[photos courtesy of PJ Sykes via Merge Records]
Yeah, I’ve heard the dings on Record Store Day. That it detracts from the record-buying impulse of the other 363 days of the year (since there are two RSDs). That it’s just record companies creating fake scarcity to move often second-tier product. That it’s overly dominated by corporate artists and Jack White hawking his latest gimmick releases, and that those big artists gum up the pressing plants for everyone else. That the no-returns system and opaque distribution system hurt the record stores more than they can help.
To which all I can say is, come out on RSD to a store like Chaz’s Bull City Records in Durham, NC, and leave your politics and preconceptions at home. Here’s what I saw: a line down the street to get into a small, independent record store on an unassuming block of Durham. Shelves stuffed to the max with RSD releases and other material half-empty by five hours in. Oh, and then there was the matter of the Merge Records show held in the parking lot, with Lagunitas providing beer-by-donation in the parking lot, NYCTaper recording the live sound, and our friends at WXDU streaming the site’s live mix. Maybe Record Store Day isn’t the only day of the year when a small independent record store ought to have a line out the door and three killer bands playing to hundreds of people in its parking lot. But it sure was a good excuse for it.
The day’s biggest draw, the Ex Hex, came out absolutely on fire. Out in front, Mary Timony and Betsy Wright fully committed to the band’s garage-rock aesthetic, making that modest parking lot stage feel like something much more. The 40-minute set covered most of the band’s very-well-regarded 2014 Merge release Rips, as well as a new song. Ex Hex made for the perfect draw for the day, with a sound that looks to vinyl’s 70s heyday without remaining mired in it. Almost every single one of the Rips songs is an upbeat earworm, from the bouncy leadoff to the set, “Don’t Wanna Lose” to the pop-rock of “Radio On”. But if the set showed off the band’s skill at the three-minute song, it also gave the ladies at least one opportunity to really shred, as “Beast” exploded the album version into a long-form rocker with a formidable guitar jam. Whether you were at Chaz’s for the records, or just for the live music, it was a hell of a day to celebrate music.
I recorded this set with a soundboard feed from engineer John Koelle combined with Schoeps MK4V cardiod microphones at the stage lip. The sound quality is outstanding. Enjoy!
Huge thanks to Ex Hex, Merge Records, Chaz’s Bull City Records, WXDU, Lagunitas, and everyone who came out for this event.
Stream the complete show:
Chaz’s Bull City Records
Durham, NC USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Soundboard (engineer: John Koelle) + Schoeps MK4V (stage lip)>KC5>CMC6>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects, EQ)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Tracks [Total Time 39:34]
01 Don’t Wanna Lose
03 [new song]
04 Waste Your Time
05 How You Got That Girl
06 New Kid
07 Hot and Cold
09 Radio On
10 You Fell Apart