Saturday was Record Store Day, a national celebration of independently owned record stores and the art of music. Pitchfork Magazine, one of the premier independent music publications, posted their list of favorite used record stores in the country. Michigan got two shoutouts, Encore Records in Ann Arbor and Flat, Black & Circular in East Lansing. This particular review was written by Pitchfork editor-in-chief Mark Richardson who begins:
This is the first record shop I ever walked into. Flat, Black, and Circular, or FBC as it’s known to the locals in East Lansing, opened in 1977, and I was in there for the first time around 1980. I didn’t buy a record there for a few years, but this is where I discovered how fun it could be to poke around amongst obsessives. FBC’s most striking feature is an archway that frames the entrance, which is built from 45s. It’s in a nondescript sort of mall-like building that also houses offices and an assortment of retail shops– in the early 80s, a place opened across the hall called the CD Emporium, back when CDs were a major curiosity.
But FBC has outlasted them all. They have a glass display that features rare records assembled around a single theme. Many of these are local. These guys are collectors, and yet, somehow, they’ve managed to remain on top of things. I remember walking in after having been away from East Lansing for a number of years and being shocked at the collection of electronic and experimental vinyl.
FBC has a timeline that takes you from when FBC founder Dave Bernath called co-founder Dick Rosemont’s Audio Aftermath program on WKAR-FM to the opening of Flat, Black & Circular Recycled Sound in the Campus Town Mall on September 26, 1977 with such innovations as two extra turntables with headphones to audition albums while sitting on living room furniture and beyond.
Record Store Day had a special Michigan tie this year – it was also the birthday of their 2012 ambassador Iggy Pop.
Here’s a great interview with Dick & Dave on the occasion of their 30th year in business.