Today is Record Store Day! A day that hasn’t been around for too long but intends to celebrate the good old fashioned record store. As a means of celebration, several labels and bands participate by releasing limited edition twelve and seven inch records (go here for a full list of what’s available today) to get people into the stores which usually are offering sales of their own. Only independently owned stores are allowed to participate and the organizers of the event take a mostly hands off approach. This leads to swings in pricing from one store to the next and certain records are only available in certain stores. Unfortunately, this also leads to some stores forgoing the event and just hawking the limited releases on eBay for inflated prices. This is also the type of event that attracts scalpers of all kinds only interested in making a quick buck, which takes some of the fun out of it. It’s become a pretty big deal these past few years and the amount of stuff released each year seems to grow and grow and get more and more interesting.
Last year was my first time taking part. I was more interested in the spectacle than the actual albums released on that day. I went over to my local Newbury Comics, one of the few small chains to really break thru and thrive in this day and age. I got there a little after they opened and found the place pretty packed. I ended up snatching an Opeth 7″ single released for RSD, “The Throat of Winter,” and picked up some odds and ends taking advantage of the sales. This year was different though.
Just a few weeks ago Rhino Records announced that they would be releasing a limited edition of The Misfits’ debut record Walk Among Us to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the release. This version is limited to 3000 copies: 1250 on red vinyl, 1250 on blue, and 500 clear. They’re packaged in a blind style, meaning you don’t know what color you have. Overseas, a purple copy is being released. The stores that participate in RSD have adopted a 1 copy per person policy to give more people a shot at the record they covet. This unfortunately means the completist collectors out there either need to round up some friends or take to eBay to get one copy of each. I was content to get just one, but I had to have it! Given the vast number of retailers participating and the limited nature, I figured each store would only receive two or three copies, meaning I had to get there early if I wanted one. Complicating things is the fact that not every store gets a copy of every release. My local shop didn’t know what it was getting as of Thursday so I was taking a shot in the dark this morning when I jumped in my car and headed over.
I got there early; 7:15. The store is located in a shopping mall and the doors for the mall open at 8 while the store doesn’t open until 10. I was going to sit in my car for awhile but became too eager to just sit there so before 7:30 even hit I was up in front of the door just waiting outside. Once the mall opened its doors I was the first to the store (ended up walking in with the manager) and took a seat right outside to begin the 2 hour wait. It wasn’t too bad as I brought my Vita with me and had my phone too. By the time 9:30 came around I was too excited to play games any longer and stood and waited anxiously. I was the first one there, but by the time the doors opened I was one of 50+ and the first inside. The manager knew what record I was after and made sure to point it out to me before the doors even opened. I snatched the first copy and then proceeded to mill around poking at the other exclusives. A wave of people washed over me with hands darting and grabbing at each release. It was frantic, but fairly orderly. No one was pushy or rude at all and it seemed like the crowd was mostly record enthusiasts just hoping to score something from a favorite artist.
I ended up grabbing the Nightwish picture disc as well, along with a super cheap copy of Batman: Sub-Zero since it was the only Batman film I didn’t own (other than the wretched Schumacher films I want no part of). My purchases came with a tote bag and a ton of freebies I have yet to go thru. They’re mostly CD samplers and some stickers and stuff. I don’t know if there will be anything good on them, but it will be fun to find out.
Once I got home I was pretty eager to check out my new Misfits record to see what version I ended up with. This release is designed to mimic the original first edition release right down to the insert it comes with. It’s pretty cool, and I actually don’t have a first edition of Walk Among Us as I have so far stuck to the 7″ releases. I didn’t really care what version I got, but certainly I was hoping for the more limited clear, especially since I don’t own any clear vinyl. My elation was certainly audible when I did indeed pull a clear piece of vinyl from the packaging. My day could not have gone any better!
The Nightwish picture disc is also quite nice too. Titled Trials of Imaginaerum, it’s a 10″ release and contains four demo tracks from their last album. It also comes with a download code to get an .mp3 version of a fifth track. Currently, the web address doesn’t appear to be up and running yet so I’ll have to try again later*. The artwork is nice and this release is limited to 1500 copies.
*I tried the download address on Sunday with no success, but it worked tonight(Monday). It took me to a page that asked for my email address, and then a download link was sent there. The fifth track is titled “The Heart Asks Pleasure First” (previously released on the single “The Crow, The Owl, and The Dove”) and it’s a folky little number that’s quite pleasing.
All in all, a good day to hit the record store! Record Store Day is fun, but the getting up early to wait in line for hours does sap a little fun out of it. I don’t mind it when there’s something I really want, but I certainly wouldn’t do that for most releases. Turns out I probably could have strolled in at 10 and have been fine, though I probably wouldn’t have ended up with the clear version of Walk Among Us. I encourage everyone who’s into vinyl to check out their local record store today. You might stumble upon something truly special!