Hello! So, did you venture out to your favourite independent record store on Saturday morning to hunt for some highly-coveted limited releases? How did your experience go? I spent my lunchtime today reading field reports from other intrepid record collectors across North America and Europe. Their stories ran the gamut from ‘zen’ to ‘zany’, from ‘chill’ to ‘chaotic’. Thought I would come here to share my thoughts.
My experience was just fine, actually – even for a Grade ‘A’ Introvert like myself. I got in line at the largest indie record store in town; it’s my usual Friday afternoon haunt and the place most likely to have the objects of my affection. I arrived around 30 minutes before opening, and ended up roughly 100th in line. I met some cool people in line too, from all walks of life. 95% male, of course, and more bad beards, pony tails, and flannel than should be legally permitted to congregate. But that’s the vinyl renaissance in a nutshell…
My local store has their RSD routine down to a science – they limit the rate at which patrons can enter, there’s lots of staff on hand, there’s door prizes, great music is playing, and the records are clearly racked and marked. We’re told that no RSD stock gets set aside or reserved – it’s strictly first-come, first-served – and I’m inclined to believe them.
I’m pleased to report that I managed to find most of what I was after, plus I took advantage of some good sales on other in-stock records. At the first store I visited, I picked up the new Wilco live record from 1996, an LP of early Uncle Tupelo rarities (it was a Tweedy kind of day), and a copy of The National’s performance of their seminal Boxer album, recorded last year in Brussels. I mined some crates and found a special issue of a Jason Isbell live album from 2007. I didn’t know many of the songs, having been a recent convert to this brilliant songwriter, but what the hell, right? The record-buying contagion within me was strong. And, as a special thank-you to the early-birds, the shop threw in a free copy of a Johnny Cash early singles LP. So far so good!
Over the next couple of hours, I dropped by three other record shops around town, finding something collectible at each. It’s always kind of entertaining to see which stores get which stock on RSD. There was much grumbling amongst the kale & quinoa crowd at the first store when every copy of Arcade Fire’s debut EP were sold in a flash. Well, I moseyed into a slightly-corporate store across town twenty minutes later and bought one of their five copies on display – no hipsters, no lineups! Blue vinyl, too – an unexpected surprise. I even unearthed a copy of the new Eels album – on twin 10″ yellow platters – for a decent price.
Further spelunking added a red & blue vinyl copy of The Who’s The Kids Are Alright, a 2LP re-release of U2’s oft-maligned Pop album (I happen to think it’s the last interesting album they’ve made), and the new Lord Huron record to my collection. But the pièce du resistance came at my fourth and final store. Their RSD titles were pretty picked over by 1 pm, but I must have been the biggest (only?) modern-prog nerd to walk in that day, because I waltzed out with the new Steven Wilson 12″ EP, How Big The Space. And with that elusive gem in my grubby hands, I was on my merry way home for a listening party 🙂
The only record I couldn’t find was the new version of Pink Floyd’s debut album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn. It’s been remastered from the master tapes and re-released in all of its original monaural glory, with special packaging and bonus tracks. I’m very partial to that album, having discovered it (on cassette tape!) back in my high school days. It opened a lot of doors in my brain about what a rock album could sound like. It’s a little disheartening that I’ve missed my chance to hear it in mono, the way “proper recordings” were still being mixed back in 1967. If you happen to see a copy for sale online at a less-than-extortionate price, please let me know.
Let’s do this all again in November for the Black Friday sale!