By Brian Tucker
Founders of Record Store Day were intuitive in holding it late April every year. Just as spring represents change and renewal, so did the impetus of the event that grows in popularity. Created to bring attention to independent record stores around the U.S., Record Store Day has, since its first in 2008, quickly become an anticipated holiday for music lovers and collectors.
RSD was a means to celebrate music while stressing the importance of independent record stores. Stores hosted events and musicians made personal appearances at them. Each year RSD selects someone to be that year’s ambassador. Previous years include Ozzy Osbourne and Jack White. Public Enemy’s Chuck D is 2014’s ambassador and the rap group’s 1988 classic album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is seeing a repressing as part of RSD 2014.
Gravity Records and Yellow Dog Discs will be participating, both opening up at 8 a.m., with selections from the approximately 450 titles available this year, offering giveaways and door prizes, and more. From noon to 6 p.m. there will be live music at Gravity, featuring Free Clinic, Mike Blair & the Stonewalls, Astro Cowboy, The Phantom Playboys (who have a new album out that day) and Deep Ecology, offering a fine cross section of our local music scene.
Gravity owner Matt Keen has some good advice for the RSD attendee: “Go over the list of releases so you know what you’re looking for when you get here.”
Ditto for Yellow Dog Discs. Last week the weather was pristine and music by The Psychedelic Furs poured out their propped open door. All that was missing was a grill and a cooler. The Pretty in Pink soundtrack was followed by Led Zeppelin IV, the vinyl spinning on the counter as people walked in the store. Owner Tim Freeman talked about the titles this year as well as phone calls he was receiving regarding the event.
“People have called asking if they could buy an item now or if we could hold it for them,” Freeman said. He tells that’s not how it works and wouldn’t be fair to those who show up Saturday morning, like the customers he had from Morehead City last year. “I told the employees the calls will probably get worse next week.”
The calls represent strong interest in music (and unfortunately some eBay sellers too), and the mostly vinyl releases that stores receive late next week. Previously a strictly used music and movie store, Yellow Dog Discs participated in RSD for the first time last year.
“For us it was Record Store Day-lite,” Freeman said. The store ordered a small amount of the nearly 350 items available in 2013 and sold them all save for a few that eventually sold the next week.
Freeman said he’s ordered a lot for RSD but won’t get the bulk of it until next week and know exactly the items. RSD features exclusive only releases in a limited run for the event and items that are available that day and then later on to the general public. Yellow Dog will be giving away door prizes in addition to a limited edition Crosley “Peanuts” record player.
To commemorate Ghostbusters turning 30 there’s a glow-in-the-dark 7-inch of Ray Parker, Jr.’s theme song and a full album release of The Wizard of Oz soundtrack to the movie that turned 75 last year. Special releases are from The Allman Brothers, Green Day, Eric Church, a box set of Cake’s albums, a greatest hits collection for Ice-T, a live album from Mastodon, re-releases for Joy Division and Aerosmith and much, much more.
Or as Gravity’s Fadi Mansour suggested the morning of the Azalea parade about RSD, “Get here early.”