Record Store Day celebrates the survival of the indie record store By Edward Jack
Spring is in full swing, and as we ease toward the summer months, we look forward to sharing what we’ve been doing here at Central Square Records, and what we’ve been listening to in the past few months. Over the years, we’ve developed a knack for pairing people with music they may not have time to discover on their own. We are proud to celebrate 16 years of helping folks navigate the musical waters of the last decade and a half. It’s hard to imagine, but Central Square Records is a full-fledged “teenager” now.
By the time you are reading this article, Record Store Day will have come and gone, I’m sure with many delightful stories and hopefully resulting in numerous happy record collectors. Record Store Day is now an international “holiday” for vinyl lovers, traditionally held on a Saturday in mid-April every year, showcasing exclusive vinyl releases, ranging from reissues of classic titles to unique releases of indie and mainstream artists alike. This year’s releases number over 200, including a lost Doors concert from 1966, a special picture disc from Mumford & Sons, and the “Office Space” soundtrack on vinyl for the first time. It’s always a special day for us, to see our friends return year after year, lining up early, and celebrating with us throughout the day. Record Store Day is truly like Christmas for those passionate about vinyl. But stop by when you’re in town, we will certainly have a few items from the big day.
We had an amazing spring, had a blast trading musical recommendations among the spring break crowds, so as we set our sights on summer, we’ve got a few notable recommendations to share.
Nilufer Yanya “Miss Universe”
London-based Nilufur Yanya caught our ear with her single “All In My Head” from her debut album “Miss Universe,” and the rest of the album delivers a smooth and engaging musical journey. From the club-ready “All in My Head” to the cool Sade vibe of “Paradise” and “Baby Blu,” Yanya creates a delightful flow. There’s not a weak track on the album, though high points include the aforementioned tracks, along with “Tears,” “Heat Rises,” and “Melt.”
Frankie & the Witch Fingers “ZAM”
The resurgence of garage and psychedelic rock, and the merging of the two styles has brought us recent greats like Ty Segall, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard (yup), and Thee Oh Sees. Frankie & the Witch Fingers, originally hailing from Indiana, are the new dudes on the scene, pitting pop against garage punk, with awesome results. The first track “Dracula Drug” builds the groove slowly before erupting into a frenzy. The rapid-fire tempo of “Work” gives way to more strung out jams, (“Pleasure,” “ZAM”) which maintain the high energy, though the riffs are remarkably complex. If you are a fan of new psych rock, add Frankie & the Witch Fingers to your shelf.
Gary Clark, Jr. “This Land”
Blues phenom Gary Clark, Jr. takes racial inequality head-on with his latest release, “This Land,” exhibiting a bold venture compared to his previous work. From the title track, Clark uses the blues style to convey his heartfelt contempt of modern day racial hypocrisy. From the title track to “Feed the Babies,” Clark makes sure he gets his point across through the gritty blues that he delivers, both vocally and on guitar. The rest of the album tempers Clark’s ire, but the fire comes out on the six-string slayer “Highway 71,” as well as the stellar “Dirty Dish Blues.” But Clark still knows how to straight up rock, evident in “Gotta Get Into Something.” “This Land” finds Clark still has his chops, but now he’s using his prowess of the blues to combat society’s ills.
Ryan Bingham “American Love Song”
Texas troubadour Ryan Bingham describes the theme of his latest album “American Love Song” as a reflection of “growing up in all these different parts of America and experiencing all these different cultures” and how it has shaped him and his music. Having always cultivated a dusty, bluesy style tinged with the sounds of the Texas plains, Bingham’s songs unfold like sun-drenched stories, influenced by Bingham’s nomadic life. “Jingle and Go” kicks of the album with a saloon-style number, delivered by Bingham’s signature desert drawl. And though much of the album deals with the artist’s regional identity and multitude of cultural influence, he does stop to take aim at the politicians of the day, on “Situation Station,” his own personal protest song. Overall, “American Love Song” finds Bingham digging a bit deeper into his subjects, while delivering in the south Texas poetic style we’ve come to admire.