Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Record Store Update

Ok, rather than go on a political rant* (and, oh yes, I've got one in me today) I'm going to follow up on the Record Store Day post I made last week.

Saturday turned out to be fairly magnificent, weather-wise; and even though I was heartlessly blown off by my tennis partner du jour, I wasn't going to let that get me down. Took a long and beautiful walk through the 'boken, ending up at Tunes, my favored local music shop. Picked up a couple new releases I was looking for, then strolled to the back to check out the budget offerings. Greeted there by great news! Tunes has vastly expanded their vinyl selection, which used to be almost 100% new, audiophile-centric stuff. Which is fine and dandy, but now they have rows and rows of used stuff on the cheap. WAY better, people, at least for my purposes.

SO - I picked up some jazz, some classical, and some 80s pop. During the browse, I was taken by the band playing on the store speakers, so I picked that up too (The Dodos, a San Francisco folk-meets-art-rock group, very good - the disc is called "Visiter".) And, as if that weren't enough, they were selling these new-but-vintage-looking beer glasses up front: I got 4 pint glasses, complete with ice bucket and a dozen coasters, all graced with the "Old Style" logo (On Wisconsin!) for - wait for it- 10 bucks. Most satisfying.

Eventually, I went into town for a double feature and drinks with Sherin at the MoMA Jazz Score Film Festival. Saw Paris Blues (star-studded - Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Joanne Woodward - with great Duke Ellington & Louis Armstrong music, if a little cheesey. Plus, Diahann Carroll = yum) And...
Anatomy of a Murder (more Duke Ellington soundtrack action, written specifially for the movie this time. Very dated in some ways - hello 1950s sexual politics - but much funnier than I'd remembered, with first rate work from James Stewart, Ben Gazzara, Lee Remick and George C. Scott, and a remarkable performance as the judge from Joseph N. Welch, who hardly ever acted at all, having been a real-life lawyer. And not just any lawyer - this was the guy who faced down Joseph McCarthy in the Army/McCarthy hearings, and who nailed the Red Baiter for good with "Have you no sense of decency, sir; at long last, have you left no sense of decency?" Cool!)

Fast forward to yesterday evening: again, a gorgeous New York Spring evening. I had some time between work and meeting J.P and the boys at the Riviera for the Sox game (gotta love the Red Sox bar in New York), so I sat in beautiful and blooming Madison Square Park reading a music mag. You know how 'fulfilling' that trip to the record store on Saturday was? Well, remember: this is one of those appetites that increases with feeding. Looking over the reviews, I found myself intensely craving the new Portishead and Roots discs, and reissues from Otis Redding (stereo and mono mixes! plus live material!!) and Carole King. So, you know, just since I had some extra time, and since I was going to the Village anyway, I strolled down to another record store I know. There I found good news for my wallet, but bad news for civilization:

Yep. Disc-O-Rama has bitten the dust. (Please forgive the crappy camera-phone image.) Now, this was not one of those classic music shops. The clerks were snobby and surly - which is to be expected, surely, but it's usually accompanied by some serious taste and/or knowledge. That wasn't the case here. I mean, the guy who owned the place had some game, but he was hardly ever there, and even when he was he never wanted to talk to anybody. And the people who just plain worked there weren't much help either. Still, it was a place I'd gone to since I moved to the city, from way back before easy downloads were possible, even before easy CD burning was possible. They were always good for $10 CDs, even of new releases, even when the giant box stores were in full vigor.


And let this be a warning to us all - support those local independent record stores!!

*Earth Day and the Pennsylvania Primary were also a warning to us all, people. Damn, I hope you are paying attention out there. Lots of people aren't.

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