Episode 12 is up!

I received a gift certificate for Last Vestige Music Shop in Albany, NY for my birthday two weeks ago, and it was burning such a hole in my pocket that I made a trip to the shop as soon as humanly possible. I’d been to Last Vestige before and knew they had a lot of great stuff, so I was looking forward to the visit.  Sure enough, I found more records than I had $$, so I purchased a small pile and will have to save the other records for another trip.

As you’ll be able to see in the video, my tastes vary widely: I love punk, indie, Canrock, jazz, folk, and anything that gives me warm, fuzzy nostalgia for my childhood. On this trip, I bought everything from The Rickets to Enya. Don’t judge. I see you giving Enya the side-eye.

I also show a few albums that I’d ordered online, and have clips of the music for everyone to check out, so give ‘er a watch below, eh?

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Mega Haul Video

I didn’t realize how much vinyl I’d accumulated during the two months after my vacation. I’d pre-ordered so many albums before June, and they all started arriving in my mailbox. Then I got a few gift cards from work and decided to use those to buy even more vinyl. The result is this mega haul, which I highlight in the video below. Eskimeaux, the Tragically Hip, Hannah Georgas, Florist, AroarA, soundtracks, you name it. Check it out!

Final PNW Haul Video

It’s a bit late to the table, but I finally uploaded the last haul video covering finds from my trip to the Pacific Northwest. I cover a lot of ground in this video — 10 record stores! — but there are some really cool pieces I picked up, so check it out!

Record Store Review: Dr. Disc

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This past weekend, on a road trip to Canada to see Sarah Harmer perform, I finally had the opportunity to check out Dr. Disc in Hamilton, Ontario. I’d never visited the shop before, but Mark, the owner, was so helpful last year when my wife and I were looking for a Canadian record shop that a) carried the Polaris Prize 10″ Sarah Harmer cover sessions record, and b) was willing to send us that along with a Polaris Prize nominee record (the required purchase for receiving the free SH 10″). We’d tried a few stores who seemed clueless about the release while we were in Canada on vacation, but once we were home, we touched base with Mark who was more than happy to send us the records, and even sent them from the US to save us a little on shipping. He also threw in a Dr. Disc slipmat, which I thought was pretty cool.

My wife had kept in touch with Mark online after that, and so when we knew we were going to be traveling through Hamilton, she touched base and let him know we’d be by the shop. He was warm and welcoming, and hooked us up with some excellent swag — tote bags and t-shirts. It was totally unexpected and so appreciated, and it stood in such stark contrast to the kind of interactions I’ve had with shops I frequent in the US. I spend a lot of time and a lot of dough at one of my favorite shops, and yet they don’t even know my name. People don’t believe me when I tell them that Canadian folks are just a lot nicer and friendlier, but this is a prime example right here.

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The shop is a good size, with two floors of vinyl and CD bins, plus a room full of turntables and DJ gear. Everything was so clean and organized, which made it easy to find some gems even though we were a little short on time. And the prices were excellent, for both new and used vinyl. I grabbed Alvvays’ 2013 self-released album, which has been on my wantlist for ages. I’m a sucker for anything RCMP-related (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), so when my wife discovered a 1970s RCMP band record in the bins, I had to snag that one as well. And I was able to find two Rankin/Bass Christmas albums that I’ve been wanting for years — “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas,” and “Frosty’s Winter Wonderland.” I can’t even explain how much I geeked out over finding those.

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I wish we’d had more time to spend in the shop, because I’m sure I would have come home with a huge stack of records. But I was more than happy with my finds, and it was great to meet one of the nicest record shop owners around. Mark, thanks for the swag and the kindness, and for having a really excellent store. Congratulations on 25 years!

 

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.

New shops + new haul video

Here’s the deal: I’m supposed to be saving money for my upcoming trip to the Pacific Northwest, which is rife with record stores and thrift shops. I have about twenty on my list so far, and I’m sure I’ll be ducking into some that didn’t make the first cut. Plus I have a 32-page list of records I’m seeking. So I need to save some cash for that vacation, but you know me — I can’t resist vinyl! While visiting with family in upstate New York over Memorial Day weekend, I stopped in at Thrifted, a great thrift store with clothes, retro housewares, and lots of records. Most of the records were 70s and 80s, which was fine with me. I picked up four records for $10 and was a happy camper.

