Our Northwest

Vinyl LPs still played, and framed

Thursday, April 14, 2016by  Jon Osterberg
In honor of National Record Store Day, April 16, I followed a colleague’s tip and checked out the vinyl-record frames currently being sold by Urban Outfitters.
     I’ve long been amused by vinyl’s staying power. In the 1990s, just when I thought CDs and MP3s had killed LPs forever, I saw a consumer segment stubbornly cling to its preference for vinyl, despite vinyl’s fragility and tendency to scratch, causing skips in the music.
     Some artists never stopped distributing their music on vinyl. Most notable for me is Neil Young, a longtime favorite. Neil is known in part for his disdain of low-quality digital recordings, which spurred him to found Pono, his high-quality audio player.
     When my colleague Derek told me people now decorate their homes with framed LP jackets as forms of art, I had to chuckle. I decorated with LPs in 1968. Ignoring my mom’s protests, I covered an entire wall of my bedroom with record jackets, fastening them with thumbtacks.
     The website promoting National Record Store Day features a release from The Electric Prunes, a delightfully named band from that 1960s psychedelic era when quirky names thrived.
     To honor National Record Store Day, I offer some of my favorite band names (and album covers) from the flower-power days when vinyl ruled. I’ll skip the better-known choices like Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, and Led Zeppelin and instead share:
Strawberry Alarm Clock
Fever Tree
Iron Butterfly
Moby Grape
Vanilla Fudge
Buffalo Springfield
Velvett Fogg
Blues Magoos
Bubble Puppy
New Riders of the Purple Sage
…and, of course, Creedence Clearwater Revival.
     There were Northwest bands with quirky names, as well: Fragile Lyme, Crome Syrcus, Daily Flash, Magic Fern, Mirkwood Slowcoach.
     Perhaps you wonder, in this post-Tower Records era, where can one buy vinyl  LPs these days? Aside from online, choices include stores like Silver Platters, Easy Street Records, Golden Oldies Records, and Everyday Music.

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