PACKING RECORDS, UNPACKING MUSIC

This is the realest shit I ever wrote: I’ve started packing my records up. After 16 years in the Bay Area, I (and the fam) are moving down to Los Angeles so I can take a job at CSU-Long Beach (yessir, Professor Wang if you please. Oliver if you don’t. Mr. Wang if you nast…oh, never mind). This is the first time I’ve ever had to hire movers for something more than just a cross-town slide and as befits my personality, I’m just a little paranoid at the thought of my two tons of records[1] rolling down I5 and then suddenly jack-knifing around Coalinga and having my vinyl distributed amongst ill-fated cattle.

So I decided to pull out a select number of records to take down with me when I drive from SF –> LA and this has been a most illuminating process. Some of the picks are no-brainers – records worth a few hundred dollars for example are worth putting in the “fire crate”[2]. There’s also a few not-so-rare records that just hold a lot of sentimental value for me…like my doubles of De La Soul’s “Buddy”. But when I started combing through even my crates of more rare, vaguely valuable stuff, I just skipped over most of it, thinking, “if these ended up lost or destroyed and I got the insurance money back for them…I’d actually be pretty ok with that.”

It’s rather sobering realizing that 80-90% of your collection is, in theory, disposable insofar as, it’d be a pain to replace certain items but you wouldn’t necessarily get that stabbing feeling in the pit of your stomach if something unfortunate happened to them. Certainly, this reflects some major changes in our times…physical music becomes less important (especially as a DJ) in a post-Serato world.

I also think I’m less attached to certain records just because they have a “cool” song or two and more focused on albums and singles that really move me (see my previous post about ballads). That’s a rather finicky category to pin down and on any given day, my sense of what I want to hear and sit with may change radically. But my musical listening of late has turned towards songs I’m completely obsessed over rather than more casual listening. In other words, the songs that move me the most are the ones that I want to put on repeat and just listen to over and over and over, insatiably. Notably – and thankfully – I’ve been managing to find these songs at least every few weeks or so. That doesn’t mean the rest of what I have in my collection is suddenly dull as beige or anything but if I can invoke the concept of “comfort music” the same way we think of comfort food, then I guess in these unsteady times, I want to drown myself in certain songs and tune everything else out.

At the same time, I don’t want to take all these records for granted. I bought them presumably out of some desire to own them and I’ve been making a point to go through and pull out different songs/albums I had forgotten about and bring ’em here. My messy move is your gain (I hope). So, for the next few weeks, I’ll be cleaning out the digital (and literal) closet in preparation for this move and hopefully, have a slew of posts forthcoming. Not everything I’ll be posting will be tunes I’m crazily obsessed over…but that doesn’t mean you won’t be.

Here goes…



Los Mitos: Eleanor + Mony Mony
From S/T (Hispa Vox, 196?)

True story: Back around 2004, I was doing a monthly soul/funk night at Milk with Matthew Africa and the Groove Merchant’s Cool Chris called Popcorn. We had just switched from Thursday nights to Saturdays and the crowd was less into the kind of music we were throwing down and instead wanted hip-hop (it’s one of those gigs where dumb white dudes[3] repeatedly come up demanding, “you got any 50 Cent? Play ‘The It’s Your Birthday’ song!”[4]

So, I’m up on the turntables, trying to keep the groove going and I decide, at this moment, what the perfect song would be is a Spanish language version of “Mony Mony”. I thought the song would kill. And it did. The vibe that is.

It was so bad that not only did it spur some people to complain about the music to the bouncer when they were leaving the club but someone went onto citysearch.com and posted a review of Milk where they named that song[5] as a reason they weren’t really feeling the night.

Of course, in seeking agreement that this song should have been brilliant, I sent it to a friend who promptly replied: “dude, I can’t believe you dropped this at a public setting. I’m sorry, the only way that works is if it’s a mash-up with Yung Joc bellowing over it…and I hate Yung Joc.”

Just for kicks, I threw on Los Mitos’ cover of The Turtles’ “Eleanor” on here as well. The group is from, I believe, El Salvador Spain. I’ve debated throwing this LP out but somehow, the debacle it inspired makes me a little sentimental about it.


Notes:
[1]Take that Peanut Butter Wolf! But yeah, we did the rough math and that’s what it comes out to. I’m vaguely horrified at this reality.

[2]So named by DJs who have a crate of records they plan to cart out in case a fire threatens their domicile.

[3]Seriously, it’s only white dudes (and women) who do this.

[4]By the way, DJs hate your guts when you do this. If we could have bouncers toss you out of the club for stupid requests, we’d do it. Even being cute may not help.

[5]That reviewer got it wrong though, claiming I played “the original version,” when in fact, it was a Spanish cover. Idiot!

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