Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rockaway Records Turns 30

In the digital age, the fact that an independent brick and mortar record shop still has their doors open is nothing short of a miracle. Add in the fact that the store in question has been at it since 1979, witnessing the rise and fall of the megachain, all while quietly doing their thing and minding their own business throughout and you have a reason to celebrate.

Rockaway Records survived the era of the corporate record shop, but it still has iTunes, Amazon, illegal downloading, Best Buy and Wal-Mart to compete with. However, if you have ventured into the store recently you can easily forget those other things exist. At the very least you have 5 - 10 customers milling about at any given time. Many of them looking like they may just have been there for the grand opening, but you'll also bump into your fair share of high school and college kids. Everyone always seems to be having a grand old time whether it's digging through the vinyl section, perusing the used compact discs, taking in the eclectic in-store music or more generally just enjoying the kind of music buying experience that is becoming harder and harder to find these days.

I had been to Rockaway a few times since I first moved to L.A., but it wasn't until about six months ago that I started to become a regular. Partly because I moved around the corner, but partly also because newcomers like Vacation and Origami had really reminded me that being a frequent music buyer doesn't mean you have to limit yourself strictly to trips to Amoeba in Hollywood.

Here's a few things I've purchased at Rockaway recently:

Miles Davis - Porgy and Bess

Om - Pilgramage

Clogs - Lantern

Various Artists - Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father

Love - Forever Changes

The Kinks - The Kink Kronikles

The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat

Quite the varied mix there. I've had my eye on a lot more than that and that's what keeps me coming back for more.

Today Rockaway is having a one day sale that will help them mark their three decades of business. They will be filling the parking lot with 99 cent CD's (a price even strict vinyl buyers can love) and you'll find up to 75% off the vinyl, DVD's and rock memorobilia inside the store. If you are in the area you should stop by and support the exception to the rule when it comes to independent record stores. While there, wish Rockaway Records a happy 30th anniversary and, at the very least, 30 more.

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