Steal a turntable, punk: For years, we've orated long and hard our undying support of local record stores and have looked for any excuse to hoist a beer in their honor. So it is that the second annual national Record Store Day is this Saturday, April 18, and what a lovely time for a frothy one. Salute!
For you wee ones, a record store's 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, collect it. In fact, a music library filled with touchable pieces — vinyl or CDs, or whatever format — can be wholly self-defining, aesthetically pleasing and is anything but invisible. It holds music that sonically smokes an MP3 file, which is, you'll note, so 2007. (Downloaded files are unsexy too: They reduce musical wonders of the world to air with bit transients attached but no feeling of lasting significance.)
Yeah, sure, we understand that times are tough, but the easiest way out of a recession is by supporting local retail, it's "your duty," some guy once said, "as a member of the oppressed masses." Do not cough up coin for music to online retailers, or worse, Apple. That does not help you or anyone around you. 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 Records or Rock-A-Billy's or Memories and Melodies or Rock of Ages or Shantinique or Street Corner, or any of 'em. In a 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 so much self-romanticism, that sense of owning something so powerful it can make the rest of the world disappear? Fuck, no.
Having said all that, and there's a point in here somewhere, in celebration of Record Store Day this year, your local indie retailers — and international rock stars who owe their careers in part to record stores — are pulling out countless stops. Example: Utica's Rock-a-Billy's is hosting Cass Corridor ace Rodriguez for an in-store performance. 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 blow jobs, and Rodriguez himself became a rock 'n' roll star outside of South Africa. Dig this: Light in the Attic is reissuing Rodriguez's second album, 1971's Coming from Reality on Tuesday, May 5, but it will be available ahead-of-street-date (along with silk-screened Rodriguez T-shirts!) at Rock-A-Billy's (8411 Hall Rd., Utica; 586-731-0188) daylong celebration, which will also, starting at 1 p.m., host live the Silent Years, I Set My Friends on Fire, Motor City Bloodhounds and others. And that's only part of it. For updates on what's happening in greater Detroit area record stores, go to our Music Blahg at metrotimes.com.
More, Record Store Day will see exclusive collectable releases (available only in stores) from Bob Dylan, Green Day, Black Keys, Modest Mouse, Radiohead, Misfits and many more. Go to recordstoreday.com for more info.