Once a year, there is a special day that pays tribute not only to independent record stores but to the fans that have made it what it is. These are the very same people who come out in droves when a lime green seven inch from a band that they have never heard of is announced — limited to two hundred hand numbered copies, of course. Let us now look at all of the aspects that make Record Store Day as exciting as it is.
Insound Warehouse Sale
I was made aware of the warehouse sale only a couple of days ago. Insound is an online store from which I buy a lot of records — they are very attentive to the needs of their customers and make sure that you get the best care. There have been a few occasions when I have ordered a few records and when one of the records went on back order, gotten direct notice from the one staff member that seems to take care of sending e-mails that they were really sorry but would make up for it by not charging me extra for shipping. It really meant a lot to me and is the reason that I generally will order a record or two from them rather than getting it from just about any other site.
The trip to the Insound warehouse was an adventure in itself. From my midtown office, my wife Elizabeth and I got on the 7 train and took it to 45th Street – Court Square. The instructions said that it was a short walk to transfer over to the G train but this was not the case. We got out of the station and tried following the directions and immediately got lost. The signs with their large arrows didn’t seem to help as they were pointing in multiple directions. We eventually got to the G station and took the train to the Greenpoint station. It was a short walk to the warehouse, where two people were waiting to welcome us.
I thought that there were going to be some exclusives that could not be found anywhere else, but I ended up getting four seven inch records for five dollars each and a beautiful Andrew Bird poster for twenty dollars. It was definitely a plus that I didn’t have to pay for shipping. I noticed everyone there was walking around drinking either Budweiser or Pabst Blue Ribbon and yet there seemed to be no place to acquire said beer. On our way out, purchases in hand, one of the staff asked me if I had found everything to be okay. I said that everything was great but I didn’t know where everyone got the beer and so they gave me a couple of PBRs on my way out. It was very generous of them to assume that Elizabeth would want one. They both went to me.
Record Store Day Only Releases
In the few years since Record Day has started, numerous record labels have signed onto the idea and have started releasing seven inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch records that are limited in number and often contain previously unreleased songs (new or different versions) — in black vinyl or any of the different colors in which vinyl records are made. The only downside to so many great bands putting out records exclusively for Record Store Day is that it means that there is just that much more money you end up spending. This year, for example, I am hoping to get a limited edition Jimi Hendrix 12″ colored vinyl, a colored version of the Monsters of Folk record, a re-release of the first Sea Wolf album, a seven inch from She and Him that comes in a special bag, and a special release of a song by Them Crooked Vultures — along with a DVD that has a film based on the newest Mountain Goats album.
I specifically say that I am hoping to get it because it will not be me going to the record stores — Record Store Day is this Saturday, April 17th — it always is on a Saturday. As I am a Sabbath observant Jew, I cannot enter a record store and spend money. Therefore, I have already asked a colleague to go for me.
Amazing Things in Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee, is home of the record label Third Man Records — the record label founded by White Stripes guitarist and singer Jack White in 2001. In addition to having a copper colored pressing of the Raconteurs album Broken Boy Soldiers, there will be a free concert by members of the Raconteurs. This concert will be recorded to tape and pressed to beautiful black and blue vinyl exclusively for people who attend it. Moreover, there will be a raffle for two of the go-karts used in the video for the Raconteurs song “Steady As She Goes” with the tickets being purchasable with each store Raconteurs purchase. There will be another go kart that will be auctioned, the proceeds going to charity. Alas, I will also be unable to attend this fantastic gathering. I am amazed that a relatively small company such as Third Man Records is going to be doing so much to celebrate the day.
While I am going to be "celebratin" the day by honoring the holy Sabbath, I’m going to be thinking about friends who are paying tribute to the solid medium that is, to us, a better way to play music — the vinyl record and the brick and mortar independent stores that happily stock them for us.