Saturday, April 18 is Record Store Day, when for the eighth year in a row, thousands of music lovers around the world will unite in support and celebration of their local, independent record shops. And while the retail music world isn't what it used to be, there is some cause to celebrate.
In 2014, revenue from streaming music services like Spotify and Pandora surpassed revenue earned from sales of compact discs for the first time ever in the U.S. According to Nielsen, in the same year, sales of vinyl records jumped to 9.2 million units, a nearly 52 percent increase from 2013, and over nine times the number sold in 2008 — the year of the first RSD and the beginning of the so-called "vinyl revival."
Sales of wax accounted for only six percent of the physical music sold last year, but vinyl is still a very big deal, especially here in Southern California, where people will cram in between the disco and prog-rock aisles to listen to local bands and wait in line for exclusive new releases, limited runs and classic reissues available to stores participating in RSD 2015. This year some of those include a black, star-shaped 7-inch from Black Star, a KMD CD box set, Joan Rivers' "Next to Last" comedy album, and a 10-inch from Foo Fighters, whose lead singer Dave Grohl is RSD 2015 Ambassador.
So whether you are the person champing at the bit for the one copy of that Wu-Tang record, got your hipster heart broken by Father John Misty's vinyl gatefold diorama, or pair your kombucha with some vinyl at Whole Foods, you can check out the bands, the discounts and, of course, the records at these 10 Phish-mongers in and around Los Angeles, a crate-digger's paradise in and of itself.
(Photo: J M Ell via Flickr CC)
Filling an entire entire city block with a seemingly infinite amount of music — while maintaining your indie cred — earns you a certain cachet on RSD. The record mecca of Southern California will have RSD-approved live shows at two venues.
- 2-8 p.m.: TV on The Radio Art Party featuring Mike Watt + The Secondmen at Space 15 Twenty across the street from Amoeba
- Starting at 1 p.m.: DJ sets from Puro Instinct, Knxwledge, Jake Duzsik (Health) at Amoeba
Schwag: Gift bag with purchase; turntable giveaway; 20 percent off turntables, posters, used DVDs and Blu-rays
Record reccos: They've got it all. Have at it.
Location: 6400 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
(Photo: Burger Records)
Burger Records has a slightly smaller base of operations than Amoeba, but the eccentric, DIY label is doing the big work out of a business park in Fullerton. The two-man startup is currently working with about 800 bands, putting out vinyl, CDs and cassettes for new, local bands and rock vets like The Dwarves, which will have a limited run exclusively for RSD. The Frame recently interviewed Burger co-founders Sean Bohrman and William Lee Rickard, who said they would be opening an L.A. Burger outpost soon.
Lineup: No bands, but the store will open two hours early at 9 a.m.
Record reccos: Store clerk Burger Patty told KPCC she was excited that others would be able to buy the Brenton Wood reissue "Oogum Boogum," which is on white vinyl for RSD — she has an original. She also recommended Burger's unofficial RSD release from Pleiades.
(Photo: Eric Steuer via Flickr CC)
The wide selection of offerings and unique performing space have established Origami Vinyl as an essential part of the Echo Park music community. Origami has hosted performers ranging from locals Local Natives to Jónsi (Sigur Rós) on their tiered, second floor stage while patrons sole gaze from below. Grab the caffeinated beverage of your choosing from friends of Origami Taza to stay awake. The first person in line will get five minutes of solo shopping.
Lineup: From 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., DJs from KXLU, KCRW and others will be spinning. There will also be a set by husband and wife (and drummer) trio Big Harp.
Schwag: First 50 to 100 customers will get a goody bag with purchase, which also gets you free ice cream and discounts at some nearby restaurants.
Record reccos: Manager Emily Twombly said she's looking forward to the colored Graham Parsons/Lemonheads "Brass Buttons" split, the "Unearthly Black Gospel" 12-inch, and the "Thai Pop Spectacular" double album.
Location: 1816 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
(Photo: Oscar Garza/KPCC)
This Hollywood record shop has yet to turn two, but it's already becoming famous in the vinyl world for drumming up business in a way that seems counterintuitive: giving their records away, 25 per customer. Collectors Chris Honetschlaeger and Chad Hemus told The Frame in January it was easier for them to occasionally give away records than keep some 15,000 of them in storage. Ones they will definitely not be giving away are from the trove of 5,000 rare jazz and rock records they're unveiling Saturday. The Record Parlour is one of the RSD stores that is actually not selling new merchandise, since they only deal with used records. So, while, they won't have that Metallica cassette in stock, it's worth checking out their selection of "pre-digital" gear, vinyl, cassettes, jukeboxes and memorabilia. They'll also have an amazing lineup of live rockabilly and blues.
- 10:30 a.m.: Doors open, 5,000 rare records released
- 2 p.m.: Mark Spitz in-store signing of "Record Store Book"
- 4 p.m.: Isaac Rother & The Phantoms
- 5:30 p.m.: Lee Bob & The Truth
- 7:30 p.m.: Rob Stone Chicago Blues Jam with legendary Watts saxophonist Big Jay McNeely
Schwag: Complimentary food and beverages; 10- to 50-percent off all vinyl, stereos, turntables, and concert posters
Record reccos: Chad urges visitors to check out his original promo copy of Hank Mobley's very rare LP "Mobley's Message" — Chad's rarest record, in fact.
