Spoon

Spoon

Y’all see this?

If not, the long and the short of it is that if you agree to buy a vinyl copy of Spoon’s soon-to-be-released (8/5, to be exact) They Want My Soul album from a participating, locally-owned store, you get to take home a 10-inch record with three of the album’s songs on it. They’re calling it Vinyl Gratification. The offer went into effect this Tuesday, and I’m not sure how many each store got, but you can click here to find a participating location — they may still have copies of the above-pictured 10-inch.

I got mine at BK Music on Tuesday, and I was pleased to find that the two They Want My Soul tracks I’d heard and fallen madly for — “The Rent I Pay” and “Do You” — were both on it, but I’m even more pleased by the Vinyl Gratification idea in general. Offering perks for pre-ordering albums isn’t new, but this initiative has a wonderfully collaborative feel to it. Just read the open letter Spoon frontman Britt Daniel wrote to introduce the promotion. There’s a palpable sincerity there, and an understanding that correcting the imbalance that currently exists between the amount of music people consume and the amount of money that music-makers make will involve bringing all the stakeholders together. The fix, as it almost always does, requires us to work together.

The majority of bands obviously can’t afford to offer free 10-inch records when you pre-order their albums (pressing an LP to vinyl is an expensive undertaking to begin with), but part of the reason I love what Spoon’s doing is that the idea has a bit of the same spirit that Jack White’s recent efforts have had. I haven’t said much about Lazaretto — I’m pretty sure it’s falling into the same “I like it so much that I have no desire to write about it” category that Modern Vampires of the City occupied last year — but I will say that the ultra LP created a genuine moment.

In the bigger sense, it generated a flurry of conversation about all the bells and whistles the disc would feature — a shared sense of wonderment — but in a more personal sense, I had this unforgettable experience where I was sitting in my living room, watching the arm of my record player move from the inside of side one to the outside. I’d never seen that happen before. It’s such a small, quirky change, but Jack White had an idea, he followed through, and that resulted in my record player functioning in a way it had never functioned before. It felt a little like he was sitting in the room with me, smiling and saying “Pretty cool, eh?” Now THAT is a moment.

Record Store Day (which is helping Spoon with the logistics of Vinyl Gratification) is the same way — just swap out wonderment for adrenaline. Those seconds after BK opens its doors are so intensely charged, and as silly as it may be to freak out about some limited-run pressing of an album, the rush I get when I walk through the doors and start reaching for the items I scouted out online: that too is a moment — something I remember even more vividly than what I did or didn’t buy. The moments I’ve had with the Vinyl Gratification 10-inch have been less intense than Record Store Day, and less wacky than spinning Lazaretto, but they’ve been just as impactful. It’s given me a reason to get even more excited about an album I was already excited about. And while I’m bummed about (probably) missing their upcoming show in Norfolk, I still have this other way of deepening my engagement with They Want My Soul. It’s great.

When I wrote last year’s top-10 records post, I talked about how the experiences you have while listening to songs and albums change the way you hear them. Britt Daniel seems to get that, and I hope his experiment inspires others who are searching for a way through or around the clusterfuckery that’s keeping many independent artists, stores and labels from earning a fair shake.

Listen to “Do You” below, and learn more about Vinyl Gratification here.

Spoon — “Do You” [Spotify/iTunes]

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