On April 22nd, the tenth annual, and somewhat polarizing Record Store Day was celebrated. Here at home, nearly 1400 stores participated, with thousands more worldwide. I know that some grumble that it is a made up holiday to promote record sales, a hipster holiday if you will. So be it, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but what harm is there in it? Isn’t it a good thing to patronize local record shops that promote local music? Isn’t it intertwined with supporting a music culture that we in the Twin Cities are pretty damn proud of? Besides, who really cares if people head out to buy records on a specific day.
No one can argue with the fact that record sales are enjoying a healthy surge, up by 53% last year alone. While digital downloads encourage people to explore new music, it seems that in the last decade people once more want to thumb the racks and bring home records to pore over.
There is something to the experience of sliding the album out of its sleeve and placing it on the turntable, the needle poised to go. Listening for the first time as you hold the album, reading the liner notes and studying the art feels so much more present than flicking through your phone and stuffing your earbuds in. I don’t argue the convenience of digital, as a music reviewer it has saved me time and storage, and its sound…but just saying that for a lot of people something about the digital experience is lacking.
I don’t pretend to be a huge collector myself, but the records that I have, I treasure. So, yes I do show up for Record Store Day. I look forward to it and this year I was able to do it in a way I never had before. I happened upon an event that the Farmstead Bike Shop was holding, a special “Roll & Spin” to hit multiple record stores in Minneapolis. All on bicycle.
When I arrived at the shop Farmstead’s proprietor Greg Neis and his partner Brianna Lane (local listening room The Warming House guru/musician) greeted myself and about a dozen others. Neis stayed behind to mind the shop, while Lane took the lead and we rode off. In the several years I have participated in RSD, never has it even come close to the kind of perfect weather day we had this year, in fact a few years back I recall wearing a hat and knit gloves to ward off the cold.
Before long we zipped over to Hifi Hair and Records, just in time to catch The Suburbs playing live in the alley. Did you know that The Suburbs have a new album? That’s right, Hey Muse! comes out on June 23rd! Next, we headed over to the Electric Fetus to take in the huge assortment of vinyl they house. After a few of us found exactly what we were looking for, we jumped on our bikes and made our way via the greenway to Hymie’s Vintage Records. On the outdoor stage, Black Market Brass still had a few songs to go and we joined the crowd in its appreciation of their New Orleans style brass band magic.
After nearly 20 miles of greenway, city streets and a few over the highway bridges, my dogs were tired and ready for some relaxation. Luckily, pizza was awaiting upstairs at The Warming House and our records were ready to spin as we sipped some beverages and shot the breeze. Joining in on the first annual Farmstead Bike’s Ride and Spin Record Store Day event was a great way to really put myself out there, to be a part of a smaller community within a larger one–all sharing an appreciation for what RSD is all about.
That statement is pretty vague, but I think that Record Store Day is different for everyone. For the real record collector, it may be more headache than it is worth, but for a lot of people it gets them through the door, mingling with other music lovers, and catching some live music to boot! For me it is the power in being there, catching up with people that I normally only see in the dark of night at shows, and really supporting the arts in a way that is part of a greater community that sees the value in showing up, even if only for a day.
I want to thank Greg Neis and Brianna Lane who were the brainchildren behind “Roll and Spin” and took care of everyone with their generosity of spirit. Looking forward to next year’s Record Store Day ride! My heartfelt gratitude goes out to the other riders who shared their ride with Rift, and told me about the vinyl they had bought:
“Blindfaller by Mandolin Orange is a good record, it’s what I set out to find.”~Travis
“GoGol Bordello is a band that I’ve really liked for a long time, and I didn’t know about this album (Pure Vida Conspiracy).”~Denise
My pick was a record of Door’s cover in lullaby form for my niece Sienna Rose who was born at 12:01 AM on Record Store Day–Happy Birthday!
~By Rebecca Marx, Photo Credit as noted Tony Nelson, random unmarked shots Rebecca Marx
Farmstead Bike Shop hosts numerable group rides & fun events, check out their schedule:
The Warming House has music for everyone, nearly every night, & is soon to celebrate its first anniversary: