New Feature: Pressing Concerns
Anything you read about the state of music sales in the latter 2010’s will make it abundantly clear that vinyl records are back in full force. Fueled for the last decade-plus by a reenergized respect for analog sound and the unavoidable elements of geekdom that collecting vinyl glorifies in a culture where being a geek of any stripe has somehow become cool, record stores are again enclaves of culture and swag in a way that they weren’t for many years. Correspondingly, the “industry” part of the music industry has responded by pressing nearly all new releases on vinyl – they know where their bread is buttered in this market-dominated moment and are happy to oblige for the most part, offering fans the chance to buy and re-buy all their favorites in variants and reissues and deluxe versions and limited box-sets and so on and so on…
As hunky-dory as that all sounds on paper, there remains a blindspot in fairly recent history between the rise of the cassette and CD formats and the birth of digital sharing and streaming where some releases never saw a vinyl pressing at all. Through the 90s and early 2000s, it was not uncommon for a vinyl pressing to be comically small to the point that even some records that did get pressed are now un-gettable at any sort of reasonable price. And then there are still other albums that were pressed at a reasonable volume, but pressed only once or twice around the time of their release and are now mostly available on vinyl only by way of unofficial editions of varying quality.
Far be it from The Re-Critic to deny anyone the thrill of the chase. If you are a collector who demands original (or early) pressings and you are willing to scour crates and estate sales to find them, or pay exorbitant amounts online, more power to you. But could it be that we are underserving music in general and its vinyl-loving fans by having such a large representational gap in our musical history? While nothing can beat the feeling of finding something amazing and reasonably-priced in a place you would have never expected it to be, there is an argument to be made that a whole generation of music fans is missing out on some great music simply because they are not able, or willing (understandably), to engage in searches that can absorb substantial amounts of time, miles, and money.
With this in mind, we bring you Pressing Concerns, a new semi-regularly updated page dedicated to bringing attention to albums that are either just plain nonexistent on vinyl (according to a reasonable amount of research), or are prohibitively priced due to rarity, and explaining why they all deserve to be added to our stacks of wax – sometimes we’ll be arguing for re-pressings to allow access to more audiophiles, and sometimes will be arguing to correct sins of omission where no records appear to have been pressed at all. We’ll argue for smaller indie artists as well as major-label mainstays, all in the spirit of opening up older releases to those of us more recently indoctrinated as acolytes in the Holy Church of Vinyl.
If you, Dear Reader, have ideas for inclusions to this list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. Either way, please enjoy our new feature where we present even more of our patented unimportant and uncalled-for opinions about very crucial matters of art and appreciation. Happy listening!