Vinyl Me Please

Dinosaur Jr. – Green Mind

Us old dudes are suckers for reissues of our favorite records. I’ve owned Green Mind by Dinosaur Jr. on cassette, compact disc and vinyl. Still, when I saw another colored vinyl version newly available for sale, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to make a purchase. It’s especially hard to resist that kind of acquisition when you believe that, after the apocalypse, the only currency worth anything will be vinyl records.

The limited edition vinyl game is not for the faint of heart nor the easily discouraged. A rare bundle of reissues came up recently for another one of my favorite indie rock bands, and before I even knew about the bundle, it was sold out.

The most frustrating thing about this sort of “you snooze, you lose” situation is that being off Instagram for a few days was what ultimately prevented me from getting the bundle of LP’s. Now that the three LP bundle is unavailable, the only way to get the third record is to buy it off of Discogs for a cool $100. This wouldn’t irritate me as much as it does if it wasn’t a case of a legendary independent record label like Merge Records using a corporate silo owned by Facebook exclusively to advertise their new hotness. There is a news section on the label’s website, but it doesn’t appear to have an RSS feed.

The founders of Merge records are famous for their progressive political activism. However, not even they consider the role that Facebook has played in undermining our democracy. That is a role to which even executives at the company now admit. It doesn’t seem like Facebook is a company a fiercely independent label would want to help strengthen. Merge shouldn’t force their fans onto a Facebook platform to keep up with new releases.


Appreciating the Analog in a Digital World

(image via Artificial Photography | Unsplash)

Are people reading paper books and listening to vinyl records just to impress others?

Over at Christ and Pop Culture, Luke T. Harrington wrote a piece on the new brick and mortar Amazon store, and the hopelessness of Amazon trying to be hip.

I wonder if Amazon understands that hipsterism is essentially performative.I’m not here to go all Judith Butler on it, but it seems to me that a lot of the reason people like unpopular things is so that they can be seen liking them.

The unpopular things he is referring to is what you might also refer to as “legacy media formats.” Included in that category would be physical media such as paper books and vinyl records. His argument is that these formats have no inherent benefit over their digital counterparts, and that people only indulge in them to impress others.


Record Store Day 2015

Venerable Hillsborough St. institution Nice Price Books. Raleigh, NC.

There are those who hate it, and most people are either unaware or somewhere south of ambivalent, but there are a few of us who can’t help but get a little excited for the day that seems to vinyl fans like a genuine national holiday.

This year, I ended up hitting a different spot for #recordstoreday. I grabbed my littlest guy, at his insistence, and headed out about 7:30am. I went by my usual haunt, @Schoolkids records. The line to get into the store, for the 8am opening, was literally around the block. There were all kinds of people in that line. Those hungry for new and exclusive vinyl spanned genders and generations. I quickly let go of thoughts of waiting in a horrendous line of slow-lane browsers with an impatient 3-yr.-old just to peruse the wares. I was doubtful they would have my most wanted item on the list this year, Richard Swift’s Ground Trouble Jaw EP, anyway. So, I drove a few streets up, through the vast, meandering campus outskirts of NC State University, to @NicePriceBooks. Nice Price doesn’t carry quite the vinyl selection of a dedicated record store (although the quantity is probably not that far off), but they have a well-curated selection that speaks well of the tastes of whoever does the purchasing.


How I (Almost) Missed the Vinyl Resurgence

My record collection officially started when I was given Madonna’s Like a Virgin LP, by my parents, as a ninth birthday gift. I had to quickly give up collecting records, when I destroyed the stylus on my parent’s turntable, shortly after. Not a great way to pay back those who so graciously gave me my introductory piece.

Fast forward (or move the tone arm inward, to keep the metaphors consistent) a few years, and I find myself, as a teenager, rediscovering that records were still being made and were the only way to get acquire certain music. Bands put songs on 7″’s that never made it to the digital realm that, at the time, was owned by compact discs. The year was 1993, and the internet was still a very small and slow place, and not in any way an appropriate music distribution platform. That same year I started buying my own records, Nirvana (at the time the most successful band in the world), released their new album, In Utero, on clear vinyl, a week earlier than the compact disc.