Thursday, March 25, 2010

On Record Store Day (!!!!)

I'm all kinds of excited for Record Store Day this year. It's not my first, per se, but it's the first one since I got my record player.. which means I plan to take full advantage of some of the releases that I hear are coming out -- Flaming Lips 'Dark Side of the Moon' limited release vinyl, I'm lookin' at you. As if that wasn't enough, I personally enjoy any national holiday -- yup, I said it -- that involves going to record stores all day.

But basic essential details aside, this post from Michele Catalano's True/Slant blog is a pretty good explainer of what makes Record Store Day, and really mid-April, the most wonderful time of the year. Again, that's right. I said most wonderful time of the year. I'll quote from Michele a bit here, but the whole post is worth a read:

Can CDs or digital offer you the artistry of records? Album covers framed and hung on the wall like pictures at an exhibition. Colored vinyl and picture discs turning your music into a work of art. In 1980, I bought True Colors by Split Enz and was endlessly entranced bythe laser etching in the vinyl that made it seem full of colorful prisms. Later, I would work in a record store and spend my entire paycheck each week on seven inch imports, a reminder of my days of collecting 45s. Each record had its own character, a specific memory attached to it – memories that were made of more than just sound. There’s the feel of the record, the sight of it, things so ingrained in the experience of listening to vinyl that just walking into a record store is like opening up a time machine. I’ve never met a CD that made me fall in love with it like a record. I’ll still love the music, but the CD is just a container for that music, where a record is part of the entire music experience. [Emphasis mine.]

That pretty much sums it up. From the beginning, whether it was the first time I went digging through a bunch of stuff in my parents' basement, to buying the turntable or when I found Dylan's 'Blonde on Blonde' or the Beatles' White Album at a favorite store in Minneapolis or Indianapolis, respectively.. It was never the music in and of itself that was the handle. Hell, most all of the albums I buy I've either heard in their entirety before or have heard a number of the songs. But it was everything else that came along with it -- the album art, the aesthetic value of the album, the crackle and hiss when you play it, the searching for a favorite or especially rare album, the culture, the listening with friends -- that what made it more than stopping by Target or Best Buy to pick up a CD. A vinyl record is like a masterfully crafted, round, 7- or 12-inch disc of history that happens to come in an artfully designed case that ALSO happens to contain some great music that ALSO ALSO sounds better than an MP3 or CD ever could. What's not to like?

ALSO: Check out the Record Store Day Twitter feed here, here, here.


  1. These RSD exclusives are going to be sick. I hope you get a copy of DSOTM, I love The Lips.

  2. I'm prepared to do some serious investigating, mapping, camping, whatever to plan the best way. But, you're right. Some of the stuff that's coming out is ridiculous.

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  4. For what it's worth--probably not much, I'm sounding my own fantasies--here's what I've always wanted to hear on vinyl:
    -Anything by Howlin' Wolf/MC5/Dead Kennedys
    -"Diamond Dog" or "Hunky Dory"
    -Lou Reed's "Transformer"
    -MIles Davis "Kind of Blue"
    -Mr. Bungle's "California" (Not sure if you've heard them, but check you "Vanity Fair"-a song about a cult of eunuchs-on youtube and tell me what you think).
    -Rolling Stones "Aftermath" and "The Rolling Stones Now!"
    -"Marquee Moon" (That should bring back memories).
    -Sonny Rollins' "Saxophone Colossus" X100

  5. That's a great list. I've got Marquee Moon on vinyl. The album is great. An it's such an epic song, the way it builds, peaks, recedes, and then comes back all over again. Definitely one of my favorite.

    The next area to look at as far as my vinyl collection goes is jazz. I've got a few, but if there's one area seriously lacking in my collection it's jazz.