With that charming quote from Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, welcome to Box Full of Records, a music blog for rambling about the joys of listening to and collecting vinyl records. While much like Hornby’s protagonist in High Fidelity, I listen to endless records, especially sad songs, and can be prone to depression, I personally have the mindset that discovering great new music – yes, even the sad ones – make me happy. And few things make bring me more joy and relief than digging through endless Dan Fogelberg and Herb Alpert albums in the used bins to find hidden gems, as minutes slip into hours and my problems drift away until I hear ‘Hey man, we’re closing in about ten minutes’ and wonder how I ended up with another heavy armful of records.
Since the New York Times investigative report of a massive Universal Music Group warehouse fire that resulted in the tragic destruction of hundreds of thousands of masters recording, the below words have been ringing in my head:
The list of artists who lost master recordings in the fire is truly devastating, but the question of what may have been lost that had yet to be widely known is even more immeasurable. With the destruction of the masters severely inhibiting the quality potential of future reissue releases regardless of format, the best way to hear much music from our past remains an analog vinyl record playing through a high quality vintage setup. And for every Nick Drake or Rodriguez who has experienced internet-fueled rises to prominence in recent years, there are endless artists sitting in obscurity buried in record stores all over the world, with their incredible music only available on an original vinyl pressing, forgotten and disregarded before the rise of CD’s and digital music. While much has been made of vinyl’s increased pricing and value during its recent resurgence, the pricey in demand records in the used market tend to largely feature the big names in strong condition. While dollar bins aren’t quite as common at record stores as they used to be, I’ve found plenty of favorite records for $1 (or less), even in expensive cities like New York and San Francisco. Even with the vinyl resurgence, the majority of records still sell for no more than $1, and anything can be found with enough patience. The dig is always worth it.
Box Full of Records will be a bit like digging through your favorite used bins – with thoughts on random overlooked albums that deserve a fresh listen, forgotten collaborations and prescient old folk and blues recordings that seem more relevant than ever in our current times, along with vinyl setup listening recommendations, High Fidelity-esque top five lists and live music coverage.