Celebrating Record Store Day:
The most wonderful time of the year
On April 18, the nation's independent record stores celebrated Record Store Day, a chance for record collectors to decend upon their favorite haunts and shops to have sales and celebrate the spirit of music. Two of our writers, editor Nick Tavares in Arizona and frequent contributor Joshua Lieberson in New York, were all too happy to take part. Here are their accounts.
AFTER SONIC YOUTH AND TOM WAITS, IT WAS ALL GRAVY
By NICK TAVARES
STATIC and FEEDBACK Editor
Record stores can be an evil den of temptation. Given an unlimited supply of money and time, it’s feasible I’d only leave a good record store to eat or use the facilities — but it would have to be a true emergency. The right music store with the right selection and the right vibe can keep me occupied for hours.
Hoodlums Music & Movies, recently re-opened in Tempe, Ariz., has that definite vibe. It’s a small place tucked away in one of the Phoenix area’s many, many plazas, but it’s getting its foothold back in the community, and has a nice combination of great selection, nice prices and a friendly staff, who are just as willing to order a record for you as they are to talk about the first three ZZ Top albums. So, with a limited number of independent record stores in my area (and, honestly, a limited amount of funds), Hoodlums was my destination, showing up right at the opening.
To start, the first priority was to track down some of the special, Record Store Day-only records available. The two Sonic Youth seven-inches, one with Jay Reatard and one with Beck, was priority number one, and we spotted those immediately. Priority number two was Tom Waits’ single from the Glitter and Doom tour, and that was politely handed to me by a staff member right away. From there? Just a change to walk around, dodge other record crazies, and pick up whatever fell into the budget.
A few other exclusive 45s were spotted and snatched up pretty quickly, and Sub Pop had a huge offering for this day. We settled on two, but could’ve easily walked out of the place with close to a dozen.
Fueled by his new album, Fork in the Road, and news of his upcoming Archives project, I’m currently enjoying a massive Neil Young kick. So, coupled with the fact that I started browsing the vinyl racks at Z, I quickly picked up three Young LPs I didn’t already have: 1972’s Harvest and 1981’s Re-Ac-Tor will further my push to have every Neil album on vinyl, and it’s honestly a little surprising that I didn’t have them already. All the used vinyl was on sale this day, too, so that was a bonus. The third was a vinyl copy of his Live at the Fillmore East album with Crazy Horse, which was released a couple of years ago. These weren’t exclusive to this day, of course, but what better day to support the local economy?
After looking through the rest of the vinyl racks (and wanting to pull the trigger on an expensive American copy of the Beatles’ Rubber Soul), talking to a few other excited customers and browsing the stickers and pins, I decided I was OK to leave. Rachel, who was with me, of course, had pulled out Basra by Pete La Roca and the Records Toreism compilation. And, at the last minute, I spotted Live Europaturnen MCMXCVII by Pavement, and that capped the day.
On the way out, we were treated to one last benefit of Record Store Day: free stuff, and plenty of it. We received a grab bag each of CD samplers, and two vinyl samplers — Sony’s Record Store Day sampler for this year and the year previous.
We didn’t spend the day jumping from store to store, but there wasn’t quite the need, and that wasn’t the point for me, either. That night, almost every record was played, shuffled, and filed; it just turned into a nice night overall. I couldn’t ask for much more than that.
E-mail Nick Tavares at email@example.com
RUNNING THE RECORD STORE GAUNTLET AN EXPERIENCE IN ITSELF
By JOSHUA LIEBERSON
STATIC and FEEDBACK correspondent
Having missed out on last year's Record Store Day (due to not knowing about it until a few days after), I spent a good few weeks eagerly awaiting this year's festivities. I spent an hour last night planning my route by locating where all the participating stores were in the city. I would start at J&R Music World in Downtown Manhattan, and work my way up.
