Wednesday, April 13, 2011

RECORD STORE DAY: Best.Holday.E-v-e-r.

The best holiday of the year is rapidly approaching! This Saturday is RECORD STORE DAY!!! According to their official website, Record Store Day was started in 2007 “as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally.”

I first attended Record Store Day in 2009 and the best way I can describe the vibe generated would be some sort of combination of the feeling that’s in the air when your city’s team wins the World Series combined with Mardi Gras, the last day of school before summer vacation, and the excitement you felt as a kid no Christmas Day.

Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis had street performances all day, special guest DJs spinning tunes inside the store, the aisles were packed, folks were dancing on the sidewalk, all the surrounding stores were busy…it was a great time with an awesome community vibe happening.

Each year, the event has grown and gotten better and better. More and more artists have released special CD and vinyl albums/singles to be sold in conjunction with the event.

As independent retailers, record stores play a part in local economies. Of even more importance to me personally, they play a vital role in the creative culture of a community. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve simply walked up to Vintage Vinyl co-owner Tom “Papa” Ray or another of the store’s clerks and asked which record I should start with for a certain band I’m curious about…or asked them to share with me what they know about a particular group…or even to make a recommendation based on the music I tell them I’m into. Eventually, I’ve built friendships with the clerks at Vintage Vinyl and they make recommendations for me based on what they know I like.

Sure you can find more music online, sure it’s easier, it may be cheaper, blah-blah-blah. But you really miss out on something when Amazon’s “If you like this…try these…” button becomes your record store clerk.

Punk rock prophet Joe Strummer once spoke of the importance of digging through record stores when he correctly pointed out that there would be no Rolling Stones if it weren’t for physical records. Blues records were hard to come by in England back in the day…so when Mick Jagger got on the subway and saw Keith Richards holding a stack of them, he was compelled to strike up a conversation. A friendship developed and we now have the Rolling Stones. iTunes wouldn’t have made that connection.

There’s something beautiful about holding an actual, physical piece of someone’s musical art in your hands. To be able to look at the sleeve, to read the liner notes, to learn about the record. There’s a lot of education to be had by digging through old vinyl albums. There’s an awful lot of fun to be had diving into used records, looking for something that strikes your interest. There’s a thrill to be had when you consider checking out a record based on nothing more than how the cover makes you feel.

You can’t do any of that with an mp3. It’s just air.

Every independent record store has its own personality. Its own culture. Its own humor. They’re each super-cool looking, based on nothing other than the funny junk people have stuck on the wall through the years.

They each look like those really cool, funky bars that have been uniquely decorated over time…and NOT like those chain restaurants that are designed to LOOK like they’ve been uniquely decorated.

That’s what a chain music store is like…a restaurant that carefully calculates how they THINK it would look like if they’d established their own unique culture.


For an awesome list of quotes by musicians, actors, and many others about independent record stores, visit Record Store Day’s official website.

Below you’ll find information on the Record Store Day celebrations at Vintage Vinyl and Euclid Records, both in St. Louis. For those outside of the St. Louis area, check with your local independent record store or visit for a list of participating stores.

This Thursday night (April 14th) on my Dirty Roots Radio Show, I’m proud to host several folks connected with Record Store Day. First, I’ll welcome Eric Levin, one of the founders of the event, followed by Tom “Papa” Ray, of Vintage Vinyl, and Joe from Euclid Records.

In addition to the Record Store Day festivities, I’ll also welcome my friend Jeff Konkel, of Broke & Hungry Records, a St. Louis-based record label specializing in raw Mississippi Delta blues. Broke & Hungry have just put out a 2-disk compilation of mostly unreleased recordings to celebrate the 5th anniversary of their label. The collection is called “Mistakes Were Made: Five Years of Raw Blues, Damaged Livers & Questionable Business Decisions”. I’ll post some thoughts on the album here soon.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll join me for Dirty Roots Radio this Thursday night from 8 to 10 p.m. (central). You can listen from anywhere in the world online at

For my St. Louis area readers, here’s the info for Record Story Day activities at Vintage Vinyl and Euclid Records:

Vintage Vinyl
6610 Delmar
University City, MO

10AM - Travis
11AM - Annie Zaleski
12PM - Jaime Lees
1PM - Eric King
2PM - Annie, Dave, Jess and Julie from
3PM - Katie and Jason
4PM - Dean Minderman
5PM - DJ Will Power
6PM - Steve Smith
7PM - Justin, Berrek, Fernando & Lauren

10:30AM - Kelley Hunt
11:15AM - Richie Callison
12:00PM - I Hate Punk Rock Records showcase
1:00PM - Safety Words
1:45PM - Mathias
2:30PM - Pretty Little Empire
3:15PM - Via Dove
-Black Spade & Family
-Beat Street

TONS of Record Store Day exclusive releases!
Contests and prizes!
Free goodies!
Photo ops!
Good Vibes!

Euclid Records
601 East Lockwood
St. Louis, MO

Record Store Day WEEKEND! That’s right; this year we’ll be doing two days of live music, sales, DJ’s, RSD exclusives, BBQ and loads of BEER!!!

Live Music Schedule:
Saturday, April 16
11:00 AM John Doe & Jill Sobule
12:00 noon The Deciders
1:00 PM tba
2:00 PM Sleepy Kitty
3:00 PM Troubadour Dali
4:00 PM The Jans Project
5:00 PM The Sights
6:00 PM The Skeletons
7:00 PM The Bottle Rockets
Sunday, April 17
12:00 noon The Pelvic Girdles
1:00 PM Warm Jets USA
2:00 PM Black Fast
3:00 PM Ultraman
4:00 PM The R6 Implant
5:00 PM Snake Ranch
6:00 PM LucaBrasi
7:00 PM The Blind Eyes

DJ Schedule:
Saturday, April 16
12:30 PM - - Thomas Crone
1:30 PM - - Al Swacker
2:30 PM - - Nick O
3:30 PM - - Elemental Child
4:30 PM - - Dead As Disco
5:30 PM - - super conductor
6:30 PM - - DJ Parisian
7:30 PM - - Chilly C
8:30 PM - - 18 & Counting
Sunday, April 17
11:00 AM - - Cat Pick
12:30 PM - - Billy Brown
1:30 PM - - Rob Levy
2:30 PM - - Coreyography
3:30 PM - - DJ Luxxter
4:30 PM - - Josh Levi
5:30 PM - - DJ Black Guy
6:30 PM - - DJ Trash Talk
7:30 PM - - DJ Needles

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