Thursday, June 17th, 2010

The Golden Age Of Hipper-Than-Thou CD Fetishization Begins Now

FUTURE IS THEN (OR NOW)Yeah, no, I bet whatever album you're trying to tell me about is great. It's not even out yet? Ooh, a leak! So you've got, what, a 160 kbps transcode ripped from NPR's live stream or something? Then we're definitely not listening to that. Also, my iPod speakers stopped working.

Nah. Doesn't bother me. Honestly? Best thing that could've happened. See, I've still got my old stereo, and I've been hoarding all the CDs I bought or burned between the ages of 13 and 24. Sure, they take up a lot of space. Was a pain to move them out of the old apartment, too, but it's worth it. This stuff is gold. No more blasting the hot new downloads. From now on, I'm all vintage.

Wait, don't go! I've got some good stuff here. Look, I've got Version 2.0 by Garbage. Bought that before I realized they were a straight ripoff of Curve. Heh. Butch Vig, you shameless bastard. This is what I'm talking about, though-the physical disc? It takes you back. Transports you to that moment. No, sorry, I don't have any Curve on CD.

I've got that shoegaze, though, for real. Stack of My Bloody Valentine EPs, my fifth copy of Loveless, hell yeah. Hm? Not that scratched. Most of the songs don't skip. But dude! The skips are part of it. You're supposed to hear skips, those tiny hiccups. It's like… my brain fills in the missing pieces. Human memory's amazing, am I right? Besides, the skips happened because I played the album too much, so that's just extra cred for me. Any jackass can get into iTunes and mess around with the play count; this is legit wear-and-tear.

I would totally throw on some Spiritualized, some Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, but the case is empty and I don't know where the thing itself is.

How about something from-ah, no, these are mixes of stuff I played over the radio in college. Need to throw those out. And that's, eh, I know, of the whole Jesus & Mary Chain discography I have no idea why The Sound Of Speed is the thing I own. Don't even bother trying to decipher that cover, it's just Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Ah, funny story about The Bends. I bought it after liking OK Computer and listened to it on my Discman on a car trip and was confused about the direction Radiohead was taking. Shut up. Sam Goody's didn't say which one came first, you know.

80s? I've got 80s. Echo & The Bunnymen? Cocteau Twins? Pixies? Whatever, Surfer Rosa was like '88. All stone masterpieces, all in their original shiny jewel cases. Except this one still has some sticker residue on it. Don't you miss those stickers you had to strip off to open a CD for the first time, furious with stymied anticipation? If you weren't careful sometimes you'd break the case! Point is: we put effort into our fanhood back then. It wasn't all mouse-clicks. Except when you had to go on Napster to pirate a Jerky Boys sketch.

Check it: The String Quartet Tribute To New Order & Joy Division.

Okay, just say it. The Flaming Lips. Yes, they really have that many albums. I went through what we call a phase. You ever had a phase? Don't I remember your mom confiscating Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness from you back in the day because you were getting all mopey? I don't care, early Flaming Lips are pure acid rock heaven, even if I don't listen to them anymore. I'm glad I preserved that era of my life where I was blithely ordering bands' entire back catalogs on That felt real.

That? Kiss Me Deadly, Misty Medley. No one's heard of it. Just something I used to cry to while I was in London. Ditto Paik's The Orson Fader. Ditto several other things. Actually most of these are good for a crying jag. Especially this used copy of Codeine's Frigid Stars LP I picked up at Other Music down on 4th Street. Odds are pretty good that whoever owned it killed himself and bequeathed it to a friend who sold it off. History!

There's something bewitching and lovely about hearing the old CD changer struggle and whir inside the stereo. Usually I don't even bother seeing what's in a given slot, because it takes too long for the slot to open. You just press play and listen to what gets spit out, is what I do. That's the problem with music libraries on computers, too much control, too much choice. One time this stereo was completely stuck and I had to listen to Bowery Electric's Beat like twenty times in a row. It was even more hypnotic that way.

Anyway, it's stuck right now, so I guess we're listening to … The Knife. Hope you like gothic Swedish electronica.

Yeah, a few of these are only a couple years old. The National, Boxer. Black Moth Super Rainbow, Dandelion Gum. Electrelane, No Shouts, No Calls. Burial, Untrue. Stars of the Lid, Stars of the Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline. Mountain Goats, The Sunset Tree. I don't know what I was thinking when I scooped these up. Doesn't make sense hearing them through the laser precision of a compact disc. Feels anachronistic and weird. It was too late for them, I suppose. The dream is over. It was our golden age. We remember Tower Records, man. We were there.

You leaving already?

