Tell us a little bit about yourself: My Name is Ben Hendrix and I live in a suburb just north of Austin, TX. In 2006 I was 18 years old when I walked into a half priced books and saw a copy of Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA for sale staring straight at me. I didn’t even own a record player but something struck me and I HAD to have that on vinyl. At that point in time I had never actually heard a record played before. I honestly cannot tell you what attracted me to vinyl that day but I remember immediately getting the vinyl bug that very moment. I had no idea the vinyl craze was about to explode nor did I have any idea how far this hobby would take me over the years to come.
You can also see me on IG @vinylxlifex :)
First album: Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen (if you don’t count my first CD which was N’Sync *face palm*)
Favorite album: Oh man, this is always a tough one for music lovers because there is never really just one favorite album. I’d like think the hallmark of an all-time favorite record is the emotional tie it has to the listener at a particular time in their life. So with that said, here are a few favorites:
Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
Van is my all time favorite artist and I really fell in love with his music when I was 18 years old living in Auckland, NZ. I believe Astral Weeks is one of those albums that was meant to meet you where you’re at and sooth the soul. I just remember repeatedly putting on this record and it would transport me to another dimension every time.
Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger will always be on my all-time favorites list because of the dark times this album carried me through in my early 20’s. Man, I don’t think this cd left my car for years.
Bon Iver - Bon Iver was such a beautifully haunting record that really dug its claws into me when released. The perfect album to compliment my last year as a bachelor before getting married. Not to mention this album was lighting caught in a bottle if you ask me.
Josh Garrels - Home came out the same time my twins were born and it was the perfect album to play during my first year as a dad. There is a song called Heaven’s Knife that just moves me when thinking about what my wife went through having those kids.
Favorite Enjoy The Ride or Enjoy The Toons release: Michael Brook - Into The Wild OST was definitely a must own record when I heard it was being pressed. One of my all time favorite movies and both Eddie Vedder and Michael Brook’s music were in total harmony for the backdrop to that film. I have to add that the artwork on that pressing was particularly gorgeous as well.
Favorite album artwork: Oy.. Another tough one to narrow down. Off the cuff, I’d go with Novo Amor’s Heiress or Bon Iver’s self titled album. Both of those record covers make my soul yearn for a drive through some majestic mountains with music being the fuel to both an internal and external adventure.
What are your favorite local record shops to support? There are a handful I visit but the one I spent the most time visiting is Piranha Records in Round Rock, TX. The owner John is extremely friendly and very fun to talk with. I love to go in there and ask for recommendations and see what he has been listening to as well. I’ve bought several records purely based on his recommendations and they’re always fantastic buys.
What have you been listening to more frequently lately? During the day I find myself driving around listening to Kings Kaleidoscope’s album Zeal. When working at my desk I tend to play a lot of Khrungbin since it helps me concentrate.
Then at night I’ve been getting further and further into the early 70’s Jazz Funk scene. Rusty Bryant’s Fire Eater is one of my favorites that goes perfect with a glass of bourbon.
Any specific albums you wish you had on vinyl? Cat Steven’s Harold And Maude soundtrack (pressed by Vinyl Films) is one of those records I’d love to own but its a tad out of reach as prices are quite outrageous online.
What was the best album(s) you discovered last year (it can be anything, doesn't have to be a new release): Leif Vollebekk’s New Ways and Twin Solitude are two records I became deeply attached to very quickly. I cannot wait to see what he does next as his music can take you to another world with or without your permission.
What upcoming releases are you most excited about? Helen Stellar is supposed to release new music for the first time in years and I’ve been a big fan of theirs for some time now. They were my first shoegaze band that introduced me to a flurry of other artists in that genre as well. I’ve also heard War on Drugs has new music in the works and I’m always down for some Drugs.
Who is a band or artist that you think are underrated that we should give a listen to? Benjamin James is one of my favorite under the radar artists. His album Penumbra is simply beautiful all the way through. This dude also needs his music pressed on vinyl as he is yet to have anything physically released.
Scenario time! If you could create a vinyl variant for any album (already pressed or never been pressed before), what would it look like? Feel free to get creative with this one, its always awesome to hear what different features everyone likes! I actually keep a running document of music I love that is yet to be pressed on vinyl in case I ever get a wild hair and start funding these projects myself somehow LOL. If I could rub a magic lamp I’d love to see the following happen:
Nancy Wilson (of Heart) has some incredible soundtrack music she wrote for several of Cameron Crowe’s films. You can find a select number of tracks around the internet but very few things have ever been officially released. I’d love to see a box set put together with all of her unreleased soundtrack material and a book explaining history being the music, writing process and photographs of her working out the songs in her home or studio.
Also, the first EP’s and album from Francis and The Lights are phenomenal and somehow have never been pressed on vinyl (Striking, A Modern Promise and It’ll Be Better). Black and White Splattered pressings of these records would be super dope.
Lastly, how the hell has Damien Rice’s 9 never been pressed? Thats crazy to me. Hashtag box set please.