Of course the same week I start a bold new “feature” on this website, our process of selling-and-buying a house heats up and demands my attention. It seems like for the past ten years or so every time I’ve attempted to forge a new path towards daily updates, something stymies my progress almost immediately. It used to be doomed relationships destroying my fragile psyche and rendering me passionless. I guess in a way a relationship is still managing to succeed at that, only now it’s like…good healthy adult relationship stuff keeping me preoccupied and eating away at free time to write. Maybe I should pivot to less-frequent posts with more meat? It’s worth contemplating.
As you’ve probably noticed by the title of this post, I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked in regards to listening to my entire record collection. Granted my collection numbers in the thousands, but who would have thought it would take me [checks notes…] six days to listen to half of the letter “A.” Tomorrow once the puppy has been dropped off at school I should be able to start on the letter “B.”
I’ve been selling records, though. Of those 2000+ titles, I’ve officially parted with 24 of them. Some were even featured in the last post, and a few more will be mentioned in this one even though they’ve already fled the coop. Oh, I should probably mention if you arrived here from Instagram or something…I’m selling off a large chunk of my record collection.
The only way I can think of to determine whether or not I can live without an album in my collection…is to listen to every single one of them. As someone who likes to needlessly complicate his own life, certainly the most obtuse, difficult-to-complete plan I can come up with is how I should proceed. Right?
Yahweh Or The Highway is an album with at least some sentimental value you to me. When I moved to Los Angeles in 2007 I didn’t bring a single record from my collection with me. It was assumed I was only going to stay here for about six months (unless I found a job), at which point I’d be returning to NJ. Obviously I ended up staying out here for good, and I’ve been able to bring a lot of records back with me when I travel back east. But for a while, I had nothing. Early in my first month or two in LA, I found myself sitting on a couch in a Silver Lake apartment with my friends Nick and Lauren. We were probably hanging out before going to Spaceland or The Tomorrow Show or something. I was quite stoned. And Lauren, I think, put on Yahweh Or The Highway. As I was sitting there, lost in thought, wondering of LA was indeed my new home…I could hear “Ejaculation is a waste of valuable resources” over and over again and it was the dumbest, funniest possible soundtrack to this existential moment I was having. I’ll never forget that. Rough Day At The Orifice, I think, I found at the old record store that was on Sunset in Echo Park when I lived across the street from the lake. What was it called again? Sea Level? I’m pretty sure that’s where I found it. Eventually I brought Yahweh back to LA with me and married the pair on my record shelves. Now I’m ready to part with them both.
The funny thing about the Archers Of Loaf records in my collection: I own these two, and don’t even own a copy of Icky Mettle, which is my favorite Loaf record. I’m pretty sure I bought All The Nations Airports first when Ian told me I needed it. The original pressing of that album is actually a picture disc, which means it doesn’t really sound all that great. When I started collecting records one of my mantras (whether known or unknown) was that if I owned one record by an artist, I was obligated to buy any others I came across. So when I saw Vee Vee at one of the Academy locations (probably Brooklyn, I went to that one more often back in my post-college days) I had to grab it. I haven’t listened to that album in years, but when I sat down to listen to it this week I was surprised how much I liked it. I actually prefer it to All The Nations Airpots even though I am more familiar with the latter. Either way, I’m ready to get rid of them both. I don’t think I need them anymore.
Many years ago now, the store bought this insane Italian prog collection filled with tens of thousands of dollars worth of obscure records. And some of the only records that were in my price range at the time were by Area. We had a copy of Arbeit Macht Frei with the rare cardboard gun cut-out insert that we sold for something like $150 at the time, so the copy without the insert was only $50. Caution Radiation Area was half that, so I picked them both up. The prospect of saying “check out my mint-condition Italian prog records” was probably more exciting to me than the music at the time, but I’ve since bought more and more records on the Italian Cramps label because of how much I grew to love these. And, it turns out, even without the gun insert Arbeit Macht Frei has become more collectible. The last copy we sold with the gun insert was $500, and without the insert was $375. So…I might like the music, but at that price I’m happy to part with my copy. Caution is still like a $30-$40 record, and I’m ok letting it go as well.
