Record Store Day 2010

This past Saturday was the third annual Record Store Day, a highly anticipated event for Drew and something that I more or less enjoy. I had to work Saturday morning, but was able to meet Drew in the line to get into Music Saves, one of the independently owned stores on Waterloo Rd. near the Beachland. The line more than doubled in length while we were waiting and by the time we were done shopping and had checked out, there was still a decent line of people waiting to get into the store.

My haul is (mostly) pictured above & breaks down as follows:
  • Dum Dum Girls/Male Bonding split 7"
  • Thermals/Cribs split 7"
  • Surfer Blood/Holiday Shores split 7"
  • Built to Spill 7"
  • Superchunk 7"
  • Let's Wrestle/The Love Language split 7"
  • Unusual Animals vol. 1 (Asthmatic Kitty split 7", free in my grab bag!)
  • Music Saves loaded me up with additional free goodies including stickers, a Helper T-Cells CD, a Sufjan Stevens comic book, Cleveland postcards, & the center from a copy of the new Hold Steady album, which was pressed here in Cleveland (this will probably become a coaster)
  • USED a copy of the Barbarians' "Moulty" 7" from the Blue Arrow (also on Waterloo)
  • USED VIA MAILORDER The Softies' "Love Seat" 7", Best Coast "Make You Mine" 7", Skatterbrain's CD-R comp If You Like Everything, There's Nothing Left to Love!
I think that's everything...

The Blue Arrow and Music Saves put on a joint series of shows featuring local bands Prisoners (this was Drew's third show playing with them), The Muttering Retreats, Tastycakes, The Very Knees, and Cloud Nothings. I think I caught a little bit (or all) of everyone's sets (with the exception of the Muttering Retreats.) Cloud Nothings were a lot of fun (they played my favorite song of theirs & staple of this year's summer jams, "Can't Stay Awake") & so were Prisoners (who will be apparently playing a ton of shows in the coming months, so I guess I can look forward to Drew never moving his amplifier out of our living space.)

Maybe it's the Ladypalooza stuff going on over at Tiger Beatdown, but lately I feel as though I have been hyper conscious of the way my gender informs the experiences I have out and about in the "real world" as it relates to music. "Sexist Encounters with Music Snobs" have become an institution in my journal (dudes who work at Guitar Center who tell me, "If you just practice hard enough, even you could be in a band!," record store clerks who I assume that I basically exist as Drew's mobile record holder, people who ask me if I am a "groupie"), but I feel like lately I've been hyper aware of positioning myself as a female within record culture and wondering what that means in a larger context. This is all a very long way of saying that waiting in line on Record Store Day, I was subject to some conversations that totally helped me to understand why my girl friends don't want to go to the record store with me or go to shows or even talk about music in a way that is more meaningful than, "Oh yeah, I really like that song."

I found myself having a sort of on the street existential crisis because I became totally paranoid about whether or not I was one of Those Elitist Record People who talked about things like having rare Deerhunter singles (FULL DISCLOSURE: I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO DEERHUNTER IS!) I heard a lot of people talking about their music blogs in ways that both made me both ashamed of having a music blog and proud of myself for never talking about it in real life (which is kind of weird, I mean, why should I be proud of myself for not sharing something?)

Ultimately, I have some mixed feelings about Record Store Day. I say it all the time, but community is one of the main things that drew me into an ongoing appreciation of music & while I love that Record Store Day, in many ways, helps to foster a sense of community by getting people to go out and support independently owned stores (& from what I hear, people in Cleveland showed a lot of support), I don't get a sense of community from listening to people brag about who has what (I mean, we might as well just get it out there, my ability to collect records is a direct product of my class privilege) or seeing people re-sell Record Store Day releases on eBay (Blur's ONE SIDED 7" is selling for upwards of $100 on the auction market -- over $100 for JUST ONE SONG).

All that said, I would more or less call Record Store Day 2010 a success.


KP said...

" I have been hyper conscious of the way my gender informs the experiences I have out and about in the "real world" as it relates to music. "Sexist Encounters with Music Snobs" have become an institution in my journal..."

