Record deals

A few weeks before I was due to take auction winner Jessica Hellman on an indie shopping spree (the package included two records each at three stores, along with advice and picks by yours truly), one of the three businesses, 30-year-old mainstay Vinyl Fever, announced it was closing its doors.

Owner Lee Wolfson was still more than willing to offer Hellman store credit. But in the end, rather than stress the finances of an already-closing business (and so Hellman wouldn't be limited to choosing from a dwindling stock of LPs), CL offered to pick up the tab on an extra record at each of the two still-open and thriving stores, Mojo Books & Music in North Tampa and Daddy Kool in downtown St. Petersburg. She gladly accepted.

Hellman purchased the spree as a birthday/Christmas present for her music-loving boyfriend, Jonathan Peskin — though the day we went shopping, it was actually her birthday (and she snagged a few goodies for herself just to make it fair).

Beforehand, Peskin e-mailed me a list that included some of his favorite bands so I could better assist him with his selections. Luckily, he had diverse tastes, ranging from tried-and-true artists like The Doors, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and Talking Heads, to contemporary music-makers like Pearl Jam, Vampire Weekend, Kanye West and Modest Mouse, to name a few.

Peskin explained he had two goals in mind — getting copies of select albums he already owned on disc but wanted on vinyl, and adding some LPs to his growing collection that were outside the realm of what he'd normally choose for himself.

We started at Mojo. After much debate, Peskin ended up with three solid choices: Wilco, Being There (the band's 1996 double LP, which Peskin didn't own in any form); Dark Night of the Soul, the 2009 multi-media collaboration between musician-producer Danger Mouse, late singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Sparklehorse and filmmaker David Lynch with guests spots by Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Iggy Pop, James Mercer of the Shins and Frank Black, among many others; and Spiritualized's 1997 expansive masterpiece, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space..., a soundscape-spacey neo-psychedelic rock album by one of the UK's more influential bands.

Daddy Kool boasted a completely different supply of LPs for us to peruse. Peskin ended up with three more totally awesome albums: Ween's Chocolate & Cheese (a good starter LP for nascent Ween fans, with such memorable numbers as "Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)," "Roses Are Free" and "Don't Shit Where You Eat"); Radiohead's seminal 1997 full-length, OK Computer; and the Flaming Lips' noisy, tripped-out tribute to Dark Side of the Moon with Stardeath and White Dwarfs, Henry Rollins and Peaches.

Overall, we enjoyed a fruitful day of vinyl-diving, and another auction winner went home happy with lots of good music tucked under his arm.

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