Record Store Day is a thing, of course.
It’s a springtime event, 10 years running, that brings out the collectors, geeks (*raises hand*), and audiophiles for concerts, pastries, coffee, and tuneage. RSD is something else too -- a cultural touchstone reminding us that shopping small and local is still done, and the community it fosters is valuable.
Saturday was a stunning spring day, and City Pages hit a reasonable chunk of stores. Not so you didn’t have to, but to bathe in the humanity of it all. And for all that sweet, sweet vinyl.
9:15am -- Mill City Sound
Mill City may still feel new, but it's already a heavy hitter. The Current was there, and the line was half a block long. Some folks are still unaware of RSD -- I talked to a guy just having breakfast at a place on the same block who was taking pictures of the line to send to his son. I'm pretty sure that dude will be back as a customer.
9:45am -- Extreme Noise
Punk rock your deal? Then obviously you know about this 20-year-old volunteer-run collective. Same as it ever was, Extreme Noise’s surprisingly low-key presence on RSD was a welcome stop. On the hunt for a 7” from a local supergroup, Whatever Forever, I struck out. But I scored some new buttons.
10:00am -- Roadrunner Records
Not the biggest or the flashiest, Roadrunner has been a presence on the vinyl scene since 1986. John, who was working the register, was enthusiastic about RSD, “You can’t beat the concentration of customers. Sell a bunch, and go back to normal.” Score one new Blondie single.
10:45 -- Hymie’s Vintage Records
Hymie’s always has a good RSD block party. There was another big line down the block upon arrival, but 39th Avenue was closed off for the normal block party and flipping through the free records outside for gems was damn-near luxuriously roomy compared to the panic-inducing sweatbox inside.
Minnesota treasure Charlie Parr took the 39th Avenue stage with typically self-deprecating fanfare.
“And now a man who needs no introduction…” [Covers microphone.] “What’s your name again?”
Parr, deadpanning: “Richard.”
Parr sung the praises of records and record stores. He used to buy records at a hardware store in his hometown of Austin (“That’s just where you got ‘em.”). He treated the appreciative crowd to a heaping handful of his nimble guitarwork and folksy stories.
11:30 -- Flashlight Vinyl
Flashlight has been getting a good amount of buzz here and there since opening in February 2016, and the place is a beauty. Travis, the gentleman working the cash register, said that they are the only record store in Northeast, and what a location it is -- NE wins. Owner Raoul Benavides showed me around the beautiful, amazing, gorgeous sound system rocking the block out front.
12:30pm -- Down in the Valley
Golden Valley vinyl stalwart, Down in the Valley, came through for me. It seems that the 7” from Whatever Forever (featuring members of Babes in Toyland, Red Pens, and the Selby Tigers) was pressed on the store’s in-house label, Vinyl Valley.
There are tons more record stores out there, and there was no way to hit them all. You can, though. All year round. After all, if every day can be Record Store Day that makes only, what, 362 more shopping days until the next big party?
Check out our full Record Store Day photo gallery here.