Tell us a little bit about yourself! Greetings to all my fellow record nerds! My name is Mykee. Whilst sitting here relaxing on the couch, on a Saturday evening, blasting the wonderful Blood Incantation album, Starspawn, at maximum volume, to purposely get the neighbors back for always shaking the walls with their terrible drum and bass music; I happen to be 36 years old, and living in Raleigh, NC, where my girlfriend and I moved to from Brooklyn, NY about 3ish years ago.. maybe 4.. I don't even know anymore. I somehow found myself working in construction, which is VERY not me, but alas, here we are. It pays fairly well, so at least I can afford to pay the bills AND feed my record collecting habit! So, without waking up at 5:30am, Monday through Friday, driving in circles around the state, installing hundreds of doorknobs, bathroom accessories, and window shutters, I would never have found myself selected as RECORD COLLECTOR OF THE MONTH by one of my favorite record labels! So, silver lining: big thanks to my nightmare life in the construction game, without which I wouldn't be able to bury myself under stacks of wonderful wonderful wax circles. As for what I do for fun... not too much. Buy records, listen to records, dig through my favorite local record shops, take pictures of records, and make nerdy collages to post on my Instagram - instagram.com/vinylrecordtreasures. I am also a master ramen chef, and father of two cats, and a chihuahua; Mas, Gato, and Milhouse, respectively.
First album: I first started exploring music on my own, outside of whatever was on the radio, while picking through my parents' dusty, unappreciated, record collections, and popping ’em on my little Fisher Price turntable. I wish I still had that thing! The first albums that made it into MY collection were classics from Billy Joel (aka Uncle Billy, to all of us Long Islanders), Elton John, CSNY, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Doors, Grateful Dead, etc…I realized that music made me feel something pretty special, and it was exciting experiencing that for the first time. As I got older and came into my own a bit, these are the first albums I purchased with my own money: Cassette: Neil Young – Harvest; CD: Grateful Dead – Skeletons From the Closet; 7″: Latex Generation – I Killed the President; 12″: Dead Kennedys – In God We Trust, Inc.
Favorite album: Ah, the ever dreaded question! For most of my life, I had Queen and KISS sitting together in the “favorite band” throne. Their albums A Night at the Opera and Revenge, respectively, holding their own titles of “my favorite album.” Over the years, those slots have been swapped around, interchanged completely, on and off, good and bad, all over the place. It’s near impossible for me to have a solid answer for “favorite album” that will forever stick in the “of all time” position, but these two held the title longest, so I suppose at this point, when it comes down to semantics, these are my favorite albums:
KISS - Revenge:
The band that changed me from a casual music fan, to an obsessed music lifer. My first concert; this tour, this album. One of their heavier moments as a band, during the no makeup days, sporting a badass biker look, as opposed to the big hair, neons, and animal prints of years prior. They were at a height in their songwriting prowess for this one, recharged with Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick in tow. All of these songs are heavy, rifftastic, and just awesome! I mean, it has one of the greatest songs of all time, that gained a little extra notoriety being in “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey,” “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You II,” their epic reinterpretation of an epic song by a ’70s band called Argent. One of my all time faves for sure! This album is full of attitude, sex, and all the badassery you could want from a rock band like KISS. This was a real powerful moment for these guys, and I feel like it’s somewhat under-appreciated as an album. I’m always proud to call it my favorite.
Queen - A Night at the Opera:
Like most kids of my era, I was instantly drawn to Queen after watching the famous “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene in “Wayne’s World.” I had never heard anything like that before, and it was mesmerizing! I picked up their Greatest Hits II on cassette, and they basically became my favorite band right then and there. As I dove deeper into their catalogue, I discovered endless hidden gems living there. This album in particular was bursting at the seams with magical moments of songwriting and performance. The old-timey bounce of jaunty tunes like “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon” and “Seaside Rendezvous,” a rocking love song to a car; the haunting acoustic-driven Brian May song “’39,” telling the tale of a man who embarks on a space journey of a year, only to return home to find many more years have passed, and all his loved ones are dead. Sci-fi folk at its finest! I love the lyric “…in the land that our grandchildren knew.” This song held its own slot at the top of my favorites list for many years. Then there’s the mystical prog epic, “The Prophet’s Song.” Written after a dream full of powerful images of a great flood, with a huge middle section of Freddie Mercury singing overlapping harmonies with himself. It’s just chillingly incredible. Not to mention “Bohemian Rhapsody!” A true legendary masterpiece of an album, front to back.
