by Blake Correll
My vinyl collection is extremely modest. The records I own are an extension of my love for music. Maybe if I had a better setup with dedicated speakers, a nice amp and turntable, I’d invest more in records. At some point I might, but I’ve been moving around a lot these past couple years. I’d hate to wreck a nice setup while moving from apartment to apartment.
Here I want to share 5 stories about records in my collection that have significance to my life.
Wildlife, La Dispute (2011)
La Dispute is one of my favorite bands ever, it’s not a secret. Everything they’ve put out has some significance to me. I first learned about this record after listening to ‘King Park’. Some message board said that it was one of the most gut wrenching songs ever, if you’ve never heard it before I highly recommend it.
Above all, Wildlife more generally sticks out in my collection because of when I fell in love with it.
It was my sophomore year at Kansas State when my roommate and I began listening to this record at the same time. That whole week we must’ve listened to Wildlife 20 times collectively. We would come back to our dorm after classes and have conversations about tracks that stuck out to us. Songs like ‘St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church Blues’ and ‘Edward Benz, 27 Times’ stuck out to me the most. This tandem listening experience opened up songs that slipped past me on preliminary listens. James especially remarked on ‘I See Everything’. His appreciation for different songs made me revisit certain tracks. I would listen more intently because I knew that James had enjoyed them.
To this day this day I remember that week very fondly. If you want to hear more about it, James and I recorded an episode of LWYL where we discuss ‘I See Everything’ by La Dispute.
The Magic of Andy Williams, Andy Williams (1969)
Not all my records have significant life events associated with them. This Andy Williams record was one I picked up at the Salvation Army in Manhattan, KS. It is a collection of crooning hits. None of the songs individually mean much to me, the sound of the record is perfect though. It’s great Sinatra-esque background music. I only picked it up because the cover stuck out to me and I thought I recognized the name.
More than anything, the lack of any expectation increased my enjoyment of it. When I put the record on the turntable it was the same dice roll as buying it on impulse. Maybe that’s the “Magic of Andy Williams”!
*End Credits* *Soft Violin*
Plans, Death Cab For Cutie (2005)
Death Cab has grown and grown on me over the years. I constantly return to their records or take a detour into lead vocalist/guitarist Ben Gibbard’s solo work. Plans was my first full-record exposure to the band because the smash-hit ballad ‘I Will Follow You Into The Dark’ is on it. (IMHO is that it is far from being their best song. It’s not even the best on that record, I digress.)
This is one of the records in my collection that I did not personally buy. One of my best friends throughout high school Aaron gave me this record as a groomsman gift. I happily accepted. Aaron and I have a long history of a shared love of music. We even started a band together (Alphamale Jackhammer RIP). The thoughtfulness of this gesture meant a lot to me. The surrounding context of him marrying his high-school sweetheart all culminated into me being a sobbing mess at his wedding.
I’d like to thank the wedding photographer, wherever you are, for excluding me from photos during this time.
Split EP, Touche Amore / Pianos Become The Teeth (2013)
So I’m a sensitive guy. Even though I’m sentimental I can throw down in the pit (Toxic Masculinity? maybe.). I picked up this split EP at Touche Amore’s last Chicago show at Metro – La Dispute was also playing. This show was everything I wanted and more. I got to see my favorite bands in a legendary venue in the city I was just getting to know.
I’m glad it happened, but I miss opportunities like it.
Now that live music is impossible these memories stick out more vibrantly. After the opener, Touche was set up. Then the lights went out. The crowd went absolutely berserk in the darkness. Any concertgoer knows the feeling. Lights come on, the band is standing at-the-ready on stage then the unmistakable chords of ‘~’ are strummed, more cheers. Then the whole band kicks in the entire room and compresses into the stage. People are crowd surfing, the whole floor is a mosh pit and everybody is screaming the same words.
“I’M PARTING THE SEAS BETWEEN BRIGHTNESS AND ME!!!!!!!”
That feeling was better than anything. I remember the orange lighting on the band and the silhouettes of my fellow concert goers pushing against me. I can still feel it, my stomach gets the same butterflies.
I miss live music so much!
Greatest Hits, Remo Drive (2017)
I was OB-SESSED with Greatest Hits. The sound of the record as a whole broke my brain. Every element came together perfectly. Up until this record I don’t think I’d ever fallen in love with a band for their sound. 2017 was a blur of music because this album occupied my entire focus. There were days where I would listen to nothing else.
I wanted to know everything Remo Drive did to achieve their sound, going as far as learning the songs on guitar myself. Others must’ve felt the same as I did because guitar tabs were available immediately. The shapes of the chords and the time shifts were challenging. I became a better guitarist learning these songs. Playing them gave me a brand-new connection to this album.
A Small Story of “Badassery”: I was able to get my record signed at the show when I saw Remo Drive. I dragged my friend Austen from Manhattan (Kansas) to Kansas City to see them. At the show there was a dude crowd-killing in the mosh pit. If you’ve ever heard Remo Drive you know this is completely uncalled for. I got in his face and told him to stop once or twice, but he continued. I must’ve pissed him off by telling him to “stop being a dick”, so he took a running start at me and knocked me into the front row. This is at least how Austen tells it to me. I thought somebody accidentally fell into me. Austen apparently pulled the guy out of the venue with the bouncer and threw him out. It wasn’t until after the show that Austen told me how he had stuck up for me. What a guy!
I hope these stories inspire you to think about the music you own. Having these relics of formative moments in my life mean a lot to me. The fact I can put them on a turntable and hear them make sound is a sweet bonus!
–Edited by Colin Niemer