Every Record I Own - Day 212: Baptists Bushcraft
I bought my first LP when I was 14, and over the next 24 years I owned 4 or 5 different turntables. They were all either secondhand record players or extremely cheap newer models. I was never one of those people that asserted that the audio quality of vinyl was superior to CDs or mp3s. In fact, my records usually sounded pretty shitty on my sound system. Two years ago I finally went out and bought a nice turntable and I finally understood what audiophiles were talking about—a good, clean pressing on a good turntable has some sort of undefinable edge over any other format.
But even as a teenager with a dusty needle on a warbling record player, I noticed that my favorite hardcore bands sounded grittier on vinyl than on CD. Clarity might be compromised, but the added crackle and static of cheap vinyl pressings made the recordings sound pushed into the red, whereas the same tracks would sound pristine but plastic and thin on CD. Vinyl became my preferred format.
I’ve had Bushcraft on CD for several years, but when I recently stumbled across a used LP at Everyday Music in Seattle, I had to pick up a copy. Baptists have always sounded live and unhinged on their recordings, but I wanted to finally give this one a spin on vinyl. Some of the credit for Bushcraft’s girth and grit has to go to Kurt Ballou’s engineering skill and his balance of definition and live energy. But Baptists are a tight musical unit that always sound like they are about to go completely off the rails, and that tension—that feeling that it’s all about to fall apart but miraculously locks in at every moment—makes them one of the most vicious and imposing hardcore bands going at the moment. Ballou is the ideal engineer for capturing that chaotic energy.
On a shitty turntable, I imagine this sounds even nastier and gnarlier, and on a quality turntable it sounds even sharper and punchier. Excited to get my stereo set up so I can finally hear this properly.