Limited, Live and Local

Record Store Day 2016 was celebrated on six continents worldwide. Local, independent record stores work with music distributors to provide exclusive, vinyl records one day a year.

This year I went to Joe’s Records in Marion, Illinois. It was the same record store I went to last year.

2014 was my first time being apart of Record Store Day. I went to an independent record store in Carbondale, Illinois. What I have noticed so far in a rural section of Illinois, is that Carbondale, being a college town, had a much larger demand for RSD than Marion in comparison.

Last year, when I arrived at 10:30 a.m. there was a large amount of records still available, no line, and the store clerks were available to answer questions directly.

This year, I arrived at 9:45 a.m., and quickly found out that even though the mall opened at 10:00 a.m., I think the store opened early, because there was already a line, and people buying records. As an avid RSD fan, this worried me. What I realized, is that I should have asked the store what time they were opening, and been ahead of that time. Since, it was a workday for me, I was grateful just to grab some new vinyl.

When I walked into the store my heart rate started to increase. The rush of finding in demand records is one of the elements I love about RSD.

Some people love going to major retail outlets on Black Friday to find discounted pieces of merchandise, such as televisions, toys, and hot items for the season. If you are into that, I am not judging you. What I am saying, is that I find that rush out of being able to support local, independent record stores that are only trying to help independent musicians, but also working to help artists on major labels. When I buy local, I feel a sense of pride and excitement. When I have to buy items made for cheap, and primarily produced to benefit a major corporation, I feel less excited about using those products.

As I walked through the store, I saw some 45 records next to the counter. The cashier is busy with multiple customers, he has a few people to help, but I looked over to another customer, and asked if this was the majority of the RSD records. He informed me to check a back rack. As I walked up on the RSD rack, I felt like the fat kid 50 Cent was talking about loving cake in ‘21 Questions‘ featuring the late and great Nate Dogg.

I love all kinds of music.

James Brown Live from the Apollo. Photo by: Record Store Day

James Brown Live from the Apollo. Photo by: Record Store Day

James Brown – Live at the Apollo Volume IV

My heart dropped when I saw the Live at the Apollo Volume IV by James Brown. It was the record I wanted most, and love the Godfather of Soul.

This live album was recorded in New York, New York at the Apollo Theater on September 13 & 14, 1972. Only 2,400 copies were distributed for Record Store Day 2016.

“We want to upgrade.” – James Brown

This quote is from a beautiful passage by James Brown on how all communities, regardless color, should be trying to upgrade their quality of life, and not let the mainstream media brainwash people into downgrading their quality of life.

Brown educates the audience on the Black Live Matter movement over fifty years before it would catch popularity in our era. His ability to see the problems, and speak on the issues in 1972 is a testament to his character and soul overall.

The live album showcases Lyn Collins, Fred Wesley, Isaac Hayes and many talented musicians sharing the Apollo stage. The vinyl recording helps recreate the live atmosphere of Brown’s performance.

I could only afford one copy, but I know my older brother is a fan of Brown’s music. I decided listening to the record with him a few times will work out. One thing about my older brother, he has shaped my love for music. When I asked him which record he would like for RSD, he answered, ‘please try and get my wife the new Florence and The Machine record.’

Florence + The Machine – Delilah

After grabbing a copy of the James Brown record, I look over to see 3-4 copies of Delilah by Florence + The Machine. After seeing Florence at Bonnaroo 2015, and becoming a large fan of her music, I decided to get two copies of Delilah. This blue vinyl only had 4,000 copies in print. It is a thrill to have 2 of those copies.

Music is like art to me. Some people love stamps, I love vinyl.

Delilah includes the traditional song, as well as a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart.’

Side A features ‘Delilah’ as performed on the record, as well as a demo cut of the song. I’ve listened to the song on my computer, and digital devices. It is underwhelming overall. When I put the record on through an amp, and decent speakers, it gives a depth that digital music lacks. This feeling reminds me to seeing a live performance.

