What You Need to Know Before You Start Collecting Records

In this week’s blog will share with you a few tips I have learned so far and a few crucial things I wish I knew before I started.

Invest in a quality turntable

I learned this tip from Chris Charkowy owner of Mindbomb Records. He mentioned that for someone getting into vinyl, it is beneficial to spend the extra money and buy a higher end turntable with an actual receiver and decent speakers. One of the better turntables for casual listening is Audio Technica AT-LP 120 USB. This is a professional turntable with a high torque direct drive motor for quick start-ups and USB output that can connect directly to your computer.

Treat your records how you would like to be treated

Show em’ some love. It is important to store you record collection properly so they don’t warp, gather dust or break. Records should be stacked/ stored vertically. Never lay records flat or on top of each other. This is exactly how vinyl records become warped. Your records hate extreme weather conditions just as much as you do. A lightly lit, room temperature area will keep your records in great condition.

Support local records shops

This is probably the most rewarding part of beginning a record collection. I most certainly recommend hunting for vinyl records in your own backyard. Each record store has its own personal flare, some are very specific in a genre and, others are full of well-loved old time favourites. The reason I recommend purchasing from your local record store us because not only you leave with some great music; you can actually meet other passionate record collectors.


Hamilton’s Rock Royalty

Emerging from the steel town capital of Ontario, Hamilton, is my favourite and one of Canada’s best rock-and-roll bands, Arkells. The men in the band met each other at McMaster University and came together as Arkells. Named after their legendary student house on Arkell Street and city of Hamilton. Arkells’ classic songwriting, electric live show performances, and workmanlike tour ethic have put Hamilton on the Map. Over the past ten years, Arkells have shared four albums won 4 Juno awards and captured the hearts of music lovers everywhere. I have been lucky to witness some of their most memorable moments along the way.

This past year the Arkells embarked on a jam-packed North American tour, where the band was able to cross off a few of their bucket list experiences.

Bucket list item #1: Massey Hall

This past November Arkells were humbled by their chance to play two sold-out shows at the historic Massey Hall in Toronto. I was fortunate enough to attend their opening night and this is by far my fondest Arkells memory yet.

The Arkells energetic stage presence had fans captivated from the minute they stepped on stage. The band opened the evening with “A little rain (a song for Pete)” off their newest album

Massey Hall- 2016

Morning Report, this had everyone on their feet in seconds. This was the first time Arkellians were hearing Morning Report live and no one could contain their excitement. The night continued with several moments to remember like, Springsteen karaoke featuring tour guest and friend Frank Turner, to closing out the two-hour set with a four song encore. An Arkells show is never over until it’s over, and Massey hall night one concluded by busting out the horns and belted out “Private school”.

Whether you were an Arkells fan since Jackson Square or was the lucky friend who tagged along, everyone that night witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime Arkells performance.

Bucket list item #2: Copps Coliseum

Copps Coliseum

This concert was sentimental, to say the least. Playing their first arena show only steps away from where they live, and hearing 10,000 fans singing every song with them created an incredible atmosphere. The guys played off the positive energy, shaking the town all night long. No Arkells show is ever the same, and their Hamilton homecoming had many special moments. The Arkells story told their way through the set list that evening, taking the time to pay respect to the people and city they fell in love with ten years ago.

I am running out of fingers to count the times I have seen Arkells play, but if you haven’t had the chance to listen or catch a show, I promise you won’t regret it. Their musical talent, emotional connection, and contagious energy will have you waiting in line at their next show.

If you enjoyed reading this, take a look at the Flavour of The Week video!

Mindbomb Records

This week I decided to stay local and check out what my hometown had to offer. I visited Mindbomb records located on James St. in downtown St. Catharines.

At first glance, Mindbomb records are sharp, clean and crisp. Opening on Record Store Day, two years ago owner Chris Charkowy couldn’t be more proud of the progress they have made. Chris never planned on opening up his own record store but after 15 years working in other record stores across the Niagara Region, he decided that he wanted to fill the void in Niagara for people looking to get new and newly pressed records.

