Since starting in 2007 as a way to celebrate independently owned record stores, Record Store Day has evolved into a massive nationwide campaign for all things vinyl.
The idea is pretty simple: celebrate vinyl records and the small shops that sell them by releasing hard-to-find, out-of-print, or unreleased records (and cassettes) from a wide range of artists, from Public Image Ltd. to the Allman Brothers. Independent labels also get in on the action and release an official Record Store Day record, as do major labels like Virgin, Columbia, and Atlantic.
And even though record shops nationwide will stock hundreds of different Record Store Day titles, the golden rule of record collecting remains intact: If you snooze, you lose. All records are limited pressings, and there's no guarantee that the store you visit will have the Record Store Day title you're looking for. While record collecting might seem like a niche hobby to some, vinyl sales have seen a resurgence over the past few years. According to Statista.com, vinyl album sales reached 6 million units in 2013, a 32 percent increase from 4.55 million units in 2012.
From the intensely underground garage-punk stocked at Goner Records to the eclectic rock-and-roll at Shangri-La, Memphis has a vibrant record store community that's known worldwide as one of the best for finding obscure vinyl. Naturally, Record Store Day is a chance for these businesses to shine. Here's a rundown of what's going on around town on Saturday, April 19th, the eighth annual Record Store Day.
The record store that sits between Zinnie's and the Lamplighter isn't officially participating in Record Store Day, but owner Paul Williams said that he recently got in a bunch of 45s that he's been waiting to put on the floor.
Audiomania may not have the best selection of new vinyl, but the store offers plenty of meat-and-potatoes records for those looking to add some essentials to their shelves. If your car has a tape deck, the cassette selection at Audiomania might be the best in the city.
The Memphis rock-and-roll institution on Madison Avenue will be open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and will have sales going on all day.
The festivities are in addition to tons of Record Store Day releases already in stock. Shangri-La has something for everyone, including an amazing local-music section going all the way back to the beginning of Memphis rock-and-roll. Frankly, every day is Record Store Day at this emporium for new and used vinyl.
Spin Street Music
Although Spin Street isn't allowed to stock Record Store Day titles because of their corporate affiliation, manager Dan O'Brien said that he has tried to get the store involved in the annual celebration of all things vinyl.
"I've fought and tried to get us involved with Record Store Day, because it's a great thing, but they won't send us any of the limited titles because we are considered a corporation," O'Brien said.
Interestingly enough, the company that O'Brien used to work for, Value Music, is actually part of the coalition that founded Record Store Day back in 2007.
Even if they won't be stocking Record Store Day releases, Spin Street offers an intense amount of vinyl at their store on Poplar at Highland, including the best selection of hip-hop LPs in the city.
Located on Beale Street, Memphis Music specializes in local music from the past and present, from classic rock to soul and blues. The store has an overwhelming number of local 45s, from household names in rock-and-roll to more obscure titles that you won't find anywhere else. On Saturday, the store will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight, meaning you'll have plenty of time to hit the other stores in town. But with store employee Robert Parker promising "tons of special Record Store Day releases," you may want to get to Memphis Music early.
End of All Music (Oxford, MS)
Oxford's End of All Music is a relatively new record store, having opened in 2012. The latest record store in Oxford has a long day of festivities planned. There is even a Record Store Day cassette tape that the store is releasing featuring bands from the North Mississippi area. Sales of the 19-track cassette tape will benefit the MusiCares foundation, a program that helps musicians in financial need. It is run by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which awards the Grammys.
The store will also be selling limited Record Store Day posters and T-shirts, and local businesses will be on site selling beer, coffee, and food. At 2 p.m., a special keg of beer donated by Yalobusha Brewing will be tapped, and the "Straight to tape IPA" will be free until it runs out. Cole Furlow of local Oxford band Dead Gaze will also be spinning records at the store in the afternoon.
The record store in the heart of Cooper-Young offers an all-day party on Saturday, complete with live performances and store sales all day long. Goner Records employee Madison Farmer said that the store will be stocking more than 100 Record Store Day titles, and it will be the only store in the U.S. to carry Record Store Day releases from New Zealand's Real Groovy Records.
Memphis Made Brewery and Brooklyn Brewery will provide beer on Saturday, and the Beauty Shop will offer a drink special when you bring in your Goner receipt of purchase. There will also be live music in the afternoon.
Mark Edgar Stuart, Robby Grant, and Tyler Keith play the Cooper-Young Gazebo at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 19th.
Chris Shaw's Top Eight
Record Store Day Releases
• The Ramones: Meltdown With the Ramones, Rhino Records (4,400 copies)
• Motörhead: Aftershock LP, UDR Records (2,500 copies)
• Joy Division: An Ideal for Living, Rhino Records (7,500 copies)
• Pissed Jeans: The Very Best of Sub Pop 2009-2013, Sub Pop Records (1,170 copies)
• The Notorious B.I.G.: Life after Death LP, Rhino Records (4,500 copies)
• Christian Death: The Edward Colver Edition, Frontier Records (2,500 copies)
• DEVO: Live at Max's Kansas City LP, Jackpot Records (2,000 copies)
• The Doors: Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine, Rhino Records (2,650 copies)