What follows is a more comprehensive overview of what my collection looks like.
1. A ~ Z LPs
This embodies the majority of my collection, about five hundred LPs beginning with AC/DC (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap) and ending with Frank Zappa (Sheik Yerbouti). The largest sections feature Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Brian Eno, Future Islands, Hank III, Korn, Led Zeppelin, Mono, Opeth, Pink Floyd and Rush. All the Mars Volta albums are in there, of course. Oh and there's three Dredg albums and a few Coheed & Cambria albums, including a signed In Keeping Secrets. Speaking of signed albums I've also got some signed records from The Supersuckers, Eddie Spaghetti, Dax Riggs, Ares Kingdom, Order From Chaos, Arsis, The Devil Makes Three, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Faun Fables, Pelican, and Mono; the last two I've seen play in small clubs half a dozen times each, and they remain two of my favorite live bands, ever. (My favorites being Pink Floyd and King Crimson.) I've got some cool Jimi Hendrix albums (People, Hell, and Angels as well as his complete 3LP Woodstock performance) and a lot of killer Record Store Day scores (such as the Mad Season 2LP with bonus tracks) and stuff like The Shins and Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, but I've also still got some of my older records left over from high school days, like the Buzzcocks, the Pretenders, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe Perry Project, and Aerosmith Get Your Wings (the first record I ever owned). I've got Black Sabbath's Born Again (except back in high school I had the album on cassette, and used to blast it in my car with the 40 watt amplifier at top volume, let me tell you the song Trashed makes for good driving music) I scored the original pressing at Graywhale several years ago. I bought Neil Young & Crazy Horse's 2012 album Psychedelic Pill, and it remains one of the best albums in my collection. In any case there are a ton more albums in this section to keep me going for quite some time. So let's dig into it, shall we? Haha fake-out; we're skimmin' this for now and moving on to my second category.
2. Soundtracks & Classical
I have about seventy records in this category. Stand outs include the red die hard Bladerunner original Vangelis soundtrack released a few years ago, Conan, Robocop, Alien, The Emerald Forest, The Dark Crystal (clear vinyl), Twin Peaks The Return, The Hateful 8.
For classical my favorites are Von Karajan conducting Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony and a Beethoven Sonatas record. I'm much more into the soundtracks than I am the classical. I've got an old original pressing of the Plan 9 From Outer Space soundtrack. I've got the reissues of Phantasm, Salem's Lot, and Shogun Assassin. Oh yeah and there's Thomas Dolby's film score to Ken Russell's Gothic, Return of the Living Dead, and now I've got the Trent Reznor + Atticus Ross remix of the Halloween theme by John Carpenter on pumpkin orange vinyl. It's a 12" single that was recalled and 'deleted' due to copyright infringements or something.
I don't know. It sounds badass. I've got the Legend soundtrack, I love the Tangerine Dream sequences the most. One of my favorite soundtracks is the one composed for El Topo, by Alejandro Jodorowsky. I've also got the soundtrack to Jodorowsky's Dune. These are really cool albums to listen to. But they're only the gateway to a much larger world of instrumental and post-rock music. Which leads me to the third category in my record collection.
3. Instrumental & Post Rock
I've a box alphabetized from A ~ Z featuring records without the human voice included as an instrument, just people playing music as it suits their mood. It starts with William Ackerman's Passage and ends with Zombi's Surface To Air EP. In between I liberally sprinkled a slew of Eno ambient records along with some Behind The Shadow Drops, Godspeed You!Black Emperor, Jean Michelle Jarre, Mogwai, Synergy, Kraftwerk, Mono, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Pelican, and most of Xander Harris's catalogue. You'll find the Dirty Three right after John Carpenter, as well as William Basinski and Harold Budd. I've got one Explosions In The Sky record, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place.
4. Rap & Hip Hop
I've got somewhere around 40 hip hop records, beginning with a Beck remix album (Guerolito) and going through The Best of Death Row Records, several Ice Cube records, Ice-T, Method Man, Snoop Dogg, Son Doobie, Warren G., NASA, Non Phixion, Rakim, Soul Assassins, and ending with a Tom Waits album I couldn't resist including in the pile, Real Gone. That album's straight up hip hop. I was going to throw in Lou Reed's Mistrial, with his song The Original Wrapper, but I realize that's going too far. I'm not about to throw my Blondie album in or the Grateful Dead either, and the same thing goes for Bob Dylan.
