Unlikely Appraisals in the Bargain Bin

Every time I find amazing tacos at one of those gas station places, I’m reminded that some of the tastiest bites can be found cheaply in the last places you’d expect. Well, if you like the idea amassing a collection of physical CDs in the digital age, the same principle applies! Much like Mexican food, I’ve found that it can be both aurally and financially rewarding to go seeking music purchases among the lowly named “bargain bins” you can find just about anywhere that sells albums.

Here in Denton, the best place I know for this kind of hunting is Recycled Books on the square. Nothing against the perfectly good record store around the corner, mind you. Recycled just has a special place in my heart, as that’s where my wife and I got married this January. In addition to a nearly labyrinthine library of literature, they offer a surprisingly vast array of music and films. The best part (for a budget-conscious newlywed, at least) is the price tag; every CD I’ve seen there is just $5.

Photo courtesy Gallivant
Photo courtesy of Gallivant

This gave me an idea for a brand new side of The Appetizer that can involve all of us as a community of music lovers. Until now, it’s just been a few of us sharing our favorite artists on the blog. But if you have a few bucks laying around for that next musical acquisition, you have the power to let other fans know about your discoveries!

Let me give you a quick example. In my last browse, I stumbled across Dust on Common by Led Er Est, a 2009 album by a trio of synth-lovers out of New York. Since I had no idea who these people were, I naturally just went with the strange find in the orange double-sleeved case. Opening it up, I was pleased to find a foldout of some sketches and handwritten lyrics that the band had included for anyone willing to own their disc in hard copy. At the time, I had no idea that Dust has a 4.6/5.0 on Discogs (of 78 votes) or an 8/10 on Drowned in Sound.

Photo courtesy of Drowned in Sound

Beneath the quirky artwork and style of the case was a jarring collection of some of the most unexpectedly brilliant tracks I’ve heard this year. Drawing on drum-driving synth work, Led Er Est have a fondness for sound bytes and lyrics of an almost mystical vagueness. Part of the appeal for me is the lead singer’s vocal similarity to some of my favorite artists – he’s somewhere between Doug Martsch (of Built to Spill) and Sid Vicious, with a touch of Morrissey thrown in.

If this sounds like a good find, then remember that this is just one of hundreds of CDs I could have picked up that day, one artist among myriad others I had never known about before. In the same way, I hope your own forays into the bargain bin will illustrate this point. As with any roulette of options, you might end up with a disappointing purchase, but you won’t have wasted much money on it. If you’re more fortunate, you might find that next favorite band. But even if you want to talk about Led Zeppelin IV, the point is the discovery. Whatever you come across and want to share, we want to hear about it, and so do others.

Photo courtesy of Gallivant
Photo courtesy of Gallivant



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Richard Lyne

Richard is an ACU graduate who was graduated summa cum laude from Abilene Christian University's honors college with a major in English and a minor in business administration. He hopes to return to school for an MA degree at some point, but is currently managing a coffee kiosk at the local grocery store in Denton, Texas. He has written for the Appetizer since spring 2015.

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