12 April 2009

Record Store Day, Day 1: The Sound Garden, Baltimore, MD

This record store, The Sound Garden (bad name, I know), near the Inner Harbor of Baltimore slips in merely as a record store of interest. I believe I spent approximately 30 minutes in this vast and oddly shaped store--hardly enough time to offer a distinct recommendation one way or another on it merits. But the reason I'm including it as part of the five days in countdown to Record Store Day this Saturday, April 18, is for one simple reason: nostalgia.

The element of nostalgia cannot be underestimated when it comes to the field of music and that extends to the stores that sell the music we ingest, too. Before I knew that music was sold at independent record stores, I would venture with my best friend to the nearest metropolis, an hour's drive away, and we would load up on CDs from Best Buy. Mostly because the prices were cheap, but also because we didn't know any better at the time. (We were young and foolish then.)

The aforementioned best friend moved to Baltimore for a brief stint a few years ago and I came to visit him in his fair city. As a whole, Baltimore is not a pleasant place; it's dark, poverty-stricken, and more than a little creepy in an ominous-feeling way. The Inner Harbor is the fancier, more gentrified area of Baltimore and it is nice to see. But it still seems like a facade, like someone threw some white paint on a wall that needed to be scrubbed with bleach. Nonetheless, it's passable for a nighttime stroll.

My friend, his roommate, and I made a last-minute decision to go to the record store about an hour before they were set to close. We got in, got out and all walked away with a CD each. He with Animal Collective, Strawberry Jam, his roommate with a house/techno disc I don't recall the name of, and me with the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, self-titled debut disc. I missed the hype on that particular band and was playing catch-up in the used bin and $6 seemed like a fair price for hype.

Needless to say, the disc has become one of my favorites; a rare disc I do not grow tired of. I can queue it up right now and still love every minute of it. After our respective purchases the three of us walked to the local ice cream shop for some over-priced desserts. We road around Baltimore that night listening to a blend of discs including St. Vincent, Marry Me, The National, Boxer, Silversun Pickups, Carnavas, and Kevin Drew (of Broken Social Scene), Spirit If... We discussed the merits of bands past and present, argued over the direction of indpendent music, and got way too drunk for our own good that night. CYHSY became the soundtrack to my time spent in Baltimore; the record became entrenched in consciousness as an artifact forever married to a specfic point in my life, and the record store it came from stands out as a beacon of nostalgia.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

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