Sin, and the Beginnings of a Record Collection

May 31st, 2008 / 5 Comments

I’m starting a record collection. And yes, I mean record in the original twelve-inch, waxy, wobbly, scratchy, prone to degrading, vinyl way. The endeavor is not so much consumed with fidelity (though that too is interesting) as much as it is a response to the absence of tangible content in the digital age and a meaningful way of recognizing art and artists. The plan is to collect a few 12" LP’s to display as art that is unique in both the autobiographical sense, and the fact that it doesn’t come from Target.

Poor Old Lu - Sin

The first album on my list is a somewhat obscure group known as Poor Old Lu which emerged out of the Seattle indie/grunge scene in the early 90’s. Poor Old Lu’s album Sin has earned a well deserved place in my musical autobiography. Their song “Sickly” includes the first solo that I ever tabbed out and memorized by heart and Jessie Sprinkle’s busy/energetic approach to drumming remains one of the primary influences (along with Sunny Day Real Estate’s William Goldsmith) to how I approach the kit. Most importantly the album saved me from the banality of “Christian” rock.

As a young adolescent of an evangelical family I was encouraged to pursue music that was “good,” in the sense that its lyrical content would not lead me to getting long hair, tattoos, or worse. Yet despite the goodness of my modest music collection at that time, there was something that didn’t feel right, but which my 9th grade whits couldn’t quite articulate. Poor Old Lu’s album Sin revealed unequivocally what was wrong, namely, that the rest of my music collection was skubala. Indeed everything I had listened to up to that point paled in comparison to the power, creativity, and nuance that breathed from my speakers that day I came home from the store with this odd curiosity.

At first glance Sin might seem like an odd way to begin an art/record collection. The cover is nothing more than a photograph of a hot pink marshmallow bunny set against a similarly textured neon yellow background. At the same time the crude suggestion that something as generic as a marshmallow bunny might be considered art provides a certain abrasiveness and hints that there may be more to discover beneath the surface. On deeper inspection the feeling of discomfort which the cover evokes is in keeping with the cynicism intrinsic to the Grunge genre of the early 90’s, as is the presentation of the ordinary as cultural criticism (similar to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”). More personally, the cover also suggests a critique of the crass superficiality of generic pop-culture of the kind I had previously listened to. Lastly, the juxtaposition of a pink marshmallow bunny as a visual representation of sin uncovers the perversion by which easter has been co-opted by consumerism.

I doubt many in my pool of readers are familiar with the aforementioned band so I’m posting two tracks from the Sin album:
“Where Were All of You?” (.mp3)
“Sickly” (.mp3)

Comments (5)

  1. Bmer / June 2, 2008 / http://www.bmerco.com/

    I’m glad to see you’re starting a vinyl collection. i’ve kicked this idea around for the past few years and haven’t found the motivation to do it myself, but i know a few of my punk rocker friends who collect. i agree that its a cool way to recognize the arts as cds slowly become extinct. bands almost always release on vinyl, and in limited run which makes everything that much cooler.

    let me know if you’re on the lookout for something, maybe i can help you find it

  2. Aaron / June 3, 2008

    i’m offended that you didn’t think we’d know who “poor old lu” was.

    the 90’s were the best. If you can find it, check out “classic albums: smells like teen spirit”, an hour documentary on the making of the album. pure gold.

    (they have a u2 episode as well, but I digress. . . )

  3. Aaron / June 3, 2008 / http://www.519music.com/

    just kidding scott. I’m gonna go get my starflyer 59, roadside monument, paradigm shift, grammatrain, and havalina rail co. posters out!!!!!! :)

  4. Scott Lenger / June 13, 2008 / http://scottlenger.com

    BMer: Yeah, if you’re thinking about it I recommend starting soon as the limited runs can make things pretty hard to find later on.

    Speaking of which, you can keep an eye out for these:

    • Sunday Day Real Estate Diary
    • Sunny Day Real Estate lp2
    • Starflyer 59 Gold

    That last one has gone for over $150 on ebay!

    Aaron: Right on, sorry to offend.

  5. The Charismanglican / April 9, 2009 / http://www.charismanglican.com

    I have always thought that this album had one of the best art direction jobs ever.

    i got one of these records (vinyl) from thom roy, who was a&r at frontline and who failed in his duty to sign my band skypark. we rewarded him with production duties on our label debut.

    right about that same time LSU’s graceshaker saved me from the banality of Christian rock.

    well, almost saved me. it was years before i wrote a decent song.

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