Caught in the Crossfire – Printed Issue #3

Spring brings warm weather, dreams of summer and a new issue of the Caught in the Crossfire broadside.  Topics this year include Robert Curgenven’s epic 2014 LP, Kim Gordon’s memoir and mall record stores circa 2015.  As always, it was published for the WFMU Record Fair with the generous support of Forced Exposure Basketball.

Thanks as always for reading.

Caught in the Crossfire #3

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Techwear Is the New Workwear – Prefatory Note

Agent Gore, Staying Dry

A parallel stream to the atavistic trend of “workwear” is the ongoing development of technical wear.  Once the domain of middle class outdoors enthusiasts, it has lodged a significant beachhead among the young and fashion forward.  The market has now reached a phase of maturity as established outdoors brands develop fashion-targeted lines (Arc’Teryx Veilance), fashion brands start catering to the market (Stone Island Shadow, Nike SportsWear) and of course the emergence of new brands altogether (the pioneering design firm-cum-label Acronym, Outlier).

Similar to workwear, the trend allows for a quiet display of affluence – despite its utilitarian veneer, pieces can cut deep into the pocketbook with a weather “proof” shell from one of the above easily reaching into the $1,000 mark.  This owes significantly to the costs of the highest performing fabric in this space (eVent, Gore-Tex Pro Shell), the extra construction details, as well as the normal reasons that one thing costs more than another.

I have a few thoughts around this topic, so like the military vs workwear series I’ll be breaking this up into sections.

Record shopping in Japan – a brief analysis based on limited data

Given my proclivities and never having been to a record store in Japan, it’s probably no surprise that I looked forward to my trip to Disk Union with great enthusiasm.  Due to extremely limited time, I only managed to make one stop – to the used-only branch in Shinjuku.

My immediate impressions were of how small their used vinyl selection was – hardly bigger than that of Other Music.  Happily, this meant I could go through everything of interest while my colleague browsed their much larger used CD collection.

For the sake of what I will pretend is public discourse, I’ve included my tally below.  Due to luggage restrictions, I had to put back a bunch of reasonably priced duplicates, especially with respect to Japanese free jazz (I couldn’t resist with the Overhang Party).

I was fairly surprised to see that the records by Japanese artists were priced roughly at fair market eBay prices – due to the dominance of Yahoo Japan’s auction site in Japan, this means that Japanese goods are being sold at overseas pricing in Tokyo.  The really interesting thing is that the overseas records were, if anything, underpriced compared to their US market value.  This suggests (among other things) that the local market for underground American/UK records is fully mature.

By the way, I was particularly stoked on getting an original of Niyago – one of the great Japanese underground folk records.  Runner up is probably the Marine Girls LP, a beautiful sounding pressing.

nb – prices are listed in yen, at approximately 90 yen to 1 USD.

Morio Agata – Virgin vs. Norimono Deluxe (JP 1982) 1,470
Dinosaur Jr – Dinosaur (Homestead, US 1985) 945
Kenji Endo – Niyago (URC, JP 1970) 1,470
Marine Girls – Lazy Ways (Trio/Kenwood, JP) 1,890
Overhang Party – Live 1994.8.22 at Showboat (Pataphysique, JP 1995) 3,990
Etcetera #2 magazine with Les Rallizes Denudes 7″ (Etcetera, JP 1996) – the only official Rallizes release on vinyl 8,190
Sonic Youth – Hold That Tiger (Goofin’, US 1991) 630
Talulah Gosh – They’ve Scoffed the Lot (Sarah, UK 1991) 1,260
Zunou Keisatsu – Zunou Keisatsu 1 (reissue, JP 2001) 2,940