Friday, April 20, 2012

Rise n' shine, it's Record Store Day Saturday

Saturday morning my family and I will be getting up earlier than usual. It's the third annual Record Store Day, which means tons of exclusive limited edition releases. Here Lunchbox Records will be carrying many, many of these releases. Record Store Day's official website also lists The Record Cellar in Rock Hill, The Birdsnest in Davidson, and Armada Music in Statesville as also participating.

Record stores were a big part of my life at one time. I worked at Charlotte's Record Exchange during the mid to late `90s and I made some of my best friends in Charlotte there.

One of the founders of Record Store Day was my first editor - Carrie Colliton, who at one time edited The Record Exchange's "Music Monitor." She got me my first interviews (Frente, Letters to Cleo, and Kristin Hersh) and let me review acts as obscure as Winston-Salem's Squatweiler, actress Kerri Kenney's ("The State," "Reno 911!") band Cakelike, and one of my all-time favorites Sleater-Kinney (who did eventually get popular). That record store changed my life in a lot of ways.

While we were fighting the big box Media Plays and Best Buys at that time, independent record stores today are simply fighting for survival given the popularity of digital downloading. Luckily vinyl is back, which gives those stores another niche to fill.

It's been exciting to see how many artists have jumped on board in support of Record Store Day in the last three years. Everyone from Jimmy Fallon (who is putting out a "Tebowie" 7" single) to big name artists like Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Katy Perry have official RSD vinyl releases.

Many releases feature unusual covers including the Carolina Chocolate Drops doing Run DMC's "You Be Illin'" on Coke bottle green vinyl, the Civil Wars covering Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" (check it out on YouTube), Feist and Mastodon covering each other (Mastodon also does a Flaming Lips song on another release), and Amanda Palmer taking on Nirvana's "Polly" (which was originally released on a "Spin Magazine" compilation) and Radiohead's "Idioteque."

There are lots of live releases from artists like Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, the Grateful Dead, and Taking Back Sunday (to name but a few). "Rockabye Baby" - the series that turns songs by the Pixies, the Beatles, Metallica, and Queens of the Stone Age into baby-friendly instrumental versions - is releasing its Smiths' lullaby album on vinyl. There are several older albums getting the vinyl treatment. The "Pretty In Pink," "The Breakfast Club" and "Empire Records" soundtracks are being reissued on vinyl, which sounds pretty irresistible if you want to fire up some `80s and `90s nostalgia on the turntable.

The list of releases is ridiculously vast. There's an official list here and Lunchbox Records has compiled a comprehensive list of both official and non-official releases that will (cross your fingers) be in stock at least when doors open at 9 a.m. Keep in mind that some of these are very limited though.

Everything at Lunchbox Records, aside from exclusive RSD releases, will be 15 percent off as well.

I'll be on the look out for School of Seven Bells' 7" cover of Siouxsie & the Banshees' "Kiss Them For Me," although it's not on Lunchbox's list. I may have to settle for that download next week.


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