Another successful Record Store Day! We beat last year’s record (pun intended) by one. We visited 11 record stores in St Paul and Minneapolis – and had a generous lunch break at Stella’s, because who can resist seafood on a patio on the first gorgeous Saturday of the year.
Here’s our agenda…
First Stop: Cheapo Records in St Paul – it’s about a mile from the house and it’s the record store I have been going to since I was a kid. I think it’s where I bought The Hawaiian Pups – an album I listened to 1000 times as a kid. They were all business on Saturday. Lots of people waiting in line hugging heaps of albums.
Stop Two: Eclipse. It was nice to see their new location. The have moved just up the block from the old place but it’s much larger. There was a good crowd when we were there. Eclipse has a nice array of records – my very favorite was the ornamental “Fonzie’s Favorites” record cover. In a pinch I could tell you every song on at least one side it; it got a lot of air play in my house.
Stop Three: Agharta. Fun to see a live band. I knew they had DJs scheduled but the live band was new to me. Not sure who is was – but Americana. That was perfect for us since we are both fans of country twanged music.
Stop Four: Barely Brother. Sadly we happened to stop by during a music break – but we could see several local musicians on deck – Adan Linz, who we were sad to miss. The bonus of Barely Brothers is the proximity to several vintage stores – we spent a little time visiting there too. It would be fun to know about the ripple effect of Record Store Day on nearby shops and restaurants.
Stop Five: Extreme Noise. OK this is a record store that really separates the women from the girls. It focuses on some genres that I love and my favorite 11 year old thinks it’s too loud. I could hear a band leaking out of the sound proof studio in the back. (It’s not really soundproof but it’s pretty good!) I thought it sounded great; it was too loud for others. Extreme did have their 20 year catalog on the offer for the day, which was a fun takeaway.
Stop Six: Hymie’s Records and their whole street festival. We hung out here for a while – and actually one of us went back later to hear more music. We came specifically to hear Chastity Brown. We are big fans. We saw her last at the Guerrilla Girls event earlier this year. She spoke there a little bit about racism and gender discrimination; she touched upon it on Saturday too. In fact she played a song by Nina Simone claiming that Simone is more eloquent that Brown but I’m not so sure that’s true. I think she does a nice job talking about what it is like to be a woman of color in a way that is meaningful to listeners. We also saw Bruise Violent – a very different genre but another favorite – at least for the one of us who likes loud music.
Stop Seven: Dead Media. I had never visited Dead Media and I was delighted to have an excuse. It’s small but friendly. There was a band playing but too crowded for us to get close. I did make a bonus trip later in the day to see Kitten Forever, when I had a chance to check out the outside albums too. I’m pretty sure they got most of the albums from my parents old collection. I haven’t seen that much John Denver for a while.
Stop Eight: Electric Fetus – finally. Electric Fetus is another tried and true record shop for us. We visit often when they have bands playing. I’ve been known to drop way more money than intended on tickets and dresses there. I’m not much of a shopper – but tickets and dresses are exactly my weak spots. I was on the search for an album by TV Girl. I was sad to not find it here – or anywhere else but we did find a great vibe.
Stop Nine: Fifth Element. Last year, we were taken aback by the friendliness at Fifth Element. This year we came when live music was happening – made for a fun trip but less visiting with staff. The place is still a nice mix of music, art and culture.
Stop Ten: Treehouse Records – they have a great collection of albums and very knowledgeable staff. Although I think it was walking out of Treehouse when my date remarked that every record store had a different smell – and they do. Treehouse is a little musty – maybe the smell of years of great albums.
Step Eleven: HiFi Records and Hair. To be fair we got there too late to go in – but after a long day we’re taking full credit to beat last year’s visit to 10 record stores. I am a fan of HiFi Hair – in fact last time I had my haircut it was there. Jon Clifford did a great job. A great location and music take the sting out of going to get your haircut. Actually it was kind of fun. I should go back before Record Store 2017!