There's a distinct line separating this genre from the rest, as all-inclusive as its original spirit remains. I have about forty of these records, starting with half a dozen albums from The Accused, then going through a couple of Bad Brains, two Buzzcocks, three Cancerslug records, Crime's Exalted Masters, DBC, Dead Kennedys (Plastic Surgery Disasters reissue), and on through Dead Milkmen, Devo, Distillers, D.R.I., -skip, skip-Nina Hagen, Iggy & the Stooges original Raw Power pressing, a nice slab of Iggy albums including a rare all acoustic outtakes from the Brick by Brick sessions that I purchased long ago at Nuggets in Kenmore Sq., Boston; -skip- (the) Melvins, Misfits, Nausea, Pearl Jam, Plasmatics, the Ramones, Sex Pistols, TSOL, Violent Femmes, and so on down the line. (There's the Repo Man soundtrack and Return of the Living Dead soundtrack in there, too, and a few old nearly worn out X records --Wild Gift, Under the Big Black Sun, More Fun In The New World, and that 4th of July more commercial sounding album.) What I really need are some Cramps records and some B-52s. I've got three Siouxsie & the Banshee records. I do have Rudimentary Peni Death Church. Let's face it, there's a ton of artists any one of us would plunk into this category without hesitation. Southern Death Cult which eventually became the Cult are pretty punk to me but so are The Fields of the Nephilim which morphed into the Nephilim, a pretty heavy industrial outfit. Speaking of which, I'd also assign Skinny Puppy to this category in a heartbeat, and Gary Numan. (But I didn't: those are in the first section, A ~ Z LPs.) When thinking in this vein, the connective tissue leading from one to the other is the original wave of post-punk. Johnny Strike just released Naked Beast before he died last year at the age of 70, rest in peace Johnny. I ordered mine just in the nick of time, there probably aren't a lot of copies pressed. One of my favorite punk records is the LA IN compilation of Bay Area punk bands, designed to resemble the A L I E N movie that year, 1979, the final year before the 80s moved in and took over completely. I'm a real child of the seventies, tbh, and most of the time am caught thinking it produced the best music of all the decades, ending with an abrupt post-punk snarl from the amps. But I always get carried away like that. I know better, now. I realize that the best decades of music are always eternally perpetually the present one in which we're so damn lucky to be stuck. I don't have any Billy Idol albums anymore, but I do still have my Generation X. I don't have any Endless Struggle but I do have an All Systems Fail. I've got an old Alarm record and a Jason & the Scorchers one too. Sure, you know, categorizing all this music seems pointless, but it's not. We've got to stick to our base values, I mean even if they're fluid and adaptable to change, there yet remains certain fixed ideas around which we've molded our behavior as a society and define ourselves as being unique and separate from the rest of us within it. Look, all I'm saying is, it's fun to categorize every once in awhile. One day I became curious, "I wonder how many of my records are punk rock?" It was fun throwin' them together. There are no Pearl Jam albums in my punk collection. They are filed in the first category, A ~ Z LPs.
6. Recent Releases!
Usually about fifty odd albums rotating through this pile. I've got them propped up in the record display holder my wife got me for Xmas, last year. I usually alphabetize them, but right now Lou Reed's RSD reissue of Ecstasy stands tall at the front, my having been unable to stop spinning all four sides of this overlooked late classic from our pale lingering New York ghost. It's been five years since you shed your mortal coil, Lou, but your spirit remains settling over us still like slow motion bath steam from our latent dreams. I love absorbing the echoes of your still shedding spirit from listening to old records you made that I hadn't spent any time with. The other one that comes to mind is Set The Twilight Reeling, I should have just bought it when it came out, I remember holding the record in my hand at Bull Moose in Portland, Maine, and feeling like I wasn't into it just then, and set it back in the rack. At least today I remain grateful I still have some Lou Reed to look forward to. I feel blessed that I was able to get a copy of Lulu a few years ago while they were more readily available. I think it's an overlooked masterwork as well, and even time ain't tellin'. It's something we have to find out for ourselves, if we have the guts to lay ourselves bare to receive it, just like you were when you delivered it. I usually only want to go back four years in this group--in this case, going back to 2015. But some albums, being both recent acquisitions as well as latter-era albums in the careers of legends (Lou Reed and Metallica, for example) might prove exceptional enough to be included here. Anything in the Twenty-teens, certainly. It's too easy for my most recent records to get buried in the bulk, fated to be overlooked, so I've got this section stocked with only my latest records. It gives me time to focus on them and listen to them sufficiently. This section also serves as the queue for records that I want to listen to next, so technically any album from my collection could end up in this section. There's always a handful of those in there, up front, ready to be rocked.
