Tell us a little bit about yourself: My name is Travis. I'm a special education teacher in Westchester and am married with two kids. I've got about 600 (estimated). I've been collecting for 6 years now. My love for vinyl started when I was a kid. My father would blast James Brown records every Saturday morning which instilled a love of Motown in me. I've been a collector my whole life but records seem to be something that have stuck and this obsession won't fade. I'd love to be featured sometime. I live in Mahopac, NY and just moved into this big old farmhouse. We refinished the attic and I have my own vinyl room upstairs that is slowly growing into a listening room(long work in progress). But I'm pretty happy with the setup so far. I have an old cabinet player I'm going to refinish but now am spinning on an ATLP120 downstairs and a cheapo one upstairs. My kids listen to records on a Peanuts Crosley from RSD in their bedroom.Started collecting a lot of punk/emo/hardcore bands and classic albums from youth. Then it expanded to soundtracks. I'm big into Mondo/Waxwork and the horror soundtracks for the artwork. Lately I've been nabbing a lot of boom bap hip hop albums I missed from the 90s.
Favorite album: Bright Eyes - I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
First album: Michael Jackson - Thriller
Favorite Enjoy The Ride or Enjoy The Toons release: Phantom Planet - The Guest
Favorite album artwork: Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin’
Any albums//songs in your collection that you think our readers would like to see? I know they sound like crap but I’m really into picture discs. I have the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Soundtrack on picture disc. It came in this awesome box set with little masks to wear. The guy I bought it from in Germany found a case of them in some record store and half of them had water damage from a flood. I scored one of the clean ones. I also am extremely proud of my copy of The Shining soundtrack which I’m sure is long overdue for a repress, especially with the sequel coming out this year. Another special record is a motown band from Rochester called The Legendary Dukes. This is much more sentimental value than anything. My parents used to follow this band in the area and used to take me dancing as a young kid to their concerts. It was probably the best entrance into live music a kid could have had. Every weekend morning I was woken by the sounds of this album blasting at 7AM. There is no better way to start your day than with some classic Motown music. My soundtrack collection, especially those from Lakeshore, Waxwork and Mondo are something I treasure most because of the unique artwork each one of them houses. Some of my favorite standouts are Magnolia, Fight Club, Gremlins (heat/moisture sensitive jackets) and Evil Dead 2.
What are your favorite local record shops, in case any readers are traveling through Westchester? I am spoiled with two fantastic, yet different record stores in my area. My first go to, especially on Record Store Day is without a doubt Darkside Records in Poughkeepsie, NY. They are super nice, ship items easily, have a MASSIVE Record Store Day quantity and amazing events and live music throughout the year. They are excellent at bringing together the Westchester area. Whether it be local musicians, artists and craft foods and drinks, they curate and bring together the best the Hudson Valley has to offer. I also really dig The Vinyl Room in Wappingers Falls, NY. This is my dream date night spot. Imagine a place with old school hip hop djs spinning live (like Pete Rock), local craft beers on draft, a pizza window that you can order from that goes into the Italian restaurant next door, free play classic arcade machines like NFL Blitz, NBA Jam, Primal Rage and Street Fighter and bins upon bins of a stellar hip hop/jazz/reggae vinyl. This place has an amazing and welcoming vibe. It’s not what you’d expect in the heart of Wappingers Falls but it brings people in from the entire Hudson Valley and even up from the city. Definitely check it out if you’re heavy into the boom bap sound. Their live performances they are able to book are seriously phenomenal.
What are your favorite venues in Westchester to catch a show? If you live in the Hudson Valley, it’s no surprise that my favorite venue is The Capitol Theatre. By far this venue is the best at getting the largest range in popular artists. If you’re tired from working/parenting all day you can enjoy comfortable seating upstairs, or standing room downstairs. There’s no bad spot in the house. They are able to book the artists that often sell out Madison Square Garden or Barclays, but you get to see them in a smaller venue. However, I’m spoiled living 45 minutes from the city, so most of the live music I want to see is playing there. I’m still a sucker for shows at Bowery Ballroom, being that it’s my favorite venue in the city and totally worth the drive and hunting for a parking spot in the LES. However, babysitters are expensive so we often try to local live music at our local breweries such as Peekskill Brewery and The River Outpost Brewery. When I’m feeling angst-y, I’ll see if some of my middle aged emo bands are making a stop at The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie. Sometimes Taking Back Sunday might book a show en route to NYC. Fingers crossed that the newly renovated Paramount Theater in Peekskill gets some new acts. It’s improving from comedians and Grateful Dead cover bands to 90s acts such as Collective Soul. That’s improvement right?!
