Monday, February 11, 2008

I Want My Record Store Back

My local independent record store closed last week. It had been open almost thirty years. The owner has been ill for several months, which may have been the deciding factor in closing the store. But I have no doubt that the store was mortally wounded by the popularity of downloading music, and the stifling grip of the big box retailers (who are now devoting less shelf space to CD's). Only another music nerd could understand how deeply saddened I am about losing my favorite record store.

My twelve year old son is bummed out too, because his favorite radio station is gone. I haven't listened to 99x in years, but my son listened to it every night. Now he gets new music from Youtube, or he hears new songs on TV commercials, movie soundtracks, and video games. Radio stations used to "break" new bands. Then it was MTV. Nowadays, I guess we are all arbiters of taste: anyone can have an mp3 blog, or post a podcast. But once we listened to the opinions of radio DJ's, record reviewers, and record store clerks. Sure, they could be a-holes, but they could also turn you onto something new (or something old) that you would really like.

April 19, 2008 has been designated Record Store Day. It will come too late to save my local record store, but I appreciate the effort to encourage people to patronize independent retailers. Here are some quotes from musicians about why independent record stores are an important cultural resource. I mean that sincerely. Now go buy a record!

Supersuckers: Rock N Roll Records Aint Sellin This Year (buy)
Weston: Record Shop (buy)
Peck of Snide: Record Store Guy (buy)
Fellaheen: Record Collector (buy)

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5 Comments:

At 2/16/2008 11:46 PM , Blogger Matt said...

April 19th, 2008... noted on my calender. Thanks for the tip.
And thanks for Supersuckers!

 
At 3/21/2008 12:53 PM , Blogger Substantula said...

Great post. We're on the cusp of a new world and it's sad to see the old one go gently into the night. College radio, Melodymaker and the now defunct Towers Records in New York were my musical education, period. Kids growing up today can do all their shopping and interacting hermetically sealed their rooms, glued to the computer screen. It's convenient as hell, but something is lost. Maybe fresh air?

Still, I have faith. Some vestige of the old order will survive. See, for example: vinyl.

Take care!

 
At 3/21/2008 7:38 PM , Blogger jonderneathica said...

Lawrence, thanks for stopping by read my blog. As a music writer, I imagine you are also concerned when print mags like Punk Planet, Harp and No Depression shut down. I have faith too, but I miss my store and the guys who worked there.

One of the things that gets lost is interaction (in real time, with real people). When I read the Replacements book, I was struck by how important the record store Oarfolkjokeopus was as a formative influence on the band members and their musical tastes.

 
At 4/17/2008 5:57 PM , Anonymous Rat said...

Yup... My local store closed in October. Benway Records - RIP... Viva Supersuckers!

 
At 6/03/2008 12:31 PM , Anonymous VIncent the Soul Chef said...

First of all, thanks for the link and for choosing Fufu Stew...

I agree that good record stores are fast becoming a dying breed; I've seen two of them fold inside of a year in my heighbourhood. I must thank God that I can still take the drive to Fell's Point and visit Own Guru or El Suprimo. Nothing beats being able to leaf through bins and boxes and dig into dusty crates. I hope that maybe someone will open up a new shop in your neighbourhood because contrary to popular belief, vinyl is still very much alive and well...

Peace and blessings.

 

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