Fruit of the vinyl

By Shawn Parker

Record Store Day bows this weekend

Now in its sixth year, Record Store Day has become something of a cross between a scavenger hunt and Christmas. And Heather Frarey, owner of The Record Lounge, 111 Division St. in East Lansing, thinks the international event, which will be held this Saturday, could be the biggest one yet.

Record Store Day is geared toward vinyl junkies, who queue up every third Saturday of April for a chance to buy limited edition record albums. Every Record Store Day has an official “ambassador,” which this year will be Jack White of The White Stripes. The band’s 2003 album, “Elephant,” will be reissued as a special 10th anniversary edition LP that will be black-and-red on one side and white on the other. Other participating artists this year include David Bowie, MGMT, The Notorious B.I.G. and Buddy Guy. All will release limited edition (5,000 or fewer) vinyl prints at participating stores.

Which, besides The Record Lounge, consists locally of Flat, Black and Circular (541 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing), Replay Entertainment Exchange (1385 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing). Record Store Day is more than a one-off event for wax retailers though, for whom repeat business is a key component.

Longtime vinyl addict John Scott Warrens waxed poetic on the medium.

“Vinyl is a reminder of a past where more care was given to a product,” Warrens said. “Vinyl is tangible, interactive, interminably cool and, most importantly, just sounds better.”

He said in this age of BitTorrent, tangible media is more important than ever.

“Vinyl is considered an artifact,” he said. “Record Store Day is a necessary vehicle to illuminate the importance of the art form.”

But it’s also, fundamentally, an international underground event, and has developed a growing buzz since its 2007 inception, attracting both diehards supporting a fetish medium some think has heard its death knells — as well as first-timers excited to participate in the latest trending topic.

But wherever you fall on the vinyl scale, one thing remains; there is more than one option for record shopping in the Lansing area, and with Record Store Day approaching, the options and variety are even greater.

Or as Warrens said: “Support local business, support your mind, body and soul (and) buy a damn record.”