Records Are Good For You. Ozzy Agrees.
Supporting your local record store is good for you.
Yep, itʼs a fact. Just like the age old Guinness mantra, both statements are totally true. Itʼs science, duh.
First off, buying a physical record doesnʼt involve authorizing one of five computers allotted to you after purchasing a song or album. Oh, but hey now, Iʼm already getting snarky, and I decided I was going to keep this positive rather than take the negative anti-download, anti-stealing, donʼt-be-a-pirate-unless-it-involves-an-eye-patch route. Nope, instead I’ll focus on just how glorious it is to buy a 7” LP or to pre-order an album because you just cannot wait until the day of its actual release.
How about the fact that supporting a small producer from the town where you grew up, or from anywhere for that matter, makes me think I might want to be your friend? Maybe you’re that person who always buys a CD or T-shirt at a show. Some may scoff, but I counter with the obvious retort: guess you donʼt like chipping in for said rad bandʼs gas money, tool.
And ﬁnally, above all else, how about becoming dudes with the hero who runs the record store down the street from your house? Maybe itʼs kind of like that thing where youʼre supposed to get to know your butcher or something–you know, so he gives you first dibs on the best cuts of beef. In my opinion, a record store relationship seems way more rewarding, on the other hand, some people really love meat. To each their own, I say.
How could you argue with any of this (the record thing, not the meat)? Without even getting into the whole Metallica schpeel, canʼt we all just agree that it’s really exciting to buy an album that you can actually hold in your hands? If youʼre a person who genuinely loves music or has ever felt weirdly connected to some band, then there’s no doubt that you’ve shared my sentiment at one time or another.
I am lucky enough to have two awesome record stores right in my neighborhood–one of which I frequent two to three times a week. Excessive, you say? Possibly. But hey, it makes me happy, and I know it makes record store dude happy too. Anyway, the store I shop in is smaller than the room I live in. That is to say, I am poor and live in Brooklyn, so you know the store must be tiny. Itʼs no Generation Records in Manhattan (donʼt get me wrong, I love both of their locations too). It’s just a small local spot on 7th Avenue. But it’s my spot. I bring my stamp card, the albums I ask for are always there a day or two after Iʼve requested them, and I always get the best cut. No, I refuse to let go of aforementioned butcher analogy. Get it, “cut?” See what I did there?
I recommend you find a store of your own too. Youʼll be happy you did.
About three weeks ago, on April 16 to be exact, Record Store Day happened in New York City and all over the globe. This glorious day occurs on the third Saturday in April of every year, and it is curse-word-worthy good. I’m talking epic win.
In short, it’s a day that benefits all those stores out there that are often ﬁghting a loosing battle against the internet and ﬁle-sharing. To quote the RSD website, the stores involved are described as: real, live, physical, indie record stores—not online retailers or corporate behemoths.
But hey, let’s be honest, it’s not all about the butcher, its about the dude buying the meat when it comes down to it, right? Record Store Day is every music lover’s wet dream. It’s free albums, free shows, awesome DJs, special releases, and so much more. The RSD website does better justice to the gloriousness of the day than I can here, and the site also gives specific details about what exactly is going on when and where.
My RSD experience may have led to the best day I have spent thus far in NYC. At the very least, it made my top ﬁve. I started at the Fat Beats pop up location on Bridge Street in Dumbo. I bought records, I saw ridiculously rad DJs (no surprise right, c’mon it’s Fat Beats), I signed up for the mailing list, and I walked out with issue number 46 of Waxpoetics. As the Jews say on Passover, “It would have been enough.” But no, there was more.
From Dumbo to Delancey, I hit Cake Shop next, and here I walked out with more loot than I knew what to do with. Cake Shop has not been a record store since 2005, but on Record Store Day, who could tell? The free bins were brimming, there was more than enough vinyl to go around, and half price CDs, you say? Most of which were new releases or had only been out for about a year or so?! I didn’t even care that it was pouring and freezing outside, and opted to skip the car and trek to my last stop over on Thompson Street (see, again, records are good for you, they even help keep you warm when its raining).
My last stop at Generation Records culminated with more purchases and an epic performance by Obits and Yo La Tengo. There was beer, there was loud music, and there were too many bodies crammed between shelves of used CDs. If you’re channelling scenes from Empire Records, then you’re not so far off. So yeah, it was incredible. I felt good spending money on something I love, I got lots of free stuff, I heard great music, and I supported businesses that I believe in.
And as touching as that may be, it’s only one day a year. Don’t get me wrong, I will be checking the day ticker on the RSD website for months in preparation for next April, but I will also be visiting my record store every week. This isn’t a pitch to get you to buy more records, or to say don’t download or order online. I would be lying if I said I didn’t do that myself. I also know that shopping locally and supporting bands and a dying industry of small record stores is really important to me. If you’ve taken enough time to read this much, maybe its important to you too. Record Store Day is in 300 some-odd days from now. Don’t miss it. In the meantime, go make friends with your record store dude, or your butcher for that matter.
Because, like I said, records are good for you.
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