You have to listen to this one song. It’ll change your life, I swear.
Some of the earliest and best memories are living room dance parties, the scratch of the needle on one of my dad’s records, anyone who was in the house piling out of a bedroom to come swing around each other to the Dead or Fleetwood Mac or CSNY. Records always sounded warmer, closer to what it felt like to sit in a performance space, back before overproduction and Auto-Tune made everything sound eerily perfect.
Then it was tapes, swapping them back and forth with friends, spending hours and hours agonizing over composing the perfect mix because if you screwed up and had to tape over the quality was going to noticeably degrade, you know? I have a box of them, still, in storage somewhere. Can’t bear to part with them though I don’t actually have a place to play them anymore.
The click-click-click of Cheapo at 10:30 on a weeknight, as the diehard music snobs worked their way through the not-yet-cataloged batch of used CDs.
Spinning around in the dark in the bowels of Bigelow Hall during my weekly program on WMCN, trying to figure out if I could make a Dr. John - Deus transition work. Trying not to puke that time I got to interview Bob Mould.
So many Record Store Days at Atomic in Milwaukee (RIP) or the Fetus in Minneapolis. Every year since we’ve been back in the Cities I’ve thought about putting on my mom jeans and heading over but I’m not antagonistic enough toward the 20-something hipsters to want to subject them to the horror that is little kids tired of waiting in line for something they don’t really yet understand. I don’t collect records anymore anyway - I don’t have the equipment or the disposable income to support the habit. Just a few LPs I hang on to for sentimental reasons.
But I’m glad it’s still going on, you know? I roll my eyes a little but I smile at all the kids waiting in line for this release or that one. Because the record store itself is an anachronism, the pressed vinyl even more so, but there’s still nothing like that sound, needle down, nothing we’ve done in the years that quite manages to capture music the same way.
Happy Record Store Day.