There was a time when, as a kid, I would walk a few blocks from my grandmother’s house in Bristol, Conn. to the local record store and peruse the racks of alt rock and rap tapes that lined half the available wall space in the small shop.
In those days before Pitchfork and Spotify, information about what was good and what wasn’t was not so easy to come by. Most of the most interesting albums were a mystery to me. I couldn’t hear things like The Dead Milkmen or 7 Seconds on any radio station I knew of. In that environment, having the taste of a trusted curator was essential.
So I would look through the tapes and the guy behind the counter would nod if my attention was caught by anything that he knew was quality.
“Hey, kid. You’ll like that one. Rocks.”
He was almost never wrong.
That music shop I used to frequent closed more than five years ago. It was one of many to fall as record stores found themselves struggling to compete with the onslaught of music that was everywhere on demand and often free.
In order to combat the diminished health of the independent record store like the one I used to go to, a group of record store employees cooked up Record Store Day. It officially launched on the third Saturday of 2008 and will mark its 8th year this Saturday with events at many participating stores, including Chestnut Hill’s own Hideaway Music, 8612 Germantown Ave.
A lot of musicians, who likely had a similar relationship to their local music stores that I did, are fans and are sure to offer special releases for each day. This year’s list includes a lot of exclusive and special releases, some by artists who plan on performing at their own local record store.
At Hideaway, visitors can participate in a couple different events:
The store opens at 10 a.m. and has stocked special, limited edition vinyl releases by The Dead, Kinks, Phish, White Stripes, Death Cab for Cutie and more.
The online show Freedom Fry Hi-Fi will host an all vinyl radio show at the store from 1 to 3 p.m.
Be sure to pay it a visit and support local record shops. They still can serve an important role in music dicovery no matter how much is available at our online fingertips. Sometimes you need someone to say, “Hey, kid. You’ll like that one. Rocks.”