Tomorrow, April 20, is everyone's favorite holiday—no, not that one, Cheech. I'm talking about Record Store Day, the yearly Saturday set aside to celebrate your local brick-and-mortar record purveyor. Started a few short years ago, it's now become a sort of retail bonanza for the music industry, with even the major labels now tossing off exclusive vinyl "product" just for the day, but what's cool about RSD is that it reminds everyone not to take our excellent local record stores for granted. And it's an entire day to, essentially, celebrate vinyl.
To illustrate why vinyl is so great—apart from the obvious reasons—I would now like to show you what came inside my 1981 Prince album Controversy:
Compare that with the liner notes for this CD I just got in the mail this week from Swedish/Danish band Amaranthe.
Okay, okay, I admit it, they're both great.
Portland has a LOT of really great record stores and bands, so there's some special stuff going on in town tomorrow. What's happening?
One of the special RSD releases is a tribute album to seminal Portland-area punkers Dead Moon, performed by Brooklyn noise rockers A Place to Bury Strangers. The seven-track Strange Moon is available tomorrow via Dead Oceans on yellow vinyl—they call this particular shade "Waxing Gibbous." Here's a track from it.
Blitzen Trapper are re-releasing their debut self-titled album, 10 years after its original release. Along with the vinyl (1,000 copies pressed on 180g vinyl, 200 of which are clear) it comes with a digital download that includes five unheard bonus tracks. You can hear a song from the album, "On a Tuesday," on Rolling Stone.
Other Portland-related RSD releases include a 7-inch from Kill Rock Stars with four outtakes from Elliott Smith's Either/Or album, and a Minus 5 7-inch with two covers of songs by Slim Dunlap, the Replacements guitarist. That's part of the "Songs for Slim" series; Peter Buck and Decemberists John Moen and Nate Query are on the single, as is Dunlap collaborator Curtiss A.
Music Millennium (3158 E Burnside) naturally has a very full day planned, opening at 7 am with coffee and muffins, and a free gift bag to early rises. (Note: I personally know someone who's getting up tomorrow at 3 am to get in line, so, fair warning.) The Thermals will do an autograph signing at 2 pm before playing a show that night at Branx, and Sparks will also sign autographs at 6:30 pm—they play Sunday night at the Aladdin. Lastly, former Portland resident Cooper will do an in-store performance at 8:30 pm; it will be her second performance of the day, as she is also performing in her current home of Nashville at the Groove record store before jumping on a plane to get out here.
Everyday Music has a lot going on as well. The downtown store (1313 W Burnside) is packed with celebrity DJs throughout the afternoon. Here's the rundown of who will be spinning records: Steve Turner of Mudhoney at 1 pm, Quasi at 2 pm,
Radiation City at 3 pm, and Laura Veirs at 4 pm. Denver was originally scheduled to perform but that has been cancelled. [UPDATE: Denver is indeed playing at 3 pm, and Radiation City are doing their DJ set at noon. Sorry about that.] At the Sandy Blvd. store (1931 NE Sandy), DJ Andromeda will spin at 1 pm, and DJ New Jack City at 3 pm.
Meanwhile, Anthem Records (2706 NE Sandy) will have in-store performances from local labels, including Yard Rec, Poisonous Gases, Zamzam Sounds, and Anthem's own label. They'll also have exclusive releases from Yard Rec and Aidan Baker of Nadja which will only be available at the sotre, plus an in-store appearance by Lazercrotch. Facebook event here.
Record Room (8 NE Killingsworth) is hosting a record swap from 2-5 pm, and a live performance—TBA—at 8 pm.
Many of Portland's other record stores will also be celebrating Record Store Day, so go there and buy stuff. Then, go back when it's not Record Store Day and buy more stuff.
In conclusion, let's have a look at that Prince poster again. This puppy unfolds to 2'x3'. God bless you, vinyl.