It’s very nearly one of my favourite days of the year. It’s a day when people are encouraged not to just click the ‘download’ link next to the song they’re listening to, but to put on some trousers, shoes and other going-outside necessaries, totter down to the local (preferably independent) record store and pay in circular bits of metal and rectangular bits of paper for a – wait for it – physical copy of said song.
Now bear with me. This isn’t some new-fangled idea that some hipster came up with, but it’s what people used to do in the now-distant past. A past where we weren’t handed everything on a silicon platter. A past where a shop used to sell music to adventurous teenagers, smelly hippies and the occasional 50-something who still thought Pink Floyd were the best thing ever, but was still willing to listen to the latest release from that little-known band their mate was telling them would be the ‘next Rolling Stones’.
Or something like that. These shops were great. My favourite one was called Beano’s, in Croydon (just by Surrey Street market, in case you’re interested) and they used to have three floors of second-hand CD’s, records and tapes. Yes, actual tapes. (If you’re unsure what a tape looks like, please see here.) They also had a small stage on the first floor where, every Saturday, a small band would set up camp and play to the aforementioned crowd while they were browsing. I was lucky enough to see many a nameless band here, enjoying the fact that they were enjoying themselves. You could buy a can of Fanta and a Snickers while you were watching too. I cannot think of many better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. (I was going to qualify that with ‘in Croydon‘, but that would be unfair to Beano’s. So I won’t.)
I realise at this point you may be asking yourself “in which distant decade was this guy hanging about in Beano’s?”. You may also be asking yourself which of the three stereotypes mentioned above I conform to. Well here are the answers to both of your questions: it was in 2004, and none of the above.
Sadly Beano’s no longer exists. It was faced with closure in 2006 and managed to scrape by until 2009, when it closed its doors for good. Luckily someone came up with an idea to hopefully stop this tragic tale from being repeated until there are no more record stores left. It rightly come in for some criticism, as the occasional band/artist sees it as a cynical opportunity to ‘re-release’ something they did ages ago. That said, I think most people take the right approach to it. Limited edition releases, special bits added on and genuine album releases all combine to make Record Store Day something to look forward to every year. So below are some bits I’m looking forward to getting my hands on. Although, if I can’t get them on the internet, I may not bother…
Night Works – Try So Hard
Debut release, on 12″
C W Stoneking – Maggie May (Beatles Cover)
AA Side with ‘Rich Mans Blues’, on 7″ and 10″
Battles – Ice Cream (Gang Gang Dance Remix)
Taken from Dross Glop 4, a Record Day exclusive vinyl release on 12″
She & Him – Sentimental Heart
Taken from Vol. 1, never-before released on 12″
Busdriver – Ass To Mouth
First release from his as-yet untitled debut, on 7″