Record Store Day Archives – Dave Matthews Band Live Trax: Vol. 3; Limited 4LP Live Box Set



Straight out of 2013, one of I-don’t-know-how-many editions of the always well-received DMB Live Trax series. This set was recorded on August 27, 2000 at the Meadows Music Theater in Hartford, Connecticut. Seventeen tracks spread across four 180gm green vinyl records. Limited to 1000 copies, each box is machine numbered. This is No 000883.

There is a very small scuff on the bottom back of the box – 1/2″ H x 1/8″ W (told you it was small). Other than that, super excellent. $200.


Ebayin’: Poco – Legend (Sealed MFSL Vinyl)


Quick heads-up that I have a sealed original copy of Mobile Fidelity’s 1979 half-speed mastered (by Stan Ricker) audiophile issue of Poco’s “Legend” (MFSL 1-202) LP up for auction on eBay at the moment. No reserve, slated to end early Sunday evening (2/12/17). Currently sitting at $16.49 at the time of this posting.

As was the case regarding vintage MoFi titles back in the day, plated and pressed in Japan using Super High Definition virgin vinyl. One caveat, however – the jacket has top and bottom center seam splits (approx. 2.5″ above, 2″ below). Jacket is otherwise as it should be, and the vinyl should be pristine, still factory sealed with a “Super High Fidelity” hype sticker on polybag.













Bobby Hutcherson – Total Eclipse (Blue Note, 1985 French Cadre Rouge Audiophile Pressing)


A slightly belated RIP to the great jazz vibraphonist, Bobby Hutcherson, who passed away yesterday after a lengthy battle with emphysema. In addition to his landmark work on Eric Dolphy’s towering “Out To Lunch” and Joe Henderson’s seminal “Mode For Joe,” the dude led a slew of great outings as a bandleader. “Total Eclipse” is heavy on the bop, and was his first record – preceding many – with tenor saxaphonist Harold Land.

This is the lone Hutcherson entry currently found in the Graypunk retail racks, a 1985 French Cadre Rouge pressing that has been digitally remastered before being direct metal mastered and pressed on virgin vinyl. Gold promo stamp in upper right front corner of jacket, obi and Blue Note label inner intact and near mint. Vinyl is gorgeous. $20 over on eBay or Discogs.




Bang – Mother / Bow To The King Vinyl LP (Capitol Records, SMAS-11110, orange label)



This was posted to eBay last night via a 10-day auction that will end next Sunday. Obscure early 70’s hard rock/proto metal vibe (a la, say, labelmates Grand Funk Railroad). But lack of direction and lazy A&R (see cover of Guess Who’s “No Sugar Tonight”) resulted in yet another band becoming yet another footnote in the history of rock and roll.

Yet it is a footnote that still holds some interest for folks, as this record regularly closes for anywhere from $20-$60 (and occasionally more) on eBay. I expect this to be much closer to the former as it’s been pretty well, ummm, loved over the years. No reserve auction, with an opening bid of 99 cents. Or…you can buy a copy from the outfit that’s selling it for $124.99 and provides no grading or description of the record. Except that it has a seam split. Ack.

Bang auction

Record Store Day Archives: Dawes – Stripped Down At Grimey’s EP (Hub, 2013)


Another scarce Record Store Day title brought back into public life after several years of exile in the racks. Dawes’ literally titled “Stripped Down At Grimey’s” finds the band in the basement of one of America’s finest record establishments, knocking out acoustic versions of six rootsy Taylor Goldsmith-penned tracks.

Limited to 2000 copies that were pressed on translucent orange vinyl for the 2013 Black Friday edition of Record Store Day. Becoming kinda tricky to a track down a copy these days. Exceptional jacket, btw. $50, and found at the usual retail haunts – eBay and Discogs.


Record Store Day Archives: Shooter Jennings & Lukas Nelson – A Civilized Hell 7″ (BCR, 2015)


RSD redux, the second installment in an incredibly short-lived series in which we take another look back at the remaining remnants of past Record Store Days that are still lying about the premises. This one goes all the way back to Black Friday of 2015. Yep, that’s right, the one that just happened. Waylon and Willie’s kids get together for a familial extension of their fathers’ badassery. Title track was written by Lukas, while the flip – a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Oh Sweet Nuthin’- was penned by one Lou Reed.