Location: 6408 Selma Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028
(Photo: Record Surplus/Facebook)
This Westside purveyor of used vinyl, CDs and movies has been in operation for 30 years with the largest selection of "budget" merchandise. While you're there, you might want to look for a used copy of the "The Office" — the American version — since Creed Bratton — the IRL version — will be doing an in-store performance. Owner Neil Canter says Bratton was one of the original members of the '60s folk band The Grass Roots. P.S. Sloan, super producer, songwriter, and original Grass Roots member, will also be performing.
Schwag: No freebies; 15 percent off all merchandise except RSD items and limited edition vinyl; 3-for-92-cents bins; sale starts Friday
Record reccos: Neil is partial to the Impluse! Records from John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Charles Mingus that are currently in stock, but he says Phish's "New Year's Eve 1995 Live at Madison Square Garden" vinyl box set released for RSD will probably go fast.
(Photo: Rockaway Records/Facebook)
The Silver Lake branch of the L.A. Public Library is getting in on the RSD action by giving away "swag bags" from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, 10 of which will have a $20 gift certificate to its Edendale neighbor Rockaway Records.
Lineup: Doors open at 10 a.m.
Schwag: So many giveaways!
- 1st place raffle prize: The White Stripes, "Under Great White Northern Lights" limited edition box set
- 2nd place: Led Zeppelin, "IV" super deluxe box set
- 3rd place: George Harrison, "All Things Must Pass" box set
- 3 tickets to Manic Street Preachers show at the Fonda, May 2
Record reccos: "Near and dear" to manager Dave Kent's heart is the first ever release of The Zombies' "R.I.P. Album." He also said the aforementioned Metallica cassette "No Life Til Leather," will be a coveted item, since the 1982 demo tape has only been available as a bootleg.
(Photo: Sick City Records)
Sick City HQ in Silver Lake doubles as Franky's, the one-stop shop for vinyl, cassettes, vintage shirts and ugly Christmas sweaters, when in season. And if a local punk band isn't taking up the floor of the shop, co-owner Jessie the barber will hook you up with a sick (city) taper. The label has been putting out its own records and cassettes, helping to keep the local music scene from Silver Lake to South Gate alive.
- 4 p.m.: Viktor Fiction
- 5 p.m.: The IMAGES
Schwag: Free Sick City shirts with purchase, while supplies last; Sony boombox raffle
Record reccos: Co-owner Brian says customers should definitely check out "Golem," the latest from L.A. glam-garage band Wand, available on vinyl and cassette tape.
(Photo: Toxic Toast Records/Facebook)
In addition to the RSD items, Toxic Toast will be releasing about a crate's worth of Japanese Beatles pressings that proprietor Andy George personally brought back from overseas. And just as every record store in the LBC should, TTR has a vinyl copy of that G-funk classic "Regulate" by Warren G and the late Nate Dogg.
Lineup: Doors open at noon; ska band The Steady 45s play at 3 p.m.
Schwag: Not free, but there will be vegan fare from Rafa's Tacos for sale.
Record reccos: George has an original Japanese pressing of Weezer's "Blue Album" on hand that is pretty special, but, as far as RSD releases go, he says the coolest is the double LP "America Must Be Destroyed" by monster rockers GWAR.
(Photo: Vacation's Mark Thompson holding a record he says was given to him for "safekeeping" by a 90-year-old woman who stops by to listen whenever she wants.)
This year's RSD at Vacation Vinyl will be a little more scaled back, owner Mark Thompson told KPCC. Rather than carry every RSD item as in years prior, they've been "hoarding" some special items and curating their selection for their customer base. The store leans more toward the darker, electronic side of the musical spectrum, but Thompson says they have an eclectic mix of items, including a recent original pressing of Nirvana's "Nevermind," which will undoubtedly go quickly.
Schwag: No freebies, except the collective free love of music: Thompson emphatically noted that every day is Record Store Day.
Record reccos: None, "because the truth is I'm excited about everything," Thompson said.
(Photo: Yuri's Records)
For over 30 years, this family-owned music store has served the community of South Gate in southeast L.A. county. As stated on the store's website, they've seen many changes in the music industry, "not all good, but in all these years, the most important part was meeting new friends and keeping the music alive." It might be off the beaten path for serious vinyl collectors, but Yuri's takes in much of the diversity of L.A.'s music. It's just north of Compton, the birthplace of gangsta rap; south of Hollywood High; next door to the Allen Theater, where local punk and garage bands used to have gigs; and down the street from where norteño and narcocorrido legends like Chalino Sanchez gained renown. The music selection reflects all of it.
Record reccos: Yuri's clerk Fernando Hernandez was anticipating the release of the Violent Femmes' "Happy New Year," the band's first new music in 17 years, according to the RSD website.
If you have a record store to recommend for RSD 2015, leave a comment or let me know on Twitter @kpccMC.