The Chain Gang Of 1974, The TVD First Date

“Where do I begin? Where does one start when trying to explain something that they are so passionate about?”

“As a music lover, I believe that there needs to be a physical connection with whatever you’re listening to. Obviously, I understand that it’s 2014 aka the ‘digital age.’ But with that being said, it’s even clearer that most of us are not living in the ‘now.’ We are so glued to our technology and wanting everything with just a click of a button. I discovered the beauty of being patient when listening to vinyl records a few years ago. And let’s just say that I haven’t looked back since.

We’ll get straight to the point here. If asked what my favorite aspect of having music on vinyl is, I don’t answer with the audible differences between digital and wax. For me, it’s the act of holding this piece of art. Being able to collect these creations in the most genuine form. There’s not a better feeling for me than listening to a record and holding the artwork in my hands. There’s so much thought put into album art, and I feel that for that reason alone, it deserves the respect of being presented on a bigger canvas rather than on a digital screen of an iPhone or computer.

The box-set reissue of Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was worth every penny. The content that came with that release was utterly mind-blowing for any obsessed Pumpkins fan like myself. There’s joy in examining the cover art of your favorite records.

Honestly, I can’t remember what the first album I bought on vinyl was. But I can recall a few of my early purchases. I was really into Ryan Adams in my early twenties. So I definitely sought after a lot of his releases, including tracking down the original 10″ release of ‘Love Is Hell’ and the UK pressing of ‘Rock N’ Roll,’ which contained a pretty metal (and overall rad) looking alternate cover.

Alongside those records, I knew I had to start collecting a lot of 80’s albums, from pop records to the post-punk movement. I made sure I had albums from the likes of Tears For Fears, Talk Talk, Comsat Angels, Echo & The Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs, The Chameleons, The Blue Nile, etc. The list goes on and on.

As I became more serious with being a collector, I knew I had to track down those important youth records. The ‘essentials’ as I like to call them. I grew up listening to those early emo bands, along with a lot of the punk bands affiliated in that movement. A lot of the early Vagrant Records/Jade Tree Records/Polyvinyl Records bands. It’s been pretty great because there are a lot of boutique vinyl labels out there now that are strictly reissuing a lot of these essential records. I understand the importance of owning that first pressing, I really do. But we can’t all spend hundreds of dollars all the time on an album. So it’s good to have the option of owning that album that got you through sophomore year of high school because it saw a repress.

I was recently lucky enough to raid a friend’s vinyl collection a few months back. He used to work at Vagrant Records years ago, so I walked out with original pressings (some were still sealed) of albums by The Get Up Kids, The Anniversary, Alkaline Trio, Hot Rod Circuit, Hey Mercedes, and more. It was pretty surreal for someone like me. It meant a lot and was very important to me that I now had these pieces in my own collection.

Living in Los Angeles, I am really spoiled when it comes to record store options. If I want strictly original pressing of 80s and 90s records, I have a place for that. If I want only new records for indie rock, I know exactly where to go for that.

Two of my favorite stores, though, have to Amoeba and Vacation Vinyl. Vacation always has those exciting gems that I’m looking for. In my opinion, they are the best in town when it comes to finding metal and punk records. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Mark, the owner, and he is hands down one of the coolest guys around.

He’s always down to nerd out about music and help track down a specific album for me. Amoeba tends to always have those collectibles up on the wall that I spend most days dreaming about. I walk in there about 3 times a week to check out their updated wall selection. And well, let’s just say I always end up spending way too much money. (Honestly, it’s worth every penny.)

As of right now, my vinyl goal is tracking down every album that is affiliated with Mark Kozelek. We’re talking every Sun Kil Moon/Red House Painters/Desertshore/solo record he has been a part of. His music has become extremely important to me over the past couple of years, so having these albums in my collection is number one on my list.

I find it really exciting due to the fact that most of his releases are all from the 90’s era of 4AD Records. Vinyl pressings were so limited back in the 90s due to the CD boom, so it’s hard to find these albums. It can be frustrating at times, but the joy I feel when I walk into a store and find the 10″ UK pressing of Red House Painters’ ‘Ocean Beach’ is indescribable. I’ve been having good luck recently in completing my Kozelek collection, but I still have a way to go.

Vinyl is something special. I believe that it chooses its collector. To a lot of people, records don’t make sense to them. It’s just an inconvenient way of listening to music. But for me, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a way of geeking out with a complete stranger in a record store and talking about how both of you have been wanting ‘Spooky’ by Lush but can’t seem to ever find it. Or having competitive fun with your friend, wondering who will be the first one to own ‘Through Being Cool’ by Saves The Day.

In a way, walking into a record store is therapy for me. It’s an instant connection with others who feel just as passionate about this hobby as you do. I know that I will collect for the rest of my life. I know that the most important thing for every piece of music I create is for it to be pressed to vinyl. I’m hooked.”
Kamtin Mohager

The Chain Gang Of 1974’s new album Daydream Forever arrives in stores today (2/4) via Warner Brothers Records.

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PHOTOS: KAMTIN MOHAGER

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