Allow me to open with some annoyance and a bit to get off my chest. Saturday was Record Store Day, one of my favorite days of the calendar year. It’s like second Christmas. I got up early on one of my days off to get to my local indie shops in order to get the few things on my wish list. We were out for about three hours and had a great time. Everyone else we shopped alongside had a blast, too.
But you know people, especially those who feel like they have some kind of ownership in something. Like records. Newsflash to the vinyl dorks, who seem to spend all day on the Internet: Other people are allowed to buy and enjoy records, too. It’s not just yours. So all the people who went on Facebook and Twitter this weekend to bitch about how you buy records all year long and you don’t need a holiday to do so, congratu-fucking-lations. You’re special. But you’re not the target audience here. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to worry about our local record shop — if we’re lucky enough to have one — shutting down due to lack of traffic? THAT is the point. Get those who lost their way to find their way home. In Pittsburgh, we are blessed to have a few indie shops, and trust me, I hit as many as I could. And I buy records and CDs all the time too and don’t need a holiday, but I’m happy it exists. It’s fun. Record shopping should be fun, you assholes. So get off your chair and quit acting like you invented music.
Other people bitch that RSD if for major labels to gouge people. How? Are people forced to buy stuff? If you report to a record shop, are you not permitted to leave until you spend money on some major label fluff? And funny, but I spent upwards of $75 on Saturday, and not one of the things I brought home was a major-label RSD release. Not that I wouldn’t have bought something on a major if I wanted it. Because I don’t give a shit as long as what I’m buying appeals to me and I wish to spend the money. There were plenty of indie-related (and in my town, local artist-related) stuff for purchase, so you know, you can just go with that stuff.
Another complaint is people go out on RSD, snap up the exclusives, and then post them for sale on eBay for higher prices. Yes, this happens. I was lucky to score the final copy of Pelican’s “Australasia” double-vinyl reissue at Sound Cat, and that was my top priority. Out of curiousity, I went home to see if anyone was gouging people for copies they landed, and sure enough, there were some up with bid prices near $50. That’s $20 more than I paid for it, but I went home and played mine. That thing’s not getting sold to anyone. This aspect does suck because people are assholes. But this happens at Christmas when there’s a hot toy on the market and limited supply. It sucks, and if you can’t find it in a store and really want it, you’ll have to cough up more cash. Two points about this: 1. The person selling the stuff on eBay still had to buy it, so it still helps the store and labels. 2. If you don’t want to be gouged on eBay, then don’t buy there. It’s that simple, and no one is forcing your hand.
So let’s get onto RSD festivities for a moment. As noted, I grabbed the coveted Pelican release, and I was pleased to see, an hour after the store opened, that the other Hydra Head releases for doing really well. There were no more copies of Botch remaining on the shelves, and I only saw one copy of Circle, which looks so awesome in person. As neat as the packaging looks online, it doesn’t compare to when you hold the real thing in your hands. But I passed on Circle for the time being because I didn’t want to blow my whole load in one place. We then went to Eide’s in the Strip District, where they were holding an awesome anniversary sale in conjunction with RSD that got you 30 percent off any new CD or LP. I landed a physical copy of Pelican’s “Ataraxia/Taraxis,” that was reviewed here a couple weeks ago, as well as the tough-to-find debut ISIS EP “Mosquito Control.” Grand total: $17. Not bad at all. Our final stop was at Dave’s Record Mine in the South Side, where they were having a very generous used vinyl sale, as well as RSD specials from this year and years past. I landed the St. Vincent 7-inch (the only store that had any left) as well as a brutally cheap copy of Black Sabbath’s “Master of Reality.” My wife also scored many things in the non-metal category (including an awesome live Cure album from the “Disintegration” tour), and we both returned home feeling satisfied with out hunt.
So yeah, RSD is a good time. I hope it happens every year. If people want to whine about it, great. Don’t go. But don’t make other people feel like lesser beings because they’re not as astute a buyer as you. Or so you think. It was great being in small indie shops and standing shoulder to shoulder with people who were perusing all of the record racks, not just those containing the day’s specials. Again, that was the point. Renew interest. Get people into stores. Hopefully get them to come back. If every record store created one new buyer Saturday, think about how much that’ll help.
If you want to get your hands on the HHR stuff, go here: http://www.bluecollardistro.com/hydrahead/categories.php?cPath=4_425
For more on Record Store Day, go here: http://www.recordstoreday.com/Home
If you’re too good and witty for all of this, go here: http://bit.ly/13gVzY