K Records Unboxing

When you order a big box of goodies from K Records, it’s always fun to show everyone what you got. Enjoy!

By the way, friends, someone please tell me how to properly pronounce Lois Maffeo’s last name. I always assumed it was Mah-FAY-oh, but I’m thinking that’s probably wrong. Someone enlighten me! I love her work, and it seems absolutely crazy that I don’t know the proper way to pronounce her last name.

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#RSD16

This morning, my alarm went off at 3:15 a.m. so I could be ready to leave the house at 4:30.  We got off to a tiny bit of a late start, but arrived at Joe’s Albums in Worcester, MA around 6:30 and secured our spot in line.  The doors opened at 8:00 a.m. sharp, and by 8:05, I’d already made my purchases and was headed out the door.  I got everything I wanted, plus some.  Couldn’t be happier with how RSD16 went down.  Check out my trip and my recap below.

 

Record Store Day 2016

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Record Store Day can be a touchy subject for vinyl enthusiasts.  Some love it, some hate it.  Many feel that the processing of all these special releases bogs down the already-limited pressing factories, and that is true.  Many hate the rules and regulations, the chaos of having to elbow your way through crowds just for the chance to find one of those limited releases.  Some feel it’s just a gimmick, and they hate spending large amounts of cash on a reissue that can be purchased in its original form and release for less.  Some record stores love it, and some report huge losses on RSD from purchasing an overabundance of expensive records that their clientele don’t seem to like or want.

I get that it’s become more about the releases and less about celebrating and patronizing the record stores, and it is a little sad that the day has taken that kind of turn.  But I still participate.  And the reason I do is because I’m a total sucker for something that’s cool-looking or limited.  That being said, I don’t buy records that I don’t care about.  There are tons that have been the talk of vinyl sites for months now, but I’m not really into the big sellers.  I’m out for some of the smaller releases, the ones flying completely under the radar.  Also, I really do like to support my favorite record stores, and RSD just gives me an excuse to go and spend more money at said shops.

I do have to say, though — Record Store Day is freaking stressful.  It requires a lot of research on my part.  I live in an area with only one record shop in a 30-mile radius, and they don’t participate.  All of my favorite record shops are at minimum 90 minutes away from me.  So first I go through the list of releases and decide what I want.  Then I start looking at the 30 or so shops within a three-hour drive and stalk their social media and websites until they start releasing details about their RSD plans.  Usually by the time Thursday rolls around, I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of stores, and then Friday I make my final decision.  But that’s only the beginning of the stress, because then I have to try and guess when people will start to line up at the shop, and plan my travels so I get there before or around that time.  I’ve been going to the same record shop for RSD for the last three years.  Yup, they came through again and that’s where I’m heading tomorrow.  But I still don’t know what time I should line up.  My first year, we ended up getting there about an hour AFTER opening, and I was still able to grab the release I wanted most (and found the other at another shop down the street).  Last year, we arrived about 45 minutes early, and there were 20-30 people in line already.  AND I only found two of the releases I wanted, and had to go to two other stores to get the remainder.  That has me worried for this year.  I’m almost planning on lining up two hours in advance so I can avoid the chase, though my record guy mixes all his RSD releases together so that it’s not in any kind of order, and that means the person ten people behind me could find the records I want before I do.

See what I mean about stress?

I’m mostly kidding.  If I don’t get the releases I want, it won’t be the end of the world.  But I have to say, I’m just dying to get my hands on that Weepies release.  “Say I Am You” is one of my favorite albums from them, and it’s being released on vinyl for the first time.  Plus it comes with a signed poster.  That’s on the top of my list.  The rest is just icing on the cake.

What about you guys?  What do you think of Record Store Day, and will you be participating?  Any releases you’re particularly excited to get?

Quasi Quasi Quasi (and a new haul video!)

