The Friday Five – July 29, 2016

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So many new albums and tracks have been released from excellent Canadian bands over the past couple of months. A good portion of my record collection is devoted to Canadian artists, and it makes me happy when I can introduce my fellow Americans to my favorite performers. Check out the tunes below and let me know what you think. Any Canadian artists you like? Tell me some of your faves.

1.  Billy Talent – “Afraid of Heights”

Billy Talent’s new album drops today, so I thought I’d share my favorite track off the record. Actually, it might be one of my favorite BT songs in general, coming in at a close second to “Surrender.” I love the energy, and can’t wait to grab a copy of the album (hopefully this weekend).

2.  July Talk – “Strange Habit”

July Talk released another track off their upcoming sophomore album the other day. It’s a bit softer than their usual fare, but I dig it. I’m so excited for this album to come out. Now if only I could get them to play somewhat near me on a Saturday night…

3.  DIANA – “Slipping Away”

I feel like I’ve been waiting years to hear some new DIANA. Oh, wait, I have. I’ve been into these guys since seeing them at the Wolfe Island Music Fest a few years back, and it’s great to see them releasing some new tunes. This one definitely doesn’t disappoint.

 

4.  Veda Hille – “Lover/Hater”

Veda’s new album, Love Waves, was long-listed for the Polaris Prize this year, and if you ask me, it should have been short-listed as well. The album is a bit more synth-heavy than her previous work, but it’s as lovely as ever. The chorus of this particular song is perfection.

 

5.  Hannah Georgas – “Loveseat”

I’ve had Hannah’s new album on repeat all week. Love it. Can’t get enough. My favorite track is “Don’t Go,” but I already featured that one on another Friday Five, so I picked out another good tune.

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Vacation Record Haul, part 1: Olympia, WA

The small town of Olympia, Washington, is saturated with music history. Think about all the great bands and labels that got their start in Olympia: Sleater-Kinney, Heavens to Betsy, Bikini Kill, Beat Happening, Excuse 17, K Records, Kill Rock Stars. Riot Grrrl. Kurt Cobain lived in Olympia.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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With such a rich history, it’s no wonder that Olympia is home to a gem of a record store like Rainy Day Records. I could have spent an entire day in there. Not only do they have a solid selection of records, but they’ve got cassettes (many local), CDs, t-shirts (their own, plus K Recs tees), pins, stickers, postcards, and all sorts of other goodies. I visited the store twice and came away with Le Tigre, Gossip, Tacocat, Yoyo a Go Go, Ex Hex, and a bunch of cassettes and fun stuff. That shop is definitely in my top 5 now, and I can’t wait to go back the next time I’m in the Pacific Northwest.

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I thought I’d been thorough in my research, but apparently I missed adding Funk Fuzz Records to our Olympia itinerary while planning. I was under the assumption that Rainy Day was the only record store in town. But while shopping downtown, we noticed Funk Fuzz attached to Dumpster Values, a vintage clothing store. It’s a very small space, but it had some great stuff. I grabbed a few things that I’d been looking for, and then as I was making my purchase, I noticed an original 1991 self-released Bikini Kill cassette in the display case. I passed it up at that moment because of the price, but then I got outside and realized that I would likely never come across one of those in person ever again. They’re incredibly rare, and they go for big bucks. The one in the shop was fairly reasonable, considering what it was. Five minutes later, I had talked myself into buying it and went back in to purchase a piece of music history.

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Check out my video below to see all my finds, and check back soon for the next installment in my vacation haul series. I went to so many record stores and purchased so much that I thought it would be better to break it out into a few videos. Enjoy!

On Theft, Loss, and Protecting Your Investment

Hello, friends and readers.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  Almost a month now.  And I wanted to share the reason why I’ve been gone.

I was on vacation last month in the Pacific Northwest, buying loads of vinyl and having an amazing time, when I got a call from home that my house had been broken into while we were away.  My parents discovered the break-in and called the police, and we jumped on the first possible flight home from Seattle.  The first thing I cared about was my cats and their safety.  But then I started to imagine the house empty, all my belongings gone.  All my records, all my guitars, all my jewelry and precious items.  In the end, the intruders didn’t take my records, or my guitars.  They stole rings I had from my grandmothers who had passed, some other jewelry, and some cash.  And they destroyed my house.  The place was ransacked.  And not only was it ransacked, but they cut themselves climbing in the windows they smashed, and bled all over the house.  Furniture had to be thrown out, hazmat cleaners had to be called in.  It’s been an absolute nightmare.

The only piece of vinyl they touched was unfortunately a prized possession: my colored vinyl Sleater-Kinney box set.  They didn’t steal it, but they handled it with their bloody hands, threw it down so that the corner of the box was smashed, and in the process of trying to clean up their blood, doused it with all kinds of liquids.  It’s horrifying, especially because I paid $300 for that box set, and not very long ago.  It had taken me a while to find one in mint condition, and that’s a good chunk of change to drop all at once.  And here’s the thing — it won’t fit into a standard sleeve, so I had kept it in my bedroom so that it would be safe until I could make a custom sleeve to protect it.  If it had been with my other records, it would have been safe, but the intruders trashed the room it was in the most.

This whole ordeal has been a wake-up call.  We live on a main street in our small city, and even though the area has had an increase in drug- and gang-related crime, we still felt we were safe from it.  Who would be brazen enough to break into a house on a major road, with constant traffic?  And we live fairly close to our neighbors, and know them.  We didn’t have a fancy security system, but you can bet we do now — interior and exterior.  I’m truly heartbroken over the stolen jewelry, because my maternal grandmother just passed away last year, and we were extremely close.  Having her ring stolen was a kick in the gut.  And my paternal grandmother died when I was six years old.  Her wedding rings and an ornate ceramic clock are the two things I had from her.  I’m furious that these precious items were stolen from me.  I don’t care as much about the gold rings from past boyfriends and whatnot, but family jewelry is different.

And here’s the thing: in the process of this, we’ve been asked for all kinds of things from our homeowner’s insurance company.  Things like photographs, receipts, estimated value, etc.  And I think to myself, wow, what would I give them if my entire record collection had been stolen?  Would I be able to remember every record?  And the condition?  Would I be able to provide receipts for those purchases?  Record collecting is an expensive hobby.  Not only do you drop cash on these items — some of which can be very pricey depending on how rare they are — but you invest a huge amount of time into it as well.  And now that I’ve been up close and personal with the idea of losing everything and having to try and recoup, I realize the importance of documenting.  Having an inventory.  As soon as my life calms down a bit, I plan to photograph every album I have, scan every receipt I might still have in my possession, and make an inventory of what I have so that if I’m ever faced with this again, I’ll have protected my collection as best I could.

I wanted to share this insight with everyone because it’s something I hadn’t truly thought about before, and maybe it could be of use to some of you.  Maybe some of you collectors already do this, but for those who don’t, consider making some kind of inventory for your insurance company.  It’s useful not only for recouping the monetary loss, but it could help the police track down the perp if they’re stupid enough to try and sell your records on eBay or Craigslist.

The break-in could have been a lot worse.  We could have been home at the time, or one of our cats could have been injured.  They could have taken everything instead of just jewelry.  But it sucked nonetheless.  And it caused us to cut our vacation short, so we had to miss out on seeing Wimps in Portland, and Quasi in New Jersey.  Thankfully we have incredible friends who were thoughtful enough to send us Quasi goods to help ease the pain.

I have a lot of excellent vinyl finds to share with everyone once my life calms down a little.  I came back from vacation with an overstuffed DJ bag full of music.  I’ll be posting those finds soon, and am looking forward to catching up with everyone in the VC again.