It can feel trickier, nowadays, to link up place and sound, at least in our minds. For the place where we get a lot of our music is from our computer, or smartphone, meaning many people no longer associate the first time a song is heard with where they were.
But fans who repeatedly visit record stores remember just where they were when they bought Paul's Boutique or Abbey Road or Blondie's Plastic Letters. They were in the aisle near the poster bin or previewing the platter via a pair of bulky headphones at the shop's counter.
Record Store Day, which spins again on Saturday, April 18, is as much about the importance of place and regular visits and knowing your music purveyors as your favorite bands and great deals. Nostalgic? Maybe a bit, but consider that our record stores are not long gone, nor are they relics of a different decade: They thrive thanks to strong community and a funky, welcoming spirit.
So if you like classical, psychedelic rock, trip-hop, family sing-along albums, or the kind of music that isn't readily explained -- "it's kind of singer-songwriter-y, with a dash of disco and Big Band -- then find your local shop and say hello on April 18.
Special releases are in store during the day, which covers a swath of stores across the United States. As for shops in Southern California? Look for Third Eye in Long Beach, Vacation Vinyl in Los Angeles, and Burger Records in Fullerton to be in the giveaways-fun timez-let's party swing of things.
Dave Grohl, by the by, is Record Store Day Ambassador. Do you need to even know more? This, as the kids say, is everything.
And, nope, you don't need an old-school phonograph or even a love of vinyl to stop by the shop on your local Main Street. The beauty of record store devotion is that bumper stickers, pins, posters, and the random this-and-that of music fandom can be found in plenitude.
Alongside, of course, the camaraderie of the staff, their smarts and willingness to make recommendations. It's the location aspect, the remembering where you first purchased a favorite album, that's pretty meaningful here. How many physical spots can we tie happy memories to in our day-to-day? The record shop ranks pretty high, for many, in this category.