The music industry comes to a fever pitch this Saturday, April 21. Countless music lovers and collectors fill independent record stores in hopes of snatching over 200 unique releases on this celebratory day. Three years ago, a little band known as Metallica kicked off the festivities in San Francisco. Record Store Day was born.
Record Store Day, the third Saturday of every April, celebrates the culture around the still-standing 700 independent record stores around the U.S. Artists release vinyl records and CDs that are not available at any other time. The promise of buying these rare, unique pieces of art combined with live performances at these record stores creates a deafening buzz around this day.
Record Store Day has grown markedly each year since its creation which is a testament to the dedication of those still not only selling physical media, but also for customers still buying. The Black Friday for music fans, Record Store Day comes and goes once a year, yet the memories from each one resonate through speakers and earbuds for a lifetime.
A few highlights off my personal wish list:
The Flaming Lips “Hweady Friends”When you have a massive, cult following like The Flaming Lips, you can get away with near anything. For example, this band has sold a gummy skull with a flash drive with a unreleased CD on it in the skull. For $200.
This year, purveyor of weird, Wayne Coyne, decided to round up the biggest clusterfuck of artists imaginable and make a collaboration record. Yes, THAT Ke$ha did a song with The Flaming Lips. Other colloborations include Bon Iver, Neon Indian, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Chris Martin of Coldplay. The vinyl will be paint spattered and Coyne has announced an extremely limited release of some records with the artists’ blood spun into the vinyl. No words.
Janis Joplin “Highlights from The Pearl Sessions”This double vinyl features previously unheard and unreleased outtakes and alternative recordings of many of Janis Joplin’s classic songs. These kind of releases give a look into how music can sound so different had the producer went with version A instead of version B. Forget polished pieces of music, I want to see and hear the organic process that occurs as my favorite artists create their work.
Gary Clark Jr. “Presents HWUL Raw Cuts Vol. 1”This two-track LP highlights two live performances from Gary Clark Jr., otherwise known as the black John Mayer. But less feminine. Gary Clark Jr. croons bluesy songs over a guitar that goes to places you do not hear very often. The man is a master of his instrument and was featured on Rolling Stone’s “Top 100 Guitarists of All Time”. You better believe I’m grabbing two of his live performances on vinyl. Some artists make music that simply sounds better on this older format and Gary Clark Jr. is one of them.
Mastodon/Feist “Commotion/Black Tongue”Remember that cutesy Apple iPod Nano commercial with that song that went “1, 2, 3, 4, tell me that you love me more”? Now tell me you weren’t bopping around you house humming that to yourself. Well, fast forward five years and a new record in 2011 and Feist has established herself as an indie artist. This same soft singing woman has elected to cover a song by Mastodon, one of progressive metal’s greatest storytellers.
And even better? Mastodon will cover one of the singer/songwriter’s songs on the other side of the record. This kind of collaboration is only made possible on an occasion such as Record Store Day.
Even though I will regret showing this to all of you, as you will be fighting against me in hopes of getting the rarest releases, here you are.
The participating stores in this area:
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