My Five Personal Favorite Records

Inspired by some friends, I recently logged my record collection into Discogs. It was pretty fun and led me to dust off quite a few records I hadn’t listened to in a while and brought me back to when I had acquired the record. While I didn’t reorder my records autobiographically,  I did take a page from Rob Gordon’s book and make a top five list around my personal favorite slabs of wax.

US Funk Team were an indie rock band from Bensalem, PA. They wrote songs about weed, being broke, and nothing at all. They never really made it too far past the house show and bar circuit (save for a few stints across the country), but they had a bigger impact on how I listened to music than any other band.

In the summer of 2005 I went to see Say Anything open for Circa Survive at the TLA in Philly. Unfortunately, Say Anything cancelled (something they were doing pretty frequently in those days) and as a result the opening slot was freed up, only to be filled by local heroes US Funk Team.

US Funk Team was the first band I saw that looked like regular dudes. Because they were. But to 15 year old me, they were my band of regular dudes.

After the show my friends and I talked with the band and resolved that we’d see them as often as possible. Being a small band, this usually meant going to community centers, church basements, and art schools. Over time, my friends and I became friends with Jay, the singer/guitarist for the group. I learned so much about playing shows, scene politics, and everything in between from Jay.

As far as the record goes, I picked it up at a show at a Fraternal Order of Eagles hall. Funk Team never played because some idiots started a fight during an opening metalcore set and everyone went home. I don’t think I’ve ever been back to a FOE hall since.

Fun fact: Algernon Cadwallader may have stolen the chorus for “Some Kind of Cadwallader” from “You’re the Worst.” You be the judge.

I don’t think I could write much about Brand New that hasn’t been said before. I will never love a band as much as I used to love them. The amount of time and energy I devoted to  moderating the old Brand New UK forum, posting on Absolute Punk, waiting hours in line to get prime crowd positioning, having my (awesome) dad drive my best friend and me down to Baltimore to see them at Johns Hopkins, speculating about the state of the band prior to TDAG being released… the list goes on.

I don’t listen to Deja much anymore (or Brand New in general), but the friendships and memories I made based upon the band are too numerous to brush aside.  Shows are still fun, but they can’t touch the way it used to be seeing Brand New in ’06 – ’07. Damn teenage hormones…

This record has a lot of love in it. I picked it up from Amoeba Records in San Francisco while I was out visiting some friends, driving a gold Dodge Charger, etc.

2010-Dodge-Charger-Rallye-AWD-1

Thanks, Enterpise rental services.

I was reading about the Northern Soul scene at the time (Last Night a DJ Saved my Life: The History of the DJ, a good, somewhat exhausting read) and was determined to return to Boston with some soul music. This random grab ended  up being a weekend favorite and is still in heavy rotation. I’m pretty sure it was built for SoCo in bed on Sunday mornings.

Plus, Mary Love absolutely kills it on side A, track 1.

Simply put, this was a bright spot in an otherwise dull, stoned, fucking drag of a summer. Being home for four solid months after your first taste of collegiate freedom is the worst.

The release, a collaboration with Four Tet, was Burial’s first proper release post-Untrue and was the strongest hint yet at the house oriented approach to production he would flesh out in the years to come.

Yeah, yeah, no surprises here, but hearing this album at 17 was otherworldly and catapulted The Hold Steady onto my desert island list. In 2007 I had my first serious girlfriend, I was going to shows, I was burning some herb from time to time, and The Hold Steady pulled it all together for me. Today, I find new ways to relate to John Berryman, Holly the burnt out bar hopper, Gideon the hustler, and the anonymous girl that can foresee horse race outcomes. It’s just a shame that this was the last great album from these guys…