Like most suburban-dwelling, music-loving kids, I grew up romanticizing record stores.
Crates of records and CDs sorted in some indecipherable and assinine manner.
Tattered posters of Elvis Costello and Nirvana plastered to the walls.
“Sheena is a Punk Rocker,” by The Ramones blaring from a beat-up stereo behind the counter and manned by a store employee entirely too arrogant and self-assured for someone earning minimum wage.
This record store in my mind — one that bore little resemblance to the compartively soulless shopping mall retail chain from which most of my music was purchased — transcended commerce.
It traded in more than vinyl, rare bootlegs, B-sides and imports.
Repeated viewings of “Empire Records” and “High Fidelity” cemented my belief that record stores were, at their core, dispensaries of street cred and self-validation, a cultural institution impervious to fads, market trends and the harsh realities of the business world.
Record stores never closed. Until they did.
After making it possible for fans to instantly access thousands of songs and albums (sometimes for free), technology and the Internet have marginalized record stores, relegating them to a class of business reliant on impractical consumer spending for survival.
And some of them haven’t.
Across the country, iconic record stores are shuttering, breaking the hearts of music fans and artists alike.
When ear X-Tacy of Louisville, Ky., closed its doors last year, My Morning Jacket frontman and Louisville native Jim James saw it as a harbinger of things to come, writing, “(L)et this be a big wake up call to us … we need these places to gather as a community and share ideas about music and art … for the love of God ... it can’t all take place online.”
That’s what Record Store Day is all about.
Started in 2007, Record Store Day was created to celebrate these businesses and the relationships they’ve fostered for decades with their customers and artists through special in-store performances and the sale of limited-edition vinyl and other special releases.
To celebrate Record Store Day, which is Saturday, this week’s playlist consists of eight tracks by artists participating this year.
A great local record store is a terrible thing to waste.
• Cursive, “The Recluse” — A song I never tire of hearing.
• Blitzen Trapper, “Love the Way You Walk Away” — Been waiting a while to trumpet this band and this song. Tragically underrated on both counts.
• Grouplove, “Tongue Tied” — A three and a half-minute party.
• The Tallest Man on Earth, “The Gardner” — Ever wonder what it would be like if Bob Dylan were Swedish?
• St. Vincent, “Cruel” — Good luck getting this song’s chorus and guitar riff out of your head.
• Walk the Moon, “Anna Sun” — Apparently Cleveland isn’t the only Ohio city that rocks. This Cincinnati band really brings it here.
• Jeff The Brotherhood, “Mellow Out” — The kind of music I love hearing when I walk into a record store.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., “Morning Thought” — A great band name, a great song.
To access Lowcountry Current's Spotify playlists, click on the link below: