Sunday, October 10, 2010

my brief thoughts on.... 'I Need That Record!'

how many of you have ever set foot in an independent record store....? i'm guessing most of you buy online, .mp3 or from a "big box store".... am i right....? well, you're missing out.... it's not just a shopping trip.... it's an experience.... something that you can't achieve anywhere else.... but sadly they're dying off.... one by one they close down or get run out of business by bigger and larger places that they just can't compete with.... so if there is still one left in your town, go now before you can't go ever again.... that's what this wonderful love letter of a documentary is about.... and, me personally, having worked at and managed a real record store for 6 years this is something near and dear to my heart.... and the store i worked at, Val's Halla Records in Oak Park, IL, was forced out of their original locaion.... but has moved and is still alive.... thank god for that.... because i loved every minute of my time that i worked there.... and learned more in those 6 years about people, music and life than any other place i've ever worked.... hell, i learned more than in my everyday life.... or school....! i can't explain it to you.... but if you're a music lover or junkie, a record store is your dream location to be.... i know it was for me....
this is a documentary so again there isn't really a plot.... more of a narrative about the current state of the indie store and the how's and why's of what's killing them off.... it's very in depth and pulls no punches.... it also touches on the slow demise of the record industry and the rise of the internet in making both regular and indie music easy to find and buy for everyone.... but part of the joy of the record store was having to search for that one thing that you've been looking for.... if you can just get whatever, whenever where is the fun in that....? it makes collecting boring.... granted, you can more than likely find everything you've ever wanted.... but true collectors want the thrill of the hunt.... the joy of the find and that's it.... this documentary was bittersweet and made me realize that the trend of indie stores is happening here just as much as anywhere else.... and it's not just record stores, but anything owned by someone, not some corporation.... i don't expect that i can save the world or the independent retailers and i doubt this documentary can either.... but it stands as a record (no pun intended) of a soon to be extinct kind of place to go.... a sad reminder of where we've gone as a country.... it's on Netflix OnDemand and i highly recommend it.... 4 out of 5 stars....

to all those who own their own business, no matter what it is, i wish you all the best and commend you for living your dream.... godspeed to you all.

don't watch anything after this.... grab a phonebook and visit your local independent retailers


  1. Joel, you strike me as an Indie record store kind of guy. I went to a few back in college in St Louis. But I didn't have as heartwarming an experience as you. I usually felt that anyone there felt they were better than me because of the music I liked. I'm a metalhead, always have been. And to be sneered at for buying Slayer (this happened) is inexcusable.

    But, come to think of it, like these employees, I too have a distaste for popular music and can be a bit of a dick when discussing music. I enjoy my smaller bands too. I would probably make a horrible record store employee. There are still plenty of used cd stores around cleveland, but we don't go to them much unless we just can't find it anywhere else. Even then, $10 for a used cd or $16 for a new one is too much. While we do not download illegally, we do get 90% of what we need from the library.

    As a guy who used to spend all my discretionary income on CDs and concerts, I now actually spend very little on music. Chalk that up to a few things. The availability of free music, getting into podcasts (thank yourself for that one ;) ) and a general lessening of free time. Also, you really can't buy CDs anymore. Even best buy is down to one aisle of CDs now, and its pretty much all top 40.

    Sorry, this turned into a bumbling rant that has nothing to do with your movie review. (Haven't seen it, prob wont) But I just started typing and haven't stoped yet. Now.

  2. LOL
    i wouldn't have given you dirty looks for buying Slayer....
    i would've talked to you about how much i enjoy my copies of 'South of Heaven' and 'Seasons in the Abyss'....
    but i've heard similar comments for other record store buyers who used to come in and visit the store i was running.
    (sorry you had such a bad time there....)
    i don't buy many used CD's or new anymore either.... no money.... my priorities have changed....
    and there are so many bands who just offer their own stuff for free.... that it's not alaways necessary to buy stuff....
    either way.... thanks for commenting anyway....!