Playing records at the wrong speeds isn’t a revelation most people make at the age of 30. It happens when we’re five years old and we want to make the Beatles sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks. It’s a cheap gag 99% of the time, and the results are more eye-rollingly “funny” than they are genuinely funny. And, honestly, that leftover 1% isn’t much more sonically intriguing.
But there comes a time when you can manipulate the speed of records enough that they take on an entirely new life of their own. It happened for me at work a while ago, when a customer picked up a copy of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” single and accidentally set his portable turntable to 33 1/3 RPM when attempting to check the sound quality of the 45. Not having paid any attention to what he was doing, I immediately perked up and asked, “Did you find a seven-inch record of the Melvins covering Zeppelin!?”
I had no idea it was just a Zeppelin record played at the wrong speed. I thought it was genius. My co-worker and I spent the next 30 minutes (hard to imagine us getting paid to dick around like that) listening to various Zeppelin singles at the wrong speeds in order to find more songs that sound like Mevlins covers. “Black Dog” was easily the best of the bunch, but god damn if “Immigrant Song” wasn’t a close second. What’s more, it’s flip-side, “Hey Hey, What Can I Do” transformed itself from jangly acoustic ballad to full-on downer folk/dark blues groover. It sounded like…I don’t know…Michael Clarke Duncan on horse tranquilizers playing the blues. Or maybe it just made feel like I was listening to music while on horse tranquilizers. Either way…funny stuff.
I keep a shitty box of “dog house” singles near my portable turntable for when friends come over. I don’t let them touch my record collection, but I’ve got 50 or 75 beat up singles I’ll let them play if they insist on listening to music when we’re hanging out. So I thought, why don’t I flip through those and see if there’s anything else that sounds great when it’s slowed down. Easily the best of the bunch? Madonna. “Like A Virgin” sounds like a synthed-out R&B slow jam sung by a dude. “Everyday” sounds bizarre as hell as well. And there’s a few more gems I found as well. Check it out. Maybe this’ll only give you a chuckle if you’re high, but it might just open your eyes to groovy new songs you’ve never heard before! Or maybe everything will sound like “Jon” from Delocated doing bad karaoke. Either way, sweet tits!
01. Led Melvins – Immigrant Song
02. Man-Donna – Like A Virgin
03. Cream Lord Baltimore – Sunshine Of Your Love
04. Faith O))) More – EPIC!
05. Them Featurin’ Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – All For Myself
06. Stinks – All Day And All Of The Night
07. The Metal Machine Music – Talk Talk