I love Quasi.  Love them.  In fact, I’m listening to “The Poisoned Well” as I write this.  But for all my days of record collecting, and the many shops I’ve visited, I had never been able to find any Quasi vinyl in person.  Only online.  I was so flummoxed by the sheer absence of Quasi in stores that it became kind of a running joke, and then an obsession.  Sure, I could buy any Quasi album I wanted online, but I refused.  I wanted to find it “in the wild.”  With every record store I visited, I’d wonder, Is this it?  Will today be the day?  But we remained ships in the night, me and Quasi vinyl…

…until Friday, March 25, when I stepped foot inside Rough Trade for the first time.  And there, behind the Q divider, I pulled out a copy of Quasi’s “Mole City.”  It was a moment of pure joy.  Achievement.  I may have even done a fist pump.  I was sad that my partner in crime was not there to witness the moment, but my good friend Girl + Records was, and she documented the event for me.  I finally found Quasi IN THE WILD.  And now that I have, I’m free to spend unlimited amounts of money on Quasi from the interwebz!  Kidding.  But not really.

I talk about my Quasi find and many others in my new haul video below.  Check it out and watch me wrangle my cat who insisted upon doing his best to knock my camera over.

And after you’ve watched my video, go listen to some Quasi.  You won’t be sorry.

EPIC Vinyl Haul

It’s been a mere six weeks since my last haul video, but I’ve gathered quite a few gems in that time. Not only have I been finding some fantastic things on the interwebz, but I visited two new record shops a few weekends ago and scored some of my best finds so far this year.

I’m not too sure why it’s taken me so long to visit the record shops in Florence, MA, considering the town is only a little over an hour away from me, and I’m in nearby Northampton quite often. I’d been meaning to check out Wild Mutation Records, but they announced early this year that they were closing up shop and moving to Philadelphia. I was a little bummed I never made it there because I’d heard good things about their punk selection, but I still wanted to stop off in Florence to check out Feeding Tube Records.

A few weeks back, I discovered that Feeding Tube had a record I really wanted to get, so I started to plan my trip for the weekend. In browsing through their Facebook page, I noticed that they recommended a new record shop (Electric Eye Records) that opened in the space once occupied by Wild Mutation. I checked out their page and saw a photo with three Bikini Kill records, and that’s when I knew I had to go there. The photo had been posted ten days earlier, so I wasn’t expecting those records to still be hanging around. But the shop had opened only three weeks ago, and my hope was that not enough people knew about it yet to grab all the good stuff.

Saturday I headed off bright and early, stopping first at Electric Eye Records. The shop was small, but stocked well. My partner in crime (hereafter referred to as PIC) pulled out a Kill Rock Stars compilation for me, and then found the three Bikini Kill records I was hoping would still be in the bins. Bikini Kill only put out three seven inches, all on Kill Rock Stars. They also had a seven inch with Team Dresch, but these were the only three that were just them. The covers were perfect, and the records were mint. I was floored. Plus they were exactly the right price. The owner, Andy, was a really nice guy. He gave me the KRS comp for free, which was pretty sweet. I know I’ll definitely be stopping in there again the next time I’m around Northampton.

Next up was Feeding Tube. I went in knowing that I wanted to pick up the three-LP YoYo a GoGo compilation, and a Dub Narcotic Sound System record with a guest performance by Miranda July. They have a nicely curated selection of records out in bins, and then they have their online inventory stored in the back. I cruised around and looked through the seven-inches, which were categorized by geographical area. The Northwest section was made just for me. I found a K Recs International Pop Underground single for Girl Trouble in pretty good condition. The owner pulled out the records I’d seen online, and I was thankful that the YoYo a GoGo comp had really clean, NM records, and a decent cover, with the exception of a little creasing along the bottom from being improperly stored at one point. He gave me an excellent deal on the comp, and I was so thrilled to have that in my hands. Live 1994 recordings of bands and artists like Excuse 17, Heavens to Betsy, Unwound, Karp, Team Dresch, Lois Maffeo, Beck, Halo Benders, Fitz of Depression, Neutral Milk Hotel, Mecca Normal, and so on. Killer, right?

Between that and the Bikini Kill records, it was definitely my best in-store finds of the year. Vinyl karma was on my side Saturday. Watch my haul video to see what else I’ve picked up over the past six weeks.

Second Record Haul Video!

