Super your local band or record store Saturday on RSD April 19, 2014
SATURDAY – APIRL 19th,2014 is the next Record Store Day; which is now a worldwide phenomenon. RSD is even bigger than Christmas! We interviewed some High-Fidelity geeks who I know hate music as much as they love it, have record labels or work in record stores. These super fans ooze tidbits of info like idiot savants. Shopping for music is such a subjective thing if you are hooked and these are deep into it. There are all types of music fans: the browsers, the professors, and the downloaders (also the ladies like to shop). There is also as much subjectivity in the process when dealing with the discography obsessed that it becomes this strange world. The college downloaders pretty much made it very difficult for small shops to stay open. Most kids today, we fear have never stepped into a record store; which is weird to think about. RSD was brainstormed in 2007 by a few retailers and now is a money-making event that has put them back in black. The movement has helped spike the industry by creating sales opportunities for the big labels, Artists and independents. Although much harder for the small labels to participate in because their new releases are always limited.
One of the main issues is price. We all love a deal and browsers like Dave Galgano owner of Rocket Science Records a small local N.J. label is an all year record buyer, he points out “In general I ignore record store day. It’s basically overpriced reissue of dollar bin records.” In many ways he’s 100% correct. Repackaging and remarketing is as old as the industry itself.
The labels put a premium on these supposedly limited releases but the truth is distributors hold the power and over charge because they know there is demand from collectors. The distributors also decide where the inventory goes which is the key here. Supply and demand is such a tricky thing especially when we’re dealing with this one big day.
Neil Sabatino from another NJ Indie label Mint 400 Records mentioned he has particular tastes between the 1960’s and 1994, he says “I mostly buy older stuff and I don’t need a special day set aside to remind me that I love buying records. I pretty much celebrate record store day anytime I have extra cash.”
So what about new music fans who are just getting into buying music? The breed is rare and the industry really needs to grow these fans who are willing to pay for physical artifacts. Mark Knorth from Vintage Vinyl, in Fords, NJ mentioned the “ebayers”. “There’s always some new faces, then there are the usual jerks. They ruin it for the fans…the “eBayers”…they buy it -no matter what it is. The true fans miss out.” So there is a soft gray market where inventory goes back into wild to rip off some poor Dave Mathews fan. This is where the labels don’t get a cut of but the store and distributor make-out so the chances become slimmer of the stores being stuck with an overpriced item even though something may eventually end up in the discount bin because its not any good. So having a collectors market is actually a desired after-effect.
Photo of Tim courtesy of www.redbankgreen.com/
Tim Cronin(Ribeye Brothers/Monster Magnet), from Jack’s Music Shoppe, In Red Bank, NJ mentions that stores have put in policies when discussing the “flippers”. “Not many people are going to admit they are gonna buy something to flip it. That’s why we limit the amount to one apiece until the line is done. That way everyone gets a fighting chance.” Tim mentioned he’s noticed over the past 5 years records; “some younger kids are coming in which is good for business but records themselves have “taken off”(he means vinyl records). Like good drug dealers the stores are selling affordable turntables like Numark or Crosley turntables but Cronin says “RSD is a day where no one is completely happy because nobody ever gets everything they want.”
We love buying records and last summer when we stumbled on Black Gold Records and Antiques I felt like a found a little mecca. I was so excited I had them take off their first T-shirt of a mannequin so I could buy it. I think I bought that pink Battles record there and a few others things. Anyway, here’s a video put together by Brooklyn Independent TV. Oh and did I mention they also sell Coffee. Perfect place to stop off after dinner around that area.
If I Love You (New European Gold Standard Secret Babylonian Brotherhood Cinema Mix) MP3 by The Brian Jonestown Massacre from Bravery, Repetition And Noise Golden Blunders MP3 by The Posies from Dear 23 Gold Top MP3 by The Supersuckers from La Mano Carnuda The Golden Age MP3 by The Flaming Lips from Fight Test EP I want my records back MP3 by Pulaski from Why are you doing this to me?
So when I started this documentary project on the Sound Station last summer in 2011 it was really to celebrate something that was pretty unique to my dear old town of Westfield, New Jersey. The hope is that this story turns into a comeback for a little cultural mecca that was just starting to gets it’s legs back. Embraced by the local NJ music scene like The Court Tavern was this was just another unexpected blow. The record store was going through a resurgence finding their audience on facebook and throwing free shows they were able to stick their heads-out from the recession but nothing could prepare them for this. This is a place where there was always a steady diet of discovery of all sorts of genres funk, jazz, soul, hip-hop or whatever your discerning rock taste was into. Chances are Bob would always have a recommendation for you and if he didn’t I was usually was just happy to be able to walk into the place and talk about music — music therapy. Just knowing the place was there gave musicians and music fans like myself comfort.
Ava shopping for records at the Sound Station
Anyway, most of you reading this already know this but for the one’s that have not stepped into a record in years. Maybe it’s time to consider stepping into one because it’s a sort of experience that can’t be replicated. My hope is that this short inspires you in some way and we can do an update as the tale unfolds. Stay tuned!
