Updated Fri, Feb 15, 2013 4:07 pm
If recent trends are anything to go by, the vinyl LP--the large, sometimes crackly predecessor to the CD--is making a comeback.
In production since 1948, the long-playing record has faded in and out of fashion over the decades, facing competition from cassettes, CDs and now, mp3s. But the shiny black discs are still around, with sales growing in the past few years.
Stop into Haffa's Records on any given day and you'll see college students rubbing shoulders with grizzled boomers and Gen X-ers, poring over bins of new and used vinyl and murmuring about Japanese pressings or the merits of a particular remaster.
Starting this weekend, local record store denizens will have one more piece of wax to add to their collections: Athens band Hex Net is releasing an LP version of its debut, Future Holds, which was released last spring as a download on bandcamp.com.
For those who have spent time around the band members (singer/guitarist Seth Riddlebarger, bassist Tim Peacock, keyboardist Nate LaReau and drummer Chris Aubell), it's not too surprising that a vinyl version was in the works.
"Well, you know how big of an LP junkie I am," said Peacock. "Seth is the same way. This is the first time I have ever been on vinyl...I'm super excited about that."
The album's basic tracks were recorded to two-inch tape at Bernie Nau's Peachfork Studios in Pomeroy, Ohio. Although Future Holds was digitally mastered, Peacock feels like album's analog origins shine through on the vinyl.
"I think the record sounds great. If you play the master digital version next to the finished LP, it's clear we made the right decision," he said. "I don't exactly know how the science works, but even though the LP was taken from the digital files, the LP is way 'warmer.'"
That "warm" sound is what has attracted many new and veteran vinyl enthusiasts, who have grown tired of the comparatively sterile sound of CDs or the low quality of most mp3s. It also helps that indie and major labels have been pressing more titles in recent years.
"LPs are becoming much more common these days and are expected from most artists," said Peacock. "We simply believe it is a far superior medium to hear the music."
Hex Net fans will have their chance to pick up a copy of Future Holds this Saturday during a release party at The Union. The band will be joined by The D-Rays, M.O.P and Sport Fishing USA. Doors open at 9 p.m., with the show starting around 10 p.m.
The LP is currently available at Haffa's Records, located at 15 West Union Street in Athens.