|I used to think records were hokey relics of the
past. I used to tease my parents about owning them.
Considering this, it's horribly ironic-- and a bit
humbling-- to acknowledge that I now own dozen of
records, and surprisingly, most of which are not
thrift store records or golden oldies.
something hypnotizing and strangely comforting about
listening to records. I think I like them for reasons not
dissimilar than why I like stereos with analog volume
dials. Or why I like graphic sound equalizer displays.
I've purchased records from those aforementioned thrift
stores, swiped a record or two from my mother (all jazz),
came across a huge motherload at a yardsale for a record
station foolishly selling their entire Ramsey Lewis
collection, at rock-n-roll shows, and, yes, through mail
There's a few records that have completely burnt
themselves into my brain, ever since I heard them-- all
on wax. Here's my favorite 7 (or 45rpm for you
old-schoolers) vinyl releases:
- Unwound - Mkultra b/w
Totality. Disturbingly good.
Mkultra, about the ultra-creepy CIA
mind-control experiments, remains utterly
gutteral. I've heard these songs are a CD release
and they didn't compare, and I have absolutely no
- Faraquet - Parakeet b/w Um Die
Ecke. An instrumental and a virtual
roller-coaster respectively. I had no idea when I
first heard Um Die Ecke (first of
all, what that meant) when the song was going to
end. They could have easily kept bringing me back
to the verge of an ending, but denied me over and
over and I wouldn't have minded a bit.
- Janis Figure/Otis - Smooth Joey b/w
Horn Shine. The Otis side is good,
better than I'd probably admit to most, but the
Janis Figure side blew me away. A friend was
spinning it during a show we were doing together
on the radio. I told him I was crazy about the
song, and he said, yea, they're pretty
good, huh? Total freakin' understatement.
It's about a stupid subject, but it's definitely
- Blonde Redhead - Symphony of Treble
b/w Kasualty. Super-sweet (to my
ears, at least) songs that are completely
off-balance the whole way through. From the
near-shreaky lyrics, the jangly guitars, and
complex drumming, I loved it. I cried when I saw
them live. No shit. It was so pretty and
wonderful and... perfect.
- Shellac - Doris b/w
Wingwalker. Talk about a brutal
coupling of songs. Wingwalker
threatens to drive you mad for an entire four
minutes with it's tense and edgy rhythms... you
can almost feel the musicians losing all mental
stability as the song progresses. And
Doris, although a song that I sort of
ignored in light of the b-side, is probably an
even more emotional song, complete with
enthralling wordplay and spell-binding restraint.
I think these five records have two common themes:
they are completely passionate pieces of music and
because they have a full gamut of emotions both lyrically
and musically, which reminds me of life. Songs that are
lifeless and lacking in inspiration and emotion, not to
mention uncreative in their full expression feel shallow
and useless to me. Maybe stereotypical rock songs can be
good to dance to, but they can't be good to live to.