at El Restaurant del Hotel Duran was so excellent, formal, precise, and provided in a foreign language, I have to admit feeling a little intimidated. When presented with 'small' or 'large' options for a glass of wine, I opted for the latter... which meant that I got an entire bottle to myself, kept chilled at the side of my table. By the time I finished my meal I was quite more than tipsy. Fortunately, it turns out there's nothing more delightful to be as you stumble through Figueres at night, across La Rambla, to the ice cream stand, passing now-empty sidewalk cafes as you make your way a little lost-like toward the comfort of your room in an old Spanish hotel. 


Oh, and the record store. There's just one in Figueres, called Discos Quim. It's right off the main plaza in the center of town. They don't have much in the way of used vinyl, but they did have new copies of all three My Bloody Valentine LPs, available at just €12.50 each! It seemed divine providence finding those there, since My Bloody Valentine had been a favorite since my college days and I'd just seen them for the first time at The Paramount Theater in Seattle a few weeks earlier, courtesy of my friend Charlie who I was currently hanging out with in Spain! It's like my whole world was falling into place. 

[ My Bloody Valentine ]

"Isn't Anything," from 1988, was their first full-length LP. It's pretty damn awesome, though often overshadowed by their iconic follow-up LP, "Loveless," released three years later. You can read about My Bloody Valentine here, and find some interesting notes and rave reviews for "Isn't Anything" on Wikipedia here. And if you ever get a chance, I highly recommend a visit to the town of Figueres, Spain
 
[ Discos Quim — Figueres, Spain ]