Back from NYC/Over-priced Records/Le Sac v Pip

24 03 2008

New York - Brooklyn Bridge

It’s all been very quiet around here as I spent the last couple of weeks in New York. Had a wonderful time, as I always do in NYC. Most of the time there involved eating and hanging out in Brooklyn, though I did happen to purchase quite a pile of records. What did strike me (especially considering the currency exchange) is how much we over-pay for music in Ireland. It’s easy to find lots of great second-hand stuff for 3 dollars over there, which works out at about 2 Euro each, for records that would probably be priced at 10 Euro and upwards here. It’s a reminder of how expensive second-hand records are in Ireland. Records like Led Zeppelin vinyl albums which over there can be bought for the equivalent of 5 Euro would cost at least 15 Euro second-hand in Ireland (and that’s a conservative estimate – more likely to be about 25 Euro). But even new CD’s like MGMT’s album and Goldfrapp’s new one were 10 dollars in Virgin (approx €6.50), which is ridiculously cheap, no matter what way you look at it. Somehow, I think it will be a while before we see new releases of fairly large names at anything near that price. Shops here are too greedy to put new biggish releases on sale at even 10 Euro but perhaps I’m wrong and they will have to resort to dropping CD prices in the near future. Virgin also had some great vinyl albums for 12 dollars (less than €8) – I bought the second Portishead album on vinyl for that price and it wasn’t on special offer or anything. Here you’d expect to pay at least 20 Euro.

So, I found a few gems which made me very happy. Vinyl albums by The Neon Philharmonic, Queen Anne’s Lace, Scott Walker, The Miracles, Caetano Veloso and many others which I haven’t got around to listening to yet. I also went to see Dan Le Sac v Scroobius Pip who I keep missing in Dublin. They played The Mercury Lounge with Sway, who was terrible, but Le Sac v Pip really impressed. They have a collection of strong tunes which bodes well for their debut album. Pip is smart and funny and a damn good lyricist while Le Sac’s beats avoid the dull hip-hop norm of recent times. My only concerns for them are that Scroobius Pip’s delivery is very similar on quite a few of the tunes and it’s possible that their ‘tricks’ (some might describe them as gimmicks), which involve stage costume and props, may get tired rather quickly. But that’s a minor disgruntle, and I look forward to seeing them here in May.

While I have not been blogging, I have heard the new Portishead album (only once, but it sounds deadly), saw one of the best films I’ve ever seen (‘Dogville’), become very fond of dumplings, encountered the rudest asshole record store guy ever (in Turntable Labs in Manhattan, even ruder than the Mod bloke who used to work in Comet Records in the early nineties), got frustrated with failing machinery and co-written many limericks. I feel like I’ve missed out on all kinds of bizarre occurences here over the last two weeks (The Village on fire, Anthony Minghella dying, Estelle at No. 1???) but I’m sure I’ll catch up very quickly.

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