For the audiophile in all of us the joy of Record Store Day (RSD) is not to be underestimated. At last a day to celebrate the All Holy Vinyl and, gasp, go outside and talk to people.
Originally founded in 2007 as a celebration of music, and more importantly independently owned record stores in the United States RSD has grown at an amazing pace each year, blossoming into a full-on collaboration between artists, fans and independent record stores. Each year special releases, generally on vinyl and in batches of less than 5,000 copies, are prepared for RSD. These releases include colored vinyl, live-shows never previously released, picture discs, re-releases of rare or hard-to-find recordings, posters and more all find their way to independent records stores and eventually into the hands of music geeks and collectors. With such small batches each store can obtain just a few of each release (in some cases only one copy) and they go quickly, fortunately the variety and breadth of available releases makes nabbing that “one” piece still obtainable.
Each year the excitement surrounding RSD grows and independent record store owners have raised the bar again this year. Cook-outs, coffee stands, musical performances, kids activities, photo booths and generally incredible sales are lined up for Saturday, April 21. In Princeton, NJ cult favorites They Might Be Giants will play at the Princeton Record Exchange. California has numerous in-stores to look forward to including Tobe Bean of Street Dogs spinning at Durty Micks Records in Long Beach and Chuck Ragan at Rasputin Music in Berkley. Have no fear mid-westerners, you aren’t forgotten, Cursive will be at Slacker’s Music in Columbia, MO and Lydia Loveless will be at Lost Weekend in Columbus, OH. (Be sure to check with your local independent music store and see what they have planned for the big event, it’s sure to be worth your while.)
Some of the hot items this year which have the web a-buzzing include the Never To Be Forgotten – The Flip Side of Stax 1968-1974 7” collection, this boxed collection will only have 4,000 copies released and hidden within 15 random boxes will be autographed photos of the artists. Devo – Live in Seattle 1981 may be one of the top grabs this year, the recording was found in a shoebox full of cassettes fifteen years ago, transferred to DAT and then forgotten, it appears now as a RSD Exclusive Release double-LP. Karen Elson (ex-wife of Jack White) has her second RSD release this year, a 7” honey-colored-vinyl with Jackson C Frank’s “Milk and Honey” and Bonnie Dobson’s “Winter’s Going”.
RSD 2012 Ambassador Iggy Pop released statement which in part reads
“A person should have a personality. You won’t get one dicking around on a computer. It helps to go somewhere where there are other persons. Persons who are interested in something you are. That’s how a record store or any shop that’s got some life to it should work. It’s not about selling shit. I got my name, my musical education and my personality all from working at a record store during my tender years. Small indie shops have always been a mix of theater and laboratory. In the 50’s and 60’s the teen kids used to gather after school at these places to listen free to the latest singles and see if they liked the beat. You could buy the disc you liked for 79 cents and if you were lucky meet a chick. Clerks in these places became managers, (like Brian Epstein), label heads, (Jack Holzman) and Faces on album covers (like me).”
If you’ve been thinking about getting into vinyl, or are maybe hesitant because you are afraid the variety just isn’t available, get out next weekend and see what the hubbub is all about. There is something for everyone next weekend, no matter what your age or taste, RSD has something for all to enjoy.
Be sure to catch up on all the events, releases and happenings this year, you have less than a week to prepare. www.recordstoreday.com has a lot information but be sure to call your local independent record shop to get details of local events. Join the conversation on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RecordStoreDay and on Twitter with #RSD12.
Written by Meredith Underhill
OurVinyl.com | Senior Writer