Vinyl is going viral, and things will be at their wildest today – officially, Record Store Day. Some 700 independently owned record stores in the United States and a few hundred more internationally will participate in an annual event involving special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products, all issued with the third Saturday of April in mind.
“It’s one of our busiest days of the year,” says Colin Medley, a clerk at Soundscapes in Little Italy (572 College St.). “People come and hang out. It feels nice.”
The record that’s getting the most buzz this year is a double A-side single featuring Mastodon covering Feist’s Commotion, with the Canadian indie popster returning the favour on the flip side with a version of the metal head’s Black Tongue. Mr. Medley himself is touting a 180-gram vinyl reissue of Paul Simon’s afro-tastic Graceland. “Summer is right around the corner, and Graceland is one of the best sunny-afternoon records you can listen to.”
Over at Rotate This (801 Queen St. W.), long-time store manager Brian White recommends a double-LP package of Devo’s Live in Seattle – 1981. “I’m a huge fan and I’m ready to hear a record recorded in their heyday. He’s also high on The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes, & Backsides (1968-71), a rarity LP from Lee Hazelwood.
Shops the world over, including 23 in Toronto, are competing for a small supply of product. Mr. White expects many of the major releases to be gone within 10 minutes of the store opening. “At Rotate This, we tend to feel that everyday is Record Store Day,” he says, “but over the years, independent and major labels have gotten pretty excited about it and have made some pretty cool stuff available.”
None of the stores is getting all the inventory they ordered, but the event is still a happy occasion. “It’s like a time warp, back to an era when more people bought music,” explains Mr. Medley. “It’s fun.”
For information on Record Store Day, including a list of all releases and participating stores: recordstoreday.com.