Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Record Swap and the Things I Got There

So, hungover and severely underslept I managed to drag my sorry carcass out of bed and down to Vancouver's Annual Record Swap. I think the term "swap" is largely traditional at this point, as in my experience the only thing being swapped for records is cash money. I'm normally not to good at these things, mostly because I'm not a collector. The moment a dude starts talking about japanese reissues and rare pressings my eyes glaze over and I start mentally recounting the plots of old Doom Patrol comics. That, and the fact that despite having a voracious appetite for music I don't really buy a lot of vinyl, and these sorts of things are geared towards people who fetishize the stuff. I mean to say, I was born in the seventies, I grew up with LPs but shit dude, if it comes down to it I don't really care about format all that much. I like to have a physical object rather than just a file (if only so I have a backup in case of hard drive failure) and CDs are more convenient for me in that regard. In any case, I halfheartedly leafed through a few crates of stuff labeled "eighties and nineties", was tempted to purchase a nice copy of Momus' Tender Pervert (which I really should write about at some point) but generally came up empty. Eventually whilst clawing through a crate marked "80s Indie" I found a copy of Coil's Anal Staircase 12" which has a version of the track on it I'm not sure has appeared on CD ever. It was a decent price so I went for it. Plus, the cover art (pictured above) was kind of cool. Much less cool was another seller who was trying to hawk a copy of the bands debut album Scatology for $80, which is overpriced even if it were in good shape, which it wasn't.

I eventually found my way over to a table where a dude was selling mass quantities of CDs for $5 a pop. A lot of garbage, but a few treasures. Firstly a copy of Celebration's debut LP which Bruce has always had nice things to say about. Secondly, one of Off Beat's ol' Tyranny Off the Beat comps, which are great fun if you're a fan of forgotten mid-nineties EBM and Electro. This particular volume has a neat version of Velvet Acid Christ's Star Trek sampling Futile, a track which he would later update for his Fun With Knives album. But the real find was an original Wax Trax pressing of KMFDM's Naïve. For those that don't know, the album was deleted in the early nineties due to an uncleared sample of Orf's Carmina Burana (you know, that one bit that is the basis for Apotheosis' O Fortuna, a song I could happily never hear again) on the track Liebeslied. The album was reissued eventually with the offending samples removed, but the original pressing has gone on to become something of a collector's item, fetching high prices on ebay. So yeah, a productive and worthwhile trip to the record swap, although I didn't get to have my picture taken with Chad Allan of the Guess Who. More's the pity.

KMFDM - Liebesleid

Velvet Acid Christ - Futile (LSD mix)


Flatliner said...

"I'm not a collector. The moment a dude starts talking about japanese reissues and rare pressings my eyes glaze over and I start mentally recounting the plots of old Doom Patrol comics."

PLEASE! You just orered the regular version of the new Snog, along with the deluxe one, simply because you to have the different cover artwork!

alex said...

Actually the tracklistings vary as well.

Brad said...

Nice finds. Ottawa's record swap is coming up on the 20th, and while I'll probably go, it kind of sucks that these events tend to be overrun with old guys who worship boring '50s-'70s rock, and '80s-'00s vinyl doesn't really exist to them...

Bruce said...

Having lived in exile from my vinyl collection for nearly two years now I've had some distance from my vinyl fetish (which was a big deal for me about seven years back) and I've become a tad more selective about what vinyl to pursue. While contemplating a vinyl purchase, I think about whether the form contributes something to the aesthetic of the record and the music itself. Was enough time and care spent on the sleeve to make it noticeably different from a CD cover? What are the slipcases like? Is the vinyl solid and weighty, or is it cheap Dynaflex stuff? Some bands and artists have a good track record of vinyl releases that are satisfying in and of themselves, some don't. As a result, I've pared my vinyl buying down from "I like this record and don't have it on vinyl" to "Is this record interesting or attractive enough in and of itself to merit my cash?" I'm still a stereotypical "High Fidelity" type nerd when it comes to buying stuff by my favourite bands (The Cure, Joy Division and Swans), but there are a few others whose stuff I seek out more diligently because of their representation on vinyl (Japan, OMD, Kate Bush and Alien Sex Fiend), and others that I tend to pass over despite loving their music because the vinyl doesn't bring anything new to the table Bowie, Numan, Talking Heads and [with the exception of those cute coloured 10" singles with the gigantic labels]).

Brad: You're bang on about the demographics, they're the same in Vancouver. I dread to think of who and what would show up at a record swap here in Peterborough - nothing but Frankie Yankovic and Bob Seger enthusiasts, no doubt. But you can turn that to your advantage! I can't tell you how many times I've found pure gold in the small boxes of 80s vinyl those old guys always have at the back of their table, and often underpriced. Even if not, they can usually be talked down pricewise, as they have no intrinsic interest in the stuff outside of what cash it can net them (which is usually a vague amount in their minds). In short: exploit the "one man's junk" principle for all it's worth. You'll earn the scorn of shut-ins who haven't listened to a new record since Iran/Contra, but it beats paying through the nose at snooty hipster shops.

Flatliner said...

Usually I buy Vinyl for the purpose of having it signed. It looks much cooler than anything else when Autographed.

I also buy special vinyl editions. Like the limited Blood Splatter printed vinyls that Ulver did for Blood Inside.