Kathy Foster (the Thermals) on the Frugality of 7″s
In honor of the tenth anniversary of Record Store Day, we hit up a few of our favorite musicians to find out what vinyl shopping means to them.
Hometown: Sunnyvale, California
Based In: Portland, Oregon
What’s your favorite record store and why?
That’s a tough one living in Portland. There are a lot of really great record stores that I visit often: Mississippi Records, Exiled Records, Clinton St. Records, Little Axe, Musique Plastique, Floating World Comics, Music Millennium, Everyday Music.
Mississippi Records is probably my favorite, though, and it’s the closest to my house, so I’m there a lot. Eric, the owner, and everyone who works there is so great. Not only do they have an amazing selection of all kinds of music, new and used, they are also a label that puts out local stuff and re-releases rare old stuff. I also just love being in there; it’s cozy and I always run into friends. I love talking with Eric, too.
What were the first records you bought at your hometown record store?
I worked in a new and used CD store in Sunnyvale, so I was buying a lot of CDs before I got into records. The Slits was one of my very first purchases there. Once I got into vinyl, I bought mostly 7″s at first. And I always loved going up to Mod Lang in Berkeley. They were always turning me on to cool stuff. It was the early/mid ‘90s and I was really into Tiger Trap, Bikini Kill, the Softies, the Spinanes and Bratmobile, and I found lots of their 7″s at Mod Lang. I’d always go straight to the 7″s and barely looked at full album vinyl. I think because I could only afford a couple 7″s at a time. I would always find something new and cool there!
What did you learn from shopping at record stores?
So much! And still do. I love the whole culture around records and record stores. Buying 7″s early on was a cheap way to check out stuff I’d never heard — and a lot of it you couldn’t find on any other format. And that was the way I found out about a lot of bands: by going to the record store and seeing what was there, what was new and what was recommended. Just being into records makes you a part of a really cool club, since it was, and still kind of is, a niche thing. There’s an understanding there that you’re into underground music: buying it, listening to it, supporting it, maybe playing it. You value it. I love the dig too; I love looking through records and finding something cool and unexpected.
What was the last record you bought? Where?
I got the new Moon Duo album, Occult Architecture Vol. 1, at Musique Plastique here in Portland.
Why do you still buy records?
I love being a part of this cool underground club, I love supporting artists by buying their records, I love the art form and want to help keep it alive, I love how records sound, I love the interactiveness of listening to and shopping for records, I love making records. There is still a lot of music coming out that you can only find on vinyl. I also DJ a lot; I’m part of a DJ crew called Strange Babes and we have a radio show on XRAY.fm, plus we DJ out n’ about often. We all spin vinyl.
Which record, in your opinion, do you need on vinyl? Why?
Oh, I don’t know… this is always changing depending on my mood, haha.
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