Back in 2007, as many major record store chains were closing their remaining stores, six music lovers dreamed up the idea of celebrating the still-surviving independently owned music retailers, as well as arguably pop music’s most beloved format, the vinyl record.
Now, Record Store Day, which is today, has blossomed into an international day for music lovers and vinyl collectors, with many major and indie labels offering specials unavailable anywhere else (or at least until they flood eBay this afternoon). Exclusives include colored vinyl, 7-inch and 12-inch singles, live recordings and other rarities in a variety of genres produced in small batches, usually a few hundred to a few thousand copies.
Locally, many record stores are official participants, giving them access to the exclusive releases. Others join in on the spirit of the day with live music, sales and other ways to entice folks to buy physical forms of music.
Official participants include Square Records in Highland Square, local vinyl collector’s haven Time Traveler in Cuyahoga Falls, SoundChaser Music and the recently opened Calhoun Record Shop in Akron, and the Vinyl Underground in Kent, as well as all area Exchange stores.
Square Records has around 200 of the releases, including the annual Black Keys entry Side By Side: No Fun, a 7-inch colored vinyl single featuring a cover of The Stooges’ No Fun backed with the original version.
Square has also teamed up with sister store My Mind’s Eye in Lakewood to produce a split 7-inch single featuring a new song, Crystal Garden from Akron band Relaxer, backed with Cleveland’s blog-buzz-bathed indie rockers The Cloud Nothings’ take on Thin Lizzy’s classic The Boys Are Back in Town. Unfortunately, the single is not ready, but fans who purchase $25 worth of Record Store Day paraphernalia will receive a copy of the sleeve which can be redeemed for the actual record when it arrives.
A few stores will host live music and/or DJs, including Time Traveler, which will have bands from 3 to 9 p.m., including a 4 p.m. set from blues rocker Colin John, and an 8 p.m. set from popular local hard rock act Red Sun Rising.
Owner Scott Shepard said in addition to the 40-plus official RSD releases he’ll have on hand, including the White Stripes, Miles Davis LPs and a Dylan 7-inch, he will also be digging into his vast personal vinyl collection and offering several original albums from British Invasion bands, Paul McCartney & Wings, and some very rare original Beatles vinyl.
In Akron, Calhoun’s Record Shop will have a series of DJs including Ben Crazy Santina, El Prez, and owner/operator DJ Forrest Getemgump in addition to some open turntable spots.
Among the hundreds of official releases are R.E.M.’s Live in Greensboro EP; a white double LP release of Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready To Die; an appropriately green-colored 7-inch single of Willie Nelson’s Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die; new vinyl releases of Aerosmith’s first three albums; a single from Patti Griffin called Ohio; and a CD of Rare Cuts & Oddities from the Grateful Dead.
Dave Matthews Band fans will surely want the four-LP Live Trax Vol. 1: Vinyl Box. There are plenty more releases including exclusives from the Rolling Stones, Jandek, Lamb of God, the Roots, the White Mandingos and much more.
In true RSD style, not all retailers received every item they ordered. Check with each store to find out what they have.
The official Record Store Day site: www.recordstoreday.com