rsd 10

Loved this.  From Sub Pop’s packaging of the Dum Dum Girls’ limited edition 7″ singles for Record Store Day:

At long last…We at Sub Pop Records have finally devised an expensive, fragile, heavy and clumsy way of packaging and shipping mp3s.  The popular, invisible, tasteless, odorless music files are offered here on a piece of paper tucked safely within a handsomely printed cardboard sleeve (sometimes 7″, sometimes 12″, rarely 10″), and accompanied by an easily damaged plastic disc that, when push comes to shove, could, with the proper, expensive and temperamental equipment also produce this same music.  We believe this to provide a superior, conspicuous listening/ownership experience and hope to sell them to you in great quantities.  Enjoy!

I had a thoroughly enjoyable time at Record Store Day.  My independent record store of choice is Amoeba Records in San Francisco.  I love Amoeba because, unlike the small record shops made famous by High Fidelity, you can be completely anonymous.  The store is so huge and the selection so vast that you don’t feel self-conscious being the only person without a penis, piercing, or tattoo rummaging through the punk section.  The staff isn’t so “gear head” about music as to judge your purchases (e.g., today I bought The Pixies, 2 Jacksons LPs, a John Steinbeck reading on LP, ABBA “Supertrouper”, and Heart “Dreamboat Annie”).  I can lose myself in Amoeba for hours, and today I did.  I lined up at 10am (they didn’t open until 10:30) and was pretty much in the store, give or take 2 hours, until 4pm.

This was not necessarily a good thing.

Amoeba, much like Target, kills your pocketbook the longer you stay there.  I had a specific list of albums that were released specifically for RSD (and therefore in limited print) I was gunning for.  I memorized that list, made my way around the store and pretty much got what I wanted.  I checked out around at around 11:30am, $220 poorer.  “Meh.  Support your local record store” I told myself, and I left to sit down and grab some coffee.

But Amoeba would call me back with Charlotte Gainsbourg signing and Jonsi performing in the afternoon.  I headed back to the store and, in need of something to do to kill time, wandered through the aisles.  Well, four hours later I had met Charlotte Gainsbourg, bobbed my head to Jonsi, and handed over another $180 to Amoeba.  WTF?  How did that happen?  Shit like this only happens at Target.

Oh well.  But I was happy with my haul.  Here were the highlights:

  • “The Snake and Johnny Bear” ready by John Steinbeck
  • “Hits Are For Squares”, Sonic Youth
  • “Super Trouper”, ABBA
  • The Flaming Lips, Henry Rollins, and Peaches covering “Dark Side of the Moon”
  • “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, The Byrds (original 70’s pressing)
  • “Live at Kelvin Hall”, The Kinks
  • “The Purple Tapes”, The Pixies
  • “Dreamboat Annie”, Heart (picture disc)
  • “The Jacksons: Live”, The Jacksons
  • “Dirty Things” 7″ single, Telekinesis
  • “Flume/Come Talk To Me” 7″ single, Peter Gabriel and Bon Iver
  • “The Book of Love/Not One of Us” 7″ single, Peter Gabriel and Stephin Merritt
  • The Thermals/The Cribs, 7″ split
  • John Lennon Singles Bag (3 45s with “Mother”, “Imagine, and “Watching The Wheels, only 7000 printed for RSD)

Anywho, I’m stoked not just for my swag but also for the opportunity to support not just independent music stores, but also independent music.  I’m not sure if people really understand how rough it is for indie labels and the bands that sign to them.  It’s not as glamorous as people think.  Not everyone can (or wants to) sign with a major label that has the resources to make life pretty sweet.  And the smaller “true” indies, like Kill Rock Stars (Bikini Kill, Elliott Smith, Quasi) or Jagjaguwar (Bon Iver, Okkervil River, Lightning Dust) don’t make a shit load of money.  But they live music and they sign amazing acts and give them the creative freedom to do what they want.  There’s a lot to be said about that.  There are a lot of acts that made the jump from indie to major labels and it hasn’t always been that successful.

I’m looking at you, Modest Mouse.

So support your local record stores and support indie music labels.  Of course mp3s are way fucking easier.  I buy most of my music through iTunes and Amazon, too.  But whenever something really hits me and I want to get the CD or LP I usually go and order it straight from the label.  I guess it’s my way of saying thanks and making sure the money gets back to them.

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