Record Store Day

In defense of vinyl-loving hipsters (Or, Record Store Day 2016)

There’s a lot to hate about hipsters — I get it. The coffee is never good enough, the beer selection is lacking, we’re poor but always wearing expensive clothing.

Also, we love vinyl records.

Get out of here with your Spotify, Apple Music, MP3s and compact discs. That’s all dirty, digital dope. We want the pure stuff.

Side Note: Yes, I used “we” in the above sentences. Results are in — I’m a hipster. I know it, I can’t help it, it’s what it is. I’m 29 now. The theory is once I turn 30 I’ll graduate to adulthood and can forget about all these silly labels.

Anyway, today is Record Store Day (RSD). Find your favorite local record shop and go buy a few things. They’ll probably have free coffee. You’ll love it. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with RSD. I always go. But to engage an overused cliche, RSD was great before it went “mainstream.” Typical hipster drama. Let’s just say the romance left once 14 year-old girls started stealing records out of my hands (long story for another time).

This year, however, was fun. The lines weren’t too long, everyone was friendly. And best of all, I got mostly what I set out for. As my friend Jake says, “The wax gods were in my favor.”

Here’s the loot:

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  • The Vandals — Sweatin to the Oldies (Live)
  • The Get Up Kids — Red Letter Day Ep
  • Robert Johnson — 10 inch repress (1936)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens — Picture Disc 10 inch
  • Violent Femmes — Memory/You Move Me (single)
  • Death Cab for Cutie — Tractor Rape Chain/Black Sun (live)

Back to the Quick Defense

I admit it: there’s a lot of showyness about vinyl collecting. It’s great to showcase your collection with a fancy shelf and brag on social media. For me, however, being a vinyl lover (there’s got to be a better name for it?) is about more than just pretension and affectation.

Vinyl records are a treasure hunt. You find the one you want, say an old record you used to love, and it’s like striking gold. In some cases, the prices are so high, you might as well just buy gold, but I digress. Record hunting is also a great way to discover old (but new-to-you) music. I’ve gambled on many dusty, used LPs at yard sales that have later become personal favorites.  (more…)

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Consumer Zombies on Record Store Day

picstitchRecord Store Day. I participated this last weekend—April 20th, 2013; it was great. My fourth year partaking, this “holiday” has become quite the tradition for me.

I walked away with an Avett Brothers/Randy Travis single, and just barely got my hands on a Bowie 7-inch; that sounds dirty.

What’s that? You don’t know what Record Store Day is? (loser). Let me explain.

It’s a one-day celebration of local record stores. Artists release exclusive, limited vinyls and CDs that can only be sold at mom and pop-local shops. SUCK IT iTunes.

Kids like me eat this stuff up.

We get there early. We line around the block and talk to each other about music. We rush inside and spend way more money than we ever normally would. Our wives make fun of us…

You get the gist.

Record Sales

I didn’t get everything I wanted. In fact, I barely got anything I wanted. This year was insane. Since I’m in San Luis Obispo this year, I lined up at the famous Boo Boo Records. The last few years were in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; people there are just getting around to iPods so you couldn’t expect much from their shops.

Simply, RSD isn’t as big of a deal in Idaho. A few collectors maybe show up. Not many.

Down here, people care about this stuff. Boo Boos gets almost one of every release. That’s unheard of!

My wife dropped me off early so I could get a good spot in line. She left for a Breakfast Buzz Burrito, and I squatted. RSD is kind of more, my thing. Shortly after, the line inflated. People wrapped down the block and curved beyond my line of sight. Luckily, all behind me.

Good timing, I thought. That White Stripes LP rerelease is mine!

Record Hells

Oh what’s that? They’re letting everyone in at the same time? RUN!!!!!

Don’t worry, I thought, maybe they’ll spread the records throughout the store to keep people from swarming in one small area. This should be easy, in and out. 

Nope. Definitely not easy. Almost died.

There was one little bin of records for three hundred little hands. Standing in line was absolutely pointless. I could’ve arrived last and elbowed my way to the front. Before I knew it, I was completely surrounded in hipster hell.

photoHands, elbows, knees, eye-glasses, beards. People yelling. “Give me one of those, bro.” “HAND ME, ME, DUDE.” I looked  behind me to see my wife, white eyed, backing away slowly. I hope to see her again, I thought.

