Checking out, the cashier asked if I found everything I was looking for. I explained that I did no homework for the day; I like to walk in and let things come to me.
For Round 1, I went to Silver Platters up in Lynnwood. Mid-morning by time I got there, there was no line to enter the shop, the clawing for one-offs had died down, and the long line for one of four cashiers was moving quickly. It was Record Store Day, 2018 – last Saturday, 21 April.
I picked up, all vinyl, a Brian Eno EP, a re-issue of Shiho and her Japanese electronica, a compilation of girl garage bands from the 1960s; on 10-inch vinyl I selected Sublime, Flaming Lips, and Noah Gundersen. Free stuff was 2 flats, huge flats, 18”-square, of Aretha Franklin and The Smiths.
Not homework, but I will admit that I had the local radio station playing Friday afternoon; they were reviewing material that would be available on Saturday. DJ Kevin was interviewing Matt Vaughan, owner of Easy Street Records and RSD co-founder. (Easy Street is a really cool store, and café, whenever I make it over the bridge to West Seattle. Think of it, next you find Seattle.)
Vaughan was delighted that Flaming Lips put something out interesting to listen to, but I couldn’t remember what exactly that was; I chose one of their two 10-inch records available. The DJ was excited that Noah Gundersen was playing a live set at a different record shop, but I couldn’t remember that I actually heard anything of his playing. My attention zeros in and fades away.
The thing about a 10-inch record, it could be a 45-rpm or a 33-rpm play; the label is vital. Not labeled, I started this one out at 33 and the music was great, but Noah’s voice sounded a little slow. Like he was mumbling in a cemetery soon after his own death. I moved the speed up to 45, and his voice sounds right, but the band sounds rather normal. Let that be a lesson to him.
If you want the interviews and whole in-studio experience, you can watch and listen:
Good grief the Sublime 10” is amazing. The ska/rap/punk/pop mixture has texture and themes; rhythms and just enough sounds in-between the reggae thing. I have listened to a lot of reggae over the years – local radio has had a Saturday morning reggae show for at least 33 years – but this is different. The reggae beat is not the dominate idea; other aspects of the composite sing out.
The Shiho stuff is a beautiful experience. My favorite record store experience: pick something up, don’t know anything about it, but something clicks inside. “Give it a shot.” Take it home. Cue it up. Whammo. Something cool, never knew it existed. Exploring the electronica and atmospheric music areas is pretty new to me; this was a good place to continue my brief education. The bright clear-pink vinyl is extra credit, which is normal for RSD.
Girls in the Garage, volume 3. On searching, there are at least 6 volumes to this series. It’s good we have a chance to remember the multiple precursors to Riot grrrl. I randomly provide one selection.
You can listen to the whole thing, of course, on YT.
RSD 2018, round 2. Fun, but less eventful. I searched and noticed a couple of record stores that I didn’t know about. In the afternoon, I went down to Jigsaw Records, on the eastern edge of Ballard, not far from where I live. Cute little shop, a hole in the wall on a strip long known for funky drinking wells. I took a chance on Television Personalities, and it’s OK. I’m still digesting it. No free stuff.
I want to know. Did people celebrate Record Store Day this year? Where? What did you buy? What did you find to love?
Let us close up with some Aretha, why not?