by Brian Smith
Steal a turntable, punk:
We’ve for years orated long and hard our undying support of local record stores and have looked for any excuse to hoist a cocktail in their honor. So it is that the annual national Record Store Day is nearly upon us — that’d be Saturday, April 18 — and what lovely (spring) time for a toast. Salute!
For you wee ones, a record store is a place that sells music you can grasp in your clammy little palm and marvel at and listen to. You can even smell it if you’d like, and touch it, and collect it. In fact, a music library filled with touchable pieces — vinyl or CDs, or whatever format — is nearly always assembled with love and care, with an ear and eye toward sound and art. It sweetens household aesthetics, can be wholly self-defining and is anything but invisible. Such a library holds music that sonically smokes an MP3 file, which is, you’ll note, so 2007. (Downloaded files are unsexy too: Besides reducing musical wonders of the world to air with bit transients attached — like so much cultural ephemera — files are free of time-and-place perspective and, more importantly, a feeling of lasting significance.)
Sure, times are tough and it’s the New Economy and all, but the easiest way out of a recession is to do your part by supporting local retail, it’s “your duty,” some guy once said, “as a member of the oppressed masses.” Do not give coin for music to online retailers, or worse, Apple. That does not help you or anyone around you. And stop spending your one and only life obtaining tunes in the toxic wash of a computer screen — what the hell is that? — get out, go for the kicks of the hunt (shit, the kicks of community) and the triumph of discovery.
If you need an album and can’t find it, order it from Record Time or Flipside or Stormy or Rock-A-Billy’s or Memory and Melodies, or any of ’em. In couple days you’ll have your hard copy, so love it and value it inside and out because it’s not invisible, because it’ll represent so much about your life and where your head was in that very moment. Can a downloaded file offer up so much self-romanticism, so much sense of owning something so powerful it can make the rest of the world disappear? Fuck, no.
Having said all that, and there is a point somewhere in here, we’d like to direct your attention to Utica’s Rock-a-Billy’s records. It’s a true indie and a killer music-lover’s haven that’s amped up on record-geek knowledge and counter ’tude, just like the shops of yore.
In celebration of Record Store Day this year, Rock-a-Billy’s hit big by scoring Cass Corridor ace Rodriguez for a live, in-store performance and signing. Yow — that is something. You’ll recall how Rodriguez was the music comeback of the century last year when Light in the Attic reissued his essential 1970 gem Cold Fact, which dropped to such fanfare that newspapers and magazines the world over gave it due blowjobs, and Rodriguez himself became a rock ’n’ roll star outside of South America. (Dig this: Light in the Attic will reissue Rodriguez’ second album, 1971’s Coming from Reality, which hits stores on Tuesday, May 5.) Rodriguez will be part of Rock-A-Billy’s (8411 Hall Rd., Utica 586-731-0188) daylong Record Store Day celebration, which will see other performances, give-a-ways and so on.
We’ll keep you looped in on what’s happening celebration-wise in all the local shops on Record Store Day.
Rodriguez grins it up for Record Store Day