By Troy Aldrich
National Record Store Day began in 2008, and Iowa City’s lone vinyl vendor celebrated during this year’s 10th-annual celebration. The store noted the holiday with special releases and performances by local artists.
Just before the store’s opening at 10 a.m., aficionados lined up at the storefront for the special releases and Wake Up Iowa coffee, as promised.
“This is probably our biggest Record Store Day yet,” Record Collector manager Bobby Larson said. “We began participating in the holiday the year after it was first announced.”
The day has since grown to attract national attention, and Record Collector is one of 15 participating stores in the state, according to Record Store Day’s website.
The day is sponsored by a multitude of companies as well as artists. The corporate participation is something that is greatly appreciated by the local store.
“It used to be that the price gouging from the distributors was worse than usual on Record Store Day,” Larson said. “Now, the recommended prices have helped out with that.”
The special releases débuted for the day were a small portion of the purchases made. The traffic that occupied the store later in the day was merely interested in checking the store out.
“It was just a beautiful disaster,” said Will Whitmore, an Iowa-based musician who showed up for the day. “I was in town with my wife for the David Sedaris thing at the Englert, and I have to stop in at the store anytime I’m in town.”
Whitmore had picked out a handful of records from the new/slightly used section in the back of the shop within minutes of showing up.
“I remember when the store was in a building that’s no longer there,” Whitmore said. “I helped carry all these through the alley right back there.”
Whitmore’s cousin, Luke Tweedy, was a longtime store manager at the old and new locations. This has led to a long-standing relationship between the musician and Record Collector.
“Anytime I have something come out, I come straight here with it,” Whitmore said. “My wife was beating me up for not bringing in the Middle Western album right away.”
Record Collector’s strong relationship with the local recording studio, Flat Black Studios (run by Tweedy), has led to lots of local music coming through the store.
“Record Collector was the first place to take my record,” local artist Elizabeth Moen said. “If you like what I’m playing, you can buy the record; if not, you don’t have to, that’s cool, too.”
Moen played a short set featuring tunes off her upcoming album. Good Morning Midnight opened for Moen, playing an acoustic set featuring songs from its album, Both Neither and Both.
Good Morning Midnight is a project conducted by Charlie Cacciatore, who also works at Record Collector. His music features unique acoustic guitar work and lyrically focused alternative tunes.