Record Store Day is this Saturday, April 23rd, are you ready?
For the uninitiated, Record Store Day (or RSD for the cool kids) is a special event that happens each year when limited runs of vinyl LP’s, 7″, tapes, and now CD’s get released to independent record shops for rabid fans to line up early in the morning for the chance of copping something special (and usually expensive). Oftentimes these albums are out of print, sometimes they are special variants or released on vinyl for the first time, and occasionally they can be very gimmicky (see the Run the Jewels VR headset as a prime example). This is Black Friday for the avid music collector.
Record Store Day as an organization has caught flack over the years, as it started out once upon a time with the good intentions of highlighting independent labels and giving people a shot of obtaining a long out of print album for prices far below resale on Discogs. But over time, as with any good thing, corporations have gotten involved and made it a money grab. Cost to order RSD titles for shops is expensive, making it difficult or impossible for smaller outfits to participate, and the profit margin that the stores actually receive is pretty narrow.
All of that being said, for many Record Store Day is a holiday to be celebrated, and as one who has stood out in the cold hours before the store opens in hopes of picking up the Cake Colored Vinyl Boxset (I was not able to get a copy), and who eagerly awaits the release list every year, I’m a fan. And so, below you will find my tips for any first time RSD participants as well as 5 Must-Buy Titles, 2 oddities to check-out, and 1 album to avoid.
Tips for Surviving Record Store Day:
1) Find Out Details from Your Local Record Store Ahead of Time:
Record Store Day is a big deal for participating record stores, and as it’s been going on since 2008, most are pros at making it run smoothly by now. Check out their socials to find out itinerary for the day of, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. They want things to go just as smoothly as you do. Consider finding out the following:
- What time do they open?
- When do people start lining up?
- Do they let you fill out a wishlist or is it first come first serve?
- Are there bathrooms? (This question becomes super important if you are traveling from a distance or drinking coffee to stay warm/stay awake).
2) Plan for what you want.
Make a list. This is not a time to browse, this is a time to get in, get what you want, and get out. Later, after the stores have been open a few hours, you can go back and look around.
3) Be Prepared for Disappointment.
Inevitably, there will be items you want that will be sold out by the time you get through. It happens, and the only way to prevent this is to line up extra, extra early. Be happy with what you get.
4) Don’t go to Record Store Day in order to scalp.
Listen, the market is already hard enough and there are real fans who really want these albums for listening and collecting purposes. If you’re going just to buy some of the hard to find/most sought after records to resell online later at marked up prices, kindly go deposit yourself in the dumpster behind the shop with the rest of the trash.
5) Support your local independent record store the rest of the year too.
It’s widely known that the stores get very little money for the special RSD releases that they sell; the real money for them is getting customers in the store who will come back and buy from their larger collection of treasures. RSD is a great way to get into vinyl and to pick up some rare items that are OOP or just some curiosities, but in order to keep our beloved local music shops in business, we have to support them year-round. Record collecting is not a cheap hobby, but it’s immensely satisfying. And if you get to know your local record store owner, you’ll find that that they can be some of your best friends and allies when it comes to finding those albums to round out your collection.
My favorite Columbus Ohio gems for RSD are Spoonful Records, Used Kids Records, and Lost Weekend Records. And while you’re out, be sure to check out other shops who do not carry RSD titles but have sales going on for the weekend such as Elizabeth’s and Needle Exchange Records and Tapes.
Records to Cop:
Recordings from their 2013 concert film and live album Les Enfants Sauvages are being put on vinyl for the very first time. This will be a double LP with the band logo etching on Side D. As a Gojira fan, I had not listened to this one before, and so I checked it out ahead of time. The recording is crisp, the musicianship is quality, and the songs are, of course, straight fire. “Backbone” and “Flying Whales” hit especially hard. There’s a reason these guys are one of the best bands in the modern metal scene.
This is a new, numbered gold variant of the mathcore legend’s 2016 final album, which is currently out of print. If you are a Dillinger fan and don’t already have this, here’s your chance to beat out Discog inflation.
You might be thinking to yourself, “What a ridiculous name!” You are not wrong, but it is very much in line with the humor of the two producers who make up Handsome Boy Modeling School: Dan the Automator and Prince Paul. Both are legendary producers in the underground hip-hop scene, Prince Paul for his work with De La Soul, Gravediggaz, and Stetsasonic, and Dan the Automator for his projects with Dr. Octagon and Deltron 3030 as well as producing the first Gorillaz album. This album is old school funky, with boom-bap beats, trip-hop sounds, and electric guitar. Much of it is instrumental although there are several guest spots from Kool Keith (Dr. Octagon) and Del the Funkee Homosapien (Deltron 3030). If you are a hip-hop fan at all, you will not be disappointed with this release.
From the RSD Release Page: “Lil Wayne’s 2011 mixtape Sorry 4 The Wait is back for the first time in its original format. Famous for his reimagining of popular records of the time from Adele, Miguel, Meek Mill, Drake, Waka Flocka Flame, Big Sean, Beyoncé, YC, Kreyshawn, and more, the classic mixtape was originally released as make-good to fans for the continued delay of Tha Carter IV. As a bonus, the 2022 version arrives with four new songs, including “Cameras” featuring new Young Money signee Allan Cubas, a verse from Lil Tecca on “Anti-Hero,” and the Yung Bleu-produced “Bleu Snappin’”.
U.K. hard rock/heavy music band Sleep Token stand out in the saturated genre for several reasons. Firstly, the singer wears a mask that is very reminiscent of Bughuul from the Sinister movies. Now, mask wearing isn’t anything special in rock music (see Slipknot, Mushroomhead, etc), but Sleep Token take it in a different route, stylizing themselves as almost a religious cult, with the masks being part of the ritual. Their concerts are seen as ‘worship’ services and the tag at the end of most press releases is ‘worship.’ Musically, they have some similarities to Deftones and would fit well on a hard rock radio station. But the second reason that Sleep Token stand out to me is their singer. His voice is beautiful. There really is no other way to describe it. His range and ability are operatic in nature and would fit alongside of classical male vocalists such as Josh Groban. It is a strange marriage between the heavy guitars and ethereal vocalizations, and yet at the same time it works. Sundowning, their 2019 debut album, is getting released in super limited numbers as a split black and clear vinyl.
It’s Jazz Black Sabbath. If you are at the cross section of someone who appreciates Jazz and likes Black Sabbath, then there is no way you will be disappointed. Put it on during a dinner party (do people still have those?) and just eagerly await for someone to get a confused look as they realize they recognize what’s playing but just can’t seem to place it.
Do you have a baby and want to introduce them to the smooth and delicious tones of the one and only Marvin Gaye, but you aren’t quite ready to have a conversation about racial politics and revolution in the 70’s? Then this album is for you.
Record Nobody Asked For:
I can only imagine how easy it would be to find this in the dollar bin at basically any record store, but I wouldn’t know because I can only assume my eyes sort of go blurry if I happen to flip across this record. When people get upset about corporate cash grabs happening during Record Store Day, this is the kind of move they’re talking about. Obviously some record executive at BMG just caught wind of the popularity of “Never Gonna Give You Up” and Rick-Rolling pranks and thought to themselves “The people are really gonna like this!” But the song is so ubiquitous at this point that there’s no reason to own it on vinyl, and once you listen to it once you will realize you just spent 30 bucks on a novelty that is going to collect dust on your shelf.