The 3rd Saturday in April of each year is International Record Store Day. I was in Perth for the weekend for a friend’s wedding, and had some time to kill before it kicked off so went into the CBD to have a wander around, and check out some record stores with my brother and cousin.
The idea for a Record Store Day came about at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding the thousands of independently owned record stores around the world.
The first record store day was kicked off by Metallica at Rasputin Records in San Francisco on 19 April 2008. Each year, independent record stores coordinate to get the message about their existence and music in general, out to the public. Limited release records are created for sale on the day, and there are lots of artist meet and greets, free gigs, DJ sets and other events that occur. Popular international artists and obscure local artists all get involved.
I visited 4 record stores for Perth’s Record Store Day.
78 Records is one of the more popular record stores in Perth, and has been around since 1971. They moved from their location of 16 years relatively recently and can be found upstairs at 255 Murray Street, Perth. The entrance is to the side of this laneway. A variety of CDs, Vinyl, DVDs and other music related items can be found here.
Safari’s Record Shack
Hidden behind a florist at the rear of Shop 3, Arcade 189 William Street, Northbridge, is Safari’s Record Shack. One of the newest and smallest record stores in Perth, Safari’s Record Shack focuses on vinyl, and edges towards the funky, soulful side of the musical spectrum.
Noise Pollution Records
Noise Pollution Records specialises in second hand and collectible vinyl. You can find it at 280 William Street, Northbridge.
Planet is located at 636-646 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley. Originally famous in Perth for being a video store with very generous opening hours and a huge selection of popular and independent videos to rent, Planet has evolved with the times and, while no longer occupying the old corner site, they are next door with a book store, DVD store, record store and cafe.
Planet has a lot of vinyl, CDs and music DVDs as well as posters, equipment and the like. A wide variety of genres is available, and there’s a good mix of popular and obscure.
On the website for Record Store Day, Jack White (2013 Record Store Day Ambassador) sums things up perfectly.
The world hasn’t stopped moving. Out there, people are still talking to each other face-to-face, exchanging ideas and turning each other on. Art houses are showing films, people are drinking coffee and telling tall tales, women and men are confusing each other and record stores are selling discs full of soul that you haven’t felt yet. So why do we choose to hide in our caves and settle for replication? We know better. We should at least. We need to re-educate ourselves about human interaction and the difference between downloading a track on a computer and talking to other people in person and getting turned onto music that you can hold in your hands and share with others. The size, shape, smell, texture and sound of a vinyl record; how do you explain to that teenager who doesn’t know that it’s a more beautiful musical experience than a mouse click? You get up off your ass, you grab them by the arm and you take them there. You put the record in their hands. You make them drop the needle on the platter. Then they’ll know.
I’m not saying that you need to become an avid vinyl collector, but there’s something special about walking into a record store, mixing with other music lovers, browsing through music, seeing something that looks interesting and discovering a great artist, band or genre that you’ve never heard of before. There’s a lot more to music than what you are force fed on commercial radio.
However you choose to consume your music, I think it’s important that we all support our local record stores, as something truly special will be lost come the day when they have all closed down.