Vinyl: Record Store Day 2019 Guide

More than a day, Record Store Day is a holiday for vinyl collectors and casual music fans alike. This Saturday marks the twelfth year for the US and UK event. Plan out your hunt with these record recommendations from DerekPlease.com!

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Pop 

Madonna – La Isla Bonita — 1 LP — RSD Exclusive Release

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Madonna’s Latin-inspired, classic hit on green vinyl.

Madonna – True Blue (Super Club Mix) — 1 LP — RSD Exclusive Release

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On blue vinyl! Although I wish Record Store Day would press one of the big Madonna releases missing from the vinyl format – like GHV2 or any of her live albums – I’m still buying these two Japanese re-pressings.


Mark Ronson featuring Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart — 1 LP — Quantity: 1500

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Criminally slept on, Mark Ronson’s single “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart (feat. Miley Cyrus)” was not only the return of Miley Cyrus, but a genuinely hit-worthy song. Features the original song and two radio-length remixes. 

Robyn – Body Talk — 2 x LP — Quantity: 2500 — RSD Exclusive Release

A custom-tailored 2019 reworking of Robyn’s Body Talk album with a track listing selected by the artist herself. It’s a welcome some-what re-issue of than the album, as the original version is currently selling for over $500 on Discogs. For avid pop fans – and, well, gay people in general – this is a Record Store Day must.

Sheena Easton – Sugar Walls — 12” Picture Disc — Quantity: 600 — RSD Limited Run / Regional Focus Release

A controversial single produced by Prince, Sugar Walls is seen here pressed directly from the Abbey Road studios original master tapes. Perfect for serious Prince collectors and audiophiles alike.

R&B 

Prince – His Majesty’s Pop Life / The Purple Mix Club — 2 x LP — Quantity: 14,000 — RSD Exclusive Release

Two records packed full of Prince remixes from the 1980s… what’s not to love?

 

Prince – The VERSACE Experience: PRELUDE 2 GOLD — Cassette — Quantity: 4000 — RSD Exclusive Release

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Electric Fetus will have an exclusive purple version.

Soundtracks

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture) — 2 x LP — Quantity: 5000 — RSD Exclusive Release

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The long-awaited first vinyl pressing of this Academy Award-nominated soundtrack will no doubt be near the top of many fans’ lists. Two collectible versions are being pressed; one with Cartman & Kenny holding red & orange records, and another with Kyle & Stan holding green & blue records. 

Coneheads (Music from the Motion Picture) — 1 LP — Quantity: 1500 — ‘RSD First’ Release

As a kid in the ‘90s, I can’t think of another live action comedy that gave me this much joy. It’s full of grunge covers of rock classics that are worth the price. This is an early access item, meaning it will be released generally later this year; A.K.A., don’t freak out if it sells out. 

House of Wax (Music from the Motion Picture) — 2 x LP — Quantity: 1500 — ‘RSD First’ Release

That iconic Paris Hilton cover art… those ‘00s bangers…


Which release are you looking forward to the most? DM me! Instagram.com/DerekPlease

Interview: Rilan Wants to Bring Pop Music Back

Rilan has lofty goals. He wants to “save pop.” Bringing the joy back to a genre that’s caught up in moodiness will be difficult, to say the least. However, the Glee alumni and androgynously-voiced LGBT singer has a level of confidence that suggests he might just have the grit to do it. 

Photo: Edward Aninaru

Photo: Edward Aninaru

Derek: What did you take from starring as a Warbler on Glee that has helped you most in your career since?

Rilan: Do your job. That sounds obvious, but it’s forgotten by the majority of people in Hollywood. Working on the Paramount lot was incredible. There’s history and fame and glitz and glam all around you, but it’s a distraction from why you’re really there — to do your job. You have to focus, and you have to work. People really do forget that. When you don’t, you start to feel special, and then elitist, and then above criticism, and then you’re fired. I saw it happen. It’s a shame, but it happens all the time. I never partook in any on-set shenanigans. Honestly, the cast and choreographers nicknamed me “Quiet,” because I barely spoke unless I was spoken to. I’m a bit of a loner, but I’m not ashamed of it. It’s what makes me “me,” and I think a lot of people can relate. I think introversion is interesting. I’m more inspired by what goes on in my own head when I’m alone than sports cars and diamonds and LA bullshit. Art is what drives me, not fame or money or lifestyle. I’m an anti-socialite. 