People pushed and pushed. The crowd became bigger and more intense. Worst yet, there was nothing in my hands. White Stripes was gone, duh. The LPs, the good ones, they go fast. What did I want? What was my back up? 

Get your hands in there, I thought. So I pushed back and reached in. The singles, I thought. Go for the singles. I pulled out two that were on my list. The crowd was getting worse. The pressure grew higher. The air tighter. The people. Pushing. Screaming. Fingers reaching. Are these people going to eat me? 

I have got to get out of here!

Good thing too, because I couldn’t. Boo Boo Records has one of the largest shops I’ve ever seen; yet, they placed all their exclusive albums in one small bin near a corner in the back. Thanks guys. There was no way out.

If I knew I was going to be trapped, I would’ve brought a snack. Also, a good thing, these people all were magically sweaty in a matter of minutes.  

The Walking Sales

Needless to say, I lived. Boo Boos could’ve planned the day a little better, but they did give donuts out to those who waiting in line. All is forgiven.

This day made me think a lot about consumerism. I remember being in the middle of that giant crowd and thinking, I don’t really need any of this. It’s not really fun when it gets cut-throat.

Am I just getting older and growing out of the whole “consumerism” thing?

Maybe I’m just a poor sport and need to bring snacks next year. And spike studded shoulder pads. roadwarriors_zps7fc9c0c4

Did anyone else partake in Record Store Day? I’d love to hear some other stories of crazed consumerism. 

Record Store Day

It’s April 16th, you know what that means! Happy Record Store Day!

The music shops don’t open for another couple hours, but in many ways, I feel like I went to the best vinyl shop in town last night, my grandparents.

My grandparents just moved up from California, and as it turns out, my grandfather was an avid record buyer back when. I’m talking 4 or 5 boxes of LPs, 45s, and 78s. I almost cried it was so beautiful.  (more…)

Taking a Local Day

How formulaic do our lives become? It’s both good and bad, I suppose. We take vacations from the norm, only to get sick of the vacation and return to our norm.

I heard this statistic the other night and I can’t get it out of my brain:

96% of all Americans spend, on average, their whole lives indoors.

Upon hearing this, I wanted to run outside and skip through a field of daisies; I don’t even like daisies. I wanted to dig a garden, walk to work, and ride a hot air balloon around the country with a monkey named Charlie.

I decided that I needed to prove this statistic wrong.

So the next day, I went on vacation in my own town.

Extraordinarily, I was free from work and school. After an invitation, I made my way down to Doma Coffee and partook in my first ever “cupping.” The perplexities of smelling, breathing, and tasting coffee for hours on end was unusually delightful. For the first time in my life, being a “sipper” actually came in handy.

I learned how to pick fragrances out of coffee like apples, leather, chocolate, and “corn flakes.” I got to know the Doma guys a little better too. We talked about current coffee markets, espresso machines, and good beer. It was great.

After overstaying my welcome, I traveled back downtown to The Long Ear, a local record store (yes kids, those still exist). I traded some CDs in hopes of stocking up store credit for the upcoming Record Store Day. While there, I searched through the vinyl bin and “smoozed” a bit with the staff.

I was reminded me of the hours I’d kill at Boo Boo Record’s in Grover Beach, CA (RIP), where I’d search endlessly through the used CD bin and sticker bucket. Oh the days of my youth…

After The Long Ear, I went back home, recorded some music, waited for my wife to get home and then did a little shopping at my work, Pilgrims Market.

As the day grew late, I reflected upon my day. It was unique and more than usual. There were two things that made it different:

*I made time for myself

*Every business I entered was locally owned

So take from that what you will. Do you feel that you need a break from the norm? Take a local day for yourself and discover what your town has to offer.

Stay out of Albertsons, keep away from Wal-Mart, and for God sakes avoid McDonalds. Corporations and franchises exist only to capitalize off of consumer’s fear of the unknown. It’s funny, but the more I stay out of these businesses, the more I seem to enjoy the area I live in.

Try supporting only local shops for an entire day; take a walk and get outside. Maybe, you wont even need a vacation after all.

My goal this spring and summer is to get outside more, shop locally, and continue to discover my town. Why else would I live here?