Opinion: Downtown Kent’s home for vinyl sound

Megan Brown

Megan Brown

Megan Brown is a sophomore news major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. She can be reached at [email protected]

During my very first trip to Kent in the summer of 2010, I explored the downtown area and right in front of my eyes appeared a record store by the name of The Vinyl Underground. I went in and was overjoyed by the number of vinyl records surrounding me. The prices were very reasonable and records were in great condition.

That day changed my life because I’ve been a devoted customer to the record store ever since. It’s a great way to relax and pass the time during the week when I’m not going to class or doing work. A of couple days each week, I go downtown, get a coffee from Scribbles and walk to the record store. It’s all located on North Water Street.

Vinyl is making a comeback.

In 2007, Record Store Day was founded and started its first celebration in 2008. Record Store Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in April. It’s a way to show your appreciation for individual record stores. It also comes with performances, meet and greets with artists, issuing of new albums on vinyl and special reissues of older albums. The day brings together a community of people who share a common interest: the love of vinyl. Many artists today of every genre still make a point to put their album out on vinyl, and I applaud the people who buy them.

I see vinyl records as the ultimate way to listen to music. There’s just something about placing a record onto the turntable, putting the needle on the record and hearing that remarkable sound. It sends vibrations through my soul. Vinyl records are not only great for their sound but for their magical artwork found on the album cover. For example, many records that I purchase are usually from around 1963 to 1978 and all come with a custom cover. When you open the inside — it takes you to another destination. That’s what is hard to see these days with MP3s and even some CD albums: They’re convenient to buy, but you can’t get the actual feel of the record and the album sleeve.

When I’m at The Vinyl Underground, I typically spend around $30 each time I’m there. I have my list of what I’m looking for, and I usually find it. The records are kept very organized in several rows of crates and boxes. I talk to different employees while I’m there, getting their opinion on different albums. Just the other day, I had a discussion with an older gentleman about The Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main St.” album. He said he saw them during their 1972 tour of that album, and I told him I saw them this past summer in Philadelphia. Forty-one years’ difference between seeing the same band, but still the same rock and rollers. That’s what I love about shopping for vinyl; I can meet other people with similar interests. I enjoy having conversations regarding music. I can talk for hours about it.

Buying my favorite music on vinyl is a way of life. I do buy my music electronically, on CD and vinyl, but once again, there’s just something about the sound you hear coming from the record player that cannot be heard otherwise. Buy an album, drop the needle, light some candles and enjoy the endless journey of the music.