Friday, April 17, 2009

In honor of National Record Store Day

Saturday is National Record Store Day. In honor of that, and my new haircut that makes me feel a bit like I am living in Empire Records, I am writing this entry.

To many of us, who get their music from iTunes, Limewire or bittorrent sites, record stores may seem obsolete. But if I have learned anything from working on this exhibit, it is that music just sounds so good and so real when it is coming from a scratchy vinyl album. And the experience of flipping through bins of albums, never quite knowing what treasures you might uncover cannot be matched by the sangfroid "current chart toppers" or "most played" lists.

With a vinyl record, you get an entire sensory experience. First, you walk into the record store that just smells like musty dust covers, to walls plastered with old band publicity shots and tour posters, flyers of bands seeking musicians or upcoming/long-past shows, to the faint smell of hemp and sweat, but mostly to the slightly charged atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. Walking the beat-up floors that have seen combat boots, bare feet and ballet flats alike, you find a section that seems intriguing, or is the only one not packed with other seekers, and start to flip through the bins. Albums of old bands you haven't thought of in years shuffle along with bands you have never heard of, enclosed in obscure, hilarious and maybe even slightly pornographic covers.

Some stores even still retain the listening station. It may be a sound-proofed booth with high-grade headphones and it may be just a player on a rickety TV table in the middle of the store, but it is all you need for a few blissful moments of rhapsody.

Eventually, with a teetering stack of beat-up albums, with maybe a few protected in plastic wrap, you march to the check-out counter so that you take your treasures home to enjoy.

If you want to check out an all-inclusive record store experience, with bands playing and the masses crowding the bins, look here for information of Guestroom Records' celebration of Record Store Day, 11 am-9 pm. They will have performances, special edition albums, and free food and drinks.

Our exhibit will include its own record store. From the postered walls to the listening station and even bins of Oklahoma-related albums to flip through (although ours will have bios and facts on the artists on the back) you will be able to feel a little bit of that paradise in the middle of the Inasmuch Foundation Gallery. Excited? You should be.

1 comment:

Jake said...

Note: Oklahoma's own Chainsaw Kittens get some props in Empire Records! Note the shirt worn by Ethan Embry's character, Mark. (The red-orange jersey with white piping in the picture above)