I have nearly a hundred of these, beginning with both Acid Bath albums, Ares Kingdom, Arsis (got the guys to sign it at Burt's Tiki lounge at a technical metal fest headlined by Necrophagist (Canada's Neuraxis was there I remember), Bathory, Burzum, and on through a delirious compendium of blackened ichor a-swell with sinister intonations and reverberating with darkness and suppurating evil. A slab of fetid, offensive human ordure in the guise of noise as music. Truly the most extreme levels of sonic dysfunction to have contaminated souls for the last three and a half decades rendered into blackened vinyl grooves for our listening pleasure. A few early Celtic Frost records (an original of Morbid Tales, To Mega Therion, and Into the Pandemonium). A couple of Coffins albums, they are a sick Japanese doom band. You will find my own friends in Gravecode Nebula pressed into one of the heaviest albums ever recorded, Sempiternal Void, in there. I've got Evoken's 1997 album A Caress of the Void. But Gravecode Nebula is some heavy epic outer space metal from beyond black hole dimensions, it's an unrelenting voyage into the heart of oblivion, straight up blackened doom metal. I have a signed LP of Stillbirth Machine by Order From Chaos. That's because I met Chuck and the guys at the first Embrace The Hate fest, at the Black Castle in Watts many years ago. I ended up so deep into that scene that I'm still friends with everyone in it, or should I say everyone who's survived it. I've got Ludicra on Alternative Tentacle records. Slayer, Thorr's Hammer. Cannibal Corpse Suicide Gallery. The Cryptopsy Blasphemy Made Flesh/None So Vile double album. All the Mortem albums, Mercyful Fate, Hirax, Oh yeah I've got that Hellhammer 3LP Demon Entrails, Insect Warfare's first album, King Diamond, two Leviathan records (one that was released as a vinyl only and is my favorite, A Silhouette in Splinters), Nile, Phobia, Venom, Voivod, Xasthur Telepathic with the Deceased.
A very cool format. Compact yet able to contain just enough music for a good listen. A neat size to handle and spin over to the other side in your hands. Accessible and fun. I have about twenty of these, including a double gatefold of Janis Joplin's raw demos and outtakes (the Pearl Sessions), Joe Jackson Look Sharp! (w/button), How To Destroy Angels, Oingo Boingo (self titled EP), that I got on a Record Store Day a few years ago. I have this sick Witchburner / Abigail split on ten inch. Decapitated The Negation. RATM People of the Sun EP. Dwarves/Blag Dahlia split, Turambar Fallen Dreams. Jethro Tull Moths RSD, and a couple of Bonnie 'prince' Billy ten inches ("The Mindeater" w/The Phantom Family Halo and "Island Brothers" w/The Cairo Gang).
Not my preferred mode (who wants to keep flippin' the record after every song, right?) yet nonetheless a small treasury of rarefied bits of song here and there, I haven't counted them yet, but if you add the stack of 45s my mom gave me that she used to listen to in the fifties and sixties, plus a bunch of my own, there's gotta be at least sixty worth listening to.
I suppose I should include my only box set of 7" records, Bowie's just-released Spying Through A Keyhole, in this category, as I just received it a few days ago. Or it could go in the next category, hm; a conundrum. (That dredg 7" depicted above I got signed by the band). The MorD is a 2ep mini masterwork, IV tracks, one per side, an epic in seven inch form.
10. Box SetsI've got about a dozen box sets, including Eno's Music For Installations, Bowie's A New Career In A New Town, Tow Waits Orphans, Pearl Jam's Ten Deluxe, and Mystifier's Baphometic Goat Worship. There's also Sisters of Mercy, Alan Moore Unearthing, Led Zeppelin BBC live recordings, and Jimmy Page Sound Tracks. I bought a deluxe vinyl edition of one of Eno's albums, Small Boat on a Milk Sea, that comes as a box set. There's also the slipcase which came with the first three Tomahawk albums in it (with enough room to slip in their fourth). And I got the deluxe Ten box set which contains (among many amazing things) the only official DVD of their MTV live unplugged session. It's also got a 2LP very early live album. Listen, I don't have any tattoos. Just a decent record collection.
