Old school in the modern world

Coming together to celebrate the ancestor of digital technology

Contrary to popular belief, collecting and appreciating vinyl isn’t just for your grandparents or that hipster in your math class. While it may be less common in today’s age for a person to actively collect records than it was thirty years ago, there are people out there who spend hours shuffling through racks of vinyl at their local Half Price Books and some who are willing to spend big bucks expanding their collection.

In fact, not only is vinyl still appreciated to this day, but we have a whole day set aside to celebrate the retro analog technology. To most, the third Saturday of April is likely just another day on the calendar. But, to hardcore collectors and musically-minded individuals, this day marks National Record Store Day.

Around the nation, record stores typically have sales on their LP’s and others, such as Luna Music in Broad Ripple, have a day long “block party” to allow those with similar interests to meet up and browse the extensive racks of records for sale.

Still need proof that vinyl isn’t a thing of the past? Just ask around your school. Herron High School junior Tanner Huisman remembers his first experience with vinyl.

“My fascination with vinyl started when I was a pretty small kid, 10 years old or so,” Huisman said. “My grandpa worked in radio for many years and had a large collection, and I really just thought it was cool. It didn’t hurt that I was a huge Beatles fan, and that at the time the remastered CDs hadn’t come out yet. On the internet everyone was going on about how much better the vinyl sound quality is, so I downloaded some transfers from the LPs and was truly impressed.”

Not only does Tanner have an impressive collection of vinyl, he also prefers vinyl to digital technology, for several good reasons.

“There’s just more to look at, it’s more aesthetically appealing. There’s something romantic about the entire ritual of playing an album,” Huisman said. “And with good playback equipment and a well-mastered album the sound quality can definitely trump the CD, especially if the digital version suffers from over-compression and distortion as has become common in the last couple decades.”

Not only are vinyl good for getting a richer quality, but they can also help some remember good times from the past. Indianapolis resident Teresa McCurry still listens to her original copies of her albums.

“Among other albums, I have my original copy of Jesus Christ Superstar which I like to hear every now and again,” McCurry said. “I also have two Beatles albums, which take me back to my girlhood every time I open them up.

Right here at Ben Davis, sophomore Devon Fisher has a collection of around 700 records. How does someone acquire such an intimidating amount of vinyl?

“Well, I bought my first record in early 2012, but I didn’t start avidly collecting until Record Store Day 2013,” Fisher said. “There are three really big factors in why I started, and one is actually Record Store Day. I really liked the idea of having exclusive vinyl from some of my favorite artists, it sort of makes you appreciate the artist more. I’ve always loved collecting things, so the idea of having something that is really rare is exciting, especially for a cheap price.”

With all of those records, Fisher has difficulty deciding which one is his favorite.

“My favorite switches often, but I have the limited 3xLP set of Give Up by the Postal Service (A project that included Ben Gibbard, from Death Cab For Cutie, they only released this album, but it’s legendary.) I also have this Grateful Dead rarities 2xLP set I purchased last year on Record Store Day,” Fisher said. “It’s a limited pressing of only 6700 thousand, I believe. It’s nice.”

Paraprofessional aid Jonas Tuck also has an impressive collection. Along with Huisman, Tuck also prefers analog to digital because of the warmer sound quality, and contends that the Beatles have the best records.

Whether you prefer to put a needle on the track or press “play” on your IPOD, music appreciation is what Record Store Day is all about. So, whether or not you partake in the shopping frenzy at your local record store or just stick around to hear some live music, don’t forget to jam out this Saturday.