THREE DOLLAR RECORDS
In my world, three dollar records are a serious splurge. But I made an exception for these two exceptional pieces of late-period post-punk:
The Art of Noise - Close-Up [ZTT, 1984]
Someone who knows more about the history of this 12" (paging Blissblog) would probably know how many different iterations there were. According to Discogs, there were at least seven different pressings of this record in 1984 on various labels, in true bonkers Art of Noise style. Some had different runout grooves; some had picture sleeves. To make matters more mind-melting, some pressings of Close-Up had different track listings from other pressings. Mine, in the "Incidental" series, has "Close-Up" on the A-side and "Close-Up (Hop)" on the B-side; another pressing on ZTT (with the exact same catalog number, same year, and same title) has "Closely Closely (Enough's Enough)" on the A-side and "Close-Up (Hop)" and "A Time to Hear (Who's Listening?)" on the B-side. In addition to the usual charmingly oblique Morley sleevenotes, the A-side of the vinyl is etched with the words "INTO TROUBLE," and the B-side is etched with "AND OUT AGAIN." I love that about records; you just don't get the same bizarro secret-message effect with mp3 downloads (I suppose you could key in cryptic ID3 tags, but it's just not the same...) I half-expected holograms and third eyes to appear when I set it on the decks. The much-vaunted new Art of Noise box set doesn't seem to include "Close-Up," but I could be wrong about this. Those bastards have fooled me before.
Orange Juice - What Presence?! [Polydor, 1984]
In which Edwyn Collins unleashes his inner Bryan Ferry/Velvet Fog. What a crooner. My copy is missing the free postcard advertised on the sleeve. Ripped off! I'm firing off an angry letter to Polydor. At least they still exist, unlike my irate letter to Neutron Records, who have still not responded to my effort on this blog last year to join the ABC Fan Club (circa 1983) as advertised on the "Tears are Not Enough" sleeve. As long as we're on a tangent about ABC...check out this photo of Martin Fry, hair slicked back, in an iridescent mauve silk suit, sitting in a DeLorean, for chrissakes, with the doors flung open--what a mack!!