“Vinyl stands out like a sore thumb in today’s culture of music consumption which is what makes it so intriguing that new vinyl sales continue to increase world-wide. You can’t listen to vinyl in your car or on the train, or as you bustle and shove your way through the underground on the way to work. You can’t get vinyl for free if you know the right websites and it doesn’t all fit compactly into your pocket. It’s heavy, it’s cumbersome, it warps, skips, and scratches, and it’s expensive. But yet still more and more people each year fall back in love, or even in love for the first time, with vinyl.”
“What music formats that plead convenience do is undermine what music means to billions of music fans world-wide. Music becomes something that needs to be squeezed in while you do something else. It ceases to become a ritual, a sacred thing that one might make time for. Music is something to be multi tasked to, something enjoyed on low quality headphones or on the speakers of your phone, laptop, or iPad. Something to be listened once to and then thrown away.
What vinyl does is create space and time for the music that lies within its grooves. As soon you bring a record into your house, it demands attention. It’s heavy, so you need special shelves for it, especially if you’ve got thousands. You need a turntable, good cartridge and stylus, an amp, and speakers that will all do the record justice, and you need to set up your room for maximum listening pleasure. You need a great chair to collapse into, low lighting and posters of your favourite records. If you’re so inclined you need a bottle of good whiskey and an ashtray too.
“The college radio station in the college town I went to college in wasn’t really a college radio station at all—it was a commercial classic rock station run by students who were getting “real world experience.” Instead of college radio, we had The Quaker.”
“The Quaker sat behind the register of a windowless record shop on the second floor of a building in Campustown. He looked suspiciously like a hippie but had impeccable taste in music and brought the best of the American and British underground to the cornfields.
It was all vinyl then, maybe a few cassettes, and The Quaker would handwrite reviews on tiny circular stickers pasted onto the shrink-wrap. Key phrases to look for were “Dark, driving, post-punk,” “Reminiscent of Mission of Burma,” and “Highly Recommended.” If you saw a record with 6 stickers down the front, you knew you had to buy it. And the variety! Sonic Youth’s Bad Moon Rising in “Best New Music” next to Cocteau Twins’ Treasure.
This is where I went from being a just another kid who bought records to an obsessive who needed to hear and own every great album. Every Tuesday was spent trying to find the perfect album for that week—negotiating with friends, “I’ll buy this and if you buy that, we can tape and trade.”
“I don’t know if vinyl has ever been as important as it is today. In a time where music has become a disposable, intangible commodity with no real assigned value, vinyl has become a window to music’s past and, hopefully, its future.”
“These days it feels like sitting still to do anything is frowned upon. The way we listen to music has adjusted accordingly. I often find myself creating giant playlists on Spotify to listen to while I run, or putting my iPod on shuffle all night when friends come over. While these modern listening methods are super convenient, they can rob music of its physicality and, in turn, its worth.
When I want to really listen to music–when I want to hear everything and learn something and connect with the people making the music–I turn to my vinyl collection. Listening to a record is an active process. It’s something you do, not just something that happens in the background. Sure, it’s nice to be able to press a shuffle button and have my phone play music it knows I like for hours on end. But the reality is, I’m not hearing most of that music. It’s there, but no one is really listening.
“House of Records is the best place to buy vinyl records in Eugene, Oregon, my hometown. They’ve been around since the ’70s and sell new and used and collectable records. The high school I went to is about five blocks away, so I’d save my lunch money and walk over to the record store pretty much every day. Sometimes more than once.”
“I was always scouring the punk and reggae/ska sections. If I found something good but couldn’t afford it, I’d hide it in the Jazz or World Music sections where my friends wouldn’t find it.
I remember racing a few friends to the record shop once, because we’d heard a rumor that some old punk rocker guy with a huge collection had become a junkie, sold his records. It was huge news for us, I think we all got something good out of that.
“That ambient noise with that subtle harshness of the pick against the vinyl… and the profound analog sound when a good vinyl starts playing…the deepness of the lows, “magic” is the word, as Sam Morrow shared before to The Vinyl District.”
“I really discovered vinyl trough old House Music, and a clear path afterwards was into all types of music on vinyl records. Rootsy blues, old rock, post punk… anything. I had a period that I would not listen to anything but vinyl. For 4–5 years I could listen to nothing else, both a romantic search and a young statement of those we have in our twenties. I would spend hours in my trips at record stores. I even used to like an old vinyl player that had a messy motor and would speed up and slow down in a certain way.
