By: Dakota Arsenault
Soundtrack contributors were asked to share some of their record collections, so I figured I would do a post about mine. According to Disogs (which if you aren’t on as a record collector, get on it) I have 321 pieces of vinyl logged. I have bought a few more this year and haven’t updated it yet and I think there is a couple that just aren’t on the site. This list isn’t my favourite albums, or most rare items, but instead a collection of ten records that tell a bit of a story about who I am. My current set up is a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Turntable in red with some Edifier speakers.
1. Ray Charles – Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
This was the very first LP I ever bought. After high school, and likely some time in college, I was at a Goodwill and saw this album for sale. I wanted a turntable for quite a while but knew next to nothing about collecting. I picked up this album (it may have been purchased by my mother for me) and I held onto it for several years, not knowing when I would finally be able to listen to it. This album is so influential that Sturgill Simpson named his breakthrough album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music.
2. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
This is my basic jazz pick, and laughably, purchased at Urban Outfitters. While I was in college, a friend lent me this album on CD and it was my introduction into jazz. I know it’s basically jazz for dummies, but it’s a classic for a reason. It has since lead me to expand and get records from Gene Krupa & Buddy Rich, Duke Ellington, The Quintet, Etta James and more.
3. Otis Redding - History Of Otis Redding
Back in 2012 my then-girlfriend and I went to Chicago for the first time. It being the home of the blues we knew we had to get some records. I think in total we must have bought 3 or 4 different things, but one of the most important records in my entire collection is this Otis Redding one. It was our first Redding album, where we now have four plus some singles. But more importantly, when we got engaged we knew Otis Redding had to be the artist we had our first dance to at our wedding. We chose These Arms of Mine, a track that appears on side one of this terrific record.
4. Frank Ocean - Channel ORANGE
This album has been rumoured for years to be officially coming out on vinyl, but it still hasn't hit stores. When I walked into Play De Record on Yonge Street and saw both this copy and nostalgia, ULTRA. I knew that these were bootlegs. I quickly grabbed Channel ORANGE and I regret not getting the other one too. This album is a double record, with one being dark pink and the other being clear.
5. The Rolling Stones – Some Girls
No record collection is complete without the classics, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, ABBA, Bruce Springsteen, etc. That includes The Rolling Stones. I’m a big fan of there’s and have a couple of records, but this is my favourite for a few reasons. Firstly the artwork might be the single best of any album I own. The cutout hairstyle ads on the front where you slide the sleeve back and forth to make Mick, Keith and company have ladies hair-dos, and the back has the tracklisting and record info styled to look like brassiere ads from a catalog. Secondly, this album has some classic underplayed Stones songs like Miss You and Beast of Burden. I bought this record used and it appears like the original owner was named Catty, as she wrote her name on both sides of the record sticker.
6. The Districts – The Districts
My most prolific period of buying records came from 2012 to 2015. It seemed like every paycheque I would devote to buying a new record and going to concerts as much as I was, I was always in danger of spending there too. In 2014, I was going to Bonnaroo for the second time and knew I would have lots of conflicts, so if artists that were announced were playing in Toronto beforehand I decided I should check them off my list to free me up. I went to see White Denim at Horseshoe Tavern and the opener was a group of small shy kids called The Districts. They barely talked on stage, but when they performed they let all hell break loose. I was aghast at their sound and immediately bought their record leaving my spot up front and found them in the green room and got them to sign it. Lead singer Rob Grote was shocked that I liked them enough to buy their record and track them down, the guys were so humble and thankful for me saying I liked them. Amanda recently reviewed their latest album for The Soundtrack.
7. J. Roddy Walston & The Business – Essential Tremors
In what might be the single most epic concert billing Foals joined up with Cage the Elephant to tour together. They came to the now-closed down Kool Haus with opener J. Roddy Walston & The Business. I had never heard of Walston, but he was scheduled to also play at Bonnaroo so I made sure I got there early. Walston played the piano, or more so aggressively threw himself on it, banging out the hardest rocking music I have ever heard from an instrument that has been around for over 300 years. I met Walston after his set and purchased the record and he signed it for me.
8. Majical Cloudz – Impersonator
I know I’m cheating here by including two different record releases, but they need to have their stories told together. I had wanted to see Majical Cloudz for over a year and coincidentally had to miss their shows whenever they played. Somehow, this quiet ambient electronic duo was opening for Lorde, of all people, at Echo Beach. I wasn’t sure what time they were going on so I was checking their Twitter account, and they posted that someone from their crew was walking around on the grounds. If you spotted him, he had a few signed 45s to giveaway. I got to the show early and spotted the guy! He gave the record that contains Savage and Love Soul, songs not found on any other release. After their set, I went to the merch booth and picked up Impersonator and got Devon Welsh and Matthew Otto to sign it. We chatted for a bit over people we both happen to know (they came from the same Montreal scene as Grimes, Doldrums and Moon King). The band broke up less than two years later and I never got to see them perform again.
9. Parker Millsap – Parker Millsap
In 2015, I was going to go back to Bonnaroo for a third time in June and once again tried to catch up on acts I might not be able to see. This time it was Houndmouth, I arrived early to photograph the show at Lee’s Palace and experienced something I had never seen happen before. Opener Parker Millsap walked on stage and he belted out a long sustained note and the entire room fell silent. It was like the clouds opened up and a single ray of light fell on stage. It was like something I had never seen before or since. After the set, I ran to the merch booth and bought the album and got Millsap to sign it.
10. Justin Nozuka – Mr. Therapy Man
This is a bonus last record I want to spotlight. Justin is an old friend of mine from high school and I will always support him. Unfortunately, despite having released four full-length albums and some EP’s, he’s never put any music on vinyl so I’m stuck only owning CDs or digital copies. Through Discogs I learned that in the UK only, Nozuka put out two 7” singles. The shipping is a bit too much so I only purchased one, but this has Mr. Therapy Man from his debut album Holly and Why an unreleased demo. One day I’ll pull the trigger and buy the After Tonight/Golden Train 45.