Record Store Day 2012

My favorite holiday, Record Store Day, falls on Saturday, April 21—just one month from today. Independent record stores across the nation will celebrate with contests, giveaways, all kinds of limited-edition releases, in-store performances by exciting bands, and lots of other fun stuff. Check the Record Store Day website for details and participating stores near you.

This year’s Ambassador, Iggy Pop, has this to say:

A person should have a personality. You won't get one dicking around on a computer. It helps to go somewhere where there are other persons. Persons who are interested in something you are. That's how a record store or any shop that's got some life to it should work. It's not about selling shit. I got my name, my musical education and my personality all from working at a record store during my tender years. Small indie shops have always been a mix of theater and laboratory. In the 50's and 60's the teen kids used to gather after school at these places to listen free to the latest singles and see if they liked the beat. You could buy the disc you liked for 79 cents and if you were lucky meet a chick. Clerks in these places became managers (like Brian Epstein), label heads (Jack Holzman), and Faces on album covers (like me).

Personally I feel best in a store that, while staying small and socially relaxed, still keeps a complete variety of music types and non-musical recordings on offer. I'm aware though that a lot of great places are genre-specific, like dance hall shops in Jamaica or Compas here in Little Haiti. In Europe and on the West coast the same goes on for Punk and Goth. All of this is cool and has a much bigger future than most people realize today. When the record and record store businesses began to die at the turn of the new century, they deserved it because they got too big too boring and too plastic.

As Record Store Day Ambassador for 2012 I feel like a representative from some exotic jungle full of life and death and sex and anger, called upon to wear a leopard skin and translate joy to the world of the dead.

Here in New York City, we’re blessed with many wonderful record stores—Other Music, A-1, Academy Records, Earwax, Deadly Dragon Sound, and Turntable Lab are a few that come immediately to mind—but I’m always curious about stores in other parts of the nation. Every record store tells a story, holds a unique and beautiful culture, and is filled with history, memories, and treasures.

Over at Which Way, LA?, a KCRW blog, we learn about a few of Los Angeles’ greatest record shops: Permanent Records, Vacation Records, and the especially cool-looking Wombleton Records. The video below, produced by Saul Gonzalez and Michael Garber, provides some excellent insights into why we love vinyl.

Next time I visit LA, I’ll be sure to visit at least one of these fine shops. On Record Store Day, I’ll most likely celebrate at Iris Records, in Downtown Jersey City, just a short walk from my apartment.

Where will you be on Record Store Day?

FSonicSmith's picture

Iggy's message is very cool. But here in Ohio, I have grown jaded as to RSD. I'm done lining up for hours in advance to enter some crowded store only to be taken advantage of. The labels have shown a marked tendency to put out overpriced faux "limited edition" stuff that proves to be not-so-limited and just overpriced. Is it the tail that wags the dog? The loyal consumers should be rewarded, not taxed, for their enthusiasm. Cool, truly limited stuff ought to be released in ample quantities (ample quantities for one day of sales) and at true bargain prices to reward those who have made the resurgence of vinyl possible. Until then, I will celebrate RSD at home, playing vinyl.

Summerisle's picture

I'm looking forward to it only because I missed last years and have only been able to go hours after the cool nuggets have been picked up. I don't like crowds but I really like to see  record shops packed with customers. It's a draw back that I can live with. This year I am going early to try for some "limited" stuff with a check list and  a coffee to keep me amped.

deckeda's picture

... that here in the ATL, Criminal --- whose owner is one of the founders of RSD incidently --- is one of the best stores, and IMO as is the smaller (but in some ways better) Wax 'N Facts about 30 seconds around the corner from Criminal in Little Five Points. And there are about 2-3 others within 10-15 minutes drive from those.

But I won't be "attending" this year because of my experience last year, which is to say that there wasn't anywhere practical to park. Very unfriendly to those of us that have to drive several miles to get there. I literally drove 40 miles to get there "on the special day" and after looking for parking for 15 minutes in the surrounding neighborhood, went home. The LP5 area is very much within an urban neighborhood, and on Saturdays is frequently packed.

Regardless, I'm with FSonicSmith in that I don't know that RSD is a savior. [Somewhat ironically, Criminal nearly closed up last year.] Although I like the idea of heralding indie stores, relegating it to one day a year sorta misses the mark---we should be heralding them every day. If you have one near you. Within walking distance. All things considered, I'm more comfortable buying vinyl online, because doing so is better for me.

Paul Luscusk's picture

You also need to check out some of the "old standard" LP record stores. One of my favorites is Poo Bahs in Pasadena. Be sure to have on comfortable jeans because some of the best stuff is in crates on the floor for $.50 a pop.  I founnd lots of classical audiophile  classic stuff there cheap, RCA Shaded Dogs, Mecurey Living Presence, Mo Fi Test pressings, Box sets, you never know what you'll find.  Last time I was there in Dec (I now live in Idaho), I found a excellent 6 eyed Columbia (Mono)  Louis Armstrong for 3 bucks.

jokeka's picture

At Ka-Chunk Records ... owned by a nice young guy named Matt who lives above the small store on Maryland Avenue.  He always has good new stuff as well as reissues and used of the old stuff. And while young, he still knows who the Beatles were.

Kermit Z's picture



I remeber my first Record Store Day, I was in Dallas/Fort Worth visiting my parents. I went to Forever Young, and got some freebees, along with my purchases. That was in 2008. Last year I was in Twist and Shout here in Denver and there are no longer any free stuff. I understand that it can get expensive to do that, but it sure made it feel like a special day :O)

worldofsteveUK's picture

at the risk of bankrupting Meijas, have you seen this on Pitchfork?

and is this for real ??!?! Texans eh?