I thought a guest post might be a good way to ease back into the bloggin’ life after spending the last three weeks getting to know my new baby daughter, whom I may or may not have named after Beyoncé. Well, her middle name, anyways. That’s a story for a different day.
Today’s story was taken from an email exchange I had with Bill, the husband of one of Mrs. YHT’s lifelong friends and my partner-in-crime for the Drive-By Truckers show that took place at the National in March. I won’t offer too much of a preface, other than to say that his account of falling (back) in love with vinyl wonderfully articulates some of the key reasons why collecting records is so meaningful to me.
Hope you enjoy.
[Editor’s Note: This is Part III of the Super-Concise Black Friday(ish) Record Spree Recap. For Part I, click here. For Part II, click here.]
Got this one from Little Amps’ other location, on the corner of State and Second in downtown Harrisburg. Also a reissue, I believe. This location’s collection was even smaller, but I wanted to take approximately half of it home, including a copy of Dr. John’s In The Right Place that I managed, somehow, to release back into the wild. I couldn’t resist this one, though.
[Editor’s Note: This is Part II of (what I just decided is called) the Super-Concise Black Friday(ish) Record Spree Recap. For Part I, click here.]
Super-devoted YHT readers already know I had eyes for the Live at the Apollo record pictured above. I was on the fence about waiting to find an older, used pressing vs. caving and buying a reissued one, but I caved in spectacular fashion, buying shiny, new reissues of both Live at the Apollo and Pure Dynamite! from Little Amps Coffee’s Green Street location in Harrisburg, PA.
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. And then you pour some vodka in that lemonade, because stress and vodka are best friends, and Jesus didn’t invent vodka so we could sit around and watch it go bad, ya know?
Wait… what were we talking about? Lemons. Lemonade. Right.
Two things are going on right now. Thing 1 is that I went on a borderline-irresponsible record-buying spree last weekend that only partially involved Record Store Day’s Black Friday event. Thing 2 is that I have some non-YHT writing that needs to get done, leaving me less than the usual allotment of time for bloggishness. So I’m gonna do a series of quick hits on the stuff I picked up over the long weekend, starting with Roland Kirk’s The Inflated Tear.
I bought every single one of the records pictured above from Goodwill. All at once. For just $34.
BK Music is one of my happy places. I could give you a slew of reasons why (Record Store Day acquisitions would definitely rank among them), but there’s a single, indicative vignette I want to share with you today:
I want to talk to you about value.
(No, this is not a first time home buyers’ seminar, and I’m sorry to say that there’s no free timeshare waiting for you at the end of this post.)
I want to talk to you about value because Golden Rules for Golden People, the fantastic new album from Boston-based mad pop scientists Pretty & Nice, strikes me as one of the most valuable albums I’ve ever heard.
So what makes a band’s work valuable? It is, of course, an intentionally broad question, and you could answer it in a zillion different ways. A song that reminds you of the day your son or daughter was born would have emotional value. (I’m told Aaron Copland’s Billy The Kid was playing on the radio when I popped out, which is a tad bit creepy when you consider that my father’s name was Bill.) That first pressing of Meet The Beatles your parents never let you touch has some serious historical/monetary value, while the EDM you blast to keep yourself awake while driving long stretches at night has a very specific, practical value. We could keep going, but you get the point. Circumstances, time, our needs… all these things turn a piece of music into something more than just notes and words.
That said, Golden Rules has me thinking about a totally different kind of value. Something more objective and less ascribed. Something inherent in the recording itself.
(This is the third [and probably final] post-Record Store Day open letter. To read the first, An Open Letter To The People Who Lined Up Outside BK Music On Record Store Day, click here. To read the second, An Open Letter To The Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr Album That Made Me Bleed On Record Store Day, click here.)
An Open Letter To People Who Don’t Buy Records Regarding The Hoax Hunters/Snowy Owls Split 7-Inch That Was Released On Record Store Day
There’s something I want you to see. I want you to hear it too, but I want you to see it first.
Before we get to that, some quick background information… Record Store Day is an annual event that’s been held on the third Saturday of each April since 2008. Artists help independently owned music stores buoy bottom lines by releasing hundreds of limited-edition titles on vinyl all at once, generating anticipation, long lines and a subsequent buying frenzy that’s as beneficial for these locally owned businesses as it is retrospectively embarrassing for the (usually) mild-mannered folk who get swept up in the excitement and push and shove their way through crowds to grab at treasured items before they sell out. Think of it like a big game of musical chairs for record collectors, one that gives a shot of vitality to an industry that’s still in the process of reinventing itself after being hit hard by the advent of .mp3s, file sharing and iTunes.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Well damn. I like supporting local businesses and all, but I listen to all my music on my iPhone, and I’m pretty sure iPhones don’t play records.” If you said that, you’d be both correct and completely justified. Between iTunes, YouTube and Spotify, you can enjoy a lifetime’s worth of amazing music without ever leaving the warm glow of your favorite Apple device. Listening has never been more convenient, and I count that as a net win for society. But if you’ve completely given up on physical media, you’re missing out. Big time. And I’m not just talking about the free donuts Jay at Deep Groove hands out to the people waiting in line on Record Store Day.
I want to show you exactly what I mean, so I cleared off my coffee table, disassembled the split 7-inch that was released on RSD by Hoax Hunters and The Snowy Owls, and took pictures of each of its components. I want you to see the kind of stuff you’re missing out on by living your musical life solely in the digital realm…
(This is the second post-Record Store Day open letter. To read the first, An Open Letter To The People Who Lined Up Outside BK Music On Record Store Day, click here.)
An Open Letter To The Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr Album That Made Me Bleed On Record Store Day
Edgar Allen Poe once said that “There is an eloquence in true enthusiasm.” I really like that, don’t you?
It reminds me — ironically, I suppose — of the breathlessness with which children tell stories they’re particularly excited about. Respiration and recitation crash into one another like waves headed in different directions, making for a bumpy, sometimes incoherent narrative — certainly not eloquence in the traditional sense. But within that crazy cadence, natural rhythms are hiding. Lungs working at full capacity. Synapses firing as fast as possible. Pitch rising at the end of each phrase. When you look closer, you find the body and spirit in perfect harmony, flowing as smoothly as ballroom dancers who have rehearsed every move they intend to make.
It’s just that type of enthusiasm I blame for our… incident.
For those of you who missed Volume 1 of YHT’s Tournament Album Coverage, I spent last weekend glued to my couch, watching the first rounds of the NCAA Tournament in a most gloriously sloth-like fashion. I can think of no better occasion for acting like a shut-in and no better way to enhance the experience than muting the television and choosing your own soundtrack for each game. (There’s only so much of Jay Bilas’ voice I can take before I just start yelling at the TV screen like a crazy person.)
With a few exceptions, things took a decidedly more contemporary turn after Friday night’s Garfunkel-fest. Below, I’ve posted the art for everything my friends and I listened to on Saturday and Sunday, along with a sample song and a context-free quote from someone in the room about each record.