August 2nd, 2008


I Should've Went To Frye's

If I haven't already expressed my extreme displeasure with soulless corporate entities, then allow me to indulge in a little external loathing.

I haven't bought any new music in more than a month; the last thing I downloaded was a free album by Girl Talk - an amazing compilation consisting of over 300 samples ranging from Lil' Wayne to the Beach Boys to Tom Petty to Eminem to Kelly Clarkson to Sinead O'Connor. Go find the album Feed The Animals, it's free if you're so inclined to not pay for their optional charge. Anyway, new discs have been piling up in my Wish List, and it didn't help that Sub Pop Records recently celebrated their 20th anniversary by showcasing their finest local fare that I've for whatever reason missed out on over the years. I'm talking about Tad, I'm talking about The Vaselines, I'm talking about Mark Lanegan, I'm talking about Sebadoh. It all came to a head today when I had a free afternoon. In an effort to get out of my own personal doldrums - due in no small part to watching the classic film adaptation of Death of a Salesman starring Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovitch - I went out with list in hand in search of some musical gems.

My first mistake was living in Tacoma. See, we haven't had a decent record store since the 6th Avenue Warehouse burned to the ground when I was a teenager. After they rebuilt over by the Tacoma Mall, my sanctuary was never quite the same - mostly due to the fact that I could no longer simply ride my bike over there whenever I wanted. They've since been bought out by FYE and I refuse to step foot in that store for completely logical reasons. FYE sucks fatass donkey balls. For some reason, I figured Best Buy to be a reasonable alternative with a sufficent selection to quench my thirst. Oh how wrong I was.

I might as well have gone to Target or K-Mart; this place has nothing that isn't affiliated with some sort of Top 40 list. It's really quite pathetic. I went there with a list 11 CDs deep and found nothing but the most recent tripe I wasn't even that interested in buying in the first place. To further enhance my disconcert, their DVD selection is even worse. I left having purchased nothing, a practice I abhor since I took the time and energy to throw on a pair of sandals and a couple swipes of deodorant. Plus, I just have a weird feeling about doing that, which has absolutely no basis in reality or rational thought whatsoever.

See, a major part of my neuroticism has to do with the fact that wherever I go, whatever I'm doing, I have this overwhelming feeling that everybody in the area is watching me. It's why I was always uncomfortable in school sitting in front of the room - with the majority of the class behind me - because I always thought they were watching and criticising my every move. This is why alcohol's so great, because then I don't give a fuck if people are watching me or not; in fact I encourage it with my flamboyant and - at times - obnoxious behavior.

As such, whenever I walk out of a store without buying anything, I'm convinced everyone is staring at me, wondering why. Did I steal something?

But that's neither here nor there. I left empty handed and when I departed my cosy den of sloth an hour earlier I had zero intention of doing so. Had I listened to my less influential practical side, I would've just gone back home and waited until I had the opportunity to go to an Easy Street Records or, indeed, Frye's in Renton. Instead, I listened to my overbearing impulsive side.

Rocket Records is a little used record shop further down 6th Avenue. They specialize in LPs and used CDs. I knew my odds were slim, but by golly I wasn't about to cave in to the man!

I'm in my element inside a used record store. I could browse for hours like a so-inclined yuppie would at the mall looking for the proper accessories for a stylish wardrobe. Now, I'm not gonna say that Rocket Records will blow you away with their selection; most of it is shit nobody will ever buy ever. But the going rate for the majority is no more than $10, and besides that they've got a lot of rare hard-to-find shit you didn't know you wanted in the first place until it was staring back at you with a ray of heavenly light shining upon it.

I didn't find one thing I had on my list, but one of the groups - the aforementioned Tad - had a different, no less awesome album waiting for my greasy mitts. That was all the opening I needed to go off on a real fine spree. After I perused the New Arrivals and the Under $5 sections with a fine-tooth chainsaw, the proprietor - a like-named Steven after my very heart noticed what I was holding and turned me on to his little listening section. This was AFTER a mom with her two mongoloid children were making quite the audible nuisance ushered their ways out to Steven's extreme relief. See, what Rocket Records is REALLY is a pusher of local talent. No, not whores. I'm talking bands. I'm talking Bacchus, a group out of Seattle, whose latest album I bought after a brief listen.

In addition, I came away with a remix album of Nine Inch Nails songs called Rusty Nails, and a collection of rare Nirvana songs on an album called Outcesticide. These Outcesticide albums are very difficult to come by, especially with a worthy sound quality, but as my man Steven said, "I wouldn't stock it if it weren't good." To top it all off, I bought new copies of GNR's Use Your Illusion albums, because I can't live without having these CDs around. Burning is not an option in this case.

See, that's why these little shops are important for my musical sanity. You'll expand your horizons, you'll pay less than you would at the crap factory that is Best Buy, and you'll inevitably hear about awesome upcoming local shows if you just make small talk with the owner. Plus, where else can you shop for CDs while a dog is wandering around sniffing your leg? Where else will you come away with 6 CDs inside a Quiznos bag? Where else will you find a guy who won't put up with shit from annoying customers and their loudmouth kids? The moment that made my day: when he took the listening station headphones off of a little kid's head while saying, "No! This isn't a toy!"

Yeah, I probably would've found more of what I was looking for had I gone elsewhere, but that wouldn't be any help to the small business community now would it?