Record store profile: Lost Weekend Records celebrates 10 years, launches own label

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From the April 18, 2013 edition

Because Kyle Siegrist is a Columbus music fiend, he measures his record store’s 10th anniversary against other Columbus music institutions. Local labels We Want Action, Spoonful and CDR all launched in 2003, plus the recently discontinued music blog Donewaiting.

“That’s a pretty good class, 2003,” Siegrist said. “It’s an honor to be a part of that class.”

Siegrist has lived and breathed this city’s music scene since his teenage days roaming campus record stores in the ’80s. After a two-year stint interning for RCA in Atlanta, he dove into Columbus music as a fan, musician and record label rep. But he found his calling when he opened Lost Weekend Records in a glorified hallway in Clintonville.

The shop, which moved to a proper storefront the following year, quickly became a hub for musicians from Columbus and beyond. Celebrated indie band Yo La Tengo filmed a video there starring Columbus trio Times New Viking. Underground luminaries Kurt Vile and Bob Pollard have shopped there. Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna founder Jorma Kaukonen and Gun Club/Cramps/Bad Seeds member Kid Congo Powers performed there, and countless locals have played “hootenannies” in the parking lot. Visitors from New York to Seattle stop through regularly. Siegrist loves that his shop has become a destination — just like the record stores he loves visiting across the country.

Like many of those businesses, Lost Weekend has stayed open by a thread. Unlike many of them, Lost Weekend keeps growing. Siegrest even brought Moon High/Red Feathers drummer Blake Pfister on staff.

“Blake’s gone from a high school kid who used to shop here to our first legitimate real employee,” Siegrist said.

One helpful factor is Record Store Day, an annual event when musicians make special releases available at independent record shops only. Lost Weekend is one of several Columbus shops stocking up on limited edition releases from the likes of Tame Impala, Willie Nelson and The Flaming Lips to prepare for a throng of collectors this Saturday. (The first guy camped out at 2:30 a.m. last year.)

Buying so much inventory is costly, but it pays off; the crowd last year was so massive that this year they’re setting up a second register (cash only) and hiring crowd control.

“Record Store Day makes your business, but if people don’t show up, it would completely bankrupt you,” Siegrist said. “Not only is it our biggest day, it’s usually 20 times bigger than our second biggest day.”

Lost Weekend will have sales and giveaways galore Saturday (see sidebar), including Jeni’s ice cream for early birds and a raffle for Nelsonville Music Festival passes. But Siegrist might be most excited for the third release on Lost Weekend’s fledgling label, Connections’ Tough City EP, available exclusively at Lost Weekend this Saturday.

Siegrist launched the company last year with a split 7-inch featuring Will Foster and Nasli Hovsepian, followed this winter by a single from psych-prog powerhouse EYE. His goal is to release his own bands and Columbus artists he loves; he’s toying with releasing late recordings by The Lindsay and a solo album from Day Creeper’s Aaron Troyer.

Siegrist’s enthusiasm is loud and clear; he is a Columbus music freak, and this label is his playground.

“The cool thing about the label is you’re leaving art behind,” Siegrist said. “I love when you find some weird, obscure record from 20 years ago you know nothing about, and you put it on, and it’s cool. I’m hoping 50 years from now someone might pop out a Connections record like, ‘Oh, what’s this? It’s kind of cool.’”