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You should visit some local music shops this Saturday, the sixth annual Record Store Day. Then again, you probably should visit a record store every weekend.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: Record Store Day began in 2007 as a celebration of brick-and-mortar shops hoping to inspire physical trips with exclusive limited releases. This year, there’ll be hundreds of them, many of which aren’t from the kind of obscure act for which you’d usually head to a record store. Some folks lining up on Saturday will surely be hoping to pick up releases by Arcade Fire, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, even 311.
Every record store in the D.C. area is participating in some way, and most will have at least some of the limited edition titles. That doesn’t mean they don’t feel some ambivalence.
“It’s our busiest day of the year, which is great,” says Som Records owner Neal Becton. “It gets people out to record stores—-that part’s great. I think the record companies get a little carried away with the number of releases they’re doing.”
Red Onion Records owner Josh Harkavy agrees. “The number of limited releases are ridiculous,” he says. “It would be nice to have people shop at record stores all year long…I’m grateful whenever anyone comes in on Record Store Day.”
One frequent complaint about Record Store Day: Many of the exclusive titles show up on eBay almost immediately. “I like the idea of promoting physical stores. I don’t like the idea of people just coming in to grab stuff, not because they like the music, but because they can make a quick buck on it,” says Dale Nixon, a clerk at Smash Records. “If people are legitimately excited about what’s coming in to the store…if they can learn more about places like ours, that’s a good thing. That’s the silver lining.”
Not clear if any local stores will have these titles, but there are a number of releases from bands with D.C. ties: a Jukebox the Ghost 7-inch, a Mynabirds 7-inch, a Record Store Day version of Unrest’s Perfect Teeth 7-inch box set, and a 7-inch containing Juicehead and Osaka Popstar cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.” One shop is even giving away a Rare Essence 7-inch. (See below!)
Here’s what you can find in local shops on Saturday:
CD CELLAR: Both Northern Virginia locations should have many of the day’s limited releases, according to CD Cellar’s Laurie Spector and Sean Connell. For those that missed out on items last year, the Falls Church location still has some past Record Store Day releases, including a Mars Volta puzzle. More of the RSD inventory will be at the bigger Falls Church store, but the Arlington spot will be display some higher-priced LPs it usually keeps in the back, including autographed records (like Roxy Music’s Avalon), rare jazz albums, and some hard-to-find indie pop (including some Creation Records titles). 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. In Arlington: 2607 Wilson Blvd. In Falls Church: 22201 709-B West Broad St.
CROOKED BEAT: The store plans to carry nearly 80 percent of RSD’s limited releases, including items by the Mynah Birds (a briefly lived ’60s band featuring Rick James and Neil Young, not be confused with the contemporary group Mynabirds), Animal Collective, The Flaming Lips, and Phish. As it has done in recent years, the store will give away Crooked Beat record tote bags, each carrying a random assortment of CDs, 7-inches, stickers, and other swag. Five of the bags will hold a Crooked Beat gift certificate worth $20. 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 2116 18th St. NW.
JOE’S RECORD PARADISE: This large store should have many of the day’s exclusive releases. Teenage guitarist Nathan Foley will play music starting at 1 p.m. After his set, DJs will spin until closing. Confirmed DJs include store owner Johnson Lee, Chris Burns, and Beautiful Swimmers. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 8216 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring.
JOINT CUSTODY: The vintage store will give away free Rare Essence 7-inches to the first 50 customers. All used record purchases will be 10 percent off and the shop will carry “select” Record Store Day titles, according to a Facebook event. Also, expect a root-beer keg (!) and free candy. Noon to 11 p.m. 2337 18th St. NW.
RECORD EXCHANGE: The Silver Spring location of this shop (formerly known as CD/Game Exchange) will carry around 150 of the limited releases and will have a 30-percent-off sale for all used items in the store (including video games). 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 8236 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring.
RED ONION: The store will carry many of Saturday’s limited releases, says Harkavy. Snacks and drinks will be available to customers. Noon to 7 p.m. 1901-B 18th St. NW.
SMASH: The punk-specializing store will hold an event sponsored by DC Brau Brewing Company, which will also function as an anniversary party for the store. Smash has been in Adams Morgan for five years, and first opened in 1984. “A bunch” of RSD releases have been ordered. Customers likely won’t have a problem getting in on Saturday, but a newly poured sidewalk in front of the store could cause problems if it’s not ready by the weekend. “It would be the worst day of the year if no one could come to the store on Record Store Day,” says Nixon. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. 2314 18th St. NW.
SOM: About 100 different RSD items will be for sale. The small space the basement offers isn’t big enough to host any kind of special event, but there will be plenty of records, says Becton. Noon to 9 p.m. 1843 14th St. NW.