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The good old scratchy days of record stores

April 8, 2010 | 12:40 pm

KCRW DJ Gary Calamar and music journalist Phil Gallo have teamed up to write a true, devoted history of the record store. Apparently record stores -- which have survived near-extinction to see a quiet new dawn, at least in my neighborhood -- were  once considered a grave threat to the music industry, August Brown writes in today's paper.

"That was a time when people thought records were really bad for musicians," said Gary Calamar, the co-author of "Record Store Days: From Vinyl to Digital and Back Again," a new history of (and unashamedly geeky paean to) the culture of the record store. "People were just getting used to electricity, and many artists resented the presence of records. They thought nobody would buy sheet music anymore."

The sentiment will feel uncannily modern to anyone who has downloaded a torrent file, seen a pink slip from a major label or tried to pay rent with Spaceland drink tickets. In "Record Store Days," Calamar and Phil Gallo document a unique retail culture, one in which so many American teenagers learned what "cool" looked and sounded like. The writers also detail the long history of the music marketplace to show how today's Wild West business climate is far from unprecedented.

Read the complete article about "Record Store Days: From Vinyl to Digital and Back Again" here.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Phil Gallo, left, and Gary Calamar at Freakbeat Records in Sherman Oaks. Credit: Brian Vander Brug/Los Angeles Times