Counterculture peers out from storefronts in my neighborhood in the form of working class businesses. Art and culture are the norm now and it’s a bit startling, though still taking its baby steps, but certainly growing.
At Mount Analog things go down, sounds emanate from its storefront.
Satanic literature litters a table, while a slew of niche soundscape, dark wave, glitch, noise and trap albums breathe out their colorful, sticky sounds onto Figueroa Street. Every visit to Mount Analog is not a search for the familiar, but a discovery of something new. Sure, it’s uncomfortable walking in with a few bucks in pocket, starring at album covers, wondering what exactly this will sound like. There’s a listening station, there are employees on hand, everything is working in the customer’s favor. I suppose that’s part of the metaphor of climbing a mountain. Philosophize all you want, it’s a record shop with a niche appeal. But they’ve sanded down all the rough edges, presenting a bazaar of sound oscillators, old VHS tapes, handfuls of out of print books or new NEW cassettes.
Mount Analog is going to get the typical comments of being weird for the sake of weird. I get it. People want to point at the strange new shop. Across the street is my dry cleaners. Life goes on.
Other times I step into Mount Analog I’m in awe of what I find and wonder why my life isn’t filled with more dark folk sounds, long, drawn out notes filling my home with its black licorice appeal.
Zane Landreth and company have themselves a boutique that’s as important as the neighborhood botanica. It’s all mystical until we ask “What’s this?”
Here’s Landreth with the 411.
What does it mean to you to sell records?
I sell records because I want to share great music with people, and turn them on to new things!
Your last job?
I work in music management, which i still do in addition to running Mount Analog.
Some people say that records made a comeback recently, others would argue that they never really left. How do you see it?
I think that for some it has made a comeback, we have customers who are just getting into collecting vinyl. We have others who have been lifelong collectors. Personally, I never stopped buying vinyl.
What does your personal collection look like?
My personal record collection has gone through ups and downs, I have gone through massive hoarding stages where I wanted every good record ever, and other times where I get rid of the things that I don’t listen to, and only keep the essentials. Right now my personal collection is in the middle. But I also cheat and count the shop as my personal collection, because I’m here more than I’m home!
Rarest or most prized record?
I’m rather fond of my Psychic TV collection which includes some pretty special pieces…some pretty rare ones too.
What makes your shop unique?
I think that the curation of the shop is what sets us apart, every record, book, movie anything in the store is in here for a reason, to help tell a story, to help paint a picture. We are quite passionate about what we do and the products we sell, and we believe in all of them, and even like most of them!
What is your background in music and how do you think it helps in the record selling business?
I come from a touring background where I was a sound engineer and tour manager, after that I moved over into just plain management, I also throw parties, shows and events. I think that all of this has given me a pretty good perspective on what people are interested in, it has helped show me that there is indeed a market for all of the weirder stuff that we carry in the shop, and that way I know that someone else besides me will be interested in it.
Could you recommend an album that needs to be listened to on vinyl?
As opposed to digitally? or just an album that needs to be listened to in general? I think that people should listen to Flaming Tunes by Gareth Williams and Marie Curie. It was released for the first time ever on vinyl last year by Blackest Ever Black, and it is a bedroom pop masterpiece. I think that the lo-fi warmth of the recording comes across perfectly on vinyl. But it’s such a great record (and it’s out of print) that I would encourage anyone to check it out no matter what format they can!
Now some record labels include a free digital download with their LPs. Do you think this defeats the purpose of selling a physical copy?
No not at all, you can’t listen to a record in your car, you can’t go on a jog with a record. I think that the beauty of records is the ritual that goes along with listening to a record, to playing a record, the seat you sit in, the act of putting it on, the size of the sleeve, how your collection looks all lined against the wall. I think records are a beautiful thing, they sound great, they look great, and they are fun!
Will cassette tapes ever see a rise in popularity?
Cassette tapes HAVE seen a rise in popularity! We have released 6 different cassettes and there is even a cassette store day now!