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THRILL JOCKEY FIELD TRIP

Thrill Jockey HQ. Chicago. Awesome place. Dangerous selection of fantastic records. Sorry, bank account.

Friday morning my wife and I both took the day off from work for a drive to Chicago, delivering my initial stock to Thrill Jockey! It was a late night on Thursday, since I put off gathering up stock until around midnight or so. By the time I was done with everything (had to stuff a few records with patches/posters) it was near 4 am, woops. Two hours of sleep and we were off!

One of the great things I’ve missed about going on a trip is picking out CDs for the drive. Obviously things work a bit differently now, when you can take your entire music collection with you everywhere you go. To me, it feels like that sort of ruins some of the magic of going on a little trip for the day. Music selection can be such an important aspect of trip preparation, choosing the mood you want to set with the music you’re taking along. Just plugging in your ipod feels so impersonal, sterile. After today I’m actually leaning towards foregoing the installation of the auxiliary input for the new car. I’d rather go back to picking out CDs for the drive, I never realized how much I enjoyed that until it was no longer routine.

The drive actually went quite well for leaving so early on a Friday. Not only were we taking a few hundred records to Chicago, but we were also transferring a few kittens from the over-capacity Oshkosh Area Humane Society to Wisconsin Humane in Milwaukee, where there is more room for companion critters. Much to my surprise the traffic in Milwaukee between 8:30 and 9:00 was non-existent, so that was cool. Dropped off kitties and got back to it, arriving in Chicago around 10:30 am. Not bad!

Milwaukee Ave., North, and Damen. One of the worst intersections in history.
How is there not a green arrow signal here?

Upon arrival we went straight to Wicker Park. Reckless Records and Wormhole Coffee, always crucial stops on Chicago trips. I had a small box of old vinyl I didn’t feel like trying to sell on ebay, so that was nice to get rid of at Reckless. Picked up The Body & Braveyoung LP while Cari found Neko Case’s Blacklisted for cheap on CD. Wormhole is my favorite coffee shop, without contest. I’ve been to plenty, and this one takes the cake. It may have been my initial visit, which was one of those moments where you’re in the right place at the perfect time with exactly the person you want to be there with… and drinking the perfect cup. The weather was sort of wild while we were there, too. The skies grew terribly dark, wind picked up, and it began to rain a bit. Quite eerie for a Friday morning.

The stop at Thrill Jockey was a quick one. They were working and I was parked illegally. Everyone helped unload the 20 or so boxes I had loaded into the car and then Mr. Erik Keldsen helped me locate an irresponsible amount of records I was looking for.

Thanks to Erik for many great suggestions. Can’t wait to dig my teeth into these this weekend!

We left right around 1:00 pm since we had to get back to Oshkosh in time for some work responsibilities Cari had. The traffic was moderately crappy on our way out of Chicago, but I didn’t really care since the car was empty and I had this fantastic Painted Cave CS playing that I had just bought. It put Cari to sleep almost immediately, and subsequently kept me relaxed while driving in bumper to bumper traffic on 90/94.

We reserved just enough time to stop in Milwaukee and grab some actual food from Palomino, realizing we hadn’t eaten all day. This place is, without a doubt, my favorite place to eat. Tons of vegan food, and good. All seitan toffalo wings and vegan country fried steak with mashed potatoes. Heavenly, perfection. I wasn’t able to eat the country fried steak until I got home, but Cari got to eat in the car a bit so that was good. We both went to town on those toffalo wings. Incredible!

We got home just in time for Cari’s work obligations. I ate, took out the dog, and proceeded to immediately fall asleep on the couch. Where I remained for about nine hours. Sorry, back!

In the end, this trip managed to reaffirm/amplify all of the feelings I had during my initial visit to the Thrill Jockey offices a few months ago. That they are a group of committed individuals that sincerely love music. I’m doubtful there’s a better home to distribute Gilead Media releases at this point. After spending a few years feeling out of place with other distributors, this feels right. And to think, this was all a result of that big blog post I made months ago, the one about how I had lost a bunch of money as a result of my old distributor shutting down. Fitting how that poor turn of events resulted in a great new relationship. I’m confident when I say that Gilead Media, although still recovering, is in a better place than it’s ever been. Between the success of the music festival, and this new relationship, there is a lot to be happy about.

Time for Saturday morning mail order and farmer’s market!

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