Armory Square’s Sound Garden has gone old school in hopes of attracting new clientele. On Oct. 4, the record store, 310 W. Jefferson St., rolled out a fully stocked used vinyl section. Sound Garden manager Eric Brush says that although the section had been in development for years, the decision to begin selling used vinyl was made eight or nine months ago after a meeting with the flagship location in Baltimore.
“We were turning away customers that shop in here anyway,” he notes. “And, with the increase in vinyl production, it kind of made sense.”
Since 2007 vinyl sales have steadily risen. According to a mid-year sales report compiled by Nielsen SoundScan and Billboard, 2.2 million vinyl LPs have been sold so far in 2012—a 14 percent increase over last year. More artists have begun releasing their work on vinyl to keep up with the renewed demand. As a result, the used vinyl market is as vibrant as ever.
Events like Record Store Day, the internationally observed day held the third Saturday of April each year recognizing independent, vinyl-oriented record stores, have only furthered this nostalgic trend. Brush mentioned that he and the staff at Sound Garden had been collecting used vinyl for some time in preparation. And while some of the records came as a result of customer buybacks, Brush said that there was some legwork needed to fill out the section.
“A lot of the same records come through the door,” he says. “So I had to travel to some record shows and reach out to people on Craigslist who were looking to get rid of their collection.” Stuffed with everything from Led Zeppelin to indie impressionists Beach House, the section has a nice mix of new and old. Prices are good, too: A copy of the Rolling Stones’ 1972 double album Exile on Main St. (Virgin) will cost you around $7.
“All of us that work here have been buying used records for years,” explains Brush. “We’ve got a pretty good idea of what a record will sell at or sit in your store and not sell at.”
Sound Garden welcomes anyone willing to part with their extra records but be warned: There isn’t an “anything goes” buyback policy. Brush and his staff are set on curating a diverse section, which means they don’t want or need 20 copies of Billy Joel’s The Stranger (Columbia, 1977). “We are pretty particular and strict on what we buy,” says Brush.
Although used vinyl has found its way into Sound Garden, used CDs, the store’s pride and joy, continue to drive business. “We’re constantly keeping our eye on the decline of CD sales,” adds Brush. “But, believe it or not, the used CD section is still the strongest section in the store.”
Decades of Drums
In 1959 drummer Jan Fetterly joined feel-good rock’n’rollers Sam and the Twisters, setting his life on a path that it would continue for the next 54 years. But this month, Fetterly and his wife, Nancy, will move on to sunnier skies as they trade chilly Central New York for sun-soaked Arizona.
To send the drummer off in style, Fetterly will play with a reunited Twisters on Saturday, Nov. 24, 7 to 11 p.m., at Klub Polski’s Goodtime Banquet Hall, 526 Teall Ave. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The price includes a sandwich buffet, antipasto and coffee.
Back in their heyday, Sam and the Twisters, which featured lead guitarist Sam Amato (who passed away in February 2011), guitarist Mickey Palumbo, bassist Al Wolf and Fetterly, packed since-lost local clubs like the Red Dog Saloon, Hewitt’s, The Brookside, and Club 320. More recently, Fetterly has hit the skins with Smokin’, a classic rock outfit that throws way back to hits from the 1950s to the 1980s, and the band will also be part of Saturday’s sendoff.
For more information on how to see this local kit-master behind the drums one more time, call 345-1002.