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Celebrating Music and Vinyl On Record Store Day
By Hana Frenette

People are buying records again. And not just to decorate walls with or make bowls out of—to listen to.

The record is still charming, still personable—the gentleman of the music industry. And people will argue that despite all the technology available, it’s still the best sound you can find.

It seemed like vinyl was set to be the long lost cousin of the music industry in the ‘90s when record companies threatened to phase it out of production completely. Luckily, several artists like Ryan Adams and Beck continued to insist on releasing their new albums on vinyl and around 2005, the consumer’s demand for music made a slow and steady turn toward the nostalgic.

According to Time magazine, vinyl sales have been on the rise since 2005, with sales increasing at least 13 percent each year. Ironically, CD sales have since been decreasing at about the same rate. With over a million pieces of vinyl sold each year since 2007, it seemed like the perfect time to pay homage to the oversized waxy music storage medium.

Thus, Record Store Day was born—a day that celebrates the music that has been made, and continues to be made on vinyl. Independent record stores and artists around the world team up together to offer the public exclusive releases made especially for Record Store Day, debut albums and singles, and re-releases of cult classics currently out of print.

April 21, 2012 will be the fifth annual Record Store Day and will include participating stores from all over the world offering new releases from Paul McCartney to The Flaming Lips.

A Word with the Creators

Record Store Day was an idea thought up by Chris Brown, not the R&B singer, and brought to life by a very small group of individuals working in or around the independent music industry. Two of the founders, Carrie Colliton and Michael Kurtz are currently managing the day.

For a store to participate, it must be non-publicly traded, 70 percent of the ownership must live in state and 50 percent of sales must be in retail.  FYEs and Best Buys will be missing out on the party.

“We started Record Store Day so that we could give stores a chance to celebrate themselves, their customers, their community, and their artists,” Carrie Colliton said. “We knew that there were plenty of stores that were thriving, and were a really big part of their community, so why not have a big party, of sorts, to celebrate it?”

And celebrate they will. This year’s Record Store day is coming around at a time when the most vinyl, since its heyday through the ‘50s-‘70s, has been sold in years.

“I can say we are all probably thrilled—but surprised—at how big RSD has gotten,” Colliton said. “And it’s worldwide too, which we weren’t expecting, but are really happy about—over 1000 stores in other countries participate too!”

With so many stores and artists participating, this year’s turnout will likely be the biggest and most supportive yet. It’s the fifth year and RSD has managed to work its way into headlines and home stereos alike. Now what?

“We’d still like to see it grow, to see more stores, more artists, more customers becoming involved,” Colliton said. “No matter what changes come in the music industry, I believe strongly that there are some things that people will always want to have a physical human element to associate with it.”

There is something nice about a piece of music that’s tangible. Something you can pick up and admire, or show to another person, not just a manila file folder on your laptop that you probably got for free online.

In the age of ever rotating, updating, new and always newer, records are a reminder that not everything is better when digitized. Like handwritten letters or phone calls made to a landline, if anyone still has one, records allow the human element to exist. Not that it’s necessarily the fastest, cheapest, most practical option available—but it sure does make you feel nice.

“I try not to get excited about any one title, because I really do find all of them interesting,” Colliton said. “That being said, I’m hoping to get my hands on the Pretty in Pink vinyl reissue.”

Colliton is based out of Raleigh, N.C. and will be browsing local shops there on the special day.

“And then I’ll come back to my computer and check in with stores all over the world,” Colliton said.

Shopping Local

Pensacola has a few independently owned record stores scattered around town that will be participating in this year’s RSD madness.

Revolver Records

Revolver Records, opened and operated by Eric Jones, will be participating in Record Store Day for the second year in a row.

“I’m trying to get in as much RSD day merchandise as I can,” Jones said. “There are lots of tasty treats and limited edition vinyl coming out that will be a good investment.”