I've had more sexist encounters online than in the real world, but in the past decade, at least, I've interacted more with music fans online than I have off. (I live in a medium/smallish town with only a few good record stores and a negligible music scene.) The covert sexism bothers me more than the overt: The kind of stuff that makes me think, "Did that really just happen?" Or, like you said, am I being hyper-aware of it.

Samantha said...

I agree with so much of what you said here.

I didn't go out on Record Store Day. It just happened to be M.'s (my partner) birthday & he took care of the shopping for us. I told him I didn't want to go NEAR anything. Well, that & I was having anxiety issues because we were traveling to Poughkeepsie, NY to see The Flaming Lips, & I wanted to be home until the minute we had to leave. Why am I telling you all of this?

Oh yeah, RSD. You know, I have never been in a record store on that day. I just can't take it. The snobbery just pours out from people. I already feel excluded from the "cool kids" & do not subject myself to even more torture. I just stay home, give M. some cash & my list. Isn't that horrible? I can't even feel comfortable in a damn record store?! It really is unfortunate.

I went to the record store a few days before RSD. M. wanted to go & I hadn't been in awhile. Plus, there were having a 20% sale. Anyway, I kind of hate this particular store because it's SO SMALL, yet people stand around inside TALKING & not BUYING anything. I'm like, GTFO! Everytime I go in there, I get "looks". Oh no, is a girl buying records?! GASP! & then I feel like I get "watched" while I browse. They (dudes) look at me while I crouch down on the floor to dig in the bins. I see them spying my purchases. "What could SHE be buying?" UGH UGH UGH!

& I also hear the "I own this & that record" talk ALL of the time. Or, "I saw this & that band before this & that" & I just want to run & hide.

Anyway, I was going to post a photo of my loot, too. To rub it in people's face (joking!), but I've been too lazy. You scored some awesome shit. Jealous about the BC 7"! I also got the Dum Dum Girls/Male Bonding split. Oh oh oh! I thought of you on Saturday! We had a shitty time at The Flaming Lips show (the crowd was just AWFUL) & it reminded me of your DDG experience. I hate that crowds can take away from the actual set, you know.

Ramble ramble.

K. said...

Kathy - I think I have slightly more interaction in the real world re: music than I do online, but that balance has been shifting around lately. I'm part of a few message boards that are music centric -- weirdly (or maybe not so weirdly?), I have taken a lot of the sexism that I have experienced online a lot more personally than the sexism I've dealt with face to face. I think that part of it has to do with the fact that when I interact with a group of people online (say, in the comments of a blog entry or on a thread in a message board), I'm typically engaging in an intentional interaction (especially if that interaction is occurring within an online community that I frequent) whereas if a jerk Guitar Center employee comes over and gives me the "hey little lady, are you lost?" routine, it's more incidental. Generally, I find that it hurts a lot more to have people that I'm intentionally interacting with making a sexist statement. Regardless of the context, calling people out is never easy for me, so I'm really working on getting to a space where I feel comfortably with saying something in situations that upset/hurt me.

Samantha -- Oh my god, so much empathy for everything you're saying here! I feel like I experience a weird obligation to "perform" in record stores (to like the "right"/"cool" things, to seem "cool," whatever), I also feel a lot more visible, like people are looking at me and judging what I'm buying/not buying. I've always bought way more mail order records than records from stores and part of it is because I have a hard time identifying with (what I perceive as) record store/record collector culture. (Another big part of it is that I'm just so anxious!)

I'm sorry that you had a bummer time at the Flaming Lips show. Sadly, you're right, I can TOTALLY IDENTIFY with that experience. Do you remember how a long time ago VH1 had that contest where the B-52's would come and play a show in your back yard? I think about that a lot when I'm at a bad show. I wish I could just invite bands I loved to play for a private (and respectful) audience!