On Ian’s last trip to Los Angeles we spent one night over at Vacation Vinyl chatting with Mark and loading Ian up with obscure black metal records. At the time I was only interested in filling out my Isis and Cave In collections, but Ian was diving deep into albums by bands like Volahn, Trapped Within Burning Machinery, Bosse-De-Nage, Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, and Arizmenda. At the time I had no fucking clue what he and Mark were geeking out about. Over the course of the next few weeks, I made a bunch of trips back to Vacation because I got to hear all those records and decided I needed them too. Arizmenda was the hardest one to track down. I ended up seeing it on a mail-order list from some store in like, Kansas City? I remember I had to buy it from a store I’d never heard of, and they called it “mint / mint” and I didn’t trust them, but for $40 I was willing to take the risk. I’ve listened to it once since purchasing it, and it’s the exact type of record I will probably be content to sell, and don’t need in my physical collection. It’s a cool as hell black metal record with an insane handmade lyric booklet…I just think another collector might appreciate it more.
I spent years trying to track down Ash records on vinyl. I found a pretty clean copy of 1977 at Amoeba and then upgraded to an almost-perfect copy some time later. Live At The Wireless is much harder to find, and for a record that honestly isn’t that expensive it’s fucking impossible to find in mint condition. This one was described as mint by the seller who listed it on eBay, but it’s closer to VG condition. Oh well. The disc is really clean but the cover is basically soft and fuzzy around the edges. I’m more proud of the fact that I own this than I do 1977, and considering how long I had to spend buying and upgrading my Ash records…I’m not sure I’m ready to part with them yet. Also, I don’t think they’re rare enough to be worth that much.
This used to be one of my favorite finds at Amoeba when I would shop there regularly in my early LA days. When I didn’t have a job I thought I could pay rent by buying and flipping vinyl online. Amoeba had this weird gap in their vision when it came to certain albums, and they’d put records in their bins like this one for $4.99 when I could get $50 or more for them. I think at one point I had three copies of this album. I sent one to Ian, kept one for myself, and sold one. I forgot how much I liked this record when I listened to it the other day. I much prefer it to Ekranoplan and When Sweet Sleep Returned, the other two albums of theirs I own. I’ll probably end up selling these, but this one will be tough to part with.
Of course this was the one record I played the other day that the girlfriend enjoyed. She said, “It sounds like something I’d listen to!” to which I immediately responded “Then I’m selling it.” I don’t even think I waited for her to finish speaking before saying that. Truth is, I’ll probably end up selling both this and the new Astronoid album. They’re on Spotify. I’ve got the downloads in my Bandcamp collection. Am I going to listen to the vinyl or is it going to take up space that I could devote to something with more sentimental value? It seems dumb to be selling records I’ve bought within the past five years because their appreciation potential as collectibles is still unknown. Alas, what the fuck is the world going to even look like in the next five years? The entire market for vinyl could crash, and then I’m just left with worthless piles of wax. Not that Astronoid is worthless or anything. I love this record. It’s just…well…why else would I be selling my records if I didn’t think this collectible vinyl ride is coming to an end soon? The rare ones are never going to be as valuable as baseball cards. I have a chance to use this money to buy a fucking house. I’d be dumb not to take that opportunity.
We used to hear this line all the time at the store from people selling their record collections: “You can’t take ’em with you when you die.”
One of the more exciting tables at the WFMU Record Fair used to be the Tropicalia in Furs table. Every year I would seek out “perfect” copies of records by Jorge Ben, Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Os Mutantes…and every year I’d either fail to find copies that were clean enough for my liking or balk at the prices. Eventually I just gave up worrying about prices and bought the damned records. And now I’ve sold them all. These two are gone, along with the Caetano record. I think the only Brazilian record I still own at this point is the Wanda Sa record Vagamente. I’ve owned and upgraded copies of Africa Brasil a few times through the years. I’m pretty sure my “top copy” was a combination of a record from Japan with a cover from another copy I bought at WFMU. Forca Bruta was always the album I liked most of Ben’s. Africa Brasil has that killer opening track, but Forca Bruta slays from start to finish. I wound up with a disc that was in VG+ condition and a cover that was close to VG+. In terms of Brazilian records, VG+ might as well be mint. My buddy bought those records and I hope they’re bringing him as much joy as they used to bring me!
That’s it for tonight. I’ll post more tomorrow. If you see anything that interests you, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m open for business.