Something to hold

By RJ Wolcott
Some of the options at Flat Black and Circular in East Lansing. RJ Wolcott/City Pulse

What are record-store owners’ picks on Record Store Day?

Thursday, April 17 — A seemingly endless array of album artwork abounds as the sounds of the ‘70s welcome visitors to The Record Lounge, 111 Division St. in East Lansing. Plastered on the shops’ exterior windows are advertisements for Saturday’s upcoming event, Record Store Day, the most significant event for owners and aficionados across the country.

After several dormant decades and a string of more advanced and compact technology, vinyl records started making a comeback three to five years ago, according to Record Lounge owner Heather Frarey. Even as digital downloads and music on the go has become widespread, Frarey says her customers have flocked back to vinyl records as a means of making music tangible.

“With downloads, there’s nothing to show for it. Vinyl has something to hang on to and show to people and it sounds a lot better as well,” she said. A nostalgic twinge among younger fans for a time spent listening to records with friends could also be attributed to the resurgence, Frarey noted.

Dave Bernath, owner of Flat Black and Circular, or affectionately known as FBC, 541 E. Grand River Ave., mirrored Frarey’s excitement for the event, adding that he’d like to see something similar on a monthly basis as opposed to just once a year.

“One of the best things for indie-store owners would be to see this once a month and having labels putting out releases more often,” Bernath said. FBC will be stocking cabinets full of limited release records for Saturday, allowing customers to line up and make their selections first come, first serve.

The renewed interest in records, driven by consumers and recognized and fed by independent music labels and artists, has fueled the success of Record Store Day, the most frantic day of the year for shops like The Record Lounge and FBC. Now on its eighth revolution, the event celebrates the love of vinyl through the release of limited edition disks, repressed classics and awe-inspiring artwork.

Here’s what Frarey and Bernath are looking for:

Frarey (The Record Lounge):
  • Flaming Lips/Devo side by side covering Devo’s "Gates of Steel"
  • "Ghostbusters Theme," Glow in the dark edition
  • Aerosmith, "Draw the Line" remastered

Bernath (FBC):
  • Dave Mathews Band, "Live Trax Vol. 4," limited edition foil with numbering
  • Death Cab for Cutie featuring Magik*Magik, "Live 2012"
  • Green Day, "Demolicious," CD and 12-inch vinyl