Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Happy Belated Record Store Day 2013

I hope that everyone survived Record Store Day. I'm sure someone got scratched fighting over the last copy of that Husker Du release. It didn't happen while I was shopping (though some guy got really bummed about it selling out), but I had my own adventure. My favorite part of this yearly retail event are the people and experiences along the way for everyone who seeks to flip through rows of records.

I decided to stay local and avoid lines and madness at a place like Amoeba, so my first stop was at Brooks Berdan Ltd. in Monrovia, CA, a shop that was buried in an office-park-style strip mall. Upon finding the inconspicuous entrance, I was told at the front desk that they weren't participating in RSD, contrary to the official list of participating stores. But they said I could look around. I quickly noticed that it wasn't really a record store, but rather an audiophile grade hi-fi shop. Down the hall they had about 100 rare records for sale in one room, and the rest of the hallway was a museum of old decks and amps. I talked to the owner and one of the techs while they gave me a tour of the repair shop, and they explained that the "record store" was a venture of the owner's son that closed a year ago (it was behind a suede curtain at the end of the hallway). I watched them repair a deck while its discerning owner sat in treated listening room with a jazz record. All the listening rooms played jazz records.

I probably aged ten years in there before thanking them and heading to Poo-Bah Records in Pasadena, which had a more traditional experience for hopeless thirty-somethings behind its doors. Staff took turns operating turntables and a sampler for some rock sets and an experimental one that stabbed me in the brain, while I overheard people ask for RSD releases that were already long gone. But that's not the point of RSD, that guy didn't need another copy of Relationship of Command, and not getting it probably saved him a trip to the emergency room because it inspired him to dust off his skateboard at age 34.

I entered Poo-Bah with a plan: buy a Bare Wires record if they had any and get out feeling like you supported one of the last frontiers for having a human experience with music. They didn't have any, so I thumbed through the used section, almost bought a Roger Miller record for two bucks, almost bought that White Fence record that I recently reviewed, but gave up and instead bought used hi-hat cymbals at Guitar Center like a chump. Instead of supporting artists and record stores everywhere with an affordable purchase of a shiny, new record, I added to the problem by getting another piece for my shitty drumkit made out of a suitcase and spare parts, so I can someday press a messy rock record and hope someone wants to buy it, despite shooting myself in the karmic foot.

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