Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Record Store Day Wrap-Up

By Evan Rytlewski
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Buoyed by wonderful weather and excellent live music line-ups, Saturday’s Record Store Day promotion drove considerable traffic to Atomic Records and Exclusive Records, and from what I’ve read online, the response was similarly encouraging in other cities. Hopefully the organizers will follow through on the promise and make this an annual event.

The special releases were pretty great, too. I was more than happy with my purchases:

Built To Spill – “Don’t Try (live)” b/w “The Source (live)”

Leave it to Built To Spill to undersell themselves. The two tracks on this odd little live 7-inch are by no means popular singles, stand-out songs or even staples of Built To Spill’s live shows; they’re just two typical album cuts that sometimes creep into the group’s set. “Don’t Try” has a difficult time mustering up the album version’s venom, but “The Source” shows how much the group has grown as a live band. Where the 1994 studio version was unstable and sloppy, this brief—no epic jams here—2007 run through is supercharged, driven by note-perfect dual guitars.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – "Cold Son" 10-inch

Malkmus packaged this 10-inch single with three top-shelf B-sides. Sweet and zippy, “Walk Into the Mirror” would have been a nice palette cleanser on Real Emotional Trash, while the acid-fried epic “Pennywhistle Thunder” would have fit anywhere on the album—consider it concentrated emotional trash.

And with those two purchases I received a free grab bag of mostly 7-inch singles, including:

Destroyer – “Madame Butterflies” b/w Wye Oak – “Prodigy”
Sea Wolf – “You’re a Wolf” b/w Eulogies – “If I Knew You”
Anti-Flag – “The Bright Lights of America” w/ “I’m So Sick of You”
Margo and the Nuclear So and Sos – “Brand New Key” w/ “Jesus Christ Blues”
Dr. Dog – “The Girl” (Beck Remix) w/ “Heart It Races”
Kaki King – “Pull Me Out Alive” w/ “Zeitgeist”
Vice Records Scion CD Sampler, Mixed by Flosstradamus

The Sea Wolf split was a score (I love that song), and you never know when the Dr. Dog Beck remix will come in handy, but the new Destroyer song was obviously the highlight. With its indolent pace, free-form lyrics and squawks of guitar, “Madame Butterflies” is an excellent post-Rubies Destroyer cut.

It’s bittersweet, though, to see that shortly after Record Store Day ended, this Destroyer song leaked to the MP3 blogs, where countless listeners will download it for free and store it on a hard-drive filled with other songs they didn’t pay for. So long as our culture believes music has no fiscal value, the music industry of yore is beyond saving.
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