We live in a cyclical world full of redundancy. We want new music but when the Jonas Brothers release an EP and Miley Cyrus dons a blonde wig we freak out like its 2008 again. We live for the next iPhone and yet long for the days when the most exciting part of your day was flipping your phone sideways to expose the keyboard and text your friend three characters because texting charged by the character. And while we love the ability to stream (and sometimes pirate) music anytime, anywhere there is still something endlessly cool and almost romantic about listening to music on vinyl records.
In Spokane there are only a few places to buy records and many people don’t really know of them, even if they are into collecting vinyl. Total Trash Records and Vintage, on 1601 W. Pacific Ave., is one record store worth checking out.
“We have been open since May of last year, so we are coming up on our one-year anniversary,” JJ Wandler, owner of Total Trash Records said.
And while there are many record stores that are absolutely total trash, ironically this one’s namesake does not reflect its inventory.
“The name Total Trash comes from a Sonic Youth song from their Daydream Nation album. It’s not my favorite song but that’s where the name originated. Plus, it’s a little tongue-in-cheek joke about garage rock and the idea of calling it trash is fun. The repeating T is also a good pneumonic device,” Wandler said.
The trick to starting a record collection is to know where and how to source your vinyl. While there are many online stores that sell hip, customized records there is something so much sweeter about going to a record store and digging through stacks of dusty and sometimes moldy records.
“I am a record collector and I just really like the idea of being around records all day which is why I opened the store," Wandler said. "Record collecting is like a treasure hunt and you never know what you might find. Plus, I like hooking people up with records they might like that are different, like bands they’ve never heard of before.”
The reason you go to a record store instead of simply ordering aesthetically pleasing records online while you eat a Hot Pocket and watch friends is for the expertise.
Both Wandler and the manager, Travis Harris have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of music from almost every genre, with an ability to answer many different questions pertaining to the world of music anyone might have.
“We sell records, but also CDs, 8 tracks, stereo equipment, and movies,” Wandler said.
“We are also secretly cinephiles in addition to the music,” Harris said.
One of the greatest joys of collecting vinyl records is the annual Record Store Day. In the world of records, this is a day where independent record stores get exclusive records from some fairly big names ranging from Bob Dylan to the Foo Fighters to Elvis Costello to Miley Cyrus to Weezer and many more.
“Next Saturday is record store day and we’ve got several hundred titles that will be coming out next Saturday morning. There are at least three record stores in town that participate in Record Store Day,” Wandler said.
According to the Record Store Day website joining Total Trash Records in celebrating this holiday on April 13, is 4,000 Holes, Resurrection Records, RECORDED Memories and ABCDs (All the Best CDs).
“I am going to record stores on Record Store Day," said Brick Jennings, a Gonzaga student and record collector. "I think that it is really good because record stores are sort of dying and this is good way to promote and help them.”
One of the greatest joys about starting a vinyl collection is that once you start it is strangely hard to stop. They are like pieces of art and they make the music sound more organic somehow, like a ghostly whisper of the person singing instead of the electronic streaming we have all come to know.
“There’s just the weird attraction to vinyl as a format of music for me and for people who collect it,” Wandler said.
While this Saturday is a great day to start your vinyl obsession, Total Trash is open every day from noon to 6 p.m.
Spencer Brown in a staff writer.