I’m heading home from Seattle, where I spent an amazing two days with a client partner of ours and 20 of their top sales associates, store managers and merchandisers. Two days of drilling into the art and science of identifying a love brand and creating an audio identity that not only amplifies, but exemplifies all the traits of that love brand…I love working with partners that understand the power of that connection.

Two days of amazing workshops and discovery, but two days in Seattle also means two days of soaking in one of my favorite cities and seeing some shows. Oh happy day when we heard we had the opportunity for a private performance with Seattle artist, Nouela. Haven’t heard of her? Ahhh, you will, don’t freak. In fact, you probably already have. Her hauntingly beautiful cover of “The Sound of Silence” has been featured in the film The Leftovers.

We then packed up a mini bus with 25 lunatics and headed to Barboza to see a show featuring the UK’s Wolf Alice. Voted most-blogged-about artist in the UK recently, they lived up to every expectation. Pure bad ass rock nonsense. Loved it. My mission? To find everything they’ve ever done and soak it in like a musical sponge.

But I digress. All of this was just leading up to the one thing that I knew I had to do before I left Seattle (and do each time)…a pilgrimage to Sub Pop Records. Man, I get more excited than a fat kid at a pie eating contest when I have an opportunity, any opportunity, to spend time flipping through vinyl. From iconic destinations like Sub Pop to somebody’s driveway at a Saturday morning garage sale, there’s something just simply magical about putting your fingers on that album…looking at the cover, flipping it over and reading the back side….or even digging in and – wait, what’s that? – oh yeah, album notes. You mean people actually write about the songs they put out and they don’t just hang out there in the digital ether with no context, backstory or explanation?


So yeah, I came back with an armload of goodies. I can’t get off this stupid metal tube people mover soon enough to rip open these hermetically sealed analog discs of delight. Riding home with me are Father John Misty, Sleater-Kinney, King Tuff, The Sonics, The Head & The Heart and a couple of very promising compilation albums. Would you like to check those, sir? Hmm, nope, I’ll keep them with me, thank you.

Alright, so what’s up with vinyl? Why are we seeing vinyl sales increasing year over year when all we hear about are ones and zeroes and how much more convenient digital is? Who ever said that making music too convenient was a good thing? Think about it this way, with the advent of digital technology and the sense of immediacy it brings, most millennials, (and even those that were the pre-millenials…whatever we want to call them this week) have never had to listen to a song they don’t like. Hear something that is unfamiliar, hit a button. Hear something that doesn’t resonate immediately, hit a button. Hear something that isn’t what everyone else around you is listening to, hit a button. So, is that the mentality that killed the album concept? Certainly part of it, no doubt.

So what’s up with the resurgence of vinyl? It’s been here all along. I was just waiting for you to come back.

Sure, this can sound like the addle-minded ramblings of some oldster trying to desperately hang on to former glory. Yeah, yeah, I killed on 1200’s, but no, that’s not it. It’s more the realization that the discovery of music is a wonderfully emotional and tactile thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love digital convenience and access, who doesn’t? But what I mean is discovery. Put an album on and let it track. How many times have you found albums or even cuts, that you had to listen to a few times before they resonated? If you don’t let it track, how can you give it a chance? Put your fingers on it and invest in the experience.

Ah, tactile…isn’t that the missing component in a digital world? The stark, cold, sterile, almost Orwellian consumption of something that at best and at worst is intended to be an emotional experience seems in contrast, doesn’t it? Holding an album cover and reading it…who played on a track, here are some lyrics, here’s a picture of the Sound Engineer’s dog, that’s a component that’s missing with an MP3 download. Shoot, I’ve even heard that album covers are great for other purposes as well.

Go, find a record player…run, don’t walk….you can get them for next to nothing just to get started. Hit some garage sales. In Austin, head to two of my favorites, End Of An Ear or Waterloo Records. In Charlotte, you’ll find me at Lunch Box Records, Repo Records or Manifest. Search these places out…use the inter webs and the Google and find a place near you. Crawl up to your attic and discover some long-forgotten friends. Revel in the ritual that is the needle drop and the auditory foreplay of that cherished static before the first chords start hitting you. Wrap yourself in that analog warmth that digital files, no matter how hi-res they may be, will never capture…surface noise and all. And most of all, don’t get up. Let the album track. On average, 22 minutes per side.

– Submitted by Danny Turner, Music Design