Monday, April 12, 2010

It's Chris Grier's Vinyl District | The Record Store Day Interviews: Allison Wolfe

For the uninitiated, Chris Grier is a Washington, D.C.-based musician who has been making brutal and beautiful music here and abroad since 2003, with results that skitter along that rarely glimpsed border where "wildly seductive" meets "what the hell?" He has collaborated, recorded and performed with some of the planet's most interesting and inventive musicians, including Thurston Moore, Mike Watt, Andrew W.K., Tom Smith, Don Fleming, Matthew Wascovich, Hugh McElroy, Ian Wadley, Little Wings and Little Howlin' Wolf. He is also a member of the long-running avant-garde collective To Live And Shave In L.A.


Hey there,

Records changed my life, and if you're reading this, if you've somehow meandered over to this corner of the digital whatever, you undoubtedly feel the same way. By records, of course, I mean vinyl - LPs, EPs, 7"s, 10"s, &c. Sorry to be so bloody obvious about it, but I just read the "artist testimonials" on this thing a few minutes ago, and The Boss was waxing poetic about CDs, for eff's sake. Who let this guy in? Reading comprehension, Mr. Springsteen, look into it. This thing is called RECORD Store Day.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of these anti-digital wingnuts that gets his pantaloons knotted up over CDs and downloading and MP3s and "odd-order harmonic distortion" and blahblahblah. Spare me already. I use vacuum tubes like freakin' packing peanuts, and I even bought a goddamned 500-pound vinyl-cutting lathe a couple years ago for the purpose of learning how to cut records my own self, but the phrase "analog-vs.-digital" still gives me hives every time I hear it. CDs are just fine, so are downloads and MP3s, "lossy" or not. Sure, they're not as good as a well-recorded analog thing, yadda, etc., but if this is what you're spending you're time worrying about, I advise you to cancel the Stereophile subscription, lose 40 or 50 lbs., and move out of mom's basement/the crappy group house and get some semblance of a life.

No, records are just better.

I mean, empirically better. It's not subjective. Not even close. They sound better. They look better. And they're just plain cooler. We all know the reasons. Preaching to the choir is lame anyway, and I wouldn't want to be a member of any congregation that would hire someone like me anyway.

All of this irritable late-night rambling is just a way of setting the context for what's in store for you - I've been asked to take over this blog for a few days by Jon. Why? Who knows. But what you do need to know is this: I am far too damn lazy to type these days, so I'm taking the easy way out and interviewing friends and acquaintances about vinyl. It's easy for you, too; you won't even have to read, just click on whatever MP3 thingie Jon's webmonkeys set up with my posts, and you'll get all the goods.

As for Record Store Day itself? I love it. Just don't do what I did last year and decide to queue up only a half-hour before the starting gun goes off. You won't get jack-shit. Everything I was looking for was gone in femtoseconds, snatched up in twos and threes by a smelly herd of pudgy Mojo-reading beardos, the bastards.


Chris Grier - Untitled (katzenjammer) (Mp3)

Our inaugural installment of the Record Store Day Interviews features Allison Wolfe - radical provocateuse, founding member of Bratmobile, Cold Cold Hearts and Partyline, and, of course, one of the women who started the whole Riot Grrrl thing. (She's also a rather hilarious cartoonist, and a first-tier partyer.)

I had a whole other thing on tap for today, but my interview subject sort of disappeared. And, as it happened, Allison was a stone's throw away in Williamsburg - drinking foam cups of beer from the Turkey's Nest in McCarren Park with about a half-dozen mutual friends. She agreed to drop what she was doing, and we moseyed on over to the benches by the softball field, away from the Wayfarer-wearing frisbee-throwers and that goddamned ice cream truck that marauds the neighborhood, playing a mangled version of the theme from "Cletus The Slack-Jawed Yokel" at 120 dB, constantly.

As always, Allison was hilarious. Topics covered: Quasi-criminal record-buying behaviors, an ex-boyfriend and his risible taste in music, Kurt Cobain's love of rare Vaselines vinyl, Malcolm McLaren, Bow Wow Wow, the pain of losing records to ex-bandmates moving out, and, as many of us have done, deriving a ballpark estimate of the size of one's LP collection by counting the number of 12"x12" spots taken up in one's IKEA Expedit bookshelves. Among the things you will learn from this interview: Duran Duran was what converted Allison from a listener into a record collector.

Chris Grier Interviews Allison Wolfe - The Vinyl District Podcast (Mp3)
Chris Grier Interviews Allison Wolfe (...extra!) - The Vinyl District Podcast (Mp3)

1 comment:

Dumbek said...

HA! I haven't even listened to this yet, but for the record I'd like to admit that I, too, store my vinyl in an IKEA Expedit bookshelf (the 5x5 version).

Also for the record, Allison and Partyline rule.