I decided a while ago that I wanted to get a record player. Digital music is great, but there’s something really appealing about analog music. It’s the same reason that I want to get a typewriter, and enjoy old books. Well I did end up getting one, and after a brief struggle with cables (thank god I have Kees to help me out of those situations) I got it hooked up to my speakers and spinning tunes.
I had a few records that I picked up at Atlas in Seattle over break – Bruce Springsteen, Psychedelic Furs, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and some random albums I chose for the cover art. Last week I went into the village to Rhino Records, an independent record store that seems out of place in conservative Claremont, and spent a while browsing. I was blown away at the variety of modern artists and recently released vinyl. I walked away with The Shins’ Chutes Too Narrow, Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest, Bon Iver’s Blood Bank EP, and Wolf Parade’s Apologies to the Queen Mary.
The great thing about a record player is that it almost forces you to develop a greater connection to the music you’re listening to. It’s a far more conscious activity than just pressing double clicking a track on iTunes, so it makes you think more about what you’re playing, and it makes you pay more attention to it once it’s on.
I also appreciate the indivisible nature of vinyl. You press play and have to listen to three or four songs straight through, no skipping ahead or picking a certain song. It makes albums important, makes them something more than just the sum of their parts. Digital music has done a great job stripping the music experience down to hit tracks, but there’s something great about coherent albums – not just one or two good songs, but 12 or 13 that work together and are framed by their cover art.
I know I’m just becoming even more “indie” or “hipster,” but I swear I’m not doing it for the fad.