Vinyl You Need: Ear Candy Music

On June 28, 2016

Vinyl You Need
calls up the people who work at record stores and asks them what records they think are essential. This edition features Ear Candy Music.

After an eight-hour drive from Seattle to Missoula, I had no idea what to expect in Montana’s second largest city. At that point in the western region of the state, roads still twisted and roamed up and down mountains in the drizzly Lolo National Forest. But as I stopped ribbon dancing with the Clark Fork River and began to course parallel to it, the town of Missoula finally emerged in a valley near the University of Montana. All I knew was to check out Ear Candy Music and find The Rappin’ Cowboy (I promise he’s as intriguing as ge sounds!).

Ear Candy Music is one of the last remaining record stores in the area. The small brick and mortar store on South Higgins Avenue—a wide Main Street-style thoroughfare running wither the theater, performance hall, and a smattering of cafés and boutiques—only opened in 1997, but has persevered through these technologically addled times and the fluidity of college town-living. Owner/Partner (and hip hop/electronic buyer) Chris Henry explains, “Ear Candy has always consciously been a community hub. A poor college town like Missoula has some turnover, so having an anchor spot to plug into is a good thing.”

He continues, “We have always differentiated ourselves by our focus on the obscure and esoteric. We do more mainstream stuff, too, but also reflect a bottomless depth and breadth of local knowledge regarding the really underground stuff. And people here buy some really weird stuff!”

Henry recalls that Missoula used to have a bigger scene for experimental and underground music, that but it has largely shifted in recent years. As a result, over the past 10 years, Ear Candy Music has taken to the international e-commerce scene with vigor. While the Ear Candy team sells many more mainstream and commercial indie records in store, Henry says, “the bulk of the electronic & hip hop sales are now online.  The front of house still sells a lot of rock, but that's not the focus of the online bit that I run.”

With that genre focus in mind, we asked Henry which weird, underground, obscure, and electronic records he thinks everyone should own on wax and why.

Chris Henry
Owner/Partner, Ear Candy Music

Five Essential DJ Records to Own on Vinyl

Artist: Dead Man's Chest
Album: All of his 12” singles
Reason: It’s the cream of the junglist revival crop from around 1994. If it sounds fresh now, imagine how it sounded more than 20 years ago!

Artist: Gesaffelstein
Album: Conspiracy Pt. 1 & Conspiracy Pt. 2
Reason: This French techno artist makes slow motion, detuned synth madness.  These LPs create a drugged-out horror show that is so cool you can almost forget your fear....just for a little bit.

Artist: Djrum*
Album: Seven Lies
Reason: Seven Lies is pretty much the ultimate mix of dubstep, U.K. Bass, and downtempo, but it also has a ton of flourishes other artists in these genres lack.

Artist: Claro Intelecto
Album: Reform Club
Reason: Believe it or not, there’s a musical kinship between the United Kingdom and Detroit. This axis has more than 25 years of amazing output and history, and Manchester-based synth wiz Claro Intelecto shows it ain't over yet. Reform Club is super smooth, evocative Detroit Techno that, ironically enough, only the Brits can do best.

Artist: Darkside
Album: Darkside EP
Reason: In my humble opinion, this is the best thing Nicholas Jaar has done. A collaborative effort with multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington, it’s completely impossible to categorize. Plus, the EP has more vibes than you think could ever fit on a 10" record.

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