Record Store Day As Told By An Excited Hobbyist.  Record Store Day As Told By An Excited Hobbyist. 

On a good connection, downloading an album takes less than a minute. At points I do not realize how much information is being transferred on my computer. I only momentarily take notice when my streaming video or 7th internet tab takes longer than usual.  A few days ago, I found 10 gigabytes of old music hiding in some periphery folder. Album discographies, which would originally take years and vast financial resources to acquire are now scrubbed from hard drives without a moments pause. I no longer fear losing all of my music because I know I could get it back. It would take a bit, but it would be possible. This small anecdote could be construed as boasting or some sort of masturbatory techno brag if written 5 or 10 years ago. Today it is common and increasingly becoming acceptable. This is why it still blows my mind we have Record Store Day.    

I could be writing a eulogy to the act of purchasing physical copies of music. In 2012, it almost feels silly given the resources and tools available. But this is not the case. People still love buying music. I still love buying music. And not just full albums rather lining up to purchase singles and 7 inches which would take the length of a sneeze to acquire. Have we reached the zenith of our experience with technology? Do we still crave the experience of holding acetate discs? Are we moving in the opposite direction? Are rotary phones the next vogue among the young urban elite? What kind of back wards ass de-evolution have we fallen into?  I thought we would be experiencing music telepathically by now. 

Initial reports stated vinyl sales on Record Store Day have increased 50% compared to the previous year. Every April, the annual list of singles, EPs, and label exclusives grows as well as the number of participants and consumer base. Originally conceived as an a celebration for the independent sector, Record Store Day does not appear to be limited to any commercial class. Mainstream artists and acts like fun., Bruno Mars, and Disturbed have crafted special releases for this third week in April. It has now become a free for all.  

Record Store Day not only celebrates the idea of exclusive releases. While most of these releases are already somewhere on the internet, the copies no longer hold the same weight as the original. There seems to be something else at work here — something where convenience and accessibility is not always victor. The simulacrum has ended.  I enjoy getting excited over physical copies which hold music. I enjoy he weight of vinyl and how it looks in a stack splayed like a deck of cards. Though only 5 years old, Record Store Day may have more of an importance than originally conceived. It is an object stubborn to the flow of innovation and progress.

These M83 and Beach House singles could go together to a 1980’s prom. I imagine they would and rent limousines and pose in front of acid washed backgrounds. Both are have varying degrees of haze and triumph. “Mirror” was a hidden track from M83’s Hurry Up, Were Dreaming. “Lazuli” is a non album cut from Beach House’s 2012 Bloom with “Equal Mind” as a b-side. I have already made my case for Bloom, though listening to these singles is causing second thoughts. Sub Pop Records also released a compilation of exclusive tracks which offers Bloom‘s proper single “Myth.” For anyone interested, Terminal Sales Vol. 5: Mixed Nuts pulls from the Sub Pop back catalog with a few new bands as well as previously released tracks from acts you already forgot about. It is near amazing. This is not the only compilation available, however, as Sacred Bones has put together an amazing collection of terrifying psych punk and noise pop. Sacred Bones is fast becoming one of my favorite record labels and their seemingly grab bag of unreleased tracks makes for a dramatic compilation.

I should tell Charles about this. I haven’t heard from him since he went exploring that abandoned western themed amusement park in North Carolina. I told him you could only reach it by rusted chairlift but that did not break his spirit or enthusiasm.  We should put together a search party. We need to find him before they do.

I was never into the Specials. My tenure in punk rock was focused on the years between 1980 and 1995. My love for ska only went as far as Operation Ivy and the one Mighty Mighty Bosstones concert which was terrible. This very rare live Specials EP seems to have captured some sort of time and excitement for the band. the crowd seems enthusiastic and at the peak of their devotion. Ohh this was recorded last year?  Well it seems that I am completely out of the loop.  There has always been a vein of older albums being drug back into the sunlight. Along with T.Rex’s Metal Guru / Telegram Sam reissue, there is that 1988 single from Morrissey. “Suedehead” was the single from Viva Hate which charted higher than any other Smiths songs. How does that feel? Who am I talking to? Take this sense of nostalgia and combine with the Anarchy In The UK single and there is no real reason to believe it is 2012.

My friends have always enjoyed Dinosaur Jr and their reactions to The Electronic Anthology Project of Dinosaur Jr has been met with disbelief. Could there really be a project that imagines Dinosaur Jr tracks as synthpop anthems? Oh, your telling me this is Brett Nelson from Built to Spill and J Mascis doing this project?  This is certainly the weirdest and most enjoyable out of the Record Store Day releases. For something as fleeting and silly, this project sounds like it was conceived in a Brooklyn warehouse. I do not know whether or not to feel excitement or accidental pretension for something that was never originally intended to be serious.

