Friday, April 20, 2012

Storage Wars

My thoughts on the death of the record store are a little ambivalent.  I'm a large advocate of physical media and am a proponent of the idea that commodity fetishism breeds a kind of mystical and persuasive power within the object that can either be used to either align people with an ideology or place them in opposition to it.  However, I find that my best experiences in record stores involved finding ways to game the vermin collectors, whose demise I secretly cheered when Napster's implicit (though misguided) altruism came along.  Even now, most of the record stores I encounter (particularly as I've moved to the suburbs of CT) price albums way too high, figuring maybe people don't have access to the internet where they can order items at cost, pay shipping and handling, incur occasional international customs charges, and still get them cheaper than the in-store deals at said hoarder-type emporiums.  At least the competition of the cities drives prices relatively low, but in the 2010s when you can get a used DVD or video game for 5 bucks, why the fuck should anybody be paying $10 for used LPs unless said item is super duper rare?  Production costs are so much lower on music.  Why haven't we found a way to price it down and still make money without resorting to hawking mp3s/m4as?

So, often, my biggest joys were finding record stores too stupid to know what things were valuable; finding the first Gas LP for $10 at a punk store that probably had no idea what it was, discovering Trans Europe Express in Near Mint condition at the Salvation Army in Poughkeepsie, or finding dirt cheap out-of-print stuff by Loop and Spacemen3 in stores where those groups didn't provide use value for one's cultural capital.

With that said, I'm excited to be going to Record Store day at a store I have never been to before (Red Scroll in Wallingford, CT).

Fave Record Stores (still open version):

Amoeba- Berkeley, CA
Philadelphia Record Exchange- Philadelphia, PA
Other Music- NY, NY
Mystery Train- Amherst, MA
AKA - Philadelphia, PA

Fave Record Stores (RIP version):
Trash- Danbury, CT
Hospital Records- NYC, NY
Spaceboy- Philadelphia, PA
Volt- Danbury, CT
Rhino- Poughkeepsie, NY