Five of the Albums I Picked Up On My Last Trip To Rough Trade

Design by Karela Palazio

  1. Nightclubbing by Grace Jones

Against the warm, golden background, Grace Jones is the epitome of cool. She is the sharpest woman I have ever seen, angular and androgynous with a cigarette dangling off her lip in a perfect vertical line. I think she is beautiful, and I hold onto the album a little longer just so I can look at her.

  1. Path of Wellness by Sleater-Kinney 

People tell me that I look like Corin Tucker, guitarist and lead vocalist for Sleater-
Kinney. I have been thinking a lot lately about doppelgangers, about the literal translation double-goer. How many things have I had a second chance to go at, or go with, or go through. I wonder if I will ever be able to double myself, to try again at this life or another. If I do, I would like to be an artist.

I decided not to buy the album. I don’t really like it, despite the admiration I hold for the band. I  think, perhaps, this is what happens when punk girls grow up; they write sitcoms, marry men, and pay labels to press their mediocre reunion album on milk-white vinyl, so it can be released directly into the sale section where it will sit for months until someone like me comes along, picks it up, and ultimately sets it back down.

  1. songs and instrumentals by Adrianne Lenker

Suddenly I have just turned seventeen and I don’t care about second chances. I want to leave this life, even if a better one doesn’t await me. Adrianne sings, I don’t wanna tame you /

I don’t wanna tame—but if she knew me then, I bet she’d take it back.

Through the summers I was fury and fire, burning so long and hot I was sure that I would burn everything around me. Even myself. In the colder months, I began to learn there was a girl there––wintering into indigo bruises and crimson sanguinolency, but she was there under it all. And she is in this record store, laughing as your arm brushes against hers. I feel the fire take my face, a slight warmth rising up in my cheeks, but I know how to put it out.

  1. Top Priority by Rory Gallagher

The story goes that when Jimi Hendrix was asked how he felt being the greatest guitarist in the world, he responded, “I don’t know, go ask Rory Gallagher.” A lot of people refuse to believe the lore, but I’m slower to strike it down. Gallagher had something special. To be a guitarist, I think, you need brazen audacity. Guitarists never ask for permission to touch you. They just lay their hands in whatever position they choose, like you are cut from the same slab of maple as the neck of their Stratocaster. I learned this in my last, and only, relationship, and vowed to never again date a guitarist. 

  1. The Turning Wheel by Spellling

This was the album I ended up purchasing, mostly because the pressing was baby pink and I had recently decided pink was a beautiful color. Spellling spells her name with three “L”’s, and isn’t afraid to be spectral. I think she might be everything.

On the train ride home, you sit next to me. I pull the album out of my bag. 

“If this isn’t actually pink, I think I’m gonna cry.”

You say nothing as I rip the plastic from the cover. I use the plastic to gently raise the vinyl from the sleeve, careful not to get any fingerprints on its surface. With a goofy grin, I hold it up to you. Bright pink. 

“Oh thank god,” you say. 

“What, you didn’t want to deal with a crying girl today?”

We both laugh, and that laughter unfurls and reverberates off of the train windows until everyone else in the car is laughing too. At least that’s how I remember it.

Leave a Reply