October 12, 2010
I visited this store in the summer of 2002 and the memory of it haunts me still. I’ve been to some extra fine record stores over the years, but this one takes the cake as the créme de la créme. I shouldn’t taunt anyone, but Yesterday & Today Records went web-only just weeks after I visited [just in the nick of time] so I must dash all hopes of anyone ever visiting in person and rifling the bins in all of their organized glory.
That summer in 2002 was significant since I was traveling to Washington D.C. to attend shows by two of my absolute favorite Scot bands back to back. The recently reunited Rezillos and the re-energized Simple Minds. My old friend Charles was cajoled into joining me on this trip and as usual I investigated what record stores might be worth a visit prior to our departure. We went to the old reliable D.C. Tower in addition to one or two other indie stores, but by far the biggest impact a record store has ever on me was at Yesterday & Today.
Charles and I arrived around 11 a.m. and I was struck immediately by the extremely high percentage of records that were of interest to me. The music stocked seemed to concentrate on the 70s and 80s, but earlier and later eras were also in evidence. The stock was primarily 7″ 45s. About 25% of the stock was 12″ material. There were two rooms of merchandise. The bins were assiduously organized to the point of every group having a title card and they were not so overstuffed that the stock couldn’t be easily browsed.
The room pictured above was highly organized. The second room, less so but as the material was not of interest to me, I could hardly have cared. As I browsed the bins I couldn’t help but notice that there were a hell of a lot of New Wave and Post-Punk records. Better still, there were a hell of a lot of obscure New Wave and Post-Punk records that I was not used to seeing anywhere but online. Maybe never! A quick look at the “S” section will reveal fat sections of many of my favorite artists.
Click on that sucker. There are multiple singles by: Pete Shelley, Sandie Shaw, Shakespear’s Sister, Sex Pistols Related, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Simple Minds, Frank Sinatra, Silicon Teens, Sigue Sugue Sputnik, Jane Siberry, Shriekback, Soft Cell, Patti Smith, Slade – UK, Slade – US, Skids, Dusty Springfield, Spizz, Split Enz, Chris Spedding, Ronnie Spector, Sparks, Spandau Ballet, Stewart & Gaskin… The mixture of music is all reflective of a vendor with some serious taste to spare. So I quickly realized that I needed to carefully examine the stock in this store. There were signs stating that all stock was 25% off list since they were going web-only soon. I hunkered down and started flipping through the bins.
It was several hours later when my companion Charles returned after having gotten something to eat or drink while I was preoccupied. He mentioned that the severe thunderstorm had subsided and that it was no longer raining hard. I had not been aware of this development. I hadn’t a clue. But I did have these records to show for it:
1. ABC – How To Be A Zillionaire US Mercury 884 382-1 12″
– contains “Tower Of London ext remix”+”Zillionaire [nickel + dime mix]”
2. ABC – The Look Of Love UK Neutron NTX 103 12″
– All 4 parts of the A-side
3. ASSOCIATES – Fire To Ice UK Circa YRT 49 12″
– 1 track less than from the CD5
4. ASSOCIATES – Poperetta EP UK WEA YZ534 7″
– a 1st in any format for this treasure! “Club Country Club” new track
5. ASSOCIATES – Fever UK Circa YR 46 7″
– has “Fever In The Shadows” edit
6. ASSOCIATES – Take Me To The Girl UK 7″ WEA YZ 47
– 1 track less than 12″
7. B-MOVIE – Letter From Afar UK SIRE SIR 4258T 12″
– didn’t have this one.
8. BLACK – More Than The Sun UK The Wonderful World Of WW3 7″
– Indie release 1st recording of A-side + “Jump”
9. BLACK – More Than The Sun UK WEA BLACK1 7″
– 2nd recording of A-side
10. THE BOOMTOWN RATS – Charmed Lives UK Mercury MERX 106 12″
– Instro B-side
THE BOOMTOWN RATS – Charmed Lives UK Mercury MER 1062 2×7″
– More trax than 12″
11. THE BOOMTOWN RATS – A Hold Of Me UK Mercury MERX 184 12″
– 1 B-side
12. THE BOOMTOWN RATS – Tonight UK Mercury MERX 154 12″
– 2 B-sides
13. CARMEL – Storm UK Red Flame RF 701 7″
– B-side “I Can’t Stand The Rain!”
14. CHINA CRISIS – Black Man Ray UK Virgin VS 752 7″
– Finally! The 7″ ver. of “Animalistic” on the flip!
15. DOWN TO EARTH – Interference UK Island WIP 6721 7″
– obscure 1981 synth pop prod. Martin Rushent
16. EDDIE + SUNSHINE – Lines UK Human Records HUM 9 7″
17. EDDIE + SUNSHINE – Another Teardrop UK Human Records HUM 13 7″
– These guys sang backup for Ultravox/prod. Gareth Jones [Foxx producer]
18. EURYTHMICS – I Need A Man UK RCA DA 15R
– numbered live version gatefold! Unknown release!