Mindbomb records specialized in mainly new and some used vinyl and CD’s, as well as, operating as a ticket master outlet. When I asked Chris about why he thinks people are falling back in love with vinyl, he explained that the generation that has grown up with only CD’s and downloads senses the passion that they have for music. I too can agree that vinyl records give you something tangible to collect.

This year also happens to be the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day on April 22. So if you are just diving into the vinyl world like me, this day is a great opportunity to meet your local record store owners and learn more about the unique culture surrounding independently owned record stores all over the world.

Purple Rain

I may not have grown up in the most influential decade of pop music, however, the 80’s still managed to make a huge impact on my life.

This week I chose to pay tribute to the late 80’s rock star, Prince. Tucked away in my father’s record collection was Purple Rain. Released in 1984, Purple Rain is considered to be one of the most iconic albums in music history. This album still presents Prince’s R&B roots, but it definitely has a more distinct emphasis on rock and Prince’s guitar manship.


This week I took to the streets of Toronto to visit my first record store. Soundscapes, located at College St. in Little Italy. Soundscapes is a small but mighty shop that has been providing music to Torontonians for over a decade. Soundscapes has something for everyone. Whether you are looking to buy Vinyl and CD’s, listen to exclusive live performances, or, get tickets to a show at one of Toronto’s historical venues, Soundscapes has it all under one roof.

When talking to Greg Davis, owner of Soundscapes, he noted that times have been a little tougher. Mostly due to the fact that not as many people are purchasing albums as often. However, this has not deterred him from making his work a passion.

This Week’s Playlist

Check Your Head- 1992

The third studio album of the Beastie Boys. Released on April 21, 1992, Check Your Head features well-known hits such as “So What’Cha Want” and “Jimmy James”. After giving this record a listen, you can hear the difference in musicality. Check Your Head is more of a punk jazz funk sound compared to the Boy’s usual old school rap. That said, my personal favourites from this album are: “Lighten Up”, “In 3’s” and “Live at Pj’s”.

Check Your Head was not one of the Beastie Boys biggest albums but this record solidified the Boys into a musical force to be reckoned with.

Magnolia Electric Co- 2003

Magnolia Electric Co. is actually Jason Molina, folk rock songwriter’s second band. Released in 2003, this record is most known for the opening track “Farwell Transmission”. This seven-minute song was recorded in a single take. This indie folk band from the Midwest was able to connect with music lovers because they sing about the struggles of real people with real problems. Overall I appreciate the artistry on this album, however, this genre is not necessarily my favourite.

What’s all the hype about?

This blog came to life while I was driving, listening to the radio just thinking about what music means for people. For me, it is a huge part of my life. I consider listening to music one of my hobbies. I can remember back to the LimeWire days, I was always on the hunt for new music and artists that weren’t playing on the radio.

Fast forward to 2017 music is still a large part of my life. So you might be wondering what vinyl has to do with all of this. Tasked with writing a blog on something I am passionate about, I thought about how I could take listening to music to the next level… Vinyl Records was the answer.

Over the years, I kept hearing more about the popularity of vinyl and that the quality of sound makes listening to music so much better. What is this “intimate experience” that happens when you put on a record? This was finally my opportunity to discover what the hype is all about.

This idea then expanded into, where I will even get the records from? I didn’t want anyone else’s collection, that’s too personal. So, I had start my own record collection.

But, before I go any further I must clear one thing up. Are they called records or vinyl? What is the difference? I’m confused. I turned to google only to discover, they were once called records, but since their recent revival millennials started calling them vinyls. FOR THE RECORD, they can be called record(s) or vinyl. Not ever “vinyls”.

So that’s it for my first post. I will be making my first record store visit Monday in Toronto. If you have any suggestions or want to share your favourite shop, please leave me a comment below!