MY OBSESSIVELY-COLLECTED MUSIC LIBRARY
 

It all started in 1979. I was sixteen, still listening to classic/hard/progressive rock*, when my best friend started bringing over lps from weird bands like The Damned and The Sex Pistols. I guess I wasn’t ready for it, because the only group that won my favor was The Stranglers, probably due to the fact that they had guitar solos and the more complex arrangements I was used to. Then The Vibrators started turning me on to the "attitude" and the two minute wonder of punk. By 1982, I was bored with the old stuff and plunged into a full on conversion to the likes of

Adam and the Ants 
Buzzcocks 
The Clash 
The Jam 
The Only Ones 
Piranhas 
Radio Birdman 
The Ruts 
Sex Pistols 
Spizz 
The Stranglers 
Undertones 
Vibrators 
X-Ray Spex 
XTC 
   

devouring any release I could get my hands on, including all the b-sides and rarities, usually at exorbitant prices. I got all that could be had by these bands in a few years time, but a couple band catalogs took me nearly ten years to complete. Example: The song Traffic Light Rock by XTC, only available on a British 10" vinyl compilation called Guillotine. It was around the time I finished the collections that everything starting coming out on CD collections. Oh well, it was the journey, not the destination, that was fun. By the way, I get frustrated using the term punk. Most of the groups that were signed in the late 70’s already had distinct styles, adjusted them a bit to fit the "punk" mold, and by 1980 were off in completely individual musical directions. Two of my favorite albums from this period, All Mod Cons by The Jam, and Drums and Wires by XTC, exemplify this perfectly. Not punk, yet when compared to the greater world of popular music, these bands were still definitely in a group to themselves. Then in 1984, when I was getting a little restless and eager for something new, a college classmate used the term Hardcore. Huh? Hardcore? What’s that? So I dove into

Adolescents
 
Agent Orange 
Alley Cats 
Black Flag 
Channel Three 
Circle Jerks 
D.O.A. 
D.R.I. 
Germs 
Husker Du 
Kraut 
Minor Threat 
Minutemen 
Saccharine Trust 
Suicidal Tendencies 
T.S.O.L. 
Youth Brigade 


which was exhilarating but didn't stick with me as much as the old British bands. A few years of doldrums followed, but fortunately I had missed some key groups with big catalogs to devour and I picked up on


The Damned
 
Oingo Boingo 
Talking Heads 
Elvis Costello 

 

with The Damned ultimately proving to be one of my all time favorites (and most difficult to collect). Also, Costello made for a very intense period of musical adoration. I was just high on the stuff. It also taught me a lesson in keeping an open mind. For reasons unknown I didn’t pay attention to Costello back in the early 80's, so I figured there must be a lot of other great bands out there I hadn’t tried. Beginning with Stiff Records alumni, moving on to other bands I had missed, and finally opening up to the "New Wave" I had previously dismissed, I took a look backwards in 1989 and found

Jane Aire & the Belvederes
 
Adverts 
Alternative TV 
Any Trouble 
The Attractions 
Blondie 
Boomtown Rats 
Bus Boys 
Captain Sensible 
The Cars 
Chron Gen 
Code Blue 
Paul Collins Beat 
The Cure 
Daniel Amos 
The Dead Boys 
Devo 
Howard Devoto 
The Dickies 
Ian Dury & the Blockheads 
The English Beat 
Flag of Convenience 
Generation X 
Richard Hell 
Jools Holland 
Joe Jackson 
Killing Joke 
Nick Lowe 
Madness 
Magazine 
The Members 
Men at Work 
Penetration 
Tom Petty 
The Police 
Iggy Pop 
The Pretenders 
Psychedelic Furs 
Rain Parade 
The Ramones 
The Rumor 
Pete Shelley  
Snakefinger 
Squeeze 
Style Council 
Television 
Wire 
Wreckless Eric 

and that adventure lasted about four years. Also during that time I picked up the more contemporary  

Billy Bragg 
Camper Van Beethoven 
Hugh Cornwell 
Firehose 
Fine Young Cannibals 
Leaving Trains 
Long Ryders 
Lords of the New Church 
Luxuria 
Bob Mould 
New Model Army 
Sinead O'Connor 
Michael Penn 
Tom Petty 
Proclaimers 
Replacements 
Seventy Sevens 
Smithereens 
That Petrol Emotion 
Travelling Wilburies 
Andy White





























That was when the CD format was starting to become widespread, so it was a good time to raid the vinyl bargain bins because all the shops started blowing out LPs. I got a lot of great music on the cheap; stuff I wouldn’t have chanced as an expensive CD. I did the rarities collecting by mail order bit, too, to get all the tracks not available in the local shops, and by 1993 had complete catalogs of all the groups I cared about. I decided then that I didn’t want to become a slave to the turntable and the dying medium of vinyl (even though I consider it a superior sound) and made definitive listening cassettes of the lot, and Hi-Fi VHS archival tapes of all the stuff I didn’t have evidence was easily obtainable on CD (a total of about 150 cassettes and 20 6 hour Hi-Fi VHS tapes). Then, sold the lot of the vinyl, which was painless enough. By 1993 I was thinking maybe the kind of music I like is going to be relegated to the past and I’m not going to like anything new. Then I heard people talking about "alternative" and I wondered what "alternative" was and spend the next four years with the likes of

