Today is record store day. A day to go out and support all of the small independent record shops around your town. I have to say, it’s been a while since I’ve actually gone out and purchased some vinyl. Ever since Record Hog in Cambridge closed, I just haven’t really found a shop that I loved to hang out at browsing as much as that one. There was always someone I knew looking around for records. And the cats! How awesome were those cats? I do have that shop to thank for a good majority of my collection though, and am thankful to have had it around as long as it was.
So, in no particular order, here are a few gems I can remember buying at record stores over the years that when I found them gave me the feeling only good music can:
- The Gravel Pit – “Standing in My Way” and “Something’s Growing Inside”
- There’s a DYKE in the Pit feat. Bikini Kill, Tribe 8, Lucy Stoners and 7 Year Bitch
- Bonfire Madigan – Backseat Buoy
- Elastica – The Bitch Don’t Work
- Sleater-Kinney – Get Up 7″; One More Hour 7″
- this is fort apache. feat. Dinosaur Jr., the Lemonheads, Juliana Hatfield, Buffalo Tom, Radiohead, Come and Throwing Muses.
- …and everything nice 7″ featuring Babes in Toyland, Hole, STP and L7.
- Tuscadero – Mt. Pleasant/Nancy Drew; Angel in a half shirt; Mark Robinson remixes
- Letters to Cleo - Anchor single
- bis / Heavenly – split 7″
- Ze Malibu Kids – Sound It Out
And here are some I remember buying at shows (better than any other means because usually the artist is directly selling you their music = best way to support music ever):
- Rilo Kiley – The Execution of All Things (signed “bikini kill ! <3 jenny lewis”)
- Wild Flag – Glass Tambourine/Future Crimes 7″ (signed by all members)
- Land of Talk – Speak to Me Bones / Death by Fire 7″ (last copy left)
- Tilly and the Wall – Sad Sad Song (#301 of 1000)
- Aly Spaltro (Lady Lamb the Beekeeper) – Sunday Shoes
And yes, there is the internet. And yes, you probably can find the album you want with a few types and clicks. But is that as fulfilling as discovering an album you’ve been longing for stuffed in between dozens of other albums? Of course not. And you’re less likely to stumble across an artist or band you’ve heard in passing or have long forgotten about when you’re looking for one specific title online.
Was I longing for a copy of The Waitresses Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful? Not entirely. Did I need to buy Boom Boom Boom Bingo by Scruffy the Cat? Of course I didn’t. Was my goal for the day to head out and find Saving Grace by Throwing Muses? I don’t think it was. Am I stoked to have purchased full albums by The Cars, Blondie, ’til Tuesday and The Del Fuegos all for just $4.00? Hell yes.
My point? My music collection grew and grew thanks in part to all the records, compact discs and cassette tapes I happened to come across while out browsing music at my local music shops. You should go do that too. Yeah, Amazon and iTunes may be convenient and direct, but go take a couple of hours and spend it sorting through stacks of music. What you find will most likely excite and educate you far more than clicking once to confirm your purchase with Apple.
(This post was originally published on April 16, 2011)