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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Size matters in music

    Angeline Carbajal

    Zia Record Exchange, located on Speedway Boulevard, will celebrate Record Store Day on Saturday. Schumarker said vinyl records are starting to make their way back because the sound quality on them is better and records now come with a download code, so people can put music on their electronic devices.

    The one thing in life that never goes out of style is nostalgia. Relics from our past will always generate the warmth of nostalgia: a bittersweet reminder of the best parts of the past. Sometimes nostalgia can even hint at a greater truth: that these relics are better than much of what is produced today. No one would trade an iPhone for an old-school rotary phone, but there are plenty of people that would gladly trade MP3s for vinyl records. Those are the kind of people most excited for this Saturday and the eighth annual Record Store Day.

    Record Store Day was founded in 2007 with the intent to celebrate record stores via a combination of vinyl special releases, artist meet and greets and in-store performances across the world. Since then, Record Store Day has grown exponentially in popularity and eclipsed even the loftiest expectations.

    The official Record Store Day Ambassador of 2015 is everyone’s favorite rock ’n’ roll son, Dave Grohl, and he resides over a year in which there are over 400 special releases scheduled to hit the shelves this Saturday for the event. The monumental success of Record Store Day is owed, in large part, to the passion for local independent record stores, such as Tucson’s Zia Record Exchange and PDQ Records, along with the mounting mainstream resurgence of vinyl records.

    “I love record stores,” said John Beeler, label manager at Asthmatic Kitty Records (Sufjan Stevens, My Brightest Diamond, The Welcome Wagon). “We’re a record label. Though digital and streaming are certainly an important part of our businesses, record stores are the heart of what we do.”

    Assistant Professor Keith Pawlak, a collector of roughly 4,000 records, agrees that the true success of Record Store Day is in bringing local record stores business.

    “I like that Record Store Day has the potential to encourage people to shop locally and patronize their community record store,” Pawlak said. “If it causes someone to go out and help out a local business like PDQ Records, then it’s a success.”

    Of course, Record Store Day could not have found traction without the magic of vinyl records. The theories behind the origins of vinyl’s mainstream resurgence are numerous. There is a widespread hipster connotation to the modern vinyl collecter.

    “Many young people are attracted to this technology because it seems both timeless and yet completely out-of-sync with present day attitudes about popular music,” Pawlak said.

    However, the love for records goes deeper than what is popular with the young folks. 

    To Brian Moon, an assistant music professor, the quality of sound plays a large part in the equation.

    “I believe the decline of audio fidelity surrounding popular music with the rise of online, compressed digital music has led to the resurgence of vinyl,” Moon said. “Vinyl really does sound better, and it’s not difficult for anyone to experience that improved sound.”

    Moon recommended everyone treat themselves to the experience of listening to a vinyl record with a nice pair of headphones or good speakers, but remember to avoid earbuds at all costs, lest you incur the wrath of audiophiles everywhere.

    Perhaps vinyl also gives a kinesthetic appeal lacking in the age of iTunes and Spotify, and this aspect rings true to Beeler.

    “Maybe it’s as simple as the size,” Beeler said. “Vinyl is just big enough to hold or express as a fashion statement or identifier. Maybe what vinyl gets right is the exact amount of physical interaction needed for us to fall in love with the product a little more.”

    And that’s the gist of it: The combination of these elements has made people fall in love with vinyl. Whether it be for the first time, or all over again, there will be plenty of chances to fall in love on Record Store Day. Don’t let the opportunity go to waste, because Record Store Day comes but once a year. 


    Follow Alex Furrier on Twitter.

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