Some #longreads as you prepare yourself for Record Store Day…
It should be obvious that we here at Rust Is Just Right love record stores, and so it would seem to follow that we would appreciate the “Record Store Day” celebration. However, as the “holiday” has grown in recent years, we have begun to realize that the success of the promotion can be a double-edged sword for the very businesses it was meant to protect: a sudden influx of sales can be good, but it means little to these stores if these sales do not create regular customers, and the emphasis on special releases has the problem of crowding out vinyl production, with limited edition records for established artists taking up space initially earmarked for truly independent bands. Pitchfork has a piece that breaks down in more detail the ambivalent feelings that Record Store Day has generated.
It may sound counterintuitive at first, but the thesis of this Stereogum essay makes more sense the more you think about it–Brian Wilson certainly had an impact on the creation of punk rock. Elsewhere on the site, the Anniversary Machine takes a look at the tenth anniversary of Alligator from The National, which marked a significant turning point for the band. The best point made in the article is that despite what some detractors may say, there is a real evolution from Alligator to the present day in The National’s sound.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is awarding Kanye West with an honorary degree, and FADER has an interview with the president and dean of the school explaining their decision. Though it has generated a mild amount of heat among a minority of students and some alumni, it is an easily defensible choice, as explained in the piece.
An ugly spat has been brewing between Black Sabbath and drummer Bill Ward, and it has spilled over into the public sphere this week. Rolling Stone has an interview with Ward explaining the origins of the dispute and the band’s current situation.
The highly-anticipated second album from Alabama Shakes will be released on Tuesday, and Consequence of Sound talked to frontwoman Brittany Howard about Sound & Color as well as the band’s rise to fame.
Finally, Cuepoint has a fantastic piece courtesy of Bethlehem Shoals on the legacy of Percy Sledge, who should be remembered for more than his mammoth hit “When A Man Loves A Woman.”