Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pop pickers

When it comes to the internet, I'm easily distracted - and never more so than when I discover a whole load of episodes of the What's In My Bag? series from legendary LA record store Amoeba.

They're always interesting - even when sometimes you suspect the subjects are being deliberately obscurist and pretentious (Lightning Bolt, I'm looking at you). For instance, I wouldn't have had Conor Oberst down as a fan of Thin Lizzy or Rage Against The Machine (he recounts the story of playing a terrifying support slot with the latter, armed only with an acoustic guitar) or guessed that Deafheaven duo George Clarke and Kerry McCoy would pick a bunch of synthpop albums, Anthony Kiedis' autobiography Scar Tissue and Oasis' Definitely Maybe (choices guaranteed to further rile those death metal diehards who took against them for the pink cover of Sunbather).

Two of the best I've come across feature Melvins and Cedric Bixler-Zavala. The former are hilarious together (it's evident how well ex-Redd Kross man Steven McDonald has fitted into the Buzz Osborne/Dale Crover double act), all showing off Rolling Stones-related picks and turning me on to Miles Davis' On The Corner (which, I've discovered, somehow seems to boost my productivity when working). The inclusion of the latest Ty Segall album and the Stooges film Gimme Danger is a helpful reminder that I need to investigate both.

Bixler-Zavala, meanwhile, chooses Cluster (not an especially out-there pick for a member of The Mars Volta) but also albums by a handful of relatively straightforward pop rock bands (Big Star, Guided By Voices, The Flamin' Groovies) and a fascinating-sounding LP by Brian Wilson collaborator Van Dyke Parks - plus I love hearing an American's take on Sleaford Mods.

Worth a watch for pure entertainment value (rather than any useful tips) is the episode starring ex-Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach - a surprisingly likeable record-collecting fiend wearing his own T-shirt who bounds about like an excitable puppy in search of rare LPs and chastises his label to camera for the fact that the store has no stock of his album.

(I wrote about another batch of episodes of the series a few years back: Ty Segall, Dave Grohl, Lee Ranaldo, No Age, J Mascis, Jeordie White, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Bradford Cox).

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