Just one of many amazing Blues, Soul and Funk records I found at Sound Station
Music to discover or rediscover: Problems MP3 by Lee Fields & The Expressions Greasy Spoon MP3 by Mel Brown from Chicken Fat Radio MP3 by Raphael Saadiq from Stone Rollin’ One More Night MP3 by CAN from Ege Bamyasi Black Snake MP3 by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears from Scandalous
DJ Danny, A.K.A. Akalepse holding Gil Scott-Heron's Winter in America
It was 1987. Public Enemy had just popped into the scene. We were clueless pre-adults about to be released into the world. We knew who Malcolm X was from English class which only really came together after hearing their words and his radical words pumped out through the speakers of the political defense system that the revolution would in fact not be televised. Or would it? We knew the Beastie Boys brought us some awesome party music but there was no way they invented this music. The nerative was too pure with all sorts thoughts and stories making history real-time. The master at telling them was Gil Scot-Heron who preached about a black and proud nation. PE took the bass and drum parts isolated and amplified their message to give rap music edge. We were white kids and we went deep. Explored hip-hop tape and records shops in Plainfield NJ in the middle of the day for more. Where we just used to buy beer and pot. This time the contra-band was Hip Hop. More radical than punk rock and hardcore. Gil Scot-Heron let us know this has been going on for awhile and PE were just some of the messengers. Thanks Beasties for making it alright and RIP Gil — G*d Bless.
I stepped it up this year with WFMU and this week the delivery made it to my humble doorstep. Five compilations which will take a couple months to listen to and fully absorb their eclectic and number one hit hand-picked selections. The task is daunting as DJ’s Michael Shelley, Evan “Funk” Davies, Dave the Spazz, Bob Kelly and Mr. Fine Wine’s labor of love WFMU pledge drive compilations with over 125 songs. So if you have not upped yer pledge you are missing out and you may have to wait till next years music offerings. Here’s a few dropped “needle” selects from a first pass. You may be able to grovel and donate to get one of these comps retro-actively but I stopped taking chances years ago. Some are ultra obscure which would take you a lifetime to find so. Enjoy!
DJ Premium Selects: Divagando MP3 by Sexteto Electronico Moderno from Michael Shelley Presents: Music is Freedom Gimme Some Lovin’ MP3 by Kongas from WFMU & Evan “Funk” Davies Present: Starting With The 70’s Vol 2 Sick MP3 by Prince Charles from Rare & Collectable Fine Wine: 2011 Wfmu Downtown Soulville Premium You’ve Got Your Troubles MP3 by Billy Strange from Everybody Back to Bingo’s Bachelor Pad from Dave The Spazz – Bingo is a pet Monkey in case your’re wondering and he appears mixed in on every track! Confessions of a Psycho Cat MP3 by The Cramps from Caligula’s Frat Party! – R-r-real Rock & Roll Volume 11
EDITORIAL: Over-all I feel Record Store Day was a smashing success all over the world and as I watched the tweets and the enthussiam eb and flow it’s apparent the fans sort of loosely fall into a few categories. 1) Ebay swindlers 2) Rabid Early Bird fans 3) Slackers. I fit into category 2 & 3 for the most part. I’ve only bought the occasional item on ebay all of which were implements for making noise as I prefer the hunt. Anyway, a lot of what the stores get depends mostly on what they can afford to buy from their regular stock purchases. The store with the deeper pockets received more of what they requested for their particular clientele at least what my understanding is. So until they opened their boxes of goodies they could not even begin to hold stuff for their preferred customers. I don’t think a RSD point system would work but perhaps a lottery for entry might be better? Which would allow for the frequent customer to get a edge over the shysters. Also, not to mention Record Store Day is about celebrating commerce with your local merchant instead of cowardly downloading gobs of music you’ll never appreciate. For me it’s about the interchange of art but at the end of the day first come first server is pretty damn fair.
The bigger picture is really centered around the indie retailer staying alive and re-engaging music fans to take part in celebrating and re-discovering music not just one time a year but all year around. Us oldsters knows there is just too much music to consume in any given day; which is why we’re addicted to every part of the pleasure of listening. Sure we’re all going to download stuff to see if you like it (em-hem this music blog) but what happens when you hard-drive crashes? Isn’t it nice to be able to go to your own “record” library and reload the CD? Of course collectible vinyl is little bit harder to do and it’s an expensive habit to keep up – Trust me I’m a bandito with not enough time to even listen. I know I’m being really rightious but I’ve paid my dues and know it takes money to keep the good stuff coming. I see it as a re-investment into something I care about. All this schwagg I bought also reminds me personally of just sharing and spinning music for the shear enjoyment of it and a little bit is the music snob in me or sucker – however you want to look at it but damn is this new to me FELA 45 Morning in Lagos Part I & II awesome. When I find the time it’s bliss. Which is the point. Musicians and artists need to make a living so fans should PAY tribute every once in awhile not just every 364 days. Anyway enjoy some of the spoils that were available. What did you get?