With friends, we were into spinning music at electronic parties back in 2001–2006… Progressive, House, Tribal, Tech House, Minimal Tech, Ambient… you only found good tracks that really were pushing a search in vinyl. Later in the night it was really fun, warm-ups was something I really enjoyed. You could mix all types of music when playing warm-up sets.
“My father has an infinite collection of classical music on vinyl records, so I’d say that vinyl has always been very familiar.”
“I’ve always preferred listening to vinyl records instead of CDs when possible because of that magic, warm and dirty sound. In our music career we had the chance to release some of our music on vinyl and the first time I received my copies from record label I thought, “Man, this is serious stuff!”
Now that even Mp3 seems to be dying in slow agony, vinyl is still there in order to demonstrate that if you truly love music you must listen to it on a proper record, that’s what I think. And that’s why I just bought myself a new Numark TT. First record I put on? Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland.“—Mo
“My first experience with vinyl was at my Grand dad’s house during a family get together of some sort. He had played drums in a Scottish marching band as a youth and had developed an unhealthy love for the bagpipes.”
“When he played his vinyl recordings for me it was some time in the early ’90s so his state of the art sound system involved speakers that were taller than me and he would max them out, blaring the pipes for all the world to hear. Not quite my thing, but it was cool to hear the antiquated sound at such a gut busting volume.
Out of all the vinyl that I have been introduced in my life the one that really sticks out is The Allman Brothers’ Live At The Fillmore. My pops always had it playing in the house and I fell in love with it. The whole album is a good listen but “Whipping Post” is the gem in my opinion. It’s 20 some odd minutes of pure drive and soul. And that rhythm section, damn, that rhythm section…
“I actually didn’t truly discover the beauty of vinyl till I was about 21 years old when I found my mother’s childhood record collection in the basement of my grandma’s house.”
I grew up with cassette tapes and whatnot but when I found that collection, it changed the way I listened to music forever. The first record of hers I played was the Woodstock performance and was obviously blown away. I dusted off every vinyl she had and took them home with me and a new sound was born in my ears.
Now when I’m home, my passion for the classics grows and grows every day ’cause I put ‘em on at night by the fireplace and play ‘em thru my Gramophone.
“I met Josh in 2006 when we were both 22 years old. We had a lot in common, including the fact that we were both aspiring musicians who hadn’t really accomplished much yet in terms of meaningful musical output. We formed Mariage Blanc in 2007 and it seems almost surreal to me that the last seven and a half years have passed by so quickly.”
“Anybody who has ever been in a serious band at any point can tell you that it’s not unlike most of the other relationships people experience in the different realms of their lives: you bask in some pretty amazing times and endure some pretty low times, as well. Members come and go over the years, weaving in and out of your life. Dynamics change and so do the people involved. I can say without any hesitation that my involvement in this band over the years has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, coming second only to my relationships with my fiancee, family, and friends.
A lot happens between your early 20s and 30s. During our time as a band, I’ve watched myself and my bandmates grow dramatically as both musicians and people. Invariably, this growth is accompanied by change. We came face to face with one of these changes when Josh and his fiancee made the decision to move from our native Pittsburgh to San Francisco last summer. It was a scary time for us. Josh and I have always had an understanding that we would continue this band until one of us is ready to stop, and while we were both fairly certain that the move wouldn’t mean the demise of the band, it was obvious that everybody (including myself) was nervous about the logistics of it all. Some friends and family were supportive about it; others seemed to doubt the likelihood of continuing a band under such circumstances.
For us, though, the bottom line was clear. We weren’t ready to stop, so we weren’t going to.
“The first records I remember holding in my hands were Canned Wheat by The Guess Who and Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica by The Ronettes. Growing up, I was constantly exposed to classic rock and girl groups of the ’50s and ’60s, thanks to my dad’s eclectic record collection. With Motown melodies and classic rock guitar riffs filling my brain, I knew from an early age what I loved about music and what I wanted to carry over into my own songs.”
“I’ve always admired the straight forward love songs of the ’50s and ’60s, and the melodies and harmonies used to tell the stories. I think our first single, “Last Forever,” is my take on blending my classic rock roots with my love for the sugary melodies and sentiments of ’50s and ’60s pop.
Diana Ross and The Supremes’ Let The Sunshine In… I’ll admit, I was first drawn in by the cover art (I’m a sucker for pretty packaging and labels), but once the needle touched down, I was hooked. I still have that record in a box under my bed today.