I’ve always considered this blog a safe place to share even the most embarrassing stories/insights/confessions, and today I’d like to share a noteworthy and useful discovery that is shrouded in a fairly thick layer of moral ambiguity. [takes deep breath] OK, here goes…
SO I WAS AT URBAN OUTFITTERS YESTERDAY (Am I yelling? Sometimes I speak loudly when I’m uncomfortable…), where Mrs. You Hear That and I were killing exactly 10 minutes before heading to an appointment at another establishment in the same mall. This was my first trip to Urban Outfitters. I found that Urban Outfitters makes me uneasy in the same way that places like Hot Topic do/did, in that there’s something a little suspect about a national chain providing all the tools necessary to adopt a specific identity that’s constantly on the downswing of the hipness curve. I’m sure this happens in other circumstances, and I’m sure plenty of good people (many of whom are about a decade younger than I am) buy things at UO. Nonetheless, an irksome feeling persisted throughout those 10 minutes, even as I flipped through their smallish collection of new vinyl, which contained several volumes I either own or want.
Though I typically lose control of any shred of frugality around records, I knew these were off limits for three main reasons. 1. The size of the selection leads me to believe that each item was chosen in a very specific and very creepy way; 2. Supporting local record stores is tremendously important to me; and 3. They were overpriced. After leaving the vinyl section empty-handed, I found myself at a sale rack that contained a neat coffee table book about rock stars and their instruments (Jeff Tweedy’s contribution was so terse and disinterested that I couldn’t help but chuckle. Don’t ever change, Jeff.), upon which a dozen or so records were leaning.
What do we have here? New vinyl for… $9.99 A POP?!? Including EMA’s Past Life Martyred Saints? WTF?!? Past Life Martyred Saints is an incredibly interesting and rewarding album (I have Pitchfork Editor-in-Chief Mark Richardson’s enthusiasm to thank for my first listening to it) and $10 bucks is a ridiculous price for a new copy on vinyl. If you collect vinyl and live near an Urban Outfitters, do yourself a favor and stop by the sale rack. Don’t think of it as patronizing a national chain, think of it as exploiting a loophole in the algorithm a national chain uses to profit off young people’s desire to be cool.
Whether you’re a vinyl person or not, I invite you to preview “California” from Past Life Martyred Saints below and click here to buy the album electronically from the current market leader in moral ambiguity.