Dropping The Needle
“Vinyl”, say it aloud, even the word sounds old. It conjures up memories of my mother trying to fix her old player to listen to another Donovan album whilst I desperately jammed another cd into my Discman (remember those?) and turned the volume up to ridiculous proportions. I may have even had an Eminem album in there. It was the newest thing and that always meant the coolest.
So in an ever-evolving world, where the newest technology is almost always the best, it is refreshing then to find that an old school enemy has become my best friend. When my girlfriend and I pooled together our funds from tips, begging and the bottom of my car to buy a record player it was out of boredom more than anything else; Something to have, to listen to music differently, and yeah, I thought it would add some hipster cred.
I didn’t even know where you could buy records from in Perth, certainly not modern ones at the very least. It was to come as a shock then, when I discovered 78 Records in the city, and Mills Records in Fremantle, and Fat Shan Records on Barrack Street, and Planet Music in Mt. Lawley, all housing my treasured favourite on black, blue and clear wax, ready for my brain to absorb and my housemates to fuel up their hate.
Yes it is not just an indie saying now in my head, it really does sound BETTER on vinyl.
I can hear Morrissey’s aches and pains on The Queen is Dead (my favourite Smiths record), Jeff Magnum’s haunting wails on Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane over the Sea and Justin Vernon’s all round talent on the glorious, clear vinyl (rare and imported) force that is Volcano Choir.
Perhaps you pay more than the free downloads off The Pirate Bay, I accept that, and yeah it is a lot of effort to get up off your computer table, but by golly is it worth it. And besides, it’s not just the sound; it’s the whole package. I love getting the artwork, the inner sleeve posters, all of the little packaging details that make it unique (like my first pressing of Brand New’s Your Favourite Weapon). Artists put effort into these pieces.
I understand it may sound wanky, and even not worth it completely. I mean, why would you pay and hour and a half’s worth of wages just to listen to music you can get for free? But for the true appreciator of music, that first squeal as the needle touches the black, that first chord over the quiet crackle, for them there can be no better thing. I am happy to stay poor if that’s the price of happiness.
Just for the record (intended I promise,) my last three purchases were:
The Queen is Dead - The Smiths (Planet Books)
My favourite Smiths record by far. Morrissey’s angst and hatred for things such as the Royal Family, copycats and unrequited love is hummed above the jangly guitar work of Johnny Marr that fuelled a whole generation of indie bands.
Live at the Troubadour-The Horrible Crowes (78 Records)
Brian Fallon's (of the Gaslight Anthem) side project is full of soulful tunes in only their second (and to date last) performance. A brilliant live record topped off with their cover of INXS “Never Tear Us Apart” to close
Repave-Volcano Choir (Mills Records)
Justin Vernon of Bon Iver fame rediscovers his old ban is beautiful style. Full of gorgeous harmonies, haunting melodies and the familiar on Iver sound Triple J have beaten to a sickly pulp. Printed on rare clear Vinyl for people who like to laude their obsession over others.