Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Collecting Vinyl and a Vinyl Challenge

I've started collecting vinyl .I like the thought of experiencing music, rather than just listening to it. I know these things can be done via CD, vinyl or digital, but there's something about stripping away all of the processing, decoding, sampling and digital stuff and listening to pure analog sound. Vinyl, among many other things, also forces you to listen to an entire album, rather than random songs or only the hits.

Of course, setting up vinyl is a complete mindblow if you start to read audiophile opinions and reviews on various components. I highly recommend not doing that, and getting a new system that works well enough to get you started is really all that is needed. Do some basic research, but do not waste your time looking for the best because you will drive yourself mad. Mad I tells ya!

Below is the sequence of events of turntable purchase and the first few vinyls to get me going.

The Audio-Technica AT-LP60. It has autostart functions, pretty decent sound and, well, works flawlessly for me. I like it.

My first album was Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World (2014). Amazing album from an amazing band. I was fortunate enough to see them live this past January in Calgary. Side B of this record is stellar.

Metz - II (2015). I saw Metz open for DFA1979 in the aforementioned concert, but I actually discovered METZ through theleake blog (sidebar). Noise rock at its finest.

Sufjan Stevens - Enjoy Your Rabbit (2001). I found this at The Inner Sleeve in Calgary before they closed shop. I have always liked Sufjan Stevens, and this is his first album. It's not what you expect, but it's worth a listen.

Sóley - We Sink (2011). I found her through a random Google search of Icelandic musicians. Apparently, there is an enormous music scene in Iceland. I'm a big fan of the band Of Monsters and Men, so I quickly fell in love with her music. 

Sóley - Ask The Deep (2015) . Her latest album. As I was following her on Facebook (not creepily), she posted a photo of her vinyl gatefold album prior to release. It was this photo that made me start wanting to collect vinyl. I saw that there was so much more to music than just the music itself, but the artwork and experience of reading through an album while you listen to it just makes it so much more enjoyable.
Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz (2010). For years, I had only owned Illinoise, Michigan, Seven Swans and A Sun Came. My wife found a video of Sufjan Stevens on Jimmy Fallon, and at the time I had not really thought to look for any new music from him. Well, there it was, new music from Sufjan. This led me on an adventure of finding more music, so it led to...

Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell (2015). Fantastic album. Absolutely stunning album. Stellar, all of the above good things to say about this. Brother John is a truly epic song. I highly recommend!

Sufjan Stevens - Michigan (2003). I only have ever owned this on digital iTunes, so I picked up the vinyl. The best song(s) on the album is a tie between "For the Widows in Paradise, for the Fatherless is Ypsilanti" and "Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou)". Give this album a listen, you will not be disappointed.

Violent Soho - Hungry Ghost (2013). I was looking for modern grunge music. I am a product of the 90s, so I grew up loving grunge. Google search modern grunge, which led me to Reddit, which led me to Violent Soho. For me, it was an instant like. I had to order this album all the way from Australia, which made it cooler.

Project86 - Wait for the Siren (2012). My wife and I have always liked Project86, and it had been a while since we've bought any of their new music. Well they were advertising an excellent deal on this album, so I picked it up. Fantastic presentation and artwork.

Project86 - Knives to the Future (2014). P86's latest album, and much grittier and harder than Wait for the Siren. I also loved the fact that this came on a white vinyl. I thought that was pretty cool :-)
So there is it, a catch up on the start to my vinyl collection. 11 albums, with one now on order. That should be here by the end of July (hopefully). I have also posted a vinyl challenge to myself for the next year. 52 weeks, 26 albums, each corresponding the next sequential letter in the alphabet. So every 2 weeks, I will post my new album. Of course this is not really a challenge, but something fun to do. Here is the list, which I will update each time a new album is purchased.

A - 
B - 
C - 
D - 
E - 
F - 
G - 
H - 
I - 
J - 
K - 
L - 
M - 
N - 
O - 
P - 
Q - 
R -
S - 
T - 
U - 
V - 
W - 
X - 
Y - 
Z - 

Until next time, and happy music :-)

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