By Nathan DeCorte
Record collectors better brace themselves and their bank accounts, because there’s a reckoning coming this weekend. This Saturday is the ninth annual Record Store Day, a celebration of independent record stores and the culture that supports them. It’s a holiday observed at thousands of stores all over the world, bringing fans together for live music, special events and a mad dash by collectors to scoop up some of the most coveted releases of the year.
Every year, record labels, publishers and independent producers come together to flood your neighborhood record store with hundreds of exclusive releases, limited-run reissues and weird novelties. A complete list of this year’s exclusives can be found at the official Record Store Day website, recordstoreday.com. Among the exclusive releases, there’s a handful of obvious favorites that are sure to fly off the shelves.
With David Bowie’s recent passing, it was inevitable that we’d see a few token Bowie releases this year. First, we’ll be getting a picture disc re-release of Bowie’s classic 1970 album, The Man Who Sold the World, as well as well as a 7” picture disc single featuring the track “TVC15” from the 1976 album Station to Station on the A side, and the 2010 Harry Maslen remix of “Wild Is The Wind” on the B side. The third and final Bowie release is a collection of three singles released through Pye back in 1966, repackaged into a single 12”.
There will be some brand new Bob Dylan material up for grabs as well. Melancholy Mood is a limited edition 7”— originally pressed for and only available during Dylan’s recent Japanese tour— featuring four tracks from Dylan’s upcoming album Fallen Angels. Serious Dylan scribes will no doubt want to pick up a copy. Patti Smith fans can rejoice as well. The newly-formed Electric Lady Record imprint will be putting out their inaugural release on Saturday: a brand-new, live recording of Smith’s debut album, Horses.
There’s even some niche releases for you cinema buffs. Although the original score for 1922’s Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, is considered lost, a reasonably faithful reproduction is being offered this year. The 7” disc features a recreated version of the original score, written by veteran horror composer James Bernard and performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Cinema buffs will also want to consider picking up the soundtrack to the 1977 Italian cult film La Via Della Droga. The soundtrack is done by seminal Italian prog-rock group Goblin, famous for their work on films like Suspiria, Deep Red and Dawn of the Dead.
There’s even a few releases for Disney fans. Disney Favorite Songs is a special collection spanning most of the animation giant’s history, with tracks from Cinderella to Frozen and all periods in between. The album is intended as a sort of companion record for Crosley’s Disney turntable, another Record Store Day 2016 exclusive. The turntable is one of Crosley’s briefcase models, making it small, portable and ideal for keeping in your dorm room or apartment. And finally, Walt Disney Records will be releasing a 10” record featuring music from two of the company’s most beloved Silly Symphonies shorts: The Skeleton Dance and The Three Little Pigs.
And as always, there’s the usual assortment of niche items and oddities. Two compilation records, Get Me Home for Tea: Rare Psychedelic Rock from the U.K. and Sixties Japanese Garage-Psych Sampler, should keep things groovy. And a dramatic reading of the classic Dr. Who episode Genesis of the Daleks will please the Whovian in your life. Last, and perhaps most puzzling, is Atlanta hip-hop duo Run The Jewels’ VRTJ Viewer. You know, one of those little cardboard boxes you’re supposed to put you smartphone in to simulate virtual reality. All the catalog listing says is “VRTJ – A Run The Jewels Branded Cardboard Viewer”. Hopefully it’s leading up to some kind of cat-themed virtual reality tie-in to their 2015 cat-themed remix album, Meow the Jewels.
In total, there’s a dozen Bay Area stores participating in this year’s Record Store Day. Again, a complete list of participating stores can be found on the Record Store Day Site. In Tampa we have Mojo Books and Music, located at 2540 E. Fowler Ave. They’re pretty much right next door to USF Tampa. They’re probably the location nearest UT, but Mojo is definitely a book store first and a record store second. While their selection is respectable, your time may be better spent elsewhere.
Daddy Kool Records is located at 666 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg, putting them pretty much in the heart of the city. Daddy Kool is one of the older stores in the area and has a rock solid reputation. They tend to stock a lot more new material and rereleases than anything else though, which some might consider a drawback. But last Record Store Day I did score copies of Slayer’s Haunting the Chapel EP and Black Flag’s The First Four Years compilation, so sometimes you get lucky.
Bananas Music maintains two locations is St. Petersburg: their storefront at 2887 22nd Ave. N, and their massive warehouse at 2226 16th Ave N. Between the two, Bananas boasts a selection of some 3 million records. Suffice it to say, the sheer size of the selection can be overwhelming, and there’s definitely no shame asking for help if you need to find something specific. Virtually the opposite of Daddy Kool in terms of inventory, Bananas focuses much more on vintage stock, with new stock making up a relative minority. Collectors who just have to have the first-pressing of any given album will favor Bananas Music.
Then there’s my personal favorite, Planet Retro Records, located at 2414 Central Ave. It’s something of a niche store, with a definite emphasis on punk, metal and hardcore music, though they also have respectable collections of hip hop, soul and jazz. It’s also the kind of place where you can find the weird little oddities and rarities. Hyper-rare Led Zeppelin bootlegs? They got ‘em. Original pressings of ‘80s crust punk records? They got ‘em. At one point I think they even had an original pressing of Lie: The Love and Terror Cult by Charles Manson. Because yes, Charlie was a musician before he was a murder-cult leader. It’s the kind of store where you legitimately don’t know what to expect whenever you walk in, which makes it the best kind of store in my book.
Things to Remember
It’s important to note that not every store will have the same selection of exclusive releases. There are hundreds of Record Store Day Exclusives and virtually no single store is going to have all of them. Furthermore, supplies are very limited. Most of these releases are limited to a couple thousand copies, and sometimes only a couple hundred. So if there happens to be a specific record that you simply must have, there are two things you’re going to want to do. First, you’re going to want to call or visit your local stores. Ask nicely and they’ll probably tell you exactly what they’ll have in stock and what they won’t. Ask really nicely, and they might even be induced to set the record you want aside from you. After all, if you can convince them that you’re a guaranteed sale, that’s just money in the bank for them.
Barring that, the second thing you’re going to have to do is arrive early. Like, really early. Earlier than the early birds. Last year I showed up at Planet Retro around 3 or 4 a.m. and there were already at least a dozen people in line ahead of me. Collectors tend to take this sort of thing pretty seriously.
That said, it’s important not to take this too seriously. Record Store Day is supposed to be a celebration. It’s a day for fans to gather around, listen to some good jams, and share their love of the simple act of browsing the record shelves with people who feel exactly the same way they do.
Nathan DeCorte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.