Used Records & Tapes
"We’re always going to need record stores and all that goes with them. And we’ll always need zines and bookstores too. This zine is a marriage of all of those things."
From the introduction to Used Records & Tapes #1
It wasn’t all that long ago that vinyl was declared a dying format, dead even. Compact discs were the future, the record industry said. This justified a jacked-up price for shiny plastic discs that allegedly sounded better and lasted forever. Except they didn’t on both counts. It wasn’t a hard choice for me. Vinyl records were cooler and CDs cost too much anyway.
Something was lost in the rush to make CDs the dominant format, but record companies didn’t miss a dime. Consumers were gouged, but hey, that’s just entertainment. Anyway, music is a luxury, not a necessity, right? Paying too much for music is not real suffering. It is insulting though. Now we’ve flipped the record. Vinyl is back. CDs are wack.
It wasn’t all that long ago that record stores were declared a dying retail format. Dead even. That didn’t happen either and the rebirth of vinyl has a lot to do with that. Music geeks demand vinyl and we want to buy them in record stores. We have spoken. Thanks for listening.
It wasn’t that long ago that cassette tapes were declared a dying format. That’s pretty much true, although there are a few diehard labels out there committed to releasing them. I was one of those diehards and released a limited run of 100 cassettes on my one-release-only label Cassette Pet. I think I have about 87 copies of The Rise and Fall of Soft Targets left if anyone is interested.
It wasn’t that long ago that print was declared a dying format too. Books, magazines, newspapers, and by the same token, bookstores, a thing of the past. But that didn’t really happen either. Not entirely.
Reports of all these deaths have been greatly exaggerated. That brings us to what you are holding in your hands right now. A printed zine about records and tapes: Used Records & Tapes #1. It’s not a buying guide. The records included here aren’t rare. They were purchased used at some point in the last few years. There’s no rhyme or reason to why these particular releases were chosen other than they somehow made themselves available.
We’re always going to need record stores and all that goes with them: browsing the racks, mining for gold, finding it—even selling big and small chunks of our record collections to make ends meet. And we’ll always need zines and bookstores too. This is a marriage of all of those things.
Anyway, here are some reviews Mike Dixon and I wrote about some used records and tapes we found at our favorite used record stores. There are records waiting out there for you too.—Chris Auman, Used Records & Tapes #1
Used Records & Tapes #1
Two artists/writers (and music nerds) Mike Dixon and Chris Auman, put their heads together to create this funny, nostalgic look at records of decade's past. Part illustrated review zine, part perzine, Used Records and Tapes put the fun back in what is often a very boring and pretentious genre.
Reviewed this issue:
A Flock of Seagulls, Asia, The Cars, Falco, Jay Ferguson, James Gang, Guns N Roses, Martha & the Muffins, Men at Work, Thelonious Monster, Mötley Crüe, The Joe Perry Project, The Police, Ramones, Thompson Twins, The Unforgiven, and Yes
A Flock of Seagulls
"Haircuts aside, A Flock of Seagulls is an underrated band. Wait, hold on a minute, I know what you're thinking (or shouting loudly): "Are you out of your ever-loving mind?" Perhaps, but please hear me out. Haircuts and pop culture references aside, what do you really know about A Flock of Seagulls? Let's review. You may remember the relentless heavy rotation of the "I Ran" video in MTV's infancy when the budding network didn't have a whole hell of a lot of videos to choose from. You are no doubt familiar with the ad-lib made by Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction: "You, Flock of Seagulls, you know why we're here?" You may have even seen the Bands Reunited episode on VH1 in 2004 which sought to reassemble the original flock. But haircuts, pop culture references, and VH1 TV shows aside, what do you really know about A Flock of Seagulls? I mean really know about them?"
"Santa dropped some good vinyl on me one Xmas way back in the day (I imagine the albums were purchased at the downtown Ben Franklin, but that’s mere speculation.) At the time, I hadn’t really progressed much past a Queen fixation. It was pretty much all Queen all the time, actually. So, in what was possibly 1984 or 1985, I got a handful of records which would help get my teenaged brain branching out into different directions. One of the albums I received was The Cars self-titled debut album, ironically enough, produced by Roy Thomas Baker who put the sheen on many a Queen platter."
Reviews of UR&T #1:
"You know when you go to a dude’s place for the first time and he just wants to tell you about every record he has, which is somehow every rock’n’roll record you didn’t want to hear, in turn, and how it was a sweet deal? This is kind of like that, except you can choose to shut it if you don’t want to hear about his complicated relationship with Aerosmith, and there’s no mattress on the floor. Of course, we all think we’re not the dude in question, and we all have been at some point or another, for better or for worse. Better to celebrate the sweet deals and hot wax together than not at all." —Jimmy Cooper, Razorcake
"Reports of the deaths of all sorts of things are greatly exaggerated: vinyl, tapes, CDs record stores, print. Chris and Mike write about some gems they picked up in any number of these formats: Asia, Flock of Seagulls, The Thompson Twins. Part music zine, part perzine, 100% fun.
