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The Best Of 'Monitor Mix' By Carrie Brownstein

Records And Stores We Love


4.16.10 Update: Hear an exclusive new Telekinesis song in honor of record store day!

Saturday, April 17, is the third annual Record Store Day. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out But here's a little history from the official site:

[Record Store Day] is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day, and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, cookouts, body painting, meet-and-greets with artists, parades, DJs spinning records, and on and on.

A Record Store Day participating store is defined as a physical retailer whose product line consists of at least 50 percent music retail, whose company is not publicly traded and whose ownership is at least 70 percent located in the state of operation. (In other words, we're dealing with real, live, physical, indie record stores — not online retailers or corporate behemoths.)

On Friday, I'll stream an exclusive Record Store Day release here on Monitor Mix, but let's start off the celebration early by giving props to the record stores in our lives.

Q: What was the first independent record store that shaped, inspired or merely catered to your musical tastes? (If you've never set foot inside an indie record store, I urge you to head to one on Saturday and see what you've been missing!)

A: I have two: Rubato Records and Cellophane Square, both in Bellevue, Wash. I couldn't believe that these places existed in a suburb of Seattle known mostly for fancy cars, soccer moms and shopping malls. I would drive from nearby Redmond and spend about an hour at each store. The owners of Rubato would literally tell me what to buy: Television, Shocking Blue, Bobby Bland, Tubeway Army. I was obsessed with punk and riot grrl, and they forced me to branch out and trace my influences back to the beginning, to the progenitors. Over at Cellophane Square was where I stocked up on the local bands, from The Posies to the Go Team to The Fastbacks. Cellophane Square also had posters, buttons and stickers, all important assets back when I was trying to define myself solely by my music preferences.

Q: What was the first album that changed your life?

A: I know I've mentioned this before, but it was when a student teacher in my high-school chemistry class brought in The Jam's All Mod Cons and gave it to me. Not only was it the coolest, most British album I'd ever seen up until that point, but I was so honored to be singled out by an adult. At the time, I was totally preoccupied with what I looked like and whether it was punk or grunge enough (not to mention cute enough) that having someone deem me worthy of a musical hand-me-down made me forget about everything teenage and superficial for a moment and just revel in the fact that I was being considered a music fan. YES!

Q: What is one of the most prized albums or singles in your collection?

A: The Raincoats, Self Titled. I finally found this while on tour in the late '90s. It was at a record store in Athens, Ga. You know you're psyched to find something when you bother to call a handful of friends to tell them about it, which I did.

All right, I answered my own questions — now it's your turn. Please leave your answers in the comments section. Thanks!