record store day!

April 19, 2009

Now that the digital age is upon us and all our music can be downloaded from our fucking cell phones, the days of Empire Records and High Fidelity are quickly becoming yore. In my conscious adulthood, I have seen the demise of independent record stores like Aron’s, Sea Level, Rhino and more recently, the Bionic in Huntington Beach (which sit depressingly empty with the sign still up).

Well, light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-ers, apparently, that phenomenon is leveling out and the survivors are rallying together in a sort of a “griffin rising from the flames after the apocolypse” sort of way except the griffin is actually a network of 2000 locally-owned record stores and the bird brain is a shop owner from Portland, Maine with a cool, Asian-inspired beard. Together, they are Record Store Day, a brilliant idea that takes over the Second Saturday of every April and begs anyone with a soul who listens to independent music to “celebrate” by spending money at their local record store. The stores schedule their own events, give discounts, overstaff to hell and our responsibility is to show up, say “fuck iTunes” for a day and spend money on actual, physical music.¬† The labels are in on it, too, helping out by releasing tons of limited edition 7″s, LPs and tshirts that you can only buy at a participating independent record store on Record Store Day. Things went so well last year that the the mayors of New York and Bloomington, Indiana declared it an official holiday (even printing out the proclamation in the shape of a vinyl—how cute). The whole thing is an excuse to get all the assholes from the VinylCollective message boards off their computers and into an actual record store and a chance for music-lovers with modest vinyl collections (meeeee!) to stock up on some special, one-off goodies.

So, naturally, I celebrated the shit out of Record Store Day. I just got back from Fingerprints, the only Los Angeles area record store that’s actually having worthwhile shit planned and loaded up on exclusive vinyl from Flight of the Conchords (joke band on a 45?), Sublime (“Superstar Punani” on the B side–what’s up high school!) and Pavement (live in Germany 12″!). Then I watched Crystal Antlers try not to hit eachother with their instruments since the stage is the size of a truck bed as they played to “celebrators” who got up before 1pm. Then, since they’re driving all night to Visalia and coming back for a Carson Daly gig on Monday (Sexual Chocolate on national televion!?), they signed some posters for a few loopy young girls, Victor’s mother and an unclaimed child. Then I continued celebrating independent music by eating breakfast at Potholder, avoiding Grand Prix traffic and going home to listen to my loot since I had no interest in Bob Dylan listening parties or Bird and the Bee performances.

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