April 19, 2011

Record Store Day Tradition Gains Momentum

Print More

I think Jack White put it best when he said, “I trust no one who hasn’t the time for music. What a shame to leave a child, or worse a generation, orphaned from one of life’s greatest beauties. And to the record stores, artists, labels, D.J.s, and journalists, we’re all in this together.”

Once a year record store owners, vinyl-grubbing collectors and music aficionados of all kinds join together in the spirit and celebration of music. This Saturday marked the fourth consecutive year of Record Store Day, a brand new holiday that with every passing year appears on more and more hipsters’ calendars.

A concept initially extracted from the depths of Chris Brown’s brain — the easygoing, indie record store employee, not the Chris Brown of “Forever” and “Yeah 3X” fame — the celebration took shape under the guidance of six individuals: Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner, who seamlessly united 700 independently owned U.S. record stores and hundreds more internationally.

In its first year Record Store Day resembled a Black Saturday-esque record free-for-all that sent flocks of regulars and newbies alike to the local music shop. Ten bands total, including Death Cab for Cutie, Vampire Weekend and R.E.M., participated with special-issue releases, as countless other musicians made special guest appearances. Metallica, for one, kicked off the event with a memorable performance and fan meet-and-greet at Rasputin Music in Mountain View, California.

As time goes on Record Store Day is garnering more and more attention. In 2009 the event boasted 85 special releases with just over 500 U.S. artist appearances. Just a year later artist participation had sizably increased, as independent record stores were bombarded with over 150 limited edition releases from the likes of John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Devo, the Flaming Lips, MGMT, Muse, Modest Mouse and so many others.

This year Record Store Day was taken to the next level, with hundreds upon hundreds of unique, predominately vinyl efforts from artists of every caliber, genre and style, fused together in their collective hope to bright light to vinyl culture — and in an effort to save the hometown record store in the age of iTunes and digital download domination.

Angry Mom Records in the Commons languished in the event’s popularity. The store brought in hundreds of vinyl treasures. Daft Punk’s Translucence — Identity Disc Vinyl, a clear vinyl replicate of the identity discs worn by the characters in Tron: Legacy, and the Foo Fighters’ Medium Rare were on the short list of 2011 must-haves. Other gems included the Rolling Stones’ seven-inch “Brown Sugar,” the five-L.P. Flaming Lips box set and the limited-edition fourth studio album The Fall, from the Gorillaz. Local bands the Awesome Awesomes, Tropical Punk, Music Band and Why the Wires rocked the house with short sets throughout the day to set the mood for the indie-flavored occasion.

Chris Faller of the Hush Sound once noted that independent record stores “are the last refuge for those who are looking for music that is outside of the box — and outside of this decade.” It’s imperative that we all band together in support of those last few music havens.

But for those who missed out on Record Store Day 2011, rest assured that the event is nowhere near extinction. Although Saturday’s effort was hard to top, the four remaining founders of Record Store Day promise that next year’s celebration is going to be bigger and better than ever. And it’s only 361 days away!

Original Author: Heather McAdams