With plenty of ceremony and fanfare, April has now, unofficially, become the Month of Vinyl — or at least it has in 2015. Empire Records, the cult classic that preserves one chaotic day in the life of an independent record store, turned twenty, and the anniversary of the film’s release was marked with an intensely enjoyable, immersive film experience at Rough Trade NYC a week ago. Now Record Store Day, the annual “holiday” that takes place every third Saturday in April, is drawing nigh, and audiophiles everywhere are setting their alarms in order to beat the crowds and lines for coveted special releases, in-store appearances, and more taking place at 21 participating record stores across the boroughs on April 18.
Filmmaker Regina Spurlock has been frequenting Good Records, that bubblegum-pink haven of coveted, vintage vinyl on East 5th Street, for years, and she zoomed in on Good owner Jonathan Sklute in this brief look at life inside the East Village independent record store.
As a kid, I remember rewinding and unwinding cassette tapes, wiping smudged CDs with my shirt, and downloading MP3s on Kazaa. I viewed my dad’s record collection as forbidden fruit. At the age of 23, Good Records NYC was the first record store I had ever entered. For other twentysomethings like me, the record store is a sort of magical place. But many patrons miss what’s arguably the best part of the experience: discovery. It’s easy to get caught up looking for our favorite albums and artists. That means classic rock for the average shopper at Good Records. Every now and then, artistic covers catch our eyes, like an Afro-sporting disco band being beamed up into a flying saucer on the Undisputed Truth’s Method to the Madness. For whatever reason, we find ourselves wandering off the tried and true path into the enchantment of obscurity. We lower the needle and ascend to new spheres of sound. Inside, we may hear the sources of familiar samples or pick up on subtleties that influence artists we love. The magic of a record store like Good Records is in its trove of forgotten tunes and hidden musical gems. Jonathan Sklute encourages his customers to dig for them, listen to them, and take them home.”
Check out Spurlock’s glimpse at Good Records below, and be sure to hit the shop to see what goodies they’ve got in stock on Record Store Day.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 17, 2015
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