St. Paul’s newest record store, Barely Brothers Records, now graces the St. Anthony Park neighborhood and plans to celebrate with a day of live music and discounted vinyl this Saturday, March 22.
Though the store opens at 10 a.m., the festivities start at noon and feature local artists Matt Arthur & the Bratlanders, Jon Rodine & Friends, Brian Drake & the April Fools, Cp Lawson, Nikki & The RueMates, The Mystic Order of Reverb and Twang, and Eleganza.
Owner Mike Elias, boasting a combined 23 years prior experience at record stores such as the Electric Fetus and Northern Light Records, said he recently decided to get back into the business after working for seven years at a brewery. “I missed the music industry, so I decided to get back into it. And with vinyl on the rise again, I thought, let’s open up a vinyl shop in St. Paul.”
Like many vinyl enthusiasts, Elias loves the tangibility of the format and its way of encouraging listeners to experience complete albums as opposed to scattered singles. “The artwork on a record is 12 inches by 12 inches,” notes Elias, “and it plays a bigger role in the experience. One thing I hated about CDs when they first came out is that everybody seemed to think they needed to use all 79 minutes, and we got a lot of CDs with a couple good songs with a lot of filler. Listening to [an album] one side at a time demands more attention.”
The store will almost exclusively carry vinyl, much of which Elias said he chose to stock based on what he saw as a gap in the inventory of other stores in the area. “Everybody has great vinyl selection, but nobody can have everything,” he said. Though the store’s focus is on vinyl, Elias will support local artists by stocking their CDs as well as vinyl releases.
Intending to contribute to the local art and music community, Elias noted that “after we’re up and running, we’re trying to repurpose the space after hours for art openings. I had record racks made on wheels so we can push the racks aside and make room for people.” Elias also spoke of plans to collaborate with other businesses in the area to host a party in a vacant lot in June to celebrate the Green Line light rail kick-off.
The Barely Brothers Records Grand Opening Party will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 22, during which time all vinyl will be 10% off. The store is located at 783 Raymond Ave, St. Paul.
Paul Schmitt is a literature major at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. He’s inspired by bass lines, metafiction, and lengthy mealtime conversation.