With the advent of downloadable music, there was pontification aplenty about the inevitable death of the traditional bricks and mortar New York City record store. And it’s certainly true that big megastores (remember the old Tower on East 4th? Or Virgin in Union Square?) went the way of the buggy whip pretty quickly. But in New York City, a handful of little record stores in the Village still thrive and not just because they just stock great product in every known format. I think they exist for New Yorkers because they manage to provide a unique and immersive experience. For a music lover, there’s something about the cramped aisles, creaky floors, and floor to ceiling displays of vivid album art that inspires a quasi-religious experience. Bleecker Street Records happens to be a favorite of mine.Whereas the internet specializes in immediate accuracy – just type in “45 rpm recording of Marvin performing ‘What’s Going On’ live in Germany” and bam, you find and order it – part of the beauty in a shop like Bleecker Street is it’s the exact opposite of that. Nothing is even alphabetized. Find your genre, locate the artist, and then just get in there and do some digging. Flip through albums you had forgotten you loved, and others you never even knew existed. It allows you to time travel through your own musical past in a tactile, dusty way that you will never, ever get clicking through iTunes at home.And of course the store has every damn recording new and old that you could ever want in there, but again, it’s not necessarily about the selection. Browsing is where it’s at, man, in the the old fashioned sense. So this weekend we highly encourage you to head down to Bleecker Street to do some crate digging and who knows? Maybe even maybe walk away with a rare B-side.
The new Mumford & Sons album came out on Monday this week. Although I thought their debut album two years ago was original and fresh, I felt after repeated listens it lost the luster. Enough with the sadness and banjo, dude. Being a nerd, I previewed the whole album on iTunes before I spent the $12 to see if this new offering presented more of the same.
It’s much better. In fact, it’s a rollicking, spirited good time and something to crank when you’re speeding on the open road. It feels pitch perfect for the changing seasons right now, and certainly a good one to kick your weekend off. Give it a shot!