I can honestly say that many other albums, truthfully, hold a “favorite album of all time” space in my heart, and calling any of them an all-time favorite would not be an exaggeration in the least. I suppose that is inevitable after spending so many years, with so many different albums, weaving their musical tendrils throughout my heart and spirit.
Favorite Enjoy The Ride or Enjoy The Toons release: As I mentioned earlier, ETR/ETT are a big favorite of mine, and I've managed to scoop up a few awesome releases over the last few years. But, I guess my favorite has to be, the record that led me to initially discover the label, Dream Theater's absolute classic masterpiece of an album, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory. One of my favorite albums of all time, from one of my favorite bands of all time! It still finds it's way to the turntable fairly often. I love all of my ETR/ETT records with all my heart, but YOU made me pick a favorite child, so I DID! <3
Favorite album artwork: Another huge question! Baroness: Red, Blue, Yellow & Green, and Purple. One of my most beloved and cherished bands. John Baizley (lead singer/guitarist/songwriter) is probably my favorite artist ever. He's done all the album covers for the Baroness records, and they are all SO beautiful! His gentle asthetic, mixed with bold lines (reminiscent of works by Alfonse Mucha), and weirdly interesting concepts and ideas, make for such striking and wonderful album covers, which I've loved for years. It also doesn't hurt that the albums are all masterpieces! I don't know if it counts, but I've been pretty obsessed with the cover art for the upcoming Bell Witch album, Mirror Reaper. I don't have the album in my hands just yet (as it comes out in October!), but the art has been my phone's background since the moment it was revealed, and it is AWESOME! Definitely one of my favorite bands out there these days. Funeral doom is one of my favorite genres, and these guys are at the top of the mountain in that world. CAN. NOT. WAIT. for this freakin record!
Which album do you wish you had on vinyl? Since I have finally been making okay money at my job these days, I've luckily been able to cross a lot of serious white whale/holy grail titles off my list this year, and it's been super satisfying and rewarding. That being said, there are always more that remain out of reach! My Discogs Wantlist is a huge part of my record obsessed life these days, and the hunt never ends! These are a few biggies that come to mind:
Manowar: Louder Than Hell (Geffen, 1996)
The Lord Weird Slough Feg: Traveler (Metal Supremacy, 2004. Red/Black splatter vinyl)
Keziah Jones: Black Orpheus (Delabel, 2003)
Beck: Midnite Vultures (Bong Load, 2000)
MxPx: Life in General (Tooth & Nail, 1996. White vinyl)
MxPx: Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo (A&M, 1998)
Millencolin: Same Old Tunes (Burning Heart, 1997)
Frenzal Rhomb: Smoko at the Pet Food Factory (Fat Wreck Chords, 2011. Pet food colored vinyl)
The New Frontiers: Mending (The Militia Group, 2008)
Let me stop myself here! The list goes on and on, forever into eternity.. But, those are some special big ones for me, that I just can't seem to get my hands on! ONE DAY!
What are your favorite record shops in the Raleigh area, in case any readers are traveling through your town? Sorry State Records is probably my favorite shop around. It’s small and clean, the staff is always friendly and the stock rotates often enough that I can swing by as often as I want. The used section is chock full of glorious old and new punk/metal/hardcore records, and a gigantic selection of awesome cassettes and 7″s too! The new records are very reasonably priced, and all the other genre sections are packed with fantastic titles as well. As an added bonus, they always have some drool-inducing rare/collectible titles on the walls, and in special bins, just to really get that wallet hurting. But, it’s always worth it in the end! Nice Price Books and Records is another fantastic local record shop right in the heart of Raleigh. I pop in here at least once a month to flip through the used “new arrivals” section, and it never fails to contain a treasure or two (or three!). It also features reasonably priced new records of all sounds and styles, a seemingly endless maze of shelves with tons of used records, walls and walls of books, comics, CDs, DVDs…this place has it all! And it’s almost all killer. I have stumbled upon some life-changing treasures in these hallowed walls.
