Vinyl Record Collection Gems
Picking your favorite records is like trying to choose your favorite child, you have a strong feeling that one of them is definitely the favorite, but then the other one will do something and you’re suddenly not so sure. I guess the nice thing about children over records is you can play them off against each other to compete for your love…I probably should not have children. Obviously I am joking, but it is a near impossible task to distill your collection into a few standouts. It is a question that does get thrown around quite a lot, though. While I’m certainly not going to pick favorites, I thought I’d share a few gems from our collection.
The Pixies – Doolittle
This was the first record I ever got. It was given to me by a very good friend just before I moved to Sydney 9 years ago. It has been a prized possession for a long time, even while I had no was of playing it. This friend and I became friends in high school through a mutual love of the Pixies. It wasn’t always easy to find friends in high school in the early 2000’s who liked music from the 80’s and early 90’s, but when you found them, you knew they were forever friends. So this record not only kicked off our collection, but symbolizes a friendship I still hold dear to this day. Plus it’s just a freaking great album! Pick one up here if you don’t have one already!
Our collection isn’t particularly valuable. We don’t go out of our way to get rare pressings, or fish out the limited editions. At this point we’re still trying to get all the collection essentials in place. But we do have two records that are pretty special in my book.
Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland (the one with the nude cover)
Apparently Jimi didn’t actually like this cover at all. The British record label, Track Records, were attempting to generate a buzz around the album by releasing it with a controversial and provocative cover, so they photographed 19 naked ladies and spread the photo across the outer gatefold. Unfortunately for them, the band was displeased, and it didn’t really end up making that much of a splash, other than being banned by a few British retailers. The photograph is without a doubt, hideous. But I’m happy to own this strange little piece of music history. You can get a glorious copy of the 50th edition of Electric Ladyland here.
Nirvana – Incesticide (first pressing from Holland)
This is another record that’s very special to me. It was an wedding anniversary gift from my favorite person, my husband Ben. It’s a first pressing from Amsterdam, ordered off eBay from a seller in Spain, that now resides in Australia. Who knows where else it’s been on it’s journey of getting to me. That’s one of the things I find so cool and interesting about collecting secondhand vinyl, imagining where in the world it’s travelled, who it’s be played and loved by, and what other adventures it’s been on along the way. I love when you can get some of this information from the seller.
This one has a bit of a story attached to it, well not a story, but a lesson for new collectors like ourselves, and a frustration that we faced. As I mentioned, we bought this off eBay, and when it arrived, the cover had a sticker on that informed us that the album inside was of the limited edition “blue swirl” variety. This is a pretty expensive pressing and I was convinced it would be the plain black one we originally ordered, so luckily I wasn’t too disappointed when I opened to find it was the black pressing (although I still held out hope). So obviously this was not the original cover the album came with. Upon contacting the seller, he informed us that the original cover had been damaged by water, so he gave us HIS cover of his blue swirl vinyl. All this seems a little fishy, as that definitely would have decreased the value of his copy a significant amount. We tossed and turned about returning it for a while, but in the end we decided to live with it. I still kinda regret not opting to return it, that little blue swirl sticker makes me feel like a fraud.
The lesson here is, if you’re unhappy, send it back! You don’t have to settle, even if it is a bit of an effort. I still love this album and this pressing, even though the cover makes me a little sad.
Get your own non-sad copy of Nirvana’s Incesticide here.
My favourite homegrown vinyl
So #homegrownvinylthursday is a concept that my buddy @jareds_wax came up with on Instagram, where we asked the IG vinyl community to share their stories about the bands from their hometowns that they grew up with or just really love. I am pretty passionate about Australian music, as I mentioned in my very first blog post about how I started collecting records, it’s something that helped me integrate into Australian life when my family emigrated from South Africa. So collecting vinyl from my favorite Australian bands is something that I love doing.
WAAX – Wild and Weak (signed copy)
I’ve raved about this band before. They are my current favorite Aussie outfit and I feel so happy to have this pressing of their debut album, which arrived signed by all five band members! I’m not going to go into too much more detail about the album here. You can read about how much I love them here.
Lucky for me, I have two countries to pick from for my homegrown vinyl selections, and my second favorite is from my birth country of South Africa!
Die Antwoord – $O$
Die Antwoord (translated as The Answer) is a hip hop group from Cape Town, that start a counterculture known as Zef (which Yolandi describes as “you’re poor, but you’re fancy” which is awesome). They rap in free flowing Afrikaans to English, which if you speak both languages is super fun. They throw in so many colloquial phrases and swear words that you really kind of have to be South African to fully understand (but they are also known in the Netherlands, as Afrikaans and Dutch are pretty similar). They’ve been brought onto the world stage by Neill Blomkamp in his third movie Chappie, which I highly recommend. If you haven’t heard of them, or seen their weirdness firsthand, this is a tough sell. But they have definitely made it now and are internationally recognized, which is pretty damn awesome! This is a bootleg copy of this vinyl, for which I am sorry. Unfortunately, an official pressing isn’t that easy to get right now.