Record Collector Of The Month: October 2021
Tell us a little bit about yourself: My name is Adam and I’m from Minneapolis, MN. I’m an obsessive record collector for sure and I primarily collect soundtracks/scores (especially horror scores), synthwave, and modern post-punk and adjacent genres like darkwave, new wave, synthpop, goth, and shoegaze. I started listening to records at a pretty young age, as soon as my dad was willing to trust me with his stereo system and collection. But, I didn’t start my own collection until 2017. At the moment it’s pushing close to 1500 albums. I also run Midnight Mannequin Records, which I started in the summer of 2020 as a positive outlet after really struggling at the beginning of the pandemic. After a years worth of work, I finally got the label up and running, releasing the first album, Jason Priest Is Missing, in June of this year. I had originally planned on the label’s releases being heavily skewed towards fictional horror soundtracks, but then ended up releasing a modern new wave/synthpop album, which sent me in a completely different, but good, direction!
First album: That would be Pieces of Eight by Styx, when I was maybe in third grade? The story behind that is that Styx is my dad’s favorite band, and he used to drag us kids to his favorite record store Wax ‘N’ Facts, where he’d spend hours (or at least what felt like hours to us) flipping through records. Anyway, one day he must have forgotten his wallet because he didn’t have any cash and here I am with a few bucks in my pocket, so he convinced me to buy the album and it would be “mine,” but of course it ended up residing in his collection. Needless to say, I still don’t have possession of that particular copy, but I’ve never forgotten that technically I own it!
Favorite album: So many albums I could list here! I don’t really have just one absolute favorite, there are so many different genres I listen to depending on what I’m in the mood for, but I tend to go back to the albums I’ve loved since early childhood when thinking about favorites (and that was everything my dad was listening to at the time). It has to be a record that has been with me most of my life and I can still listen to it again and again. So, I’ll say Def Leppard’s Hysteria is definitely one of them. So much nostalgia tied to that record for me personally. Every song is a hit, the production is awesome, and yea, it never gets old for me. I’m sure I’ll get some grief from someone somewhere for that pick but too bad, so sad! As for a slightly newer album (and even then, this one is still pushing 20 years old), I would pick Guilt Beats Hate by Benton Falls (released on Deep Elm), that album is very raw and visceral and takes me back to my college days. Pretty sure that’s the first time ever these two bands have been mentioned in the same paragraph lol! But yea, Benton Falls is definitely one of my favorite bands ever. I wish they had put out more than two albums!
Favorite Enjoy The Ride or Enjoy The Toons release: Musically, probably Hard Ticket to Hawaii, that theme song is a total ear worm! Commando Ninja would be a close second (another one with a super catchy theme song)! But I’d also have to include the only liquid-filled record in my collection, the 28 Days EP!
Favorite album artwork: Hard to pick just one but I love pretty much anything by Eric Adrian Lee. Everything he has done for Spun out of Control and Giallo Disco. His cover for Hattie Cooke’s The Sleepers is a personal favorite, as well as the three covers he did for Rupert Lally on Spun. I also love his cover for Shock by Libra (Death Waltz). And then of course, the two covers he did for Jason Priest. He doesn’t disappoint, which is why he was my first choice to do the Midnight Mannequin logo (and of course he absolutely nailed that)!
Favorite albums to play around Halloween: That one’s easy - all of the Halloween scores, especially 1978 and 2018. The first five Halloween films and the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre are what started my love of horror, so those will always be my favorites. Staying up late on Halloween night to watch Michael Myers terrorize Haddonfield, there was nothing more thrilling as a little kid! Also, the score for Maniac (1980) which is one of my favorite horror scores, and then the entire Terror Vision catalog also makes for great listening this month!
What are your favorite local record shops to support? There are three main shops I like to frequent here in the Twin Cities. Cheapo Records in St. Paul is always my first stop, I’ve found some great used finds there, including earlier Death Waltz stuff like Assault on Precinct 13 and Rome Armed to the Teeth. Next stop would be the Minneapolis location of Cheapo Records. And then last would be Mill City Sound in Hopkins. They have a large soundtrack section, and I even found the pink variant of Mondo’s Drive pressing there for $50!
