Castle Black,
The TVD First Date

“My older brother and my dad both had extensive record collections when I was growing up. My dad loved Christmas albums, so we had this really weird and random collection of Christmas albums from a really disparate group of artists. He would blast The Beach Boys Christmas Album on Christmas Eve, and while I usually really disliked holiday music, that album was kind of okay. He also had a very large Elvis collection, so it was very common to come into our house and hear those records playing.”

“My brother’s collection was more interesting to me—lots of Rolling Stones, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Ogden Edsl. I think the first records I owned as a kid were probably Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry. (I never remember the album name Stay Hungry, I just usually describe it as that gross album cover where he is eating that bone.)

I didn’t maintain a record collection when I moved to NYC. I admire people who can do it here as space is really limited, and collections get heavy to move around as you move apartments frequently as one often does here. I have some friends who spin records and have amazing collections. There are also a good number of DJs still playing records all around who draw a kind of cult following. I was in Berlin a few years ago at this cool local bar in Kreuzberg, and it was packed with locals to hear two DJs spinning records side by side, really rare ’60s and ’70s stuff. The energy was unparalleled and has stuck in my mind about the power of records to this day.

Record stores always served the role of bringing people together, being a community space of sorts, and it’s nice to see that they can still serve that role today. I live in Brooklyn, NY and frequently I’ll just browse Rough Trade Records to see what they have. Rough Trade also does listening parties; I went to hear Wilco’s new album last year. It felt really good to be among a small group of people just sitting there, quiet, listening to a band they all had in common. It’s that part of NYC that is infectious, someone feeling alone at one moment and then feeling completely at ease with a bunch of strangers the next, and record stores can still foster that. Another cool spot in Williamsburg is Earwax Records; it’s a small, local record store, that is also just a great spot to browse.

Castle Black had a fun experience of putting out a limited-edition single on a lathe-cut record last spring through Leesta Vall Sound Recordings based in Brooklyn, NY. The lathe-cut process is unique—different from regular vinyl pressing and really lo-fi which gives the records a lot of their own character. We’ve had a really great response to them at shows at our merch table (and still have a few!)

People are definitely still buying records, and because there aren’t as many people putting out records, it seems like record-collecting fans get really excited when an artist has records for sale. It’s great to see because it is such a cool format, and something that shouldn’t get lost or put aside for newer technology, but something that can and should live in harmony with newer formats.

It’s kind of like respecting someone older, with lots of experience, vastly different experiences, and not pushing them aside because something newer or flashier came along, but respecting the actual knowledge and craft that they bring and living in harmony like that. I don’t know, we see it so often in the U.S., tearing down a beautiful, character-filled building to put up a sterile looking high-rise. There are other implications to that as well. It’s not that high-rises can’t exist, but the high-rise that destroys something beautiful just for its own survival is kind of missing the point.
Leigh Celent

“I grew up listening to my parents’ rock ‘n’ roll records. Some of them were original LPs from the 1960s, like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. but some of them were music popular at the time like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and The Eagles Greatest Hits, albums I still love to this day.”

“In junior high, I discovered punk rock and the great record labels Dischord, Alternative Tentacles, and SST. All three inspired me, not only because of the music, but also because of their rebellious DIY attitude and rejection of massive mainstream labels. That little rebellious punk rock kid will always be a part of me, even if we end up on a major label!

Growing up in the suburbs can really suck, but I was fortunate enough to live in a Bay Area town with two good record stores, Tower and Rasputin. Amoeba in San Francisco was usually a weekend day trip, not a place you could go on a school night, and we could still get great import and bootleg stuff at our stores. But, more importantly, they were places to congregate. Where other music geeks, weirdos, and outcasts got together to hang out, skate, and find out where the parties were.

Record stores weren’t just places to buy music, they were places where life happened.”
Matt Bronner

Castle Black’s EP “Trapped Under All You Know,” was released August 18, 2017. Limited edition lathe-cut vinyl of their single “Blind Curtain” was produced by Leesta Vall Sound Recordings. Very limited copies are available directly from the band.

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