Some people spend their vacations at national monuments; Others, at beaches, doing family activities, or just hanging out. Not me; I plot my trips to foreign locations around record stores. (My wife is thrilled by this, as you can imagine.) But let’s back up a bit.
I’ve been captivated by record stores since I was 12 years old. (That’s nearly 30 years of hardcore nerdery right there.) Like most kids, the record stores in the mall were my gateway drug. By the time I was 16, I had searched out all the “cool” stores: the ones with the hard-to-find imports and the wild selections of “unheard” music. At 18, I went to my first record convention. On my first day of college in a foreign city, I didn’t search out the parties that most of my peers were attending. Rather, I borrowed a bike and pedaled halfway across town to check out a record store that I had heard about from afar. (That was PDQ Records in Tucson, by the way. A dank, swamp cooler-fueled warehouse where you could easily spend hours browsing the bins. I still have the Cure singles that I picked up that day.)
No matter what city you’re in, the best record stores all have the same qualities: down-to-earth owners and staff who are always eager to chat about their latest finds; great, hard-to-find collections of seemingly obscure or long-lost tunes; and always something interesting on the turntable. It’s a community in the greatest sense of the word. So, whether you’re at Mississippi Records in Portland, Twist & Shout in Denver, Dusty Groove in Chicago, or Revolver in Phoenix, you’ll feel right at home.
Unfortunately, many record stores across the country have been closing their doors in recent years due to the shift to digital delivery. Whether that’s good or bad isn’t the point of this post. (Like most things, it’s a bit of both.)
Enter Record Store Day – an event that was started a few years ago to bring people back to their local record stores. By all accounts, it’s been a massive success. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen people line up to get into a record store, but it happens every year on Record Store Day. And that’s pretty special.
Screaming Guys are pretty excited to celebrate the Record Store Day, too. We’ve got a little “no strings attached” contest where you can enter to win a $250 Bellari VP130 tube preamp for your turntable – a pretty cool device that brings some old-school analog warmth to today’s digital world. And over the next week, I’ll be posting about some of my favorite records — the records that are on the walls and in the bins of the photo above. I’ll also be taking you behind the scenes to show you what went in to making those sets and some of the surprises that I found along the way.
This year’s Record Store Day is on Saturday, April 21. See which stores in your city will be participating here. And maybe I’ll see you in line.
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