June 14, 2010

8 Months

Wow it's been 8 months since I last wrote an entry here.  Well other than a handful of eBay finds, I've bought little new vinyl since Singing Dog closed last September.  Buying new vinyl online just plain sucks- not only do you not get a sense of the quality of the packaging (and if the packaging is good quality, the vinyl usually matches), but having things shipped often means unnecessary cover wear and seam splits due to sometimes careless packing and being tossed about- not to mention the seemingly year long wait for the package to arrive! AND of course, the added shipping cost: BONUS!  I much prefer to flip through, decide what I want, pick the best condition of several in the bin, carry it home NOW and enjoy it minutes after I decided to buy it. Instant gratification! 

I am still morning the loss of Singing Dog, and though Jim plans to move the store to a virtual shop, so far there's been no word or sign of it happening. 

Unfortunately with Singing Dog gone, I'm left with basically 3 choices to find vinyl locally (well, 4 if you count Best Buy, which I don't): 

Magnolia by far has the most new vinyl- but their target consumers are the college crowd.  Flipping through their many hundreds of titles, I just don't know very many of them. Some I try to remember and listen to samples of when I get home, and then go back for, and sometimes I buy something unheard of (so far no disappointments).  They don't have the alt-rock & re-issue selection the Dog did, and nothing like the over-stuffed R&B the Dog carried, no blues, no jazz, but a decent rap section and even a bit of metal. I love the store though and don't want them to change- they are keeping the format alive by catering to the younger gen that would no doubt prefer not to flip through such mainstream titles.  They also have walls of t-shirts, a billion used CDs and DVDs, new release and classic catalog CDs, giant posters, band logo buttons and all that.

Next down the road is Used Kids on campus: decent sized place but parking is a bitch on a busy day.  For me there's just not enough of a NEW vinyl selection to usually bother- and that's mostly what I look for is NEW vinyl. Old vinyl I prefer to find still sealed, which Singing Dog had enough of it with a sticker 'Stored away by us THEN so you could find it NOW'- cool little touch! Used Kids has a TON of used vinyl- half of it is a mile long $1 bin with a sky-light baking it throughout the day- 99% of it is seriously just crap, the other half is a decent enough mix however you RARELY find a treasure because the GOOD stuff is in a dank back corner where some guy that can barely breathe tracks (and mixes up) sales on eBay.  Maybe if they had the better stuff out for sale for a decent period of time before tossing it on eBay, I might not begrudge them so much and be willing to find parking more often.  Otherwise they are only an option when I'm desperate. 

And then there is Lost Weekend- the new kid in town- first opening in 2003.  Very cool place though slightly cramped if there's more than a couple people in the store at once- this is the first floor of a house converted into a shop- each room has a distinct selection.  This is a place of some character that all vinyl lovers would open if they could.  Most important to me, the new vinyl is a sampling of what Singing Dog carried, trimmed down to the most important releases.  The owner is real friendly and usually close by for some chat, and the bonus here is you can also browse a ton of used vinyl in excellent shape, and he continually posts new stock updates on facebook which is VERY cool.  So, although I wish his new vinyl selection were bigger but I understand this is as independent as it gets, this is now my best option for vinyl locally.  AND he has his own parking lot right in the front yard!  Hey that's important to an old record store geek like me!

I'd been to Lost Weekend once since getting back into vinyl in '08.  There were a good number of people browsing about, but not one for sharing my breathing space, I grabbed a couple of used Blondie albums and called it a day.

It was a FaceBook update from Lost Weekend that rekindled my need for new stuff, when a few weeks ago they posted a video of the local group Black Swans putting together a limited vinyl release, letting folks know they had a few of the 200 copies made in stock.  I'd not heard of the band before but listened to some samples online, LOVED the first cut from this record and called to reserve a copy before heading over and bringing back copy #18.  Awesome!

This was my first in-store purchase since before Sept last year.  I did go to Magnolia for the opening of Record Store Day, but they didn't have the exclusives I was looking for and the vinyl area was way too crowded for my taste so I bailed empty-handed and had to find the exclusives online.

I now have a few entries to get caught up with, so onward with the unboxing!

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