We're selling Gift of Life, the debut LP from VHS, in our store this month, so we asked the band to send us a list of the 10 albums they think everyone needs to own on vinyl. Their bassist Chris Costalupes sent in this list:
The first time I heard XTC they instantly became my new favorite band. A former employer of mine put this album on one day and I was in shock that I'd never heard it before. I love most XTC albums but this one in particular is a must have. Songs like "This Is Pop" and "Statue of Liberty" give it the infectious catchy sound that make you shake your butt. But at the same time they still have songs like 'I'm bugged' and a most bizarre cover of "All Along the Watchtower" which are tracks that show they were making music for themselves and no one else.
Everybody loves Thin Lizzy. How could you not? Phil Lynott was a beautiful man who wrote beautiful, emotional, heartbreaking songs that anyone can relate to on many levels. Bad Reputation isn't necessarily my favorite Thin Lizzy album. In fact I could have easily had this top ten list consist of nothing but Thin Lizzy albums and that would be just fine by me. So consider for my sake, that this album is a representation of the entire Thin Lizzy catalogue. If you're not already completely obsessed with this band but are looking for a place to start, do yourself a favor and pick up this album.
The story of how Firehose came to be is truly inspirational to me. After the tragic death of Minutemen's D. Boon, Ed Crawford packed up his things in Ohio and headed west to San Pedro, California, in an attempt to start a band with his heroes Mike Watt and George Hurly. It took much convincing for them to even give him any consideration. But eventually they gave him a shot. They were impressed with what he had to offer and soon after that there was fIREHOSE. Their debut LP Ragin,' Full On is a wonderful album and knowing how the band came to be makes this record a classic for me.
Most of the albums on this list are already know as "classic albums" and I'm certain when they are writing the history books on modern punk music that the Marked Men will be one of the reigning champs of our time. These Texan punk rockers have a way about their sound that strikes a chord with just about everyone. Quick tempo'd power pop that doesn't waste anytime with excessive glamorous parts. They get right to it and it's exactly what you need. On the Outside is just one of many great records by this band but I do seem to have this particular record on constant rotation for the last six years.
If you asked me which one band is a direct influence to VHS I would say without a doubt, Drive like Jehu. They have a kind of energy and chemistry as a band which is unrivaled and It's always been a good mark to try and hit with our own bands. John Reis is one of the all time greatest guitar players. He's who taught us to use feedback as an instrument. They're playing in Seattle in August and we all got our tickets. Never thought we'd actually get to see them. I can't wait!
Los Angeles in 1980 seems like an amazing place for music. Some of the all time classic punk records came out of that scene. I'd put this album at the top of the list for that. X has a completely unique style. The mix between Billy Zoom's 'Johnny Be Good' guitar licks and Exene and John Does haunting vocal harmonies makes for a truly original infecting sound. This album is a regular van go-to for us here at VHS.
When originally making this list I had Big Star's #1 record on it, but after a bit of thought I decided to go with this one. Third is definitely a very bizarre record and I'll admit it took me sometime to completely get into. A few years ago I saw a performance of Big Star's "Third" which consisted of drummer Jody Stephens, the guitar players from the Posies, the Seattle Rock Orchestra and a bunch of guest musicians. It was one of the most amazing and beautiful performances I've ever seen. I revisited the album after that and it had a completely different effect on me. If you are a fan of Big Star's #1 record and Radio City I recommend making some time to spend with this album in a personal setting.
We don't really have many "Hometown Heroes" in Reno but I'd say 7 Seconds would be as close as we get. This album was a staple album of my angsty teenage punk rock days. Anthemic youth crew tunes that all your sweaty friends could sing along to and feel a sense of community in the punk scene. I miss those days. But I can always listen to this album and reminisce about seeing my friends band cover "Young Til I Die" in the Ryland St. basement back in Reno.
This might be a perfect album. I don't know how to judge that, or what could define that, but I can say that this album at no part does any wrong. What Television did with Marquee Moon was completely original and since then, no other album in that genre could even hold a candle to it.
Roky's had a wild life. Like many other musicians, you could describe his existence as 'tragic.' The state of Texas made an example of him and submitted him to shock therapy rehabilitation along with who knows what other kind of horrors in those institutions. Whatever happened over years of this type of treatment, along with paranoia and whatever else he may be plagued with has left this amazingly talented individual very troubled and with a strong obsession with the paranormal. Even faced with all his hardships, Roky has been able to release some amazing albums over the years. This is a truly haunting rock 'n' roll album which will with no doubt make you think of demons.