In a lot of ways, Record Store Day feels like a large scale event for home entertainment.

The acoustic guitar playing by Rob Ackroyd opens up the B side featuring ‘Neil Young’s ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart.’ A horn section with trombone and trumpet players gives the cover a depth and roundness that reminds me of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

I made the mistake of not knowing the album artwork to each of the records, and being in a rush. It helps when you visit and browse over the artist you love. I also suggest not doing that, and going to just find new music.

I looked directly at the Fleetwood Mac album, and moved on quickly, to see David Bowie’s Dig Everything – The Pye Singles 1966. In a recent interview with Savannah Hudson, vocalist in The Heirs, I asked which albums she was looking for, and Bowie was one of the artists on her radar.

I quickly grabbed Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention’s My Guitar 7-inch, which contains an alternate version of the ‘Weasels Ripped My Flesh’ tune for my good friend that is a large Zappa fan.

He informed me that Zappa had a few backing bands over his career. It was interesting to hear that Zappa was not a typical psychedelic ’70s band. He would mask as different styles of music, and use his lyrics to critique on the different forms of music and cultural.

Brandi Carlile – Live at KCRW Morning Becomes Electric

Brandi Carlile’s Live at KCRW Morning Becomes Electric caught my eye. I had noticed her recently touring with and working with the Old Crow Medicine Show. Watch her video below to experience her sound.

Her lyrics display the love and misery that may be within ourselves and the relationships we share with one another.

Carlile’s acoustic album was beautifully produced in the studio at KCRW in Santa Monica, California. Her sound is reflective to a southern, alternative country performer craving their own niche in Southern California.

This white colored 12 inch vinyl is limited to 2500 copies by ATO Records.

Brandy Clark’s Girl Next Door 7″ features and both Sheryl Crow and Brandy’s takes on “Homecoming Queen” on Side B. The record was pressed on random mixed blue, yellow and red vinyl.

This was my first time listening to Brandy Clark. Originally, I might have unfairly categorized her in new country, that lacks depth. After listening to her work, I noticed that despite her commercial lyrics, her vocals and the audio production is above par.

Sheryl Crow performs ‘Homecoming Queen on Side B. Her guitar playing and vocals are divine reflections of Crow’s colorful career.

Death Cab for Cutie released 7″ single features two unreleased live tracks with ‘Tractor Rape Chain’ and ‘Black Sun’ recorded at Sirius XM Studios. The white vinyl was limited to 3,000 copies.

It mainly featured Ben Gibbard performing the acoustic guitar. Overall, it was slow, and downtempo.

As I moved down the 45 records I saw one of 1200 copies to the Violent Femmes 7″ that includes ‘Memory’ from the new 3/4 album along with an unreleased song ‘You Move Me.’

I picked up the unreleased material from the Violent Femmes. It was a pleasant surprise. The music reminded me of the raw and aggressive music from the ’80s and ’90s.

Mumford and Sons performed in St. Louis at Vintage Vinyl. Since I could not make it to that show, I grabbed their latest material.

Mumford & Sons’ RSD exclusive 7″ single features a brand new song called ‘There Will Be Time’ (previously only available in South Africa). The track features Baaba Maal, and was produced alongside Johan Hugo from The Very Best. The album was limited to 6000 copies.

This record took me to South Africa in a spiritually sense. Before listening to this record, I was feeling tired of Mumford and Sons. This album reminded me of how vital Mumford and Sons are to the music industry.

I don’t want to sound cliche, but listening to ‘There Will Be Time’ gave me chills. It was nice to finish on a good note.

During my purchase, the manager of the store asked me an important question.

“Did you find everything you were looking for today?”

And I replied, ‘well no. I did not find the project from Run the Jewels or the latest from ALO. He answered, ‘I don’t have the ALO, but the Run the Jewels VR kit is right here.’ I picked up the VR kit, and did a live review of the album on Saturday. Watch the video on YouTube below.