Old is the new, new. It's time to dust off grandma's gramophone, but spin some fresh records.
Vinyl is making a comeback; it’s not up for debate anymore.
Musicians have been backing the retro format for years, and listeners are buying in. In 2017, sales reached new heights with 14.3 million, a 25-year high, according to Billboard and Nielsen Music. Wisconsin’s artists and producers want a cut of the action. As such, they’re cutting a new album to feed the need.
For Record Store Day — a non-official holiday celebrated this year on April 21 — a compilation album from America’s Dairyland will hit store shelves. Wisconsin Vinyl Collective – Volume Two is the (you guessed it) second LP from the Wisconsin Vinyl Collective, having released a similar album in 2017.
It was the brainchild of Erik Kjelland, a Madison-based producer and lead singer of the award-winning Americana/folk group The Mascot Theory, and the legendary Butch Vig, a producer and drummer known for his work with Garbage, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Green Day and a whole lot of others.
“(We’re) providing a way for Wisconsin musical artists to get their music heard by as many people as possible,” Vig said in a promotion.
On the record, you’ll hear a previously unreleased live recording of The Violent Femmes’ “I’m Not Done” and new tracks from PHOX, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Brett Newski and the Zach Pietrini Band, among others. Every artist is either from Wisconsin or strongly connected to this great state.
“It’s a unique pressing,” the eponymous Zach Pietrini says. “It’s cool to have that kind of stuff … It’s a really fun concept.”
Low-price streaming services and illegal ones like Napster have really hurt the music industry, and not only because of lost income, Pietrini says. “Music was devalued. Anyone could get their hands on any music for free at any time.”
The second coming of vinyl has helped turn back the tide. Not only do record sales put money back in the hands of creators, Pietrini says, but it also creates a better listening experience for fans who now receive something tangible for their money, instead of an invisible computer file.
“It’s good to have a solid piece in your hands. It’s tactile,” Pietrini says. “It gives value to what you’re listening to.”
Wisconsin Vinyl Collective – Volume Two will be available April 20, the day before Record Store Day, at a release show Gibson Music Hall in Appleton with performances by J-Council, Zach Pietrini Band, Tundra Blood, Kyle Megna and Ross Catterton, and Peridot — all artists who are featured on the album. The compilation costs $20.
On Record Store Day, a similar party is planned at Good City Brewing in Milwaukee (2108 N Farwell Ave.) with the Zach Pietrini Band, Tundra Blood, J-Council, Boom Forest and Peridot. The third and final bash will be held a day later at High Noon Saloon in Madison.100-percent of the profits go to the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund, a charity that helps people across the state pay for their heating and cooling bills, focusing on the elderly, people with disabilities and veterans.
For the first week, the album will only be available at record stores in Wisconsin. The following week, it will go on sale online and via digital download on wivinyl.com. The Collective is also going to be selling a double CD with Vol. 2 and Vol. 1, released in 2017. Every vinyl sale comes with a complimentary digital download of the album.