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My Awesome Record Collection #1 : Siouxie and the Banshees/ The Peel Sessions

April 8, 2014


I’m an audiofile. I’ve been collecting records since I was 11 years old, and I’m now 37, so it’s been over 25 years of appreciating and collecting music. I’ve got so many records I have to store them at the edges of any room they live in to make sure the floor doesn’t start to buckle underneath them. I’ve got over 2,000 LPs and a few hundred 7″ records. for over ten years I played these records on several college radio stations – in Pittsburgh Pa at WRCT, on air in New Orleans at WTUL, and at BSR at Brown University. Many have spun round and round at house parties, where I’ve tried a number of tactics to (largely unsuccessfully) keep the records from scratching and bouncing as the floor and everyone inside bounce up and down to the beats.

I am one of those folks who can hear the difference between analog and digital recordings. For me, listening to music on a laptop is a regrettable and disappointing proposition. Now that I haven’t done a radio show in a few years, most of my listening has been happening at home, alone, in my studio while working.
Recently one of my friends mentioned there was a blog called “My husband’s stupid record collection.” I found this to be an interesting blog, and I appreciate the process of listening to and reviewing the entire contents of a record collection. It reminded me of the summer I tackled the project of creating a “punk rock cookbook” at WRCT. This was a project where I went through their entire record collection (which at the time was over 15,000 LPs, and created an alphabetical directory of every record that had ever been reviewed as “punk,” “weird,” or in some way belonged to an “alternative” genre. This task familiarized me with the depth and extent of the Tulane University record collection, and I used it to find records throughout my time there. But, I doubt that cookbook still exists in the studio, or that anyone else utilized it throughout the years after I left.
The main thing that bothers me about “My husband’s stupid record collection” has nothing to do with the blogger herself, but instead, the stupid responses from men. The reaction generally reflects a sadly pervasive belief among male record collectors that A) women don’t listen to records and B) isn’t it cute when they try?
So, instead of letting my veins fill with rage, I decided to spend some time presenting some of the gems of my own record collection. I’ll focus on records which either bring me great joy, or fall into the more rare realm of the record collection.
So, without further adieu, I now present the first of an ongoing series of reviews of records in my awesome record collection.

Siouxie and the Banshees : The Peel Sessions

The first time I came across this record was in the stacks at WTUL. A little bit of technical information: this record was released in 1987 as part of “The Peel Sessions” series which were released by Strange Fruit Records. John Peel was a DJ who recorded bands on BBC radio. He started in 1967 and was involved in radio until his death in 2004. Over the course of Peel’s decades spent at BBC Radio, over 4000 sessions were recorded by over 2000 artists. The record covers were very simple- black and white with liner notes listed on the back side of the cover, with an enormous list of bands John Peel recorded printed on the front cover under the band’s name.
Siouxie and the Banshees recorded more than once with John Peel, but this album features “Love in a Void,” “Mirage,” “Metal Postcard,” and “Suburban Relapse.”
This has been one of those records that holds up through the test of time, and every time I listen, I flip the record several times before re-sleeving and re-shelving it. This set of songs reflects their more noisy no-wave inspired sound right before their more mainstream hit “Peek- A- Boo” which feels more straight up new wave/dance. There’s darkness in the lyrics, the dischordant guitar, and her dynamic throaty vocal stylings. I’ve always been particularly fond of “Love in a Void” but there’s no denying that this whole record is spectacular. The drums are extremely tom heavy, staccato, and driving and run in sync with the bass.
If I was to compare this record with food, I’d say it makes me think of a group of teen punks getting sundaes at the mall, eating a few bites, letting them melt, and then tossing them from the third floor onto mannequins in business suits on the first.
I don’t remember when or where I found a copy of this record, but it was an awesome day indeed when I found my own copy.

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