What have you been listening to more frequently lately? Modern post-punk, new wave, darkwave, shoegaze, goth and synthpop. I’ve fallen hard down that rabbit hole! Especially the stuff that veers into more post-punk territory. I really wasn’t very familiar with the modern darkwave/goth scene prior to this year. But when I first heard Jason Priest Is Missing, it definitely awakened this love for modern post-punk and new wave music (and adjacent genres like goth and darkwave). There’s just a wealth of talented acts right now making these styles of music. Some favorites are Twin Tribes, Panic Priest, topographies, Drab Majesty, Boy Harsher, Sculpture Club, Choir Boy, Soft Kill, She Past Away, Molchat Doma, Kindest Cuts, Dead Astronauts, and Black Marble. Really there are so many more, the list could go on forever!
Any specific albums you wish you had on vinyl? Hmmm…I’m a pretty impatient person, so usually if there is something I want I find a way to get it. But I’m still on the hunt for Core by STP (the MOV 2xLP pressing, because there’s too much music on that album for one disc) and an original pressing on orange vinyl of Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins. I’ve definitely been making an effort to grab vinyl of all the stuff I listened to in my teen years (and originally had on CD).
What was the best album(s) you've discovered this year (it can be anything, doesn't have to be a new release): 2021 has been an amazing year for me personally when it comes to discovering music, and that’s because I found the modern post-punk and darkwave scene near the end of last year. So I’m discovering new amazing albums from the last few years on a daily basis right now. The more you look, the more you will find. Some favorite I’ve discovered this year are: Keeping Distance by Kindest Cuts, Second Seduction by Panic Priest, Silhouettes by Dead Astronauts, The Night We Raise by Korine, Ideal Form by topographies, Vicious Pastimes by House of Harm, Inked in Red by Vision Video, Fire! Fire! Fire! by Geometric Vision, Ceremony by Twin Tribes, and Lazy Karaoke by Human Leather.
What upcoming releases are you most excited about? I feel like I’ve been so busy lately that I’m not as in tune with what’s on the horizon from other labels, at least not as much as I used to be. These days it’s more like I’m playing catch up, going back through the vinyl Facebook groups and seeing what’s been posted and what I’ve missed. But for sure I’m very excited about what I have in store for Midnight Mannequin! IV by MAINE has already been announced and that one should be one that appeals to fans of film score and synthwave alike. I really think he will be scoring films before it’s all said and done, such a talented artist. His previous vinyl effort, V, was released by Burning Witches and was carried by Mondo, so I think a lot of people in our little soundtrack community are already aware of this artist and just how talented he is. And then I’ve got plenty more in the pipeline that isn’t announced yet, it’s just taking some time due to all of the vinyl manufacturing delays. But it’s going to be a nice mix of darkwave, post-punk, synthpop, ambient/chill electronic music, soundtrack-oriented music and a few other things as well.
Who is a band or artist that you think is underrated that we should give a listen to? I’m sure no one would believe this isn’t an attempt at shameless self-promo, but seriously - Jason Priest! It couldn’t be any easier for those reading this article right now lol - Jason Priest Is Missing is available from Enjoy the Ride! But yea, that project is something really special. There are a lot of great post-punk, darkwave, and synthpop artists I’ve been listening to lately, but I wouldn’t necessarily call them underrated because they’ve been around a few years and are definitely getting some deserved attention. Jason Priest is a bit more of a newcomer, but the material is top tier and has the potential to appeal to such a wide audience. I don’t think he’ll be underrated forever, but it’s always nice to be able to say you knew about an artist before they blew up. This is everyone’s chance to do just that, I’ve heard the next album and it’s as good or better than Jason Priest Is Missing!
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, it's always awesome to hear what different features everyone likes! Well, my favorite film of all time would have to be The Terminator (another blast of nostalgia, I watched this movie countless times as a kid). So let’s say it would be the score, plus I’d want the three Tahnee Cain and the Tryanglz tracks on there! Anyway, I still haven’t actually answered the question ha! So the variant would be a 2xLP, and the center label would be the T-800 hunched over having just come through time, then the record itself would be black with electric blue streaks that would look like the electric flashes/lightning that appear in the night as he’s arriving. Could do the same with the Kyle Reese’s arrival as well on the second disc (center label would be him lying on the pavement). This would NOT be a picture disc, I hate picture discs lol! I feel like the only way this type of variant could be made would be like a Wax Mage or something. If you just tried it order a black record with electric blue smoke, we all know that would turn out super disappointing. So yea, would have to be hand-made and the blue streaks would really have to pop! Anyway, that’s my million dollar idea - I’m offering it up to anyone who reads this, but you better make sure that I get a copy if you make it happen!