The third Saturday in April (April 20—this Saturday!) has become an unofficial holiday for vinyl enthusiasts across the world. The international event, dubbed Record Store Day, is a chance for independent record stores to showcase their wares and sell a vast array of limited edition records, many of which are made exclusively for this day. Rabid vinyl collectors tend to be the first ones in line before the doors open, but Jackpot Records owner Isaac Slusarenko describes the crowd as an equal mix of regulars and new faces. “We've had people come out who haven't bought a record in years because they've heard of the day,” says Slusarenko.
The anticipation is primarily due to the special releases that are printed in a limited run, giving collectors some incentive to camp out extra early. Slusarenko estimates that there will be upwards of 75 people waiting to flood both of his stores before they open. One of most sought-after items this year is a collaboration effort between Jackpot and the Houston-based label Corwood Industries. They will distribute a limited-edition vinyl box set of some of the earliest recordings of cult musical recluse Jandek—and only 500 copies will be made. Another exclusive release is the Flaming Lips’ psychedelic experimental album Zaireeka, which will be printed on vinyl for the first time ever. If you manage to snag one of the 500 created, consider yourself the hardest of the hardcore Lips fans. If neither of these records interest you, there are hundreds of exclusive releases that are sure to tickle any music lover’s fancy (a complete list can be viewed on the official RSD website), as well as Mudhoney guitarist Steve Turner spinning records at the downtown Jackpot location.
East of the Willamette, Music Millennium will be opening at 8 am for an extra-early start to the festivities that will continue well into the night. The Thermals will make an in-store appearance at 2 pm to celebrate the release of their new album, and legendary Los Angeles band Sparks will be on hand for signing autographs at 6:30 pm, in advance of their Sunday show at the Aladdin Theater.
Aside from allowing stores to garner a fantastic daily profit, Record Store Day is fostering a new audience of vinyl enthusiasts. Ultimately, it’s a celebration of indie retailers that brings about an unprecedented excitement for the physical medium of music—one that has dissipated quite a bit in the digital age.