Miles Klee really wants you to come over and listen to the authentic fidelity of his CDs you guys!

CD iPhone base by Geeky Gadgets.

73 Comments / Post A Comment

Art Yucko (#1,321)

back then, we really had no clue that Shoegaze was going to be such a huge deal with the toddlers when they grew up.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Swervedriver, for reals

I loved Swervedriver so much from 1991 to 1994.

WHICH IS ODDLY or perhaps not the SAME YEARS I was devoted to Curve!

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Choire, don't make me break out the Ultra Vivid Scene.

Miles Klee (#3,657)

see i don't understand why i binged on all forms of shoegaze but could never get into swervedriver

It's because you're WEAK at heart. Swervedriver was manly. It was very… Mogwai Lite.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

they were in a sort of grey area between gaze and the imminent grunge. also, a LOT of bands at the time tried to sound like that.

Slowdive had some pretty ssoundz also

Clip Arthur (#2,024)

"Lush" is it. Gala?" Spooky? Beginning, middle and end of it.

Oh yeah, "My Bloody Valentine" as well. Maybe "Ride"? A wee bit of "Chapterhouse?"

Ehh, the only stuff I can tolerate now is "Lush." Beginning, middle and end of it.

OMG yes. A thousand times YES.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

Yeah, whatever, man. A real connoisseur still has all the original longboxes.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

I had to think about what that meant for awhile, and then it was like OH, SHIT.

bassknives (#2,903)

Nice try McLuhan, but you've only made the case that you think you have shitty taste.

jrb (#3,020)

I'll wait for the Bronze Age.

jrb (#3,020)

Seriously though: I'm more of a jewel case man myself. As CDs wore out or got lost (with no possible chance of recovery), I've always hung onto the cases. Packed into a couple of milk-crates of them.

Maybe it has something to do with buying CDs at The Wall in middle school? Like, maybe it'll reopen and I will finally get my Bad Religion cases refilled.

God, what a horrible business model that was.

sox (#652)

1. Does this mean you are only 24? Yum. No, that was a few years ago? Even better. *CALL ME.

2. I am moving and yes, those cds are heavy but my god I cannot get rid of them and every single word of this post is exactly why.

3. The knife. Fucking SWOON.

So, uh, ever visit the Rocky Mountain region?

Miles Klee (#3,657)

i'm 25, send money for airfare

Also you can probably find Miles tonight, around 7 p.m., if you know where to look!

brent_cox (#40)

I wondered who was going to bring that up.

roboloki (#1,724)

will there be an assigned live blogger for those of us unfortunates that don't live in the greatest city in the world?

sox (#652)

@ miles: god damnit that is always the problem with you 25 year olds. i always have to pay for the pizza and the beer.

@ choire: "send money for airfare"!

Miles Klee (#3,657)

yeah those attending the bawl should be forewarned that i am a lot drunker in person

superconnected (#1,212)

Sent this to my Dad. Pretty sure we're gonna bond over this shared cultural experience.

Crantastical (#4,127)

I still have every Soul Coughing CD.

So are you from NY or Minneapolis? Or did you miraculously end up being obsessed with Soul Coughing while living elsewhere?

I still have every Semisonic CD. Better than a one-hit-wonder band, guys, I promise!

Also, slight correction: "I'm glad I preserved that era of my life where I was blithely ordering bands' entire back catalogs on through mail via the Columbia House Music Club. That felt real." There, now it's accurate.

I think I still owe Columbia House Music Club money!

Miles Klee (#3,657)

really? it was only like a penny i thought

Miles Klee (#3,657)


that was the trick. the first 20 or something was a penny. then they stuck you with shipping and every month you had to remember to tell them not to send the monthly selection.

Make no excuses for Ruby Vroom.

tomme (#4,473)

I celebrate their whole catalog.

iantenna (#5,160)

blinded by the white.

NicFit (#616)


Miles Klee (#3,657)

cat's outta the bag!

Charles Vestal (#3,953)

Way ahead of you: Spent this year giving up MP3s. Stupid, but fun.

Miles Klee (#3,657)

this is awesome! sorry for stealing your idea

HiredGoons (#603)

Trompe Le Monde.

Joe Gallagher (#4,773)

It's educational.

johnpseudonym (#1,452)

Neophyte. Reel to reel is where it's at.

saythatscool (#101)

Pfffft. Victrola's where it's at.

Bittersweet (#765)

I only listen to bands who play live in my salon in weekly Schubertiads.

