I Need That Record! The Death (Or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store
directed by Brendan Toller
Readers of a certain age will remember the feeling of hanging out for hours in a record store; the smell of the cardboard and vinyl, the salespeople who would fluctuate between overly-enthusiastic and bored and condescending within seconds, the weird dust and dirt that would accumulate on the fingers after flipping through crate after crate of records. While independent record stores are still clinging to life, the prospects aren’t good. In I Need That Record!, director/editor/writer Brendan Toller attempts to explain how we got to this state of affairs, and whether anything can be done about it.
Using a mixture of interviews and animation, Toller lays out a number of factors behind the shuttering of many independent record stores: media consolidation, record company pursuit of short-term profits at the expense of the long view, the rise of big box stores, and the introduction of file sharing. Sure, it’s nothing you couldn’t figure out on your own, but seeing the depressing facts laid out is pretty impressive.
In-between the animation, Toller shows various record stores across the country (true record nerds will be able to recognize many of them), as well as the shuttering of several, interspersed with interviews with famous people and record store owners and clerks. Several of the interviewees mention the importance of a place where knowledgeable (if sometimes not blessed with the greatest people skills) people would encourage inquisitive youngsters into the world of music nerd-dom. As Chris Frantz of the Talking Heads said, “[record stores] were a gathering place for the nerds who loved music.” It’s a simple statement that stresses something that almost all the interviewees bring up — the sense of community that is slowly disappearing.
Extras include hours of interviews with Ian MacKaye, Glenn Branca, Mike Watt, Thurston Moore, Legs McNeil and more.