Dropping The Needle with Evan AuCoin of Port of Call

Hey friends! Neat new feature on the Come From Away page. Friends, vinyl fans, musicians who I know have great taste are going to write guest blogs with their suggestions and picks. Just to make it more fun, anything in this blog will be on promo code this week! 5% off the prices, sale or otherwise. And just to add to the incentive, I'll throw in a pick. I started a bit of a stink in the Newfoundland Vinyl group chatting about my love for Alice in Chains Unplugged, so that's my choice for the week. Get the discount with the code DOH98M7 until April 9. Check out Evan's picks and the bands he plays in below! 

Cheers

Dan

Hello out there in vinyl land,

My name is Evan AuCoin, I’m the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the Beautiful Wrecks, and a vocalist/multi-instrumentalist for Port of Call and the Celtic Fiddlers. On top of this I have a full-time job and am slowly learning to become a luthier (I even blog about it). Needless to say, free time isn’t in surplus for me. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not without my escapes.

One of those escapes is vinyl. I’ve always been a full album kind of guy, I’m fascinated by the way artists order their songs and love the ebbs and flows these choices create. I love vinyl because it forces me to slow down and listen--there’s no skipping ahead, no putting it on random, just me and the music. I generally read or cook while I’m listening to vinyl, two activities I find to be ultimately relaxing.

I think Dan is doing some great work with Come From Away Records, and in the spirit of things here are my top 15 (I tried really hard to do 10) picks/current wishtlist of what’s available:

1. Ryan Adams: Gold ($16.99) – Adams has been a huge influence on me, one of my favourite songwriters and this is definitely one of his best. Highlights include the haunting Sylvia Plath, Adam Duritz's guest vocals on Answering Bell, and one of my personal favourites The Rescue Blues.

2. The Decemberists: Crane Wife ($26.75) – The theme of this list is songwriting influences (for the most part). Colin Meloy is a genius and this may be his opus. The 3 parts of the Crane Wife when played together are unreal, Sons and Daughters is a rousing study in bouzouki chords and repetition, and The Island suite is powerful and beautiful.

3. Bruce Springsteen: Nebraska ($26.99) – It’s The Boss! Springsteen is brilliant, powerful, and a masterful songsmith and this (in my opinion) is one of his best. Haunting in so many ways, for a young songwriter an album like this is something to strive for. The title track is great as is Open all Night, but my favourite is most definitely Atlantic City (a staple cover for my solo sets).

4. Dawes: Nothing is Wrong ($19.99) – Taylor Goldsmith, holy shit! This is disgustingly good considering it’s only the band's second record. This is one that hit me hard and hasn’t stopped blowing me away since. Million Dollar Bill is heartbreaking, If I Wanted Someone could have been a Neil Young hit, and the closer A Little Bit of Everything is a beautiful study in life and how we deal with it.

5. Lou Reed: Transformer ($23.50) – Lou Reed was a massive loss to music. Say what you will about the guy, he was weird, he took risks that didn’t always pay off, but god damn when he was on he was on! With Transformer, he was most definitely on. Perfect Day is gut wrenching, the line “I thought I was someone else, someone good” kills me every time. Satellite of love with David Bowie’s quirky backing vocals is fantastic, and who doesn’t love Walk on the Wild Side.

6. David Bowie: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust ($27.50) – Another huge loss to the music world, and one so recent it still hurts. This album is genius, Moonage Daydream is one of my favourite songs to cover (if for no other reason than to yell “I’m and Alligator” at the audience), Ziggy Stardust is a common cover for me as well, one of the first actual guitar riffs I ever learned. 

7. Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot ($43.75) – This may be my favourite album ever made. I take something new from it after every listen. Jeff Tweedy is an amazing songwriter, this album takes dark twists and turns both lyrically and musically. Reservations is so real that it hurts, I am Trying to Break your Heart succeeds in doing just that, and Jesus Etc. is just great.

8. Oasis: (What’s the Story) Morning Glory ($33.25) – Fun fact, I’m a huge Oasis fan. Noel Gallagher is a huge influence on me and this album is an early indication of his brilliance. Don’t Look Back in Anger is an anthem plain and simple, Champagne Supernova is beauty personified in song, and Cast No Shadow is just great.

9. Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde ($35.99) – This isn’t my all-time favourite Dylan album (see Blood on the Tracks) but it’s my favourite of the albums posted, though this was a very tough choice. So many songs that one could talk about here, Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat is rousing, Stuck Inside of Mobile is a song I dismissed the first time I heard it but it’s become a favourite of mine, and Just Like a Woman is simply wonderful.

10. The Tragically Hip: Fully Completely ($27.75) – Gord Downie…….I heavily considered leaving it at that. The man is a beast, his live persona is captivating and terrifying in the best ways. Wheat Kings is one of my all-time favourite songs, Fifty Mission Cap is definitely my favourite song written about the Maple Leafs, and who doesn’t love rocking out to At the Hundredth Meridian.

11. Jimmy Eat World: Bleed America ($26.75) – This was 11 year old Evan’s favourite album. I knew all the words to all the songs, I made my parents play it in the car until we literally wore out the CD; I was in love with this album. I had kind of forgotten about it until recently but I found my (second) copy of the CD and threw it on and fell right back in love. Hear you Me is gorgeous and melancholy, Get it Faster is dark and plodding, Bleed America is a jam!! Plus there’s the formerly ubiquitous pop infection, The Middle.

12. Motorhead: Ace of Spades ($22.75) – Lemmy is/was god. When he passed it hit me hard, I was big into metal when I was a teenager and Motorhead was pretty much the be all end all for me. I used to walk around the house singing We are the Road Crew, the title track is a classic, and Jailbait is a rock and roll commentary on a pretty dark issue.

13. The Shins: Live at Third Man Records ($18.75) – James Mercer is one hell of a songwriter. Though I prefer him solo acoustic to the full band this one is still great. Highlights include Phantom Limb, Australia, and Simple Song which is another one of those tunes that grabbed me hard and still hasn’t let go.

14. Slayer: Seasons in the Abyss ($27.50) – 15 year old Evan was way into Slayer. 26 year old Evan still likes to blast this and rage. My parents will definitely say this was their least favourite of my musical phases but oh well. War Ensemble is heavy, dirty, and great. Dead Skin Mask and Hollowed Point are also barn burners!

15. Iron Maiden: Number of the Beast ($24.50) – Bruce Dickinson might actually be a super hero and his first outing with Maiden definitely supports my hypothesis. The slow plod and dramatic pickup of Hallowed be thy Name shook me to my teenage core, The Trooper is another one of those anthems you can just yell at the top of your lungs, and The Number of the Beast is just amazing!

There you have it! My top 15 records currently available in the store. Huge thanks to Dan for having guest blog and for bringing affordable vinyl to the masses. Keep doing what you’re doing Dan because you’re doing it well!

Dan Wolovick