How many chances have you taken today? How do you feel about a modestly sized record collection selected for you at random? This is possible to acquire if you consent to parting with $5 and carrying a heavy pre-packed box out of Retroplex in Garland before 8 p.m.
“There was a Coltrane album, as I was putting the boxes together – those usually average about $50,” owner Josh Kynd says.
The closing sale was successful — they started with 20,000 records, after all — but they still need a bit of help clearing out before the next phase of existence as a series of pop-ups. “We’ll just find a place where selling records won’t be pushy on people you know, like at a brewery. I have customer bases who are looking for certain things and I’ll put stacks together for each one,” Kynd says, noting the Retroplex Discogs store remains open for business.
On Sunday I combed through the remaining inventory, by then, at first scan, a mysterious amalgamation of ’70s folk, traditional Hawaiian music, obscure dance singles, and classical outliers. The owners priced them all at 25 cents, and then 20 cents. My friends and I called off the rest of our plans for the afternoon and opted instead to stay and dig. My method was based on recognition, intuition, and shallow design interest — meaning, Giorgio Moroder’s name in the producer credit on an extended remix of the Irene Cara single “Breakdance” sold me just as much as sleeve art with peek-a-boo windows housing a compilation of road-themed string compositions. A little educated guess; a little ok, yes, pretty.
Last night we went through each stack at random and something pretty rare for this century happened. We heard some music for the first time on vinyl, instead of coming across it digitally and then indulging the wax. Debussy’s La Mer, Luther Vandross’ “Til My Baby Comes Home;” somehow those and others never found us before a strip mall in Garland cast them away. We even had a little mock awards ceremony sometime after 2 a.m. to honor the best songs to grace my house. Here are the winners, both from my stack, with no other comment, to help recreate this experience of revelation for you. I already miss these singles and can’t wait to get back to my very common yet suddenly extra satisfied USB turntable tonight.