19. FASHION – Streetplayer-Mechanik UK Arista ARIST 456 7″
20. FASHION – Love Shadow UK Arista ARIST 483 7″
21. FASHION – Move On UK Arista ARIST 440 7″
– Now I have ALL 7″ remixes on flipsides!
22. FICTION FACTORY – Not The Only One UK Foundry Found 112 12″
– A-side remix not on CD
23. FICTION FACTORY – No Time UK Foundry FOUND2 7″
– B-side “Tension” not on CD
24. GARDENING BY MOONLIGHT – Diction + Fiction UK Island IN3 7″
– Foxx backing band. Better condition than my 12″ for B-side, “Green Light”
25. ICEHOUSE – Electric Blue US Chrysalis VAS 2899 [blue vinyl] 12″
– I thought I had this but I bought it any way. I didn’t!
26 INTRO – Lost Without Your Love UK MCA MCAT 819 12″
27. INTRO – Haunted Cocktails UK MCA MCAT 794 12″
– Remixes and B-sides from great torch singer known as Jacqui Brooks in the
28. LANDSCAPE – Sonja Henie UK RCA PB 5259 7″
– Not on their “Tearooms” LP!
29. JONI MITCHELL – My Secret Place US Geffen 7-27887-A 7″promo
– Peter Gabriel duet
30. NEW MUSIK – Warp UK Epic EPC 85567 LP
– I’ve never seen this before!!!
31. NOCTURNAL OPERATIONS – The Sensational Creed UK Beggars Banquet BEG 125
– SUPER obscure Associates-related group – never thought I’d ever see it!
32. SHAKE – Invasion of the Gamma Men UK Sire 4035 7″
– Post-Rezillos Jo Callis/Simon Templar/Angel Patterson band!!!!! One I
33. SHOCK – Dynamo Beat UK RCA RCA133 7″
– Richard Burgess produced new-ro techno trash band – I didn’t know about
this 2nd [presumably final] single!
34. SIMPLE MINDS – Love Song UK Virgin VS-434-12 12″
– Inst. B-side “This Earth That You Walk Upon”
35. SIMPLE MINDS – Real Life UK Virgin VS 1382 7″
– live B-side [See The Lights] not on CD5
36. SPANDAU BALLET – Highly Strung UK Chrysalis span 5 7″
– remix B not on 12″
37. SPOONS – Nova Heart UK A+M AMS 8260 7″
– B-side “Symmetry” not on CD
38. ULTRAVOX – All Stood Still Spain Chrysalis CHS 2522 7″
39. ULTRAVOX – The Voice Spain Chrysalis CHS 2559 7″
– Spanish pressings with sleeve variations
40. WAS (NOT WAS) – Shake Your Head UK Fontana WASX 11 12″
– 2 mixes of “Listen Like Thieves” not on CD5 of this or “Listen Like
It was about 4:30-5:00 p.m. when we went through the piles and whittled it down to what I absolutely had to go in debt for, since I did not have a job at this time. It was nominally about $300 worth of merchandise that ended up costing me about $225. Prices were already good so that was a lot of merch. As we spent long minutes checking out, we chatted amiably with Skip Groff, the owner. We talked about seeing The Rezillos the night before at The Black Cat and he was chagrined that he had missed the show. He then pointed out the promo glossy of lead singer Eugene Reynolds behind the counter on the “wall of fame” at checkout.
I was admiring a poster of The Cramps’ Lux Interior [r.i.p.] and Skip pointed out a very unique Cramps-related piece of memorabilia in his store. Skip had a long association with D.C. proto-punk band The Slickee Boys and they often paired with The Cramps in concert. Apparently one night things got a little out of hand, if one can believe that, and the ceiling at the venue collapsed. Skip thoughtfully got The Cramps to autograph their handiwork! It looks like Poison Ivy had her nail polish at hand for the job.
As Skip was adding it all up, he asked my address, and dang if I wasn’t already in his system as a customer. He revealed that I had purchased an Ultravox single from him by mail order recently, and I remembered seeing his Goldmine ad and responding to it. As we left the store, there was another store nearby on the Rockville Pike but we spent only about an hour or so at that place. It was after six by the time we got back to our hotel and got ready for the Simple Minds show later that night at the 9:30 Club.
I have been to lots of fantastic record stores both before and after my visit to Yesterday & Today. None of the other stores I could name had quite the ratio of wheat to chaff that this place had. Some would come close, but after eight years, I still can wax eloquent about this amazing place where, literally, time stood still for me for hours and hours.
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