[Vinyl Vednesday is a weekly feature about three favorite vinyl finds. It’s not meant to be a dick-measuring contest, but it kinda is. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your own big finds!]
Records: Coalesce’s Give Them Rope 2.0 (2004) on black with a bonus CD, Echo & The Bunnymen’s Heaven Up Here (1981) on black, and Mogwai’s The Hawk is Howling (2008) on black.
Place of Purchase: All three came from Siren Records in Doylestown. I’ve been downsizing my collection lately – at its peak, my CDs and records totaled somewhere in the vicinity of 3,000. Most places are lame about cash-back – got-damn I miss Disc World right about now – but Siren has always given me store credit for everything I bring in. So, I was pretty stoked when the owner offered me a $120 shopping spree fueled by shit I didn’t want anyway. So long, Fungus Amongus by Incubus. We had some good times, my collection of Dispatch albums. Still haven’t traded in that Phish album where the band covers The Beatles’ “White Album” (almost) in its entirety.
Moral of the story: Trade in your albums at Siren. It’s awesome, and it paid for this entire post (and then some).
Records: Two thirds of this list is made up of impulse buys. My buddy Scott from the technical hardcore group Ancestor turned me on to Coalesce via their recent album Ox. Since then, I’ve been working my way somewhat backwards through their discography. I was a little underwhelmed by the recording quality on 1999’s 0:12 Revolution in Just Listening – still a great album, but Ox still sounds way better – so I was slightly hesitant to pick up the band’s full-length debut, Give Them Rope. By “hesitant,” I mean it took like five seconds for me to grab the album off the punk/hardcore rack. While the album shows a band still slightly figuring out its sound, Give Them Rope captures a group with fully developed chops. Tunes like “One on the Ground” and “I Took a Year” kick my butt and make my mom give me weird looks every time she walks by my room.
Echo & The Bunnymen was even more of an impulse buy. While I sort of knew what to expect from that Coalesce album, I didn’t know a single Bunnymen tune. My understanding of the band stemmed entirely from Frank Zappa (played by Griffin Dunne) making fun of them in the 2002 VH1 Original Movie Warning: Parental Advisory, starring Jason Priestly and Dee Snider. Between Last.fm and iTunes, I usually have an idea of what a band sounds like before plunking down cash (er, store credit) on their music, but given my circumstance, I decided to take a chance on the band. I’m glad I did. While the Rolling Stone Album Guide trashes Heaven Up Here (despite naming it one of the 500 best albums of all time just a year prior. Hypocritical much?), I enjoyed the band’s tunes. I definitely get why they appealed to fans of The Cure and The Smiths, but their post-punk energy gives the songs a different kind of urgency. It’s the kind of album that makes me question what’s going on in music these days. Why do The Futureheads even exist?
I knew exactly what I was getting with The Hawk is Howling, though. It’s neck-and-neck with Young Team as my favorite Mogwai album. Given the care the band puts into their post-rock masterpieces – the whole album flows perfectly – I thought that a vinyl pressing of Hawk would be done with care. Matador did a great job with it – 180 gram vinyl, gatefold printed on excellent, thick paper stock, fantastic sound quality. I’m hoping to one day get all of Mogwai’s albums on vinyl, but that 4 LP box set for the rerelease of Young Team is going to wreck my wallet. For the time being, though, I’m OK with spinning lush, spacey instrumental tunes with humorous names like “Batcat” and “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead.”