I Need That Record

October 29, 2008

The death of an American record store.

Funny thing. I just visited my local Everyday Music store (one of two in Portland) and was able to identify that going to a music store no longer excites me.

Blame the goddamned internet, but there’s no sense of wonder and discovery to be had for me upon walking into a record store anymore. I mean, I can either find and download and/or stream nearly anything I can think of, relatively quickly.
Being involved with DJ’ing has, however, created a need to have the physical artifact in my hands from time to time. It’s much easier to have this tangible object available for easy playing and for on-air commenting and back-announcing, but in this case it makes CD buying something approaching a chore – both physically and financially.

But wait…
I noticed that at the Everyday on Sandy Blvd. that they were moving the vinyl to the front of the store. There also seemed to be an awful lot of new stuff and not so much old stuff.
What’s this..?
A new pressing of Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity on vinyl? The cover looked so sexy. I haven’t bought a new record since 1986 or so. I mean, I have bought hundreds since then, but haven’t run my thumbnail down the shrinkwrap over the jacket opening for at least 20 fucking years. Since my first kid was born. I can’t even remember what the last new record I bought was. It may have been The Misfits’ Legacy of Brutality.
Yep. The whole vinyl resurgence passed me by. I got right into CDs and also stubbornly stuck with cassettes well into their obsolescence. I got burnt out (and heartbroken) when the bulk of my record collection was ruined by being stacked on top of one another unbeknownst to me in dead storage for over a year. What records remain are those precious or valuable ones that have always been at my side.
So, I got cynical about vinyl and I also reasoned that most record piles at thrift stores, record stores, pawnshops etc. have been well picked over by hipsters with more time on their hands than I.
Besides, you can’t really listen to records in your car. Can’t listen to them on your laptop or iPod. They require some really serious, deliberate listening. Preferably with headphones and in a reclining chair, like the guy in the 70’s Maxell ad (or was it Pioneer?), with you attendant enough to flip the record over at about 20 minutes or so.

But damn, I need that Kraftwerk LP!



  1. I love that Everyday Music. I have similar feelings though, and I rarely go in there now. It’s disappointing because it’s a great place to hang out.

  2. Another thing I have noticed about music stores in general is that they have stopped stocking them with much new stuff. I mean, they will always have some inventory of new, current releases, but it seems like they aren’t stocking up with edgy stuff that might be a little older or somewhat obscure. I would imagine that they can’t afford to take chances on anything a little off the beaten path.

  3. Physical stores are becoming obsolete.

    If we could just download our breakfast, we could do away with them altogether.

  4. I’m still pretty impressed with some of the smaller record shops. Yesterday I went to Music Millenium on E Burnside, and Exiled (my favorite shop) on E Hawthorne. I found good stuff at both stores. I picked up some very cool records at Everyday on W Burnside last weekend. I do get fatigued with the crowd at EM, but it’s usually worthwhile.
    That being said, I buy far more music online because that’s where all the choice limited edition stuff is.

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