Digging, digging, digging...
On most work-day mornings, I pack my truck with my computer, bag lunch, cup of coffee and then head back into the garage to pilfer through boxes of CDs to find something to listen to during my 15-minute commute.
There’s boxes and boxes of CDs there because I still haven’t unpacked since moving to a new house. All my audio equipment is similarly boxed.
And my other mediums, including vinyl albums, or LPs, are packed away too, but those are in the climate-controlled interior of the domicile, for I’m not leaving that collection to be warped by the warm weather in these here parts.
Recently, my wife made a plea for me to sell/get rid of my CDs. And I immediately resisted. Bristled, even.
Thankfully, she backed off and didn’t turn her attention to my boxes, containers, and specially-designed briefcase of cassette tapes. Some of those bad boys harken back to the Columbia House days - bearing the distinctive striping the music club put on the spine of the cassette cases.
Yes, I’m old school - and yes, I may be a hoarder.
But I do have an iPod, a host of digital music files on my laptop, and even a digital converter that all of these old LPs and cassettes could be run through and downloaded to my computer. But that would be a monumental task, and although I’d love to do this for backup purposes - I do have a job, familial commitments, and a life and can’t sit around digitizing Cheap Trick’s “Lap of Luxury” and R.E.M.’s “Reckoning” cassettes all day long, along with home recordings.
Besides, I recently found out that, like vinyl, which we have chronicled here in the pages of Weekly Surge, cassettes are making a comeback of sorts, bucking the trends of the Digital Age.
Everything else from the ‘80s is back, so why not the first easily portable music medium?
I was aware awhile back that new music - yes new music - released on cassettes was making a comeback among the uber-hip indie rock circuit.
Witness this excerpt from a 2011 USA Today article:
“The 2.5-by-4-inch compact cassette that overtook vinyl albums and passed by eight-track tapes in the 1970s and ’80s is experiencing a bit of a comeback, which some say is being fueled by the growth of indie music popularity. A growing number of indie bands are turning to the format to get their music out more quickly and inexpensively, according to Rob Mason, the owner of Old Flame Records. The Brooklyn-based record company released the band Total Babes’ album ‘Swimming Through Sunlight’ on tape before the full-length album was formally released on CD and vinyl.”
Yeah, but that’s Brooklyn and this is Myrtle Beach.
Regardless, I stored that nugget somewhere in the recesses of my addled brain, and a curious thing happened when I befriended an outfit called Turnip Farm Records on Facebook. It seemed the local indie record label, which I’d never heard of before, was reissuing music from Myrtle Beach’s past and present on vinyl - and the aforementioned cassette format.
What is Turnip Farm Records, and who is behind it?
What’s the deal with cassettes? And why is Sqwearl’s now-classic “eight ball of confusion” finally being released on vinyl?
Is this a profitable enterprise or labor of love?
Is anybody else doing this locally?
We dispatched experienced correspondent Christina Knauss, who covered the Myrtle Beach music scene in its ‘90s heyday, to get to the bottom of this retro revolution and her report is this week’s cover story.
Return to this site’s homepage to see what she dug up.
Breathing new life into A Gay in the Life
We are very fortunate that we haven’t skipped a beat since our beloved Chris Rudisill, a member of the original Surge team, resigned from writing our A Gay in the Life column.
I am happy to report that the column, which gives voice to, and examines, our local LGBT community, lives on and you can meet our new writer settling into the bi-weekly feature by returning to the News & Views page.
Kent Kimes, Editor