For music collectors, Record Store Day has turned into an annual holiday, and somewhat of a competitive event for vinyl nerds. With many releases being in limited quantity and likely to not be available again, fans across the nation have to get out and hunt for their favorite band's disc before it's gone. The date has solidified as the third Saturday in April, this year falling on April 21.
Madison has long had a healthy culture of collectors, and it's not unusual to walk into a crowd at a local store. But if you haven't been out early on Record Store Day in the past be prepared for a bit of craziness: As the promotion has become more well known to the general public, each year more casual music listeners have also taken the opportunity to venture out and dig for bargains. Since the day was designed to celebrate brick-and-mortar music stores -- and encourage traffic to them -- the concept has been a roaring success, to the point where you may even see a few speculative buyers in the mix planning a quick online flip of in-demand items.
"Record Store Day is a great antidote to all of the 'death of the music industry' negative press," says Madcity Music Exchange owner Dave Zero via email. "[It] proves people who really love music are always going to want to own a real album, whether it be CD or vinyl."
Perusing this year's list of special releases shows that it's gone nearly all-vinyl, though there are a few digital releases scattered among the dizzying selection of titles. As usual, it's a mix of reissues and brand new or previously unreleased material. Some of the more intriguing exclusive releases I'll be watching out for include: a pair of Sundazed singles of rare Gene Clark/Dillard & Clark material; a new EP from Nobunny; and, a reissue of Townes van Zandt's At My Window LP. Also of special note (at least for Midwest '90s Americana fans) are reissues of Freakwater's Feels Like the Third Time, long unavailable on vinyl because the original pressing plant burned down, and the trio of Uncle Tupelo albums originally released by Rockville -- which are scheduled to remain available beyond Record Store Day, thankfully.
In addition to exclusive items, most stores plan sales or other specials for Record Store Day. Those carrying RSD releases also typically receive music and promotional items distributed as free goodie bags while supplies last (in the past, these have usually gone pretty quickly). Also, many stores are hosting in-store performances by local musicians and DJs, and perhaps a few out of town guests. What's happening (and available) is different at each location, so prepare for a hunt if you have a certain title in your sights!
As Strictly Discs' Angie Roloff says, "Take a time-out from life, quit all the multitasking and get a fresh buzz from a piece of wax!"
Details are still developing, so be sure to check store websites for updates. A breakdown on what's been announced so far at participating locations follows.
436 State St.; 608-255-1977l; open early at 10 a.m. and staying late until 7 p.m. on Saturday
In-store music: WORT-FM DJs 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., and perhaps some surprise buskers
Specials: 10% off storewide.
Looking forward to: "I think some highlights are the Tortoise double 7-inch, the Miles Davis 12-inch, The Grateful Dead Dark Star 12-inch, and the Vanguard label LP reissues like Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, Larry Coryell and Buddy Guy." - Steve Manley
254 West Gilman St.; 608-257-6402; open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday
Specials: 25% off used vinyl
Looking forward to: "There is a reissue of the first Poison Idea single and they're doing the Misfits Walk Among Us again on LP. I didn't see the Poison on the RSD site but that will be a good one. The original is like $300." - Rob Cleveland
508 State St.; 608-255-2433; open at midnight, also early at 8 a.m. and staying late until 10 p.m. on Saturday
In-store music: DJs The Real Jaguar at 11 a.m., DSN at 2 p.m., Chuck Torris at 5 p.m.
Specials: Up to 50% off used LPs/CDs/DVDs.
600 Williamson St.; 608-251-8558; open early at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday
In-store music: Outside buskers The Big Swell at 10 a.m., Aaron Scholz at 11 a.m., Michael Gruber at noon, Tom Teslik at 1 p.m., The Janky Basement at 2 p.m., Steve Schad at 3 p.m.; bands (in Bandung's Nutty Bar) include German Art Students at 11 a.m., The Type at 1 p.m., Lonesome Savages at 3 p.m.
Specials: Collectible vinyl sale, concert ticket/LP/CD drawings and prize packs from local businesses
Looking forward to: "Personally, I'm looking forward to the live Devo LP, Joey Ramone 7-inch, Small Faces 7-inch and Townes Van Zandt At My Window LP." - Dave Zero
1900 Monroe St.; 608-259-1991; open midnight-2 a.m., and early at 8 a.m. on Saturday In-store music: DJs Renton midnight, Joel Shanahan 8 a.m., Ian Adcock 10:30 a.m., FRP 1 p.m., Linda & Alhaji 2 p.m., Greg Hudalla 3 p.m.
Specials: 10% off storewide; turntable drawing & prizes
Looking forward to: "It's hard to narrow it down, but some of the releases we're most excited about are the Unrest "Perfect Teeth" 7-inch box set (one of my top five desert island albums and a near-flawless indie pop masterpiece), the new Circle LP (a group of cracked Swedes that move smoothly between freaky, iced-out jazz, to bombastic prog-metal, to glammy pop without falling into the cheese trap). The new Running LP should be a burner; one of the best bands currently out of Chicago. I'm definitely eager to spin the Numero Group's WTNG 89.9 FM compilation of regional radio pop shoulda-beens; you can always count on those guys to dig up some secret jams! Plus, some great 7-inches from Sundazed including Gene Clark, Captain Beefheart & the Blues Project should be great." - Angie Roloff
2301 Atwood Ave.; 608-256-7155; open early at 9 am and likely staying late on Saturday
Specials: Buy one, get one half price on all used records, tapes, CDs and DVDs.