|Ugh, not Journey. Ralph!|
A little background: for years UO has been selling new vinyl and basic all-in-one turntables for the hipster set. Prices are usually moderate to pricey (except for the extremely rare super-sale). Selections are often interesting; heavily geared toward hipster and aging hipster alike (not a bad thing, but somewhat limited). Quite a few years back the VVers picked up the Black Market Clash 10" -- a strange but solid addition to the collection. UO is always good for a reissue as well. An example being a not-long-ago purchase of Mr. Bungle California; said Pitchfork "one of those albums that you can't believe a major label had anything to do with." A bizarre album to find at an UO in VVer #1's former neighborhood mall. An aside: decades ago, this mall housed no less than three actual music stores. Now the only place to find any substantial selection of music is the UO, which has filled the void of quasi-music stores similar to Hot Topic, Sears, or Woolworth's (that's going back a lot of years). If you don't happen to live near one of the few remaining independent record stores, UO and the interwebs are pretty much it. Most indie stores feature a large used section which affords the visitor to do a significant amount of digging (half of the fun), discovery (the other half), and hobnobbing with other music lovers (essential). How does UO fit into all of this? Since they have always stuck to new vinyl and newish artists, much of the records could just as easily be found on Amazon or the like (think Santigold Master of My Make Believe or Tune-Yards Nikki Nack, two examples of purchases by the VVers from UO in the past few years). Less direct competition for the indie record store which can get wild with variety and keeping that used section flowing with goodies.
|You dirty bastards.|
The VVers tolerate that UO is selling glossy new releases (to an extent), but delving into used vinyl is unacceptable, bandwagony, and horrifying. This week's edition of Parade (the glossy, pulp-portion of the Sunday edition of the anywhere-USA newspaper) has a full spread on Record Store Day. Why are the VVers not dancing the watussi about this? The article doesn't say a whiff about a single actual record store (and proceeds to interview Barry Manilow and the likes; the VVers disapprove). Mainstream stores, such as UO, and mainstream press continue in ignorance of the vital part of what makes music interesting, irreplaceable, and community-oriented. Long live indie record stores!
RSD is this Saturday, April 18th. Most shops, in addition to having extended hours and fancy special limited releases, also will have other fun things like live music, contests, freebies, used vinyl sales, etc. The store closest to the VVers usually has free coffee and donuts as well as a store-wide sale. For a solid list of stores, check here. Most importantly, make it a point to go to your neighborhood record store and embrace it for all its friendly, knowledgeable, un-corporate glory! If these stores are passed-over, all that will be left is the UO at the mall and Amazon. Prepare for the apocalypse.