(Failed) $20 Record Challenge

Coincidentally, last weekend I also had dreams of completing another $20 record challenge. I thought there were more record challenges documented on this site, but I guess they were all done on our little message board where we all rub dicks with each other, or maybe one of the other 15 blogs we've put together over the past year.

I went to Armageddon Shop in Providence Rhode Island. I was there about a year ago and picked up some pretty decent stuff in their bargain boxes, and figured it would be pretty easy to clock in another successful Record Challenge. Even moreso when I noticed they reduced their bargain box prices from 10 for $10 to 25 for $10 (or .50 cents each) for LPs and 4 for a dollar 7"s. I was excited about the prospect of exiting the record store with 50 records for $20, but it wasn't meant to be. I ended up picking up 11 records from the .50 cent bins, giving up on looking and grabbing 2 full price records putting my total at $28 and change, completely nullifying the golden rule of the $20 record challenge (don't spend over $20).

I may just be out of practice, or it may be because Armageddon Shop is a small space overflowing with records and the bargain boxes aren't exactly prominently displayed. If you've ever thumbed through a cheap bin at a record store, you should know that they're usually kept in some below eye level spot because it's not like stores make any real money off of bargain shit, so if you're not willing to squat for an hour or sprawl out on a dirty floor, thumbing through dusty old records and sneezing along the way, you're fucked.
It's especially strenuous at Armageddon Shop, because their cheap boxes are stored underneath the shelves of the regular priced stuff in an aisle a little under three feet wide, so not only do you have to squat down or sit in an uncomfortable position, but you have to deal with non-tightwads passing through the aisle looking for real items.
Lastly, I was with my girlfriend and her brother. they're both very understanding of my loser hobby, but I didn't want to waste too much of their time looking for stupid shit, so I sped it up a little. Enough with excuses though, here's what I came out with:

Clockcleaner - Babylon Rules $9.99

Clockcleaner are one of the few current non-rap groups I keep up with. They play noisy Jesus Lizard / Am-rep style music. I'm especially motivated to keep up with them because I recently sold one of their 7"s on Ebay for $40 when I was expecting to get like $5 for it. So now I will buy any of their music on vinyl I see because I am a money grubbing asshole at heart and don't mind flipping a record for 1000% profit every once in a while.

Sun Ra and his Solar Myth Arkestra - The Solar-Myth Approach (vol 2) (reissue) $10.99

I don't pretend to be a big Sun Ra fan or anything. I usually dig whatever tracks Madlib uses in his mixes, but the stuff I hear on my own usually sounds like nonsense to me. I understand the guy has like 400 records and I have no clue as to what his best one is supposed to be. I mainly bought this because I've seen all these Sun Ra reissues pop up, and they're usually like $20 or more, so I bought this one on principal. I have no real reasoning for picking this one over the other 10 they had, outside of this particular title being the only one with the promise of colored vinyl, which is a stupid reason to buy a record anyway. Either way, I'm already over the $20 cut off point two records into this bullshit.

Mr. Mister - Welcome to the Real World .50 cent

I am a big closet queermo, so this was my find of the trip. This is the record with "Broken Wings" on it. If I ever get back into making vinyl mixes, that will be the first track I use, almost guaranteeing no one will ever listen to it, but if Diplo put it on a mix, it would be genius. Fucking asshole hypocrite internet.

Risky Business Soundtrack .50 cent

I mainly bought this because it has a Prince song on it, and I don't ever remember song titles so I thought maybe it was some special Prince song I never heard before, but it's just a song from 1999 that I don't particularly like. I should have known that because I spent 3 hours at work reading Prince's Wikipedia biography and every corresponding record entry at work the day after I watched Purple Rain a few weeks ago. It's not a total loss though, because I enjoy the novelty of owning a record that features songs by Prince, Tangerine Dream, Jeff Beck, Journey and Muddy Waters.

Billy Joel - 52nd Street .50 cent

I hate Billy Joel. Every once in a while I will read an article that makes Billy Joel sound more interesting than he is, but I still have no desire to listen to him. I bought this mainly because I see it all the time in the cheap bins and repetition of things tricks you into buying it, plus maybe there will be a day when I have company and they are looking through my records and see all the crappy shit I have and get disgusted, but then find the one Billy Joel record and think it's a classic record or something, and perhaps they will strike up a conversation about it, and then I'll punch them in the face.

