I never really offered the much-needed attention to Lookout! Records that I now wish I had. One of the first, let’s say, 10 labels I’d ever heard of, thanks to Operation Ivy’s 1989 Energy, I reluctantly abandoned all possible rabbit hole hunts with the childish understanding that I’d have plenty of time “tomorrow” to get myself familiar. Well, all the tomorrows are gone following the label’s closure in January of 2012. So, if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic, here is an insert featuring a collection of Lookout! Records’ 7″ releases.
It can’t be stated enough, but for me, an album reaches pinnacle status once pressed on clear vinyl. My entire collection would be clear vinyl if at all possible, so when Hellcat Records released Operation Ivy’s only full-length on clear wax, I knew it was time to retire this monumental release. Already owning it on black, red, and picture disc, clear is the perfect shade to round out not only a perfect album, but a formidable chapter in my ears’ career.
Operation Ivy’s Hectic E.P. was a bit of a golden idol to track down. Thankfully, I didn’t have to run from a giant rock-ball, nor did I lose my greedy counterpart to a lightbeam-triggered spike wall in the process. Like most of the “need to have, gotta’ save up for” treasures in my archeological collection, I unearthed this 1988 7″ from the bowels of the illustrious eBay. eBay that as it may, I’ve never seen this, the original version of this fireball of a band debut, in any record store in all my collecting days. The winning bidder: my ears.
I’ve heard convincing arguments coming from both sides of the strong divide that is “purchasing records online vs. purchasing records at record stores.” On one hand, as a record collector, it’s our sworn duty, albeit unspoken, to support our local brick and mortars so that they may continue to flourish for future record collecting generations. On the other hand, should I really pay $10 for a G+ re-issue of Harry Nilsson’s Nilsson Schmilsson when I can get the same version in the same condition online for $1.50? Should the “support tax” really be 6.6x the price of the record in question? I suppose we all walk this “do the right thing vs. gimme a deal” line, so in the attempts of easing my conscience, some 10 years later, I finally find myself at peace with my online purchase of Op Ivy’s first record, and yes… I handed over a 10 spot for said Nilsson re-issue. So, my conscience is clear… for now.
Short lived but monumentally influential, Operation Ivy delivers furious fits of melodic rage with six piercing tracks in under 11 minutes, and includes the personal cornerstones, Hoboken, Junkie’s Runnin’ Dry and Sleep Long. Yet another soundtrack to my high school years, Op Ivy is one of those bands that, not unlike a fine wine or salted cheese, has gotten better with age, and the Hectic E.P. is the perfect start to this brief, yet unmistakably essential band.