Tomorrow (April 21), music nerds around the country will flock to their nearest record store to get their hands on some of the 350 exclusive, coveted releases for this international holiday. In its sixth year, Record Store Day has over 700 independently owned record stores participating around the U.S. and even more around the world.
And who better to discuss this special day with than one of the world’s best record stores according to the BBC and our longtime neighbors, Waterloo Records. I had the pleasure of chatting with owner John Kunz, following one of their famous in-store record release parties. Joe Pug played a quick, intimate set for the fans and record shoppers and stuck around to sign copies of his brand new release, The Great Despiser.
Kunz has always known the importance of vinyl – every day is record store day for him. But as someone who consumes a great deal of music from my iPhone, computer and other digital resources, I wanted to get his perspective on what makes this day so special. The buzz around Record Store Day is a clear indication that we are amidst what Kunz calls a Vinyl Renaissance. “Your ears are analog listening devices. Your body knows the difference between analog and digital. And while these digital solutions make approximations, it’s not the same…Portability and mobility take away from the personal connection,” Kunz believes that a true musical experience comes from hearing live or hearing it on vinyl. It’s something you can hold onto and appreciate.
Waterloo Records is in the middle of a month long 30th anniversary celebration. They kicked it off during SXSW by hosting over 30 bands and are closing it out with a special show from Garbage this Saturday for Record Store Day.
If you haven’t looked over the list of special releases for Saturday, prepare for sensation overload and click this link. It’s a healthy combination of both the old and the new artists releasing something for fans only. Kunz said many Phish-heads have called ahead to request their release of the first full-length studio album Junta. Following their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Kunz is personally most excited for The Small Faces.
I’m a sucker for cover songs, so I am looking forward to the exclusive covers that get released for this occasion – Tallest Man on Earth covering Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” The Civil Wars covering Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” and Otis Redding singing “Respect” with Aretha covering it on the flipside.
Be sure to go support your local record store this Saturday. When else can you get Feist covering Mastadon and Mastadon covering Feist all on one record?