Although I barely even got into the real meat of my collection here in the first section, A--Z LPs, and the range of artists in the nearly five hundred albums included, this overview nonetheless paints a low-res and rather lurid depiction of what I've collected since 2006, which is the year I began buying records again. It had been awhile, since it was the early 80s when I started in earnest and had amassed all the albums of my favorite bands (Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, and Yes). I had Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports, Music From The Body w/Roger Waters and Ron Geesin, a 3LP bootleg of The Wall Miami show (with red hammer symbol on the front), and well, a lot of albums I don't want to think about right now. It still hurts they are missing. I should put up an entry here going over all the lost albums I occasionally agonize over. For a few minutes.
Well, thanks for reading my blog, and keeping up with me on my sporadic and unpredictable journey ahead collecting and listening to music pressed on vinyl into records, the way it should be when you're granted at least one thing to go right, let it be the music I surround myself with. If you want to know which artists I have the most records of, the answer would be Bonnie 'prince' Billy, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Brian Eno, Hank III, the Mars Volta, Nine Inch Nails, Korn, Mono, Opeth, Pink Floyd, and Rush. In between though you're likely to find anything, a wild and sundry list of odds and ends that I serendipitously stumbled across during my travels along the eastern seaboards. For example, my Boiled In Lead album, From the Ladle to the Grave, I got back when we saw those guys perform in E. Cambridge and they ended up coming over to our place (Pub Grub) to party. That's a righteous group of dudes and Boiled in Lead are amazing. I love The Smashing Pumpkins, so I've got Gish, two editions of Siamese Dream, Adore, and Pisces Iscariot. I wish I had Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, but alas, some parts of our lives are destined to be utterly wiped out, I guess. It's probably for the better. You can't bring along everything in your luggage.
I've got one of the numbered, limited edition Nick Drake Family Tree LPs, and it's a thing of beauty. I've also got his mom's album, Molly Drake. Talk about a time machine. Listening to that album really feels like being sent back to that time. Music has that eerie power and of course it remains one of the main reasons someone like me is so hooked on it. Records are like big neuron imprints that plug you back in time to when you originally experienced the music. The way our mind associates the feelings of sharing the experience of listening to music together opens a magical dimension in which even ghosts may sit in to rekindle the old flames of all those times long lost.
Although the Dax Riggs album image above isn't my own personal edition, I did happen to get that LP at one of his shows (when it was printed as We Sing Only Of Blood Or Love by mistake) and I got him to sign it, of course. That was in Ogden at Kamikazes. I filmed him perform three songs, in black and white. It's a Wonderful World, Lungs, and Living is Suicide. I wonder what Dax has been up to? I'm still waiting for 2010's Say Goodnight To The World to come out on vinyl. I hope it didn't already slip past me ... where were we again? Oh yeah, my record collection. It's insane how many Eno albums I have. That could qualify as its own post, right there. Well I think this pretty much wraps up today's posting on Crossover Vinyl. Where everything under the big black sun crosses over in an incredible mish-mashed tapestry of post slipstream musical exhibitionism the likes we don't really get to see much of, around here. Until next time, Thorns out ~;^\~
There's one section not included above, I just realized. Picture discs. There are two kinds. The ones you listen to, because more often than not (such as in the case of Tool's Lateralus, for example) that's just how the regular album was released, on picture disc. Some have maintained over the generations that picture discs can have a lower quality, and not sound as good, and while this actually does happen to be the case in a lot of examples, there's also an exception for the multitude of albums pressed on various different colored or treated vinyl that sound passably well or even fine. At least such has been the case, in my experience. That Hank III (Straight to Hell remix 12") I never play because it's just for hangin'. Same with the Korn self titled pic disc, it's meant to be a wall ornament. But I've got an ABSU album on pic disc that sounds very good. I guess it depends somewhat on who pressed them, and how. I don't really have that many picture discs. Oh yeah, System of the Down, Hypnotize / Mesmerize came out in dual pic disc form. They sound fine whenever I play them. Which ain't much, these days. I should really pull those two albums out, for a listen. Right now my head is ringing with the cascading electric guitar cadences from Lou Reed's mighty 2000 album Ecstasy--pretty much the best album I scored on RSD 2019.