Dozens of people lined up outside of local Lansing record stores The Record Lounge and Flat, Black and Circular Saturday, April 23, to rifle through crates of vinyl, hoping to find the perfect album.
Created in 2007, Record Store Day honors the culture and community of independently owned record stores, and at the time — honored the tradition of record music.
Heather Frarey, owner of The Record Lounge in Reo Town Marketplace — the only woman-owned record store in Michigan — said for her, the store is a community.
“When people do come in here, somebody might be looking at something right next to you, and you can start a conversation with that person,” she said. “So, it's a lot about conversation.”
Often, customers will come into the store and reflect on the music that shaped their past, she said.
“If you don't have music in your life, I think you don't have much because we communicate music to memory,” Frarey said.
As a woman-owned business, The Record Lounge offers a unique experience for music lovers. Frarey has met several customers who visited specifically because of it.
“It's a good empowerment for young women coming up showing that, ‘Yeah, you can do this,’” Frarey said.
Taylor Haslett poked through crates of records, and explained why Record Store Day was important to her.
“It's always really important to support local, and so when there are special events, you always want to be able to come out and support them,” she said.
Additionally, several artists release their music on vinyl for the first time on April 23, giving fans a new way to experience their favorite music.
“Artists that you love and have been around for years are doing specials, single releases,” Haslett said. “They’re doing special releases of albums. They've been waiting to release things on this day, and so there are a lot of new things, a lot of old things that you haven't seen on vinyl before that you're going to be able to find on Record Store Day.”
Supporting local businesses was also an important part of celebrating Record Store Day for customer Andrew Diesel, who was on the hunt for Alice in Chains, or Everlast’s “Whiteboard Sings the Blues” on vinyl.
“I think it's important to support local businesses, especially record stores, and Record Store Day is an attempt to bring people more into stores to increase sales,” he said. “Oftentimes, you get limited edition releases that you're either really rare or they haven't been pressed. … So, it's a chance to collect those things.”
Flat, Black and Circular is a record store on Grand River Avenue, and a favorite among student music lovers. Jon Howard, the manager, has been shopping there since the 80s.
While records and vinyls might feel like an artifact from another time, Howard believes that there’s something special about them that is still relevant today.
“We think it's more of an interactive thing, when you get to hold it in your hand, look at the artwork, read all the information about it, read the lyrics. … Like, ‘This is my music collection,’ and then having a whole crate of records or CDs or tapes. … There's something to show for it,” Howard said. “It also represents what the artist wants their music to be presented as they spend a lot of time agonizing over artwork and track order and all that stuff.”
For Howard, Flat, Black and Circular is an important part of the MSU community, as he believes that record shopping is a social activity.
“(It’s a) cheap way to get some music and explore new things and get things, like people coming for MSU might be the first time out of their old town … or interacting with people who are the norm for them, and same thing with going to a record store, you're gonna get things that are different,” he said. “We hope to enrich people here, for sure … and teach people about the world.”
For those who want to start getting into listening to records, Howard advises people to invest in a nice record player, but start off with cheap music to find their interests. He also encourages customers to be adventurous. Buying records based off of the covers, or things you think your friends would like are a great place to start.
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“It's kind of fun to go random, explore new things,” Howard said.
This story was featured in our graduation edition. Read the full issue here.
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