One thousand copies pressed on white vinyl, issued by Jennings’ Black Country Rock imprint. Never sealed (becoming more prevalent for RSD titles), instead housed in a poly outer sleeve. No RSD stickers, but the RSD logo is incorporated into the back artwork.

Sleeve is excellent, vinyl has never been played. Available for $35 on Discogs and eBay.



Record Store Day Archives: Tri-Color Splattered Bronx/Mariachi El Bronx Live EP (ATO, 2012)


Ghosts of Record Store Days past continue to lazily appreciate (or, ummm, not) in the racks at Graypunk HQ. Some have been readily available since acquiring, while many have lounged in proverbial dark nooks and crannies for years. Thought the run up to Record Store Day 2016 would as opportune a time as any to throw some light on some previously released RSD titles, most of which have become quite scarce these days.

First up is a tight seven-song live spit EP from The Bronx and the band’s mariachi embracing alter-ego. Four tracks from the latter, three tracks from the former, including a ripping take on Hanoi Rocks’ “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” that was recorded in Hanoi’s homeland of Finland and features former frontman Michael Monroe on vocals.

1000 copies pressed on clear vinyl liberally splattered with splashes of white, red and blue. Can’t peak to the validity of the download code, but I can speak to the validity of the very nice jacket the record is housed in. Available for a mere $25 over at Discogs and/or eBay.

Not Dead Yet – Liam Hayes and Plush


Happy first day of Daylight Savings Time. I love this day. Likely due to my, ummm, dislike of winter. Okay, I hate winter. And yes, I do realize that I live in California, thereby relegating my whining to the level of ridiculousness. Whatever. I’m just super psyched that there is way more sun and a lot less rain in my near future. Hooray for me.

So, roll out of bed this morning and my better half is scheduled for an hour workout and I’m scheduled for, well, absolutely nothing. I do need to feed birds and cats, clean up the kitchen and maybe generally tidy up a bit. But I need a soundtrack to do all that. So what do I grab on this bright sunshiny first day of (in my mind) spring – a 15-year-old downcast set of piano ballads by Liam Hayes, otherwise known (or not) as Plush. Been meaning to pull this one out for a few weeks now, and this morning the event actually went down. It sounds as good as it ever has. And it’s moments like these that make me wonder why I spend all that time looking for new music when so much great shit already lives in my house, in one form or another.

But it also got me wondering – whatever happened to that dude. Via the wonder of the internets, I now know – he’s still making music. Had no idea. In my defense, it’s easy to lose track of someone who takes a ten year break between albums. But certainly happy to hear he’s back, and currently can be heard in the background (and, to my understanding, foreground) of the new Roman Coppola film, “A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III.” He composed the soundtrack. And this is four years removed from a 2009 record that I just now know exists – “Bright Penny.” So yeah, two entirely new body of works to absorb.

I’ve spent a little time this morning playing songs off of both releases and I’m happy to report that there hasn’t been any seismic shifts in Hayes’ parlance. “Bright Penny” pretty much picks up where he left off ten years earlier, with another excellent batch of piano-centric chamber pop tunes. Really beautiful stuff. The new soundtrack finds even more of that, includes a trio or so of instrumentals, which I’m sure works perfectly within the context of a film, but also holds up surprisingly well as stand-alone tracks. Also dig the full-on band vamps, occasionally approximating something some would some would maybe reference as “rock.” But then there’s a song entitled “Rock & Roll” that is the least rock thing on the record.

If the interest is simply overwhelming, it looks like you can dial up all of this stuff on Spotify. Trying to suss it all out tho can be a challenge, as the material is listed under “Plush,” Liam Hayes & Plush” or simply  “Liam Hayes.” And there’s a bunch of Plush things that ain’t Plush. Or, at least, the good Plush. Ugh. (Spotify’s lousy search functionality remains, umm, lousy) Definitely worth checking out. Says me. I’m gonna have to buy those two albums I don’t currently own. I’m old-school like that.

So, a belated welcome back Mr. Hayes. Er, Plush. Or whatever it is that you call yourself these days. I’m just glad to see your name attached to new music. Because I missed you.

