It is no secret that in the increasingly capitalized digital age we now find ourselves living in, independently owned record stores are struggling more than ever to remain afloat. The first annual Record Store Day was celebrated ten years ago as an initiative to support independently owned record stores around the world. Once a year, the Record Store Day organization provides participating independent record stores with exclusive releases and reissues. This year, Landlocked Music hosted Bloomington’s Record Store Day. Situated one block north of the city’s square, Landlocked has been selling vinyl, CDs, cassettes, magazines, zines, posters, and turntable equipment since 2006. It is a great place to find local music, attend exclusive listening parties, and catch live shows that feature local and touring acts.
I pulled up to Landlocked at around 11:35 Saturday morning. Even though I only arrived five minutes late, there was already a crowd of music-lovers fervently descending upon the “free stuff” bins outside. Inside, a line had formed to purchase records that wrapped around the entire store. The aisles were packed with early birds, who were presumably scouring the store for exclusive scores. Meanwhile, a local DJ played a mixture of mostly rock, soul, and pop tunes. I arrived having a few things in mind that I wanted to get ahold of, and ended up leaving with a bunch of new things that I hadn’t heard of before. Here is some of the loot that I scored at RSD 2017.
Crushed Butler Uncrushed (LP)
Before punk was called punk, British hooligan rock group Crushed Butler was at work laying down its cacophonous foundations. The songs on Uncrushed were recorded between 1969 and 1971, predating the subculture by half a decade. Rock and roll proto punk meets affected glam on this album’s six tracks, which center around themes of youthful hedonism and working class frustrations. I would call this an early punk album if it weren’t for the virtuosic psychedelic rock/ blues-influenced guitar solos and steadfast drum fills.
Blowfly Forever Fly (LP)
I picked up this record because it had an image etched onto the vinyl. The label on the cover called this genre “porno-funk” and “cooler than anything in my collection.” Obviously, I was too curious to pass this one up. Clarence Reid, aka Blowfly, was a dirty rapper/porno-funk artist who passed away in 2016. This album is truly unique and cannot be replicated in any other format because as it plays, the grooves pass through the etchings on the record. On the opposite side, different etched out grooves spiral out from each other, giving the listener a 50/50 chance of knowing what songs will play at any given time. If that’s confusing, take a look at the YouTube video below.
Herman Brood & His Wild Romance Rock & Roll Junkie (7″)
Label: Music On Vinyl
Judging by the cover, I had hoped that these guys were going to sound more like the New York Dolls and less like Bruce Springsteen. But as the saying goes, one cannot judge a book by its cover. Herman Brood & His Wild Romance were a Dutch rock and roll and blues group. The “Rock and Roll Junkie” single originally appeared on Brood’s 1979 self-titled album; the RSD 7″ was reissued on transparent red vinyl with “Street” as its b-side. Brood suffered from drug addiction, which contributed to his suicide in 2001 at the age of 54. While a bit too arena rock for my taste, Brood does find moments of genuine spontaneity, which are made audible through the affected growls and screams of his vocal performance.
While customers perused the aisles for gems like the ones I found above, local DJs, comics, and musicians provided atmosphere and entertainment. Mat Alano-Martin (limestone Comedy Festival), Caroline Marchildon (of Secretly Group), Spikes, and Jar performed DJ sets during the first half of the day, at which point the live acts transitioned the space into a music venue in order to keep people interested after much of the merchandise had sold out. Performing live were Comedy with Kristen Lucas, Peter Oren, Daisy Chain, and my personal favorite, Bloomington-based punk trio Manneqin. Although they only played a 20-minute set, their new wave-influenced, upbeat synth instrumentals and unassumingly affected yet commanding vocals had everyone moving around in the back of the record store. With all that it offered throughout the day, RSD 2017 truly provided a new layer of appreciation for all that Landlocked does for the local music scene here in Bloomington.