Travis: Three of My Proudest Albums
Every collector has those few precious albums that they treat extra carefully when packing for a move or pulling out for a spin on the turntable. We decided to choose three from our personal collections. Here are mine. You can find Kevin's here.
I moved to New York City the summer after graduating college in '04. Soon after planting my roots in the Big Apple, Silent Alarm dropped, and I was immediately reeled in. It became my soundtrack of 2005, and seeing them with Secret Machines at McCarren Pool in Brooklyn was one of the best shows I caught during my time out there. Besides their decent sophomore effort, A Weekend in the City, they've done little since, but Silent Alarm has continued to be in my regular rotation over the years.
After getting into vinyl, I knew this was going to be one of the first records I would hunt down. Unfortunately, it had been out of print for quite some time and after-market prices were a bit steep. Also, to further complicate matters, there was only one version I was interested in - the US Dim Mak 2xLP pressing with the song "Little Thoughts" where it belonged, sandwiched between "Price of Gas" and "So Here We Are", instead of on a bonus 7". In addition to the preferred song order, with a run time of 50 minutes, it's a stretch to fit all 14 songs on one slab of wax, so I figured having it spread over two discs wouldn't hurt either.
Amazingly, while flipping through the "Just In" crate at Wax Trax in Denver, I immediately recognized the simple, white cover art and was even more surprised to see a price tag that was less than half of anything on Discogs or eBay. It remains my best find and reminds me why I collect vinyl.
Much like Silent Alarm, Sigur Rós' Takk was an album I grew to love while living in NYC. I had little exposure to post-rock before Takk, but I couldn't imagine there being more accessible music for the genre. Their lead singer, Jónsi, has one of the most unique, beautiful voices I've ever heard. It's no surprise that his vocals are the centerpiece of many of the epic crescendos throughout Takk.
I had zero luck hunting down an original at the local shops in Denver, so once I discovered it was being reissued, I couldn't click the pre-order button fast enough. The reasons I'm proud to have this on my shelf are many. In an age where many labels cut unnecessary corners, this re-press was put together with exceptional care that is so rare to see these days. Everything from the music, to the artwork, is stunning. The debossed, gatefold sleeve is what you would expect from a high-quality, hardback book, and the etched side on the third disc is just another detail uncommonly seen when buying vinyl. Any time I spin Takk, I can't help but to admire everything about it.
I've always thought Amnesiac is Radiohead's most interesting album. It kind of caught me off-guard when it piggy-backed one of music's modern masterpieces, Kid A, but over the years, the experimental, haunting nature of every song has grown on me tremendously.
The reason I'm proud to own the first pressing of this gem is simple - it's possibly the best sounding record in my collection. Amnesiac is my go-to when anybody wants to hear what all the vinyl fuss is about. It blows away any CD or digital version I've heard, and I can't help but stop what I'm doing and become completely engrossed every time this hits the platter.