Quarantine Sounds Better On Vinyl: 6 Records to Listen to While Stuck at Home
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Quarantine Sounds Better On Vinyl 

Hudson Valley Record Store Owners Recommend 6 Records to Listen to While Stuck at Home

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Well, here we are. Another week stuck inside our homes with the coronavirus blues again. As is the case with so many of small local businesses that we’ve come to take for granted, the Hudson Valley's record stores—our beloved sonic temples of vinyl respite—are, for the time being, shuttered with their owners and staff looking for creative methods to maintain operations as they ride out the storm with the rest of us.

To help keep up the visibility of these irreplaceable institutions, all of which have kept the habits of us music junkies so well fed over the years, I reached out to a few of them to find out which “cabin fever” albums they're shacking up with during the quarantine quandary. Read their responses below. And hey: Support your local record store!

Peter Lang’s The Thing at the Nursery Room Window

Recommended by Jim Eigo, Original Vinyl Records

Jim Eigo, jazz publicist extraordinaire and the owner of Original Vinyl Records in Warwick, is keeping cozy with Peter Lang’s instrumental album The Thing at the Nursery Room Window. “Lang is a virtuoso American raga/finger-picking-styled guitarist, perfect for quiet, meditative listening,” says Eigo about the acoustic player’s 1973 album for the similarly inclined guitarist John Fahey’s Takoma label. While Original Vinyl’s physical store is closed during the pandemic, the shop sells its inventory on Discogs, eBay, and on their own website.

Vashti Bunyan’s Just Another Diamond Day

Recommended by Spike's Record Rack

For Spike Priggen, the proprietor of Spike’s Record Rack in Catskill, the current go-to is English folksinger Vashti Bunyan’s pastoral classic Just Another Diamond Day. “I discovered this LP about 15 or 20 years ago during the whole ‘freak folk’ revival, although it was released in 1970,” Priggen says. “Just a very lo-fi, low-key, enchanting, sparse, beautiful record. I don’t generally stock a lot of represses but I try to always keep this one in stock.” In addition to offering shipping, video-call shopping, and phone and email orders, Priggen’s store provides service through its Discogs (under username Four Star Vinyl), eBay (spikesfrontporch), Instagram, and Facebook. Sales of t-shirts, tote bags, and gift certificates also help support the shop.

Harold Budd and Brian Eno’s The Pearl

Recommended by Rick Lange, Rhino Records

“My isolation record of choice would be The Pearl by Harold Budd and Brian Eno,” says Rick Lange of Rhino Records in Kingston and New Paltz. “[It’s] a subtle, beautiful noise to massage the background while reading, sleeping, sexing, or just contemplating your own uniquely brief existence in this wonderful, terrifying multiverse.” During the closure, Rhino is still buying larger collections of LPs, books, CDs, and DVDs, but “with very specific [health] protocols followed.” Rhino sells through Discogs and Amazon, although customers can contact the shops most quickly via Instagram and Facebook.

Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks

Recommended by John Lefsky, Jack’s Rhythms

John Lefsky of Jack’s Rhythms in New Paltz checks in with an undisputed classic, Van Morrison’s deeply comforting 1968 gem Astral Weeks. “The first album that ever made me feel stoned without drugs,” recounts Lefsky, who’s also been listening a lot to revelatory radio station WFMU. “I know it’s a cliched pick, but so be it. That is my feel-good LP. My feel-bad one is Diamond Dogs, David Bowie’s most dystopian album. That’s the one I’m more likely to play in the coming weeks and months.” Customers in search of titles can email Jack’s Rhythms at jacksrhythmsnewpaltz@yahoo.com or get in touch by way of the outlet’s Facebook page.

Idles’ Joy as An Act of Resistance

Justin Johnson, Darkside Records & Gallery

“My album pick is going to be Joy as An Act of Resistance by Idles,” says Justin Johnson of Poughkeepsie’s Darkside Records and Gallery. “I can’t get enough of this record lately. It’s vulnerable, passionately angry, and fun all at the same time, with just enough little zingers peppered in to make you smile. It’s a little microcosm of everything I think we’re all experiencing right now during these strange days.” Darkside is still shipping records "to anyone who needs anything. People can call the shop or hit us up on our website. We even just launched a whole new section on Tuesday that lets you browse all of our used vinyl inventory. We sell gift cards on our website that can be used anytime down the road, with no expiration.” 

Frank Kimbrough’s Monk’s Dreams

Recommended by Doug Wygal, Rocket Number Nine Records

“I am taking advantage of this downtime to dig a bit into my record collection, revisiting old favorites like Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Andrew Hill, Sonny Rollins, Eric Satie, Debussy, Nick Drake, Terry Riley, NRBQ—comfort music!” says Doug Wygal at Rocket Number Nine in Kingston. “I’m also taking the time to delve into pianist Frank Kimbrough’s wonderful Monk's Dreams, a 2018 six-CD set. It’s an incredible achievement; 70 songs recorded in just six days by a stellar quartet featuring Scott Robinson on everything from tenor sax, to trumpet to contra bass sarrusophone!” Although the Kingston shop is closed until further notice, Wygal and crew will still be posting updates and more on Facebook and Instagram sites and will be listing new inventory online in the coming weeks at Discogs as seller RN9. “We look forward to seeing our regular customers and friends again,” he adds. 

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