Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I bought us some brand new vinyl just recently - special ordered the new Elvis Costello, Momofuku, from our local record store. Though why I call it a record store and why it has the word "Record" in its name is mysterious, because they stock not one single "record" as I define them.

Are you still buying vinyl? According to one vaguely disreputable news source, there is a real upsurge in vinyl production and sales. Lots of dweeby twentysomethings want to experience the hassle of cleaning, storing and moving vinyl for the rest of their lives. Welcome to our world, kids!

Just wondering - What do you play your vinyl on?

The picture above is almost identical to one of my vinyl players. I found this on a vintage audio gear site - theirs sold for almost $400! I only play albums made before 1970 on mine. And even then not everything - depends on the album, the time of day, the languor of the moment, etc - but it was my little Magnavox that made me a Byrds-fanatic for life, something my now-vintage 80s unit couldn't do. Allow me to explain, please...Naw, that's a story for another day.

Meanwhile, check out this really good, very thoughtful blog piece on the New Vinyl conundrum. It's also all about that new/old Tom Petty band, Mudcrutch. I'm not a big Petty fan - I've thought for thirty years that he needs to strip his records down to the bone and record in a garage - but I've read good things about this Mudcrutch gang. Anyone hear it yet?

Now playing: The Terje Rypdal Group - Ved Soerevatn
via FoxyTunes


Anonymous said...

As a 20 something college student who buys new vinyl, and knows a lot of people who do, the argument is more like this -- since most people use mp3 players as a portable music source, people who buy CDs just end up copying them to their iPod. Digital music has no value either -- it's just information. Most new vinyl either comes with a free cd (like Steve Albini has done with Shellac since the beginning) or gives you a link to download it for free. Or, for example, I downloaded the new Vic Chesnutt album illegally, decided I liked it a lot, and then ordered the vinyl direct from Constellation. That way Mr. Chesnutt and the label get their money, and I get a really nice object (beautiful packaging!) along with a cdr I can take with me on trips. The fact that the vinyl isn't that much more expensive, even the same price or less in some cases makes the case pretty much shut, right?

gomonkeygo said...

Nicely put, sir or madam - appreciate the comment and the thoughtfulness. You should get yrself a blog, young whippersnapper! And a back brace, because eventually you will own thousands of LPs that weight many hundreds of pounds and you will have to move them all and then you shall rue the day you ever took the first perilous step onto the Vinyl Highway.

She will kill you and eat you. ;)

Ariel said...

While I appreciate the previous commentator’s thoughts—as an 18 year-old lover of vinyl myself, I understand the rationale—I can’t help but be suspicious of some of these oh-so-achingly hip twenty-something buyers. To me, it seems that purchasing vinyl has become a necessary accessory of this prefabricated, iconoclastic image, an instant guarantee of that holy grail of hipness: authenticity. As it stated in that NYT article: “thick-framed eyeglasses, bangs and vintage dresses.” And vinyl, of course. Could it get any more predictably banal? I suppose this isn’t anything new, though.

Love the blog, sir. I’m especially thankful for the Opal recordings. Thank you for leaving a comment on our blog, as well!

gomonkeygo said...

You've been in love with vinyl for 18 years or are 18 and in love with vinyl? Either way, it's cool.

I did find the same line in the NYT article...uh...repulsive, I'll say. I wanted to smash something with my head or against my head.

And glad you dig the Opal. Love the avatar/pic/thing. Please stop back anytime; I'll be adding your blog to my favorites.

Ariel said...

Thanks! I’ll definitely link back to your blog when posts correlate. Oh, and I meant that I was 18 and love vinyl, to clear up any confusion. The first part of that article really did read like a caricature. I mean, a Broken Social Scene record? It was too perfect.

Anonymous said...

The NYT article is less repulsive than amusingly clueless, but it is worth mentioning that for a lot of these kids modern alt/indie stuff like Broken Social Scene functions as part of a larger social structure -- replace "thick-rimmed glasses" with face paint and Broken Social Scene with Bauhaus and it all comes together. Most of these kids are lonely and provincial; if their general affluence (new vinyl is not cheap, and even if turntables are cheaper than iPods these kids probably have both...) pushes their provincial nature from endearing (like the Goths and Metal kids from my high school days) to smug and infuriating, that's where the hate comes in. How many high schools have kids like these in them these days? I never remember seeing them but I came from a small school in a rural area, where indie still meant your older brother's Meat Puppets tapes...
What I really meant to say in my first comment is that besides this lifestyle pornography there are a lot of much more interesting reasons for young people to listen to vinyl, and other corners and subcultures, where kids are playing Madlib singes at parties finding and OOP True West at flea markets for pocket change.

Ariel said...

Such well-written and thoughtful comments! I understand the insularity and social purpose of this particular subculture; it’s the additional sense of smug superiority that rubs me the wrong way: “It takes a special kind of person to appreciate pops and clicks and imperfections in their music.” Especially in a case like this when “special” is tied to such an “amusingly clueless” definition of the term, as you put it. Oh well, less people I have to compete with to get OOP True West albums at flea markets.

Anonymous said...

First off, thanks for the bootload of paisley underground & similar tapes...real nice surprise to find these!

The compressed/uncompressed discussion is interesting, I've been thinking that some recent vinyl purchases sound like they have been mastered with cd/mp3 in mind. Seems like something goes wrong with the vinyl transfer, cos the discs basically sound sh*t. Two examples are the recent Caribou & MGMT albums. Haven't found a problem with any reissue stuff I've bought recently. My feeling then is the current non-audiophile vinyl releases are little more than a token gesture.

Playing vinyl on cheap gear, as I've always done. Never trust anyone with a guy with £10K vinyl rig...they probably just got a couple of Clapton lps (Mobile Fidelity, of course!).