Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sugar Free All-Stars Celebrate Record Store Day

Oh man did I love vinyl. It's been decades since I last purchased actual record albums. CDs never felt the same. Their decline, due to the advent of digital media, has been sanguine. I still harken back to college, when I'd load up a plastic bag of my favorite comedy CDs and lug them down to the radio station to do my one-hour, weekly broadcast.

For those of us who long to go back to the future, there is Record Store Day on Saturday, April 19. Conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees, Record Store Day is a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1000 independently owned U,S. record stores (There are Record Store Day participating stores on every continent except Antarctica).

There are a multitude of freebies and near-freebies, as well as promotional giveaways in conjunction with this year's celebration. On the kindie scene, the Sugar Free All-Stars have released a 45 of "My Daddy's Record Collection" on colored vinyl. For the digital enthusiasts, there is also a download code that comes with your pre-order, if you just can't wait to hear the song. But wait – you can, if you just click on the handy dandy lyric video below!

Vinyl is coming back, if you care to read the reports. People always missed the full sound, rendered dissonant by compression algorithms. And SFAS's Chris “Boom!” Wiser and Rob “Dr. Rock” Martin wanted to add their two cents to the equation.

My turntable died about 10 years ago. It was part of a component system with a double cassette deck (for tape-to-tape recording) and AM/FM radio, as well as an AUX input/output. When I finally hunkered down and replaced it with a mess of new equipment, it took another couple of years before I bought an ION turntable with a USB port for conversion. But we have stacks of CDs stored on top of it, so when the All-Stars' single arrived, I had to do some juggling to even play the disc.

My three-year-old, ever so helpful, jostled himself next to me and turned on the CD player. When I pulled the disc from the slip cover, he just stared. He immediately knew the oversized 45 would not fit in the CD player. "What that?" he asked. "Just wait," i told him, and put the single onto the turntable. We listened to both the A side and the B side ("Banana Pudding'). I asked him, "What do you think?" He said, "It's good!" High praise from a kid who listens to a three-artist rotation of Ralph's World, Recess Monkey, and Sesame Street.

It will be a few years before the kid is able to handle the turntable's sensitive nature. In the meantime, the download code puts the songs in easy listening range in iTunes. Kudos to the folks behind Record Store Day, as well as the Sugar Free All-Stars for reminding me that I still love vinyl.

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