“I clearly remember the first vinyl record purchase I made.”
“I had just graduated high school and wasn’t what I would call a ‘music aficionado’ by any means. It took a friend of mine dragging me to Criminal Records in Atlanta, GA, to show me what it was all about. He was a music nerd–the guy with a terabyte or so of music saved to multiple hard drives at his house. He became my music liaison; he knew my tastes and helped me extrapolate beyond them and find new music that I’d be interested in. So, what records did I walk out of the store with that day? Album by Girls and the National’s High Violet. Both are responsible for shaping my tastes, and both are still in heavy rotation today. In fact, I think I’ll go put them on right now.
I lived in Athens, GA, for seven years, and would constantly kill time thumbing through the collections at Wuxtry and Low Yo Yo. Those two hold a special place in my heart, as I cut my teeth as a musician in Athens. The folks who worked there were all musicians and they were all super inclusive and supportive of the local scene, which is something that tips me off as to whether a certain store is worth spending your time and money in. Are you getting the High Fidelity treatment or do you feel welcome? Record stores are by their nature (maybe not the Amoebas of the world) small businesses that survive by serving the local community. It should feel like a local coffee shop, not a Starbucks. Also, I’m obligated to mention that Peter Buck worked at Wuxtry back in the day. Doesn’t get any more gangster than that.