I don’t know if you know this, but KCR is kind of a big deal. It’s been around since 1969, and was one of the premiere college radio stations in the nation. In its heyday, roughly 1975-1990, KCR received record service from dozens of major labels, as well as vinyl submissions from countless local bands. The albums would arrive at the station, DJs would listen to them, pick what they liked, and play it on their show. Some of it was music that eventually got picked up by mainstream stations and is still known and loved today, but much of it has faded away, never breaking the college radio circuit or simply going out of style.
When music shifted to primarily digital format, promotional records became promotional CDs. At KCR, like other radio stations, decades of vinyl albums got locked up and forgotten and clunky turntables put in storage to make room for new, more user-friendly methods of playing music on air.
What this means for us at KCR in 2014 is that there are a whole lot of vinyl records stored away, many virtually untouched since the year they were released. And I’ve been possessed by the Spirit of DJs Past to catalogue it all, making me KCR’s Head of Inventory.
There are over 15,000 vinyl albums in the collection. I’ve only scratched the surface cataloging them so far, but I’ve already found so much mind-blowingly amazing music that I can’t bear to keep it to myself. I want to tell you about it! But writing about music is like dancing about architecture, as the saying goes – it’s nearly impossible to evoke the characteristics of one form of art through another. So I’m not gonna try! What I’m gonna do in this weekly column, Vinyl of the Week, is tell you about the neat albums that I find and why they’re so neat. I’m not a critic, I’m just a fan of old music and appreciator of vinyl. You can judge them for yourself – I’ll be linking a recording of each album I write about.
This column will be incredibly biased. I’m picking whatever albums I find and fall in love with to write about, so they’ll be specific to my taste. Lucky for you, I have good taste! Right now I’m mostly into ‘70s and ‘80s punk, so expect a lot of that. Albums that stand out to me from the collection are local records, rare records, valuable records, underrated records, records by bands that only released one album, and records that look particularly beat up (meaning well-loved!). Also, most of the records have comments from KCR DJs written on them from when they were first released. I’ll listen to anything that’s highly praised or fawned over (there were some ‘80s girls with a SERIOUS thing for Nick Cave). Some albums I choose will be somewhat well-known. Others may only have 100 copies in existence. Everything will be good.
I can’t wait to share all this great music with you! Check back every Wednesday for a new post.