Though we drove through Canada to get to Michigan, the plan for the trip back to New Jersey was to make it happen as quickly and as painlessly as possible. That meant jumping on I-75 and meeting up with I-280 in Toledo, Ohio, and from there, picking up I-80 East, which The Patient Mrs. and I would be on for the next however many hours until we could get off 80 literally 10 minutes from home. Toledo to home on one road. Not an exciting drive, by any stretch of the imagination, but easy enough to navigate.
And wouldn’t you know that in Toledo there resides Ramalama Records, from whose logo alone I knew was someplace I wanted to shop? As The Patient Mrs. and I paid for our breakfast at the newly-remolded Original House of Pancakes and the girl behind the counter asked us what we were doing in town, she recommended Culture Clash, another shop that I probably would have wanted to stop at had the wait at said pancakery been the 20-25 minutes we were quoted and not the 45-50 it was. Nonetheless, arrival back in the valley would just have to wait, because Ramalama wouldn’t.
About a minute after I walked in the shop, the dude working there put on YOB‘s The Great Cessation, and I knew that in the whole stretch of Toledo, Ohio — which, like a lot of Midwestern cities, reminded me viscerally of Rt. 46 in Parsippany, NJ — I was in the right place. The store’s used metal section was more than impressive. There weren’t any discs in it, but the fact alone that they had a spot for Trouble was massively encouraging, and the general vibe was that the place was well organized and reasonably priced. A store like that is always a welcome find, even if I don’t end up buying anything.
That, however, would not be the case at Ramalama. I picked up a slew of goodies from the aforementioned used section, up to and including a copy of the self-titled Sod Hauler EP, which was a surprise, since I wouldn’t necessarily expect to find a Seattle local band’s disc at a store more than halfway across the country. Noosebomb‘s Brain Food for the Braindead, released on Shifty Records, from Akron, made more sense. I grabbed both, as well as the Southern Lord reissue of Burning Witch‘s Crippled Lucifer, just for the hell of it.
I made my way through the alphabet in reverse and was surprised to find both Enslaved and Opeth discs. I didn’t buy them, because I didn’t need to, but usually people who purchase those records do so with the intent of keeping them. It was that kind of store; had me thinking at several intervals, “Who gave this up?” The 2000 Koch reissue of Judas Priest‘s Sad Wings of Destiny sounds poorly remastered, but the original issue Screaming for Vengeance is just right. And in light of their being a band I always kind of overlooked and the swirling rumors of a reunion at next year’s Maryland Deathfest, I snatched the Hydra Head reissue of Cavity‘s Supercollider. I own the original, but figured it was a chance to revisit the record, and seriously, how often do you see a used Cavity CD sitting around?
At that point, I could have wrapped it up and let it stand at that, but honestly, after finding that much good shit, I wanted to support the store, and so I picked up new (unused) copies of The Local Fuzz by The Atomic Bitchwax and the 2011 Heavy Rocks by Boris. I probably could have gotten those discs somewhere else, or online, but for a brick and mortar independent store to be featuring both in its “recent releases” section, and to be playing YOB, and to have the Cavity, the Sod Hauler, the Burning Witch — well, at that point, here, please take more of my money. Just keep doing what you’re doing.
I’d brought more than a handful of discs along for the rides to Detroit and back, but I was more than glad for the additions to the playlist. Cavity tested The Patient Mrs.‘ titular virtue, but Boris was most welcome alongside the Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Buffalo and Dio albums that — along with the Cleveland Indians losing to the Chicago White Sox — provided accompaniment for our long ride home.
Tags: Boris, Burning Witch, Cavity, Judas Priest, Noosebomb, Ohio, Ramalama Records, Sod Hauler, The Atomic Bitchwax, Toledo