Record Store Day
Saturday at various locations including Goner Records, Shangri-La Records, Disc-O-Tech in Southaven and The End of All Music in Oxford, Miss. For a complete list of participating stores, exclusive releases and other information, go to recordstoreday.com.
For music fans and collectors, it’s like Christmas, New Year’s and the Fourth of July, all rolled into one. Record Store Day — the annual international celebration spearheaded by a coalition of independent retailers — returns Saturday for its sixth and biggest year to date.
With its focus on limited-edition releases and vinyl — sales of which jumped for the fifth year in a row in 2012, up 18 percent to 4.6 million units — the day has become a magnet for music lovers, helping provide a big sales boost to indie retailers. This year, the proceedings have a celebrity face, with White Stripes founder/Third Man Records head Jack White serving as the event’s official ambassador.
Not surprising, given the Bluff City’s rich legacy of record stores, a number of retailers in Memphis and surrounding areas are participating. These include Goner Records and Shangri-La Records in Midtown, Disc-O-Tech in Southaven, and The End of All Music in Oxford, Miss.
“It’s grown into a big deal,” says Zac Ives, co-owner of Goner Records in Cooper-Young, which will open its doors early on Saturday. “Record Store Day winds up being one of the bigger days of the year for us. Anytime there’s anything that’s set up to help get people into the shop, that’s a cool thing in our book.”
Shangri-La, another long-running and nationally known retailer, will participate in Record Store Day on Saturday and then hold its spring record swap on Sunday. Shangri-La owner Jared McStay expects the event to bring an influx of customers from all over. “We definitely see a lot of our regular folks come, but we also get people driving up from Mississippi and Arkansas. This year, with all the (exclusive product) that’s coming out, we’ll probably see more people than we’ve ever had.”
Those heading into stores will have plenty of special new releases to choose from, as dozens of exclusive titles are slated to drop on Saturday, by artists from Bob Dylan and David Bowie to Gary Clark Jr. and Mumford & Sons.
The Goner label will offer up its own contribution, a single from San Francisco garage- rocker Ty Segall covering a pair of T-Rex songs. “We’re expecting to sell a lot of those,” Ives says. “But there are a number of other things — a Roky Erickson single, a Hüsker Dü record — that people have been asking about. On the whole, there seems to be a lot of fun stuff this year.”
The day will also see plenty of product from Memphis and Memphis-connected artists. Leading the list is the soundtrack to the Big Star documentary “Nothing Can Hurt Me.” Los Angeles-based Omnivore Records is releasing a vinyl pressing corralling a collection of rarities from the 1970s cult pop legends.
Also coming Saturday, New York City-based rockers the Hold Steady will release a Record Store Day single called “Criminal Fingers.” It represents the official debut, on record, of Memphian Steve Selvidge, who joined the group as a guitarist in 2010. In fact, “Criminal Fingers” was “the first thing (Hold Steady guitarist) Tad Kubler sent me when they were asking if I was interested in playing with them,” Selvidge says. “After I heard it, I was like, ‘Hell, yeah!’” The record’s flip side, “The Bear & the Maiden Fair”, which Selvidge also plays on, was featured in the most recent episode of the HBO program “Game of Thrones.”
Brooklyn art-pop duo MGMT — featuring White Station grad Andrew VanWyngarden — is offering a retro-style release, with a cassette single, of a track called “Alien Days.” The “cassingle” will serve as a stopgap until the pair’s third full-length LP — currently being recorded with producer Dave Fridmann — comes out later this year.
Even older veterans are jumping into the mix, with Mississippian Bobby Rush set to check in with a 12-inch vinyl and CD compilation called Southern King of Blues Funk — the first full career-spanning best-of from the venerable R&B showman.
While the special releases serve as a lure, Goner’s Ives says the ultimate aim is to gain lasting customers. “We see a lot of people, and it’s not necessarily people we see normally. It’s nice to have different people in the store. But the hope is they come in that day and then they keep coming.”