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That was supposed to be my last purchase until vacation, but this past weekend, my better half wanted to go check out the vintage denim selection at the Kiam Records Shop in Nyack, NY, so we made a late-afternoon impromptu car trip down towards the city. I was trying to talk myself into only buying one or two used records, but right away I started spotting stuff I’d been looking for, and I couldn’t resist. I’ve been wanting to check out Kiam since I’m a fan of the label and its founder, Jennifer O’Connor. Plus they’re always posting photos of records I’d want. I’m really glad we made the trip, because it’s a great shop. Not only do they have a solid selection of new and used vinyl, but they also sell turntables, books, vintage clothes, pins, and other assorted goodies. I came away with some pieces I’d been wanting to add to my collection for a while.

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You can check out my finds in the haul video below. This will be my last one for a few weeks since I’m leaving for the good ol’ PNW soon, and when I come back, I have a Quasi show in New Jersey. I’m sure I’ll have a TON of records to show you guys when I’m finally home and recovered from my travels. Keep up with me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to catch a few glimpses of the stores I visit and the records I find.

It’s a Quasi Party!

I could write pages on my love for the band Quasi, but anyone who follows my blog or my videos knows about my Quasi devotion. So I’ll just say this much — I have been excited about the Up Records reissues for months, and I was wowed and impressed by what arrived on my doorstep. This vinyl is incredibly gorgeous, and I could not be happier.

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Wanna watch me geek out over it? Check it out below.

Brooklyn Flea Record Fair + a new haul video!

A couple of weeks ago, I visited the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair in Williamsburg. The weather forecast was iffy, so I was on the fence about making the trek before seeing Land of Talk and Little Scream at Baby’s All Right. But at the last minute, we decided to head on down and see if we could get a little browsing in before the rain.

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We arrived around 4:00, so I didn’t expect there to be much left in the bins, but it was still hopping. I was saving my cash for Land of Talk merch, so I wasn’t looking to drop a lot of money on records, but I figured I’d pick up a couple items. In the end, I only purchased one record: a sky blue pressing of the new Frankie Cosmos album, “Next Thing.” Yes, I already have the clear w/ white splatter pressing, but when the label rep told me they were designed so laying the clear and white over the blue would create a clouds-in-the-sky effect, I was sold. Plus, as you all know, I’m a completist, and I like having every pressing of any record I like.

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There were quite a few women at the fair, which was nice to see. But as usual with these shows, I had a lot of dude elbows in my way as I flipped through bins. I watch the body language of women, and I see them all tucking their elbows in so that the person next to them can flip through without issue. But every time I was next to a guy, I had his elbow completely covering the bin I was attempting to peruse. I know there’s no malice behind the act, but it irritates me anyway. I don’t think that women should be having their elbows over the bins either, but what bothers me is that women (not all, but most that I witnessed) seem to automatically adopt the position that they shouldn’t take up any more space than they need to, and men just take up as much space as they damn well please — whether it gets in the way of others or not. Not all men, by any means. But I looked through maybe five bins, and I had dude elbows covering four of them. Also discouraging was the guy who told his daughter to stay away from the records, even though she was just looking and not causing any trouble or damage. Dude, don’t discourage her! That is precisely what worries me about young girls who might want to get into record collecting. If it’s presented as a boys’ club, then what happens to those girls who are interested? They’ll just move on to something else. It shouldn’t be that way.

I really need to devote an entire post to the ways in which women are so marginalized in the vinyl community (again, not by all, but by a good majority), BUT I do have a bunch of new records to show everyone. I stopped at Redscroll Records in CT over the weekend and found a good group of gems, plus I got a new record in the mail. Check out my haul below — it even has a small cameo by my cat, Cubby, at the very end.