diskant is an independent music community based in Glasgow, Scotland and we have a whole team of people from all over the UK and beyond writing about independent music and culture, from interviews with new and established bands and labels to record and fanzine reviews and articles on art, festivals and politics. There's over ten years of content here so dig in!

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diskant rewind: Bargain Bin Culture #2

Posted: June 10th, 2008, by Wil Forbis

(Originally posted February 2002)

Bargain Bin Culture by Wil Forbis

So dig this – I’m sitting back in the Wil-crib, grinding up my new batch of Tylonel 3 for a quick snort, when I get an urgent e-mail from Diskant content producer, Simon Minter, saying he needs a new diskant column “now, as in ‘pronto’ fuckface!” Apparently the theme for all the columns this month is “the ten best releases this year.” (Or maybe it was “five best” or “hundred best” .whatever, I’m doing ten.) Now right off the bat, that conflicts with the general concept of my column which is to review obscure record classics that have ended up in the used bins of record stores.

Obviously, one year is too short a time for someone to release a record and have it end up in the bargain slots (unless they’re Meatloaf) so I plaintively pleaded with Simon to give me some leeway – “What if I reviewed the ten best used albums I purchased this past year? Is that good enough for you?” Well, ol’ Simon demurely let it pass and I set out to gather my trophies.

Did I actually buy all these albums in the past year? Hell, I dunno. I can barely remember last week. But I could have, and that’s what’s important!

Now when you’re talking about used records, “best” is a subjective term, Granted, a lot of the albums I picked up this year, really were good. I mean, they sounded good, they had good lyrics, they conveyed whatever immutable quality it is we ascribe to music that we call “good.” But some of these albums were “good” in the sense they were bad. I mean, really fucking bad. If you look at some of my choices below you’ll see what I mean. Do I really think “Oral Roberts: On Country Roads” was a good album? Hell no, I think it’s a piece of crap and I’ll probably never listen to it again. But as a testament to the absolute ludicrousness of decades past, “Oral Robert: On Country Roads” seriously blasts the competition. As such, I tried to include a little of both kinds of “good” in this list – I’ll let you figure out which is which.

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diskant rewind: Bargain Bin Culture #1

Posted: June 7th, 2008, by Wil Forbis

(Originally posted December 2001)

Bargain Bin Culture by Wil Forbis

So this was it… this was supposed to be my big break. When diskant contacted me about writing a music column, I figured I’d hit the big time. No longer would I be a part time loser with a full time absinthe addiction, travelling the streets, forlorn and dejected.. By wielding the vast power and clout that came with an organization such as diskant, I’d be on the inside track of the music business. No longer would I have to stand in 100-person lines to watch the big acts; instead, the bouncers would simply wave me through. No longer would I have to hide in the bass drum to get backstage, I’d simply flash my diskant badge and I’d be smoking crack with Axl Rose and Dr. Dre. (On that note: Marceline, where is my diskant badge? You said you’d mailed it weeks ago.) THIS WAS THE BIG TIME, BABY.

The problem came when I sat down to write. As a writer, you’re not so much a self-motivated creative force as you are an ANTENNA TO THE UNIVERSE. You sit down, tune in to the cosmic A.M. and spit out what the great Gods talk at you. Unfortunately the Gods were about as quiet as Harpo in the Marx Bros. films. I just couldn’t get the juices flowing. It seemed a simple enough task – all I had to do was lay down my thoughts on the music of the day. (Sure, most music of today sucks, as did most music of yesterday and will most music of tomorrow, but there’s still plenty of chill stuff to hip people to.) It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say about it, it was just… it had all been said before. So, I was sitting there, feeling the rage of literary impotency wash over me and my eyes desperately cast themselves about my bedroom for inspiration. Could that pile of dirty socks speak to me about the state of modern music? For the first time, they were quiet. What about my collection of 1960s erotica? It too held its tongue. But then my eye settled on the darkest corner of my room and Shiva, Jesus, Elvis and all the other Gods of inspiration spoke to me. In that corner, you see, lay my record collection… my beautiful record collection… comprised mostly of obscure audio treats I’d picked up at a variety of pawnshops, garage sales and home invasions throughout the years. These records had eased the pain of many a lonesome night and spoke singularly about me – about my tastes and my ideas. Who else would have an album by the 1970’s progressive rock band, Kayak, next to the Broadway soundtrack for “A Chorus Line.” Or the Brothers Johnson’s 70’s funk masterpiece, “Light Up The Night,” sleeve to sleeve with Robert Goulet’s “Summer Sounds.” None other than little old me, that’s who! And I realized that I finally had a tangible theme I could work with! By examining records like the vinyl that lay resting amongst the filth-strewn contents of my room I could provide a look at the history of rock and roll. Because the albums that end up in the used bins and pawnshops truly are a genre unto themselves. They’re the one hit wonders and the no-hit flounders. They represented lifetimes of rock and roll dreams gone up in smoke due to record company bankruptcies, changing fads, lack of talent or plain ol’ tragedy. These records were the grimy old men who sit at the end of the bar… and at last someone would tell their story!

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