After a month of collecting some gems off the interwebz and a successful record shopping trip to Boston and Worcester, MA, I decided it was time for another record haul video. I scored some excellent Kill Rock Stars and Villa Villakula gems, and grabbed a few new items I’ve been wanting. So check it out!

I’m new to these videos, so let me know your thoughts. Am I speaking too slowly? Too quietly? Do I need a haircut? The answer is most definitely yes to that last question. But in all seriousness, I’m looking for some feedback. I’d like to grow this venture a little and try to reach some other women out there. Strength in numbers. I’d love to know what experiences my sisters in vinyl collecting have had, and I’d love for all of us to gain more visibility and recognition in the collecting world. Our voices and knowledge and collections deserve that. It isn’t just a boys’ club; obsessing over music and records is for everyone.

Record Player Throwback

The year was 1988, and Debbie Gibson was topping the charts. To this day, I’m not entirely sure if I liked Debbie Gibson because my parents approved of her wholesome image and therefore introduced me to her music, or if I heard one of her songs on the radio and felt some magnetic pull. I don’t remember a conscious decision to invest in her music, though I remember a bright red Walkman beneath the Christmas tree and her “Out of the Blue” cassette tape accompanying it. My first memory of hearing music and needing to own it was during my dance class. Our dance instructor used songs that were popular at the time, but she also played music I’d never heard before. My parents listened to classic rock, mostly, and were very careful about what I heard on the radio, lest my young mind be corrupted by Madonna or some other less-than-savory musician. Though I’d loved music from a very young age, I never associated it with something I could purchase until I turned nine. When I heard Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” at my dance studio, I wanted it. And that was my very first record.

My parents had purchased me a Tele-Tone record player in the early 80s, one of those little turntables with plastic parts and a multi-colored cardboard carrying case, and I had occasionally used it for the records that came in some children’s books back then. But it didn’t get much use until I acquired my first real record — the first one I’d actually wanted. I never amassed a very large collection of 45s, but I listened to the ones I had incessantly. I remember the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” playing (probably ad nauseum to my parents). I remember practicing my dance moves to “Man in the Mirror.” The flame had always been there, somewhere. That love of music is one of my earliest memories — back to when I was just three or four years old and knew all the words to every song from “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music.” But those first records awakened something more in me. They fed that fire and made it more tangible. Selecting and listening to music was something personal, curated, controlled. It was my own.

My very first record player, which sits on a shelf next to my record collection today:

Record Haul Video!

After spending many hours watching YouTube videos documenting record finds, I decided to make my own Vinyl Hysteria haul video. And what a perfect time to start, since it’s only a few weeks into 2016. Check out my first video below, and subscribe to keep up with all my latest vinyl acquisitions.

Record Collecting Girl Style Now

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For a long time when I started collecting vinyl, I didn’t really pay attention to the people around me when I was digging through crates of dusty records, or skimming through brand new stock in a new record store.  But on Record Store Day last year, I looked around at all the others waiting in line, and I noticed that they were almost exclusively men — the only women in line seemed to be tethered to husbands, boyfriends, brothers, whatever.  Inside the store, there was a woman waiting in line to pay in front of me, and one behind me.  “Cool,” I thought.  “Here are the women who collect vinyl.”  But then they started talking about how they were there picking up items for male relatives.  I was suddenly fascinated by this phenomenon.  Was collecting vinyl a mostly male endeavor?  Was I unknowingly stepping into a boys’ club?

After that, I started paying attention at record stores.  And, yes, I was usually surrounded by men.  It occurred to me that all of the sellers from whom I’d purchased records on Discogs or eBay were men.  It also seemed to me that a good portion of the users on the Discogs forums were also men.  Poking around record-collecting message boards, I unearthed a series of very disturbing posts about women who collect vinyl.  Here’s just one gem of a response (and there are hundreds more) to the question, Do you know any women who collect vinyl?

I sell to a few, but I think most are the buying accounts for their male partners.  I rarely see any women at the record fairs either unless they’re pissed off/nagging some bloke to hurry up.

I’m planning a future post dedicated to these idiotic, sexist comments. But for now, I think that one example shines a light on the general attitude towards women who do collect.  Why would a seller assume that I’m buying for a male partner?  Because women don’t/can’t appreciate music, or have knowledge about music, records, and collecting?

