Beyond the Books

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Saturday, April 21, 2012 6:32 p.m.

Local record stores participate in a vinyl revival

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Karolina Ramos

District resident Kevin Bliss flips through the vinyls at Red Onion Records & Books Saturday. Bryan Hoechner | Hatchet Photographer

If you want the latest releases from top musical artists, forget iTunes and quickly venture to a local record store.

Saturday marked Record Store Day 2012, attracting music lovers to purchase vinyl from local record shops with exclusive tracks from more than 300 artists, including The Black Keys, Lana Del Ray and Bruce Springsteen. The limited releases are only available at record stores.

Som Records, at 14th and T streets, participated for a fifth year since Record Store Day’s inception in 2007.

Kid Congo Powers, a musician and assistant manager at Som Records, said record collecting was large part of his childhood.

“For a lot of people, it kind of never died,” Powers said. “Vinyl records provide that warm sound, even if they’re not as crisp or clear as CDs.”

He said many customers purchase vinyls for the album art work because on 12-inch records, “you can experience the art more.”

Other participating stores across the District included Red Onion Records & Books, Smash Records and Crooked Beat Records.

In an era dominated by digitally-formatted music, Powers said the nostalgia associated with records has fostered a prominent District community of vinyl enthusiasts.

The annual event has garnered the support of illustrious musicians from myriad genres, from Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne to Joshua Homme of Queens of the Stone Age. This year’s Record Store Day ambassador is punk rock pioneer Iggy Pop, who as the 2012 representative will release limited edition signed memorabilia to select record stores.

“We have 18-year-olds coming in looking for Janis Joplin records,” said Powers. “A lot of kids who grew up with CD’s and digitally-formatted music are now buying records.”