I woke at 6:30am. It was a bright, sunny Saturday morning. Coffee brewing at extra strong. Karma Records was opening at 8am, so I needed to be at full throttle by then. I didn’t know what to expect. My plan was to get there at 7:30am and wait out in the cold, biting air like an idiot. There were things I wanted in that damn store and by God I was going to get them, come Hell or high water. Sure, I could’ve set my alarm for 1:30am and headed east to Fort Wayne. Wait in line at 2:30am at Neat Neat Neat Records like some freak. I could’ve done that. I guess I’m not dedicated enough. Or maybe it’s that I’m a 40 year old man that has a tiny shred of dignity. I’ll leave that crazy shit to the young punks and troglodytes. Those midnight creepers who turned off their PS3s long enough to rock a 60oz can of energy drink, munch on some Taco Bell, and inhale/exhale scented vapors all the while waiting on a desolate and dark street corner. My toupee’s off to ya, ya shits.
Nah, 7:30am is just fine with me. I knew it wasn’t gonna be bare knuckle brawling to get into Karma Records. And I knew that I’d see some friendly faces in line. I was right. Well, I was wrong about 7:30am. I got there at 7:45am. Pulled up and no one was outside the door. Win. As I parked in front of the storefront a kid got out of a beat up Cadillac and got in line before me. Newbie? Never seen ‘em before. He seemed new to the whole RSD thing. I thought that was cool. We’ve won another over. He mentioned something about a Lorde album he wanted. Good to hear. I didn’t have to beat him down for something I wanted. Safe. For now. Within 30 seconds we had ten people in line. Sure, that’s small fries compared to those desolate big city street corners. But for a town that has a church every half mile and a third McDonalds in the works this is a big deal. A line outside a record store in this religious, Christian conservative haven usually would mean a protest against the release of a gangsta rap album; or the Dixie Chicks. Either that or tickets to see Head East and Ambrosia at the Goshen Theater. No, this was a line with folks wanting to buy vinyl. This is a good thing.
8am. BAM! We’re in. The Lorde kid makes a b-line looking for nothing in particular while I use my x-ray vision to find those ear treats. Tame Impala…BOOM! Spoon…POW! Flaming Lips…KAPOW! I can breathe. I got the three big ones on my list. I back away and let the feeding frenzy begin. Karma did it right for the folks in this nowhere special Lake City. Three folks stood behind the counter; nervous, excited, ready for bloodshed. No blood was shed. Folks were cool. No pushing or shoving, not barely a word even spoken. As the crowd thinned out a bit I went back in for the scraps. The chum. Three 7 inch singles were mine. Of Montreal, Dino Jr, and Flaming Lips,…two of which were the Side By Side series. Very cool. Nice reminders of RSD 2014 for RSD 2015. Owner/operator John Vance pointed me in the direction of Hebronix. Yuck’s former head guy’s newest album. “Why not?” I thought. It’s RSD. Plus it’s on green vinyl.
Tis the season.
The evening took me and my gang on an odyssey in an Odyssey to the great Fort Wayne to hear the sultry sounds of Streetlamps for Spotlights at the mighty Neat Neat Neat Records. Morrison Agen is the ringmaster at NNN and in center ring was Jason Davis, Jay Hackbush, and Ryan Holquist playing a mix of fractured rock and shattered post-punk. It was a beautiful thing to see and hear. Another beautiful thing was to witness this with my kiddos and wife in tow. Sure, the live music -loud-ish for young ears- wasn’t quite the kiddos version of fun family night, but the wife and I tapped our toes and relived a youth filled with concerts and stage lights. Twas a great experience. Morrison also hooked me up with one of those RSD-exclusives Mr. Vance couldn’t get his hands on: Medicine’s Part Time Punks Session. Some NNN swag was purchased in the form of t-shirt, slip mat, and some cool buttons for the kids. Oh, and the Streetlamps for Spotlights vinyl was firmly placed in my grubby hands by the time we left South Calhoun Street.
By 7pm RSD had wound down for me. Hands full of great vinyl, and conversations had with very cool folks I know and quite like; plus some conversations with folks I’d never met before in my life but hope to see again. This is what community and fellowship feel like in my world. Everyone coming together with a common love: music. There are no fake smiles or attempts at flaccid earnestness. It’s a tribe of music lovers and vinyl eaters. Spinners of the plastic; 140gram, 180gram, 200gram,…wham, bam, thank you mam! The record store is the Church I choose to worship in. The creator of my universe sits in a 12 inch sleeve and waits for me to spin His wholly words through needle and stylus arm. 33 1/3? 45? Take your pick.
The speakers spit the meaning, you dig?