The Friday Morning Listen: Vetiver – Thing Of The Past (2008)

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Tomorrow is Record Store Day, that annual event reserved for the celebration of that seemingly dying breed of retail outlet. I’ve written plenty about the future of digital music (mostly my lack of interest in it), but Record Store Day transcends the fight over bits vs. objects. The cultural aspects of record stores — like-minded folks gathering to swap likes & dislikes, in-store musical events, that sense of connection — those kind of things can be approximated online but it will never feel the same to me.

What have I gained from hanging out in record stores? Friends. Great ones. The fact that we share that special bond of music obsession serves to cement our friendship. Oh, and then there’s the music. Just in the last handful of years I have been introduced to: Vetiver, The Low Anthem, Taylor Ho Bynum, Kayo Dot, Daniel Higgs, Carla Bozulich, MF Doom, Boris, Joanna Newsom, Forbes Graham, Sleep, Meredith Monk, Paul Flaherty (much to TheWife™’s dismay), Chris Corsano, Battles, and probably a bunch of others I can’t quite dredge up at the moment.

On a larger cultural scale, I see independent record stores as a buffer against our ever-growing monoculture. I find it kind of sad that people have become so comfortable with nearly all of their things coming from nondescript concrete & steel boxes. Note: Amazon and iTunes are virtual nondescript concrete & steel boxes.

It you read through the entries on the Record Store Day quotes page, you’ll notice notice many variations of “…when I was growing up…” This seems like the key to the future of record stores. You can read that as: no future. I have no doubt that at some point, all music will be consumed online. The same will be true of books and film. We will be living inside of that box. And who knows? Maybe we’ll be happy about that.

In the meantime, I like the advise given by Grinderman:

Do yourself a tremendous favour and go to a record store today. The relatively mild exertion of getting off your fat, computer-shackled ass and venturing out to find the object of your desire, the thrill of moving through actual space and time, through row upon row of records, and the tactile ecstasy of fondling the quested treasure — all this will augment and enrich the mental associations the music invokes in you for the rest of your life.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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