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A unique record label thrives in Fredericksburg
Magic Bullet Records and Skateboards carries an array of music on vinyl and compact disc.
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BY RYAN MARR
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
IN A TINY college apartment at Penn State University in 1997, Brent Eyestone dipped a timid toe into the record-label business.
"At the time, I was just thinking like maybe 30 years down the road, I'd be able to tell my grandkids that I put out a record once," he said.
What began as a one-off pressing of a Boysetsfire album quickly grew into a second pressing, and then a third, and eventually a 30th. It got to the point where punk labels and distributors Eyestone grew up idolizing were calling the North Stafford High School grad and ordering 150 copies at a time.
To meet the unexpected tidal wave of demand, Eyestone did what any self-respecting fan of do-it-yourself punk music in the late '90s did. He invited a couple friends over to assemble tens of thousands of records by hand in his living room.
Some 140 releases later, the stakes (and the profits) at Magic Bullet might be higher, but the fundamental D.I.Y. aesthetic underpinning of the label's humble beginning remains the same.
Since relocating to an unassuming Caroline Street storefront in 2004 (which he shares with his brother Mark's skateboard shop), Eyestone has been churning out some of the noisiest, weirdest, most breathtakingly adventurous releases you could expect to find anywhere.
The best way to get an idea of just how much musical ground the label has covered since its inception 15 years ago is to dig through the shop's vinyl bins.
There's the lovingly prepared discography of hardcore legends Jesuit, featuring a 32-page essay booklet, a bonus 7-inch disc, and eye-popping cover art that manages to replicate the intricate details of some sadistic zombie's sexual fantasy.
Flip through a couple more sleeves and you'll find a vinyl-only All-American Rejects release, a one-time favor Eyestone did for his friends in the band and the label's only certified gold recording. Tucked somewhere in between is a copy of Eyestone's own ambient solo project, Aughra, several releases by post-rock titans This Will Destroy You, and the latest batch of acoustic recordings from notorious cult figure Charles Manson.
Rarely do any Magic Bullet releases at the shop exceed $12.
What: Magic Bullet Records and Skateboards Present: "Dirt Freex," a DVD centered around skateboarding in the Fredericksburg area Where: Central Rappahannock Regional Library (1201 Caroline St., Fredericksburg) When: Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 7 p.m. Cost: Free Info: 540/310-4855