Record Collectors

Record Collector: Jon Howell (Less Art, Kowloon Walled City)

Featuring Jon Howell and Ian Miller of Kowloon Walled City, Mike Minnick of Curl Up and Die, and brothers Riley and Ed Breckenridge of Thrice, Less Art is a new band No Echo readers should get familiar with. The group just released its debut album, Strangled Light, which the folks at NPR called "a hulking piece of post-hardcore sculpted from Drive Like Jehu's nasty grooves and Unwound's squirrelly tension." Now that's an endorsement!

In this Record Collector entry, Less Art's Jon Howell gives us a glimpse into his vinyl habits.

How long have you been collecting records? 

I think about 10 years.

Where/how do you usually find your records these days?

For new releases I try to buy directly from the bands or labels (so usually Bandcamp or label sites). For used stuff I go to a few of the smaller record stores in Berkeley and Oakland.

What is the most you paid for a single record, where/how did you obtain it, and what was it? 

I’m pretty sure I just paid $40 through the label website for SKiN GRAFT’s reissue of Dazzling Killman’s “Face of Collapse.” Great album. Worth every penny.

Of everything in your current collection, what is your most prized record and why?

See pic: This 78 contains an "Ave Maria" sung by my great grandmother, Marie Donovan. She was a singer and organist for St. Michael Parish in Wheeling, West Virginia. No one in my family knows the story behind how or why it was recorded but I think it’s awesome that my only link to this important person in my family’s history is a record.

Is there anything that frustrates you about the current record collecting scene?

Nah, not really. A lot of the bullshit around record collecting relates to people being more stoked about limited runs or colored variants than they are about the music. If you’re only interested playing records and listening to music, you can just buy the plain jane black vinyl and skip a lot of that collector bullshit.

Less Art, 2017. (Photo: Scott Evans)

Which records are still on your want list that you've had a tough time tracking down through the years?

I’d love to find a decent pressing of PJ Harvey’s “Is This Desire” without spending $200. I wish she’d just repress all her old stuff. Besides that, there was a Pittsburg record label called Peas Kor that put out a bunch of great music in the 90s (bands like Shale, Karl Hendricks Trio and Hurl). One of the earliest full-lengths they released was a self-titled lp from The Northern Bushman. I really want to find that one though ultimately I’d like to find/own all of Peas Kor’s output.


Follow Less Art on Facebook and Strangled Light can be purchased directly from Gilead Media.

Tagged: record collector