Next to the music itself, is anything more beloved about a record than its cover art? From 45 picture sleeves to LPs, cover art plays a prominent role in a record’s reputation and legacy. Entire books and websites have been devoted to cover art, and in some cases—think Abbey Road or A Dark Side of the Moon—an album’s cover is possibly more recognizable than its music. We put records in frames and hang them on our walls, we print posters and t-shirts out of them, and most of us will admit to buying at least a record or two based entirely on its cover. Indeed, if it were not for cover art, Dust & Grooves might not exist.
The name Keb Darge has been a synonym for vinyl record culture for the past four decades. The outspoken Scotsman, responsible for starting more than his share of music scenes for the past 40 years, knows all too well the ups and downs of a record collector. Having owned and sold many of the world's rarest records in his lifetime, he has seen the many of these leave his record box more than once, without regrets. Credited for discovering unknown records and bringing them to the public, Mr. Darge has been adamant about one thing: the music.
Sometime in the 1990s, I walked into Jack's Records in Red Bank, NJ and bought Blow Your Headphones by The Herbaliser without even hearing it. I had been turned on previously to them from some other music lover that passed it on to me. I dug it. Their brand of funk, soul, and jazz filled with samples and superbly crafted hip-hop beats had me nodding my head before, so I was sure they wouldn't let me down this time. They didn't.
As a young photographer shooting and devouring music in the underground clubs of Tel Aviv in the late ’90s and early 2000s, I became acquainted with the DJ Food record Kaleidoscope. I listened enraptured to its jazzy, sophisticated sounds, particularly the track “The Aging Young Rebel.” I didn’t know whose deep voice was captivating me so much, but it stuck with me.
When a window opens in Questlove’s schedule—even if it’s very last-minute and on July 4—you take it. As drummer for the legendary hip-hop band the Roots, bandleader for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, professor at New York University, and round-the-clock DJ, Questlove rarely gets a break in his schedule.
William Bensussen is lucky to be alive. In the summer of 2012, the Los Angeles-based producer and DJ, better known as The Gaslamp Killer, was riding his scooter home from a friend’s house when a gust of wind threatened to take his hat. Reaching for it with one hand and braking with the other, he flipped his scooter, catching a hard blow to the gut on the way down. Internal bleeding meant emergency surgery, which left him with a scar the length of his abdomen and no spleen...