Speed Read: Vinyl Destination
For Indy music aficionados, no digital file on a smartphone can replace the feeling of holding a new vinyl album in their hands. This month, many of them will celebrate their holiest of holidays, Record Store Day, by flocking to their local music shops for new releases, special re-issues, and assor-ted goodies. Patrick Burtch, co-owner of Square Cat Vinyl, has lined up for the occasion almost every spring since it started nine years ago. “For a person who doesn’t hang out in their local shop regularly, it might be a little intimidating at first,” says Burtch. “But it’s a great introduction to the local music culture. ”
So what should you expect? As the name implies, Record Store Day is all about records … actual vinyl albums. If you don’t have a turntable at home, you’re going to miss out on 99 percent of the cool new releases. Even so, there’s plenty to keep you occupied—many shops will have live music, specials on (shudder) CDs, and free tickets or swag. “We usually hoard all the T-shirts, posters, and other promotional stuff that we receive throughout the year to give away on Record Store Day,” says Zach Crookshanks at Indy CD & Vinyl.
Don’t bank on procuring the ultra-hot albums. Of the hundreds of new releases—a full list is at recordstoreday.com—about a dozen will be in high demand. If a band is big enough to headline a major music festival like Coachella or Bonnaroo, its album is going to go fast. Most of the limited-edition releases—colored vinyl, live concerts—will sell quickly and never be offered again. Only 1,500 of last year’s reissue of Brand New’s Deja Entendu LP were pressed, and are now fetching $200 or more on eBay.
If you have your heart set on a release, get there early. Like, Black Friday early. “On my first Record Store Day, I waited in line overnight at Luna Music because I couldn’t live without the box set of all Cake’s albums on vinyl,” says Craig J. Helmreich, a massive fan (and musician). “Arriving at midnight got me the second spot in line, and guaranteed I would get one of the two Cake box sets Luna received. By the time they opened, there were probably over 200 people in line.”
Realize you’ll be in line for much of the day—get to know your neighbor. That person probably shares your passion for music, but maybe not your preferred genres. They might be able to snag you the last copy of the My Morning Jacket reissue while you’re browsing in a different box.
Don’t call the staff ahead of time to ask them to put aside an album. Unless you like to be laughed at.
Have a list of the releases you want. At Luna, all of the RSD exclusives will be behind the checkout area, with a clerk fetching your picks. You won’t want to walk out the door, realize you forgot the Old 97’s & Waylon Jennings EP, and need to get back into line.
Don’t beef if the shop only has a few of the most-wanted albums. “We can order 200 copies of a particular album for Record Store Day, and we might only receive two or three,” says Crookshanks. “A lot of times we won’t know how many we have until we actually open up the boxes.”
Keep an open ear. You might actually discover you love Nintendocore (yes, it’s a thing) or orchestral IDM.