However, the Record Store Day releases are a tricky thing to get your hands on, even for record stores themselves. Stores may receive as little as 15 percent of what they order, simply because many of the releases are so limited, making the records in high demand. A store may have to order 1000 pieces, just to receive fewer than 100.

“I guess it’s a good thing,” Jones said.

Jones ordered plenty of RSD exclusives but he won’t know until the big day what records actually came in and which ones did not.

“Last year I sold all of my RSD merchandise within the first 15-20 minutes of opening,” Jones said. “We still had pretty steady traffic all day.”

Stores across the country all share the same uncertainty of what will or what won’t arrive, offering up the perfect opportunity to drop in on your local store and fraternize with the rest of the music loving masses.

“We’re going to keep the day very small, very mom and pop,” Jones said. “I’ll leave the blow up dancing gorillas for Car City.”

People won’t be jumping out of cakes at Revolver just yet. But don’t rule it out completely.

“Oh, maybe next year we’ll have a cake!” Jones said. “Or the ten year anniversary would be good.”

Revolver has been at its current location for about a year and a half and Record Store Day or not, it seems to be doing well.

“It’s funny, people used to drop off these crates of vinyl for almost nothing just to get trade in for CDs,” Jones said.  Exactly the opposite is happening now. (In the time this interview was conducted, two people came into the store with a stack of used CDs to trade in toward a Tortoise album and a Radiohead album, both on vinyl.)

Stores across the country are moving their vinyl to the front of the store and pushing the CDs to the back. This phenomenon has warranted articles in the Chicago Tribune, the Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone. It’s being called “the comeback of vinyl” and just about everyone seems to be getting in on it.

“People like the hands-on approach and the larger than life artwork,” Jones said. “It’s a labor of love that takes more input from the listener, thus you get more out of it.”

Revolver Records
9 E. Gregory St.
712-6373
Hours: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday- Saturday

The Music Box

The Music Box now currently located on West Navy Boulevard has merged inventories with the old Tom’s CDs and will be participating in Record Store Day for the first time.
“Our store manager Jessica actually heard about it online and brought it to our attention,” Jim Vasser, co-owner of The Music Box said.

The collection of vinyl from The Music Box’s old store paired with what was acquired from Tom’s gives the store one of the best vinyl collections from Pensacola to New Orleans.

“We move a lot of rock ‘n’ roll, and we have a really good metal collection,” Vasser said. “We just had a DJ in from New Orleans that bought over 600 records to use when he plays.”

Like Revolver, The Music Box has ordered many special releases and RSD exclusives, but won’t know until the big day what they actually received.

“We don’t want to make any promises we can’t keep or lead people up to disappointment,” Vasser said.

They do, however, want to offer cupcakes and raffle tickets to RSD shoppers.

“We’re going to kind of have a little reception in the store on RSD and we’ll also be having a raffle for some RSD merchandise, if we actually get some of it in,” Vasser said.

Luckily, The Music Box has an extensive collection of new and used records to keep you busy while you’re digging around for some of the exclusives, including a large section of the store devoted to a “three for $10 sale” in which older records in all genres are offered.

The store will also be opening an hour earlier, at 10 a.m. to cater to those who may want to stop in and have a look before work.

The Music Box
3960 W. Navy Blvd.
434-1977
Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday- Saturday, except opening at 10 a.m. on RSD

Remember Wynn

Remember Wynn, located off Creighton Road will not be receiving any of the new release vinyl or special RSD releases, but they will be having a big sale on their extensive collection of merchandise.

“We’re going to have a 25 percent off sale on all unsealed, open vinyl,” Jackie Seale, co-owner of the store said. “And then I’ll probably do 15 percent off the unopened vinyl.”

Remember Wynn is the perfect stop to stock up on the classics you’ve been coveting for years. Rows and rows of blues, soul, rock, folk and country are all reasonably priced and ripe for the plucking. Plus there’s the RSD discount. Treat yourself to a nice copy of Wanda Jackson’s greatest hits or the out of print Otis Redding album in the back.

