by Dylan Looney
This past Saturday, independent record stores across the world celebrated the 8th annual Record Store Day. According to the official Record Store Day website, the event was created in 2007 by various record store owners and employees to “celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1400 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally.” The first Record Store Day was held on April 19, 2008 and has quickly become an event in the music industry, particularly due to vinyl’s return to popularity in recent years. This year, record stores in every continent besides Antarctica (sorry, vinyl-collecting penguins) stocked new recordings and special re-releases just for the occasion.
Some of the more interesting releases this year were from Metallica, who performed at the first-ever Record Store Day in San Francisco in ’08. The metal titans re-released their original 1982 demo tape, titled No Life ‘til Leather, on actual cassette tape, just as it was originally heard. Another metal band with a major release was Slayer, who debuted their first new recording since the death of founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman, a track titled “When the Stillness Comes.” On the lighter side of the spectrum, ’80s synth-poppers A-Ha produced a 7” picture disc of their hit single “Take on Me,” featuring images from the song’s iconic video. The biggest overall vinyl sellers of the day were the White Stripes’ “Get Behind Me Satan” on red-colored vinyl and hip-hop duo Run the Jewels, with their EP Bust No Moves .
As for me, I didn’t have the money to purchase any of the Record Store Day exclusives, especially now that many of those who bought them are selling them on the Internet for much more than the original price (some collectors will buy anything). However, I did decide to go out and support our local record store, Back Door Records. I bought the 2001 reissue of The Ramones’ Rocket to Russia on CD, which is my favorite Ramones album and was a steal at $8. I also got a free Roadrunner Records sampler CD containing tracks by Stone Sour, Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Black Stone Cherry, and several other hard rock and metal acts.
While the next Record Store Day isn’t until the next third Saturday in April, I highly encourage you to take a trip to a record store the next time your wallet and schedule allow it. I understand that in a world full of legal/illegal downloading, streaming services such as Spotify, and the ease of pulling a song up on YouTube, the physical copy seems outdated. However, there is definitely something to be said about flipping through a lyric booklet or looking at an album cover while listening to the CD/record/cassette/whatever that drags you into the world that the artist has created with the album. A little old school? Obviously, but judging by the growing popularity of things like Record Store Day, old school still has its place in the hearts (and headphones) of music-lovers in 2015.