Saturday, April 17 was Record Store Day, the national holiday celebrating independent and local record stores across the country. Artists and labels of all types use this day as an opportunity to release limited edition, hard to find tracks to the world, as a way to say thank you to both the stores that carry their music and to the people who buy their music in the age of digital theft.
It was my first record story day. I came home with $130 dollars worth of vinyl.
Admittedly, I went a little nuts. But, hey, at least I stimulated my local economy. And I get to add a few inches to my indie-cred dick.
What follows is a description of what I picked up and whether or not it was worth it. All records were purchased at Repo Records in Philadelphia, my favorite place to buy punk music.
Ted Leo and The Pharmacists 7in Single:
This little number, which features two non-album tracks from the band's latest, LOTD-approved The Brutalist Bricks, was one of the more exciting buys of the day. Sadly, it was also one of the more disappointing. The two tracks, “The Oldest House” and “North Coast,” were clearly left off Bricks for a reason, as neither of them is very good. Of the two, I prefer “North Coast,” which at least has some pretty solid riffing going on. Both are straightforward punkish-rock songs, and neither of them leaves a very strong impression.
Worth It?: Nah
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Skeleton 7in:
While the record has grown on me some, It's Blitz is still my least favorite YYYs album to date. “Skeleton” is a pretty good track, though, and the live cut of the song on the single's b-side is hauntingly true to the original recording. It is fun to hear how much breathier and warbly Karen-O is in real life, and the live cut does pack a little more energy into the song than the album cut does. While no means an essential piece of the collection, its still a neat lil' single, perfect as a gift for a girlfriend or an effeminate friend who thought Show Your Bones was too punk rock.
Worth It?: Just Barely
Passion Pit Little Secrets Red 7in:
Full disclosure: I didn't actually buy this one, my girlfriend did (but I totally would have if she hadn't). “Little Secrets” is probably my favorite song off of Passion Pit's excellent Manners, so having a single of it is a pretty nice little addition to the (her) collection. The Felix Da Houscat remix is also pretty good, though with a song as dance-ready as “Little Secrets,” a remix does seem kind of redundant. Still, this doubles as not only a good get but the prettiest record of the day.
Worth It?: ...Yes.
Japandroids Art Czars 7in:
Another pretty-looking piece of vinyl, this Japandroids single takes a cut from one the band's pre Post-Nothing Eps and pairs it with a cover of Big Black's “Racer-X.” The cover is a little lacking; without a full band behind it, the cover fails to reach the brutal heights of the original. “Art Czars,” however, is a bitchin' tune that finds the band bringing more punk than drone. All told, this is a fun little single from this decades Death From Above 1979 that is getting me giddy for their eventual second album.
Worth It?: Totally
Against Me! I Was A Teenage Anarchist 7in:
Speaking of building momentum for a release, here's the single for “I Was a Teenage Anarchist,” a track from the band's forthcoming White Crosses album. This song is going to piss off the Against Me! purists, as it strikes the same stadium-ready, pop-leaning songwriting style that the band nailed on New Wave. Still, if you like big-ass pop-rock and aren't brain dead, you'll probably be into this song. And, for all you folk-punks out there, the single includes a stripped-down acoustic b-side that is also pretty good. My friend Joe Pelone had a problem with this single, though I'm not totally sure what it was. Maybe you should as him about it? Either way: good single, totally pumped for White Crosses.
Worth It?: For big fans, totally. For average shits, nah.
I also got this cool looking Built To Spill single, but I can't listen to it yet because I'm kind of an idiot. I'll get more into that later.
Pavement Quarantine The Past
Different track listing than on the CD. Double vinyl. Custom artwork. Pretty great stuff. Since I have all the band's music already, I will admit that shelling out for a best-of might seem like a lame idea. My defense is two fold: 1) Now I can play this for my friends without having to worry about tracks like “Hit The Plane Down” turning them off and 2) Fuck you, I love Pavement. I'm pretty excited to get drunk sometime this week and bust this puppy out, close my eyes and pretend it is 1995.
Worth It?: Again, not for super-fans. However, if you were ever looking to get someone into Pavement, this is as good a gateway record as any.
Modest Mouse The Moon And Antarctica 10th Anniversary Reissue
Truth be told, this was one of my two reasons for wanting to get involved with Record Store Day (the other being a rumored Hold Steady silk-screen advance of their forthcoming Heaven is Whenever that I couldn't find) and I couldn't be more excited to have it in my collection. Not to sound like some kind of elitist dick-mouth, but I love the sound this record puts out. The beauty of having it on wax is in the subtle sound changes that just don't get picked up on the digital version. There are new loops and layers that are missed when listening to the record on an ipod. Modest Mouse and vinyl seem to just be meant to be. Pitchfork has a rundown of everything cool about this edition, but really it just comes down to the fact that the shit sounds better coming out of a hi-fi.
Worth It?: Absolutely
Days like this remind me why I want my record player in the first place, and how fun the process of actually holding something in your hands can be. God bless you, Record Store Day. I'll see you next year.
Now I gotta go find a job so I can justify spending a week's groceries on music.