I don’t know to what extent the order was determined with vinyl specifically in mind (hardly much, since it’s presumably a small minority of the audience) but I think either way this illustrates the structure of the album quite clearly:
A1 A Tooth For An Eye
A2 Full Of Fire
B1 A Cherry On Top
B2 Without You My Life Would Be Boring
B3 Wrap Your Arms Around Me
C1 Old Dreams Waiting To Be Realized
D1 Raging Lung
E1 Stay Out Here (Shannon Funchess, Emily Roysdon and The Knife)
F1 Fracking Fluid Injection
F2 Ready To Lose
(on their label site it says it’s out of stock, but I just ordered a copy from Boomkat in the UK - for a few euro less, including shipping, at the current exchange rate)
In which Tom Ewing picks up on my point about the absence of utilitarian need for vinyl. And connects it with a pretty awesome-looking action figure (which is apparently as ‘figurative’ for action as vinyl might by playable for some). Since I’m 25, that puts me close to the middle of those two age groups.
Another interesting comment:
“In music the locus of respectable nostalgia is shifting, I’d say, from the content of music to its context. Writers who see a loss of music’s forward progression, and lay the blame on the weight of the past and artists’ obsession with it, are themselves often happy to wax lyrical about older formats, networks, and rituals of consumption.”
In my reading of Simon Reynold’s Retromania, one line that stood out for me was his assertion that “Personally, I generally pay for music these days only when it is vintage vinyl from a second-hand store”. I suppose one way to counter the artistic penchant for retrospection is not to give any money to artists who are trying to sell something they have recorded, or something? In taking refuge from technological disruption, the torrent of digital mediocrity, some of us seek the perversity of anachronism - but still we are ensnared by the profit motive. I’m reminded of this essay into the punk vinyl resale scene (which I have studiously avoided):
“With punk rock and roll, as with all: once we were asked solely to consume by institutions that pressed prizes and set prices. Around that we sought self-realization, we fought or avoided fights and we lived and worked and tossed wages at records. Now we’re being asked we desire a place in the relations of production beyond consumption. Working both to live and to pay for the stuff of life meaning something is, by hook or by crook, ceasing to drive a meaningful patch of rock/punk fandom. It’s not that selling and buying are novel as rock acts - starting one’s own label is a seminal tactic of the previous era - it’s just that this formation severs the selling from production, and blurs the production/consumption distinction all the way. Pressing records and getting them sold is a damn bit different from buying records and selling them to others: it’s a difference between use- and exchange-value, I think. A Record Store Day trifle left sealed and sitting in a climate-controlled room until Ebay harkens is not, in fact, a record. Not until it’s opened up and played, I suppose.
I took shit some place for asking after Maggio of Gern Blandsten, remembering the great pains he always took to keep Gern LP prices low ($6.40, I recall?). I hear he sells his records on Ebay and at the WFMU fair, these days. Good on him. Changes in the political economy don’t involve judging but a few persons, and lord knows the singer from Rorschach is not one.
But again I want to ask if the entrance of the fan/collector into the selling end of the marketplace is helping to drive vinyl prices so high. When I joined discogs, I (however feebly) through my hat in with an idea of records as other than what they have always been to me. I continue to doubt my decision, but maybe I just haven’t reeled in enough cash as yet. Maybe then I’ll see how the market actually facilitates a sexy communion of art, security and lifestyle. Maybe.
But if nothing else, we should agree: this is neoliberalism. This is capitalism after the accumulation of raw materials, the exploitation of workers on the clock and the seduction of workers into consumer life were no longer seeming robust enough to gird growth or to fully colonize the spare time, nightmares and desires through which we see and we distinguish ourselves.
This colonization is called privatization. It is an ironic echo of indie rock’s “bedroom” trend from the 90s. It also seems to be, and might be, empowering for a lot of people, just like organizing concerts and pressing zines might have been and might still be. I don’t recall the profit motive, or exchange-value, animating these sorts of commodity-production as they do in some scenarios involving the new sales-punk. He can swagger both ways walking down the street: he’s got more money than you and, until he meets a worthy investor, he has a better record collection than you.
So if this is taken to extremes and prices spike and sales-punks hoard, can they claim an authenticity we cannot? They’ve got the 7”s, after all. They cared enough to do what it took to get them. They cared enough and worked enough to end up on top. How isn’t that like Black Flag? You think their behavior’s a perversion of previous standards? How isn’t that like Black Flag?
There’s revolution in the markets, that’s true. There’s lifestyle revolution, surely (markets can have that heinous concept in form and content.) But the larger earth-shakes necessarily involve revisions of the relationships that comprise making, buying and selling. In particular the salespunk model and the new neoliberalism of record geekery have to ensure that their is a surplus of buyers to underscore their coolness and capital, but also to ensure that vinyl stays “back.”
Why must vinyl be maintained? Not because we all love it and it all stays better (that’s why some indies have fought and continue to fight for it, though.) Sans evidence, I wonder if vinyl is one of the last remaining areas for fat labels to mine their vaults and those of their subsidiaries to pull material for bloated “deluxe reissues,” many of which I of course want to buy or (totally legally) download.
If that’s not true, then vinyl really has a niche magic and for now, it enjoys a substantial audience that is prepared for many more go-rounds of price hikes on new albs. It’s also prepared for the ignominy and degradation of web-commerce waged against better-positioned, better-experienced sellers who can be the nicest folks in the world if they choose.
If this process offends you or costs too much, it seems like there’s always illegal downloading, learning to fall back in love with the compact disc (been thinking a lot about this), or collecting a form of music that is not yet inflated in vinyl form.”
I’m just going to post something quick here on why I buy vinyl and tapes all the time: I like them.
I like having them in my life, physical reminders around me that great things are possible. You can’t really forget about them, they sit there on your shelves and you go through them and you pick one out and you think “Oh, I’d like to listen to that now”, and you play it. It sounds a certain way, be it tape or vinyl. Your turn it over half way through. You have to decide what to play next when it’s over. You can’t really lose them or delete them. You have to consider them a part of your life; when you move house, when you tidy up, when you arrange your home. They are a part of your life. This might seem secondary to the music but it’s actually not at all. It makes physical recordings a part of your life the way gigs are a part of your life. I love lots of music I’ve only ever heard digitally and I’m sure I always will. It’s not an either or situation. But physical formats are important to me because they are “real” in a very particular way.
I can’t easily express any emotional or quasi-emotional attachment I have to vinyl listening, I always feel I have to analyse it and pin it on some kind of system. But I am increasingly beginning to appreciate, aside from aesthetic values, the way it physically roots you to the presence and mechanics of playing a recording (which is a form of kinaesthetics I suppose).
What I’m talking about in the original post, however, is the idea of using/valuing vinyl in a way that is separated - either slightly or wholly - from actually playing it, which is much harder I think to understand or relate to; at least from a perspective where its ‘realness’ and/or value derives from that action.
What I also meant to add into the original post was that of course there is no single, prime aspect to using vinyl, it’s always a combination of reasons. I’d imagine that the numbers of people doing so exclusive of the obvious reason - to play it - will always remain fairly rare (there’s a commercial interest in selling them record players, if nothing else) but it’s an interesting idea nonetheless.