Friday, March 15, 2013

Record Store Day 2013


Jack White is the official Record Store Day 2013 Ambassador. White, through his work with the White Stripes and his Third Man Records label, has long been an advocate for independent record stores and the vinyl medium in particular. From White's statement:
"As Record Store Day Ambassador of 2013 I’m proud to help in any way I can to invigorate whoever will listen with the idea that there is beauty and romance in the act of visiting a record shop and getting turned on to something new that could change the way they look at the world, other people, art, and ultimately, themselves."
White is a good an obvious choice, but will I sound like a jerk if I admit to not being a fan of either his music or his marketing techniques? (That is a rhetorical question, I know I sound like a jerk). Nevertheless, there has always been something about White that rubbed me the wrong way. In particular, I find the endless stream of limited-edition collectible novelty records he releases (fluid filled records, triple decker records, etc.) annoying. It's vinyl record as fetish object taken to an absurd extreme. Maybe that's the idea, and I'm not sophisticated enough to get the joke.

It also bugs me that White will go on and on about the superiority of analog to digital, and yet press his records at United, who are known for producing noisy pressings. I actually have nothing against digital, even though I'm a big fan of LPs. There is a lot to be said for digital recording, mixing, etc. both in terms ease of use, convenience, and the ability to make good sounding recordings at minimal cost. White's advocacy of analog recording always stuck me as something closer to a fashion statement than a genuine commitment to high quality recording, which can certainly be attained in either the digital or analog domain.

But enough complaining! (And I admit, I am probably not being fair to White.) I support Record Store Day because it is a great opportunity to raise the profile of independent music retailers. In the coming weeks I plan to profile what I consider some of the more interesting Record Store Day 2013 releases.

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