For vinyl lovers, it's Christmas in April. Every year, on the third Saturday of April, artists and their record labels release a special batch of goodies on wax for fans and independent record stores -- in what is affectionately known as Record Store Day (RSD).
Saturday marks the 7th year that music lovers have been bestowed their own "vinyl holiday," if you will. Several shops around town will be participating in the event, such as M-Theory Music, Lou's Records, Off the Record, FeeLit, Spin Records and Cow Records.
In an effort to support locally owned-and-run record stores, major and indie labels release extremely limited quantities of albums, rare re-reissues, special editions of live albums, 7" singles, and all other sorts of music-related goodness for listeners and collectors to snatch up -- if they can get their hands on them.
The selections are generally part of very small runs, distributed to shops based on how many they request, even though the stores have no idea how many (if any) they'll receive in advance.
"We order as much as we can," Off the Record's Paul Russe told us. "But everything is extremely limited. Sometimes there'll only be 500 or 2,500 pieces available to the entire U.S. -- sometimes you get lucky and get maybe half of what you order."
Either way, stores are more than happy to be involved. "It's an exciting time to be an independent record store right now and it's not a monetary thing," M-Theory Records owner Rick Tyner said. "[RSD] has certainly helped many stores from having to close their doors, but more than that, there's an energy and a sense of community that is strong and Record Store Day is a celebration of that."
M-Theory is just one example of how shops pull out all the stops for vinyl fans. The store opens for business at 10 a.m. but RSD is an all-day event: Spencer Moody of the Murder City Devils, and the Donkeys will be performing -- along with DJ sets by Jason Blackmore (aka Blackie), Records with Roger, and Craig Oliver of Volar Records. Beer will be provided by Saint Archer Brewing, in partnership with Sector 9 Skateboards, who will be giving away skateboards and other gear.
And of course, they'll have hundreds of exclusive RSD titles from big-name acts to indie buzz bands and classic artists alike including: The Black Lips, David Bowie, Bonobo, Broken Bells, Johnny Cash, Devo, Fleetwood Mac, Husker Du, Jimi Hendrix, MGMT, Outkast, R.E.M., Spoon, Soundgarden and Bruce Springsteen. Go here for a full list of releases.
Just a few notable selections on my personal shopping list include:
- The Cure/Dinosaur Jr., "Just Like Heaven" (7" Side-By-Side Series)
- Gram Parsons, 180 Gram: Alternate Takes From GP and Grevious Angel
- Mastodon, Live at Brixton (live album)
- The Zombies, Odessey and Oracle LP reissue
- Pinback, s/t LP reissue
Any way you cut it, tomorrow's Record Store Day promises to be both rewarding and memorable. Show up early, get your hands on some cool vinyl and support your local businesses -- sounds like a fine Saturday to me. I'll see you there.