D: Your new single “Love or Drugs” is super upbeat in a time where commercial pop is mostly mid-tempo and a little boring. What was your inspiration for the fun sound?

R: Thank you. That’s the biggest compliment to me. Music is boring right now. It’s all about “vibes” or whatever that means. I’ve never “vibed” before in my life, nor do I want to. Music should make you feel, not numb you. My goal as a writer is for my music to wake you up and move you, be that emotionally or physically or both. I grew up on ‘70s glam rock and ‘80s synth pop. The songs of yesteryear were exciting and dangerous and thought-provoking. That’s pop music, not “vibes.” I’m here to bring back pop, because it’s about damn time someone did. 

Photo: Edward Aninaru

Photo: Edward Aninaru

D: Your voice on “Love or Drugs” sounds androgynous in the best of ways. Was this a conscious stylistic choice?

R: I think my voice is naturally pretty androgynous. I have a bright tone and a higher range, probably a product of theatre. I always have. When I first moved to Los Angeles, every producer I worked with hated my voice. They said it was too theatrical and nasally and would always want to replace my background vocals with another singer’s to mask my voice. It made me insecure at first, but finally I just said, “Fuck it,” and found new colleagues who actually understood me. You see, most people in music are trend-followers. They want a hit, and they think that the quickest way to get one is to make a song that sounds like everything else. But that’s not what makes a hit. A great song makes a hit. An artist makes a hit, and an artist is someone who is unafraid to be different, go against the grain, and gives the world something they haven’t heard or seen before. That’s a hit — the new, not the trendy. I’ll never have a voice like the whisper singers of today who dominate the radio, and that’s okay. Like it or not, you will recognize my voice when you hear it. 

D: Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations, past and present?

R: I love artists who have their own perspective. I grew up on David Bowie, Prince, and Madonna. As I got older, I discovered darker artists like Soft Cell, Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Manson, and fell in love all over again. They were different, but not far from one another. My idols were all passionate performers. It’s passion that excites me. Whether it’s dance-pop or industrial rock, if it’s honest and palpable, I’m inspired. A point of view is what differentiates simply a performer from an artist. A performer imitates life. An artist creates their own world and invites you inside. Currently, that’s Marina and the Diamonds, Melanie Martinez, and Lady Gaga. Those are some artists I admire nowadays. They don’t live in this world, and I don’t think anyone should. I’m sure as hell never gonna. 

Photo: Edward Aninaru

Photo: Edward Aninaru

D: As a pop artist, are there any holy grail producers you hope to work with someday?

R: I will work with anyone who wants to work with me. To be honest, you never know what’s going to happen until you get in the studio with someone. It’s usually the people you never expect who surprise you the most. Still, there are always dream collaborators. I’d love to work with Max Martin. He’s the pop Jesus, only more reliable. Just the sheer amount of Britney Spears hits he’s done is a testament to what a fantastic writer and producer he is. It would be an honor. I’d also love to work with Bonnie McKee and Justin Tranter. Bonnie did almost all of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream hits, as well as her own music. She’s ’80’s-inspired, high-energy pop perfection, and her sense of song structure makes my OCD brain so happy. Her work has certainly influenced my writing. Justin Tranter is famous for writing for Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, but I’ve been a huge fan since I was in high school. He was the frontman of Semi Precious Weapons, an outlandish glam-grunge band from New York City who opened for Gaga through every leg of her Monster Ball. I saw them live ten years ago and fell in love. He’s ridiculous and perfect. I have a big list, so I’ll keep you updated. 

D: Is there an album in the works, and if so, do you have any tea to spill on it?

