Today, thousands of fastidious collectors are waking up way too early for a Saturday, standing in silly lines with their brethren, and diving deep into crates to pay premium bank for the privilege of owning a handful of the dozens of exclusive vinyl releases being put out as part of the sixth annual Record Store Day.
And I couldn’t be happier.
Launched in 2007, Record Store Day celebrates the independent music shop, an institution that has been under attack since well before the Internet threatened to dismantle the music business. Really, it’s a day to celebrate the relative resilience of these little shingles that could. After all, they survived the format wars, outlived massive chains like Tower Records and Virgin Megastore, and stuck out the first wave of file sharing (Napster, Gnutella, and the like).
With vinyl sales surging and interest in sprawling music discovery zones like Amoeba Records steadily growing, it’s a good time to be a fan of black discs that go around and around and around. This year’s exclusive Record Store Day features the release of several dozen exclusive pieces of vinyl, which may or may not be available at your local emporium (it pays to hit up more than one spot, if only to observe the crowds at each location).
There are a lot of items to be excited about, including the Flaming Lips collaborations album The Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends, which features team-ups with the likes of Chris Martin, Yoko Ono, Bon Iver, Neon Indian, and Ke$ha (whose album-opening track, “2012,” is one of the best songs of the year so far. Seriously).
Other exclusives include a split single between Atlanta metallers Mastodon and Canadian songbird Feist (brilliantly calling Feistodon), a box set of Pharcyde 7” singles, a special silver vinyl version of Metallica’s Beyond Magnetic EP, Bruce Springsteen’s “Rocky Ground” single, a live Devo LP, Jimmy Fallon’s Tebowie songs, and Bruno Mars’ The Grenade Sessions. All of these releases will only be available in real-life record stores (and then on eBay a few hours later, of course).
As I’ve written before, I love a good local record store, and I plan to hit up a handful of spots in New York early Saturday morning looking for the Lips, Kimbra’s Settle Down EP, David Bowie’s Starman single, and the soundtrack to Empire Records (which is, indeed, one of the most ’90s things in the universe, and finally available on vinyl). Last year, I managed to grab Pearl Jam’s Vs., a Motorhead picture disc, a split 7” featuring Husker Du and Green Day, and that album of Deftones covers—a pretty good haul, all thanks to Enfield Music Outlet in Enfield, Connecticut, and Slackers in Columbia, Missouri.
In addition to those stores and the aforementioned Amoeba, I have had delightful experiences at the Music Box in Newport, Rhode Island; various Newbury Comics locations across New England (but especially the home store in Boston); In Your Ear in Warren, Rhode Island; Spinnaker in Hyannis, Massachusetts; Cutler’s in New Haven, Connecticut; Austin’s Waterloo Records; Record City in San Diego; Wall of Sound in Seattle; and the Sound Garden in Baltimore—all of which will be participating in Record Store Day.
What will you be hunting for? And where? Sound off in the comments, and keep spinning right round.