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A very Mary shop

Young man in a rasta cap banging on a djembe as he is perched on the ledge in front of the store. We look at each other and both nod to the rhythm and share a smile and as he hammers out a sick beat to carry with me into the store.
This is how I started my Friday night at Rhino Records in Claremont Village.

Rhino Records started out as a spot for small, indie rock records, trumpeting a huge collection of obscure indie rock and electronica. Walking in, I immediately knew what was in store as I saw aisles upon aisles of records lined up before me. Like most record shops, the vinyls are sorted by genre and artist, so looking for your favorite isn’t a search for a needle in a haystack. But still, what I feel brings you closer to the music is the physical motion of going through the bins and flipping through each album and holding your breath in the hopes of finding a particular record. That uncertainty – that baited breath – is what makes me realize just how much I am in love with an artist or an album.

Drifting through the store, I realized just how many artists are out there, waiting to be listened to. Nowadays with Spotify and Soundcloud at my fingertips, I’ve lost the perspective of the vast amount of music out there, me being cooped up with my favorite artists and genres and never given the chance of seeing what else there is. With all the vibrant cover albums – which look so much better when printed out on 12”x12” cardstock sleeve – and flashy artist names, it’s so easy to get lost in a haze of artists you have never heard of before.

But do not fret about the immense plethora of music, Rhino Records has thought of it all. With a listening station boasting three Crosley record players complete with headphones, I could’ve taken all the time to listen to any pre-opened record. For me, it was the first time I played a record, and let me tell you, it was truly something special. Lifting the needle onto the black expanse of sound and hearing the vinyl scratch leap into the headphones, it was a wonder to hear the sound from its origins rather than splices of the scratch imposed on digital music. It was like I had finally found the roots to music. As the music burst into the headphones, I just stood there, transfixed by the wonder of how such vivid sound could be produced between a needle and black ridges.

So in lieu of Valentine’s Day and falling in love with music or with a significant other, this review is dedicated to a cozy little record shop for falling in love in.
I could easily go on and on about how special Rhino Records is, but the truth is – like with love – everyone will find their own hidden treasures. So go for it, take the time and fall in love with music once again.

By Mary Zhang, Editor-in-chief


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