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Record Peddler

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Record Peddler: Speculators Make a Mockery of Record Store Day

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 10:18 AM

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[Record Peddler is an occasional column by Sam Lefebvre on life and music as viewed from behind the counter of an independent record store.]

Record Store Day is an internationally recognized, annual event in which record labels release special titles, often in limited quantities, that are only available in independent record stores on a particular day. The fifth annual Record Store Day took place last Saturday, on April 20, 2013. Record Store Day is intended to revitalize interest in local record shops, whose economic difficulties over the last decade are well-publicized and oft-lamented. Record Store Day urges fans to patronize these stores, at least for a day, if they wish to buy special titles from their favorite artists.

That's the idea, at least. The scene at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records when we opened at 8 a.m. to a deluge of zealous resellers (or "flippers" as we facetiously refer to the speculators buying and reselling titles for ridiculously inflated prices online) revealed a much uglier scene. The first flipper lined up at 4 a.m. The second was only minutes behind him. By the time we opened, a line had formed around the corner.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Record Peddler: The Horrors of Suggesting a CD to a Vinyl Buyer

Posted By on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 9:43 AM

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[Record Peddler is an occasional column by Sam Lefebvre on life and music as viewed from behind the counter of an independent record store.]

I've continuously worked in record stores since I was 16 years old. For nearly a year, I lived in the back of one record store while working in another, and working for a record label owned by the operator of yet another record store. At that point, record stores provided me with shelter, a menial income and, well, records. That was the height of record stores being intrinsically connected to my life. I don't live in one anymore -- the record store/home was closed by the Oakland Police Department for reasons I can't divulge -- but I do obediently show up to 1-2-3-4 Go Records in Oakland two days a week. I suggest anarcho-punk to a Mormon missionary, nod to the clever scammer yanking quarters from meters out front, and wonder why bands exclude their name from album covers lately.

It's a vocation. "Profession" is too self-aggrandizing for a guy whose assets include a memory bank of record catalog numbers and an uncanny ability to decipher the white-out spills that constitute black metal band logos nowadays. "Amateur," being etymologically derived from the Latin word amatorem, which means "lover," isn't accurate, either. Record store employment is a self-inflicted jugular slash for saps who love the music, not the job.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"