Record “Store” Review: Vinyl Revolution Record Show at Littlefield (Brooklyn)
Other than my four-store adventure on “Canadian Record Store Day”, I haven’t been frequenting the local record stores as much as I used to. That’s not because my vinyl obsession has passed; if anythying, I’m buying more records than ever before. It’s because over the past few months I’ve started attending record shows, starting with the Collect-I-Bowl Record Show at Brooklyn Bowl which I wrote about in March. At the time, I wrote:
The next COLLECT-I-BOWL will presumably be in June and you can bet that I will be there. In fact, I was handed a flyer for a new record show to take place in Brooklyn on the last Sunday in April – the Vinyl Revolution Record Show – and there’s a good chance that after my experience yesterday I’ll be there as well. The Brooklyn Bowl environment won’t be duplicated, but hopefully the general thrill of being around enthusiasts like me will be. If I can make it to a record show every six weeks or so (and if my wallet can handle it), I may have found my preferred method of used record shopping.
True to my word, I next went to the Record Riot Record Show at Warsaw on Driggs Ave in early April and more recently the aforementioned Vinyl Revolution Record Show at Littlefield on Degraw St in Gowanus. I’ve found that record shows are the place to go for interesting collections, diversity of selection, rarities you won’t find elsewhere and actually better prices than you’ll see at any of the local shops. Accordingly, I’ve walked out each time with a heavy bag and a lighter wallet.
One of the nice things about the record shows is the feeling of comraderie you get being around fellow record nerds, all of whom are there to talk about the same thing, the one thing you can all agree you love – music. Not everyone who works in a record store – not even everyone who owns a record store – necessarily loves music. But I think everyone you meet at a record show does. These are people for whom vinyl truly is a labor of love.
My first conversation was with a vendor who was very sensitive about how you flipped through his records, and the woman (presumably his wife) who laughed at every finnicky statement he made. The cute bickering between these two older vendors started my day off with a smile. I also talked to Mike Schutzman, formerly of Slipped Disc Records in Long Island, who ran a record/CD store for over 25 years before closing his doors in 2008. Mike’s collection was outstanding and he kindly recognized me and remembered me from Collect-I-Bowl. In another moment of family bonding, Mike had his daughter handling ticket sales at the door ($3 admission), adding another personal touch to the day.
I also spoke with a vendor about some great buttons he was selling, which he said came directly off of his mid-1980s-era leather jacket. This vendor was a long-time New York City punk rocker who I believe was Shaun Truent, formerly of the Truents, currently fronting Suspect Device. I picked up a cool Buzzcocks button from Shaun as well as one from the Exploited (whom I’m never heard of), which reads “PUNKS NOT DEAD.” So true. Finally, I got to talking to Brian, a Brooklyn native who really knew his garage rock. We got to talking about teaching our little ones to rock – his on the drums, mine on guitar – and so a band may have been formed that day. This is what the shows are all about.
Of course, they’re also about picking up some sweet vinyl, so here’s a list of my pickups at Vinyl Revolution:
- The Cure – The Peel Sessions (1987) – 4 great songs on this EP
- Depeche Mode – Music for the Masses
- Dinosaur Jr. – You’re Living All Over Me – A first generation pressing, the one right after the few initial pressings that didn’t have the “Jr.” (And if you don’t know how much I absolutely love this “transcendent” album, please read this.)
- Echo & the Bunnymen – Bedbugs and Ballyhoo – The 12″ single of this Bunnymen hit has a B-side with three covers of absolutely brilliant songs. They are the reason I purchased this album. “Run, Run, Run” by the Velvet Underground, “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones, and “Friction” by Television. I know what you’re thinking: holy sh*t. I agree.
- INXS – The Swing – for $3, why not?
- Jim Carroll Band – Catholic Boy – This album has one of my all-time favorite songs (“People Who Died”), and my other copy is pretty beaten up. I had to have this near-flawless version. By the way, tid you know that the front cover photograph was taken by Annie Leibovitz?
- Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville – Finally an album that isn’t from the 1980s! I picked up an original vinyl issue of this brilliant and profane album.
- Lou Reed – Growing Up in Public, Mistrial, New Sensations, Sally Can’t Dance – Expanding my Lou Reed collection at $3.75 apiece. How could I resist?
- Nine Inch Nails – The Hand That Feeds (Photex Remixes) – The only NIN song I love from the past decade.
- Radiohead – Other Colors … BBC Sessions – Fantastic tracklist on this high-quality bootleg
- Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat – Alternate version put out by UK Verve
- Weezer – Limited Edition Self-Titled Debut (Blue Album) – #4 on my list of Best Debut Albums of All-Time (remember, with the caveat that in each case the debut album is also the artist’s best album … oh just go read that post!)
- NME Readers Poll Winners 1984 – A 7″ featuring 4 songs, 1 from each of the Smiths, U2, Cocteau Twins and Bronski Beat
Bottom line: I’m beginning to think that you can’t go wrong spending 3 hours or so on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at a record show in Brooklyn. The COLLECT-I-BOWL Record Show at Brooklyn Bowl remains the best of the three I’ve been to thus far, but all three yielded some great vinyl and a friendly, welcoming environment. I highly recommend choosing a show and taking the plunge.
- Sells used, new, or both: Both, though 95% is used
- Genres: All
- Non-vinyl for sale: A random and limited assortment of music books, magazines, memorabilia, VHS tapes and other such junk
- Selection: 9 out of 10
- Price: 9 out of 10 (you have to shop smart because not every vendor prices fairly, but most do)
- Atmosphere: 8 out of 10
- Ease of browsing/shopping: 8 out of 10
- Used vinyl condition: Varies. Ranges from 4-10 out of 10
- Yelp rating: N/A. Littlefield gets 4 stars