I Woke up at 7:30, basically because I thought I'd like to get there early to make sure I take advantage of the J&R sales and giveaways they've been promising. Arrived at J&R at 9:00, and there was a big table set up outside the store with stacks of CDs. I kindly asked how much they were and the answer I got was simply free. Anything on these tables … free. So I took a quick look, and picked up the soundtrack to the Rolling Stones' Shine A Light, Miles From India, a double CD celebration of Miles Davis’ music, Laura Izibor's Shine EP, and music samplers from Verve, Fontana Distribution, Merge Records, Astralwerks, Arts & Crafts, and Koch Records, all of which featured songs from such artists as Blues Traveler, Bob Marley, Sammy Davis Jr., Broken Social Scene, Los Compesinos, Constantines, the Kooks, We Are Scientists, The Chemical Brothers, Hot Chip, Supergrass, the B-52s, David Bowie, Superchunk, M. Ward, Polvo, The Magnetic Fields, She & Him, Arcade Fire, Conor Oberst, Spoon, Thievery Corporation, Lemmy/Dave Grohl/Billy F. Gibbons, and lots of others. So, that’s a pretty damn good haul on the free stuff.
I walked inside and one area of the store was jam packed with people waiting for the boxes to be opened for the special releases for the morning...near the vinyl. I quickly grabbed the two CDs I wanted on sale there, the special release My Morning Jacket's live EP Celebracion de la Ciudad Natal and Derek Trucks Band's Already Live EP. On the vinyl side, the stuff never even made it to the shelves ... with packs of people waiting, the J&R associate would simply yell out an artist's name and people would scream for the 7", and the associate could only hand them out like handing out backstage passes to a concert. "Sonic Youth!" "Flaming Lips!" "Springsteen!" "Dylan!" One by one, all of them were quickly snatched up by the hungry populace. It was here that I picked up most of my 7" and 10" records for the day, along with two free t-shirts and a nice “Record Store Day 2009” pad for my turntable.
From there, giant bag in tow, I walked to the East Village, home to a good number of record stores. The first few places I tried to get into weren't open yet, but I eventually went to Kim's Video on 1st Ave. near St. Mark's Place. There were a bunch of people waiting for things to come out, and we were all chatting it up. A middle-aged guy with his two kids who was trying to sweep up everything in sight (he spent $500 in J&R) was there waiting for whatever would come out, which gave me the sneaking suspicion that the stuff he was buying was on it's way to ebay, but I don't want to throw accusations around, since he did seem like a really big fan of the vinyl. At this store, I was thumbing around and weighing various options when I settled on a 7" single from the Sonics.
The rest of the morning and afternoon ended up basically running from store to store to see if I could find the Dead Weather single that was rumored to be out. No such luck. But wandering around, I managed to find more record stores than I knew existed. A hip-hop store called Fat Beats was a top notch find, as the guys inside were really nice, and there was a great selection of hip-hop, even though I left with nothing. I did not even get to Other Music on Lafayette and East 4th St., because the line went down a block to get in to see the DJ sets and performances there. There was also a huge line to see the Bouncing Souls at Generation Records, but I was able to get inside to see if they had the singles I was looking for. No such luck, though.
Overall, after six hours of record store hopping, the general experience was fantastic, as I spent much of the time talking music, and taking a journey from store to store with total strangers that all seemed to be fixed on the same goal of finding some music that they won't have another opportunity to grab in the future, all the while enjoying a nice day in the city. My only complaints were that particular record stores placed their names on the participating list on the Record Store Day website, and did not carry any of the exclusive material, nor were they running sales — just a quick and easy way to get people into the store, and promptly have them walk out frustrated. At the end of the day though, deals were had, free stuff snagged, and nameless friends made...which I think was the point of this whole shindig to begin with. Six CDs, 10 singles, and eight music samplers for a total cost of $85, all of it going to independent retailers, is a good day in my book.
E-mail Joshua Lieberson at firstname.lastname@example.org
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