It's no secret that the music industry has changed dramatically over the years, mostly due to everything going digital, but there are still fans out there who cherish the days of yore, when the music could not only be seen, but touched through vinyl (and even CDs) wrapped in the brilliant packaging that came along with.
This particular aspect of music has been celebrated nationally since 2007, the year Record Store Day was born. The third Saturday in April is now reserved for celebrating the unique culture surrounding independently owned record stores through special vinyl and CD releases, promotional materials, in-store performances, and meet and greets.
“We want to celebrate our customers, the people who are into records,” Joe Nardone Jr., owner of Gallery of Sound, emphasized. “It's about keeping the record store vibe alive.”
It's also about stressing the importance of music, which has played and will continue to play a pivotal role in many lives.
“I was, and still am, the poor musician who bought CDs used, some definitely from Gallery of Sound, but I did have many high school friends who worked there and were cooler for having done so,” noted Dirk Dekker of dream pop band Cherokee Red, who will be performing at the Gallery's Mundy Street location on April 20 along with several other local acts.
“A lot of it is about the discovery process in music, finding new things to listen to,” Nardone added. “Maybe we didn't sell as many Justin Timberlake records as Target did, but Target might not have started selling Imagine Dragons until last month, whereas we've been selling it for six months.”
This year's RSD ambassador, Jack White of The Raconteurs and formerly of The White Stripes, echoes those sentiments in an official statement he released through RSD.
“I think it's high time the mentors, big brothers, big sisters, parents, guardians, and neighborhood ne'er do wells start taking younger people that look up to them to a real record store and show them what an important part of life music really is,” White said.
“I trust no one who hasn't time for music. What a shame to leave a child, or worse, a generation orphaned from one of life's great beauties. And to the record stores, artists, labels, DJs, and journalists: we're all in this together. Show respect for the tangible music that you've dedicated your careers and lives to, and help it from becoming nothing more than disposable digital data.”
This year, there will be 400 titles for sale, all releases that encompass many genres.
“There's a little bit for everyone,” Nardone said. “There's a lot of people buying records now that are in their 50s and 60s who started buying records as kids, so for them there are things like The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan. And then there are cutting edge releases from today's bands, like The Menzingers, Title Fight, and Coheed and Cambria.”
While RSD promotes new and limited releases, its roots are based on the notion of giveaways, chances for people to discover new things easily. Nardone said the giveaways are certainly still there, and anyone looking to come in on RSD and browse around will find themselves loaded up with things like DVD and CD samplers, and even some 7-inch vinyls, for no cost at all.
“This is really about celebrating a love for music and giving people access to a physical product that they can enjoy,” Nardone said.
-Sara Pokorny, Weekender Staff Writer
“What is the record that changed your life?”
To a musician, this question is like asking, “What is the meaning of life?” It's a deep query because of music's undeniable impact on that very moment you hear it and every moment thereafter, and it was met with very thoughtful answers. For these local artists, the replies were wide-ranging and sometimes surprising, but all were heartfelt and honest.
Maybe you'll pick up your defining album this Record Store Day.
“'Kind of Blue' by Miles Davis.” –Doug Smith of Dixieland All-Stars, Doug Smith Orchestra, Doug Smith Jazz Quartet, Schoolhouse Rock, and more
“All The Beatles' albums got me started and are the basis of everything I do, but I have to say The Flaming Lips' 'Soft Bulletin' hit me real hard.” –Brian Langan of Sweatheart, Langor, and Kock107
“'Lateralus' by Tool. Hands down.” –Grant Williams of Graces Downfall
“I would have to say 'The Slider' by T. Rex: a great, classic album chock full of great rock 'n' roll songs. Marc Bolan was brilliant. Everybody needs a copy!” –Walter Prez of Walter Prez and the Awesome
“Ryan Adams' 'Heartbreaker.'” –Christopher Kearney of The Coal Town Rounders
“I'd have to say that 'The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me' by Brand New was the album that changed my life. I was going through some hard times in '06 and '07 with family deaths and sickness while preparing for college and a career that I wasn't even certain I wanted to pursue. I had spent many late nights listening to that album. The lyrics really hit home, and the different moods of the tracks helped me through some difficult times.” –John Husosky of A Fire With Friends
“Radiohead's 'The Bends.'” –Kyle Morgan of Kyle Morgan + Band, Tumbling Bones, and Cold Front