R: There’s always an album in the works. I feel like if there isn’t, why are you even releasing music? I think of writing songs as creating a new planet. Each project is an island in my fantasy world. Sometimes songs merge together to create a larger continent. Sometimes they stand alone in the sea of my ideas. Regardless, they’re all a part of my world. Right now, I’m on the “Island of Satire.” It’s Hollywood exposed. It’s everything people do here, but don’t want to talk about. I’m going to talk about it. It’s going to be weird and dark and artistic, but it’s going to be pop, and it’s going to be good. 

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D: What has been the response so far from people you’ve played “Love or Drugs” for?

R: It’s been good so far. People seem to move to the beat and start singing along before it ends. That’s honestly the best thing I can ask for. When my friends first heard it, they were like, “You’re antisocial and this is all about party culture. Why?” But if you listen again, you’ll get it. It’s satire. It’s about all the Hollywood parties I’m not invited to. This is the first stop on my “Island of Satire.” A lot more is coming and all of you are welcome here. 

Music Video


What was your favorite episode of Glee? Tweet me! @DerekPlease

Interview: Mercedes Iman Diamond Talks Being the First Muslim Drag Queen on RuPaul's Drag Race

This interview also appears as the cover story of Issue 136 of Twin Cities Gay Scene magazine.

Photo: Twin Cities Gay Scene

Photo: Twin Cities Gay Scene

“Opalence, you earn everything!” 

Mercedes Iman Diamond is the reigning meme queen from the current Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She also is located right here in Minneapolis, hosting weekly Drag Race viewing parties at the Gay 90s. I caught up with our hometown hero to talk about how her expectations of the top reality TV competition have differed from her real life experience. 

Derek: RuPaul’s Drag Race has a massive fandom. What were your social media notifications like the first 24 hours after you were announced?

Mercedes Iman Diamond: Everyone was filling my social media with the best love and support I could ever ask for! It took me a little bit to realize how this would change and affect my career and my everyday life.

D: How does it feel to represent Minneapolis on a national stage?

MID: I have always considered my home to be Minneapolis, this city has shown me so much loyalty and kindness — even at times I wasn’t the most deserving, they have stuck by my side! I’m forever grateful to represent Minnesota at the best of my ability.

D: Where are you most excited to tour? 

MID: Entertaining is my first love, and my second love is pleasing the fans! I have been very fortunate to already live my dreams as a entertainer 5 nights a week. I am most excited to see the fans and meet new friends I make on the road. Seeing the world is a opportunity of a lifetime, and should not be taken lightly — and trust, I don’t take this for granted! I am soaking up every minute of this year!

Photo: VH1

Photo: VH1

D: Has the Drag Race experience been what you had expected? 

MID: Yes and no; it’s not what you see on TV. It’s even harder taping the show. Being up for 18 hours a day without a break, tucked, loaded — and no pee breaks — yes, it’s a LONG DAY!

D: You are the first Muslim queen in RuPaul’s Drag Race herstory. You spoke about this in your Meet the Queens interview. Have you had a lot of LGBT Muslim individuals reach out to you since the cast reveal?

MID: I have had nothing but positive responses to my coming out as Muslim and being in the GLBTQA spectrum. [It has] been nothing short of a blessing. I am a human like everyone else. I want others to know that we’re all made to be a beacon of light in our own communities, and to show thy true self! I have had the fortunate opportunity to show the world that religion shouldn’t affect how you live your dreams, and being true to yourself only will help you love and live your life to its full potential.

D: Where are you now? I saw you just did the BUILD Series interview in New York. 

MID: I currently am touring! Check out my social media for future dates.

D: Did fellow Minnesota queen and Season One winner Bebe Zahara Benet give you any advice, coming into the Drag Race family?

MID: I haven't had much time to speak to her, so unfortunately, no.

D: Are you musical? Can we expect an album or singles in the future? 

MID: You might see a single from me in the future; you never know! 

D: If you could achieve one big career goal within the next five years, what would it be?

MID: To aspire more Muslim queens to show their art and artistry. To inspire others to be true themselves, and never give up on what they believe is their destiny — and what they know to be true themself!