Hefty Postal Increase For International Buyers


I hate everything about this post. Above all, I hate that it’s factual. I also hate that I have to write about it. And I’m pretty sure I’m gonna hate the repercussions. On several levels. Whining aside, there is a pretty brutal USPS rate hike taking effect on Monday. While just about all facets of service are touched by this restructure, a very large percentage of the increase will be borne by overseas buyers using First Class International, now known as “First Class Package International Service.” Under this umbrella are your CD’s, your 7″ singles, your LP’s. And, as of Monday, all will be more expensive to ship internationally. In regards to smaller packages that would house items such as CD’s or 7″ singles, likely prohibitively so.

Let’s put some numbers on this. For Europe, Eastern Asia and Australia, pretty much every LP package I ship is either 20 or 22 ounces. And that two ounces makes a difference, as today my respective base cost for those two weights are $13.17 and 14.74. On Monday, those prices go up to $16.74 and $18.41. Yes, it blows. (BTW, anyone who says that they can ship an LP to Europe for under a pound is either seriously under-protecting the album or is lying about the weight of the package) But it gets worse. Let’s say you live in the UK and want to order a CD from me. Today it would typically cost no more than $6.12. Come Monday it will be $11.48! Seriously. Same pricing schematic would apply to 7″ singles. And none of these take any packaging costs into consideration.

It’s not much better for our neighbors to the north. A LP to Canada for 20 or 24 ounces was $6.60 or $7.45; now going to $10.76 or $12.02. In regards to CDs and 7″ singles, what would be a $5 cost will now graduate to $9. Ugh.

Dude, all of  this is seriously f’d up. And it really blows my mind that this is what the USPS has to resort to in order to remain an ongoing entity. And I like the USPS. A lot. But man, I have to reassess my position as I truly feel that small business is getting hammered here. And yes, I am speaking from somewhat of a selfish viewpoint. But even putting aside boutique retailers (which you shouldn’t), the impact on artists and artisans or, really, any creative type who strikes out their own and succeeds through nothing but their own innovation and sheer will (and maybe a little help from their friends), is truly hurt by these price changes.

I suppose I should mention that there is one slight upside. And it’s an upgrade that helps lessen the sting of the overall upcharge on a LP shipment, and that is tracking service, which will now be included in this new pricing structure. My understanding is that, as of Monday, a tracking number will be included on all First Class packages to Canada. So, while my shipping charge for a 20 ounce package to Canada will move from $8.50 to $12.00, at least you’re getting a little something for that xtra $3.50. Previously, tracking numbers were only offered on Priority or Express International Mail, which was around $25. However, the timing of the rollout of this new feature to other countries is still unknown, but the xtra $2-$4 that it will now cost to send a LP to Europe should be offset by having a tracking number for that parcel as Priority Mail to Europe for a package more than 1 lb and less than 2 was previously more than $40.

I suppose vinyl sellers can hope the impact is minimal. But across the spectrum of folks in America who sell stuff to folks overseas, I can’t help but think the overall impact will be pretty significant. At least when it comes to smaller packages that will see shipping costs doubled. If you ship a butt-load of stuff everyday, you’ll likely be able to work out a reduced shipping framework and maybe lessen the blow. But if you are a mom and/or pop, grandma and/or grandpa, sister and/or brother, husband and/or wife operation, this new postal order can’t help to not put some level of crimp in your business.

As for other services, I think most of the domestic shipping hikes are innocent enough for me to absorb. But again, this is what most small sellers will do. And, of course, to some extent, pay for it. I think Priority rates may tweak up a bit, but I rarely receive a request for Priority service in the states, so that seems like a rather negligible aspect.

So hey, apologies to the rest of the world. If ordering via platforms like Musicstack, Gemm or Discogs, please know I will weigh every package before updating the order with a shipping quote in an effort to get the customer the best rate possible. Okay, it’s now come time to go to all those sites and tweak my shipping costs. Ack.

No Easy Way Down: The Return Of Rain Parade


I’m honestly not sure how it all started. The way I reference things, I suppose it began with the Blurt Online news piece last June that mentioned Bobby Sutliffe, one-half of the great on-again, off-again southern jangle pop duo The Windbreakers, was involved in a super nasty auto accident that left him in a very messed-up state – “broken wrists, broken back, and a head injury.” And likely some other stuff as well. (As far as I know, the recovery continues and I just read something today that leads me to believe that Sutliffe may actually be involved in his own tribute/benefit show later this month. If that’s true, that’s righteous.)