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here .50 cent

Another band I don't like that could easily fit into my Billy Joel scenario, but they do have one song I like, but I don't know what it's called or what it even sounds like anymore, but someday I plan to find it. That's why I'll buy a Pink Floyd record if I see it in the bargain bins, because it doesn't happen as often as you would assume, so it's not like I'm investing too much money trying to find this one song I probably won't even lie anymore. I'm guessing hippies are forever scouring cheap bins for Pink Floyd records and they always beat me to it, and that's why I never see them, because judging by the amount of records they've sold over the years, there should be cheap bins solely dedicated to Pink Floyd at this point.

Earth, Wind & Fire - Gratitude .50 cent

I think as a know-it-all music blogger, I'm supposed to know a thing or two about Earth, Wind and Fire, but I don't. I figure if it's something I'm supposed to know about, then maybe this is the one piece of shit record I found that I'll listen to more than once before I chuck it into the DO NOT WANT crate. On the other hand, it could just be bullshit like Billy Joel or Pink Floyd and I haven't been missing much all these years. I'm sure I've heard Earth, Wind and Fire songs and liked them, but I couldn't tell you which ones those were.

Ja Rule - Holla Holla 12" .50 cent

Haha. HOLLA HOLLA. That will never get old. I'll probably never listen to this, but it makes me feel better knowing I have a 12" picture of Ja Rule with HOLLA HOLLA written all big on it. The B side has that song with Jay Z and DMX that I think people liked. I don't remember.

The Fools - Heavy Mental .50 cent

I bought this because the cover says HEAVY MENTAL in those big cartoony heavy metal letters. The ones that are supposed to look like steel. I figured this was just some crap band who released a few records that no one ever cared about, but I checked allmusic.com, and I guess the record they released before this was some unsung classic. They had that one there too, but I didn't buy it. They are also supposed to be some kind of funny rock band, but I don't get the joke. Possibly because this was released in 1982, and people's senses of humor were different.

The 5th Dimension Live .50 cent

I own like 14 5th Dimension records and I don't think any of them cost me over $3. Every time I think I bought the last possible 5th Dimension record, another one pops up. I'm sure liking 5th Dimension means I have remedial music taste, but I don't care. I wish I could find more music that sounded like this, which is why I always will buy their records when I see them, even if it seems they've released at least 10 records with the same five songs on them. I understand "Age of Aquarius" was a huge hit for the time, but come on guys.

Fluid Mask - Flesh Sparks to the Beat .50 cent

I'll usually take chances on records with interesting covers on small indie labels. I had a sneaking suspicion this was going to be an early 90's industrial record, and I was right. This brings me back to the days of being an awkward 15 year old trying to be different listening to shitty music. I wonder if anyone still actively listens to music like this?

Yazoo - The Other Side of Love 12" .50 Cent

The abstract cover and odd font choice kind of threw me off, and I didn't expect a dance record. Upon closer inspection, there's a lot of stuff that gave it away, but I'm an idiot. It was released in 1982 like right after disco but before freestyle/house/techno really came around so it's kind of weird sounding. It was completely awesome on 33 until I realized it was supposed to be on 45. The tortured death metal style vocals you don't usually hear on dance records cued me to the rpm mistake.

V/A New Alliance Records - Mighty Feeble .50 Cent

This was a blank white label record with a white blank cover and a typed out sheet of paper with band and track listings tapes onto it. When you see shit like this for under $1 you HAVE to buy it, or you are too much of a nerd to enjoy fun. This wasn't a mega find unfortunately. Just a bunch of dudes recording noisy songs in their garages and basements trying to be weird and artistic, with bands names like AUTISTIC DVINITY and KAMIKAZE REFRIGERATORS. No idea what year it's from, but after a quick listen, I'd say late 80s/early 90's. I'll never listen to this again, but it's cool knowing I own some shitty Pressed in Low Quantity record that features a bunch of long forgotten bands that no one cares about. It is the apex of how stupid and time wasting record collecting is.

Total failure.