Happy Belated Record Store Day! Oh yeah, Easter and 4/20, too. We won’t be talking about those last two here. With the influx of new vinyl and the cache of re-releases that came out, I thought it would be nice to talk about the affection towards Vinyl. Now before you think this is going to be a clinic on 180 gram pressings and how there’s a 4800 ft. magnetic tape that is coiled inside, it’s not. My editors, and probably a lot of readers, wouldn’t like it if I go over 2000 words for a three minute read. Plus, I don’t consider myself an expert in vinyl of any sort.
When I started collecting vinyl, I was back and forth from Austin and working on the road. Collecting is a stretch, as well. Picking up albums that I love listen to is more along the necessary lines. You see, I live in El Paso, and it isn’t a good place for vinyl. With the four months of hundred degree heat and Beatrice Kiddo dryness, record stores would appear and vanish from locations faster than you could say “Insert High Fidelity reference here”. There was an already established group of vinyl enthusiasts, who I still can’t get into, that probably have secret meetings and Stone Cutter’s sing-alongs about how many copies of The Beatles “Yesterday and Today” they have.
I’m sure it was probably docile, like Seymour’s collector’s party in Ghost World. (The film; not the book. I don’t think there’s a Seymour character in the book.) But I don’t have vinyl aficionados to schmooze with here. If I do meet somebody who is, it will always boil down to one of three things:
-“Which are your rarest records? So I can maybe short change you out of one or all of them?”
– “Oh, your looking for that record? Yeah, I have that record (although it’s rarity makes it basically nonexistent) and no you can’t hear it or see it, because of said reason above.”
-And finally, “You should hear my wax set. Every single record I own, and I mean every one, has a mind blowing classic (Queue hands to temples that plume out into explosions) that you’ve probably never heard. Seriously, you need to listen… to me. Like right now.”
This past Record Store Day, and just Record stores, even the word Record, gives me a strong fit of nostalgia. Too bad the local institutions aren’t as dusty as I like my Vinyl boutiques to be. Even F.Y.E. is selling records now, both new and vintage. It’s just another homogenization of a piece of our culture. That’s what we say about everything now, isn’t it? Speaking with the shop keep about what’s coming in is just pomp and faire now. There are no more exchanges where we suggest music to each other in arbitrary banter, full of drum solos played invisibly and sounded out with hums that make our cheeks look like the tuba line of a marching band. My favorite part, even though it’s upselling but still appreciated, is when they see the selections you bring up to the counter and they take you to the vault. There’s always one, although it might be a shitty back office or just the store room where they blaze it up. Squirreled back there, wrapped in a velvet cloth, a print, that wasn’t even in your range, is exhumed and put in your hands. All you can do is run your fingers around the edges, checking for creases in the jacket, and express that it means nothing. This way, you don’t become a mark every time you walk in.
Even the people binning, had their own quiet glamour. It may always be the same ensemble for a major city store, but in El Paso, it’s rare when we all come out. Sure, there’s a Bearded Guy in the Trenchcoat, even though it’s 85 degrees. There’s the folks trying to hum tunes in an attempt to jog some distant memory. I even had a humorous exchange; where a friend of mine pulls out a burly twelve inch single of George Michael, but I guess they all looked like that. To which the gentleman next to us shows a Fine/Good copy of Quad City DJS “C’mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)”. Then a young lady, beside the three of us reveals an “Achy Breaky Heart” in her stack. Me? Well I hit them with that “Girl, You know It’s True”, full braids and all. We laughed and laughed, but then I realized that I had become those guys. The stand around talking shit about people’s art guy. Which I’ve always been; just now there are more people like me.
All that aside, we didn’t get to the stores early enough; there were just a bunch of Skrillex cassette tapes going for twenty bucks, so I won no epic loot to share with you.
This week In Music: Since I don’t have any wrestling a letterbox album out of some unwashed trendster’s hands tale, you’re going to have to settle free downloads.
OkyDoky – No Emperor
OkyDoky has been on my radar for a minute, yet I could never find a song I wanted to share with you. They were always too far eccentric or a little too late Nineties scratch heavy, or just not in my sonic medium. That’s fine. We don’t always have to like an artist’s entire catalog. We also don’t always need to be able to categorize everybody into neat little boxes. But it does help describe them to you if we want you to listen to them. This piece fits somewhere in the Industrial Electro and Goa Hip Hop range, with its Eastern Synth and tribal flutes. You can hear the technical understanding of the song’s musical profile and it sounds like a fucking Super Villain intro. That’s why I like it, because it’s a Perfect Crime movie segment. Including the scene where the protagonists blend into a random shop to escape their pursuers.
Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You (Fare Soldi Remix)
The original song has plenty of praise, including that it was one of those radio friendly hits, in an era of commercialized hip hop rotations. This incarnation focuses on the Disco Dance charms, playing up the modern wave, without offending the purists. It’s a little Spacey, but that’s fine, just don’t let it play all the way through. The lead in is symmetrical and the bassline groove is nowhere as force-fed as some of the other remixes I’ve heard.
Robin Thicke- Make You Love Me – (Kilian & Finn Love Don’t Exist Edit)
I’ve always been a fan of Robin Thicke remixes, mainly because I used to throw them in when I had to play safe Hip- Hop and R&B for a musically domesticated crowd. This is a Deep House, causal Soul edit, for the Suit and Tie people. The vocal is for the ladies, the words are for the men.
MSCLS Ft. Know – Make it Hot
Can we be honest for a minute? I know you and I come up with certain phrases that we want to use in song. At least I do. A daydream will repeat itself and bore a tempo and a beat from two or three words. Songs like this are what come out of a distant stare from a producer ignoring work, school, or just life in general. Sure, it’s another House remix, but this leans off the beat and flows much more melodically and subtle. The break is effective without sounding repetitive and it’s really the other side of the coin for the previous track.
Suck Fake & Daniel Brooks – U Don’t Know
Looking back on it, none of these tracks are for informal musicians. Each one has a curve at some point in them that forces you to think. Some of you are already thinking about which parts to nex out and which ones to focus on. For me, that middle collapses. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the rest. It’s a bit Garage and Ghetto and House.
Billie Holiday – Don’t Explain (Funkware Bootleg)
So the last one on the list is really easy. I have an affinity for Jungle Drum and Bass with Ambient Tech. It’s such an oxymoron of a style, yet always works. Chill, but hard. Frantic beats with clean tones. The choice of sample doesn’t hurt.
I really do wish I could talk about X-rays being used in communist Russia to make bootleg Flexie records. There are old stories about going to the seedy side of town, where you would find a prostitute on one corner, a drug dealer on another, and an illegal record seller on another. Now we have a holiday. Those old waxheads would probably laugh at us, but that’s if they didn’t die from radiation poisoning… or syphilis. Personally, back in the day always sounds a little more fun, doesn’t it?
Raul Chacon is a self-aware douchebag, who only listens to bands you’ve probably never heard of. His years of writing for literary reviews and magazines, lead him to a couple of scholarships for his work, which he quickly squandered by moving to Austin and going to shows six days a week, instead of class. Eventually, he became as a touring security and witnessed hundreds of shows and dozens of festivals firsthand. He would tell you how many shows he’s been too; but there’s too many holes in his brain at this point.
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