Who’s your favorite Season 11 queen? Tweet me! @DerekPlease

Interview: Tina DeCara Reveals Her Inspirations and New Single "Solo"

The edgy-yet-bubbly new pop act reveals also her creative process.

Photo: Monica Spengler

Photo: Monica Spengler

The dark sweetness of Halsey meets the lyrical depth of SZA in Tina DeCara, an exciting new artist with her own spin on upbeat pop music. I caught up with the industry newcomer to talk about her first hit, new single and stars like Michael Jackson who inspire her.


Derek: “Illusion,” your collaboration with Thoreau, made a big splash. How was the experience of having a song blow up like that?

Tina DeCara: Yes! The experience of this song blowing up was incredible! I was so happy, because that song is different — and I was a little nervous — but the attention and feedback was so dope. I love Trap Nation and Thoreau, the song’s producer, is bad ass. 

D: The new single “Solo” is bubbly and catchy, with a good message. Describe the creation process?

TD: The creation process of this song happened real fast. The Drupes sent me this beat they had created, and I fell in love with the sound. I then drank a bottle of red wine in my room, alone one night, and wrote “Solo”! I am a pretty bubbly person usually, but I wasn’t that night. Writing the song helped me figure out that it’s actually okay to take time for myself and find my strength from within when I’m feeling sad.

You take New York City and Coney Island by storm in the video. Do you have any fun memories from the shoot?

TD: Heck yes I did! One funny memory was that it was like 0 degrees outside, and I was dancing around in a see-through shirt and sequin pants… so cold, but oh so fun.  Between takes, we all kept running back to the car to warm up! 

D: Who were some of your musical inspirations growing up?

TD: Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Amy Winehouse. I fell in love with jazz music at a very young age.

D: On the flip side, who are some modern day musical artists you enjoy?

TD: Post Malone, Ariana Grande, and SZA!

D: How would you describe your look, and where do you take style inspiration from?

TD: I am inspired by so much! I love thrift shops more than the mall... David Bowie is beyond inspirational, same with 90's grunge... One day it’s Doc Martens, next night it’s [Christian] Louboutins [Laughs]. One day my hair is a short pixie, next day it’s pink and curly!

D: What message do you hope to send with your music?

TD: One message is confidence for sure. It took some time for me to learn how to think for myself, due to assholes in high school. Any kid who may be reading this, please know it does get better.

D: What’s your next big goal?

TD: To get on a tour, and keep making music that will be on the radio.

“Solo” Music Video


Who’s your favorite new artist? DM me! Instagram.com/DerekPlease

Review: Mariah Carey Put Her Catalog on Shuffle in First Minneapolis Concert Ever

The chart-topping chanteuse served statistics and whistle notes galore.

Photo: Monique Sowinski

Photo: Monique Sowinski

Legend — Icon — “Hero”… No single descriptor can define the actual greatness that is Mariah Carey, the voice of multiple generations who graced Minneapolis with her genre-defying vocals last night. 

Carey released #1 to Infinity in 2014; the album and accompanying Las Vegas residency were a chronological setlist of her 18 number one hits. After subsequent tours also emphasized those chart toppers, fans were desperate for different material to be played live. 

Enter Caution World Tour, a fan service tour in the best of ways. It may not have “One Sweet Day,” but it has Glitter tracks sung live for the very first time. Not to mention new music from Caution, largely considered by critics and fans to be her best album since The Emancipation of Mimi

Last night’s Minneapolis show played at the State Theatre — an ornate and gorgeous venue — which is probably the closest match to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace that Minnesota offers. Fitting, as Carey has described Caution World Tour as her “most intimate tour yet.” 

Ever fabulously aloof, Carey seemingly did not realize this was her first full-length gig here, simply telling the crowd it was “good to be back.” Still, the crowd welcomed her with a deafening roar. With its domed ceiling and sloped walls, the State Theatre feeds crowd noise back to the crowd, causing a heightened effect. 

