Set Some New Records

Save the world: Go record shopping on Record Store Day—or at least go shop shopping and find something new-to-you.

April 17, 2009

As was discussed most recently here, music has an unextractable role in the world of fashion. If you need further proof, I would direct you to that weird comp of Chanel director Karl Lagerfeld’s favorite songs, the mod thing, and what MTV was when it first came on the air in the very early eighties. Or, the Serge Gainsbourg album pictured here (reissued by our own Light in the Attic records) featuring the pre-Birkin bag Jane Birkin. For starters.

And if you think about it, the shopping experience is very similar. Any record store worth its record sleeves sets up listening stations of various kinds so you can try stuff on just as you do when you pull an armload of mini-dresses into a dressing room. It occurs to me as well that both kinds of shops generate a fair amount of intimidation, or at least the air of intimidation. And while I think it’s entirely and utterly unfair, the stereotypical shopkeep from each realm is seen as snobbish and rude.

(I guess it probably seems that, considering this week’s Isadora’s and Tiffany posts—and that one from February about the new Gucci store, I’m on a tear about not feel shy or daunted about shopping—and just looking. I guess I probably am.)

At any rate, Saturday is the second annual international Record Store Day and you can bet just about every record freak in this town knows it. Record Store Day began as a way to help save real-world (read: not online) independent music sellers in the age of downloadable tunes; this year, of course, it’s a call to arms to spend some cash and help save the economy too. And all participating record shops will make it worth your while to do so. Most if not all are giving great discounts and specials and hosting bands for in-store performances and good times. Among my favorite local shops are Wall of Sound, Jive Time, Georgetown Records and Sonic Boom.

(You can find the addresses and websites of a bunch more great local record shops by searching the ‘gifts and accessories’ category in our Find It shops.)

Regardless of the sound — and whether you’re into brand-y new compact discs with big, long, glossy fold-out liner notes, cheap used cds that you download then use as frisbees, old worn-in vintage vinyl, or the great stuff that’s a product of the recent return to issuing vinyl in addition to or instead of CDs — you can find everything you want to hear, hold, and touch in Seattle. All things considered, I don’t know that that can still be said in every once-proud city of America.

Plus, records covers can be so beautiful.

Now—if you’ve really got some cash burning a hole in your pocket (remember those days? can feelings go extinct the way music-listening formats can?), you might even check out this archived Cornershop page; it holds your hand through the legitimately intimidating process of purchasing analog stereo equipment for your home.

It’s supposed to be beautiful this weekend, so at the very least pick an independently owned store of any variety in your neighborhood, walk there, and go inside it. Look around. Familiarize yourself with the merchandise. Try chatting with whomever is on duty. You never know when you might need an [insert arcane hardware store item or silly gift store gag, or, you know, a book, DVD, or record here] and you never know when that store- or shopkeep/neighbor might need you.

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