“Björk's album 'Post' changed my understanding of what's creatively possible for an artist. The way she and her producers organically combined acoustic and electronic sounds with her intriguing Scandinavian voice and perspective is intimate, intense, and really evocative. I like to imagine gorillas and other forest animals playing the instruments in her band.” –Dirk Dekker of Free Music Orchestra and Cherokee Red
“'The Moon & Antarctica' by Modest Mouse. I remember being 15 years old and listening to that record for the first time and feeling something entirely new and special. That record inspired me both musically and personally more so than any other single piece of art ever has.” –Dennis Condusta of Astorian Stigmata
“I would probably have to say 'Undertow' by Tool. It's a toss-up between that, 'Nothing's Shocking' by Jane's Addiction, and 'Siamese Dream' by The Smashing Pumpkins.” –Tim Farley of Farley
“The self-titled 'Blue Album' by 311.” –Tim Rixner of That 90's Band
“The most honest answer I can think of would be 'Surfing with the Alien' from Joe Satriani. It is the first instrumental guitar album I heard and it caused me to go and buy a notation book of the music so I could learn all of it. It really played a big part in me deciding to be a guitarist and composer.” –Allen “Robot” Van Wert
“The album that changed my life was Deftones' 'Around the Fur.' That album is the whole reason I play music at all. My friend played it once all the way through for me and I said, “I want to do that for the rest of my life!” –Will Perna of Behind the Grey
“The first music that I seriously started listening to when I was like seven was Elvis Presley, but I think the record that really influenced me in a lot of different ways was probably 'Odelay' by Beck.” –Tim McDermott, The Push
“I'll go with 'Back to Mystery City' by Hanoi Rocks.” –Jay Luke of The MESS
“It was The Killers' 'Hot Fuss' album. I've had to have listened to that half a million times and I still find myself listening to parts of it constantly, in separate playlists, nine years after it was released. I still look to it for inspiration for writing. Nothing has been able to match it since.” –James Phillips of The Atomiqs
“Mine would be – this might blow your mind – 'Cracked Rear View' by Hootie & the Blowfish. Loved it. My dad actually bought it when I was younger and I stole it off him. I just remember Darius Rucker's voice was amazing. I mean, it wasn't the most incredible music, but it was simple and it was catchy. It was actually my first concert when I saw them at Montage Mountain.” –Kenneth Norton of Graces Downfall
-Rich Howells, Weekender Editor
Schedule of entertainment on April 20 at Gallery of Sound (186 Mundy St.)
9 a.m.: Various vinyl DJs
Noon: Joe Nardone Jr. DJ set, History of RSD Vinyl Rarities
2 p.m.: George Wesley
3 p.m.: Leroy Justice
4 p.m.: Farley
5 p.m.: Cherokee Red
6 p.m.: Grey Zine
7 p.m.: These Elk Forever
7:30 p.m.: Petal
Local participating independent record stores:
Gallery of Sound
24 Main St., Wilkes-Barre, 570.826.6898
186 Mundy St., Wilkes-Barre, 570.208.2833
330 Laurel Mall Dr., Hazle Township, 570.459.1093
30 S. Main St., Pittston, 570.654.4899
419 Memorial Highway, Dallas, 570.674.1995
352 Adams Ave., Scranton, 570.341.9350
59 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, 570.829.2929
Some limited releases that you might be able to nab this RSD:
- Title Fight and Touché Amoré, “Crescent-Shaped Depression” (Touché Amoré) and “Faceghost” (Title Fight) split 7-inch
- Avenged Sevenfold, “Carry On” 12-inch picture disc
- Cheech and Chong featuring Alice Bowie, “Earache My Eye & Turn That Thing Down” 7-inch green vinyl
- Grateful Dead, “Rare Cuts and Oddities”
- The Lonely Island, “YOLO” 7-inch yellow vinyl
- The Notorious B.I.G., “Ready to Die” 12-inch white vinyl
- The White Stripes, “Elephant (10th Anniversary)” 12-inch vinyl
- The Flaming Lips, “Zaireeka” 45 RPM box set
For a full list, visit recordstoreday.com.
For the hardcore collector who might be wondering what the records we used for art in this story, our cover model, Camille Reinecke, is holding “Hysterical” by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (Matador, 2010). There may be one of these on sale at Gallery of Sound in Dickson City.
The purple tie-dye record is Scranton legends The SW!MS' 2006 release “Ride of the Blueberry Winter.” I saw one of these at Embassy Vinyl in downtown Scranton recently.
Inside, Reinecke is holding And The Moneynotes' 7-inch EP “On the Town, On the Vine,” still available from Prairie Queen Records.
The transparent orange is Dr. Dog's “Shame, Shame,” easy to find on black vinyl. This version may be hard to come by. The transparent red is Ryan Adams & The Cardinals' most recent effort “Cardinology” (Lost Highway Records). It's a little hard to find on black or red.
The transparent blue is The Spinto Band's 2012 release “Shy Pursuit.” This is a Holy Grail if you can find one, as it's nearly impossible to get. This limited first pressing was held to under 100 copies, though it's widely available on standard black vinyl.
–Jason Riedmiller, Weekender Correspondent