Remember Wynn
7007 Lanier Dr.
476-8630
Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday – Friday, except 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday
Out of Town but Not Off the Map

In case you’re feeling like a getting out of town for a day, on Record Store Day, these shops are all within a day’s drive and will have something special in the way of RSD to offer.

Central Square Records
This will be the fourth year of RSD participation for Central Square. They always fill the day with in store events.

“We’re going to have live music all throughout the day, one of the acts being the Ousley Brothers,” Edward Jack, store manager said. “They just played at SXSW and they seem to be getting a lot of attention.”

In addition to the RSD day exclusives that have been ordered, Central Square will also be holding a raffle for a Crosley Turntable and will have plenty of beer on tap.

“For the past three years this day has been one of our biggest days of the year,” Jack said. “It should be a really good turnout.”

Central Square Records
89 Central Square
Santa Rosa Beach, Fl 32549
850-231-5669

Bay Sound
If you’re looking for a simple approach to your Record Store Day experience, there’s Bay Sound in Daphne, Ala. “We mostly just kind of deal with the merchandise, the RSD day releases and whatnot,” Billy Francis, storeowner, said. “We’re definitely hoping to get a decent selection in.”

No frills. Just records released for a special day.

Bay Sound
2001 US Hwy. 98
Daphne, Ala. 36526
(251) 626-6222

Euclid Records
There’s nothing like a good block party to get a good day rollin’. In addition to the new releases ordered, Euclid Records will be hanging out on the street with the locals.

“We’ll have bands play all day, and free food and free beer,” manager James Weber said. “It’s going to be like a neighborhood block party for celebrating good music.”

Euclid Records
3401 Chartres St.
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 947-4348

Wax n’ Facts
Wax n’ Facts is a landmark of Little Five Points in Atlanta. It’s been selling music to the community since 1976 and seems in no hurry to stop.

When asked what they’d be doing for RSD, store manager Sean Bourne responded with, “selling records”—the ultimate goal, of course.

The store will be offering new releases and RSD originals as well as a meet-and-greet with Grateful Dead drummer, Mickey Hart.

“He has a record coming out soon and he’ll be in town on that day,” Bourne said. “We’ll also be having a spring cleaning sale with dollar CDs, 10 cent 45s and 25 cent cassettes.”

And although Record Store Day is a great celebration of a certain music medium, Bourne is hoping to stress another important point.

“We want people to find music that they’ll enjoy for the rest of their lives,” Bourne said. “It might be easy to get fixated on the top dollar RSD releases but if you don’t get the one you want, maybe you’ll find something you’ve never heard of before that you really love.”

Whether you’re checking out the local stores, hopping in the car and driving to the next town over, or searching for a special release online, Record Store Day is the perfect reminder that music is always worthy of celebrating, no matter what medium or what day.

Wax n’ Facts
432 Mooreland Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 525-2275

Third Man Records
Third Man Records is an exciting place to be on Record Store Day for a couple reasons. They will have items exclusive only to Third Man, and it’s also a personal celebration for the store.

“The fact that we have our own shop where we can be the only place in the world to buy certain limited items, makes it all the more fun,” Ben Blackwell said.

Blackwell is in charge of the bulk of manufacturing and distributing all the vinyl for Third Man. “It’s also the unofficial anniversary of our physical store—we opened on Record Store Day 2009.”

Third Man Records
623 7th Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 819-4393

Record Store Day Releases Ordered by Local Shops
R- Ordered by Revolver Records
M- Ordered by The Music Box

Although the inventory is unknown until the big day, here is a list of what store ordered what, in case you have your heart set on something special.

