When I began writing this article, my original plan was to visit my friend Steve at Skinnie’s Records, to talk a bit about Record Store Day, and then list some stores in the area. Then I got an idea to ask some people to briefly answer the question, “why vinyl?” What I found was, that for many, the answer wasn't a brief one. For them, records are a life long passion - not a fad.
So if you missed part one, with some history on Record Store Day and my groovy visit to Skinnie's Records in Norfolk, you can catch up right here - Record Store Day part 1.
For part two, We’ll get the answer to “why vinyl?” get turned on to what people are listening to, get schooled on how those grooves work and get the scoop on a record store that many have been wondering about.
Hey Ho, Let’s Go!
Beth Austin: Why vinyl?
David Brown: There is a warmth in the sound that comes from a record that simply cannot be reproduced in any kind of digital format.
The last record I listened to was U2 - The Unforgettable Fire.
Denise Lawrence: It is a warmer, richer sound. Something to do with analog. I don't understand the science part. I just like it - the whole experience. Removing the album from the sleeve (sometimes a work of art in itself), placing it onto the turntable and moving over that needle. Can't beat it!
The last record I listened to was Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures.
Crash LaResh: Apart from the obvious reason that heavy weighted vinyl LPs will always sound better than a digital recording, to me, a record is the final stage in the creation of a band's art. I mean you can look at a JPEG of a Van Gogh on your computer screen, or you can actually hold one of his paintings in your hand, look at it, smell it, and be physically attached to it.
And nothing beats a DIY Record album, because you know that a group of living humans were drawn to each other, compromised and combined their individual musical heritage, worked and worked to create a song, recorded it, pressed it, designed all the art that went into an album cover, and then they rhythmically handed it over to the world. Either to be loved, or to have their egos torn to shreds by the world at large. That's a hell of a risk right there. And the vinyl fruit of that process will beat the hell out of a 99 cent iTunes download every time.
The last record I listened to was SIN ALLEY - Volume One!
Katie Teardrop: Well vinyl is the first thing I ever heard and the first way music was ever recorded, so I think it's the purest and most historical sound I've ever heard. I think that sound is irreplaceable.
The last record I listened to Wendy Renee - After Laughter Comes Tears.
Jason Rowland: I started collecting vinyl in my teenage years, probably because it was very inexpensive and widely accessible - thrift stores, yard sales, curbside trash day pickings. It was an easy way to listen to all kinds of music without paying outrageous prices. Kinda funny now, in the present day, that vinyl is more expensive than most other forms of music listening mediums.
This morning, I listened to Cheerleader 666 - Gutter Days 10 inch vinyl from 2001. It's my favorite "gotta clean the house" record to spin.
Alex Harrison: Vinyl has a warm organic feeling vs the cold "1's and 0's" you get with CD's and mp3's. I find I'm more likely to listen to a whole record (or at least a whole side) even if I'm not crazy about a song that's on because it’s a delicate process to move the needle around. Whereas with CD's or mp3's, I'm more apt to just skip over those less appealing tracks. Which means I'm really getting less of an experience of listening to an artist's music, since most artists will carefully select the order of songs on a record.
Plus many older records were specifically mixed for vinyl and when they were put to CD they weren't remastered, so the low end is nonexistent while the high end is piercing. The grooves on vinyl really bring out the bass, so mixes are generally done with more high end for vinyl. Many of my favorite records don’t sound good on CD, but sound completely perfect on the turntable for this reason.
My stereo has been broken for sometime so I'm a little hazy on the last record I listened to on vinyl, but let's go with The Fastbacks - Run No More 7" single.
I probably have more singles than full records because the less music you have on one side the louder it'll sound because the grooves can be wider. I learned a lot of the technical stuff when I put out The Villains 7" a few years back.
Laura Reyes: Some albums you just can't get otherwise. Those records only exist on vinyl.
The last record I listened to was Pat Benatar - Precious Time. “Promises in the Dark” is my sing along go to!
Todd Owens: Vinyl just brings me back to when I was a kid and discovering all these great bands. The big artwork, lyric inserts, posters - I love that. I've had a record player and vinyl collection that I've been dragging around for years, and will continue to do so.
My last record I bought and listened to was the new Arctic Monkeys album - AM. I got it at their show in Richmond (and I already had the mp3).
Ryan Thomas: Why Vinyl? Why anything else?! You can touch it, smell it, feel it! There's a warmth to vinyl that gets lost when you make it digital. Being a disc jockey, I would have to say it's the only way! When you put a record on a turntable, you're not just pushing a button. You’re picking the record, pulling it out of it’s sleeve, dropping it on the table and the magic begins!
The last record I listened to was The Impressions - Keep On Pushing.
Grey Persons: I love vinyl for lots of reasons - finding great old music, albums almost lost to the junk pile, the music itself, the name of whoever owned it 40, 50 or 60 years ago still on it, playing it through an old record player, checking out the liner notes - I just dig it. Not sure why, but its one of my favorite things.
Regarding my favorite store - of course I love Skinnie's, I have shopped there forever. In addition, for a number of years I’ve been getting lots of good stuff at Broadway Records in Portsmouth. I recommend it for anyone who loves cool music. You can spend hours digging through crates of records while the store's owner is playing badass soul, R&B, Jazz and whatever for you (and whoever else happens to be there).
Finally and most importantly, for anyone who happens to be reading this and goes by Broadway, be sure to mention my name. Not because it will do you any good, but maybe he'll hook me up next time I go by. The most important thing, though, is to go buy something from the dude. We need guys like him (and Steve at Skinnie’s) doing what he's doing in this town.
Ready to go buy some records? A great day to start would be this Saturday, April 19 - Record Store Day. Below is a list of record stores in the area. If you know of any more, list them in the comments below. Or if you have any thoughts on vinyl, feel free to start a conversation. I would love to hear from you!
Skinnie’s Records - Norfolk
Fantasy - Newport News
American Oldies - Newport News
Broadway Records - Portsmouth
Birdland - Virginia Beach
Vinyl Daze - Virginia Beach
AFK Books And Records - Virginia Beach