Three Canadian Bands You Should Know

I love Canadian music. Yes, it might seem like everything I show in my videos comes from the Pacific Northwest, but I have a fairly large collection of Canadian music too. Most of the albums I collected prior to becoming a member of the YouTube VC were from Canadian artists, so you guys haven’t seen those records.

Since I’ve slowed significantly with my vinyl purchases, I decided that I had to do another kind of video to stay involved with the vinyl community on YouTube. I thought it would be fun to show older pieces of my collection, and talk about the music I love. And because I love Canadian music so much and feel that not nearly enough people in the States (or abroad) know about it, this was the perfect opportunity to show off some of my favorite vinyl acquisitions while also introducing some of my non-Canadian followers to some really awesome tunes.

I’ll likely have a few videos devoted to Canadian artists, and this is the first one. I talk about three very different bands: DIANA, PS I Love You, and July Talk. Whether you’re into rock, indie, or synth, I think you’ll find something you like here. Check it out and please, if you like something you hear, consider diving deeper into the music and make a purchase. Feed these bands so they’ll keep making amazing music!

Another day, another haul

Even though I’m “not buying records right now,” I seem to have amassed a good enough haul to do another video. This one, though, might be the last for a while. I’m currently readying myself for a move, and moving is expensive. Also I’m not sure how long it’ll take me to sell my current house, so I’m on a limited budget until I’m fully moved and have sold my home. I do have some pre-orders coming, and will be buying a few things here and there, but the quantity will be greatly reduced. Never fear, though — I have plans for other vinyl-related videos, so I’ll still be active in the YT VC. This will give me a chance to show everyone pieces in my collection that I purchased prior to my joining YouTube.

Check out my video below, and if you haven’t subscribed yet, please do!

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?

Stranger Things Vinyl Pre-Order Details

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Lakeshore Records released their final details this morning for the different Stranger Things Volume 1 variants, and provided pre-order links where available.  Of all the variants, I liked the clear with black smoke the best, but I didn’t jump on it when Bullmoose unleashed their pre-order early, and none of the links provided today had any available either.  My second favorite US variant was the translucent red with black swirl available as an exclusive through Barnes & Noble, so I grabbed one of those quickly.  I’m still holding out hope that I can snag a clear with black smoke variant at some point, but at least I’ve secured a copy that I do really like.

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Barnes & Noble Exclusive. Photo via Lakeshore Records / filmmusicdaily.com

The UK Invada variants are pretty gorgeous, but shipping to the US was pricey, so I decided to wait and see what the combo pack will look like with both volumes.  It’ll be tempting, despite the high shipping costs, if it has a lot of bells and whistles.

What’s your favorite variant?

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.