Independent record stores offer unique music experience
Photos, video and story by Bethany Schmidt
Record Store Day might be over, but the rows of records at Recycled Sounds in downtown Lincoln, Neb. are still full. Across town, the walls of BackTrack Records are still lined with vinyl, and the same is true for Lefty’s Records on South Street.
Although the special deals and releases have been picked over and the crowds from the April 20 record store holiday are gone, independent record stores remain ready to offer vinyl enthusiasts special treasures.
“When you find that die-hard record you’re looking for, it’s huge,” said Jeff Loos, owner of BackTrack Records. “Everybody’s looking for something.”
One of Loos’s most memorable finds by a customer came when a man started searching for a surf song that he had first heard with a high school sweetheart. After being apart for 30 years, the man reconnected with his former girlfriend and wanted the album to play at their wedding.
He found the record at BackTrack.
“That was a really great story to be a part of,” Loos said.
Loos emphasized the importance of the physicality of a vinyl record.
“When you’ve got the record in your hand, it’s just way more personal,” Loos said.
Les Greer, owner of Lefty’s Records, also stressed the importance of the physical vinyl record, especially the notes and packaging that comes with it.
“With the album information, you know who’s actually in the band, who’s playing the instruments,” Greer said. “You get more involved with [the music] when you know all of those things.”
Although vinyl does have its downsides — it scratches and warps with age — vinyl offers a sound that is not matched by other forms of digital music.
“You may hear a tick, you may hear a bop, there may be a click,” said Stuart Kolnick, owner of Recycled Sounds. “But with a record, it is much warmer, it is much smoother because you’re actually hearing what was really recorded.”
Record fans seem to agree. Though Record Store Day happens only once a year, supporters of vinyl music still seek the thrill of the find at independent record stores all year round.
“I just appreciate music and love music and respect it,” said Dallas Hoover, a frequent customer at Recycled Sounds. “I keep it clean so that I can listen to it over and over.”