Saturday, August 20, 2011

It Came From The Record Shop

When I walked into Family Affair Music, Monrovia's landmark record store, I had no idea of just how life-changing my trip would be. I was there on a mission: to find the legendary bootleg 7" of Grape Grape's first and only concert, which took place at the Library Park bandshell in 1995. Searching the shelves got me nowhere, but I had a very reliable source tell me the bootleg was here. I decided to go ask the Man if he knew anything about the record (though he would most likely refuse to tell me). The Man, however, had just seen something that made him quite upset. "Another one!" he yelled, waving a CD jewel case like it were some sort of cursed object. When I asked what the matter was, he gave me the story. It seems some person sneaks into the shop on a regular basis and places their homemade CDs in the counter's bargain box. Though the person comes in about every week, the Man is still unsure what they look like and only knows they arrived when he finds the disc. This certainly was strange, but I still did not understand why the Man would be so upset. Then he told me: "...And they are filled with the worst stuff imaginable! Not only is it crude, it's not even good!" As I'm also a regular at Family Affair (albeit a more conspicuous one), the Man knows that I write for a music blog and have previously reviewed albums for various magazines. This knowledge, added to his confidence in his opinion, led the Man to thrust the CD into my hands, asking me to write the bad review the strange character deserved in the hopes that he would see it and be shamed into quitting his trips to the shop. As much as I wanted to help my friend, I found myself unable to write poorly about the album for one simple reason: it's amazing. Yes, it may be a bit rough around the edges: it boasts no-fi production, and completely lacks any kind of rhythm, melody, or sense of cohesiveness, but this is the album's charm. The enigma behind these recordings is one Deeton Slater; no other details are given in the album booklet other than the track names (the rest is all cryptic doodling). The songs are fractured yet rambling, and downright spooky. Overall, they give the impression that Mr. Slater is on the verge of a mental breakdown. Yet it is undeniable that this man is a genius. In the hopes that Deeton Slater will overcome his fear of rejection and stand up for his music, two of his songs will become the next installment in the Monrovia Renaissance Singles Series. Far from the best Deeton Slater has to offer, these tracks were selected solely on commercial appeal. Listen to them here and let Mr. Slater know that despite some people not being able to understand his artistic approach now, there are those lovers of innovation that appreciate his efforts. Also, if anyone finds that bootleg 7" contact me at

WARNING: Deeton Slater's songs contain highly graphic content and strong language. Listener discretion is advised.

Click here to go to the Singles Series page and listen to Deeton Slater

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