Thursday, April 19, 2012

Record Store Day

You know me.  I am all about the digital revolution.

But while I have absolutely no desire to regress, part of me really does miss going to a record store.  Thankfully, Saturday, April 21st is Record Store Day.

In the teen years, playing Hamlet in exile in rural Indiana, getting to a record store was a treat.  You needed to go to the Chicago area to get any albums that you couldn't get in a small town department store.  Hegewisch Records and Tapes was a favorite, then later in college it was Rolling Stones Records in Chicago with my buddy Metallica Pete.  That was during my rebellious, metalhead phase and I walked out of that place with t-shirts, posters, and CDs I'd never be able to find outside of a metro area.

Then, after adulthood slapped me in my fresh face and I moved out and started working, I at least had a Crow's Nest Records around the corner from the office.  I would go there on my lunch hour or after work sometimes, just to browse and see what was weird and unknown to me.  A great many of the 100 or so CDs in my collection came from there.  I bought so many pivotal records in that store, pivotal for me, anyway.  I'm talking Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral.  Sisters of Mercy Vision Thing and Floodland.  Soundgarden Superunknown.  Public Enemy Muse-Sick-n-Hour-Mess-Age.  Duran Duran Thank You.  This Mortal Coil.  And yes, even holdovers from my metal days like Danzig 4 and Metallica's Live Shit: Binge and Purge.  Don't worry technophiles, the songs from those CDs have been long since rendered into MP3 files so I am not entirely archaic.  I just sort of miss record stores is all.

That's why I'm glad Record Store Day is an annual observance.  Click the link above to find a participating store.  Go in and talk to the owners and the clerks.  Unlike the twerps in the blue polo shirts and khaki pants at retail megamarts, the record store peeps are knowledgeable and passionate about music.  They can hold an intelligent conversation with you on probably just about any genre of music you're into.  They've probably seen legends of rock live on stage, classic acts that you and I never got a chance to.  Looking for something hard to find?  They can probably help you out. 

Rarities.  That's another reason to love record stores.  When movies switched from VHS to DVD, a lot of films didn't make the transfer.  They were the obscure stuff that there wasn't much demand for but that didn't make them any less vital to see and/or own.  Same thing goes for music.  A great many gems have been lost because the suits didn't see transferring them as worth the cost.  But you can find them at record stores.  You might even get into collecting vinyl.  Several of the audio buffs that I know, the people who are real bona fides and truly devotees of getting the best sound quality, tell me that vinyl still has the most faithful reproduction of a recording.  I don't know if that's true or not, but part of me thinks it would be fun to spin vinyl records again just like I did on the radio in college.

Like I said, click the link and find the store nearest you.  I just checked and there are several participating locations in the Chicago area alone.  Many of the listed stores in the U.S. are featuring live bands on Saturday.  They Might Be Giants are playing in Princeton, New Jersey and Baltimore has GWAR. 

That's right, dammit.  GWAR!

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