Out of Print Again! D-7 MP3 by Nirvana covering The Wipers from the Hormaoning EP Pay To Cum MP3 by Bad Brains from their 1st 7″ Black Grease MP3 by The Black Angels EP from Light in the Attic which sounds amazing on vinyl like if a orgasm were like hot melting thick chocolate to yours ears. Crank to 11.
Tomorrow you shall Carpediem the crap out of some amazing schwagg and limited record releases. One spot and item that you should know about is this rarities Tape being offered to special customers at the Sound Station in dear old colonial Westfield, NJ. They have a special offer on freakin’ cassette. The contents of which are evem super secret and rare even to me. When you get there ask for Bob or Liz and tell them The Review Stalker sent you. They will know what to do. No you won’t need kevlar or anything like that but be prepared to imbibe some live music starting at noon by Milan, or catch some Reggae music, maybe catch a set by locals 117 Band or Daveen Decite. Anything could happen on Record Store Day! Be sure to check-in at Foursquare at The Sound Station in Westfield and try and kick me out as Mayor. The challenge is on and maybe you will find some of this stuff.
Record Collecting: Another journey to the Sound Station in Westfield another batch of scores all in one fell swoop!
Man I heart Truth and Soul records. Fallin’ Off The Reel III is a great archeological compilation with groovy space jams by Cosmic Force, the wah wah love of Timothy McNealy, and some truly great bass playing by Black Velvet. This shit is hotter than lava. Also on here is soul-tastic Lee Fields & Explorers. All the tracks are great if you want some funk/soul tasters. You should take a bite out of this one.
If your a fan of this re-insurgence of psychedelic rock music of the Black Angels variety then you should pay attention to these Bay Area mystics and check out the space-outs music of Lumerians. All their jams occur on the far away planet of Transmalinnia which is like distorted pompeii keyboard trip that will make your eardrums vibrate. Except is one or two notches louder and could easily knock down any arena.
“A recent study shows that 97% of all High School students have never set foot inside a record store”
Thank you Third Man Records Jack White for this roving record machine. What a great idea to bring commerce back to the kids. I hope you stack more than just Third Man records in this roving mecca. Ok granted 85 releases in a couple short years ain’t no small change for any indie. Jesus that’s most label’s entire catalog! Ok, so maybe some curated selects would make this awesome idea even more awesome but hey who am I to even question or fathom one of the most prolific musicians of the past decade. First we had taco trucks and now this crazy yellow machine.
The fact that kids are robbed of the experience of hanging at record store blows my and is a major social crime and Jack’s taken action in this matter. The maiden voyage of the rolling record store is set and the vehicle will make an appearance at SXSW of course. So if your heading down to Austin watch-out for it.
PLACES:Sound Station, Westfield NJ. You can always count on Bob and Liz to have some great stuff right there on the waterfall rack begging for you take them home. So if your’re wondering where to take a drive to one Saturday afternoon set your garmond on this music lovers destination.
They know their customers and if your a connoisseur of the rare to the obscure funk, soul, alternative rock, punk or blues record or no wave -whatever; chances are they’ll have something interesting in for you to check out. Consider them your music curators. Their stock is not huge because of these changes times but they will certainly try and track down whatever you want and will enjoy talking about it. This is the record store experience you won’t get online. This is how shopping for music should be.
Here’s a few samples of the great finds in just the past few months. I often talk about accidental discovery and the Sound Station is the place to do it in. Just open your ears and audio fun will follow. You won’t be able to follow them on twitter or anything fancy like that. Just not they are closed Sundays and Mondays.
Mochilla Presents: DJ Nu-Mark – Take Me With You – Holy crap this is a great collection of inspired funk rhthms from Uncle NU via his travels. Amazing mix of Samba, Cumbia, Calypso, Rumba, Afro and Balkan beats. Features “Tropicalifornia” from his record Broken Sunlight. Total summertime party album from Mark Potsic the ex-Jurassic 5 member. This will make you want to travel be a professional vacationeer. Sample this beat: 42 Take Me With You (Track 42) MP3 DJ Numark from Take Me With You. Oh no clue what this track is called no listing to be found. Help!
Truth & Soul Records presents Lee Fields & The Expressions in an incredible authentic soul journey in his 2009 release My World. This has just enough modern beats to make this a complete groove thing. Check out the title track for starters then work your way around the whole record. Great find. Apparently he lives in Plainfield New Jersey. My World MP3 by Lee Fields [Buy Some]
Charles Bradley No Time for Dreaming
Here’s Charles Bradley featuring Menahan Street Band. Saying this music is not heavily influenced by James Brown would be a complete lie. Raised in Brooklyn born in the south. This music is the real soul ordeal. Books are written about these guys as if they were history. He’s very much alive and doing his thing. Check it out. The World (Is Going Up In Flames) MP3 Dig it from No Time For Dreaming [Buy]