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Buying records has become more of an event for me lately. Here in Scranton, PA, there's one local record store, Embassy Vinyl, and we're thankful for that. But, their stock is mostly used and briefly culled over. It's like going to a giant Salvation Army that's been stocked by records from your parent's house. Embassy Vinyl's emphasis is on trade and quantity. The next likely candidate for shopping is at the pretty delightful Main Street Jukebox in Stroudsburg - almost 45 min away.

So, on a recent trip to Massachusetts, after hitting the obvious Newbury Comics, I got lead to Feeding Tube records which is a little out of the way (meaning just off the main strip in Northampton, MA). And there I found Aguaturbia. Let me drop a little more praise for Feeding Tube real quick. There are different kinds of stores -- some overwhelm you with quantity and quality like Amoeba others are quantity warehouses, trying to cater to all tastes and taking forever to dig through, others are small, well-vetted collections made by a discerning eye. I have to say that while each kind of store has its own joy (who can deny getting really excited to find that rare album in the $5 pile?), I tend to enjoy small, well-crafted collections like Feeding Tube's the most. For one thing, it turns me on to new albums, because you feel that nothing there can be a bad record.

Aguaturbia (who, you can see, has one of the best covers ever) was one of the greatest psychedelic groups to come out of South American in the late 60s/early 70s. Arguably the best reissue label going these days, Light In the Attic, last year, reissued a compilation of the band's best tracks. The result is a delicious mix of psycho goodness. Aguaturbia (Spanish for "Dirty Water") invites the inevitable comparisons to their US counterpart Jefferson Airplane with the insane guitar work of Carlos Corales and the unbelievable vocals of his wife Denise. Aguaturbia even nods their heads to Airplane with their tune "Alguien Para Amar" or "Somebody to Love." They even manage to sneak in a cover of Carla Thomas's "Baby." But, the undoubted highlight on this album (and perfect for you post-V. Day lovers) is "Erotica." It begins with Denise cooing: "Please, babe, make love to me..." before the bass kicks in with this insane groove that notches this song up there with the great psychedelic tracks of all time.

If you've ever wanted to get into that murky (and totally misrepresented) category of "World" Music -- see: music not from the USA -- and didn't want to stomach the embarrassment of buying the Putomayo bullshit from Starbucks, start with Aguaturbia, it's amazing, psychedelic, sexy, and sung in English! And then go check out your local record store and see if they have more suggestions for you.

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  1. Hank, I feel your pain of finding things in Scranton (I'm also a Scrantonian) A few local places to try, if you haven't are The Gallery of Sound, Musical Energi, and Wayne's World of Music. I'm not sure of what variety they'd have but it's worth a try!