So is there anyone out there who has not watched the video of Sunday night's brilliant, transcendent and downright creepy Tupac performance at Coachella? Being dead and all, the legendary rapper had to dispatch his doppelganger, an insanely convincing hologram, to freak out the festival crowd as it joined Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Eminem in a closing set that was an homage not only to the ghost of hip-hop's past, but also to that of the record industry as a whole.
While it's true that Snoop, Dre and Eminem have fared incredibly well through the years — a recent Forbes ranking of "Hip Hop's Cash Kings" estimated their 2011 earnings at $14 million each — the music industry continues its digital freefall. All of which makes the survival of neighborhood record shops an achievement worth celebrating.
And there's no better time to do that than this Saturday's fifth annual Record Store Day, when your friendly neighborhood retailer will offer in-store performances and ridiculously collectible releases.
Independent Records' Mandy Christensen tells me the biggest Record Store Day releases will be stocked at all locations, while smaller-run items are more likely to show up at Platte in the Springs and Colfax in Denver. Bigger releases, she says, will include:
• a remix of Death Cab for Cutie's Codes and Keys EP;
• Jimmy Fallon's "Tebowie" single;
• a split single (on Coke-bottle green vinyl) of Carolina Chocolate Drops and Run DMC each performing "You Be Illin'";
• and a two-LP Flaming Lips set on psychedelic vinyl, featuring collaborations with Bon Iver, Erykah Badu, Nick Cave and a dozen others.
In fact, Cave's band Grinderman offers up one of this year's most amusing testimonials at the Record Store Day website: "The relatively mild exertion of getting off your fat, computer-shackled ass and venturing out to find the object of your desire, the thrill of moving through actual space and time, through row upon row of records, and the tactile ecstasy of fondling the quested treasure — all this will augment and enrich the mental associations the music invokes in you for the rest of your life."
Find more of the above, along with a list of more than 300 special releases, at recordstoreday.com. You can also go to beindependent.com for updated info on Independent Records' in-stores, which as we go to press include Foster and We Are Not a Glum Lot at the East Bijou outlet.
Before moving on to upcoming shows, I just want to say how much I appreciate Wykked Wytch for not following through on its onstage "Are you ready to die?" threat this past Friday the 13th at the Black Sheep. I don't want to say anything bad about the black metal band's set, mainly because frontwoman Ipek Warnock scares me. Let's just say that I much preferred the Springs' own Malakai, who regaled the crowd with epic originals as well as a howl-along cover of Machine Head's "Davidian."
As for the week ahead, go see the aforementioned We Are Not a Glum Lot at the Ancient Mariner. They'll share a bill with the Flumps, who also scored the short film Shiny Things, which plays Saturday and Sunday at the Indie Spirit Film Festival.
You can also celebrate new album releases from Ben Knighten and Andy Clifton on Thursday at Stargazers, and from We Are All Destined to Fail on Friday at Union Station.
Finally, local outfits Melting Temple, BXR from the MaCaAtic Crew, Out to Dry, the KnightBeats and the Axiom Trio are playing America the Beautiful Park on Friday, during Colorado Springs' second annual 420 Festival. The contact high begins at 1 p.m., so start thinking of a good excuse to get out of work. And good luck with that Monday morning drug test.