I believe somewhere I have at least three abandoned Flaming Lips reviews. I tired to do a review for each weird ass collaboration the band embarked on during  2011. I threw my hands up in defeat after the fifth. The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends is the collection of play dates set up by Wayne Coyen with a dazzling array of guest. It should also be noted these collaborations were conducted along side of the band’s already prolific output. Somewhere between recording six hour long songs and making gummy skull and fetus molds for limited releases, the band made friends.  Neon Indian, Ke$ha, Lightning Bolt, Nick Cave, Coldplay, and Bon Iver all make appearances in this dinner party of the utterly strange. Listening to this collection is like watching 5 year olds dress put on an improvisational play in the living room. Their costumes maybe sheets and they may lack all necessary direction for cohesion and plot but at points you have to admire their enthusiasm.  Fuck it, this is near unlistenable but I like it anyway.

The last telegram I received from Charles was mixed with fear and wonder for the town he had discovered. He spoke of ghost riders and became increasingly frantic as his descriptions of rusted saloons and terrifying corals became more vivid. That sonovabitch is going to get himself in trouble. A trouble which will be the end of both of us.

What the fuck Animal Collective? Ever since 2009, I have defended your act as one of the most innovative and forward thinking progressions since Radiohead. When people scoff and roll their eyes at Meriwether Post Pavilion, I roll my own eyes and murmur some passive aggressive comment about people hating The Beatles. I lost many friends over the course of these three years and how is my dedication rewarded? By three years of abstract artschool collaborations. First there was the Keep Cassette which segregated each member for a solo project. Then there was your psychedelic film ODDSAC where you appeared as flaming knights and sad vampires. Now your telling me you are releasing sound collages which you used in a Guggenheim exhibit? Fuck you. I’ll be back later this year for your new record. It better be fucking amazing.     

It is time to recognize an underrated participant in not only Record Store Day but in life. The Black Angels reissued their first two EPs for last year for the April celebration. Before that, this band has sporadically made above average psych garage records which have been released to low critical attention. The Watch Out Boy / I’d Rather Be Lonely 7 inch yet again reminds us that the Black Angels may have missed their place in the canon of the amazing yet their persistence is admirable. Ladies and gentleman, this act smells like opium. I fail to see why a darkened room with pillows covering the floor and a smoke filled cavernous ceiling is unappealing.

Some nights I wonder if Charles will ever return and whether or not he will be wielding his peacemaker and dusty hat. I told him not to challenge the spirits of the west but he was always a stubborn sonovabitch. I feared for his life but now I fear for his return. If he found was lay at the bottom of that gulch, there will certainly be questions to answer and blood to shed.

Chino Moreno recently announced his collaboration with members of the disbanded post metal band Isis. Palms is scheduled to do something or another later whenever. It does not really matter. Chino Moreno seems to be keeping busy as he is pounding away at the creative keyboard with ††† (Crosses). The typset and visual art of ††† paints this music as the often debated style of witchhouse. Witchhouse, for those unfamiliar, is a combination of noise, industrial, and goth set to the electronic beat of decomposing. Witchhouse is awesome — this is not. The Option/Telepathy release cements the sneaking suspicion that Moreno used witchhouse as an idea or package to mask an unhealthy amount of alt rock. Maybe Pslams will be decent, though I have not had much hope for any part of this collaboration.

With all of the things going wrong and the trepidation building with each passing minute, it is comforting to have a few releases that I can care for. Arcade Fire’s elated high from their Grammy victory fuels their recent release. It will be a couple more years before the next Arcade fire album so we are given two remixes from the Suburbs. Bjork producer and engineer Damien Taylor takes “The Sprawl II” and “Ready to Start” and adds light but effective electronic base. It is not much but it will please the majority of people. It certainly has pleased me.

There is no doubt my time is coming to an end. Though I sleep with a ceremonial hatchet under my pillow, I must dedicate this Record Store Day to Charles. He was the one who taught me the lessons which guided us out of that endless desert. If only the poor sonovabitch could have just left well enough alone we wouldn’t be here, in this canyon with flintlocks pointed at each other’s heads. It wasn’t suppose to be like this. It was never suppose to come to this.

During every Record Store Day I hope to experience something I never thought I would like. Sure the releases from St. Vincent and Of Montreal as decent but they are expected. Caitlin Rose lies somewhere between Nashville stardom and folk obscurity. The Piledriver Waltz / Love is a Laserquest release are two covers from the Arctic Monkeys. I have never been a fan of Arctic Monkeys nor contemporary country. This release, however, is goddamn charming. Perhaps I have just reached the end of my rope with music. Perhaps it is just Slim Whitman from here on out. At least until the world explodes.

I know I made specific mention of the insolubility or original releases. Quite obviously I could not have listened to all of the records without some help from the internet. The Specials EP was limited to 1000 and I think only sold in England. The same goes for The Black Angels. It was a nice thought though. Perhaps there is a medium and compromise that could be made for the future. I am glad people still have plastic bags full of 12 and 7 inch records. I am glad people are still excited about music and the moment for arriving home to listen to what was bought. It is time to get off your computer and join us.

Maybe there will be a cassette day in the future.

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