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Record Store Day 2013

I don't know why vinyl makes me happy - I'm sure it's mostly nostalgic (apparently my ears suck, because I honestly don't hear the "warmth" and "presence" versus the "cold, sterile" digital recordings. Well, also my record player sucks).

Partly it's a ritual, too; something I don't think has a modern equivalent. Generally, you listen to records in the same space - the room with the record player (once I saw an ad in an old magazine showing a portable record player; the kid had these giant headphones on and appeared to be hanging out on a college campus in the late 70s. Obviously, this never really took off). This makes listening to music something of an "event" - maybe you've had a long, hard day at work and all you can think about is getting home and putting on your favorite record (well, and getting a bit drunk, obvy).

As many of you know, I am a fan of heavy metal music, an offshoot of the "hard blues" performed by acts such as Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, and Jethro Tull. The first time I really fell in love with an old record was when I found my uncle's box of records in our basement (he'd lived with my mom for a while after getting divorced). It was a Black Sabbath record - a 2-disc affair called We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll. What first caught my attention was Side Two - Paranoid, Iron Man, and War Pigs were tunes I had a passing familiarity with (thanks in part to KQRS, sigh). What hooked me was when I got around to listening to Side One - Black Sabbath, The Wizard, and Warning. It was jazz, it was blues, it was swing, but mostly it was fucking scary; the sound the needle makes on an old record segueing into rain, thunder, and finally that crushing riff that lands flat on the flatted fifth (rather than using it as a passing tone like civilized people). And that's all before the vocal kicks in!*

Warning may have informed my personal guitar style more than anything else at that point - possibly even now. Essentially, it's straight blues playing. Except then it goes to this instrumental section which opens with flashy, urgent licks, slows down a bit, and settles into a swing sort of deal. The tone is amazing - it sounds like the guy is over in the corner of the room with a little amp. And then it ends with a sort of medieval passage, which crashes into a proto-metal repeated riff (if you can't tell, I'm listening to it right now), some spooky sustain, and then we find our way back to the song.

I introduced this record to my friend Jason and we sort of bonded over it. For a short, arguably perfect, period of time, our lives consisted of playing pinball, finding booze, and playing Atari while listening to my uncle's old Black Sabbath record. You can never really tell for sure, but I think those were some of the best years of my life.

*I completely ruined the foreboding quality of this song by forgetting to move the RPM switch from 45 to 33, haha. :-)


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 22nd, 2013 02:06 am (UTC)
I love vinyl so much, i'm not sure when i started getting into it. A few years ago maybe? But i've accumulated so many albums since then, it's more fun for me to listen to vinyl than cds. I love the pops and cracks they make :)
Apr. 23rd, 2013 01:01 am (UTC)
I actually started off buying records in the mid-80s; you could buy everything on tape by then but they seemed unsatisfactory compared with records. Part of that was my mom's influence - she hated how tiny the album art was on cassettes compared to records.

You could buy CDs at the time too, but it was kind of a rich kid thing - I had only one friend who had a CD player; his parents had lots of money. Long story short, it's really fun going back to vinyl once in a while - especially getting exclusive vinyl-only releases and stuff like that! :-)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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