RE: the Dum Dum Girls, 2 things: first, I loved the packaging for that split! You know, the text on the back that says something like, "Finally! The good people at Sub Pop have figured out a cumbersome way to package mp3s!" I thought it was really fun & cheeky. Second, while I was in line to get in the record store, there was a dude in front of me making fun of the Dum Dum Girls and saying how overhyped they were and how he couldn't understand why anyone would like them & I felt weirdly hurt/invalidated. I mean, they're not my favorite band, but it was still a reminder of what it feels like to be told you're uncool. BUT, when we got inside the store, they were playing the new Dum Dum Girls album & had it listed as their album of the week & I felt sort of vindicated (like, "HAH! SEE! People do like this!!!") but, what I'm getting at here, is that I didn't like either one of those responses in myself -- I really want to unlearn my need to feel cool!

SISSY said...

Carrie over at Tattooed and Pierced pointed out that RSD and "the boy culture of record stores" has a lot to do with "boy culture" equaling the ability to develop expertise in a particular subject area, while "girl culture" equals performing femininity.

either way, I get grossed out by the pissing contest that is Those Elitist Record People--who are, let's be honest, mostly dudes. a pet peeve of mine, in general, is going out in public and having to hear some guy blabber on and on about all these things that He's an Expert In, since 90% of the time he's just talking to hear himself speak and not to actually have a conversation. (fun fact: for some reason, those dudes tend to hang out in A) record stores or B) right behind me on the train/restaurant/etc. crazy how that works!)

for that reason, it's really hard to bring myself to spend a lot of time combing the racks of record stores, especially smaller ones, since the longer you hang out in record stores, the more likely it is you'll be subjected to these blowhards. you'll also get subjected to people watching you shop or feeling like they're entitled to comment on your purchases, like Samantha pointed out. it really IS easier to just mailorder sometimes.

on a brighter note, I would also like to share a _good_ story about record store culture and hanging with the dudes: a few months ago, I was in Red Devil Records in San Rafael, looking through their (most excellent!) stacks. it was just me, this younger hippie/raver dude, and the older, Willie Nelson-looking fellow behind the counter in the store for nearly an hour. when I finally brought up my purchases to the counter, Willie took each one and rang it up, commenting on how great each record was, how much he liked that artist. then he got to the last two--bikini kill's "pussywhipped" and albert king's "I'll play the blues for you"--and chuckled, saying how wide-ranging my selections were. he said, "man, can you imagine if albert king was in a band with bikini kill? he'd be all, 'whoa, these bitches are annnnnnnnnng-RY!'" he then riffed on that scenario for another five minutes, impersonating albert king playing in a riot grrrl band, and we all nearly died laughing.

if only more record stores and their patrons actively encouraged a sense of community and positivity rather than competition and bragging all over the place. then I might go a bit more often.

K. said...

@Sissy Thanks so much for the comment! I think the differences that you've brought up between "boy" culture/"girl" culture as they relate to record collecting are really interesting. I have sort of an atypical experience in the sense that both of my parents worked in record stores, so I've always really valued knowledge of the music that I cared about (i.e. who's on what label, first press versus additional pressings, original artwork, alternate track listings, fun facts, what's inscribed on the run-out track of certain albums, etc.) I think that most guys don't expect me to have this kind of knowledge & are surprised when I bust it out, then respond by tokenizing me as a "weird nerdy record girl."

I tend to buy a lot of mail order records, mainly because my local record store tends to order from distributors instead of directly from labels, which can make it hard to get things from small labels who don't work with major distributors. Shopping mail order is what really fueled my interest in music and my record collection and I feel like shopping mail order can be just as much of a community building experience as going into a physical record store because if you order from the same label long enough, they get to know you (especially if you're the kind of person who isn't afraid to reach out to people, send thank you notes, say you're excited for new releases, etc.) That said, I do sometimes catch myself longing for a physical space where you can have some face to face interaction with other people who are passionate about music.

Oh, and this: (fun fact: for some reason, those dudes tend to hang out in A) record stores or B) right behind me on the train/restaurant/etc. crazy how that works!) TOTALLY. I always end up in close proximity to the snob dudes that I want nothing to do with. WHY DOES THAT HAPPEN?

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