Once I started to notice these assumptions about women who insert themselves into the world of record collecting, I started thinking about Amanda Petrusich’s book, “Do Not Sell at Any Price.”  When I had first heard about the book prior to its publication, I was excited to read it.  The premise sounded interesting, and I liked the idea that it was written by a woman.  But the first set of reviews on Amazon proved to be less than stellar, and so I decided to put off reading the book.  But now I was curious.  Were these bad reviews written by men who had similar views on female vinyl collectors and women who dared to assert some sort of knowledge about the industry?  Or was the book truly not all that great?

I picked it up from my local library, and I couldn’t put it down.  I loved it.  I thought it was a great personal account of someone falling in love with the music, the chase, the feel of vinyl or shellac in their hands.  I also liked her journalistic approach, because it taught me a few things I didn’t know about some of the rarest 78 recordings.  But I figured out what some hardcore collectors might not appreciate about what Petrusich had to say: She wanted to know why this world of collectors was almost exclusively men, and she went so far as to consult medical experts to try and find a reason.  Of course, there isn’t a single reason, but she tossed around ideas like OCD, and Asperger’s, and the tendency to obsess and catalog being a heightened male trait.  Perhaps that pissed off more than a few (male) obsessive collectors.

But I’m a woman, and I’m obsessed with records too.  I think about vinyl far too often, and spend my lunch breaks browsing my favorite sites or record labels for future (or immediate, when it’s something rare) purchases.  There’s no better way to spend a weekend than record shopping, whether it’s at one of my favorite shops, or digging through crates of mostly junk records at flea markets or antique stores.  I don’t have a gigantic collection yet, but I add to it every month (I even have to give myself a budget so that I don’t spend all my money on vinyl).  A lot of very serious collectors would probably eye my oddball conglomeration of records and laugh.  I’m not out to purchase the rarest of rare records, unless that rare record happens to be from a band or artist I adore.  I’m not committed to any single genre of music; I like to dabble in several, since I love so many kinds of music.  My collection is a mixed bag.  But I’m still serious about it.  I know far too many details about pressings and record labels, especially the labels I love the most.  And I do have aspirations of collecting one particular label’s entire catalog, bit by bit.

I know there are more women out there who collect, and who are as obsessed as I am (maybe more).  After scouring the internet for months, I found a good handful of fairly well-known female collectors, but that was it.  Most are men.  And most of the forums are filled with men who believe that women can’t be collectors or don’t have real knowledge about music.  Not all of them feel this way — many guys I’ve encountered (including the owner of my favorite record store) see no difference between male and female collectors.  Neither gender is better or more knowledgeable or more serious than the other.  My breasts don’t reduce me to a dabbler or amateur in their eyes.  And that’s great.

But I have had guys take stacks of records they’ve been carting around a store and, without thinking twice, plop them right down on top of the row I’m flipping through.  And I have read those pages of sexist comments on the forums.  I’ve had guys push me out of the way at record shops, and I was actually mistaken for a man twice in the same night at a local shop because, well, of course I was a guy.  Women don’t collect records!  My fellow collectors didn’t even look at me before calling me “dude” and “man.”

I think about the women who might really want to begin collecting, but don’t know where to start.  They might go into a record shop to just look around and either be shoved around/aside, or ignored by the Barry Judd working the counter who doesn’t take her seriously.  They might go on those forums, read those comments, and feel they don’t have a place in this world.  Young girls who have an interest might be too afraid to step into a space that is so heavily occupied by boys.

And that’s why I created this blog.

I want a space where I can connect with other women who collect vinyl and love music as much as I do.  I want to highlight all the women collectors out there, because I know you’re there; I just haven’t found you yet.  I want to talk about our experiences, our white whales, and our passions — and hopefully inspire other women and girls to join the fun.

So hit me up!  Tell me your stories.  Let me interview you.  And follow along as I share my adventures (and misadventures) in record collecting.

**PLEASE NOTE: This is not a “women-only,” man-bashing space, but it will be a safe space.  Negative comments won’t be tolerated.  I encourage discussion, but not threats or bullying.**