Record Store Day 2014:
Shops, vinyl & memories
- 17.04.14 -
While everyone else debates whether a day dedicated to people buying records in record shops has become "too corporate" or perhaps worries whether this year's list of releases isn't "their bag", your humble music lovers at Xtra Mile just wanna talk about - and show off - some records they love and the shops they bought them from. Because isn't Record Store Day really about walking into those dimly lit interiors, watching dust spiral into beams of light from the windows, and begin flicking through the racks, in search of that elusive but rewarding album that shifts the world's axis slightly so that nothing ever feels, looks, or sounds the same?
Yes. Yes it is.
While you're here and excited about records and Record Store Day, perhaps you'd like to see what the lovely Beans On Toast, Chris T-T and Jamie Lenman are releasing and doing. Even better, you can find or order our delectable Xtra Mile Recordings Single Sessions Box Set in independent record shops for Saturday and, by buying it, you can enter our incredible competition to win two tickets to every Xtra Mile artist's headline gigs for a whole year.
Anyway, let's see what kind of people record shop browsing and buying has turned us into...
Dani Cotter (Xtra Mile)
Aerosmith 'Love In An Elevator' was the first record I remember buying, which - considering I had tapes by Wet Wet Wet, Bros, Hothouse Flowers and others of that ilk - is really quite cool.
I bought it at the magnificently cheap-as-chips Woolworths on Amersham High Street - which is where I bought most of my music whilst growing up. I distinctly remember the Woolworths price stickers that adorned all my Nirvana cassettes - and annoying sticky bits where I had tried to peel it off and failed.
Although Woolworths was not a really cool indie record store that you would find 'in town' (London) - it was a lifeline to those of us who lived in the achingly boring suburbs. I later worked in that same Woolworths for a year or so and desperately wanted a post in the music section. Alas I never made it out of the Ladybird Children's Clothes section and quit in a huff.
As for the record - well I played it to death. It reminds me of watching The Chart Show every week and putting a t-shirt on my head so I had something to fling around when I head-banged.
Billy the Kid
The best record store in Vancouver is Audiopile on Commercial Drive. My favourite thing do on a day off is take the train in to the city, walk down the Drive, pick up a coffee at one of the locally owned coffee shops and then spend hours in Audiopile. I always have *at least* one "frequent buyer" card on the go from them! Sometimes I'll trade something in if I feel like something new but don't have any money. They're always fair. I got most of my record collection at Audiopile, including these Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) albums. Even though it's kind of a "best of" record, So Far is my favourite. Did you know Joni Mitchell painted the cover?
Barney (Sonic Boom Six)
This 7" slab of hatred is 'Paranoid' by Black Sabbath. It was my first record. I bought it at King Bee Records in Chorlton, Manchester when I was about nine because I loved Tales From The Crypt comics and this appeared to be a bit like that. There was a horror film called Trick or Treat about heavy metal that I watched at the time and this certainly looked heavy metal to me. But not like that stuff where bands drove around on motorbikes outside strip clubs with big hair. Or that stuff that had big inflatable monsters onstage with the singer that did fencing and whose fans had leather jackets with daft little spikes. There's no band picture on this record. Just a terrifying, demonic, ugly and utterly unglamorous ghoul about to engage in combat. Seriously, look at the thing. It's honestly like something from a nightmare. It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen.
And then I fucking listened to it.
Matt Goud (Northcote)
With Honor - Self-titled (2003), Stillborn Records 7" clear vinyl - bought at a show.
Constantines - Self-titled (2004), Subpop black vinyl - bought at X-Ray Records, Regina, Saskatchewan.
Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones (1983), Island Japan press black vinyl - bought at Blackbyrd in Edmonton, Alberta.
I picked these totally at random. One of these records came with a $100 bill in it, one a friend gave me, one I bought from a store I worked at, one from the band & the last one purchased a at college radio fund drive.
Shellac - Uranus, Jawbreaker - Whack & Blite EP, Rocket From The Crypt - The State of Art Is On Fire, Hanson Brothers - 'Brad', Vic Chesnutt - Little.
Valerie Gritsch (Xtra Mile)
I always resisted buying vinyl records because for the longest time I didn't have a player, so it just didn't make sense to me to buy the records - however pretty they may be. Then in 2010, Frank Turner's merch stand hypnotized me or something because I left the House of Blues in Boston with two records - and still no player at home to actually listen to them with. For Christmas that year I finally got one, and my obsession began to take shape. I got it in my head that I needed everything! Or at least, as close to everything as I could get in terms of Frank's records. Four years later and it's still not complete, but it is something I'm proud of - so many good songs and I can spend hours listening to all of them! (I have nineteen 7", four 10" and eight LPs all in various hues).
The prize of my collection though is actually a Record Store Day exclusive release - the Jimmy Eat World Bleed American triple LP. This has been one of my favorite albums for ages and when I heard it was being put out for RSD - it had to be mine.
My favorite place to be on RSD is Looney Tunes in West Babylon, New York, it's a bit of a long trip from New York City but it's always worth it!
Brad Barrett (Xtra Mile)
I really like records, so it follows that I really like Record Store Day. I've not always got much money but when I do, record shopping is one of the only times entering into commerce feels absolutely right. You are handing over hard-earned cash for something a person, or some persons, have ploughed their soul into, then poured it onto some plastic which miraculously sings when scratched - isn't that worth your countless hours of spreadsheet boredom or hard labour?
I've got a few pics to show you. One is of all my Record Store Day purchases to date (which is the first photo you see under the page heading). Don't laugh at the paucity, these things are expensive! I think my first RSD was 2010, but my most memorable was in 2011 when I stood outside Sister Ray in Soho, London (in a huge queue, naturally) and was given almond croissants from the nearby bakers who had kindly made them all for us. How great is that! Community spirit in action. I remember the guy in front of me getting the last Radiohead 'Supercollider/The Butcher' 12" in stock. He probably wanted it more.
For 2012, I was situated in the middle of nowhere in Tasmania so couldn't get to any record shops, but in 2013 I was in Sydney and visited such luminaries as Utopia, Red Eye, and Mojo Record Bar (a record shop with a rock bar attached - genius). You can't always get what you want on Record Store Day, but that's life - you take part, you meet people, you enjoy the atmosphere and the celebration of getting an incredible record that you can play, and hug, and play again, and look at adoringly. It's all worth the wait.
My other pictures are pure vinyl perving - colours and patterns that I can't stop bringing out once in a while just to fawn over. The music is almost crushingly good in all cases too. In case you're wondering, they are (in order, left to right): Meet Me in St Louis - Variations On Swing, The Appleseed Cast - Mare Vitalis, The Appleseed Cast -Two Conversations, Propagandhi - Failed States, Saves the Day - Stay What You Are, and Blood Brothers - Crimes.
In general, buying records can remind me of a specific place and time, of hard fought discoveries, and of simpler times when browsing was part of my young adulthood. It's helped make me who I am, whoever that happens to be.
So yeah. Happy Record Store Day on Saturday 19 April all of you! Get stuck in, and enjoy!
(For those who care, the opening picture contains the following records: Boysetsfire - 'Bled Dry', Deerhoof - Apple O, Deftones - 'Rocket Skates', Frank Turner - 'Recovery', Frank Turner - 'I Still Believe', Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight/Quietly Now, Funeral For A Friend - Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation, Jimi Hendrix - 'Valleys Of Neptune', mclusky - Do Dallas, Quicksand - S/T, Say Anything - ...Is A Real Boy/Was A Real Boy)