Record Store Day 2012: The Haul

Steve Gritzan stands before the beautiful green gates of his shop, Iris Records, at 114 Brunswick Street in Jersey City, NJ.

Initially, I had planned on enjoying a low-key Record Store Day, visiting my local independent shop, Iris Records, and simply leaving it at that. But things never go the way I plan. The allure of J&R Music World in Lower Manhattan, just a short trip across the Hudson, was too great to resist. And if I was going to be in Manhattan, how could I not head over to In Living Stereo? The hi-fi shop was hosting an all-day event with live music, sales on used records, and free beer. It was my duty to attend. And, of course, In Living Stereo is just steps away from my very favorite record shop, Other Music, so I would have to drop by there, too.

Here’s what I picked up along the way:

Stop #1: Iris Records, Downtown Jersey City

I’m fortunate to have such a great record shop just steps away from my apartment. Iris was full of enthusiastic customers from the moment they opened at noon. Store owner Steve Gritzan was in great spirits, and I got to give copies of our April and May issues to Christine. “Ah!” she smiled. “Someone told me they’d read about me in Stereophile again!”

Iris is heaven for crate-diggers.

Dr. John: Locked Down (Look for John Swenson’s review in our July issue)
Robbie Basho: Venus in Cancer
Wilfrido Vargas & Sandy Reyes, Abusadora
Crossover Dreams: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, featuring music by Ruben Blades, Andy Gonzalez, Yomo Toro, and Virgilio Marti
Sin Ropas: Fire Prizes, a beautiful picture disc
Antony and the Johnsons: I Am a Bird Now

Stop #2: J&R Music World

J&R was a great place to be on Record Store Day! Most stores wind up with a very limited supply of a rather small selection of special Record Store Day titles. Anxious customers push and shove their way to those few selections and bombard helpless store owners with questions like “But where’s the Mastodon/Feist seven-inch?”

These are all limited-edition RSD releases!

But at J&R Music World, happy customers found an extraordinarily large supply of a very wide selection of titles. Judging from the conversations I overheard, however—“Thirty-three is faster than forty-five, right?”—many of these customers were not diehard vinyl fans, but were instead more casual listeners.

In addition to the many stuffed bins of limited-edition Record Store Day releases, J&R packed their aisles with hundreds and hundreds of massively discounted titles, many marked at just $0.99! I could have spent all day flipping through these bins.

Philip Selway: Familial
Mississippi John Hurt: Last Sessions
Skip James: Devil Got My Woman (hate when that happens)
Luv N’ Haight Edit Series, Vol.1: Mike James Kirkland. “What My Last Girl Put Me Through” (Nicolas Jaar) b/w “What Have We Done” (78 Edits)
Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra: “Polly” b/w “Idioteque”
“Sweet Honey Pie” (Mike Watt and The Missing Men) b/w “My War” (The Chuck Dukowski Sextet)
Rhino Side by Side 7”: MC5 b/w Afrika Bambaataa: “Kick Out the Jams”
Rhino Side by Side 7”: Aretha Franklin b/w Otis Redding: “Respect”
Pussy Galore: “Feel Good About Your Body”

Stop #3: In Living Stereo

We took a cab from J&R to In Living Stereo and arrived just in time to catch Robbers On High Street, guzzle a few free beers, and snag some choice LPs. The place was packed with beautiful people.

Mal Waldron w/ Eric Dolphy and Booker Ervin: The Quest
Archie Shepp: Blasé
Fania All-Stars: Rhythm Machine
Black to Comm: Earth
Dope Body: Nupping

Stop #4: Other Music

Several beers later, in between In Living Stereo and Other Music, we met up with more friends and meandered over to Great Jones Café, where I made a mockery of a massive pulled pork sandwich. Nothing builds an appetite like shopping for records.

By this time—more than eight hours after I’d walked into Iris Records—I was too happy to take any photographs. Just know that, at 8:30pm, Other Music was still busy with eager shoppers.

Eric Chenaux: Guitar & Voice
Burial: “Kindred”
Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras Meet the Congos: Icon Give Thank
Ben Vida: Esstends Esstends Esstends
Thee Satisfaction: Awe Naturale


LM2940's picture

I reallly enjoyed reading about your Record Store Day adventures! Thanks for posting this.

Devil Doc's picture

I had a fairly quiet Record Store Day. I picked up Janis Joplin's "Pearl" on 180 vinyl. Grace Potter and the Nocturnal's " Live at Sun Studios", and  Mississippi John Hurt's "Last Sessions". That was a big disappointment. Very noisy vinyl and two huge pops on the last cut on the first side.


Stephen Mejias's picture

That was a big disappointment. Very noisy vinyl and two huge pops on the last cut on the first side.

That's too bad. I've had similar experiences with some reissues of old blues and folk titles. I'll listen to my copy and see if I have the same problem. 

Ariel Bitran's picture

sounds like a fun day. although, combining beers and record shopping increases money spent exponentially.

Stephen Mejias's picture

combining beers and record shopping increases money spent exponentially.

So true. Nevertheless, drunk record-shopping remains one of my favorite pastimes.

kovan yarrum's picture

Hi SM:

Good choice on the Dr. John. Just a scarey good album. 

Listened to it yestereday. Greasey, funky, and downright nasty.


MrGneiss's picture

Sounds like you had a great RSD!!

I was able to get most of what I was looking for..ABBA on blue sparkly vinyl, too Rad!! :-D

But it did kind of suck that the record I wanted most wasn't avalable in the US..But I guess any day you end up with more records than you started with is a good day..

mraudio's picture

Here's my haul from the Mile High City:

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals-Live from Sun Studio (BOTH CD & Vinyl)

Paul Simon-25th Anniversary Graceland

Fleetwood Mac-Fleetwood Mac (45RPM)

Empire Records-Soundtrack (Colored Vinyl)

Pretty In Pink-Soundtrack (Colored Vinyl)

Breakfast Club-Soundtrack (Colored Viny)

Genesis-Spot The Pigeon (Colored Vinyl)

And a few more.  Overall, my new favorite "holiday" of the year!

Jancuso's picture

Great write-up, Stephen!  Thank you.  I 'worshipped' at Music Millennium here in Portland, OR.

Scored a 7" of James Brown at the Appollo 1972 with "Pass the Peas" and for desert, the Chocolate Watch Band.

RJeff's picture

Geez, I remember when J&R decided to dump vinyl in the late 80s. I was in grad school and I remember walking out of there laden with two big shopping bags filled with LPs. It's heartwarming to see them back in the record business.