Joe Gallagher (#4,773)

I will take a 4 dollar, used copy of Elliott Smith's "Either/Or" to replace the one I scratched into oblivion over an iTunes download, a vinyl reissue, hell even a free Mediafire link any day. Used CD sections are an opportunity to redeem myself. "I downloaded this album for free two years ago and I still listen to it. It is nice to finally have the liner notes/lyric sheet!" or "I borrowed my dad's copy and scratched the shit out of it and misplaced the case. I ought to replace this for way cheap while I can!"

Liner notes. Yes. How else would I know about the production credits on all my hip-hop albums?

And fuck iTunes. I'm supposed to just accept the "Wish You Were Here" LP @ 120kbps?

deepomega (#1,720)

I fucking packed up and drove all my CDs from Maryland to California. This hits me right in the soul. And let's not talk about my Infinite Sadness faze, k?

sox (#652)

I based an entire electronic media I class on it sophomore year of college!

Tuna Surprise (#573)

My U-Haul included 500+ CDs when I moved from Las Vegas to NYC. Imagine the carbon footprint that created….

Dave Bry (#422)

And there's nothing like that great, fresh-out-of-the-plastic-case CD smell! Nothing could ever replace that! And you can also use CDs to cook eggs on or something, right?

This was terrific.

Margaret Monroe (#5,583)

Any thoughts on redheads who need a musical education, MK?

Margaret Monroe (#5,583)

Also, I'm Chinatown-bus-accessible.

I have everything you need.

Miles Klee (#3,657)

@Margaret – for redheads i would recommend Michael Hamilton's "Bagpipe Funeral Music." also, send money for bus fare!

Check in mail c/o CAT

Aatom (#74)

I have a huge box of dusty cassettes that I'll let go of CHEAP.

What? No imports? They were the equivalent of the leaked album.

tomme (#4,473)

I spent every last paycheck I earned busing tables trying to find a Stone Roses track better than Fools' Gold or I Am The Resurrection. All I ended up with was One Love/Something's Burning.

KarenUhOh (#19)

Entire Game Theory collection. Yeah, the ones that are available on Amazon "Used, from $159."

Yeah. THAT cool.

And 2500 LPs in the basement. Including a nearly new Great Lost Kinks Album.

Yeah. THAT cool, too.

Like anybody cares.

You would luuuuuvvve my husband.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

it's our retirement plan

iantenna (#5,160)

my co-worker was in game theory. yeah. THAT cool. (except our job pays shit and our boss is a cunt).

you keep your lps in the basement? for shame!

KarenUhOh (#19)

@ iantenna: who's the co-worker? Can't 've been Scott.

And: the lps are in the basement because that's where the shelves are. And the sump pump. And they're all fine. Some are mighty embarrassing, but all are good to go.

iantenna (#5,160)

nope. gil ray, the drummer from big shot chronicles on, and one of the sweetest dudes in the universe.

I miss the Loud Family. Is Scott Miller still making music?

buzzorhowl (#992)

I could pretty much have made this post, only I would have been talking about cassettes.

Also, I take care of my music, so none of that crap about scratches and skips would be in my version of this post (though there would be an occasional reference to cheap walkmen and car tape decks eating tapes).

This comment isn't intended to convey that I'm cooler than you, by the way. Just that I'm older than you.

Ronit (#1,557)

I hope you're right, Miles. I've got 300 CDs I'm too lazy to rip, and I'll be very happy if my laziness makes me hip.

Bridget Callahan (#5,234)

A couple friends of mine told me that recently they found some mixtapes I made them, on tapes atually, and they dug out their cassette player. Now they listen to the same two every friday night while playing scrabble on the porch.


Making a good mix tape was no small feat – you had to eyeball the remaining length of tape left on each side.

I remember someone gave me a mix with November Rain that cut off about 30 seconds into the guitar solo. Still makes me cringe.

tomme (#4,473)


I had a list of "buffer songs" that were 30-90 seconds long so I could fill up every last millimeter of tape.

This post made me reflect sadly on my (I'm much older than you (and a redhead)) painful and nearly inexplicable love for vinyl, old and new. Thank you for this delicious psychic wound!

Brad Nelson (#2,115)

Miles and I have very similar CD collections. (My Misty Melody is Little Busters by the pillows.)


DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I am both too young and too old for shoegaze.

dekkoparsnip (#5,579)

I kind of love this, though I just noticed yesterday that my CD player wasn't working. I then realized that it hasn't been used since we moved three months ago. (The record player, however, has been used and works fine.)

I still hoard VHS tapes, though.

DCali (#5,634)

Seriously? CDs? If you're not operating in LPs and the 24bit/96kHz lossless digital versions, you're just not holy enough.

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