Record Store Day: special releases and events at Austin stores
What do the White Stripes, AC/DC and Foo Fighters have in common with grindcore legends Discordance Axis, crooner Antony and the Johnsons and punks Trash Talk?
All will be releasing limited edition records, as in vinyl, today on Record Store Day.
Inspired by Free Comic Book Day, Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 by a small coalition of independent record stores looking to promote themselves to a customer base that is increasingly turning to online retail and digital downloads for their music needs. The first Record Store Day was April 19, 2008, for which labels produced about 10 special releases, including a 10-inch EP from Stephen Malkmus and a 7-inch single from Vampire Weekend.
Four years later, the special releases have grown exponentially - the Record Store Day website lists more than 200.
The Foo Fighters are releasing an LP of covers. The first two White Stripes singles are being re-pressed. Live versions of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's "Gotta Get the Feeling" and "Racing in the Street" are showing up on a 10-inch. The Flaming Lips first five Warner Bros. LP will be available in a box set. And on and on. (See the full list at www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases.)
Phil Waldorf, an Austinite whose record label Dead Oceans is part of a small but vibrant company that includes partners Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar (home of Okkervil River), is torn about the semi-holiday.
"Record Store Day is fantastic. It is getting people in the doors and spending money and gives them the experience of going to a record store," Waldorf said. "The downside is that Record Store Day sometimes feels more about the buying of collectible objects that get resold on eBay or stashed in a collection than about buying physical releases that you actually listen to and enjoy."
Not all stores will have all releases. Fortunately, Austin is blessed with a plethora of stores, 13 of which are participating in a record store crawl: Bring in a receipt from one, get 10 percent off at another.
Add the crawl to the collector mentality and there will be lines outside a lot of Austin stores, "We get people coming in who say, `I usually shop at Antone's but I thought I'd hit all the stores,'" End of an Ear owner Dan Plunkett said.
The extent to which Record Store Day has become vinyl record day is also striking. Fewer than 10 percent of the 200 releases are CDs. Plunkett said vinyl accounts for about 50 percent of his sales.
"There always seem to be new people who are getting turned on to it," Plunkett said. "Kids sometimes inherit their parents records or get into the idea that they can find an Elton John record for a dollar."
Some stores are providing entertainment. Waterloo will host a performance from the Toadies at 5 p.m., with priority admission given to those who purchase the band's exclusive seven-inch single. Backspin Records and Friends of Sound will have DJs, Trailer Space hosts the Zoltars at 7 p.m., End of an Ear will host touring punk band Apache Dropout, and Encore Records will host Austin hard rock band Marshall Dylan at 9 p.m.
Austin-area stores participating in Record Store Day (and the record store crawl, unless noted). Not all special releases will be available at all stores. www.recordstoreday.com.
Antone's Record Shop,2928 Guadalupe Ave. 322-0660
BackSpin Records,4631 Airport Blvd. Suite 110-A. 454-7746
Cheapo Records,914 N. Lamar Blvd. 477-4499
Encore Records, 1745 W. Anderson Lane. 451-8111
End of an Ear, 2209 S. First St. 462-6008
Friends of Sound,1704 S. Congress Ave. 447-1000
Musicmania, 3909-D N. Interstate 35, Suite 1. 451-3361
Piranha Records, 1208 N. I-35, Round Rock. 238-0418; not participating in the crawl
Trailer Space Records, 1401-A Rosewood Ave. 524-1445; not participating in the crawl, but having a 20 percent off sale
Waterloo Records, 600A N. Lamar Blvd. 474-2500
Whetstone Audio, 2401 E. Sixth St. 477-8503