Where will you discover your next musical obsession? That song you can’t drive even to the grocery store without playing, or the album that’ll get you through a nasty breakup.
These days, a great majority of music enjoyers are at the mercy of the AI-driven algorithms of Spotify, Apple Music—or worse yet, the redundant rotation of modern radio stations.
Not all of us have access to a reliable music nerd to get proper recs. And many more of us don’t have time to lurk around Vine or Alex’s Bar every weekend to hear what’s hot on the streets.
(The author of this column does moonlight as a DJ, but as it goes, taste varies all over the ballpark and I’m saving my recs for a rainy day).
That’s why we tapped Rand Foster—the owner of Fingerprints Records in Downtown Long Beach—for the very first edition of this new column, which aims to connect you (someone who likes music ideally) to what local audiophiles are bopping along to.
And fortunately, someone like Foster, can not only divulge what’s been on his platter (that would be the spinning surface a vinyl record is placed on)—he can also clue us in on what people have been buying up this week at the city’s largest record house.
Before we give you the goods, a little industry trend to note: CDs are making a comeback, according to Foster. It would seem that the format has found new relevance with Gen Z, the generation that lusts after Y2K fashion and has sought to revive the days of indie sleaze—that includes walking around town clutching a CD walkman.
Foster says he’s “definitely seeing more activity in the CD section, but vinyl is still the king.”
Here’s what Foster and those who frequent Fingerprints are listening to at the tail end of summer:
What’s selling in your shop this week? What are people looking for?
- “Unreal, Unearth” – Hozier (2023) — A gorgeous return for the Irish singer best known for “Take Me to Church”.
- “Everything is Alive” – Slowdive (2023) — Their first album since 2017’s self-titled release. A stunning new shoegaze masterpiece.
- “Atta” – Sigur Ros (2023) — “First new album in a while” release, this one [comes] after their massive orchestra performance at the Greek [Theatre in Los Angeles].
- “Bird Machine” – Sparklehorse (2023) — The first posthumous release from the Sparklehorse archive. The reviews are amazing, and we’ve got a store exclusive clear vinyl pressing.
- “Skookum” – Skookum (2022, CD only) — Long Beach punk rock, a bit of a classic punk album, a bit more fun and accessible than outright in your face punk. (Full disclosure: It’s Max from the Vinyl Room’s band, but it’s selling several copies weekly).
What are you into this week?
Album: “Rolling Golden Holy” by Bonny Light Horseman (2022) — They keep getting called folk, but it’s just great music. Encouraged by Bon Iver, it’s Eric from the Fruit Bats, Kaufy, who played with The National (and Josh Ritter), and Anais Mitchell. It’s got an old soul, and has echoes of the redwoods, good whiskey, and on at least one song, Van Morrison.
Artist: Glen Hansard — Speaking of Van Morrison, I’ve been spending a lot of time with his Irish brethren Glen Hansard, following last week’s show with his Swell Season project.
Artist: Sault and their albums “Earth”, “Aiir”, “Untitled (God)”, “Today & Tomorrow”, “11” — These five LPs from the Brit soul collective all hit in July, and while I’m just getting started, it’s off to a hell of a start. [They are] funky, soulful, and informed by current hip-hop, classic soul, and at times 90s trip-hop.
What’s your end-of-summer jam? Do you have any recommendations for the end of the season?
- “Be Sweet” – Japanese Breakfast
- “Woman” – Lady Blackbird
- “Un Besso” – Carla Morrison
- “Trench Coat Museum” – Yard Act
- “Bubber (If Only)” – Olu Dara
— In the evening, under the lights and over cocktails.
To make it easier on you, we’ve created a playlist based off of the selections foraged by this column. Check out Vol. 1 on Spotify here.
This is a new listening column from The Hi-lo where you’ll be able to find new music recommendations from the most reliable sources: Long Beach music heads. Are you a Long Beach-based musician, DJ, record store worker, band director, choral singer, a person with an obscene record collection or just a local music nerd with good taste? Email me.