The Bargain Bin

The Bargain Bin: Javelin’s HI BEAMS


Working at a record store taught me a tragic truth; no matter how much you love your favorite albums, they’ll never be as popular as they deserve to be. Each month at Merry-Go-Round Magazine, I dust off some long-overlooked records, revisit my pretentious past, and explore how this music forever etched itself into my history. Eventually, all your memories get marked down and thrown into The Bargain Bin.

Record Store Day 2013 would be the last we celebrated at Euclid Records on Lockwood Avenue. It was one final hurrah before we spent a week packing thousands of CDs and records, moving them a five-minute drive down the road, and unpacking them in our new space. I spent my formative years in that store, with its stained carpets and hundreds of staples stuck in the walls that once held up promotional poster displays I’d spend hours arranging. It was my first real job, the first place I DJ’d in public, and the place where I heard so many of my favorite albums for the first time.


I used to spin records at a bar in my early twenties, but I gave it up to pursue a relationship with someone who sucked the fun out of everything. I wasn’t a fancy DJ—I never did get the hang of scratching, but I knew how to work the weird delay effects on the mixer I borrowed from a friend, which created the illusion of sounding like a professional. I mostly did it because I got to listen to my favorite songs pumped through giant speakers and because they were nice enough to pay me.

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Since my vinyl collection was still modest and my bank account nearly empty, I would flip between a record and my iPod, allowing me to play all the hits still bouncing around the blogosphere. Being the DJ gives you all the power at the party, and nothing made me happier than playing MGMT and CSS for a bunch of sleazy indie kids looking to get down. Like making the perfect mixtape, I used DJing to channel my emotions into something creative to share with a larger audience.

My dad brought my brother Noah to shop at the store, one last time. We were born 16 years apart, meaning we only lived together for a couple of years before I was out on my own. As a result, I was young, dumb, and unequipped to be someone he could look up to. So instead of being a role model, I was hiding in my room, smoking copious amounts of weed while watching MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 and avoiding my college classes. Even without my direct influence, he grew into a brilliant, soft-spoken, thoughtful, and contemplative dude. We share a love of music, video games, and the antics of one Homer J. Simpson.

That last day at ​​Euclid Records would be the first time I, DJ Jackieboy, would play songs somewhere you didn’t have to be 21 to get into. Noah seemed curious about how it worked, so I crafted my set as if he was the only one watching—this time, it would be for him. I started by playing some of my favorites that I would spin when the bar was hopping: LCD Soundsystem, Franz Ferdinand, Hot Chip, TV On the Radio, Animal Collective, of Montreal, M.I.A., Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The songs that vibrated the walls back when his room was above mine. My greatest hits collection. After that, I switched things up to give him a sample of what I had been digging into lately. First, Yuck’s “Get Away” into Autre Ne Veut’s “Counting.” Now Now’s “Lucie, Too,” followed by Sky Ferreira’s “Heavy Metal Heart.” Then, as I faded in STRFKR’s “Atlantis” on the left, I slammed stop on Generational’s “Say When,” so it slowed to a halt on the right. 

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Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Noah watching my every move intently. The needle hit the groove on Javelin’s “l’Ocean.” Balancing the right can to my ear. I listened as I rewound just before the bouncy electronic bits started. I was in the zone.

In retrospect, I wonder if I was trying to give Noah a message I couldn’t articulate to him with words. Instead, it was my attempt to reach out and connect with him the best way I knew how. I hoped he knew that I would be there for him no matter what happened in his life. I wish I had spent more time with him when he was growing up instead of hiding myself away. I wished he could have been there to see me DJ with a packed dance floor, and the crowd was in sync with the music. I hit play, watching my brother bob his head all the way up to the dizzying loop that ends the track. The words I hoped he would take with him, layered and repeated:

“Everyone around you / Will be there to help you / They’ll come out to find you / Come out to find you….”

Jack Probst
Jack is a freelance pop culture writer living in St. Louis, Missouri. His writing has also been featured in Pitchfork, Paste Magazine, CREEM Magazine, NME, and The Riverfront Times. He appreciates the works of James Murphy, Wes Anderson, and Super Mario. He also enjoys writing paragraphs about himself in his spare time.

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