Monday, March 23, 2015

Joe's MAC

The photo above is of Joe's Music and Audio Club, a second hand record, musical instrument, book, magazine and well, who knows what else exactly shop in Kuala Lumpur.

Shopping for second hand records in places like Singapore (where I live) and Kuala Lumpur is always an interesting experience. As retail rents are high, and vinyl hunting is - despite its current trendiness - still very much a niche interest, you end up in far-flung shopping arcades and warehouses that don't tend to be in the Lonely Planet guides. You rarely find a record shop next to a Starbucks if you know what I mean.

Joe's MAC is a great place to shop in. It's a good bit bigger inside than it looks from outside, and it reveals itself gradually as you walk through it, a bit like the Alcazar in Seville, but with more copies of "A Hard Day's Night". Rooms lead into other rooms with crates of records labelled "New Releases".  In fact, it's a bit like wandering through a video game: you keep glancing for vases in the corner to search for gold coins. I liked that it was organised enough for browsing, but disorganised enough to spring a few surprises, such as finding the NWOBHM band Dark Star's debut album in the Motown section.

Anyway, I picked up Millie Jackson's "It Hurts So Good", "Slade in Flame" and "Now That's What I Call Music II". The Slade album is my favourite one of theirs: you can almost smell the mid 70s from it, and I reckon that all Rock drummers should look the way that Don Powell looks on the cover. The NOW album is from 1984, when pop music was on the turn, and it's patchy: there's still some good stuff on it ("Relax", "Michael Caine", "Radio Ga Ga", "What Difference Does it Make?") but they're distributed pretty sparsely across the two records. One interesting point is how late 1983 and early 1984 saw some big names from the 70s (Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Hot Chocolate, Slade) still having hits, but with songs that range from forgettable to dreadful ("Undercover of the Night", "Modern Love", "Pipes of Peace", "I Gave You my Heart Didn't I" and Lord help me, "Run Runaway"). It's the Millie Jackson album I'm happiest with though, I'd been looking for a it for a while and was pleasantly surprised to find it there.

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