Last night I was feeding my Twitterholism while reminded by @beatswapmeet of their Sunday monthly fair at the Jazz Lounge in Los Angeles. I tweeted that I couldn't make it because of gas money. @beatswapmeet offered to pick me up in a helicopter. While a helicopter ride to LA to pick up vinyl is a woman's dream-come-true, this economy will not make that work. Don't wait on a
1) Open Drum Sounds
While the vinyl versus cd quality debate is still raging, I myself notice a distinct difference. When I played The Chamber Brothers, it was if they were in my bedroom serenading me. Not the same with Maxwell's crooning tightened on the cd. So, go to the fair and buy vinyl to hear the pure sound of unfiltered drums and hi hats looming in the air.
2) Obscure Records
A few weeks ago, I treated my Mom to her first ever Amoeba visit. A former dj, she was in a strange paradise of helpful scruffy older men . She looked for an Esther Saddefield record that I later found online. I thought to tell her she could probably find just about anything at a swap, but seeing her there, would kill my hipster vibe. Still if you're looking for an out-of-print vinyl and can't find it at your local record store, Discogs or Amazon (they're in the vinyl business now), go to the fair.
3) Sounds to Sample
I've taken up the hobby of becoming a producer. (Missy Elliot, I'm coming for you). Even with lower priced tools, learning how to sample is more complex than I thought. At a swap, you can hear that horn riff or flute solo that would complete your beat cd. Hearing a breakbeat, a bassline, from the spin, you can go up to the dj, buy the record and make new friends (if not with the dj, with your new record).
4) Heady Debates
Want to discuss how you just can't feel Curtis Mayfield after mainstream hiphop scavenged his records? Would you like to debate Mingus's influence on the trip hop movement? Excited that Wax Poetics covered Brazilian musicians, but disgusted by the new adopters? Discuss, argue,and debate at your local swap. You're sure to find someone there who feels the same way you do.
5) Find a Date
There tends to be tons of testosterone amongst the dusty covers. You have the young feministas who are there to make a statement of their loyalty to hiphop, but it's still a male dig. So if you're a woman, whose interested in a certain type of man, put on your best thrift store find and roll to the swap. You are sure to turn the head of at least one man there. If you hold eye contact long enough to divert him from haggling with a dealer, he's the one. No questions asked. Even if you're not an audiophile, he'll love your willingness to learn about music. You'll be the student of his fantasies.
Photograph from Retro Thing