Monday, April 15, 2013

Shout for Your Local Shop on Record Store Day

This Saturday is Record Store Day, the day we Internet-addicted consumers are supposed to shun and actually leave our dungeons to visit actual brick-and-mortar record stores and actually browse the shelves and hand actual cash to actual human beings. Even though I’m as guilty as anyone else of taking advantage of the convenience and savings that come with online shopping, I still think it’s a little sad that we need to set aside a single day a year to patronize real record stores. The experience offers something that can never be duplicated online: the musty smells of the used bins, the creepy focus that comes with examining every last disc in the stacks, the gasp-out-loud thrill of making an incredible discovery among all those gouged copies of Air Supply’s Greatest Hits.

To be honest, I don’t usually go shopping on Record Store Day because pretty much every other weekend is Record Store Day for me. That’s because I have an amazing store right in my neighborhood, and more often than not, I find myself having to fight the urge to visit it to keep myself from going totally broke. Even though I spend most of my time perusing the massive rows of $2 LPs at Iris Records in Jersey City, those two dollars can really add up.

I‘ve made some really awesome finds at Iris. In the budget section I’ve nabbed Introducing the Beau Brummels, The Cyrkle’s Red Rubber Ball, Stevie Wonder’s triple-LP anthology Looking Back, Stiffs Live (in truth, cooler as an artifact than music), and a pristine copy of the 2001: A Space Odyssey Soundtrack. The $2 section has also yielded choice records by The Byrds, Mott the Hoople, Elvis Presley, Paul Revere and the Raiders, XTC, The Beach Boys, Kate Bush, The Dave Clark Five, The Cars, Madness, Simon & Garfunkel, too many others to mention. I’ve also become a little obsessed with 45s lately, and from Iris’s wealth of $1 singles I’ve found a seemingly unplayed copy of The Who’s “5:15” with its original Polydor sleeve, The Police’s “Secret Journey” (I didn’t even realize it was released as a single!), McCartney’s rare protest-single “Give Ireland Back to the Irish,” and a bunch of eighties picture sleeves and Monkees hits. On occasion I’ve splurged for $5 copies of Mad About the Wrong Boy, the one album The Attractions recorded without Elvis Costello, and New Rock Champions, a super-cool pre-punk/punk comp from Italy featuring Elvis, The Ramones, The Damned, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, The Flamin’ Groovies, Iggy Pop, and a bunch of other champions. I also scored Nazz Nazz on red vinyl, and more recently, a shiny copy of The Rolling Stones No. 2 for a very reasonable twenty bucks.

But I’m prattling on a bit here. I’d love to hear about your favorite record stores, the ones you plan to visit this Saturday or the ones you visit every Saturday. What are your favorite shops and what were some of your most fabulous finds at them? Chime in in the comments sections below…

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