Posted by: Necci – Apr 14, 2014
This coming Saturday, April 19, marks the 7th annual Record Store Day, an international celebration that commemorates the joys of purchasing music in actual stores, from actual people, on actual vinyl. What a concept! As this festival has grown in leaps and bounds since it was founded in 2007, the lure of exclusive releases and being part of an extremely hip subcultural phenomenon has led to record stores being extremely popular destinations on the third Saturday in April. It may even have contributed to the pleasantly surprising resurgence in vinyl sales that has been taking place since 2008.
All of this might be enough to make veteran collectors think of RSD the way drunks think of New Year's Eve--"amateur hour," so to speak. However, there are still many reasons for local connoisseurs of vinyl, whether they're new to the game or were born clutching a Beatles 45, to show up at one of the six RVA record stores that will be participating in Record Store Day 2014 this Saturday.
The first reason transcends any individual store's specific level of participation in the event, and should be important news for RVA music lovers of all stripes. It involves the legendary early-90s RVA instrumental punk/metal trio Breadwinner, whose music is considered to be ground zero for the subgenre known as "math rock." This year, Breadwinner's lone full-length release, Burner, will be reissued as a special Record Store Day vinyl edition by Merge Records. The pressing is limited to 600 copies, but we expect most local stores to have at least a few in stock. But don't dawdle, as local demand should be high for this classic piece of RVA music history.
Where specific local stores are concerned, Plan 9 Music (3017 W. Cary St) are doing it up right. In addition to an early afternoon in-store appearance by The Orwells, who will also be playing XL102's Chili Cookoff later that day, Plan 9 will have all sorts of RSD exclusives and rarities on hand for sale. Most interestingly, they'll be featuring a selection of Peanuts Cruiser Turntables. This old-school portable record player is a classic conversation piece, featuring Charles M. Schulz artwork depicting Charlie Brown appreciating his record collection. Though it looks like the kind of record player some of us had when we were kids, these Cruiser models are designed to be more sensitive to the vinyl you play on them than those crappy things we all had decades ago. You'll still be hearing your vinyl through tiny speakers, but hey, it sure will look cool, right?
You may have heard that BK Music recently departed from their longtime space in the old Peaches Records building on Southside, but not to worry, folks--they're still a going concern, and will be open in their new location for Record Store Day 2014! Their new location is at 2833-A Hathaway Rd, in the Stratford Hills Shopping Center, and they'll have plenty of Record Store Day exclusives available as well, so go see them, get familiar with the new location, and rejoice that those living south of the James still have a place to shop for records somewhere relatively close to home.
Deep Groove (317 N. Robinson St) is so excited for Record Store Day 2014, they're kicking off the festivities early, with a Record Store Day Eve dance party happening at Ipanema (917 W. Grace St) on Friday, April 18 starting at 10 PM. This event will promote unity amongst local record stores, featuring DJ sets from Deep Groove employees along with friends from Steady Sounds, Vinyl Conflict, and Plan 9. As for the day itself, Deep Groove is expecting a ton of vinyl exclusives--so many that they've created a special website just to keep track of everything they've got coming in. You can get a good idea of what to expect by going to deepgrooversd.tumblr.com and feasting your eyes. (Personally, I'm kinda freaking out over that Poison Idea/Pantera split 7 inch...)
Steady Sounds (322 W. Broad St) will be kicking things off at 11 AM on Saturday with a really wide variety of exclusive releases. These guys are known for their extensive exploration into a wide variety of musical genres, and it shows in the range of albums they'll be displaying this Saturday. From the British Motorhead and Psychic TV pressings seen above to new Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones releases, a rare Devo live LP, and the Pop Yeh Yeh compilation of psychedelic sounds from Singapore and Malaysia--which was put together by WRIR's own Carl Hamm--Steady Sounds will have something for everyone.
Vinyl Conflict (324 S. Pine St) and Turnstyle (102 W. Broad St.) may not command the general interest that the previously-discussed record stores should. After all, these two stores specialize in particular types of music; Vinyl Conflict sticks with punk, hardcore, and metal sounds for the most part, while Turnstyle is strictly dance music-focused, with drum n' bass, house, techno, and breakbeats being its specialty. However, both of these stores will be participating in Record Store Day, so if your interest lies in one or both of those areas, you definitely should not give these stores a miss.
And there you have it, folks! The seventh annual Record Store Day in RVA will once again be the sort of extravaganza that makes your entire weekend great. Nothing compares to the feeling you get when you arrive home with a year's worth of vinyl treasures. So don't sleep in this Saturday--set your alarm, have your want list prepared, and get stoked to enjoy music's #1 holiday!
By Andrew Necci