Favorite record shop you've stumbled upon while visiting another town?Discogs has spoiled digging for me since having kids. I’m lucky while travelling to get a few minutes to hop into a record shop with the kids boredom and impatience ever growing. So I’ll speak of my favorite and first true record store experience. When I was in 8th grade I went on a Thanksgiving trip to Nantucket, MA with my Dad. He’s super cheap so of course he booked the trip off season during the precipice of winter leaving his disaffected and bored teenager (me) to go for long walks and secretly smoke clove cigarettes on the beach. During one of these long walks back home I stumbled on a basement record store. WIth the Beastie Boys anthology recently released and spinning in my discman (20 second anti-skip protection thank you very much) I nabbed the DJ Shadow album Entroducing. Prior to that I had only bought music at stores like FYE and Circuit City (RIP) but this was my opening to my love of Independent music stores.
What have you been listening to more frequently lately? Life would be easy if I was into only one or two genres. My tastes changes with the seasons. Dance, indie pop and hip hop are my summer daytime jams with more chill campfire Birkenstock wearing jammy music at night. Now that Pumpkin Spiced Latte time is upon us, I am pulling out the brooding emo and emo-core bands as well as dark Indie bands (My Chemical Romance, She Wants Revenge, Senses Fail) These are great at getting in the Halloween spirit. Some of my favorite this year are new albums by the following artists (in no particular order) are Vampire Weekend, LIzzo, The Highwomen, Lana Del Rey, Bastille, Black Keys, Bruce Springsteen, Chance the Rapper, Gang of Youths, The National, Red Hearse, Carly Rae Jepsen and Robyn.
Have you discovered any new artists lately? I never got into the Avett Brothers but the other day I heard the song “I and Love and You” on the radio and I was floored. It’s one of those songs that immediately makes your life long mix-tape. Anything Jack Antonoff touches usually turns to gold so I’m really digging his brief but brilliant band Red Hearse. It’s amped up dance R & B soul/funk with some of the most catchy songs I’ve heard all year.
Any specific albums you wish you had on vinyl? Reel Big Fish -Turn the Radio Off - Enjoy The Ride pressed it but I can’t find it anywhere for less than $150. Definitely makes the song “sellout” sting a little bit more.
Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark - George S. Irving (Caedmon Records) My favorite childhood books with some of the coolest artwork ever created. This was voiced by my friends Grandfather and I can only find it on cassette. The last one on eBay went for $350. Hoping with the movies release someone will repress this gem. It’s definitely my most sought after album.
Skee-Lo - I Wish - No explanation needed.
She Wants Revenge - self titled - this would definitely be spinning this time of year.
What album would you like to be pressed on vinyl? I would like all of Kanye’s catalogue pressed. I have some German bootlegs that sound like crap but am still crossing my fingers for an absurd box set. It’s always interesting how hip-hop albums take so long to get pressed since the digitization of DJ culture. All hip hop used to be pressed for the demand from DJs to scratch. Now, it often takes years to get a great hip hop album pressed to quality vinyl.
What have you been listening to more frequently lately? Seeing bands live always makes me go back through catalogues. I saw Conor Oberst at a small club in Norwalk, CT this summer. So for the next two weeks I was living off his solo and Bright Eyes albums. Also, I have been consuming a lot of 90s pop rock and alternative music. I saw the Ra Ra Riot, Jimmy Eat World and THird Eye Blind tour this summer and was super impressed with how many amazing songs Third Eye Blind has. Jimmy Eat World is one of my favorite bands and these dudes are always in it for the long haul.
Scenario time! Let’s 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. If you want to include your furry humans, feel free)?
You can’t grab an album without explaining its purpose. So here goes:
For me: Bright Eyes - I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning - to me he’s the Millennial’s Bob Dylan. This album was my wake up on a Sunday in the city and walk 80 blocks to the East Village soundtrack. There was always a neighborhood that perfectly represented each track.
Jimmy Eat World - Clarity - early college years, late nights driving in cars emoting with my best friend.
For my wife: Robyn - Body Talk RSD - but still one of my favorite dance albums ever. Sometimes you just gotta dance and cry at the same time, Robyn can do that for you.
For my 5 year old daughter: the dance parties have just started so obviously Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion
For my 2 year old son: terrible twos = Beastie Boys - Anthology: The Sounds of Science
For the family: Sam Cooke - Portrait of a Legend - this music makes everything alright
One for the road: Weezer - Blue Album - you can hate on Weezer but this album is perfection.