Ominocity’s Guide to Record Collecting

Collecting the result of hard work, a keen eye and disregard for self

Editor’s Note – A few weeks ago Ominocity released its Guide to Saskatoon Record Stores. However, the real truth – and fun – about record collecting is that given enough patience and hand sanitizer, you will eventually find those hard-to-find gems almost anywhere, whether it is a record store, a thrift store or a garage sale. Also, don’t forget to scour online sites like Kijiji or Craigslist – the sad truth about record collecting is that there is always someone out there who is sitting on a pile of records and has no idea what they are worth.

Anyway, without further ado, may we present Ominocity’s Guide to Record Collecting.

The Clash – s/t and Sandinista- Value Village, Saskatoon

clash vinyl record

Saskatoon’s Value Village is a really good place to go record shopping if you are really into Linda Ronstadt or Nana Mouskouri. This doesn’t really do much for the rest of us however. And pawing through the Value Village vinyl bins is like going through someone’s dirty gitch: your hands will invariably get sticky and stained and you are left with a feeling of self-loathing. However, I’ve struck gold here, once: I found the Clash’s s/t LP and the Sandinista triple vinyl LP on the same trip. The best part about scoring big at Value Village? Pretty much everything is set (or was) set at $1.50. Also awesome: scoring a Sheryl Crow 1994 tour shirt with the ¾ length baseball sleeves.

Acid King – test pressing – Cheap Thrills, Montreal

For those who don’t know – and feel lucky you haven’t been sucked into the endless mire of vinyl nerd-dom – a test pressing is a vinyl record made to test the quality of the finished product. Typically only four to 12 are ever pressed and are solely in possession of the label or band making the purchase – tellingly superfans dish out big bucks on eBay when, if ever, these records come up. So randomly stumbling across a test pressing in a used bin at a record store is kind of like winning the nerd lottery. I found this Acid King test pressing in a store in Montreal called Cheap Thrills out of their “Moog” section – don’t ask what I was hoping to find in there, but it certainly wasn’t this. And for those who don’t know, Acid King were/are a sludge-y stoner riff trio, and the actual pressing of the 10” is limited at 600. Nailed it for $8 – total score bro.
acidking record

Goatsnake – Flower of Disease – Vinyl Exchange, Saskatoon

I can still remember how stoked I was one this one showed up in the used bins at Vinyl Exchange. It was more than I wanted to spend but not too much that I wasn’t already digging out my wallet – the lesson here is that collectables are only worth what someone is willing to pay for them, as my dad used to say. Luckily I was able to trade in about, oh, let’s say fifteen used CDs and DVDs in order to defray the cost. It was worth it – this album is an absolute monster of sludge-meets-boogie metal. But maybe I should have held off for a few years – Flower of Disease has since been re-released by Southern Lord and is now exceptionally easy to find, which for some reason kind of bums me out. Oh well, at least I still have my “original pressing” bragging rights.

Deadly Snakes – Love Undone – Craigslist, Montreal

deadly snakes vinylBack when I was unemployed and living in Montreal there wasn’t a whole lot for me to do besides scour the local classified ads for used records. I was bored and developing a weird, obsessive hobby seemed like a good use of my time. And it was also a good way to see the city. Every morning I would wake up and check local Craigslist ads and make contact if anything seemed interesting. I struck up an email conversation with someone who said they had an unopened copy of the Deadly Snakes’ total classic and legendary and out-of-print first LP, still in shrinkwrap. Score! The only catch was an hour-long metro ride one way to the west side of the island to find some dude I had never met before. The last time I tried meeting someone at a metro station to buy a used record (an old Mogwai EP) I ended up in the middle of a full-scale riot – Montrealers do love their riots! Anyway, I ended up buying this for the princely sum of $12, in addition to the $6 I had to spend on metro tickets. And the three hours I could have spent looking for a job.

Green Day – Kerplunk – Back Room Records, Montreal

The record is a total punk classic, especially at the price of $6, but the “store” I bought it from is the real story here. Back Room Records was established by Warren Hill, the guy who became famous for digging up the Velvet Underground acetate record in New York that was allegedly worth $150,000. The store itself is open maybe once a month and is located in a plywood “room” at the back of a second story apartment in Montreal. Also, it’s only accessible from the alley and up a very scary fire exit/staircase. But if you are ever in Mile End it’s totally worth the trip.
Backroom records

All photos by Chrix Morix. Featured photo via Flickr user Avern, Creative Commons.