—Liz Mason, Quimby's
Used Records & Tapes #2
Mike Dixon and Chris Auman enlist the help of fellow zinesters & music nerds to create a new issue of this funny, nostalgic look at records of decades past. This issue features contributions from Liz Mason (Caboose zine), Billy McCall (Proof I Exist zine), Jim Fath (@boringdadmusic), and David Gill (writer/teacher).
Reviewed this issue:
Pat Benatar, Big Black (jazz percussionist), The Minutemen (house music), Capsize 7, Daddy Longhead, Culture Club, Hall and Oates, Corey Hart, Cyndi Lauper, Lemonheads, Les Savy Fav, Life Stinks, LL Cool J, Love and Rockets, Men at Work, Harry Nilsson, and Sparks.
"Between the ages of nine and 14, I was obsessed with Canadian pop star Corey Hart, who will be forever associated with his breakout 1984 hit “Sunglasses at Night.” His album First Offense is great but what really captured me was his second album, Boy In the Box, which came out in 1985.
I was obsessed with this hunky, pouting pop star, with his spiky hair and blue eyes, and we’re talking OBSESSED, like girls screaming over the Beatles obsessed: mail order posters, glossy 8 by 11-inch photographs, magazine clippings, concert t-shirts, domestic and international releases, swag from SHADES, The Official Corey Hart Fan Club (membership #13881). Would you like to see my membership card? No? But you do want to hear about a few of my favorite songs on this album that I bought at Flip Side Records in the Plaza Verde in Buffalo Grove, IL, right?"—Liz Mason
"If you were in my 8th-grade homeroom class in 1984, you were fortunate enough to hear the compelling speech I gave on the Second British Invasion. The assignment was to write and deliver a speech on a current event.
The Second British Invasion had a write-up in Newsweek a few weeks prior and therefore qualified. The First British Invasion was the Beatles-led charge of the mid-1960s. Like the First, the Second was fought with neither muskets nor bayonets, but rather with synthesizers, dayglo colors, and questionable hairstyles.
Also referred to as New Music, this wasn’t New Wave and it certainly wasn’t Punk. The musicians in the invading bands (Big Country, Duran Duran, A Flock of Seagulls, The Fixx, Kajagoogoo, et al) were technically proficient musicians. They wanted in on the big time and onto the charts. MTV was more than eager to invite them into living rooms across the country."—Chris Auman
Used Records & Tapes #3
The third issue of this oftentimes funny, sometimes poignant, and mostly nostalgic look at records of decades past features contributions from writer March Basch (co-screenwriter of I’ll See You in My Dreams, The Hero, and Hearts Beat Loud), prolific zine publisher and Quimby’s Bookstore manager, Liz Mason, and zine maker and novelist, Joshua James Amberson, and more plus a 2-page comic spread from Jesse Reklaw.
Reviewed this issue:
Beck, Eugene Chadbourne, Bert Henry, Evel Knievel, Monty Python, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Prince, Mojo Nixon & Skid roper, The Clash, Cheap Trick, U2, Repo Man soundtrack, Trio, T.S.O.L., Rights of the Accused.
Sometimes I try to explain what was so special about Beck in 1994 and I fail. I know I’m not alone in my lasting fascination with the trio of wildly different albums he released that year, but to explain it to anyone who doesn’t already feel the same way I have to maneuver over the mountain of less-fascinating things that followed: the barrage of terrible white rappers, all the singer-songwriter open mics, the slam-poetry competitions, and the nearly 30 years of music Beck has made since then that only shares a vague similarity to the Beck I fell in love with. The unencumbered ears I heard those albums with as a middle-schooler can’t be recreated. But for some reason, I keep trying. —Joshua James Amberson
Repo Man Soundtrack
I’m 90.47% certain I bought the Repo Man LP at The Asteroid, in Dubuque, Iowa — which is in itself sort of unbelievable, as The Asteroid, in what was then the seedy downtown area, barely qualified as a record store, and primarily was in the business of glass bongs and incense. But it was the only “counterculture” record shop within a 60-mile radius of our tiny town, across the river in Illinois — which meant if you wanted to buy a record that wasn’t by Huey Lewis or Mr. Mister, and didn’t want to drive to Chicago, Madison or Iowa City, you had to go to The Asteroid. This was 1985 — I was a young man — and though the discovery of the record was completely unexpected — a kind of holy shit, this exists?!? moment — I made the purchase with intentionality, probably with every penny of pocket money I had. I wasn’t looking, Repo Man soundtrack, but somehow you found me. There was no question: I had to own it. —Marc Basch