Friday, April 18, 2008

Record Store Day!

Well, it's tomorrow, not today, but I reckoned you could do with some advance notice.

Some of us have had the discussion: is it ok to download/share music? My short answer: yes, IF you keep funneling a commensurate amount of money to musicians/artists, and remember ani difranco's caveat/warning that it's "never as good as the real thing."

One handy excuse to do some of the real thing comes in the form of Record Store Day, tomorrow, 19 April, 2008. Put together by a group of indie record/cd store owners, it's an attempt to shine the light (and rain the bucks) on the nigh-unto-holy tradition of small/independent purveyors of music/life soundtracks to those who pay attention. This day was brought to my attention by this New York Times article, which is pretty good, if, you know, Timesy.

SO - go to your friendly neighborhood music store, grill the guys who work there, and reward them for their efforts. Let the games begin: Clash vs. Sex Pistols; Death Cab... vs. Postal Service; CD vs. Vinyl; invent better games of your own. I'll take a few minutes from what promises to be a GORGEOUS day and visit the Tunes in Hoboken (which for some reason is not officially affiliated with Record Store Day, possibly because they don't have a website. Don't know why they haven't bothered with that, but will still go there tomorrow. After all, it's 'my' record store.) Probably get the new R.E.M. even though those guys are filthy rich and don't need any more of my $, because the record totally fucking rocks. And I'll pick up something by a more deserving/needing-of-the-money artist as well. Maybe Tapes 'n Tapes, who are gigging in Williamsburg tomorrow night. (Hmmm... might we want to catch that gig after our big fat double feature?)

Oh, and by the way: Clash; Postal Service; CD and Vinyl is kind of a wash: Vinyl sounds better WHEN IT'S NEW, but gets all scratchy with time unless you are so careful as not to be practical. LPs are effin heavy, but the big format is way better for cover art - the great underlamented loss of the current era of musical devolution (LPs > CDs > MP3s) Ok, I grant that the intertubes offer some pretty nifty graphic options, but we lost something important when we lost the big ol' record covers.

SO - I present, not a claim for 'the best' cover or anything like that, but a golden example of bitchen album art:

There's the front of this unbelievably brilliant achievement in jazz fusion from one of the best combos ever assembled for that purpose. Don't judge a record by its cover, but I'd say this cover conveys the contents pretty well.

And, so you can see how they worked together in ye olde foldout:

I couldn't find the amazing late 60s soulful revolutionary jazz hipster prose poem liner notes by Ralph Gleason online, but, you know what? Just track down the album (in any format) and read them for yourself: have a look, dim the lights, light the candles, pour the wine and settle on in for the evening.

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