Thursday, January 20, 2005

I Guess It's Not So Bad On The Flip-Side

After work today, I had some time to kill before my ride showed up. I told my boss I'll be on that bench reading (David Mitchell's epic Cloud Atlas) for about a half hour. She said, "Why don't you check out the music store down the block?" "The what, with the what what?" my face probably said.

So I walked like two minutes and saw the age-old indicators of music stores: huge-ass posters. The faint smell of incense and coolness suddenly filled my drab little world. My mouth started to water. Understand: I've been looking for a cool music store since I moved down. For two wonderful years in San Francisco, I lived a five minutes walk from the best music store in the world (No joke.) For me, music is as important as food. It feeds my soul and my words (I say as I nod my head to Belle and Sebastian's brilliant "Your Cover's Blown"). And I can't bring myself to shop in fast-food music stores or those awful music add-on's at big-ass book stores like Borders, they're so impersonal and their selection is just wrong. You can imagine how my world suddenly seemed brighter, better, and populated by cool.

Inside the store, the walls were black. Cheap stalls house a smattering of titles, a meager selection by any perspective. But stabs of hope suddenly appeared as I saw the genre titles: Punk/Metal (my old music), Industrial/Goth (a seemingly popular selection - with a bunch of crazy-haired and pierced shoppers) and then, Pop/Indie. A great sigh of relief overcame me. As if I finally found somewhere near what I would consider Home. Bands with names I recognized and love pop out at me. I wanted to grab those blocks of black letters and give them a hug. I almost did. And then I remembered my favorite album of the year (The Arcade Fire's Funeral) and how much I wanted to buy it and even went looking for it at every one of those sacrilegious bookstores in the ritzy area my mom lives (that's how much I wanted it) but couldn't find it. Could this place carry it? It's a Canadian title and I don't even know if they had a US distributor and so they probably di... They had it! It was so cute in it's little slim packaging and huge foreign-item plastic. I snatched up the one copy just in case the other two people in the store wanted it and then carried it around while browsing.

I could have stayed an hour at this place. Sure, it was tiny compared to Amoeba. And it seems to be aiming more towards the Punk/Ska/Metal crowd, but it's a Cool Store. And it happens to be the first Cool Store I've found since moving here. The fact that I found it now that I have a little dinero in my bank account is not coincidence but fate. True and pure fate.

The rest of the store has T-shirts and incense and all kinds of Cool Gear for sale. Nice electronica section too. Listening stations and a Staff Recommends stack. All the things necessary for wasting long periods of time in one of my favorite pastimes since I was a teenager: Music shopping!

I'm not saying I like Florida yet. Far, far, from it. But this is a good first step. I've tried to be civil and recognize that there are all kinds of ways to live in all kinds of different places, but being the person I am, there are some things I need to be comfortable in a place. This tiny little store has brought a piece of that puzzle together. And made me immensely happy.


Anonymous said...

Nothing makes me happier than to know that you no longer feel as much "out of context" -- I know florida isn't San Fran or NY ...but it has its moments...and that doesn't mean you have to love it - just means you can deal and get through the day :)
You are lucky you have found some of those moments quickly - it took me a little over a year to start to feel "at home" - and really only started to understand Florida's purpose just a few short 7 months ago (zow zow)
And please please please don't forget the real first "cool" place you came across since you coming to this state - Le Tub!


tragedyanne said...

my boyfriend, when he was living in santa clara for a bit, told me about amoeba as well. who would've thunked, but i guess it's better than, say, HMV.

d'you have any recommendations on what to listen to amidst the pop/indie genre? i've kind of missed out on that since friends of mine introduced me to some other genre, right now the only pop/indie band i listen to (which my friend elad introduced me to) is izabo. they've got that nice indie with mediterranean-flavoured melody theme going, which i dig since it's kind of different from the north american styles.

Elad said...

Well, there's so many different indie bands, it's hard to give out recommendations. I'll try, though.

Some of my favorites: For a folky, awesome lyricy, slightly dark band, check out The Decemberists. one of my favorites. A big hit in the indie scene lately is Franz Ferdinand with their dance-friendly blend of post-punk and indie rock. Then, of course, there's postrock (loud, bombastic guitar-heavy tunes) bands like Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, chill out bands like The American Analog Set and The Notwist, indie-electronica bands like Boards of Canada and the sublime Postal Service. etc, etc.

Best bet, check out and read reviews until your eyes hurt. You'll find something.