Captured Tracks:
The TVD Label Spotlight

Today, during our Captured Tracks spotlight, Andy Grier of Thieves Like Us shares some of his vinyl memories and present-day record store recommendations in the USA and overseas.

Thieves Like Us are “two Swedes and one American drifting around the globe” and currently make their electro-pop in Paris. Their Your Love Runs Still EP was just released in May, and Captured Tracks also just repressed 2008’s Your Heart Feels German EP.

My parents were never into buying LPs. But my two older brothers were. My first memory of looking at a vinyl record is the day my older brother called me into his room as he was putting on his freshly purchased copy of the Rapper’s Delight twelve inch by the Sugar Hill Gang. I was four years old. I guess the twelve inch had just been released.

Sugar Hill Records have that yellow, red, and purple logo that looks both like a candy striped straw and a poisonous snake. The logo is floating up out of a silhouette of the New York City skyline. This was 1979. No cable television. No Nintendo. So it was really cool to watch that label spin around in a circle. Also, the whole mechanics and suspense of putting the record on the turntable, clicking the start button and watching the arm move over to the record… then the white noise, and finally the song. It was like magic, and it made us feel closer to the music than the radio did.

By around 1985, each of my brothers had their own rooms, their own turntables, and their separate collections of popular Hard Rock records. Again, when you don’t have television, it’s great entertainment to space out, listen to the music, and look at the covers. When my brothers were really into an album, they would go to the mall and pick up a full-sized poster of the album cover and hang it on the wall. Then we would focus even more on the artwork as we were listening. They had posters for both Rush’s Moving Pictures and Ozzy Osbourne’s The Ultimate Sin. Those covers have so many details. If you dream a bit you can really tie the songs to the cover.

Good times. Those lessons in mainstream hard rock.

As a nomad, my vinyl collection has been growing pretty slowly and sporadically. I have been living on and off in Europe the last ten years ILLEGALLY. When one has to exit European borders every three months for ninety days to reset their visa, one quickly forgets about the idea of collecting anything. That said, I slowly have been picking up records during my travels across the planet. My parents live in Denver, so when I visit them I often go to Wax Trax and Twist and Shout. I worked at both stores when I was younger, and both shops have so many great records. I always find a few gems there.

Most record stores here in Berlin are too overpriced and overshopped for my tastes, so I don’t even bother. Strangely enough, Vienna is the opposite. They have so many cheap and amazing records in all their stores. But the beauty of vinyl is that is travels everywhere and does not expire. I recently found some pretty good Cocteau Twins, Cure, and Felt records for sale for one dollar on the streets of Rio de Janeiro.

One of the nicest stories I heard was from my friend Florin in Bucharest. He said that it was impossible to get Western music there during the reign of Nicolae Ceaușescu. There were some secret music clubs where members had managed to smuggled in vinyl copies of popular rock records (Stones, Beatles, Zeppelin) from the West. They would all sit attentively and listen to the album. Then they would have a critical discussion about the music and artwork. They could have been shot dead for this.

Value your music, people!
—Andy Grier

Thieves Like Us Photo by Maciej Landsberg

Thieves Like Us Official | Facebook

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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