Gollay, The TVD First Date and Video Premiere, “Built For Love”

“My first experience with vinyl records was through my parents’ hifi system growing up—classic rock and pop like the Beatles in all their various forms, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Cyndi Lauper. My dad used to put Stray Cats’ Built for Speed on while I rollerbladed laps around our unfinished basement.”

“The first vinyl I bought for myself wasn’t until college in the mid 2000s, when the format started to come back into vogue and it became increasingly common to find new 7” singles and LPs at merch tables. I picked up a copy of Midlake’s Trials of Van Occupanther at Recycled Books in Denton, Texas, where the band hails from. It endures as one of my favorite full-length records.

In that vein, as I cultivate a modest collection, I tend to “reserve” vinyl for my most beloved albums and artists: Miriam Makeba’s Pata Pata, St. Vincent’s Strange Mercy, Owen Pallett’s Heartland, Neko Case’s Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, J Dilla’s Donuts. Pouncing on reissues I hear about online makes it easy to zero in on what I’m looking for, but picking my way through the vinyl sections of any shop I come across satisfies the searching-for-hidden treasure impulse.

My collection of local musicians’ vinyl is growing, too. A new pressing plant and company, Hand Drawn Pressing, just opened down the street here in Dallas-Fort Worth, and I’m enthusiastic about the work they’re doing right here in town and making manufacturing more locally accessible.

And while not local, my latest purchase was Esperanza Spalding’s ambitious project Exposure, that she wrote and recorded in just 77 hours, all while live-streaming the process for the world to see. Having become admittedly a little obsessed with checking in on her live feed during that session, I’m really looking forward to sitting down with the finished product and reconnecting with the parts that I glimpsed in the creation phase. The whole thing was—is—magic.

Some of my most prized records? My dear friend and music photographer John Erwin gifted me early pressings of Patti Smith from his very own collection along with books of her poetry. I grabbed a copy of Bikini Kill’s eponymous EP when Tobi Vail found a bunch of copies of them in her basement and sold them online (or something like that), and she included a little handwritten note. (Swoon!)

The ceremony and the ritual of vinyl is what draws me in—time and care must be spent selecting a record, gently placing the needle on the grooves, savoring a complete work, hearing the subtle “click” to cue a side flip, rifling through liner notes. Paying close attention, or letting an album’s narrative play out alongside whatever I’m up to. There’s no wrong or right way, but there’s certainly a process that feels more intimate than digital music. That’s not to say I’m a vinyl purist—I keep digital formats in regular rotation (so to speak) and discovering music online has long been a vital method of discovery. But the vinyl in my collection I’ll always feel a special closeness to, and all that the objects can contain.”
Rachel Gollay

“Built For Love,” the title track from Gollay’s debut album, is in stores now.

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