12” Vinyl and/or double LPs/box sets

R & M Arcade Fire – Sprawl II / Ready to Start (Remixes) [12''] (download, limited to 3000, indie-retail exclusive)
R Tortoise – Lonesome Sound & Mosquito [2x7'']
R Genesis – Spot The Pigeon [12'' EP] (Blue Vinyl, dual-speed, limited to 3000)   Ordered: 1
R Battles – Dross Glop 4 [12''] (limited to 750)
R Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) – Howl
R Branford Marsalis Quartet – Four MFs Playin’ Tunes [2 LP] (180 Gram, limited to 500,
R Cure, The – Entreat Plus [2 LP] (180 Gram, Remastered, Remixed and Expanded version of Entreat, Live 1989, includes 4 bonus tracks)
R Devo – Live in Seattle 1981 [2 LP] (includes 2 12” posters, limited to 2000)
R Dr. John – Locked Down [LP+CD] (new album produced by Dan Auerbach of Black Keys)
R Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac [2 LP] (180 Gram 45 RPM, original analog masters, limited to 6000)
R Lee Hazlewood – The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes, & Backsides (1968-71) [2 LP] (RSD indie-retail exclusive)
R Various Artists – Never to Be Forgotten: The Flip Side of Stax 1968-1974 (Deluxe [10x7''] Box Set w/ 100pg book, download)
R
Devo -Live in Seattle 1981 [12”]
R Luna –Rendezvous [12”]
R Luna – Romantica [12”]
R Battles- Dross Glop 4 [12”]
R Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys Remix EP [12”]
R DJ Food & the Amorphous Androgynous – The Illectrik Hoax [12”]
R
Botch – An Anthology of Dead Ends [12”]
R Pelican- Australasia (2xLP) [12”]M Leonard Cohen- Live in Frederiction [12"] single
M Metallica- Beyond Magnetic [12"]
M Misfits- Walk Among Us [12"]
M Joey Ramone- Rock ‘N Roll Is The Answer [12"]
M Social Distortion- Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes [12"]
M Townes Van Zandt- At My Window [12"]

7” Vinyl

R and M White Stripes, The – Hand Springs / Red Death at 6:14 [7''] (Limited Red/Black Swirl Colored Vinyl, indie exclusive)
R Pussy Galore – Feel Good About Your Body EP [7''] (limited to 1500, indie-exclusive)
R Byrds, The – I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better / It’s No Use [7'']
R
Paul Weller- That Dangerous Age [ 7”]
R Justin Townes Earle – Nothing’s Going to Change the Way You Feel About Me Now / Sneaky Feelings (Elvis Costello) [7''] (limited to 2000)
R M. Ward – Primitive Girl [7''] (includes 2 non-LP tracks, download, limited to 2000)
R Paul Revere & The Raiders – Ride Your Pony / (You’re a) Bad Girl [7'']
R Small Faces, The – Itchycoo Park / I’m Only Dreaming [7''] (remastered, mono, limited to 2500, indie exclusive)
R Chocolate Watch Band- In the Midnight Hour / Psychedelic Trip [7"] Single
R Bloos Magoos- So I’m Wrong And You Are Right / Wild About My Lovin’ / The People Had No Faces [7"]
R Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band- Diddy Wah Diddy / Who Do You Think You’re Fooling / Moonchild/ Frying Pan Double [7"] Set
M David Bowie- Starman [7"] Picture Disc
M Ryan Adams- Heartbreak A Stranger/Black Sheets of Rain [7"]
M James Brown- Live At The Apollo [7"]
M Carolina Chocolate Drops/Run-DMC, You Be Illin’ [7"]
M The Flaming Lips/The Mastadon- A Spoonful Weighs A Ton [7"]
M Florence & The Machine- Shake It Out [7"]
M Foster the People- Broken Jaw/Ruby [7"]
M Paul McCartney- Another Day/Oh Woman Oh Why [7"]
M Iggy Pop- Mick Rock Tins [7"]
M Otis Redding/Aretha Franklin; Side By Side – Respect [7"]
M T. Rex- Electric Warrior [7"] Box Set

For more on Record Store Day and to see even more on the special RSD’s limited releases visit recordstoreday.com. You can also follow RSD on Twitter, (twitter.com/recordstoreday) and Facebook (facebook.com/RecordStoreDay).