When’s the last time you want to an actual record store? Like where you have to walk through a door and can’t just click “download”? Yes, we live inside a blog, but record stores are pretty great. Brandon worked at one (Cheap Thrills Records, New Brunswick, NJ) for a handful of years before the place went under. It’s where he cut his teeth, put on fun in-stores, and talked to people face-to-face while trying to explain why they might like the new Pavement and/or Harry Pussy album (all depending). We don’t want to get too nostalgic, but it’s those sorts of stores (the overstuffed, carefully curated independents) where so much essential music learning takes place. If you haven’t ever been in a record store, go watch High Fidelity on your laptop, but take it down a few notches.
Nowadays, a lot of record stores are going under. People don’t like to leave their houses anymore. This weekend, though, leave your house to celebrate the first ever Record Store Day. (Mark it on your calendar for next year, too: 4/19, the day before 4/20.) Record Store Day’s the idea of a number of independent store owners, who hoped to remind us about the fact that because most folks download their sounds today, record stores as we know ‘em are fast going the way of Beta and major record labels. If the livelihood of these people doesn’t tug at your heart strings, how are you supposed to have a crush on the cute girl (or boy) working behind the counter when there are no counters to work behind? Maybe more importantly: What happens to the rad folks who know a lot of shit about, say, reggae? Via NY Times:
Some retailers are hoping that the effort is not too late. Jammyland and the Downtown Music Gallery, two East Village institutions — Jammyland, on Third Street, specializes in rare reggae, and Downtown, on the Bowery, in avant-garde jazz and new music — are facing untenable rent increases and are looking for new homes.
Jammyland is “the model of what a great record store can be,” said Vivien Goldman, the author of “The Book of Exodus: The Making and Meaning of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Album of the Century” and other books. “D.J.’s congregate there from all over and exchange ideas. It’s a crucible of music knowledge.”
For a local music shopper with a memory of even just a few years, the East Village and the Lower East Side are quickly becoming a record-store graveyard. Across from Jammyland is the former home of Dance Tracks, a premier dance and electronic outlet, which closed late last year, as did Finyl Vinyl, on Sixth Street. Stooz on Seventh Street, Sonic Groove on Avenue B, Accidental on Avenue A, Wowsville on Second Avenue and Bate, an essential Latin store on Delancey Street — all gone, to say nothing of stores in other neighborhoods, like Midnight Records in Chelsea and NYCD on the Upper West Side.
“Rent is up, and sales are down,” Malcolm Allen of Jammyland said as he sold a few Jamaican-made 45s to a customer last weekend. “Not a good combination.”
Jammyland is great. What the Times doesn’t mention is that Dominck Fernow, aka Prurient, runs an awesome metal and noise store, Hospital Productions, from Jammyland’s basement. So, if Jammyland goes, we lose two great record stores in one lame swoop. Which is immensely depressing. So, in the hopes of supporting record stores of various shapes and sizes, we’ve put together some info of various happenings tomorrow. Get set and go…
The Matablog has information about a number of in-store performances (like John from New Pornographers DJing at Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis or Adam from Times New Viking DJing at Used Kids Records in Columbus) as well as images and details about the special Record Store Day Steve Malkmus “Cold Son” 10″.
Also in the visual realm, Björk will be screening her “Wanderlust” video in glorious 3-D in 300 independent record stores. Participating Record Store Day shops will also have a special Vampire Weekend 7″ for sale — it includes the album version of “A-Punk” as the A-Side, a “rehearsal version” of “Oxford Comma” backing it up. Then, as P4K reports, Black Keys, Built To Spill, Death Cab For Cutie, and R.E.M. are also doing exclusive Record Store Day singles. To give a shout out to our area store, Other Music has a number of special guest DJ sets. Here:
Tapes ‘N Tapes (12:30 – 2PM)
Black Keys (2 – 3PM)
Dead Meadow (3 – 4PM)
Chris from Grizzly Bear & Moses from Deerhunter (4 – 5PM)
And Regina Spektor is playing at 1PM at Sound Fix in Williamsburg. You can keep up on these and Record Store Day happenings in your area at the official site. Remember that whole Earth Day Is Everyday thing? Yeah, we barely do either … but you should try to make Record Store Day everyday. Or, at least on payday. Please add any events you know of in the comments. Also, any record store memories you want to share with the rest of us?
Pier Platters, R.I.P.