What are some of your favorite soundtracks you have in your collection? I'm not a huge soundtrack dude in general, but I definitely have a modest little section of the collection dedicated to a few special gems anyway. My number one treasure has to be the TROLL 2 soundtrack, released by Lunaris Records back in January. This has been my favorite "bad" movie since I first randomly caught it on TV when I was a kid. Later in life, when it was finally released on DVD, I used to carry a copy with me everywhere I went, hoping for any opportunity to spread it's glory to anybody willing to sit down and witness it! When Lunaris announced they were releasing the awesome Carlo Maria Cordio soundtrack on a super limited edition, and crazy looking "Stonehenge Nebula" vinyl, I knew I HAD to score one! and boy oh boy, is it ever awesome! I like to spin this record, and act out the crazy scenes from this crazy movie, in my living room, pretending the animals are Trolls, and they're coming to get me........ my exciting life.. Also, another favorite, and crucial movie/soundtrack in the history of my life; Rockers! Probably about 10 years ago, I lived with a group of my oldest, closest, bestest friends, spread out over two floors of an old brownstone in Astoria, Queens. We were quite obsessed with reggae, and had a habit of talking to each other in fairly convincing Jamaican accents. We sang these songs, and quoted this movie all the freakin time! This soundtrack brings back tons of memories, and will forever mean Jah rasclot world to I and I.
What have you been listening to more frequently lately? I haven't officially compiled my list of favorite albums of the year just yet, but it will most certainly consist of a few of these titles that I haven't been able to keep off my turntable lately! Brutus - Burst: I haven't been this taken by an album in quite some time! By far my favorite record to come out this year, and definitely already high in my "of all time" faves! This Belgian trio is equal parts metal, hardcore, and straight up rock! With hard hitting hooks and melodies that have been stuck in my head for months! I've always been a sucker for a good female vocalist, and as an added bonus, this one just happens to be shouting her gut-wrenching vocals while simultaneously blasting it out on the DRUMS! Such an invigorating and fresh sounding bunch of songs, that hits me right in the sweet spot every single time. Zeal & Ardor - Devil is Fine: Slave-chant/satanic-gospel/delta blues/chain-gang/electronic/black metal....? However you wanna try to describe this wonder of an album; it sure is different, and it sure is awesome! One of the most refreshing and interesting records I've heard in quite a while. King Woman - Created in the Image of Suffering: Another of my most favorite acts these days. Lead by the inimitable goddess of gloom; Kristina Esfandiari, this uber-emotional, wonderfully crushing, ethereal, doomy, godamn masterpiece of an album is so fantastic. Every time it washes over you, it leaves you flattened, emotionally and physically, in the best way possible. It's hard to express just how much I love this record without breaking down into tears... uhh... I mean... without punching someone in the face!! Yeah! ------ The track "Hierophant" is my favorite song of 2017. No contest. Lightsabres - Hibernation: Another new discovery that knocked me on my ass this year! Hailing from Sweden, a nation which bubbles over with musical treasures, is this one-man psychedelic fuzzed-out stoner grunge doom punk awesomeness from multi-instrumentalist/vocalist, John Strömshed. The super lo-fi home-production fits absolutely perfect with his fuzzed out sounds and earworm-like melodies, and I just can't get enough of it! I like his prior album, Beheaded, a tiny bit more than this new one, but it is still a fantastic gem of an album either way! Impure Wilhelmina - Radiation: This band has been around for years, but I only recently discovered them when Season of Mist released this incredible new album. Some seriously top-shelf post-rock/post-hardcore/post-metal, ISIS, Cult of Luna, Katatonia, Deftones type of stuff, soaring and lush, with a Swiss Morrissey crooning away on top (he also sounds just like the singer from this band, Crumb, that nobody seems to remember. But they had an amazing album in the 90s called "Seconds/Minutes/Hours" and I wish more people knew about them! Especially because of how spot-on my reference is in comparison to this dude!) A seriously breathtaking and grand emotional album. Seems i'm drawn to the emotional stuff these days.
If you were on a desert island and you could only fit three records safely in your suitcase which ones would you take with you? Man, these hard hitting questions are brutal! Only THREE records?! Okay, instead of cheating, and choosing some of my most treasured box sets, I'll purposely take this question too literal, and assume they would be much too heavy to fit in this theoretical desert island suitcase we speak of.. So, I will stick with three single LPs that are too important to ever live without! And, for the sake of keeping this interview fresh, I'll leave out my obvious KISS and Queen albums..
Fifteen - The Choice of a New Generation
Sonata Arctica - Ecliptica
Operation Ivy - Energy
There are literally hundreds of albums I would love to have with me on a desert island, but if it's gotta be three, I think these three will take care of me fairly well. These were each hugely influential during the most important and formative times of my life, and they each had their own particular hand in shaping me into the precise type of music lover I am today. Much love to my awesome vinyl collecting family out there... KEEP DIGGING and KEEP SPINNING!
If you would like to be featured as our record collector of the month, email Michele at at email@example.com!