Amps
 
Belly 
Blur 
Frank Black 
Breeders 
Bush 
Cracker 
Cranberries 
Elastica 
Everclear 
Face to Face 
Failure 
Foo Fighters 
Fountains of Wayne 
Goo Goo Dolls 
Juliana Hatfield 
Johnny Bravo 
Letters To Cleo 
The Lemonheads 
Limblifter 
Nada Surf 
Nine Inch Nails 
Nirvana 
No Doubt 
Orbit 
Pixies 
Posies 
Possum Dixon 
Radiohead 
Reacharound 
Rust 
Sleeper 
Smoking Popes 
Soul Asylum 
Stone Temple Pilots 
Sugar 
Sundays 
Throwing Muses 
Mike Watt
Weezer
Paul Weller
 











and another round of musical intoxication bliss. Then I took a break like I do sometimes (like when I'm broke) and started up again the summer of '98.  The next few years intake included more of that "post-alternative" sound, and my introduction to modern power pop. Blinker the Star and Splender in particular being huge stand-outs:


Age of Electric
Apples in Stereo
Bad Religion
Frank Black & the Catholics
Blake Babies
Blinker the Star
Cardigans
Tanya Donelley
Dovetail Joint
Dynamite Hack
Eve 6
Jason Falkner
Filter
Guster
Kristen Hersh
Idlewild
Lit
Live
Marshall Artist
Marvelous 3
Neve
New Pornographers
Offspring
Oleander
Owsley
Pocket Size
Semisonic
Shooter
Silverchair
Sloan
Splender
Sponge
SR71
Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros
Super Deluxe
Supergrass
Sweet 75
Talk Show
Trinket
 

Spring 2003: I finally finished digitizing all my VHS copies of archived vinyl; about 400 CDs. Ten years in the making, from archiving in 1993 to finishing digitizing in 2003. Halle-frickin-lujah! And with the CD era of music I wasn't as much of a completist on the rare b-sides and such. If I could find them new or local at a fair price, I'd buy them, but no more overpriced mail order collectible stuff this time. Fortunately, I was able to pick up all that remaining out-of-print esoterica for all these newer bands free, with Napster. Those are the type of songs I feel justified in downloading, when at that point the collectors are making money and not the bands. Also around this time, two music friends, Alex Cahill and Joe Field, started making some great recommendations. One group leads you to the next, like a "family tree" of bands, which is always fun.


A Camp
Burning Airlines
The Chords
The Doves
Engine Down
The Fire Theft
The Grays
Hey Mercedes
Cliff Hillis
The Hot Snakes
Houston
Jawbox
Jawbreaker
The Life and Times
The Merrymakers
On
Righteous Boy
Rival Schools
Schatzi
The Shazam
Some Girls
Spoon
Sunny Day Real Estate
Superdrag
Year of the Rabbit

 



2005/2006: I discovered 90's-00's neo-prog rock, plus other surprises in there, too, ranging from emo, techno, to what I call "neo-dramatic", and good old noise rock.


Autolux
Bloc Party
Brain Surgeons
Dredg
Enon
Jets to Brazil
Loud Family
Lusk
Maximo Park
Metric
Neil Morse
Porcupine Tree
Replicants
Sam Roberts
Rocket From the Crypt
Saves the Day
Sci-Fi Lovestory
Shiner
Spock's Beard
Teenage Fanclub
Transatlantic
Vines

 

2007/2008: I busted a huge move. I let go of my old meticulously maintained wave file archive (which grew over 400gb) and converted it all to 320kps (1/4 compression) MP3s with the reliable LAME encoder, hand named and tagged every file, applied album art, and built my itunes library of 10,000 songs (that's selective songs, not blanket covereage for every band). True, it could have all been downloaded with tags and art (legal or otherwise), but this is the same collection I have been mothering since vinyl and old CDs. I've done a lot of normalizing of levels and other geek subtlties over the years, so it was a labor of love. I still have my custom burned 1998-2008 CD collection, but it is relegated to playing on an "old fashioned" CD player. How time flies. I have also burned the complete itunes MP3 collection as CD data disks (thematically in the autobiographical order, of course) on about 130 disks, which are great for long play in the car. I have yet to buy an ipod. Anyhow, the standout discoveries this time are the genre-chamelion group Oranger, and the impossible to classify Minus the Bear.


Jane Air
Ken Andrews
Army of Anyone
Jon Auer
Blackfield
Braid
Jon Brion
Channels
Cloudsmen
Creeper Lagoon
Eyes Adrift
50 Foot Wave
Kay Hanley
Jellyfish
Joy Circuit
Lost Dogs
Minus the Bear
Oranger
Phantom Planet


2016: After way too many years of just buying new releases from bands I already knew, I made a project out of loading all of my likes into Pandora. After weeks of listening to these custom radio stations, I compiled a list of anything marginally interesting. If they were iffy I would just download via torrent an album or two to learn more. If they were outstanding I would buy an album or two. I donít want to pay full price for entire discographies of old bands, and I likewise donít want just leech all of it and not support the musicians. Some bands I bought were not so great after all and I ended up disliking, some I sampled were even better than I thought, so I would buy more. The goal was to enrich my collection, and spend a few hundred bucks on these bands. Those that won my favor ended up being:


Aviatic
Cave In
Deftones
Garbage
Giant Drag
Gorilla Biscuits
Harvey Danger
Hoobastank
Hum
Living End
Saliva
Shins
Veruca Salt
Steven Wilson
Zero Boys


If there are any groups I’ve not mentioned that would most likely appeal to a fan of all the above, feel free to e-mail me c/o jeff@fatherandsontoon.com


Note: My music collection has been stored Auto-Biographically many years before the film HIGH FIDELITY explained this concept.

*Aerosmith, Amboy Dukes, The Beatles, Jeff Beck, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, David Bowie, Captain Beyond, Derringer, Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson, The Kinks, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Mahogany Rush, Pink Floyd, Rush, The Scorpions, The Tubes, UFO & The Ventures. Although I shunned some of these old bands at the time, they are still in my collection (just not obsessively collected, with the exception of B.O.C.). In some cases I have gained an an even greater admiration for them over time (naturally).
        

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