Sure, you can buy vinyl records on Amazon, Urban Outfitters, Wal-Mart and probably a slew of other stores online.
I wouldn’t know; I never do.
Half of the allure in collecting records is crate-digging at a local, independently owned record store. Am I right? I’m right.
This year’s Record Store Day on April 13 is designed to celebrate that exact option. I plan to hit one or all three local record stores participating by featuring exclusive RSD releases: FWB Vintage Records, 217 Racetrack Road NW, Fort Walton Beach; Central Square Records, second floor 89 Central Square, Seaside; and Revolver Records, which will host a pop-up shop at a time and Pensacola location to be disclosed before the event.
There is basically no one who exudes effortless cool more than the owner of a local record shop — barring exceptions like J-Lo and The Rock, really anyone with an iconic nickname. Getting to know the person slinging records behind the counter has always been a mystery I’ve tried to unravel with great care.
What I often find is record store owners are either the exact opposite of record collectors, or maybe exactly the same depending on your perspective.
Many I’ve met don’t collect records at all. Their store is their collection, and they get to listen to theirs or shoppers’ picks everyday.
I’ve also never met one who had some ocean deep explanation for their career. It’s not necessarily their life’s purpose, but I do gather it’s a calling. Someone’s gotta do it, and why shouldn’t it be them?
I don’t foresee ever being that cool.
Record collectors, on the other hand, I compare to hoarders. If we love it, we must possess it.
Collecting is an addiction, and there is nothing I’m more possessive about than music. My purse? Carry it. My car? Take it for a spin. The master bedroom? It’s yours.
My favorite song? Back. Off.
Shopping for records isn’t like shopping for groceries. While, of course, there are exceptions, you typically don’t walk in with a list, and even when you do, it probably won’t feature many check marks. I abandon my list every time and with pleasure.
The joy of crate-digging is you don’t know what you will find that day or what gem will capture your attention. I’ve bought records for various reasons. I liked the album cover. I knew one song. I recognized the artist’s name. I saw it on a TV show.
What ends up in my bag when I leave is a total surprise. In fact, the whole thing is a blur. When I get home, I don’t know what time it is, what day, what year and why on earth I bought another copy of an album I already freaking own. Insanity.
What most people love about vinyl is that it appeals to all the senses — except taste, because that’s too far for even me. When I personally explain my love of records, it goes something like this. They physically take up more space, like a physical manifestation for my love of music.
That’s my reason. It’s simple.
I really believe in shopping local and supporting other people’s dreams and passions. This was basically my long way of saying I can’t wait to celebrate Record Store Day, and I hope you will, too.
My top 10 RSD 2019 picks:
1. “Purse EP” by Elvis Costello & The Imposters.
2. “Love-To-Be” by Morrissey.
3. “The Hurting Kind” (Deluxe) by John Paul White.
4. “The Alternative Fleetwood Mac” by Fleetwood Mac.
5. “Big Me” by Foo Fighters.
6. “The Atlantic Singles 1967” by Aretha Franklin.
7. “The Hi Records Singles Box Set” by Al Green.
8. “Poison the Well” by Modest Mouse.
9. “Live at Carnegie Hall 1977” by Billy Joel.
10. “The Black Parade is Dead” by My Chemical Romance.