Thursday, July 14, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
From rubber duckies to milk glass, and from military memorabilia to life sized toys, it's safe to say that I am surrounded by like-minded crazies. I'm in my element.
It wouldn't be a collecting documentary without record collectors; Especially one that I'm directing. Trying to pair it down to a few collectors was tough, so I gave myself a rule - I couldn't know the subjects. I wanted them to have different approaches to the hobby, and hopefully in different eras/genres of music.
DJ Sam 'Efsharp' Flemming, Evolved Entertainment
Collection Size - 2,800 LP's and countless MP3 Files of electo, soul, house, jazz, funk, rock...
Sam operates a DJ/AV company called Evolved Entertainment out of a cozy office in the Downtown core of Toronto. I bet it's the only office in the neighborhood that houses a drum set, a lizard, and almost 3,000 LP's. Sam's a unique collector...
What is a collector? 'A Librarian.... Like piecing together bits of a tangible collection, we are also collecting knowledge.' Sam also uses an elaborate cataloging ritual that goes down to organizing similar songs that he considers 'make-out' worthy. Like many DJs, he has several copies of each album so he can do live mixing between two Tec 12's. Sam's views on collecting are both spiritual and grounded- providing wonderful material for the film. I wish Sam DJ'ed my wedding...
Alan Cross, The Ongoing History of New Music
Collection Size: 10,000 LP's, 6,000 CD's and numerous bits of memorabilia.
It's not a surprise that Alan Cross has a good outlook on the hobby. Having worked with some of the greatest names in Canadian radio-only to become one of the greatest names in Canadian radio, it's an honour to have access to such a wealth of knowledge. When asking Alan how he gets his LP's he comments 'Radio personalities have lots of items given to them- but that takes the fun out of it.... I would much prefer going to a shop... talking with the owner'
The amount of unique items he pulls out shows his passion. Walking in his house I almost tripped over a framed autographed Sex Pistol's poster on the floor. Alan admits he can't get rid of a lot. 'You never know if an item will be worth something some day...' I'm slowing finding that most collectors have this same problem.
Many of his items have a stories about their acquisition. The stories are honest and touching, and I can't wait to show my findings to the world.
Above he is seen with a framed award for Rush's Permanent Waves he was given and an autographed Kurt Cobain picture. Oh yeah, this is what his closet looks like.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Toronto's first annual Media Swap is taking place this Saturday. Items are treated like 'tokens' as donating 20 LP's means you can leave with 20 more 'items' (be it CD, LP, or DVD). If I had only known this when I gave away a thousand LP's last month!
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Monday, July 11, 2011
It frightens me that so many record stores in Toronto (yet again) are closing their doors. First Monster Records, then Second vinyl, now Criminal Records, who has been a staple on Queen West for the past 5 years will begin the 'all must go' ritual that far too many have done before them.
Though this seems like a terrible sign, shop Owner Josh Leonard confirms that sales were strong.
From their facebook page …‘We hope you all understand that this has nothing to do with poor business, as we have enjoyed record sales that have gone up every single year. In our dreams, we could have never anticipated that we would be selling this much music in 2011.’
I would suggest that everyone checks out the sales over the coming weeks. All regular priced vinyl is currently 50 percent off, with other items being reduced regularly.
Though I’m not much of a ‘new vinyl’ guy, I’m sad to see this shop go. I know for a fact that many youngsters have been introduced to vinyl as a result of their location, and great stock of new titles. Today I picked up 9 sealed records – Many at 8-10 bucks! Josh mentioned to me that over 20,000 vinyl units were sold from their shop last year. 20,000! With Hits and Misses, Rotate, and Kops all selling new pressed LP's within walking distance from one another- I feel as if records are still going strong.
Visit Criminal from now until July 31st for great deals. Wednesday July 13th is also their last In-Store (FREE!) show, at 7PM. Come check out Lou Canon!
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Today I was completely out of my element; a rock and roll kid at a hip hop record swap. Friends of friends have recently acquired several thousand Hip Hop, Rap, and soul vinyl. Mostly 12", with several hundred albums, this lot made me uncomfortable. How can there be YET another group of artists that I know nothing about that I LIKE? I just got over the hump of learning the idiosyncrasies of jazz labels.
I stuck to what I knew - Late 90's hip hop isn't great, early 90's is, and 80's is tough to find. I mainly got some late 90's titles, despite all fair warnings. Men in Black and Wild West Soundtracks on Mint Double LP's for 2 bucks each is a decent deal as far as I'm concerned. I'm also holding The Pillage by Wu Tangs Cappadonna, as well as early Public Enemy and Redman 12's. Okay, now it's getting a little better.
I'm also spinning a great KRS-ONE comp, 6 cuts from their early career. It's strange how many reissues KRS has gone through, which shows that consistent need for early hip hop.
I find it odd how inaccessible early Hip Hop LP's are. I tend to hit up most shows, and hip hop is like a mirage amongst scratched Beatles reussiues. My main question is why is hip hop so 'outside'? I know that subcultures live on the outskirts, but you can find Jazz in hip hop shops, but often not the other way around. It might the be shop emulating the attitudes from the lyrics. I know that metal is tough to find on LP. I've bought LP's in every province, and Montreal is the only city in Canada where I could guarantee to find several large metal sections on LP. I hope I don't get a load of responses telling me about Play D - I know of it's existence. I've bought LP's there before - but where's the hip hop in the average shop? Hell, I bet it's based on making the most cash and shops opt out. All I know, I loved my digging today and more stores should get some hip hop.
I also bought every 45 they had that was pressed in Jamaica. I rarely hit up 45's ( I have a few hundred), but at a sale like this I assumed many of the tracks would be 'sample' worthy. I was right! I got early Impressions on Curtom Records, as well as Al Green, Sam and Dave, and Stevie Wonder cuts from the 60's. I knew most of the tracks, but I'm stuck on these. Help a brother out:
Sanchez - Baby It's Time/
Hugh Roy - Make Love Not War/Freedom Train(on Jogib Records)
Admiral Tibet - Dem Come
Fragga Ranks - No Powder Nothing
Barrington Ley - Something in my Heart
Galaxy - Woman Get Wicked
Josie Whale - Let Go Mi Hand (on Volcano Records)
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Friday, July 8, 2011
It’s still early in my summer vacation, and I have taken on the project of identifing the 100 worst album in my collection.
I know, I know, ‘worst’ does imply opinion. I’m 3 weeks away from moving my 4000+ record collection across the city - I’m going to sell albums I know I’ll never listen to again. And if I know what’s good for me, I won’t even listen to these pieces of trash before they leave my house.
Purging a collection is a strange beast. Firstly it takes a lot of courage. Someone who amasses over 4000 LP’s obviously has an attachment to owning them. I suppose it has much to do with a documentary I am shooting. I spend all day interviewing various collectors of different types, in hopes of narrowing down the true reason for needing ownership of an object, or series of objects.
‘To have is to hold’ is a great expression, but I just don’t get any excitement from Zappacosta 12” singles, or Trooper albums any more. Many of these albums I must have purchased when I was just getting into the hobby, years back. Echoes of my early compulsions.
So here’s to spring cleaning, diggers! I challenge you all- what’s the worst record in your collection?