Record Collector Of The Month: October 2019, Part Two
Tell us a little about yourself: My name is Jorge Diaz, I live in Staten Island, New York (though I’m originally from Miami, Florida). I am happily married and have two daughters. I’m an attorney at a law firm in Manhattan. I started collecting vinyl seriously about 15 years ago when my wife bought me a turntable as a sort of fun, retro gift (unwittingly sparking my record collecting obsession!). I’ve been a huge music fan pretty much all of my life -- I can still remember my father playing Beny More and Celia Cruz records at home as a toddler and embarrassingly, I can also recall having to accompany my older sister to a Menudo concert when I was around 10 or 11. I started collecting cassette tapes in middle school (first tape I bought with my own money was U2’s “The Unforgettable Fire”) and later turned to CDs in college (first CD I remember buying was Metallica’s self-titled “Black” album).
Favorite album: I could never choose an all-time favorite album but one that will always rank highly is The Velvet Underground & Nico record, aka the “banana” album. Enough ink has been spilled on the significance of this album for me to add anything of real value to the discussion but suffice it to say that most, if not all, of the “alternative” or “other” music made in it’s wake would not exist without it. I managed to find a decently priced 1968 stereo pressing of it a few years back with the banana peel still beautifully intact!
First album: Like I said above, the 1st album I ever bought was a cassette tape of U2’s “The Unforgettable Fire” probably sometime in 1986 at a Spec’s Music store in Miami… unfortunately, I no longer have that cassette tape as I got rid of my tape collection when I made the switch to CDs. I do have it on vinyl though! I have very vivid memories of seeing U2 live on December 3rd, 1987 at the Orange Bowl for the Joshua Tree Tour – I was only 14 years old and this was my very first “real” show! Needless to say, this concert left a very lasting impression on me…
Favorite Enjoy the Ride Records release: My favorite would probably have to be Hans Zimmer’s score for “True Romance”, just a brilliant film all around.
Favorite album artwork: I’m gonna cheat a little here and instead of naming one particular album will name a label’s output of artwork during a certain period of time -- and that honor would have to go to Varese Sarabande for it’s artwork on the soundtracks (mostly horror films) it released during the 1980’s… simply unrivaled! OK, and just one more, the artwork that The Smiths put on their LPs and 12”s during their brief 5 year run is just perfect! And I have an almost complete collection of their entire discography on original UK Rough Trade pressings.
Favorite Halloween themed album in your collection: This would have to go to the original score for Halloween III – Season of the Witch by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth, a brilliant synth score which always gets me into the mood for the Halloween season and has influenced countless horror composers.
Favorite Halloween themed record artwork: Nothing will ever top the original Varese Sarabande artwork for the original Halloween film… I also really like the artwork on the one released in Japan with the pumpkin in white.
Favorite Halloween themed wax variant: One of my recent faves is what iam8bit did for the “Bates Motel” Original Soundtrack by Chris Bacon. They made a picture disc of where the label is a shower drain with strains of blood across the vinyl and when the record is spinning it looks like the blood is going down the drain… A brilliant homage to the “shower scene” in the original Psycho! Another one is what Mondo/Death Waltz did with their recent reissue of the “They Live” soundtrack by John Carpenter. The picture disc commanding you to “buy more records” ties in perfectly with the social commentary and themes of consumerism in the film.
Most unique Halloween album in your collection: one of them has to be my copy of the 2013 Mondo reissue of the original Halloween on 2 45 rpm LPs with the design packaging by Phantom City Creative with the cover art of The Shape’s mask and the image of Laurie Strode’s house inside his lips and inside the gatefold. The pressing itself sounds incredible on 45 rpm and including the cues from the film really help set the mood for the score.
What Halloween albums do you wish you had in your collection: One of my holy grails is an original Italian pressing of Fabio Frizzi’s score to L’Aldila (aka The Beyond) on Beat Records from 1981 – it goes for a small fortune on discogs and ebay and I have been searching for a reasonably priced copy for years. Thankfully, I do have a copy of the 2012 Mondo reissue (their 2nd vinyl release ever!) which I had signed by the Maestro Fabio Frizzi in 2017 when he toured his live score of the film and stopped in Brooklyn! Two other horror soundtracks that I’ve been on the hunt for are Luciano Michelini’s 1979 score to L’Isola Degli Uomini Pesce, aka The Island of Fishmen on the Italian label Cometa Edizione Musicali and Stelvio Cipriani’s 1982 score to Piranha 2 (Les Tueurs Volants) on the French label General Music France. Just check out the cover art on both of those, amazing!
