The SF record stores that impressed me

The SF record stores impressed me with their used sections a couple weeks back, but the WFMU Record Fair set the bar even higher this weekend. WFMU holds the fair twice a year, packing an overwhelming mix of record/CD dealers into the Metropolitan Pavilion and setting the music geeks loose. If vinyl's your game, this fair is as good as it gets for old LP's. I don't even own a turntable (shameful, I know), but I had plenty of CD bargain bins to keep me busy. And for less than $3 each (three dollars!), I scored:

Horace Andy - Living in the Flood. Massive Attack turned me onto Horace Andy, and I always dig his songs on the reggae/dub comps I have. Early signs suggest this full-length is up to par. (Though I find reggae albums rarely disappoint me but also rarely blow me away. Kinda like pizza.)

Some Velvet Sidewalk - Generate! The documentary Hype! was all about the explosion of the Northwest music scene, with lots of interviews and live performances from the bands involved. Not just the Seattle heavy hitters, but also the smaller bands from Olympia, Portland, and elsewhere. It's well worth a viewing for any music fan, and damn near essential if you know the bands. I'd never heard of Some Velvet Sidewalk before Hype!, but their raucous live version of "Mousetrap" might be the best two minutes in the movie. I've always wanted one of their albums, and for $2 it was hard to say no.

High Contrast - True Colours. I think Hospital Records' brand of soulful drum n' bass is one of the most interesting things going on these days - both unique and accessible. (A couple singles have even turned up in car commercials, which may not be a good sign.) I heard about High Contrast through Plastic Surgery, a great series of comps for checking out the Hospital sound.

MJ Cole - Sincere. UK garage and 2-step have always been one of my guiltier pleasures. I love the smoothed out dn'b beats and R&B; grooves. Well, at least with singles. Let's see how the LP turns out.

The Shamen - Boss Drum. "Boss Drum" ruled my world for a few weeks about 12 years ago. And, hey, it was $1.

There's a bunch more too, which means I've got my listening cut out for me....

"The Letter" is out

It's a beautifully warm day in NYC and I'm here, in my apartment, listening to music. I can't escape, not when there are two new sources of addiction. First, The Cure played its new single, "The End of the World" on Leno last night and I found an MP3 of the track on Soulseek. It's got a great hook and I love the way it just starts right in, no lengthy build up. More about this song later.

More Cure news here, courtesy of NME. I'd have to put their new album as my most anticipated after hearing this new single. Here's hoping Robert brings his Curefest (with Interpol and others) to the NYC area.

Second, the new PJ Harvey single and video, "The Letter" is out. PJ is working a groove on this one, a fat, bluesy riff that explodes in true Harvey fashion into an epic chorus. PJ's site has the single and video, plus the album art for the new record, Uh Huh Her. Polly is hot.