I don't usually delve much into my personal goings-on here, but Saturday was filled with music, and I'm still kind of reeling from it. So I shall share.
One of my best friends from college came to visit and we set off on a record shopping excursion. My plan was to use this as an excuse to check out a bunch of Baltimore records stores that I haven't gotten around to yet. In this sense, the mission was a failure, as after only two stops, we both had to stop for fear of our bank accounts going belly up.
But it was absolutely a successful trip.
Consider this a plug for a tiny record store tucked away on Aliceanna St. in Fell's Point. I'd passed !El Suprimo! many times on my long runs, each time thinking "I really need to check this place out some day." I wished I had gone sooner. !El Suprimo! is a small shop, possibly the size of an average bedroom. Despite this spatial limitation, the racks are PACKED with great finds, AT GREAT PRICES. I know that this sounds like a commercial, but it's true. Being a Pittsburgh native, I'm fairly spoiled by Jerry's Fine Used Records, where discs average between $3-$6. Because of this, I often find things that I want when I'm shopping other places, but am resistant to paying say, $10, $15, $20 for a single disc (unless of course it's something that warrants such cost).
ANYHOW, upon exiting !El Suprimo!, I said to my friend, "It's like a little Jerry's." By this I meant that I found a bunch of gems (roughly 12 discs) and paid about $30 for the whole lot. SCORE! Their funk/r&b section is particularly tasty. So check them out if you're ever in the area.
And, they're conveniently located near what I would say is Baltimore's landmark record store, The Sound Garden.
The Sound Garden is much more expansive in terms of space. The bulk of the store is devoted to CDs and DVDs, but within the last year, they've opened a vinyl room that is pretty dope. The bulk of the vinyl is new (and newISH) releases and reissues. So you might not have luck finding that original pressing of Zen Arcade, but you will find modestly priced hip hop, indie rock and electronica discs. I picked up two discs that have been on my list (2008's releases from Portishead and Love is All), which set me back about $35. Not bad.
But what has gotten me and my friends in trouble at Sound Garden in the past is their used CDs. Prices aren't exceptional here, but are about the standard you'll find in any used CD joint. However, they somehow manage to bring in pretty high quality discs, especially newer releases. It's well worth taking the time to sift through the used bins, for sure.
So that was my Record Store Day. Given the occasion, I justified my purchases as fighting the good fight for indie record stores. A good deed, if you will.
We topped off the day with what I hear is an annual event, the Prince vs. Madonna vs. Michael Jackson dance night at the Ottobar, conveniently within stumbling distance of my apartment. Well worth the $6 cover, which I paid as "Joy in Repetition" played.
Overall, a killer night. The place got pretty packed, and pretty much everyone was dancing. How could you resist with the triumvirate of 1980s pop royalty? They played far too much 21st century Madonna, for some reason, but that's my only real complaint. There wasn't much in the way of deep cuts, but I think that's to be expected when your covering three huge artists. There were a few unexpected tracks though, such as Madonna's "Gambler" (from the Vision Quest soundtrack), Prince and Sheila E.'s "A Love Bizarre," and one of the hottest jams in my book, "Hot Thing." Beyond that, other highlights for me included "Pussy Control," "Erotic City" (duh) and "Remember the Time." The latter was amazing purely because I was on stage dancing next/with a dude that knew the song as well as I did, and I think we were both floored that each of us knew all of the ad-libbed lyrics in the break. It was "a moment."
But the kicker was the end of the night. The DJ announced this was the last track, when I heard Casey Kasem's voice. Of course, hearing Kasem always makes me think of
Negativland's take on "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". But no, Casey was here to tell me that the number one song of the week was Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson with "Say Say Say." I have to admit that I did NOT see (hear?) that coming, and it blew my mind into a million pieces. Needless to say, the place danced everything they had left into that song, and it's been in my head for the last 48 hours. I even dusted off the 12" a friend picked up for me a few years ago, which I have share for the ridiculous cover art:
So Saturday was kind of epic in my little music geek world. And for now, I'll leave you with the video. It always creeped me out a bit that Latoya was MJ's love interest here. But that's beside the point, I guess (???).
Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson - Say, say, say