April 6, 2017
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After it comes out of the sleeve and is placed on the circular nylon mat, the needle drops onto the hardened wax. There’s a distinctive fuzzy noise emitted from the oversized analog speakers. These multi-sensory movements and experiences encompass the vinyl record experience.
April 22 marks the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day (RSD), a celebration and appreciation for vinyl records.
RSD reaches across the United States, with major cities such as Los Angeles and New York City included. Chicago itself will have a total of 34 participating record stores.
Matt Jencik, manager at Reckless Records in Wicker Park, said attendees can expect to see a variety of free performances by local bands such as The Smoking Popes, Ohmme, and a Carpenters cover band.
Also to be expected at participating stores are pressings of the critically acclaimed “Cracked Actor” and “Bowpromo,” two of David Bowie’s live-recorded albums, according to NPR.
Yet the day is not just about records themselves. According to Rolling Stone, “Record Store Day has enlisted St. Vincent to serve as the annual event’s 2017 ambassador.” The Grammy awarded, indie-rocker is the first female ambassador for the celebratory day.
While certain publications, such as VICE, have deemed the decade-long revitalization of vinyl appreciation as the “vinyl revival,” certain individuals affiliated with the music industry tend to disagree with this terminology and timeframe.
Rick Wojcik, the co-owner of Dusty Groove (one store participating in RSD), said in an interview that record stores embraced popularity back in the 90s.
“When we [Dusty Groove] first started out it was a very different time in the music industry,” Wojcik said. “It was a real highpoint—CDs were king; record stores were making a lot of money.”
Dusty Groove, which is located in the Wicker Park neighborhood, will be featuring a large amount of special releases and even a magic show for the younger crowd, according to Wojcik.
Though the demand for vinyl may be on a continual uptick that has lasted through the past few decades, RSD has seen a more recent rise in popularity.
According to Jencik, the first celebrated RSD at Reckless Records was small. Though even by year two, it became a larger ordeal. “For at least the past five years, Record Store Day has been our busiest day of the year,” Jencik said.
One aspect of the day that stands out to Jencik are the demographics.
“Seeing younger kids buying vinyl is the most exciting thing for me,” Jencik said.
Students at Lane are a part of this youthful group who appreciate vinyl. For senior Lillie Therieau, Div. 750, vinyl records have influenced her upbringing and general understanding of music.
“There’s something extra special about the act of picking a record out of a shelf and choosing to play it,” Therieau said. “It makes it more of a complete experience.”
Enjoying a record not only stems from the sound released from the speakers, but extends beyond the ears. Guitar and Sound Engineering teacher Mr. Hudson calls it a “tactile experience” and also recognizes the importance behind the intent of an album’s producer.
“If you like music that’s from the early 80s or before, listening to it on vinyl will be the ideal experience because that was the medium that the mixing engineers and the mastering engineer were working towards,” Hudson said.