Remember the joy of bringing home your first compact discs?

I’m going to date myself, but for me it was “Music For The Masses” by Depeche Mode, followed by U2’s “The Joshua Tree” purchased at the old Wherehouse music store on Columbus.

I couldn’t wait to drop them into my newly acquired CD player neatly wedged atop the cassette player of my weathered 80s college component system.

Hearing the crystal-clear opening beats of “Never Let Me Down Again,” “Strangelove” and guitar strums of “Where The Streets Have No Name” make their entrance through the silence stay with me to this day. One click, no skips, rewind buttons or fear of tape snapping. The digital age had arrived, and I jumped in wallet first.

Exactly how much I’ve spent on CDs after all these years is unknown, but it’s been enough that they developed into a permanent (sometimes intrusive) roommate over the decades that followed. Starting with a handful to box full, crates and finally towering storage shelves, my carefully curated collection was once the pride of my existence second only to my children.

From apartment to apartment, their care was priority. From the highest quality bubble wrap to secured sealing, nothing could come between me and my beloved CDs.

Sure, streaming music is convenient and yes I do use them, but is the rare Elastica concert bootleg “The Vaseline Gang” available on iTunes or that out of print Jump with Joey Japanese import “Ska Ba” available for listen on Pandora? And what about my original Skunk Records pressing of Sublime’s “40 Oz. to Freedom” with all the uncleared samples? Absolutely not.

My wife Miranda jokes around from time to time about my once hallowed CD collection, but understands the potential agony I might deal with having to say, “Adios” to these constant companions.

"You can always download them to your computer," she says usually cracking a smile, followed by, "Babe, I love you, but can we possibly move them to the basement?"

I get it. It was cool when we were dating, but we’re married now. Wait, I don’t recall any mention of CDs in those vows?

I am by no means a music hoarder, so while my wife was on a work trip I surprised her with a text that I’d cut down my collection to over half. Took me a few hours and two pots of strong coffee, but I did it and surprisingly with ease.

The process of weeding out helped me learn a few things about myself. For one, there are some artists and genres of music I don’t care enough to listen to anymore that would justify having three dedicated shelves. Secondly, if you haven’t listened to a title in over five years, chances are you’re not going to listen to it ever again.

The weight lifted. Any regrets? None as I look to the eight neatly stacked piles of CDs in the corner awaiting to be packed and (hopefully) sold in the future.

Not to worry though, I still have another thousand titles to console me during this bittersweet farewell (wink wink).

To be continued.

Generacion Suicida

While CDs are out, vinyl continues its hold on listeners with local music outlet Going Underground Records releasing the latest album by SoCal Mexican punk quartet Generacion Suicida titled “Reflejos.” I’ve been a fan since being introduced to the band by Going Underground Records owner Ron Ramirez who always has the pulse on the latest sounds from the deep underground. From the outer cover to the inner sleeve and quality red, white or black vinyl, Ramirez’s attention to detail when packaging products under his imprint is always impressive. Fans of classic New York style punk and goth will really like this record. Who knows? A few loud spins of “Reflejos” might even help you improve your Spanish if you can keep up. Available at Going Underground Records, 1312 19th St. For more information, call 633-0111 or visit goingundergroundrecords.com

Matt’s Picks

Soulajar, Lonely Avenue, 6 p.m. Friday, The Mark, 1623 19th St., $5. 322-7665.

Coming off their triumphant return to the stage opening for Average White Band earlier this month, local soul funk unit Soulajar are about to do it again this time joined by their rootsy brethren Lonely Avenue, with whom they share a common musical bond. Plenty of originals and crowd-pleasing covers between the two and the musicianship is tops with two of Bako’s best vocalists, brothers Jon and Jim Ranger out front. It’s been awhile since these two acts have paired up for a show, so make sure to catch them while you can. Friday marks the first day of summer, also known as the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. Groovy.

Sixties and Hip Hop, 9 p.m. Saturday, Sandrini’s, 1918 Eye St., free. 322-8900.

Bakersfield may be home to more deejays than live bands these days with music selectors of every age, genre and gender (!) downloading their favorite grooves on a mission to fill dancefloors. But what makes this gathering of the tribes unique is their plan to bridge two distinct musical eras.

Featuring local singers Stephanie “Soul” Solis and Chuck who will be covering 60s-era oldies (but goodies, of course) backed by local live band, Here by Fate. The evening also includes all-vinyl music sets by Mr. Groove of the Funk Freaks, Soulcatcher, and Lil’ Red. Their last event reached capacity early, so plan accordingly and be good humans.

Hops & Vibes, 9 p.m., Saturday, The Tower Craft Bar & Grill, 1200 Truxtun Ave., $10 - $15, 21 & over, 262-9993. It’s no secret that Bakersfield loves reggae music and craft beer, so when there’s both it’s bound to get Irie. Spinning all the current hits and deep cuts direct from the Jamaica, Victor “DJ Shag” Gomez is more than just a devoted fan of dancehall, lovers rock and roots music, he lives the culture. If you’ve never visited The Tower, you really should. The indoor and outdoor areas are perfect for music and socializing with plenty of dance space, impressive bar, and a kitchen with a limited menu for the evening. To sweeten the deal, all June birthday babies, CSUB and Bakersfield College grads get in free.

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