Since 2008, when vinyl music releases sometimes barely took up space in the corner of any music retailer, the international event known as Record Store Day has become one of the catalysts for inspiring vinyl consumption worldwide. Working in one such music retail store during that inaugural year, I saw firsthand the increase in vinyl sales—the throwaway bargain bins were replaced with prime retail real estate as higher-ticket items sold almost as quickly as they were priced. Since then, it's only grown.
The concept is simple: Record Store Day offers the ultimate FOMO experience for music-heads with exclusive releases specifically for that day. Big names, hidden gems, weird gimmicks—anything to create something unique that people could grab on one day only, first-come, first-served. It has brought customers into independent music stores, even if just for a day or two out of the year, and a second RSD each year occurs on Black Friday, helping to place vinyl and physical retailers back on the map for everyday consumers.
Lost Padre Records (304 Catron St., 310-6389) owner George Casey is celebrating his first-ever Record Store Day as a retailer this April with an all-day party featuring live DJ music.
Having spent years as a collector and buyer, Casey is no stranger to the door-buster adrenaline of Record Store Day on the consumer side, although he says he was never interested in lining up before the stores opened like some of the more zealous shoppers. This year, he says Lost Padre is stocking several of the official RSD exclusives, including everything from sludge giants High On Fire's Bat Salad EP to a vinyl release of the Breaking Bad soundtrack. Other releases include an album related to Wayne Coyne's "King's Mouth" art installation that recently occupied the lobby of Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return, and several coveted (for Deadheads, anyway) live Grateful Dead releases that have not yet been released on vinyl.
But buyer beware: Some of Record Store Day's appeal lies in the artificial scarcity of its items alongside the more eclectic nature of some of the releases. This can cut both ways, of course, and Casey has smartly avoided some of the pitfalls of the more bizarre "what were they thinking?" releases. One such item included on the massive official Record Store Day list is a two-LP set of the soundtrack to the 1997 teen horror flick I Know What You Did Last Summer. Not exactly a must-have.
Casey also ended up not being able to get Jack White's Third Man Records' latest RSD gimmick, sets of 3-inch records that require a specific Crosley brand turntable to play. Third Man Records always has some sort of offbeat release for the big day, and while the intentions to elevate the medium are good, they often feel unnecessary.
"It borderline makes me angry with its wastefulness," Casey says. "It's for people who collect figures in a box and have them up on their walls. It will sit there for the rest of time and then be in a landfill until the star collapses."
This cuts to the duality of RSD in that there is a strange consumer panic imbued into its spirit: the notion that if you aren't fast enough or don't have enough disposable income, you're going to lose the opportunity to buy something you might genuinely really like. And a lot of the releases are truly non-essential, only destined to sell because it's being dangled in front of people. But for truly independent labors of love, such as Lost Padre, The Guy in the Groove's Dick Rosemont has also been a longtime participant in Record Store Day. He'll be selling exclusive titles and spinning records all day at the audio visual store A Sound Look (502 Cerrillos Road, 983-5509). Also, with Ken Kordich's The Good Stuff (401 W San Francisco St., 795-1939), a registered Record Store Day retailer for the last seven years, there is still plenty of reason to celebrate.
"It's a fun day," Kordich says. "The customers are excited, and it's probably my busiest day of the year."
"It reminds people that there are still physical stores in the world, which some people do need to be reminded of," Casey adds. "What [Record Store Day] did was force me to focus on something and get psyched on it because it had a deadline. For me, it brought some attention to cool stuff that I might have missed otherwise."
While some of the questionable and more gimmicky releases are sometimes nauseating, Santa Fe ultimately has so few options to see what the hype is about and spend dollars on music that will actually impact local business and artists. So buy something, huh?
Record Store Day
With DJs Westlake Village, BlackDeath, Atakra, Raashan Ahmad, Jono B and Shimmy
10 am-6 pm Saturday April 13. Free.
Lost Padre Records,
304 Catron St.,