Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Release of the Day: The Bachs - Out of the Bachs

I've been digging into private press albums ever since my pal Dave McCune hipped me to the Acid Archives, luckily with the help of some buds more in the know. It's been like uncovering a treasure chest - I've had the opportunity to learn about and listen to so many new records, many of which were impossible to track down before the spread of the internet. Out of the Bachs, for instance, was only pressed in an edition of about 150 copies privately. And now you can hear it on Spotify or YouTube or use discogs for a reissue without having to rely on rare record catalogs, books, or word-of-mouth.

So does this detract from the mystique of rare records or enhance it? Well, that's the million dollar question. Is it now easier to develop a mental encyclopedic reference list of records anymore? Yes and no. The process of getting to know a record is still to listen more than once, become familiar with its backstory, and hopefully grace your fingers and eyes with its cardboard sleeve. Listening and familiarizing are the more easy and affordable parts of this learning experiencing, which are hands-down easier feats with the internet. The tactile part, though, requires time and place. There is nothing like holding a record, if you ask me. This feeling for collectors is much more than a simple reward, but an accomplishment. The process of tracking down a record may be made easier with discogs or ebay, but holding or touching a record must still be done in person.

Enough philosophizing: the Bachs were a garage rock band that came out of the Chicago suburbs Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, and played for private parties and dances in the 60s before releasing this record and then calling it quits. The vocals and instruments were recorded at different times, which accounts for some of the shaky balance - sometimes the music will switch speakers if you're listening in stereo or on headphones, but I think that's part of the charm.

Doing a little extra research was really funny to me: for instance, Ben Harrison of the Bachs made an appearance on Rihanna's "Rated R." How weird is that?! It's easy to look up little trivia like this now, which can make the experience more enjoyable, but it can also disprove some of the record legends you might hear. Like, the other day, I was talking to Jamie at Permanent about record trivia and discogs and he told me that that story about Anton LaVey being in the back of the artwork for Hotel California was completely fake and it took away a little bit of the magic or at least the intrigue. The partial truths of record collecting folklore are just as valid and important as the reality, as much of it used to be spread in ways not dissimilar to folk and blues songs of old, perhaps around a campfire o at the saloon.

There is more magic in communion than in loneliness.

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