This year's Record Store Day featured releases from several notable big name acts: Chvrches, David Bowie, The Cure, Kings of Leon, Nirvana, Joy Division, and Soundgarden to name a few. However, the spirit of the event lies in the indie music scene, the scene most independent record stores champion. So many up and coming unknown bands contributed to the celebration as well, including my new favorite group, the PINS who released a limited edition single pressed on a heart shaped disc. I still haven't figured out how to get a copy in the States, and I certainly don't want to resort to eBay because the resellers are, in my opinion, spoiling the whole affair. Supply and demand, I suppose.
But, I can't really complain as I didn't participate in Record Store Day this year, nor have I in year's past. While it is a relatively new event, inaugural year was 2008, I wasn't fully aware of it until last year. This year, I had planned to make the 90 minute drive to Anniston to a record store to see Lydia Loveless perform, but, life got in the way and I wasn't able to make it.
While I really love the concept of supporting local independent record stores, the predominant Record Store Day format, vinyl, doesn't work for me. Honestly, I don't own a turntable, and haven't for 25 years. I have a few vinyl albums now, but I use them as artwork around the house. In the 70's, I started on vinyl, owned maybe 30 LP's and gobs of 45's, but the convenience of cassettes won out over time. But only for a short time before CDs arrived en masse to snuff out cassettes -- mix-tapes still existed though, mainly because car CD players weren't cheap. And then around the turn of the century, digital music became the preferred format. It's as if the record companies push these format changes to generate income.
These days, I buy CDs and rip to mp3 so I can listen to my iPod at work, and in my vehicles. The convenience of digital music is great, but I truly prefer being able to put my hands on the music I own, however, when there is no physical media, I'll buy digital music. For new artists, it's easier/cheaper to distribute digitally, and I understand that.
The point I'm trying to make probably sounds like another music format diatribe, but it's not. My point is, just listen to music. It doesn't matter if it is on vinyl, cassette, 8-track, CD, mp3, recording of a recording, or even a streaming service, just listen. It all starts with a listen. If you love it, you'll share it with friends, and the cycle repeats. Listen, love it, buy it, share it, love it more, be passionate about it, listen to it while you write about it, share it on a mix tape, and make it the soundtrack to your life. Listen. Music is a gift, and the world would be a darker place without it.
Now, I guess I need to acquaint myself with my local record store. This weekend might be a good time to visit Vertical House Records at Lowe Mill. Maybe they'll have a vintage copy of Don't Tell a Soul. Let's hope.