Record Machine: Magpies / VTO Split 45

I love stumbling upon freebies from local bands while in record stores. During a recent stop at Rudy’s II in Missoula, Montana, I picked up this split single from Magpies and VTO.

Magpies - VTO - split single (cover)

Can we take a brief time out before I get into the songs? Word of (Should be Obvious) Advice for those of you venturing into vinyl territory: When you’re playing a 45 — that is to say, the smaller record with the larger hole in the middle — remember to adjust the playing speed on your turntable. Otherwise you’ll be like me and say, “Wow, this is sort of cool and droning,” and then you go find the song online and it sounds totally different.

So I suppose both Magpies and VTO should enjoy that they still sound good when played at a too-slow speed. Don’t be like me, kids. Pay attention to what you are doing.

Both bands play with sort of a garage-punk vibe, though VTO’s offering, “Kick Ass Blasters,” has more of a ’90s sound. Taken from their 2013 album What To Expect When You’re Expecting VTO, it’s made for jumping around/dancing in a bar.

There aren’t yet any videos of the song floating about online that I can find, but here’s the handy Spotify to the rescue.

Magpies, meanwhile, are a bit like Bikini Kill crossed with early aughts indie, though singer Samantha Pollington’s voice is a little softer than Kathleen Hanna’s. I really like the song they have on their side of the single, “Barn Burner.”

Recently Magpies played where I live, Great Falls, and I’m bummed to have missed out. The groups seems to tour some around the northwest U.S., so if they come your direction, you should definitely go. Again, don’t be like me.

A note on the packaging: I love the yellow vinyl and the simple folder-style sleeve. For two indie bands in the midst of the music scene’s record revival, it’s the perfect presentation.

Magpies - VTO - split single
The single also came with a VTO sticker.

What kind of cool freebies have you found in music shops? Give a shout in the comments.

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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