Favorite local record shops: Academy Records (both the E. Village and Greenpoint locations) for jazz, psych, punk, indie, alternative etc, and the 18th street Manhattan location sometimes comes though with gems (I found my original Varese Sarabande of the Phantasia soundtrack there a while back for a decent price!). Human Head records in E. Williamsburg is a fantastic record store with a continuous influx of rare and hard to find records. Limited to One Records in the E. Village is a great little store focusing on super rare records, especially 90’s and 00’s indie and emo stuff. And gotta give a shout out to Rough Trade Brooklyn which I find myself at more and more for shows (their concert venue is one of the best sounding rooms in the city), artist signings and Q & As, and new releases.
Favorite local venues to see shows: So many to choose from, but the Bowery Ballroom is an institution at this point, seen countless amazing shows there over the years! Some more recent ones are Elsewhere (Brooklyn), Nublu (Manhattan), Murmrr Theater (Brooklyn) (recently saw an incredible show by Low there and looking forward to seeing Fabio Frizzi there in late November), and finally have to give a shout out to the sound room at Public Records in Brooklyn, where I recently saw Dean Hurley (of Twin Peaks sound design fame and recently released his own record titled Anthology Resource Vol. II Philosophy of Beyond on Sacred Bones Records, which btw, is one of the best current labels going). The sound system at Public Records is absolutely incredible!
Favorite record stores while visiting other locations: Double Decker Records in Allentown, PA, and Tiny Record Shop in Toronto, Ontario are probably the two best curated record stores I’ve ever been to! I have yet to visit Japan but from what I’ve read I’m sure I’d have my mind blown by the record stores over there.
What have you been listening to more lately: A genre that I’ve been getting into more as of late is the whole world of library music and realizing that it can be a very slippery and expensive slope. I have yet to start collecting original, individual titles but two recent compilations that I can highly recommend are “The Library Music Film – Music From and Inspired by the Film” put out by Legere Recordings in 2018 and another one titled “Unusual Sounds” by Anthology Recordings, which I believe is an imprint of the Mexican Summer label, also put out last year.
Another thing in the “horror world” that I’ve been loving lately is the return of Fangoria – it’s back and better than ever, just an amazing magazine made for true fans and by true fans, and the best part about it is that it is print only, keeping it old school.
Have you discovered any new artists lately: I am constantly looking for and discovering new music and artists so I’ll just list out a few recent ones which I can heartily recommend-
Garcia Peoples – Cosmic Cash, Natural Facts, One Step Behind
L’Epee – Diabolique
Modern Nature – How to Live
Rose City Band – s/t
Vanishing Twin – The Age of Immunology
Big Thief – U.F.O.F.
Mint Field – Pasar de Las Luces
Cochemea – All My Relations
Broken Lamps – Kaleidoscope
Lorelle Meets the Obsolete – De Facto
And as far as recent soundtracks-
M83 – Knife + Heart
Michael Abels – Us
Jeff Herriott & S. Craig Zahler – Dragged Across Concrete
Ben Lovett – The Wind
Hildur Gudnadottir – Chernobyl, Joker
Squrl – The Dead Don’t Die
VA – Self Discovery for Social Survival
Cliff Martinez – Too Old to Die Young
Ben Frost – Dark
Bobby Krilic – Midsommar
Nicolas Britell – Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk, Succession
Mica Levi – Monos
What are some of your favorite albums in your collection: Hard to choose but here’s a few-
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (Original pressing on Creation Records, back of sleeve signed by Debbie Googe)
David Bowie – Blackstar (Limited Edition on Clear Vinyl)
PIL – Metal Box (Original Limited Edition Boxset on Virgin Records in Metal Cannister)
Jay Chattaway – Maniac (Original on Varese Sarabande signed by Director William Lustig)
Joseph Lo Duca – Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 (Originals on Varese Sarabande)
Any specific albums you wish you had on vinyl: A couple I’ve been trying to track down as of late- The Cure – A Forest 12” (Original UK Fiction Records)
The Clean – Great Sounds Great… EP (Original on Flying Nun Records)
What album would you like to be pressed on vinyl: One that I love that I’ve always wondered why it was never released on vinyl is the soundtrack to “Her” by Arcade Fire & Owen Pallett, one of my favorite films of the last decade and a truly gorgeous score.
Scenario time! Lets say you decided to sell most of your possessions + live in a tiny house for the remainder of your years. You can only take 7 records. What are they (Here's the catch - for each person you live with, you have to make one of those choices their favorite album - the more people you live with, the less choices are yours. Yes, this includes tiny humans)?
The Beatles – The Beatles (White album) (both my daughters have this record permanently imprinted on their brains, I trained them well, lol!)
The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico (Banana album)
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
The Cure – Disintegration or Depeche Mode - Violator (for my wife, I happen to love these albums too, and we’ve seen both these bands countless times!)