The longer you are a collector, naturally, the more stories you will develop about collecting. It could be a goldmine find that you pulled out of a dollar bin at Goodwill or how you finally scored a rarity you’ve been seeking for decades. Maybe it’s a story about your most valuable record, or the one you spent the most money on in your collection.
I’ve told a few stories so far here, including how Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness influenced my passion for discovering new music, and how I landed a pretty pristine original pressing of The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators for just $40.
Today I’m going to talk about a much smaller and lesser known band than those two powerhouses, but one that has a very special place in my heart. They’re also a band I have seen live more than most other bands — at least half a dozen.
I’m talking about Voxtrot. And the story I’m going to tell is about how I landed a copy of their debut 7-inch single for “The Start of Something” with the B-side “Dirty Version.”
NOTE: I did cover The Start of Something way back in 2009, and you can check out my original review here.
First, let’s take a look at the 7-inch.
Unboxing the 7-Inch Single for The Start of Something
This was released in 2003 on Cult Hero, a label formed by members of Voxtrot, and The Bus Stop Label. Limited to 300 copies, it comes on a simple screen-printed white sleeve. The 7-inch single did include a single-sided insert with a photo of the band and the track list.
It was pressed on black vinyl with black labels that have silver printing.
Here’s my unboxing video where I also recount the story of adding it to my collection.
The Start of Something Led Me Down the Blogging Rabbit Hole
Let’s take a trip back to 2005. I was a DJ at KZUU, the independent college station at Washington State University in Pullman, WA, and Voxtrot had just sent the station a copy of their debut EP, Raised by Wolves.
Back then, bands, record labels, and publicity companies would send out albums to stations and music writers in hopes for coverage. And I just happened to be the DJ to grab Raised by Wolves. It immediate drew me in and Voxtrot quickly became one of my favorite bands thanks to their upbeat style of indie pop.
“The Start of Something” was THE song that initially drew me to the band, and it’s remained my favorite of theirs since first hearing it.
When I graduated in 2006, I returned to the Seattle area. My passion for discovering new music really exploded. I’d frequent Sonic Boom Records in the Ballard neighborhood or drive down to Easy Street Records in Lower Queen Anne. And every so often, I’d stumble into a new spot and explore a little.
It was probably late 2006 or early 2007 at this point. I had just landed a new gig at a lifestyle marketing agency that snagged their name from the Seattle area code: 206. We worked with clients like Disney Records, Urban Outfitters, Dockers, and Toyota. I’d go on to help land Voxtrot a spot in the roster for a project I worked on that paired together Urban Outfitters and Toyota Yaris to help college radio stations fundraise. But that wasn’t until late 2007 or even early 2008.
Crate Digging in Seattle
After landing in Seattle after Grad school and prior to working on that project, I noticed there was a Sonic Boom in the Fremont neighborhood, and I went to check it out.
It was actually their flagship store — the first one they ever opened — before growing to three spots: one in Ballard, one in Fremont, and one in Capital Hill. At that time, to get to the vinyl section at the Fremont location, you had to slip into a little alley next to the standard shop, then you’d go down a small flight of stairs to a place they called the Vinyl Vault.
It was essentially a basement. It may even have been the basement that former owner Nabil Ayers (who was in the band The Long Winters, which was also part of that project I mentioned) references in his 2016 farewell letter published in The Stranger. Their landlord Bill would make cheesecakes down there, which supplied Alaska Airlines.
Anyway, on my first an only visit to that store, I slipped into the alley and down the stairs to a little room packed with vinyl. I don’t think I got anything else that day, but while sifting through the new 7-inch section, I came across this. At the time, I don’t think I even realized it was in existence — but already being a die hard fan of the band, I snapped it up as though it was gold.
To this day, the plastic outer sleeve has a price sticker calling out Sonic Boom that reads $3.99 and is dated July of 2005. It had been sitting there for at least a year by the time I came across it, and that blows my mind.
Every so often, you’ll have an experience that like. You come across a little known band yet to make waves, and find a release that ends up becoming one of the most highly cherished items in your collection. For me, that is The Start of Something by Voxtrot.
2022: The Return of Voxtrot
Not long after, Voxtrot picked up steam. They’d release their second EP, Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives in 2006 and their self-titled debut LP in 2007 before disbanding in 2010.
I always wondered what they’d do next, what direction they would have taken their music.
Then, in May of this year, 2022, they announced a reunion tour paired with a pair of archival releases. The first, Early Music, contains both of their early 5-song EPs, Raised by Wolves and Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives. The second is titled Cut From the Stone: Rarities & B-Sides and contains a variety of demos, b-sides, and some previously unreleased tracks.
Where Early Music features the final version of “The Start of Something,” Cut From the Stone includes a demo as well as “Dirty Version.” The demo, to my knowledge, has never been released physically.
I’ll be covering those two LPs as soon as they arrive, so head over to my YouTube Channel and subscribe so you’ll be first first to see those unboxing videos when they’re posted!