The sound mixing did not help; it was not good — and Carey herself agreed. The diva talked between virtually every song, and threw subtle shade at sound and lighting technicians along the way. Her in-ear monitors were distorted, probably much like the blaring audio coming from the arena-sized front-of-house speakers. This was the weak point of an otherwise great concert, although the engineers did seem to find their groove during the latter half of the show. 

The eclectic setlist was a shuffle-mode journey through Carey’s entire career, spanning from her debut single “Vision of Love,” to the current Caution single “A No No.” Minneapolis audibly favored the older material, which meant those songs were harder to hear over crowd noise. This allowed for her soothing, chill Caution album cuts to shine, as the largely Generation X crowd was experiencing these songs for the first time. It meant her pristine vocals were entirely audible, with every note coming through pitch perfect. Although she did not lip sync, her vocals were still studio-quality. Whistle notes and all. It’s her gift.

The Caution highlight was “8th Grade,” a confessional pop song that recalls the awkwardness around a middle school crush, something her twins Roc and Roe may experience soon enough. The twins made a cameo at the tail end of “Always Be My Baby,” microphones in hand, to sing along and say, “Hi, Minneapolis.” 

Photo: Monique Sowinski

Photo: Monique Sowinski

Visually, the show featured the edge-to-edge 4K video screen popularized by fellow Las Vegas theater acts like Britney Spears. Background visuals were tastefully done and never distracting. Things shown ranged from moody, screensaver-esque simplicity to photo booth-style family pictures. Carey stunned in five dresses designed by Johnny Wujek and The Blonds

There were moments of Mariah’s World-level over-the-top-ness, like Carey being joined on stage by makeup artist Kristofer Buckle and hairstylist Miles Jeffries for touch ups. She acknowledged it as a “diva” moment and said other female pop singers do the same, just backstage. The crowd did not mind, screaming all manner of RuPaul’s Drag Race-like affirmations at Carey. 

Although the length of the show seemed standard, a few songs from previous stops were axed; the slow-burn ballads “Portrait,” “My Saving Grace” and “Looking In." The final song on Caution, “Portrait” would have shown the oldies-loving Twin Cities crowd that Carey still can pen a poignant R&B track. The removal makes sense, though, as the midsection of the show is already heavy on similarly relaxed songs.

The much-hyped #JusticeForGlitter medley of Glitter soundtrack songs felt exhilarating. Carey clearly enjoyed giving some truly terrific tracks their just dessert moment; although just one minute of “Loverboy” wasn’t enough. One could have half-expected for Minneapolis-located Glitter production duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to pop on stage for a cameo like they did at the last Janet Jackson show, but they did not — and were not mentioned. 

Maybe it was that the crowd universally knew the songs again, but the 2000s-throwback performances of “Touch My Body” and “We Belong Together” were the loudest singalongs of the night. Carey was sure to let the crowd know “Body” was her 18th #1 hit, which was not the first time she shared a statistic. Got to love a queen who knows her Billboard magazine trivia.

In the penultimate moments of the show, Trey Lorenz — backup vocalist and R&B star in his own right — introduced the band. Lorenz had a genuinely humble moment when the crowd roared for him; “You guys remember me?” The crowd did, and it felt like a missed opportunity that Carey and Lorenz didn’t recreate their MTV Unplugged duet version of “I’ll Be There” onstage.

Carey’s four male backup dancers broke it down with tight choreography and an endless supply of charisma. Julio Marcelino was the standout. In “Heartbreaker” — hands down the best performance of the night — Marcelino appeared on stage dressed as “Bianca,” Carey’s alter-ego and fake nemesis. The two duked it out in a staged fight, with the diva knocking Marcelino out in a hilarious “TKO.” 

Mariah Carey re-emerged for a two-song encore, starting with her single “With You.” Last year’s top ten Billboard Adult Contemporary hit connected with the crowd more than other Caution cuts. The show closed with Carey admitting “Hero” is still her go-to setlist closer because “the message is still there.” After belting out every last note of the iconic hit, Carey thanked the crowd for their support since the beginning of her career — and most importantly, now. 


What’s your favorite Mariah Carey song? Tweet me: @DerekPlease