On the third Saturday of every April, music geeks celebrate Record Store Day, an annual worldwide event held to remind us of the cultural importance of those places where we’ve gathered to discover and discuss music. Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity will come to life in no fewer than 107 shops across Canada and thousands more around the world.
As a professional music geek — it says so right on my business card — Record Store Day always makes me wax nostalgic about, well, where I’ve purchased some of my wax over the years.
Irene Pearson’s Furniture Store: Although Winnipeg is just 20 miles from where I grew up, its record stores might as well have been on the other side of the planet. Thankfully, Irene had a small box of the latest Top 40 records on the front counter. All my paper route money disappeared into that box of seven-inch singles.
Sam the Record Man: If you’re of a certain age, there’s a 99.9 per cent possibility that you bought music at one of Sam Sniderman’s stores. I discovered new wave through a Devo 45 playing in a store in the Garden City Shopping Centre.
Sound Exchange: Two blocks away from the University of Winnipeg is a crowded musty shop filled with trade-ins. Not wanting to pay full price for a record by a band I’d never heard on the radio, I was able to check out Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures for two bucks.
Record Peddler: Customers at the long-gone location across from Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens had their selections brutally critiqued by whoever was manning the cash register. I’m still gutted that I didn’t buy an obscure 12-inch EP by a group called 69 Tribe featuring a song called Bikers.
Rough Trade: Almost 10 years ago I asked Nigel, an affable chap behind the counter at the Notting Hill branch, for something new and interesting. He handed me De Stijl from the White Stripes. “They’re gonna be mega,” he said.
Amoeba Records: This is THE place to go in L.A. Always pay very close attention to the staff picks on the end-of-aisle displays.
The Ongoing History Of New Music can be heard on stations across Canada. Read more
at ongoinghistory.com and exploremusic.com