[Vinyl Vednesday is a weekly feature about three favorite vinyl finds. It’s not meant to be a dick-measuring contest, but it usually turns out that way. This week’s installment celebrates my favorite holiday, Record Store Day. This year it’s going to be held Sat., April 17. I’ll be discussing three items I picked up on previous RSDs, and next week I’m gonna give big-ups to my haul from the weekend. As always, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your own big finds!]
Records: Camera Obscura’s “French Navy” single (2009) on black, Flight of the Conchords’ “Pencils in the Wind” single (2009) on black, and The Strokes’ “Juicebox” single (2005) on black.
Place of Purchase: I celebrated the first annual Record Store Day at Siren Records in
Thoughts: I have never been an elitist. Sure, I prefer smaller venues for shows and hate it when assholes like the bands I like, but generally speaking, I want the art I love to endure and be appreciated by as many people as possible. To that end, I have always been OK with paying for art, even though the rise of Napster (remember Napster?) and its various clones made it easier to get music for free. My opposition to illegal downloading is simple:
- If good music is to survive, artists need to be compensated so they can focus on their craft.
- I believe in capitalism.
- The idea that one day music will become divorced from its physical form frightens me.
It is because of these reasons that I still love going to record stores. Now, I am not necessarily opposed to Target, Wal-Mart, or even Best Buy anymore. I own a membership card to FYE. I am willing to shop wherever I can get deals on the records I want. It just so happens that most of the time, the records I want are located at independent record stores.
Check out the Vinyl Vednesday archives, and you’ll notice that most of the albums discussed so far were purchased at either Siren or Repo. These places give me the best service, the best prices, and best of all, the records I need to hear. Yeah, it’s great that a kid stuck in East Nowhere can download The Mountain Goats’ complete discography with a few clicks, but the thrill of hunting down TMG’s output – and knowing that I’m helping the group put out more of the music I love – will always appeal to me. Plus, whenever people tell me they pirated an album, I tend to assume they’re butt-munchers who know fuck-all about music.
OK, so I’m a little bit of an elitist. On to the records!
Not much to say about Camera Obscura’s “French Navy” single. It’s one of the peppier numbers from the group’s pretty great twee effort My Maudlin Career. Frontwoman Tracyanne Campbell coos about a sailor she’s fallen for – the rest of the album deals with her romantic ups and down, but “French Navy” is pure first kiss bliss. B-side “The World is Full of Strangers” can’t quite hit the same ecstasy, but what could? It still sounds like adorable Scottish people making lovely music together, which is something I like very much, thank you.
One thing about Record Store Day which is quite thoroughly awesome is all of the exclusives. I didn’t reserve too much last year – three seven-inches if I recall correctly – but this year I’ve got like $70 worth of stuff waiting for me. The second season of Flight of the Conchords was a dud, but I was stoked to score a physical copy of “Albi the Racist Dragon.” Every child should hear this story. “Pencils in the Wind” is actually solid for a late period Conchords song. At their best, the duo wrote songs that were musically entertaining while still delivering witty jokes. They eventually lost control of the formula, but for a little while there, they were one of the best indie bands out there.
Another thing that’s great about Record Store Day is scoring free shit. I was pretty much over The Strokes by the time their third album came out, but I’m not going to deny the awesome rockitude of single “Juicebox.” The muscular bassline and dissonant guitar reveals a band that could actually kick ass when it felt like it. The flipside overdoes it with a live version of the song, but at least I get B-side “
My two great loves are my girlfriend and my music collection. Both require an unselfish attitude.