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Home Arts and Culture  TURN IT DOWN: A Survey of Lansing's muscial landscape
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Wednesday, August 12,2009

TURN IT DOWN: A Survey of Lansing's muscial landscape

A different spin

by Rich Tupica

As an avid vinyl record collector, it’s disheartening to see any wax merchant succumb to the choke hold of digital downloads and an ailing economy.

It’s no secret; big retail chains are dropping prices, causing small business owners to get creative in order to survive, which is just what two local owners did earlier this month.

East Lansing’s The Record Lounge has merged with Scavenger Hunt, a vintage clothing fixture at 503 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing.

Heather Frarey, owner of The Record Lounge, said her old location wasn’t prime for retail, while Eric Merckling, who co-owns Scavenger Hunt with his wife, Danielle, said his clothing store’s overhead costs were getting too high.


“At first, I was coming at it from a financial perspective and wasn’t concerned if [vinyl and vintage clothing] was a good mix,” Merckling said. “But the more it sank in, the more it seemed like a logical mix, and that became just as much of a motivator.”

While Merckling said the merger has “‘good idea’ written all over it,” he also said both parties realize it’s too early to tell what will come of it. “I guess I’m trying not to get too excited over it; I’m trying not to jinx it,” he said.


Frarey said her old store location, nested above P.T. O’Malley’s, lacked one crucial thing: foot traffic.

“That store was horrible for retail,” Frarey said. “It was a cool spot, but, honestly, there just wasn’t enough traffic. Nobody knew how to get up to the store. It was difficult.”


Along with Flat, Black & Circular and Replay Entertainment Exchange, The Record Lounge is now the third vinyl supplier on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing. Uncle Sam’s Record Emporium is the fourth area wax dealer, located at 100 E. Grand River Ave. in Lansing’s Old Town. Another spot to snag some shiny new vinyl is the growing section at Schuler Books & Music in the Eastwood Towne Center in Lansing.


Folky, indie rock will be the vibe at Mac’s Bar Thursday, Aug. 13, when Brooklyn’s Mason Family Picnic pulls into town. The five-piece band echoes the old-school, underground sounds of Beat Happening and Daniel Johnston. The band plays the accordion, violin and a stand-up bass, making for a less-thanconventional sound. Sharing the bill is Detroit’s Elle & the Fonts. If you dig the stripped-down, acoustic singer/songwriter sound, give Elle a listen. Goodnight House opens the night with some local, mellow folk-rock.

2700 E. Michigan Ave. Lansing. 9 p.m., $5, 18


One of Lansing’s most overlooked bands, Narc Out the Reds, will play Basement 414 Friday, Aug. 14. Led by songwriter Christopher Baratono, the band seamlessly combines elements of post-punk and power pop. Another reason to make this show is Calliope, a Lansing favorite that, during its 10-year run, has mastered the art of space-rock. See Yes (Grand Rapids electro-rock), Child Bite (Detroit weird-punk) and Lansing’s Muse/Devo fusion band, The Hat Madder, are also booked.

414 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing. 8 p.m., FREE, all ages.


Those looking for a blast of punk and screaming can head to Basement 414 on Sunday, Aug. 16, for a roster of obnoxious loudness, including The Burning Hatreds (Coldwater). The band is led by psychotic front man Ben Lyon, who consistently offers up Iggy Pop style moves with a large dose of ferocious garagepunk sloppiness. The band’s motto, “Too Fat to rock, too drunk to care,” actually tells a lot about its stage presence.

Rounding out the night are locals, 3 a.m. delirium, Cuntfear, Ouch! Me Arse and MK Ultra Culkin.


414 E. Michigan Ave. Lansing. 6 p.m. FREE, all ages.

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