Fast forward to this past September and a new Blurt entry – not only was there a benefit record in works (spear-headed by *other* Windbreaker Tim Lee), there was also a benefit concert being organized for January 19th (as in two weeks from now) at The Earl in Atlanta. And, seemingly out of nowhere, this – the show would be headlined by long-dormant Paisley Undergrounders Rain Parade, which would make it the band’s first live show in more than 25 years. I remember reading that and thinking “uh, what?” Rain Parade? Really? Knowing how these kinda scenarios can sometimes break, I immediately wondered if Rain Parade was “Rain Parade.”

Well, Rain Parade is indeed Rain Parade. Close enough, anyway. I mean you really didn’t expect David Roback to return, did you? Good. Founding members Steven Roback and Matt Piucci are still there, as is guitarist John Thoman, who came on board just after the band issued the “Explosions In The Glass Palace” EP. The group is currently rounded out by music historian/reissue producer/musician Alec Palao, handling keyboard and maracas duties (as well as some occasional bass), and Game Theory’s Gil Ray, who can now be found behind the drum kit. Oh, and there was another dude whose name I can’t recall. Or find. Sorry, man. You were good, and I did like your hair.

As it now turns out, that January gig in Atlanta will not be the band’s first in 25 years. No, that “first gig” took place a few weeks ago in a very low-key warm-up show at Cafe DuNord in San Francisco (where the band is now based). It was probably a month or so ago when I was checking out some upcoming Bay Area shows that I ran across a gig listing for a semi-obscure 60’s-era Bay Area-based mod-pop band, Powder. The Bang was noted as opening, and then, listed below them as “special guest” was Rain Parade. Hmmm. A couple weeks later Rain Parade was moved up to the middle slot and accompanying text referenced that the band would be performing “Explosions In The Glass Palace” in its (twenty-something-minute) entirety, along with some other stuff. Okay, it’s on. And I’m in.

A quick preface regarding the bands bookending Rain Parade. The Bang is a girl-group tribute thing. Lots of covers. Lots of scripted girl-group moves. I’m sure you can envision what transpired. Although your version probably didn’t have a dude on guitar that nailed the whole 60’s garage fuzz thing. Yeah, he had pedals and he wasn’t afraid to use them. The lazy shorthand on Powder is an Americanized version of the Pretty Things. But you know, without all that great music. That said, they were good. Very good, even. Oh yeah, and they used to be Sonny & Cher’s band back in the day. No shit. So yeah, they’re cool. And apparently recording a new record.

Rain Parade opened with “You Are My Friend,” and proceeded – in order – through the first four tracks off the five-song Explosions… EP. (Hey…what happened to “No Easy Way Down?”) The band then backed up an album, knocking off three songs from Emergency Third Rail Power Trip – “1 Hour 1/2 Ago,” “This Can’t Be Today” and “What She’s Done To Your Mind.” The last quarter of the set bounced all over the place – from Crashing Dream favorite “Depending On You” to Emergency’s “Kaleidoscope” before ending with an epic, wait for it, “No Easy Way Down.” Oh, it’s not over? The band returned for a brief Piucci Christmas original before calling it a reunion.

So, how did it sound? Well, generally, pretty damn good. If there was something to nitpick over, it would be the vocals. But rare is the vocalist that can still sing with the range and dynamics he/she did 25 years ago. And it’s not certainly not like Rain Parade was ever lauded for its vocals. Musically, I thought it sounded pretty spot-on. I love the guitars. (Cue Homer-ish drool) When Piucci and Thoman go on one of their many extended duel jams, it was as warm and fuzzy as you would hope it tobe. But those Roback-voiced washes of dream-pop provided a nice counterpoint to the Horse-y groove. Oh, and Ray kills it on the drums.

The beauty of living in 2013 is that you can actually hear AND see that entire Rain Parade set on youtube. And the quality doesn’t suck. Just search Rain Parade 12/20/12 and there you have it. If nothing else, watch “No Easy Way Down” over here.